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Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:24 PM

Dawkins Is Wrong. Religion Is Rational

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/dawkins-is-wrong-religion-is-rational_b_2358000.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

Mehdi Hasan
Political director of The Huffington Post UK
Posted: 24/12/2012 10:33

"You believe that Muhammad went to heaven on a winged horse?"” That was the question posed to me by none other than Richard Dawkins a few weeks ago, in front of a 400-strong audience at the Oxford Union. I was supposed to be interviewing him for al-Jazeera but the world’s best-known atheist decided to turn the tables on me.

So what did I do? I confessed. Yes, I believe in prophets and miracles. Oh, and I believe in God, too. Shame on me, eh? Faith, in the disdainful eyes of the atheist, is irredeemably irrational; to have faith, as Dawkins put it to me, is to have “"belief in something without evidence"”. This, however, is sheer nonsense. Are we seriously expected to believe that the likes of Descartes, Kierkegaard, Hegel, Rousseau, Leibniz and Locke were all unthinking or irrational idiots?

In trying to disparage “faith”, Dawkins and his allies constantly confuse “evidence” with “proof”; those of us who believe in God do so without proof but not without evidence. As the Oxford theologian (and biophysicist) Alister McGrath has observed: “"Our beliefs may be shown to be justifiable, without thereby demonstrating that they are proven.”"

The science bit

Those atheists who harangue us theists for our supposed lack of evidence should consider three things. First, it may be a tired cliché but it is nonetheless correct: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I can'’t prove God but you can’t disprove him. The only non-faith-based position is that of the agnostic.

more at link

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:31 PM

1. Still trying to figure out here how rationalists can have anything rational to say about something

that they have rationally decided does not "exist".

It's not even possible to say, TTE, "There is no support for the existence of God" because you still have to imagine something, then find no support for what you've imagined in order to say even that little tiny bit.

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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:39 PM

4. He makes this interesting point:

"The only non-faith-based position is that of the agnostic."

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:17 PM

13. Agnostics can be either theists or atheists at the same time as being agnostic

Agnosticism isn't a pure belief unto itself, it's often alloyed with other belief one way or another on the existence of a god or gods.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:20 PM

16. Totally disagree with you here, though I know many share your opinion.

I am a strong advocate for agnosticism as a stand alone position and not just a modifier.

IMHO, the stance that it can only be used as a modifier is an attempt to have people sign up for one team or the other and primarily used by anti-theists who wish to make the semantic argument that those that call themselves agnostic are really just cowardly atheists.

There are many who refer to themselves as neither atheist nor theist. For them, god is often just not an issue and they are content with saying that they just don't know.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:57 PM

32. I doubt you are claiming that no agnostic has an opinion on the existence of a god or gods

And how people refer to themselves doesn't really matter that much, the majority of Americans if asked will tell you they are "conservative" while often holding a set of opinions that are quite liberal. This is due to the deliberate demonification of the term liberal over the last thirty plus years.

The same happens with atheism, it takes a fairly strong personality to claim a label for yourself that is so roundly and obviously hated by so many, much easier on the psyche just to be an agnostic.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:03 PM

34. No, I am claiming that there are many agnostics who have no opinion on the

existence of a god or gods.

I think it may be similar to sexuality. Some people are straight, some people are GLBT, some people don't really identify as either and may consider themselves asexual.

I do agree that when you are in the minority group, it does take courage to stand up to your convictions and state clearly who you are, but that doesn't mean that people that don't do it are just cowardly. It may only mean that they don't really have a conviction.

And it is not necessarily easier on the psyche. There are always warriors among us who's psyches are most soothed by conflict or even by victimization.

So, again, I reject completely the argument that agnosticism is not a position on it's own.

I hope you are having a loving and peaceful day, fumesucker.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:27 PM

42. I got my Christmas visiting done over the weekend

http://www.democraticunderground.com/103611976

Right now I have a dog on my lap and another one draped over my shoulders.



Same to you dear..



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #42)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:40 PM

44. What a beautiful young girl! Is she your only grandchild?

I am in that stage with grown children and no grandchildren (yet). Not complaining mind you, but I do look forward to the time when there are children in my life again.

In the meantime, I am resisting the urge to replace them with dogs, lol.

We also did our Christmas earlier. A big one with all the kids on Thanksgiving and another with close parental units over the weekend.

Today we go to a friends for a kosher celebratory dinner.

