Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one week ago  •  117 comments

By:   Phil Torres (Salon)

Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right
What once seemed like a bracing intellectual movement has degenerated into a pack of abusive, small-minded bigots

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



It was inspiring — really inspiring . I remember watching clip after clip of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens debating Christians, Muslims and "purveyors of woo," exposing the fatuity of their faith-based beliefs in superstitious nonsense unsupported by empirical evidence, often delivered to self-proclaimed prophets by supernatural beings via the epistemically suspicious channel of private revelation. Not that Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens were saying anything particularly novel— the inconsistencies and contradictions of religious dogma are apparent even to small children. Why did God have to sacrifice his son for our sins? Does Satan have free will? And how can the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be completely separate entities but also one and the same?

The " New Atheist " movement, which emerged from the bestselling books of the aforementioned authors, was the intellectual community that many of us 15 or so years ago were desperately looking for — especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which seemed to confirm Samuel P. Huntington's infamous " clash of civilizations " thesis. As Harris once put it , with many of us naively agreeing, "We are at war with Islam." (Note: This was a dangerous and xenophobic lie that helped get Donald Trump elected. As Harris said in 2006 , anticipating how his brand of Islamophobia would enable Trump's rise, "the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.")

New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity.

Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was! Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized. This may sound hyperbolic, but it's not when, well, you look at the evidence. So I thought it might be illuminating to take a look at where some of the heavy hitters in the atheist and "skeptic" communities are today. What do their legacies look like? In what direction have they taken their cultural quest to secularize the world?

Let's see if you can spot a pattern:

Sam Harris : Arguably the progenitor of New Atheism, Harris was for me one of the more entertaining atheists. More recently, though, he has expended a prodigious amount of time and energy vigorously defending the scientific racism of Charles Murray. He believes that IQ is a good measure of intelligence. He argued to Josh Zepps during a podcast interview not only that black people are less intelligent than white people, but that this is because of genetic evolution. He has consistently given white nationalists a pass while arguing that Black Lives Matter is overly contentious, and has stubbornly advocated profiling "Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim," at airports. (When Harris believes he's right about something, it becomes virtually impossible to talk him out of it, no matter how many good arguments, expert opinions or hard data are presented to him. Like Donald Trump, he's pretty much unteachable.) Harris has also partly blamed the election loss of Hilary Clinton on "safe spaces, trigger warnings, [and] new gender pronouns," released a private email exchange with Ezra Klein without Klein's permission, and once suggested that New Atheism is male-dominated because it lacks an "extra estrogen vibe."

His primary focus these days is boosting the moral panic over "social justice warriors" (SJWs), "political correctness" and " wokeism ," which he apparently believes pose a dire threat to "Western civilization" (a word that has a lot of meaning for white nationalists). Consequently, Harris has become popular among right-wingers, and the sentiment of solidarity appears to be mutual. For example, he's described Ben Shapiro as being " committed to the … rules of intellectual honesty and to the same principles of charity with regard to other people's positions," which is odd given that Shapiro is a pathological liar who routinely misconstrues his opponents in service of a racist, misogynistic, climate-denying agenda.

Michael Shermer : The founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, which once published a favorable review of Milo Yiannopoulos' book "Dangerous" and a defense of child-rapist Jerry Sandusky, Shermer made a name for himself as a "skeptic." However, his legacy has been overshadowed by, among other things, a protracted history of sexual harassment and assault allegations, with James Randi once calling him "a bad boy" whom numerous people at atheism conferences had complained about. In 2014, he was accused of rape, which he later flippantly joked about on Twitter. Since then, he has dedicated an impressive amount of time belittling "SJWs" and "the woke," often hurling ad hominem attacks and middle-school insults towards those with whom he disagrees. For example, Shermer has referred to "SJWs" as "mealy-mouthed, whiney, sniveling, and obsequious," and "a bunch of weak-kneed namby-pamby bedwetters." He once tweeted, in Trumpian fashion: "Know this Regressive Lefters/SJWs — you will lose. Those of us who believe in truth & justice will prevail. Yours is a failed ideology. Losers." After I wrote a critique of Steven Pinker's recent book "Enlightenment Now!", which contains many serious errors, Shermer took to Twitter to call me a "cockroach." None of this should be that surprising, since he describes himself as an anti-woke, anti-reparationslibertarian who thinks Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is "a remarkable book."

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But be careful: Shermer has also acknowledged, in writing, that he's fantasized about murdering people. "Or, if not actually killing the particular bastard," he reports, "at the very least I imagine dislocating his jaw with a crushing roundhouse knuckle sandwich that sent him reeling to the pavement." This comes from his book "The Moral Arc," which received an extended, glowing blurb from Steven Pinker.

Lawrence Krauss : A world-renowned cosmologist who authored "A Universe From Nothing" and ran the Origins Project formerly at Arizona State University, Krauss was among the most academically accomplished of the New Atheists. In 2018, though, he was dismissed from his job as director of the Origins Project after an investigation found that he had violated the sexual harassment policy of the university "by groping a woman's breast while on an ASU-funded trip in late 2016." He has also repeatedly and vigorously defended his onetime friend Jeffrey Epstein, the child sex trafficker, who "donated $250,000 to the Origins Project over a seven-year span." According to a 2011 Daily Beast article, Krauss claimed, "I don't feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it," adding that he didn't believe the "beautiful women and young women" surrounding Epstein were underage. (Plenty of other people have said it was impossible not to realize that, and Krauss himself has acknowledged that Epstein favored "women ages 19 to 23," which surely should have been a red flag.) After a 2018 BuzzFeed article detailing some of the sexual harassment allegations against Krauss was published, a flood of further accusations emerged online, some of which I catalogued here.

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Richard Dawkins : Once a heavyweight within the world of evolutionary biology, Dawkins energized atheists the world over with his book "The God Delusion." Over time, though, it became increasingly clear that he's neither an adult-in-the-room nor a particularly nice guy. For some bizarre reason, he obsessively targeted a Muslim teenager in Texas, who was arrested after a homemade clock he brought to school was wrongly thought to be a bomb. He also flipped out over what came to be called "Elevatorgate," which began with Rebecca Watson calmly asking men to be thoughtful and considerate about how they make women feel at conferences — for example, in the enclosed space of an elevator. This resulted in a flood of rape and death threats directed toward Watson, while Dawkins mocked the situation by writing a shocking letter addressed "Dear Muslima," in which the first line was "Stop whining, will you." More recently, he's made it clear that he isn't bothered by the allegations against Krauss, and posted seemingly anti-trans comments on Twitter. When asked why Twitter has caused him so much trouble, he claimed: "I love truth too much." (For Dawkins' troubling views on aborting fetuses with Down Syndrome, see this.)

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James Lindsay : Once a promising young atheist, Lindsay published "Everybody Is Wrong About God" in 2015 and, three years later, "How to Have Impossible Conversations," co-authored with Peter Boghossian (below). Referring to himself as "apolitical" but boasting a profile page on the right-wing, anti-free-speech organization Turning Point USA, he is now one of the most unhinged crusaders against "critical race theory" (CRT), an idea about which he seems to have very littleactual knowledge. (This is unsurprising, given that Lindsay has literally argued that he doesn't need to understand "gender studies" to call for the entire field to be canceled. See #10 here.) Over the past few years, he has teamed up with Christian nationalist and COVID conspiracist Michael O'Fallon, and now rakes in plenty of cash via Patreon — proof that grifting about "free speech" and "CRT" pays. Known for his social media presence, Lindsay has called women he disagrees with "bitches," while — seriously — hurling "your mom" insults at intellectual opponents who point out his mendacities. He recently argued that antisemitism is caused by woke Jews (i.e., they're doing it to themselves), spread COVID conspiracy theories, and claimed in 2020 that people should vote for Donald Trump (as he did) because Joe Biden is a neo-Marxist, or will succumb to the influence of scary neo-Marxists like Black Lives Matter.

Last year, Lindsay co-authored the commercially successful book "Cynical Theories," which received a glowing endorsement from Steven Pinker but repeatedly misrepresents the ideas of those it hysterically, and incorrectly, claims are tearing down "Western civilization." And let's not get into his wildly delusional conspiracy theories about the " Great Reset ," which apparently, as someone Lindsay retweeted put it , "aims to introduce a new global planetary diet"! If you want to understand Lindsay's worldview, I suggest reading Jason Stanley 's excellent book " How Fascism Works ," which captures the anti-intellectual, anti-academic, anti-social justice spirit of Lindsay's activism perfectly.

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Peter Boghossian : A "philosopher" at Portland State University and " longtime collaborator of Stefan Molyneux" (a white supremacist demagogue who once declared , "I don't view humanity as a single species …"), Boghossian wrote "A Manual for Creating Atheists " in 2013. A year later, he tweeted : "I've never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn't work for?" This was followed by a defense of Nazis (no one outside Hitler's Germany should ever be called a "Nazi"), and a stern rejection of the historically accurate claim that "slavery … was not merely an unfortunate thing that happened to black people. It was an … American institution, created by and for the benefit of the elites."