I do love this time of year.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #44)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:10 PM

56. Two more but there were scheduling conflicts

The youngest.

http://sync.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=280x50833

The eldest with her dad.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=280x49450

Children add a different perspective, they are seeing things with fresh eyes that don't have all our preconceptions. By the time you get to grandkids you are usually pretty set in your ways and the fresh perspective can be even more jolting.

The one in the pictures looks sweet but is actually kind of an impish terror, honors student, favorite subject math and an accomplished tease who instinctively seems to know everyone's weak spots. We get along really well but I pity the poor bastard that has to compete with her.

I suppose it might be considered wrong of me to encourage her antisocial behavior.









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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #56)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:34 PM

62. OMG, she sounds just like me at her age..

I am sure that my husband would appreciate your pity, lol.

Encourage away, Fumesucker. I turned out ok, but I can be a handful!

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #42)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:22 PM

230. WOOT! I have a mini-dachshund daughter

named Sophie - a rescue. Had dachshunds all my life.

Those are some precious ones you got there

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Response to cbayer (Reply #34)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:01 PM

124. Speaking of LGBT

There was a very similar argument in the LGBT community a few years back about the "B." Bisexuals, according to some, were just cowardly gays or lesbians who didn't have the guts to come out. Fortunately, the more tolerant usage prevailed, and it's recognized that there really are people who can be attracted to either their own or the opposite sex, even that some fall squarely into a group that can be equally attracted to both. It's usually better to allow people to define themselves, rather than try to force one's own perceptions (or hopes) onto them.

And yes, there are people who desperately want to be martyrs. They're almost always disappointed.

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Response to okasha (Reply #124)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:51 PM

134. That is exactly how I recall it as well and still have a handful of friends who

take that position, though it has become much less common.

I totally agree with allowing people to define themselves. Nothing galls me quite as much in this group as when someone tells me what I am (and then usually demands that I defend it, lol).

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Response to cbayer (Reply #134)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:08 PM

143. I hear you.

Nothing galls me quite as much in this group as when someone tells me what I am (and then usually demands that I defend it, lol).


And usually these are people who demand the right to define themselves but deny it to others. I've lost track of how many posters have assumed I'm a Christian because I don't share their own hatred of Christianity.

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Response to okasha (Reply #143)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:13 PM

146. And I hear you, too.

The same assumptions are made of me. The premise seems to be that if I don't think like they do, I must be one of *them*, despite any evidence to support it.

Talk about irrational!

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:29 PM

19. That is not without the qualifiers of reason

and life experience.

If someone told me that the was a city named Alberta in Canada, I'd have to take it on faith that there is, as I've never been there. Now there are qualifiers as to whether belief in this 'Alberta' is rational - 1) I know someone who is from there and can describe it very well, 2) I can match those descriptions with photos and articles, from and about, said 'Alberta' in a large variety of credible sources that can be cross-referenced and are trustworthy. 3 ) If I wish, I can book a ticket and fly to the spot I can pin point on a map. and 4) I have been to many cities and the concept of there being yet another one called 'Alberta', in my life experience, doesn't seem too far fetched and is, in my mind, well within the realm of possibility.

Now if someone told me that there is a colony of pandas living on Saturn I would, again, have to take it on pure faith. However, this is where the above referenced qualifiers come in. As I've never been to Saturn or seen detailed pictures of the surface of Saturn that depict pandas I cannot say, without a doubt, that there are no pandas living on Saturn but, given everything I've learned and what I know about evolution, the solar System, astronomy, pandas, the atmosphere on Saturn and interplanetary travel (just from elementary school) and my (relatively limited, on a Galactic level) life experience I'd have to come to the conclusion that there are no pandas on Saturn.

If someone really expected me to believe there were pandas on Saturn, the amount of evidence they would have to produce would have to prove, beyond a doubt, that these pandas did exist.

That is the difference.

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Response to Shadowflash (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:37 PM

21. In terms of your first example, what you cite would render proof that Alberta exists.

How much does one need to say the something is within the realm of possibility? If a majority of the world's population tells you that they hold a personal beliefs which are similar (there is a god or gods) and many, many claim to have had personal experiences with that god, does that make it possible?

Again, the difference here is that the majority of the world's population is not going to tell you that there are pandas on saturn. If they did, I would say that it is well within the realm of possibility, whether you have the kind of evidence you require or not.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:41 PM

24. There were times when the majority of people thought

the world was flat and it revolved around the sun.