In 2017, Boghossian and Lindsay attempted to "hoax" gender studies by publishing a fake article in a peer-reviewed gender studies journal (note: the journal had nothing to do with gender studies). But it turned out this was based on a demonstrable lie , which they of course never admitted. Their paper ultimately ended up in a pay-to-publish journal. That was followed by an even more elaborate and even more bad-faith "hoax," which resulted in a response from Portland State University professors alleging that "basic spite and a perverse interest in public humiliation seem to have overridden any actual scholarly goals." Indeed, Boghossian and his crew failed to get institutional review board approval for this experiment, resulting in serious accusations of unethical actions. "I believe the results of this office's view of your research behavior," wrote the vice president for "research and graduate studies" at Boghossian's university, "raises concerns regarding a lack of academic integrity, questionable ethical behavior, and employee breach of rules." On May 6 of this year, Boghossian — a vocal critic of "cancel culture" — called for "the defunding of Portland State University," which he incorrectly described as promoting "illiberal ideologies." (See here for more.)nsxX4Ws38xbK2tnxbxhkAvjUV1E6VPBy_3d523R32JywthNDGRb6lkay_-wAsHvMjA2hntscYUznq9P53cdoBFSoyBLjSa9dStLTRInN1C51vEqNQmsRfyh78sTP21Hn2lUZqaI

David Silverman : Silverman made a name for himself as a "firebrand" atheist, even appearing on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show several times to take on "Papa Bear" himself. But "explosive … allegations of sexual assault and undisclosed conflicts of interest" got Silverman fired from American Atheists, where he was president. In the years since, he has given voice to a stream of grievances about feminism, social justice and the like, referring to social justice as "a cancerous social movement" that "has to be undone," adding: "I have a lot of regrets for being in your whiney culty immitation [sic] of feminism." The same day, he spoke with Sargon of Akkad (aka Carl Benjamin, a member of Britain's far-right party UKIP) about "Feminist Tyranny." (More here, here and here.)

Steven Pinker : To many of us early on, Pinker seemed to genuinely care about maintaining his intellectual integrity. But, once again, high expectations only meant a harder crash. Consider that Pinker has claimed that rape is often "over-reported." To support this, he cites right-wingers like Christina Hoff Sommers and Heather MacDonaldas primary sources. Over the past few years, he has become unhealthily fixated on "political correctness," social justice and "wokeness," and participated in the 2017 "Unsafe Space Tour" of college campuses, organized by the right-libertarian magazine Spiked. It also came out, much to Pinker's chagrin, that he'd assisted the legal defense of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, even appearing in photographs with Epstein taken after the latter was convicted of sex crimes in 2008. Here's a picture of Pinker with Dawkins (and fellow New Atheist Daniel Dennett) flying to a TED Conference with Epstein. Pinker's response? It's hard to make this up: despite being a vociferous "opponent" of censorship — bad ideas must be exposed to the light! Free speech must never be hindered! — Pinker blocked half of Twitter to stop people from mentioning his past links to this rapist and pedophile. Of course this backfired, drawing even more attention to the issue, a phenomenon that I call the "Pinker-Epstein Effect" (which is nearly identical to the Streisand Effect but specific to, well, Pinker and Epstein). Although Pinker was never as prominently connected to "New Atheism" as the others, his influence within the movement, partly because of his advocacy for secularism, is undeniable. (See here for more.)

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This is hardly an exhaustive list. But it's enough to make clear the epistemic and moral turpitude of this crowd. There is nothing ad hominem in saying this, by the way: The point is simply that the company one keeps matters. What's sad is that the New Atheist movement could have made a difference — a positive difference — in the world. Instead, it gradually merged with factions of the alt-right to become what former New York Times contributing editor Bari Weiss calls the " Intellectual Dark Web " (IDW), a motley crew of pseudo-intellectuals whose luminaries include Jordan Peterson, Eric and Bret Weinstein, Douglas Murray , Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro, in addition to those mentioned above.

At the heart of this merger was the creation of a new religious movement of sorts centered around the felt loss of power among white men due to the empowerment of other people . When it was once acceptable, according to cultural norms, for men to sexually harass women with impunity, or make harmful racist and sexist comments without worrying about losing a speaking opportunity, being held accountable can feel like an injustice, even though the exact opposite is the case. Pinker, Shermer and some of the others like to preach about "moral progress," but in fighting social justice under the misleading banner of "free speech," they not only embolden fascists but impede further moral progress for the marginalized.

Another way to understand the situation goes like this: Some of these people acted badly in the past. Others don't want to worry about accusations of acting badly in the future. Still others are able to behave themselves but worry that their friends could get in trouble for past or future bad behavior. Consequently, the most immediate, pressing threat to their "well-being" has shifted from scary Muslim immigrants, evangelical Christians and violent terrorists to 19-year-old kids on college campuses and BLM activists motivated by "wokeness." This is why Lindsay has teamed up with a Christian nationalist and why Boghossian talks about the "Great Realignment" in which anti-woke alarmists, like him, end up joining hands with "conservative Christians" in "Culture War 2.0."

What ties these people together is an aggrieved sense of perpetual victimhood . Christians, of course, believe that they are relentlessly persecuted (note: they aren't). The IDWs similarly believe that they are the poor helpless victims of "CRT," " standpoint theory " and other bogeymen of woke academia. But really, if " Grievance Studies " studies anything, it should be how this group of extremely privileged white men came to believe that they are the real casualties of systemic oppression.

An excellent example of this delusion comes from an inadvertently hilarious interview with Boghossian for the Epoch Times, a media company associated with the Falun Gong movement that is " fueling the far-right in Europe " and has spread COVID conspiracy theories . In it, Boghossian warns that "woke ideology" has produced "a recipe for cultural suicide." This has led him — the co-author of "How to Have Impossible Conversations"— to spout extremist rhetoric like this:


I'm done playing. … I am waging full-scale ideological warfare against the enemies of Western Civilization. … We must broker absolutely zero tolerance with this ideology, and the only way forward at this point is full-scale ideological war, and I will take no prisoners, … . I seek the complete eradication and extirpation of the ideology from every facet of life.

That's scary, intolerant and even fascistic. And it's exactly where the New Atheism movement has ended up, to the exasperation of those who still care about secularism.

To conclude, let me bring things full circle: At least some studies have shown that, to quote Phil Zuckerman, secular people are "markedly less nationalistic, less prejudiced, less anti-Semitic, less racist, less dogmatic, less ethnocentric, less close-minded, and less authoritarian" than religious people. It's a real shame that New Atheism, now swallowed up by the IDW and the far right, turned out to be just as prejudiced, racist, dogmatic, ethnocentric, closed-minded and authoritarian as many of the religious groups they initially deplored.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one week ago

Its hard, in a casual reading, to verify the many contentions made in this article, but I found it very interesting. 

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
2  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    one week ago

They have all been associated with Jeffrey Epstein?  Then I'm certain they are all fine, upstanding citizens...

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @2    one week ago

I guess money talks.  I see Lawrence Summers, who was an economic advisor to Obama , in the photo with Epstein, as well as Alan Dershowitz and one of these atheist dudes. 

Epstein made his hundreds of millions as a Wall St wheeler dealer and was shady from the beginning. Yet prominent people are attracted to his lifestyle. 

Makes you think the whole culture might be corrupt, doesnt it? 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.1  Ozzwald  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    one week ago
I guess money talks.  I see Lawrence Summers, who was an economic advisor to Obama , in the photo with Epstein, as well as Alan Dershowitz and one of these atheist dudes. 

Epstein made his hundreds of millions as a Wall St wheeler dealer and was shady from the beginning. Yet prominent people are attracted to his lifestyle. 

Makes you think the whole culture might be corrupt, doesnt it?

Epstein was a business man, who has probably taken pictures with hundreds, if not thousands of people that were not aware of his pedophile tendencies.  As tempting as it is, we cannot condemn people for mere association with such a horrible person. 

On the other hand, those that were aware, and did/said nothing, are just as bad a the child rapist Epstein himself.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    one week ago

Bill Gates had a lot of interactions with Epstein also but like Ozz says I guess that's no reason to condemn the man.  

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
2.1.3  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    one week ago
Makes you think the whole culture might be corrupt, doesnt it?

AKA:  Domestic Entitle-ism.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
2.1.4  Krishna  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.1    one week ago
thousands of people that were not aware of his pedophile tendencies.

My guess is that while many did, many did not. (But of course on many social media sites there seems to be many who love to over-generalize...therefore if even a few did...these mentally-challenged types assume that all did).

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.5  Ozzwald  replied to  Krishna @2.1.4    one week ago
My guess is that while many did, many did not.

Until you provide some evidence to support YOUR GUESS, it doesn't refute anything.

But don't get me wrong, I agree that many probably did, but you cannot make that assumption without any kind of evidence, everyone needs to be treated equally. 

Of everyone pictured with Epstein, only one ( that I know of ), admitted that he knew of Epstein's preference to "much younger girls", and that was Trump who said so in an interview.

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
3  Veronica    one week ago

Just goes to show scum can come from all walks of life.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
3.1  r.t..b...  replied to  Veronica @3    one week ago

Isn’t that the truth.

We are subjected daily to the excesses of power and entitlement, to the detriment of all.

Search out the stories of those who are making a difference on a personal level...or better yet, make a story of your own. 

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
3.1.1  Veronica  replied to  r.t..b... @3.1    one week ago
Search out the stories of those who are making a difference on a personal level...or better yet, make a story of your own. 

That is pretty much what I am doing on NT at this point.  Tired of all the same old bullshit getting spewed.  Even when a nice story is posted here someone usually comes along and shits on it. 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
3.1.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Veronica @3.1.1    one week ago

Good on you, V. 

No one can dispute those intentions and we are all better for the contributions. 

...peace...

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
3.1.3  Raven Wing  replied to  Veronica @3.1.1    one week ago
someone usually comes along and shits on it. 

Just remember, Veronica, the sh*ts on them, not you or others who comment to your posts. And they are the ones who have to wear the smell, not you.

So just ignore them, and if everyone would do that, it would not be long before they would no longer have the fun of trying to ruin everyone else's posts and move one.

So why not give them the silent one finger?

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
3.1.4  Krishna  replied to  r.t..b... @3.1    one week ago
Search out the stories of those who are making a difference on a personal level

I assume you mean making a positive difference?

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
3.1.5  Veronica  replied to  Raven Wing @3.1.3    one week ago
So why not give them the silent one finger?

I usually use a two finger salute..jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
3.1.6  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Veronica @3.1.5    6 days ago

So you suffer from hand cramps too......

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
3.1.7  Veronica  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.6    6 days ago

Big time

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4  TᵢG    one week ago

Looks like this seed is a hit piece on atheism since it is exposing / attacking prominent atheists and appears to be labeling atheism a 'grift' because these human beings engaged in less than honorable activities.

Atheism is not a moral core nor is it a club.   It is not a grift or a movement.   Atheism is the lack of belief in a god; an atheist is simply an individual who is not convinced any god exists.   One is free to criticize individuals for their flaws, but it is intellectual dishonesty to smear atheism (and thus all individuals who do not believe in a god) through faulty generalization.

This is like smearing all priests because a small minority are pedophiles or deeming all Muslims terrorists.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @4    one week ago

Well feminism isnt a movement either if you want to put it that way. Its just a belief in women's rights. 

I mean, I would agree that atheism is not a movement, but none of these "new atheists" turned down book deals or speaking engagements and did allow their presence to be seen as somewhat of a movement, at least in media terms. 

I dont think the article is invalid , I just dont feel like verifying all the numerous claims made about these people in the article. But I wouldnt doubt it. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.1  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    one week ago
I mean, I would agree that atheism is not a movement, but none of these "new atheists" turned down book deals or speaking engagements and did allow their presence to be seen as somewhat of a movement, at least in media terms. 

The key is for people to not engage in faulty generalization.   For example:

1.   A prominent atheist has a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein (a known exploiter of women and young girls).

2.   The prominent atheist is guilty by association.

⛬   Atheists and atheism is fraught with dishonesty.

Does not compute.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.1    6 days ago

The key is for people to not engage in faulty generalization.   For example:

1.   A prominent atheist has a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein (a known exploiter of women and young girls).

2.   The prominent atheist is guilty by association.

⛬   Atheists and atheism is fraught with dishonesty.

Does not compute.

Excellent point.  The reverse is also true.  You cannot condemn every Catholic as a pedophile because of the actions of some Catholic priests.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.3  TᵢG  replied to  Ozzwald @4.1.2    6 days ago
You cannot condemn every Catholic as a pedophile because of the actions of some Catholic priests.

Agreed.   Faulty generalization is very sloppy, flawed reasoning.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.2  evilgenius  replied to  TᵢG @4    one week ago
Looks like this seed is a hit piece on atheism

I read it days ago online. I think the writer is an atheist. It mostly laments that these well known atheists have used their status to become douchebags online and spew hate speech and that weakens the message rational thinkers would otherwise be putting out.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilgenius @4.2    one week ago

I think your right. These are merely a handful of the atheists in the scientific, philosophical, and economic worlds. I hope the writer wasn't trying to smear all atheists with this particular paint brush

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.2  TᵢG  replied to  evilgenius @4.2    one week ago

I wonder then why he chose to present flaws (at least allegations) of these individuals and label this all 'atheism'?    If not to attack atheism, why do this?

A better approach, in my mind, is to expose these individuals (preferably one at a time) for their individual flaws.   What he did was (whether intended or not) cast aspersions on atheism itself.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.2.3  evilgenius  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.2    one week ago
I wonder then why he chose to present flaws (at least allegations) of these individuals and label this all 'atheism'?

I must have missed that in my reading. I'll have to go back and re-read it.

A better approach, in my mind, is to expose these individuals (preferably one at a time) for their individual flaws.

That was the way I read it. Perhaps my own biases got in the way. Again I'll re-read it when I have a few minutes.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.2.4  evilgenius  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.2    one week ago

It doesn't appear from quotes like the one below that the author is smearing atheism - 

New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity.

Then next he says - 

Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized. This may sound hyperbolic, but it's not when, well, you look at the evidence. 

and proceeds to name names and explain where they go wrong. It isn't their stance on atheism or theism. It's their stand on minorities that takes up the bulk of the article. 

I still simply read it as people who were once high in the New Atheist movement (yeah I know what you wrote about that above) are new looking like alt+right douchebags. I don't do movements nor have I needed to read anything any of these men have produced. All I know is that it is reasonable to presume from evidence presented there are no gods. If I am incorrect, any function deity is free to contact me and change my mind.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.5  TᵢG  replied to  evilgenius @4.2.4    one week ago
It isn't their stance on atheism or theism. It's their stand on minorities that takes up the bulk of the article. 

Why does he focus only on atheists?   What does atheism (or theism for that matter) have to do with a stand on minorities?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.5    one week ago

Maybe it's because atheism is thought to be more liberal/progressive in thought? And these guys are not progressives

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.7  TᵢG  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.6    one week ago

Maybe TG.   Hard to say what the author is thinking.    I just find it strange that someone would associate ideology with atheism as if not believing in a god causes one to be a bigot, etc.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.8  Trout Giggles  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.7    one week ago

Maybe that's the point the author is trying to make....that atheism makes people bigots (not true at all), which is odd since the author claims to be an atheist

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.2.9  evilgenius  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.5    one week ago
Why does he focus only on atheists? 

Because it sounds like he followed them and championed them when they used rational thinking on the subject of theism years ago, but now feels cheated that they aren't rationally thinking on other subjects like CRT or LGBTQ.

What does atheism (or theism for that matter) have to do with a stand on minorities?

The article doesn't say much of anything about atheism at all. 

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.2.10  evilgenius  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.8    one week ago
Maybe that's the point the author is trying to make....that atheism makes people bigots

I don't see that at all in the article. In fact I think the author feels the opposite should happen. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.11  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilgenius @4.2.10    one week ago

I think I need to read it again

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.12  TᵢG  replied to  evilgenius @4.2.9    one week ago
The article doesn't say much of anything about atheism at all. 

I agree.    It stereotypes starting with the title:    "Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right"

If he is not out to stereotype atheists why does he focus on the New Atheists and call them 'grifters'?  

Then we have ...

The " New Atheist " movement, which emerged from the bestselling books of the aforementioned authors,

Which one would expect would be followed by a discussion on New Atheism itself and not on the character flaws of individuals.

Yet the core of the article is this:

New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity. Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was! Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized.

He deems the whole of the intellectual foundation of 'New Atheism' to be a grift?   Why?   Because key individuals (authors and speakers) underlying this label have character flaws.   He is arguing that because of these claimed flaws (and not a word about anything good in these men) that New Atheism itself (the body of knowledge and arguments) was a grift.

I do not see how this is not simply an attack on atheism using faulty generalization.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.13  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilgenius @4.2.9    one week ago
Because it sounds like he followed them and championed them when they used rational thinking on the subject of theism years ago, but now feels cheated that they aren't rationally thinking on other subjects like CRT or LGBTQ.

That sounds like a rational explanation

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.14  TᵢG  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.13    one week ago

It would be if he did not deem all of their past work to be a grift.   That translates into the allegation that these men were all lying to people;  tricking them into believing that which is not true. 

Mahatma Gandhi had character and ideological flaws.   Do we deem his entire life a grift because of his religious / sexual bigotry?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.15  Trout Giggles  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.14    one week ago

Poor writing?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.16  TᵢG  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.15    one week ago

A possibility.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.2.17  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.5    one week ago
Why does he focus only on atheists? 

Because thats what the article is about.

I dont really see the argument that he is over generalizing. He does say

Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious,morally compromisedpeople who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized.

but then he goes on to point them out by name. and what he objects to is associated with specific individuals.  I dont see the problem. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.18  TᵢG  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.8    one week ago
Maybe that's the point the author is trying to make....that atheism makes people bigots

Then his only argument (in this article that is) is based on the fallacy of faulty generalization.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.19  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @4.2.17    one week ago
Because thats what the article is about.

Then, as you see things, the article is about atheism.   You are making my point.   Note what he argues (character flaws in men).   Note what he concludes ('New Atheism' is a grift).

Where is the argument that 'New Atheism' is a grift?   What, specifically, about the arguments that collectively comprise 'New Atheism' are dishonest?   The author does not say.   Instead he argues, in effect, that 'New Atheism' is a grift because of his noted allegations against these men.   Okay, let's assume that he has fairly characterized these men (he has not, it is one-sided attack).   How does that change the veracity of the arguments these men have made?   Where is the factual/logical analysis that shows this corpus of knowledge / arguments to be a 'grift'?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.2.20  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.19    one week ago

First of all he is not talking about atheism. He is talking about the so-called New Atheists who came on the scene in the early 2000's and forward from there. They are more or less specific people. 

You are starting to sound like you think any criticism of an atheist is a criticism of atheism. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.21  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @4.2.20    one week ago
First of all he is not talking about atheism. He is talking about the so-called New Atheists who came on the scene in the early 2000's and forward from there. They are more or less specific people. 

The body of knowledge and arguments of 'New Atheism' has been labeled a 'grift'.   Do you see that?

You are starting to sound like you think any criticism of an atheist is a criticism of atheism. 

John, read what I wrote:

TiG @4.2.19 ☞ Note what he argues (character flaws in men).   Note what he concludes ('New Atheism' is a grift). Where is the argument that 'New Atheism' is a grift?   What, specifically, about the arguments that collectively comprise 'New Atheism' are dishonest?   The author does not say.   Instead he argues, in effect, that 'New Atheism' is a grift because of his noted allegations against these men.   Okay, let's assume that he has fairly characterized these men (he has not, it is one-sided attack).   How does that change the veracity of the arguments these men have made?   Where is the factual/logical analysis that shows this corpus of knowledge ['New Atheism'] / arguments to be a 'grift'?
 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.2.22  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.21    one week ago

I think I see the problem. The writer sees the "New Atheists " as something more than random individuals espousing atheism , and you don't. 

New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity. Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was!

In the bolded segment he defines the new atheists as a group of individuals with sizable public platforms. These are specific people ! 

The grift was the hypocrisy he sees in their behavior. 

You dont have to agree with him, but I fail to see where he is being unfair to anyone. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.23  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @4.2.22    one week ago
The writer sees the "New Atheists " as something more than random individuals espousing atheism , and you don't. 

No, that is not my position.