When it comes to facts, the number of people who don't believe in them is irrelevant. The proof is what counts.

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Response to Shadowflash (Reply #24)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:46 PM

27. There were times when scientists actually believed they had proven that the world

was flat and revolved around the sun.

This article is not about facts. No one has facts about the existence or non-existence of a god or gods.

This article is about whether belief is rational or irrational.

I think he makes an excellent case for it being rational.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:10 AM

87. All Hasan is saying is that there are no absolute atheists

Because although because, despite being the middle ground, agnostics are actually a class of the group "atheist". The position is nuanced but clear; in some lights even Dawkins can be classed as an agnostic, he admits he cannot be absolutely certain there is no God.

What can be said is that the interventionist god of the Abrahamic tradition does not exist because He does not intervene

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Response to intaglio (Reply #87)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:19 PM

95. I disagree and have run into absolute atheists, just as I have run into absolute theists.

Those that feel that they "know" with certainty what is and what isn't. They are the same, imo.

But I do agree that when pressed, most from either side will admit to a degree of agnosticism, and in those cases, agnostic becomes an adjective.

But I refuse to accept the concept, which appears to have come from Dawkins, that agnosticism is not a position in it's own right. Again, I maintain that he takes that position so he can conclude what you say - those that declare themselves agnostics are really just cowardly atheists (and therefore, on his team).

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Response to cbayer (Reply #95)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:37 PM

98. It's funny how you bash Dawkins yet mimic him.

By refusing to use the proper definition of agnosticism, you are creating your OWN "team" - excluding those vicious absolute atheists and theists that you claim exist so you have your perfect triangulation scenario. There you are in the sensible middle, where you can feel superior to everyone else.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #95)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:56 PM

103. You do realize that even Dawkins isn't an absolute atheist, as you define them. n/t

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #103)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:01 PM

104. I am aware that Dawkins has described himself as one step below an absolute atheist.

But I have met others that take it a step further up.

In fact, there was a poll in the A/A group here sometime in the past year where several members ranked themselves as absolutists.

They are fundamentalists, just like some religionists, imo.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #104)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:28 PM

114. The fact that you draw such a comparison is bigoted...

hence why I called you out on such, there is NO equivalence to fundamentalists of any religion, any comparison is inaccurate, bigoted, and spiteful.

Show me any prominent atheists who blamed religion for the school shootings in Newtown? Show me any prominent atheists who call for the death or subjugation of any people, show me evidence that they are just like religious fundamentalists, or shut the fuck up about it.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #114)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 07:44 PM

168. ^^^THIS^^^

Well done.


10 bucks says you don't get a response.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #114)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:34 PM

173. Well, what do you expect?

She wished death on Dawkins, because she doesn't like his attitude. Doesn't get much more bigoted or despicable than that.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #114)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:51 PM

176. "prominent atheists who call for the death or subjugation...evidence...religious fundamentalists...

 

Um, well? Back over the past century Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Chinese in Tibet, all of Eastern Europe, South Asia, etc. Yes, there is really no difference. Some do, some don't.

And I don't think it can be said that all religious fundamentalists call for death or subjugation.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #114)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:42 AM

182. Try Dawkins who wants us to think religion is the root of all evil and the cause of most wars.

 

As an atheist I am offended by that.

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #182)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:40 AM

188. Could you provide the exact quotes where Dawkins has said those things?

Thanks!

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Response to trotsky (Reply #188)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:02 PM

203. Here you go.

Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful!


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/11/afghanistan.terrorism2

You're welcome!

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Response to rug (Reply #203)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:32 AM

204. In other words

You searched the whole Internet, and confirmed that nowhere has Dawkins said "religion is the root of all evil" or "religion is the cause of most wars".

Thanks for proving that our little friend above was just pulling shit out of his ass, ruggie.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #204)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:20 AM

207. I'm exhausted. It took me all of five minutes.

I see you are ever the concrete literalist, scottie.

The shit coming out of the ass here is Dawkins'. If you want to wallow in it and defend it, be my guest.

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Response to rug (Reply #207)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:27 PM

211. Gee, since you were responding to a request for exact quotes

I guess it would be silly to expect you to provide exact quotes of Dawkins saying "religion is the root of all evil" or "religion is the cause of most wars". Or quotes using most of those words. Or quotes having a specific meaning remotely resembling those claims. But you couldn't provide any of those. You provided quotes showing that Dawkins thinks religious belief is not harmless, but can be very dangerous, since it can motivate people to do great evil, something not even the most brain-dead and brainwashed apologists on this board would disagree with (one hopes). Maybe in your little fantasy world, that's equivalent to saying that "religion is the root of all evil", but nowhere else.