In the bolded segment he defines the new atheists as a group of individuals with sizable public platforms. These are specific people ! 

Let's go with that.   He is saying that the body of knowledge and arguments attributed to 'New Atheism' is a grift.    I object to that.

The grift was the hypocrisy he sees in their behavior. 

Oh, so you think the author thinks that what the 'New Atheists' have communicated and argued is sound information?    That it is not a pack of lies?     Look at the boldfaced part of your quote and tell me that you think the author believes that what the 'New Atheists' have communicated is 'right and true'.   Sure seems to me that he is saying that their communications were deception and bullshit.

You dont have to agree with him, but I fail to see where he is being unfair to anyone. 

I agree, you fail to see it.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.2.24  evilgenius  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.12    one week ago

After doing a bit of digging on the author - This isn't the first article he's written on this subject.

I mean the community that has accumulated around figures like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne and Peter Boghossian. My criticism focused on two general issues: First, new atheism’s increasing willingness to ignore empirical facts and scientific evidence; and second, a long series of avoidable gaffes by prominent figures (followed by appalling defenses rather than apologies ) that have alienated women and people of color while simultaneously attracting alt-right folks with morally noxious anti-feminist, anti-social justice views.

I'd have to go even deeper to find out what he's talking about when he says - 

... new atheism’s increasing willingness to ignore empirical facts and scientific evidence...

I am unfamiliar with 'New Atheism' and honestly I have little interest in digging into it. I've never like Dawkins, because Dawkins has always been a dick. That doesn't mean everything Dawkins has said is wrong. It only means the man is a dick. I don't know the others outside of the article seeded here or in my quote above.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.25  TᵢG  replied to  evilgenius @4.2.24    one week ago

I have no idea how he could claim that these men willingly ignore empirical facts and scientific evidence.   That contradicts my personal knowledge of these individuals (especially Dawkins, Harris and Coyne).    Be interested to see what he deems 'a long series of avoidable gaffes' and who made these gaffes.

In short, the author's view conflicts with my direct information after watching and reading what these men (not Boghossian for me) have communicated.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.26  CB   replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.8    one week ago

From what I can glean from the article, the writer is 'dealing' with the main thing the majority of these men have in common:  They are atheists who promote atheism and have prominent platforms to 'distribute' and influence others. The writer see shortcomings in these men and he feels it is come time to shine a gleaming light on it, in my opinion.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.27  TᵢG  replied to  CB @4.2.26    one week ago

That is how I see it too.   He is trying to discredit 'New Atheism' (dumb name) by discrediting some of its key figures.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.28  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.27    one week ago
Sam Harris : Arguably the progenitor of New Atheism, Harris was for me one of the more entertaining atheists. More recently, though, he has expended a prodigious amount of time and energy vigorously defending the scientific racism of Charles Murray. He believes that IQ is a good measure of intelligence. He argued to Josh [S][z]eps during a podcast interview not only that black people are less intelligent than white people, but that this is because of genetic evolution. He has consistently given white nationalists a pass while arguing that Black Lives Matter is overly contentious, and has stubbornly advocated profiling "Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim," at airports. (When Harris believes he's right about something, it becomes virtually impossible to talk him out of it, no matter how many good arguments, expert opinions or hard data are presented to him. Like Donald Trump, he's pretty much unteachable.) Harris has also partly blamed the election loss of Hilary Clinton on "safe spaces, trigger warnings, [and] new gender pronouns," released a private email exchange with Ezra Klein without Klein's permission, and once suggested that New Atheism is male-dominated because it lacks an "extra estrogen vibe." His primary focus these days is boosting the moral panic over "social justice warriors" (SJWs), "political correctness" and " wokeism ," which he apparently believes pose a dire threat to "Western civilization" (a word that has a lot of meaning for white nationalists).

I am in the process of researching if Sam Harris really said or wrote about this. If so, then it is devastatingly discrediting for Sam Harris!

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.29  TᵢG  replied to  CB @4.2.28    6 days ago

Yes, I am not aware of Harris as a racist.    That would be quite a surprise given all I have observed of him in debate.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.30  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.29    6 days ago

I don't want to get to far away from the topic of discussion, but you may wish to have a listen on this Sam Harris podcast: Forbidden Knowledge .

Note: Discussion of this 'pod' may be for another 'day' as it is debatable if it be made to fit in this topic. I don't know. Moreover, it is not the Josh Szep's - Sam Harris exchange. It is the original podcast between Harris and Murray. 

(—Need coffee now.)

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.31  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.29    6 days ago
More recently, though, he has expended a prodigious amount of time and energy vigorously defending the scientific racism of Charles Murray. He believes that IQ is a good measure of intelligence. He argued to Josh Zepps during a podcast interview not only that black people are less intelligent than white people, but that this is because of genetic evolution. 

This is about as close as I have come to this particular discussion: Timestamp: 12:00 minutes.

  We the People Josh Zepps Sam Harris Part 1

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.32  TᵢG  replied to  CB @4.2.31    6 days ago

Well I listened from about 11:00 to 21:00.   Harris was explaining that Murray put in all the necessary qualifications but that because he (Murray) stated the statistics for IQ by culture/race showed black people appearing lower in the stats that he (Murray) was lambasted.   That is, his (Murray's) qualifications were ignored and only the report of statistics registered.

While I can understand how this works, it just shows how it is impossible for a public figure to avoid attacks.   It is so easy to select one piece of communication, ignore the qualifying context, and have that one piece be presented on its own as a damning quote.  

Also note that Harris is attacked because he explained how Murray's commentary was misrepresented.

Harris, here, seems to be normal Harris.   He is speaking factually and even noted that there are explanations for these stats that counter the notion of a genetic lack of intelligence.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.33  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.32    6 days ago

To be clear, @4.2.30 did you listen to "Forbidden Knowledge" there?

Also, I am just 'blocking' the article. I don't know if Harris is 'caught on a dilemma' or not. I reserve opinion.

Now this. I am listening to this protracted 'cast' right now (today -below). The opening through 20:00 minutes may be exculpatory.

I am not versed on the "Bell Curve" and I have the book on my shelve since the 1995! (It's a large book.) Maybe I will 'crack' it open - maybe. (I heard talk of this book in the 90's. It was not good mentioning from others I know.)

Here is the next link:

Sam Harris Confronts Ezra Klein on IQ Lies and Ideological Bias

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.34  TᵢG  replied to  CB @4.2.33    6 days ago

Listen to Forbidden Knowledge between 5:00 and 6:00 and tell me if you heard anything critical about Murray’s analysis that suggests he is not racist.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.35  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.34    6 days ago

No, not between minutes 5 and 6. Harris is clear that he has come to learn that Murray's "Bell Curve" work is scientifically accurate-if not politically accurate. Given time I will pull out my copy of "Bell Curve" that I keep spotting around here and read the one chapter in question. Chapter 13, I think it is on IQ and Minorities (Blacks).

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.36  TᵢG  replied to  CB @4.2.35    6 days ago

In that duration, Harris points out that the differences in IQ are greater within an ethnic / cultural group than across groups.   Thus if we consider the 'black' group (for lack of a better term), Harris notes that there is more difference between the lowest and highest black IQs than there is a difference between average IQs among the groups.

That is something that Murray ostensibly made crystal clear, among other things, but it was ignored.    This is one example of how easy it is for people to paint an individual in a horrible fashion whether or not deserved.

To wit, it is very easy nowadays to paint someone a racist (and, indeed, a bigot of other forms) and have it stick.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.37  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.36    6 days ago

A funny thing happened as I start reading (Chapter 13) first :

original

The Bell Curve   Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray 1994 Chapter 13. Page 270.

"That many readers have turned first to this chapter indicates how sensitive the issue has become."

I laughed at that! For this book was written in 1994! I have seen it laying about (it's light moldy even, but otherwise in great shape) for years! And still. . . this first opening of the book (to Chapter 13, no less) greets me with this.

How apropos!

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.38  CB   replied to  CB @4.2.37    6 days ago

original

The Bell Curve   Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray 1994 Chapter 13. Page 314.

I post for the "In sum:" at the bottom of page.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.39  CB   replied to  CB @4.2.38    6 days ago

I close with the end of Chapter 13 "The Bell Curve":

original

The Bell Curve   Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray 1994 Chapter 13. Page 315.

The book is approximately 800 plus pages!

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.40  CB   replied to  CB @4.2.39    6 days ago

original  

I'm being an little indulgent now. I know. Sorry! I couldn't resist. This book finally has caught my eye in a back-handed kind of way (after hanging around for over twenty years mostly unread. Maybe it was read once  by the purchaser and put down, but not by me!).

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.2.41  TᵢG  replied to  CB @4.2.40    6 days ago

This all reads to me like a pure scientific analysis.   I suspect the authors were far better scientists than they were politically astute.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.2.42  CB   replied to  TᵢG @4.2.41    6 days ago

Most likely! And though I have yet to finish listening @4.1.33 (video), Ezra Klein points out that Dr. Murray is somebody or something in the political realm. Couple that tidbit of insight with Ezra's statements about environmental factors and social policies having a role in this especially for blacks across centuries.

Back to listening, for now.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.3  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4    one week ago
Atheism is not a moral core nor is it a club.   It is not a grift or a movement.   Atheism is the lack of belief in a god; an atheist is simply an individual who is not convinced any god exists.

This description of atheism is so oversimplified it fails as a practical definition. It isn't the dictionary definition of atheism that has relevance, it's the unavoidable consequences of holding such a view.  Since there is no evidence of a God to believe in, for the atheist, they therefor have to figure out from whence does morality come, if morality exists at all. When one looks at that, one does see, while not strictly defined, atheists do have a moral code attached to being atheistic, one usually based on some version of secular humanism. Atheism is not simply a lack of belief in God, such a view informs every aspect of such a person's life. Answers to questions such as "Why am I here?", "What is my purpose?", "What's right and wrong and why" and other related questions are informed and shaped from the starting point of being atheistic. In short, atheism isn't simply a lack of belief in God. It is a beginning assumption that shapes one's worldview. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.1  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3    one week ago
This description of atheism is so oversimplified it fails as a practical definition.

No, the definition of atheism is spot on.   Just as theism = "Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures.";   atheism = "Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods."

Atheism has nothing to do with sex trafficking, ego, morality, etc.

It isn't the dictionary definition of atheism that has relevance, it's the unavoidable consequences of holding such a view.

You want to dismiss the meaning of the word and insert your own meaning.

Since there is no evidence of a God to believe in, for the atheist, they therefor have to figure out from whence does morality come, if morality exists at all.

Morality is an emergent property of society.   That is why different cultures have different moral codes and values.   Believing in a god does not yield morality because no god has ever communicated this moral code.   If there is no single moral code from a single god, speaking of it is pointless.  It is a fantasy.

And if you have God's moral code, then deliver it.

When one looks at that, one does see, while not strictly defined, atheists do have a moral code attached to being atheistic, one usually based on some version of secular humanism.

That shows a complete lack of understanding of atheism.   Not being convinced a god exists does not determine a particular morality or behavior.  

Atheism is not simply a lack of belief in God, such a view informs every aspect of such a person's life.

Sorry, that is the meaning of the word.

Answers to questions such as "Why am I here?", "What is my purpose?", "What's right and wrong and why" and other related questions are informed and shaped from the starting point of being atheistic.

You think that every atheist starts with 'I am not convinced a god exists' and then shapes their entire lives around that?   Ever occur to you that there are (quite a few) atheists who broke free of their indoctrination later in life?    Do you think those individuals did not ponder the questions you asked.   Do you think maybe that pondering those questions actually contributed to some realizing that there is, currently, no good reason to believe a god exists?

In short, atheism isn't simply a lack of belief in God. It is a beginning assumption that shapes one's worldview. 

Your presumption that atheism is the foundation of all thinking for an atheist is demonstrably wrong.    You clearly do not comprehend the concept of atheism.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4.3.2  JBB  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3    one week ago

It does not require a belief in god to be moral or to understand that lying, cheating, stealing and killing are bad and should be prohibited. It only takes the barest of human empathy for others.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.3.3  Gordy327  replied to  JBB @4.3.2    one week ago

This is true. If one goes by the bible, God is hardly a paragon of morality himself.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.3.4  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.3.1    one week ago
No, the definition of atheism is spot on.

Practical - of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action : not theoretical or ideal.

You want to dismiss the meaning of the word and insert your own meaning.

If you read carefully what I said you will see that I am doing no such thing. Rather, I am speaking of the inescapable result of being atheist, not debating its meaning. You present the word as a simple definition that should not be taken any further. That's unrealistic. Consider the following conversation.

Man: Abortion makes perfect sense. If the woman, for whatever reason, doesn't feel ready to have children or simply doesn't desire them, an abortion is a perfectly reasonable solution.

Woman: But aren't you afraid of what God will say about that? 

Man: I'm an atheist. I don't think god exists. At least, I have not seen any evidence that one does, so why should we make rules according to something we don't even have evidence for existing?

This is not an extravagant, unrealistic example. The man is for abortion because there is no other higher authority than himself to appeal to in deciding what is moral. He has nothing else to base such things on other than his own intellect and reasoning. In essence, he is saying "I am an atheist, therefore...". The therefore makes the difference. 

Morality is an emergent property of society.

Where you think morality comes from or what constitutes it is irrelevant to the topic, which is that the practical definition of atheism. The practical definition is not simply a disbelief in God but that one's worldview should be shaped by a narrow definition of reason, evidence, logic and, ultimately, materialism. 

That shows a complete lack of understanding of atheism.   Not being convinced a god exists does not determine a particular morality or behavior.

Which is why I didn't present a particular morality. I said some form of secular humanism.

Secular humanism, often simply called humanism, is a philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.

A rather broad category, is it not? 

You think that every atheist starts with 'I am not convinced a god exists' and then shapes their entire lives around that?

Seriously, you can't see how "There is a God and He cares what we do" and "There is no God. We determine what's true and right through our own faculties" will inevitably shape the life of each? Their worldview? I know you do. The practical result of each position cannot help but shape their worldview. It would be impossible for it not to. 

Your presumption that atheism is the foundation of all thinking for an atheist is demonstrably wrong.    You clearly do not comprehend the concept of atheism.

While I think it is you who doesn't understand atheism. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.3.5  Drakkonis  replied to  JBB @4.3.2    one week ago
It does not require a belief in god to be moral or to understand that lying, cheating, stealing and killing are bad and should be prohibited.

Nice to know, but not the topic to which I am speaking. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.6  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3.4    one week ago
Rather, I am speaking of the inescapable result of being atheist, not debating its meaning.

You objected to how I defined atheism and deemed it too simplistic.   The definition is from Oxford.   It is a dictionary definition.   One could argue, per your reasoning, that any words are defined 'too simplistically' if they do not treat the subject matter in an encyclopedic fashion.

My definition was spot on.   But it was a definition.   

Note that I addressed your 'inescapable result' claims too.   One step at  a time.   First countering your dismissing of the definition of atheism, next countering your 'inescapable results' hypothesis.

The man is for abortion because there is no other higher authority than himself to appeal to in deciding what is moral. He has nothing else to base such things on other than his own intellect and reasoning. 

How do you conclude that?    The man might be for abortion because he considers it better for society to (and for individuals) to terminate a pregnancy (by choice of the mother) rather than bring an unwanted child into reality.    He stated that he has no overall authority to tell him that he is wrong.   Who says that if he were religious that he would not have the same position (but maybe comply out of fear).

And how do you go to a higher authority to get the ruling on abortion?   Show me where God had laid out the rules for abortion.

Where you think morality comes from or what constitutes it is irrelevant to the topic, which is that the practical definition of atheism.

You brought morality up and now object that I address it? 

The practical definition is not simply a disbelief in God but that one's worldview should be shaped by a narrow definition of reason, evidence, logic and, ultimately, materialism. 

You are describing your stereotype.   You seem to hold that all atheists think the same way.   That is naive (and wrong).   The one thing atheists have in common, by definition, is that an atheist is not convinced a god exists.   You certainly can see that there are atheists who are also spiritual, right?   An atheist can hold the possibility of something else greater than us without believing in a god (or the specific Christian God).   Call it 'the force' / energy / 'something that is entirely unknown to us'.    A god is necessarily sentient (by common definition).    Holding the possibility of a non-sentient explanation for existence is not materialism.

You presume a cause and effect: atheism yields X when it is more likely that X yields atheism.   A person who is naturally skeptical is likely to be an atheist.   A person who has logically analyzed religions and found fundamental flaws in their teachings (contradictions) is likely to move from theist to atheist.  

Which is why I didn't present a particular morality. I said some form of secular humanism.

Secular humanism defines a particular ideology.    Attaching properties and factors to atheism seems to me to be nothing more than an attempt to distort what is a very easy to grasp notion:  an atheist is simply an individual who is not convinced a god exists.

A rather broad category, is it not? 

Yes.   See above.

Seriously, you can't see how "There is a God and He cares what we do" and "There is no God. We determine what's true and right through our own faculties" will inevitably shape the life of each?

Of course I see that beliefs shape lives.    What I wrote is that you are wrong to presume that atheism is the foundation for all other factors in an individual's life.   I can investigate, Drakk, but I bet that most atheists started as theists.   (After all, most everyone on the planet is indoctrinated into a religion.)  Atheism is more likely to be the result of long consideration based on learned insight rather than the root of one's development.    An individual is a complex entity and for some atheism is merely another attribute.   This individual, among all other factors, happens to not be convinced a god exists.

While I think it is you who doesn't understand atheism. 

Well, you are wrong.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4.3.7  Krishna  replied to  Gordy327 @4.3.3    one week ago
This is true. If one goes by the bible, God is hardly a paragon of morality himself.

But if you are really an Athiest ...why would you go to the Bible for information?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.8  TᵢG  replied to  Krishna @4.3.7    one week ago
But if you are really an Athiest ...why would you go to the Bible for information?

You would go to the Bible to find the definition of the Christian God.    If one is being critical of said God, the Bible is going to be referenced for information about the character.

Similarly, if one is being critical of Darth Vader, one would turn to the corpus of information that we label 'Star Wars'.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.9  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3.4    one week ago

As a super summary on cause and effect, if you want to be accurate on the root cause of secularist thinking you should turn to the quality of skepticism.    

Skepticism often (no doubt) yields atheism.   It is acceptance of truth simply because a human being declared it so that yields theism.   Even young skeptics are vulnerable to an environment of religious indoctrination.   Over time, the naturally skeptic person will seek explanations better than 'you need to have faith'.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.3.10  Gordy327  replied to  Krishna @4.3.7    one week ago

Personally, I do not. Except when I'm pointing out the BS or logical fails of biblical stories or claims based on the bible therein. When one wants to tout the bible or God as a "source" for things like morality and such, I can use the bible itself as a contadiction to such claims. Kind of like the proverbial fighting fire with fire.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.3.11  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.3.6    one week ago
You objected to how I defined atheism and deemed it too simplistic.

Yes, I did. This would be because, as I have amply demonstrated, that merely disbelieving a God exists is hardly the entirety of atheism. Existence, choices made, beliefs held and so on are entirely different between a theist and an atheist and that difference exists explained by the terms theist and atheist. If this were not so there would not be terms to define each by. When one thinks of an atheist, they don't merely think "that person isn't convinced there is a God." On some level they also understand that therefore, what they think is true about reality is fundamentally different from what a theist thinks, and vice versa. 

How do you conclude that?    The man might be for abortion because he considers it better for society to (and for individuals) to terminate a pregnancy (by choice of the mother) rather than bring an unwanted child into reality. 

You answered your own question. You had to write your rebuttal that way because the man literally has no other authority better than himself to point to. You can't claim society as the higher source since all that consists of is a collection of individuals who are doing exactly the same thing. 

You brought morality up and now object that I address it? 

Actually, you mentioned it in your first post. I responded to it. Even so, the topic isn't what is moral but, rather, what is the practical meaning of atheism. That is what I have been speaking about, not what constitutes morality. Therefore, irrelevant. 

You are describing your stereotype.   You seem to hold that all atheists think the same way.

Show me an atheist that doesn't think that way and I'll concede your point. Of all the atheists I've spoken to, watched on YouTube or read about, all tout reason, evidence, logic and, ultimately, materialism as the basis for living life with intelligence. Nothing in that indicates that all atheist think the same things about every subject. That's a red herring. 

You certainly can see that there are atheists who are also spiritual, right?

I haven't seen one example of such an atheist, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I would argue that they were actual atheists, however. I think that would put them in the agnostic category. 

You presume a cause and effect:

Untrue. It doesn't actually matter whether an individual begins theist and ends up atheist or vise versa. Whatever position they hold at the moment is what shapes their life at that time. 

Secular humanism defines a particular ideology.    Attaching properties and factors to atheism seems to me to be nothing more than an attempt to distort what is a very easy to grasp notion:  an atheist is simply an individual who is not convinced a god exists.

I'm not going to respond to your desire to discuss the dictionary meaning any longer. If you don't wish to discuss the practical meaning of atheism, that's fine. You don't have to. 

Of course I see that beliefs shape lives.  What I wrote is that you are wrong to presume that atheism is the foundation for all other factors in an individual's life.   I can investigate, Drakk, but I bet that most atheists started as theists.   (After all, most everyone on the planet is indoctrinated into a religion.)  Atheism is more likely to be the result of long consideration based on learned insight rather than the root of one's development.    An individual is a complex entity and for some atheism is merely another attribute.   This individual, among all other factors, happens to not be convinced a god exists.

It doesn't matter how a theist or atheist started out. It doesn't matter how they got to where they are now. It's irrelevant. What matters is what they believe today and how that belief shapes their worldview. It's that simple, TiG. It is not possible for it to be otherwise. 

I believe God exists, therefore I live my life in accordance with what I believe God desires of me. I don't believe God exists because I have no evidence that he does, therefore, I live my life without consideration of what some unproven God may want.  

Practical definitions of theism and atheism. It's that simple.   

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.12  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3.11    one week ago
I have amply demonstrated, that merely disbelieving a God exists is hardly the entirety of atheism.

No you have not.  You have simply declared it (as you often do).    An atheist is one who is not convinced a god exists.   Anything you add on to that goes beyond atheism;  you are expanding the meaning of the term.

Existence, choices made, beliefs held and so on are entirely different between a theist and an atheist and that difference exists explained by the terms theist and atheist.

Existence, choices made, beliefs held and so on can be entirely different between any two individuals and that difference is explained by culture and the nature of the individual (e.g. a natural skeptic vs. a natural believer).

You seem to think all atheists think alike and all theists think alike.   You should realize the absurdity of such thinking. 

If this were not so there would not be terms to define each by.

LOL.   What?  

When one thinks of an atheist, they don't merely think "that person isn't convinced there is a God." On some level they also understand that therefore, what they think is true about reality is fundamentally different from what a theist thinks, and vice versa. 

Of course there are differences in how an atheist and a theist think.  There are differences in how a Christian and a Muslim think.   There are differences in how a Southern Baptist and a Catholic think.  Two people in the same church will likely have different views.   People have different views.   You seem to think that one's religious beliefs (or lack thereof) is the core of their worldview.   Maybe that is true for you, Drakk, but I guarantee that it is not true for everyone.   I, for one, do not hold positions on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, pedophilia, racism, misogyny based on my not being convinced a god exists.   That has absolutely nothing to do with how I think.   For me, not being persuaded a god exists is simply an attribute such as not being convinced that sentient exolife lives among us.

You refuse to acknowledge the point I have repeatedly made about natural skepticism.   A person who is naturally a skeptic has an intrinsic characteristic that will indeed affect his/her beliefs.    And one would expect that a skeptic would wind up not being convinced a god exists.   You want to define atheism as a natural characteristic of a person like skepticism when in reality it is simply a conclusion (pending evidence).

You had to write your rebuttal that way because the man literally has no other authority better than himself to point to. You can't claim society as the higher source since all that consists of is a collection of individuals who are doing exactly the same thing. 

Until shown otherwise, the source of morality for a society / culture is that society / culture.    It is, based on the evidence, a result of societal evolution and is codified in the laws, customs and behavior of the people of that society.   You reject that and claim that morality must come from God.   Yet you cannot deliver the God nor can you deliver the moral code ostensibly of this God.   So why do you continue to insist that it exists and reject the obvious fact that what we call moral is a product of the culture / society in which we were brought up?

Show me an atheist that doesn't think that way and I'll concede your point. Of all the atheists I've spoken to, watched on YouTube or read about, all tout reason, evidence, logic and, ultimately, materialism as the basis for living life with intelligence.

You have never met an atheist who is spiritual??   You have no knowledge of Buddhism??   Pantheism??   First off, I suspect Krishna might be an individual who is not convinced a god exists yet considers himself spiritual.   Just my impression; curious to see what he thinks about it.  You might find Trout Giggles holds similar views;  I could be wrong but I think TG considers herself spiritual.   I know of several people in my life who are not convinced a god exists but think there must be 'something (unknown) out there' that ultimately explains the mysteries of life.    I find it hard to believe that you know of nobody like that?   Do you not know many atheists?

Nothing in that indicates that all atheist think the same things about every subject. That's a red herring.

You wrote this:

The practical definition is not simply a disbelief in God but that one's worldview should be shaped by a narrow definition of reason, evidence, logic and, ultimately, materialism. 

You defined a stereotype.   You have been arguing that all atheists worldviews are shaped by:  "a narrow definition of reason, evidence, logic and, ultimately, materialism".   Not only is your stereotype demonstrably wrong (deeming all atheists to be narrow minded) it is (like most stereotypes) naive bigotry.

I haven't seen one example of such an atheist, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I would argue that they were actual atheists, however. I think that would put them in the agnostic category. 

Most atheists are agnostic.   Any person who does not know if a god exists is, by definition, agnostic.    If that individual believes a particular god exists but recognizes s/he might be wrong, you have an agnostic theist.   If that individual is not convinced a god exists, you have an agnostic atheist.   Real simple.   Don't try to redefine 'atheist' with your own extensions (e.g. imposing a defining characteristic of materialism onto the concept of atheism).    Don't redefine words and expect anything of value to come from it.

It doesn't actually matter whether an individual begins theist and ends up atheist or vise versa. Whatever position they hold at the moment is what shapes their life at that time. 

You could say that about any characteristic.   If a person loses their eyesight or inherits great wealth (or, worse, loses all their money), is diagnosed with cancer, loses a child in a tragic event, etc.  that will shape their lives.   

I am telling you that as a sample of one, atheism does not determine my life.   I understand that you believe your theism determines yours and I would believe that.   But not everyone operates like you;  you should recognize that.

If you don't wish to discuss the practical meaning of atheism, that's fine. You don't have to. 

I reject your 'practical meaning of atheism'.    It is simply your stereotype and I have stated the flaws I see in it.

t doesn't matter how a theist or atheist started out. It doesn't matter how they got to where they are now. It's irrelevant. What matters is what they believe today and how that belief shapes their worldview. It's that simple, TiG. It is not possible for it to be otherwise. 

The problem is that you deem atheism to be the dominant factor in the lives of atheists.   That is simply wrong.   I, for example, am a natural skeptic.   I would consider that a dominant factor.   Atheism is simply an emergent property.   Political independence is another emergent property of natural skepticism.   You keep insisting that atheism is dominant, I note you are wrong and explain why and you keep coming back with the same crap.   You are incorrect.  

Practical definitions of theism and atheism. It's that simple.   

Simply your stereotype.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.3.13  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.3.12    one week ago

Believe what you will, TiG. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.14  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3.13    one week ago

Facts, Drakk.   Here is what I believe:   I believe you seek to redefine atheism as materialism;  as you have attempted several times in the past.   You seek to diminish the intellectual considerations of atheism into nothing more than narrow-minded materialism.  You have here used 'practical atheism' as your handle to do so.   If you were to succeed you would then drop 'practical' and deem atheism to be materialism.

I always fight against redefining terms.   Words have definitions for a reason and the variations of usage semantics need to be carefully controlled lest we lose the ability to communicate.   Changing the meaning of individual words has dramatic effect on all material which uses those words. 

I suggest you reevaluate and understand that atheism is a byproduct of natural skepticism and information learned during one's life.   An individual who has realized that they are not convinced any god exists does not now use that conclusion as the foundation for how they think and behave.    It is a factor, but not the foundation.   The foundation, if anything, is their natural skepticism.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.3.15  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.3.14    one week ago
I always fight against redefining terms.

Ah, like "agnostic atheism"? That doesn't actually make sense. You're either one or the other. It makes about as much sense as an agnostic theist. 

Agnostic theism , agnostotheism or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism . An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a God or gods, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable . The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the God or gods that they believe in.

What a bunch of nonsense. They're describing deism, not theism. 

I suggest you reevaluate and understand that atheism is a byproduct of natural skepticism and information learned during one's life. 

Never suggested otherwise. You keep going on and on about skepticism as if it is relevant. Everyone, skeptic or not, arrives at their beliefs based on information learned during one's life. Skepticism isn't some special category so I don't understand why you think this is a point to be made. 

  An individual who has realized that they are not convinced any god exists does not now use that conclusion as the foundation for how they think and behave.

Really? I don't think you put much thought into that statement. How much thought do you think someone who reaches such a conclusion puts into wondering about the fate of their eternal soul? How much thought do you think they put into wondering what God thinks of what they've done with their life so far? How much time do you think they spend wondering if their morality is acceptable to God? How about what God wants from them?

Is it not the case that they don't actually concern themselves with such things? And since they don't, what, then, do they use as a foundation for how they think and behave? Do they not instead rely on their own perceived abilities with which to order their lives? 

You keep trying to make it out that I am claiming some list of "atheistic theology" atheists have to believe in order to be an atheist. That isn't the case at all, nor has anything I've said meant that. My point is and has been that atheism is more than simply a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods because that lack of belief informs how they live their life, how they think and behave, what they think is important and what isn't and a lot of other things. Just as a belief in God and that He wants something from us informs how believers live their lives and all the rest. 

It is a factor, but not the foundation.   The foundation, if anything, is their natural skepticism.

No, it isn't. I'm a skeptic, myself, yet I am a believer. Further, there are many examples of people who began as atheists (skeptics) who became believers. So skepticism doesn't explain it. It actually has more to do with what people want to be true rather than skepticism. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.3.16  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.3.15    one week ago
Ah, like "agnostic atheism"? That doesn't actually make sense. You're either one or the other. It makes about as much sense as an agnostic theist. 

That term is well-defined and described in multiple sources.   I did not define it or redefine it.   The terms also make perfect sense.   The point is to combine the concepts of belief and knowledge to give a more accurate distinction of belief and knowledge.   Hard to believe that you have never encountered these terms ... very hard to believe.  

What a bunch of nonsense. They're describing deism, not theism. 

There are plenty of agnostic theists.   Any Christian, for example, who believes in the Christian God but who recognizes that this God might not exist is an agnostic theist.  I just now described a theist, not a deist.

You keep going on and on about skepticism as if it is relevant.

Because it is.

Everyone, skeptic or not, arrives at their beliefs based on information learned during one's life. Skepticism isn't some special category so I don't understand why you think this is a point to be made. 

Natural skepticism is quite relevant when talking about atheism.   Why pretend you do not understand this?  

Really? I don't think you put much thought into that statement.

I am convinced that you have not put any thought into what I wrote.

How much thought do you think someone who reaches such a conclusion puts into wondering about the fate of their eternal soul? How much thought do you think they put into wondering what God thinks of what they've done with their life so far? How much time do you think they spend wondering if their morality is acceptable to God? How about what God wants from them?

You seem confused on foundation vs. factor.   I stated that recognizing that one is not convinced a god exists is a factor.   That means it is one of the many factors that are considered by the individual.    In contrast, natural skepticism is foundational.   Having already explained this I am not going to repeat myself.

Is it not the case that they don't actually concern themselves with such things? And since they don't, what, then, do they use as a foundation for how they think and behave? Do they not instead rely on their own perceived abilities with which to order their lives? 

See above:  factor vs. foundation.

You keep trying to make it out that I am claiming some list of "atheistic theology" atheists have to believe in order to be an atheist.

If you think that then you are not following my comments.   I am countering your attempts to paint atheists as narrow-minded materialists.

My point is and has been that atheism is more than simply a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods because that lack of belief informs how they live their life, how they think and behave, what they think is important and what isn't and a lot of other things. Just as a belief in God and that He wants something from us informs how believers live their lives and all the rest. 

And I have countered that.   You are incorrect.   To see why read my posts.   An atheist is an individual who is not convinced a god exists.   Of course not believing in a god will be a factor in one's life.   I have stated it is a factor.   It is simply not foundational.   Natural skepticism is foundational.   See my prior comments for the details.

No, it isn't. I'm a skeptic, myself, yet I am a believer.

Your skepticism seems to then break down in matters of religion.   Not uncommon.   It is one of those interesting aspects of the human mind.   Ultimately, though, being a believer essentially proves your lack of skepticism in this regard.   You have no evidence to support your beliefs yet you self-label a skeptic.    Certainly you see the problem with that.

Further, there are many examples of people who began as atheists (skeptics) who became believers. So skepticism doesn't explain it. It actually has more to do with what people want to be true rather than skepticism. 

Human beings are diverse so any combination likely occurs.   I suspect most of these 'atheists' who became believers were simply irreligious people who, due to some trauma or similar emotional event, turned to religion for comfort.    And I agree with your final statement ... it does have quite a bit to do with believing what one wants to be true.   The skeptic would tend to need evidence to believe in something;  it is the believer who is more inclined to accept a convenient or desirable truth simply because someone told them it is true.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4.3.17  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @4.3.8    6 days ago
You would go to the Bible to find the definition of the Christian God.    If one is being critical of said God, the Bible is going to be referenced for information about the character.

Good point!  jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4.4  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @4    one week ago
Atheism is not a moral core nor is it a club.   It is not a grift or a movement.   Atheism is the lack of belief in a god; an atheist is simply an individual who is not convinced any god exists

I've heard different definitions:

1. An Atheist is convinced . . . that God does not exist.

2. An Agnostic, OTOH, is not convinced either way..a true Agnostic is open to the possibility that God might indeed exist, but also open to the possibility that no God exists.

(Of course other people may have differing POVs).

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.1  TᵢG  replied to  Krishna @4.4    one week ago
An Atheist is convinced . . . that God does not exist.

That is a gnostic atheist.   Do you know any gnostic atheists?   I personally do not.   Every atheist I know accepts the possibility of a sentient creator.

An Agnostic, OTOH, is not convinced either way..a true Agnostic is open to the possibility that God might indeed exist, but also open to the possibility that no God exists.

Yes.   Almost every 'atheist' is an agnostic atheist.   While most theists are gnostic theists, I think that the agnostic theists will dominate Christianity soon (I do not expect this will happen with Islam).

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.4.2  Gordy327  replied to  Krishna @4.4    one week ago

Not quite. Atheists come in 2 varieties: Strong (gnostic) & weak (agnostic) atheists. Strong atheists will make the claim of certainty that God does not exist, just as strong theists make the claim of certainty that God does exist. Both positions are logically indefensible. However, there are probably relatively very few strong atheists, but plenty of strong theists. Most atheists are open to the possibility of a god if evidence for one was presented. But there is no such evidence forthcoming.

 
 
 
charger 383
PhD Quiet
4.4.3  charger 383  replied to  Gordy327 @4.4.2    one week ago

One of the things about religion I want to get away from is denominations

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.4.4  Gordy327  replied to  charger 383 @4.4.3    one week ago

I don't blame you.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.4.5  Drakkonis  replied to  charger 383 @4.4.3    one week ago

I tend to feel the same way. I think it detracts from what the focus should be, namely, Christ. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.6  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.5    one week ago

Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. disagree.   The vast majority of the world's religions disagree that the focus should be Christ.

Why are they wrong and you right?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.4.7  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.6    one week ago

Some might declare those other religions to be "false" (or with false god/s) while some think their particular religion/god is the "correct" one.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.4.8  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.6    one week ago
Why are they wrong and you right?

You wouldn't understand the answer. It has nothing to do with your intelligence. You would have to know God and belong to Him to understand. That only makes sense, really. We're talking about the ultimate possible being. The only way any of us could understand anything about Him is if He Himself explains it to us. Anticipating your obvious question, He speaks to us through the Bible, a book you manifestly don't understand because it contains God's words, which, again, no one can understand unless He explains it. 

And yes, I'm quite aware of how that sounds. I'm quite aware of how many cults use the same reasoning. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.9  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.8    one week ago
You wouldn't understand the answer.

Horrid deflection.   Clear indication that you have no answer.

You would have to know God and belong to Him to understand.

One must believe to believe.

The only way any of us could understand anything about Him is if He Himself explains it to us.

We agree on this.

Anticipating your obvious question, He speaks to us through the Bible, a book you manifestly don't understand because it contains God's words, which, again, no one can understand unless He explains it. 

And God explains it to people in contradictory ways.   You will never produce a cogent argument with this premise.   It relies on accepting the Bible as divine even though the book is demonstrably contradictory with all the evidence pointing to it being the product of ancient imaginations rather than the divine word of a perfect god.

Also, does God speak to believers through the Qur'an?   Through the Vedas?    Or does God purposely exclude 2/3 of the planet?   And what was God doing prior to the Bible?   He certainly was not speaking to people through the Bible when they were worshiping gods like Zeus.

And yes, I'm quite aware of how that sounds. I'm quite aware of how many cults use the same reasoning. 

That is good.   Why that does not give you pause is the interesting question.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.4.10  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.9    one week ago
That is good.   Why that does not give you pause is the interesting question.

Because I found God to be real and worthy of my devotion, obviously.  

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.4.11  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.9    one week ago
We agree on this.

You say this, but then say...

And God explains it to people in contradictory ways.   You will never produce a cogent argument with this premise.   It relies on accepting the Bible as divine even though the book is demonstrably contradictory with all the evidence pointing to it being the product of ancient imaginations rather than the divine word of a perfect god.

And this makes sense to you. You just agreed that the only way any of us could understand anything about Him is if He Himself explains it to us and then say this. If the Bible is God's word, would you not need God to explain what it means? Is it any wonder you think of it as you do? Does it ever cross your mind that maybe the reason you see the Bible the way you do is because you don't ask God to explain it? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.12  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.10    one week ago

But you are basing your definition of God on the Bible.     I can see how someone could believe in an abstract 'god' (by any name) but to buy the ancient sales pitch that the Bible is the divine word of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect, eternal, sentient creator of everything when said collection of books is known to be the work of ancient men over more than a thousand years and shown to include variations of stories from even more ancient traditions, subjected to substantial editing (why is part of God's word not included in the Bible?) and left with fundamental contradictions is rather remarkable.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.13  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.11    one week ago
You just agreed that the only way any of us could understand anything about Him is if He Himself explains it to us and then say this.

Yes.   God would have to impart information to us for us to understand His position.   We, as human beings, cannot impart information to ourselves by dreaming up stories or speculating on what God might be thinking.    The latter is apparently what has taken place (based on the evidence).

If the Bible is God's word, would you not need God to explain what it means?

First of all, the evidence suggests that the Bible is NOT the word of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect, eternal, sentient creator of everything.    But if the Bible were indeed the word of God then that would be a written form of God explaining Himself to us.   I would not think God needs to explain what God has written.   Seems to me God is smart enough to explain Himself in clear terms that everyone can understand and that His written words are no less potent than His oral words.

Is it any wonder you think of it as you do? Does it ever cross your mind that maybe the reason you see the Bible the way you do is because you don't ask God to explain it? 

Drakk, you are suggesting that I find a way to believe in God so that I can believe in God.   That is precisely the dynamic that takes place in cults — one suppresses critical thinking and merely accepts what other mere human beings claim as truth. 

No, I am not going to suppress my critical thinking and just accept what other human beings tell me.   And that is exactly what would take place.    Given your definition of God is that defined by the Bible, you have necessarily accepted the Bible as divine.   That means you believe, with all your heart, what ancient men have merely claimed sans any evidence.

My mind does not work that way.   I could believe anything, but belief is based on being convinced and I am not convinced simply because a human being makes a claim.   Especially when the claims have yet, after thousands of years, to have any supporting evidence in spite of billions of people motivated to deliver same.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Senior Guide
4.4.14  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.13    one week ago

It's so not what you describe here, but it's useless to tell you this. You don't know what your pride is costing you. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.4.15  Trout Giggles  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.14    one week ago

that sounds a bit like proselytizing because it seems like you're saying TiG is going to hell because his pride is keeping him from God

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.4.16  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.14    one week ago

Pride has nothing to do with it. It's about what is logical or rational.  TiG made that abundantly clear.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.17  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.14    one week ago

My comments on religion have never had anything whatsoever to do with pride.

Simply stated, I am not convinced a god exists.   When applied to Christianity, I am convinced that the Bible is merely a man-made work and the God character it defines cannot exist due to being defined as a contradiction.

A god (as in sentient creator of the universe) might exist, but it is definitely not the God character as defined by the Bible.

Instead of pride, I suggest you substitute logic because if anything I am inherently logical and skeptical.    If evidence ever emerges that persuades me to believe in a god I will have no problem whatsoever doing so.   I am not against the concept of a god;  I just see no reason (at all) to believe that one necessarily exists.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.18  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.14    one week ago
it's useless to tell you this

I make it a point to state my disagreement in context of what you write.   You make a claim and if I disagree (typically I do when we speak of God) I give you my reasons.   It is useless to try to convince me to believe in the Christian God by citing from the substantial collection of religious rhetoric that has been developed and tuned over the ages.   So if that is all you can offer then, yes, it is useless.   I doubt you will offer anything that I have not already considered at this point.

If you were to go outside of the typical religious rhetoric and offer solid reasons for why I should believe then I am quite open to hear it.   Telling me that I must open myself to God in order to believe in God is meaningless.   Explaining why I should reject the evidence that shows the Bible to be historical fiction rather than divine would be significant.  Explaining how anyone can know God's moral code would be valuable unless you make a vague claim like:  'the Holy Spirit clarifies this with a true believer'.  

Ultimately, it is useless to try to convince me to believe in the Christian God (any god actually) unless you offer facts that would persuade me that this god exists and (somehow) explain how the obvious work of ancient men is necessarily divine.   

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.4.19  Ozzwald  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.10    6 days ago
Because I found God to be real and worthy of my devotion, obviously.

Is god and the bible what you base your morality on?

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4.4.20  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.1    6 days ago
An Atheist   is   convinced . . . that God does   not   exist.

That is a gnostic atheist.   Do you know any gnostic atheists?   I personally do not.   Every atheist I know accepts the possibility of a sentient creator.

An Agnostic, OTOH, is  not convinced either way ..a true Agnostic is open to the possibility that God might indeed exist, but also open to the possibility that no God exists.

Yes.   Almost every 'atheist' is an agnostic atheist.   While most theists are gnostic theists, I think that the agnostic theists will dominate Christianity soon (I do not expect this will happen with Islam).

Hmmmm...

Well, I could be wrong....but reading your comments, my guess would be that you are an INTJ.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.4.21  Ozzwald  replied to  Krishna @4.4.20    6 days ago
An Atheist   is   convinced . . . that God does   not   exist.
That is a gnostic atheist.

I've also heard them called an anti-theist.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, the way I have heard it framed is:

  • Anti-theist = "Hey you, god doesn't exist:"
  • Atheist = "I don't believe god exists".
  • Agnostic = "I don't know if god does or doesn't exist".
  • Theist = "I believe in a god".
 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Participates
4.4.22  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Ozzwald @4.4.21    6 days ago

Gnostic Atheist: I am absolutely sure no God/Gods exist.

Agnostic Atheist: I don't believe God/Gods exists because I've seen no proof of one, but that doesn't rule out the possibility that God/Gods might exist.

Gnostic theist: I am absolutely sure God/Gods exists.

Agnostic theist: I believe in a God/Gods but I've no evidence to support that belief which means I can't rule out the possibility that no God/Gods exist.

I think an anti-theist would be an Gnostic Atheist who is actively trying to suppress others belief in God/Gods, and an anti-atheist would be a Gnostic Theist who was actively trying to suppress others belief that no God/Gods exist.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.4.23  Ozzwald  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.4.22    6 days ago

Thank you.  I've heard the terms before, but have never had them put into context.

So there is no just plain old "atheist" or "theist"?

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Participates
4.4.24  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Ozzwald @4.4.23    6 days ago
So there is no just plain old "atheist" or "theist"?

Not if you want to express the nuance that either term can truly reflect. I suppose they could be considered like the generic term "road".

Road: noun - a wide way leading from one place to another

It doesn't have the specifics that the words "highway" (a main road, especially one connecting major towns or cities.) or "interstate highway" (one of a system of expressways covering the 48 contiguous states) would denote.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.25  TᵢG  replied to  Krishna @4.4.20    6 days ago

Not interested in talking about my psychology.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.26  TᵢG  replied to  Ozzwald @4.4.21    6 days ago
Please correct me if I'm wrong, the way I have heard it framed is:
  • Anti-theist = "Hey you, god doesn't exist:"
  • Atheist = "I don't believe god exists".
  • Agnostic = "I don't know if god does or doesn't exist".
  • Theist = "I believe in a god".

I do not think this is a question of being right or wrong since these terms are overloaded.   But I happen to think that the clearest presentation which explains both knowledge and belief are these:

Gnostic vs. agnostic:   A gnostic is 100% confident that s/he is correct;  no possibility is allowed to be wrong.   An agnostic, in contrast, ranges from "nobody could possibly know ..." to "I do not know ...".    Thus an agnostic recognize that s/he might be wrong;  a very rational position.   The gnostic, in contrast, is entirely irrational because nobody is omniscient and one would need to be omniscient to by 100% correct on anything.

Theist vs atheist:   A theist believes a particular god(s) exists.   An atheist is not convinced any god(s) exists.

Combining these we have (and this is a very common combination):

  • Gnostic theist:  My god exists;  I could not possibly be wrong about this.
  • Gnostic atheist:  No god exists;  I could not possibly be wrong about this.
  • Agnostic theist:  I believe my god exists but I could be wrong.
  • Agnostic atheist:  I am not convinced any god exists, but I could be wrong.

Most every atheist is actually an agnostic atheist.  

Most theists are gnostic theists, but I strongly suspect that is moving and pretty soon most theists will actually be agnostic theists (at least in Judaism and Christianity;  Islam will likely remain almost entirely gnostic).

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.27  TᵢG  replied to  Ozzwald @4.4.23    6 days ago
So there is no just plain old "atheist" or "theist"?

One interesting note is that it seems that most everyone in the Judeo-Christian realm is agnostic ____.     That is simply stating a belief that most in this realm are rational human beings.   The gnostic position is irrational because it requires the holder to be omniscient.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.28  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @4.4.14    6 days ago

See @4.4.19

When this (and similar) questions are asked I can see why you refuse to answer them.

But it should cause you to privately consider why you do not answer and not presume that people just do not 'get it' because they have not 'given themselves to God'.  (This is rationalization, IMO.)

If God is the source of morality then how is it possible for human beings to operate per God's morality if same is not communicated to them?

Note that if you claim that only the most spiritual Christians receive this moral guidance can you explain why God has set things up so that the vast majority of people never hear his moral guidance?

On the other side, if God does have a moral code then why does He not simply communicate same?   The Bible ostensibly is the Word of God (but only for 25% of the planet) so that would have been a great place to lay out the moral code.   Why, instead, did 'God' produce a book that a relative few read and when they do, only the most studious/scholarly individuals on the planet are able to figure out the 'truth' (a claim)?

When one considers factors like this, is it not obvious to you why people would conclude that the Bible is not divine and that they no longer have a reason to believe in the god it defines?

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
5  Hal A. Lujah    one week ago

That’s it.  I’m going to start believing in an unbelievable religious ideology now. jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1  Gordy327  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @5    6 days ago
an unbelievable religious ideology

That pretty much describes most religions.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
6  Thrawn 31    one week ago

Eh, I never gave much of a shit about the views of any of those mentioned outside of religion. 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
6.1  Krishna  replied to  Thrawn 31 @6    6 days ago
Eh, I never gave much of a shit about the views of any of those mentioned outside of religion. 

Well, in that regard we differ!

I've never given a shit about the views of anyone either inside or outside of religion!!!

(I just pretend to care...because one of the most important things in my life is to avoid horrible experiences in life...one of the most important to me is to avoid getting a  "TICKET" on Social Media sites!

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
7  Krishna    6 days ago

Was comment # 6. 1 sarcasm..or not?

(Curious minds want to know  jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png )

 
 
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