And yes, we know you have a burr up your ass about Dawkins, ruggie...but he's more concerned with what all those little boys raped by Catholic priests had up theirs than you seem to be, so if that's being an asshole, I'll take that over you any day.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #211)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:49 PM

212. No, I was not responding to a request for exact quotes.

This was the statement:

Try Dawkins who wants us to think religion is the root of all evil and the cause of most wars.


And this was the support for that statement:

Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others.


Dawkins is notorious for these sentiments. They are indefensible unless of course someone, as trotsky did, tries to distract the issue by claiming those were not his "exact" words. Typical weaseling that I see you, unsurprisingly, are continuing.

And of course, no weaseling would be complete without an entirely irrelevant reference to priests raping boys. You are nothing if not tediously predictable. Frankly, I'd prefer a burr up my ass to searching for a shred of credence in your posts.

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Response to rug (Reply #212)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:47 PM

217. Uh, lie...big fat obvious lie

Your post 203 was in direct response to trotsky's post 188, which said:

Could you provide the exact quotes where Dawkins has said those things?. And you said "here you go"

Trotsky's request was for quotes to back up specific claims in post 182, not just some general statement that Dawkins doesn't like religion, so your whole argument is just more horseshit.

And dude, what you cited above WERE Dawkins exact words, except for the fact that you edited our the more uncomfortable parts. Trotsky never claimed they weren't, and everyone but you can see that.

Every time I think you can't get more lame, transparent and intellectually dishonest, you surpass yourself. Have fun in your fantasy world.



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Response to skepticscott (Reply #217)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:12 AM

218. Such bulllshit.

Dawkins an antireligious bigot. Your defense of it by parsing is pathetic.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #204)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:45 PM

236. For God's sake! He had a TV show called "The root of all evil" and the intention of that show was

 

to show just that!

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #236)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:25 PM

237. Minor correction.

"The Root of All Evil" was a TV series hosted by Lewis Black. "The Root of All Evil?" was a TV documentary hosted by Richard Dawkins. The punctuation mark is the difference between a declarative statement and conjecture.

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #237)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:31 PM

238. Oh! So you think the question mark was meant to suggest the answer "no!" I saw that show, did you?

 

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #238)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:34 PM

239. No, but I understand punctuation.

Are you claiming that the title was declarative the way it was worded?

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #239)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:38 PM

240. Let's put it this way: The clue about the show's content was in the title.

 

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #240)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 08:51 PM

241. Actually, I found it on YouTube and I'm watching it now.

I think I may have seen it before. Same old thing, mostly, only this time he's mostly arguing against the indoctrination of children. I just watched through the scene with the rabbi. As usual, Dawkins is polite and soft-spoken, but gets labeled as a fundamentalist for daring to question.

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #241)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:01 PM

242. As an atheist, I find him to be beneath contempt. But thanks for watching his show!

 

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #240)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:06 PM

243. BBC Channel 4 insisted on that title to create controversy

...a decision which Dawkins complained about, himself. He wanted to call the documentary The God Delusion, just like his book that was released the same year, but the one concession the producers were willing to make was the addition of the question mark to the title, in fact. Dawkins has even stated, "Religion is not the root of all evil, for no one thing is the root of all anything."

Edited to add: when the documentary was rebroadcast in 2010, the title was changed to Dawkins' choice, The God Delusion.

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Response to Rob H. (Reply #243)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:12 PM

244. You should know better than to confuse ranters like our friend here

with facts.

Do we suppose he'll respond, now that his whole argument has been blasted to smithereens (Not to mention that of the person HE was rushing to the defense of?). Don't hold your breath.

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Response to rug (Reply #203)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:06 AM

206. Am I just not seeing where the quote is in your post? Nowhere do I find it.

What gives?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #206)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:23 AM

208. I wonfer ehat he meant by this.

Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others.

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Response to rug (Reply #208)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:02 PM

209. That revealed faith is potentially very dangerous, its in the first sentence you quoted...

hell, even many religious people would agree with that comment.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #209)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:50 PM

213. So is intentional bigotry.

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Response to rug (Reply #213)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:51 PM

215. What bigotry? n/t

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Response to rug (Reply #208)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:05 PM

210. It seems self evident what he means, yet I'm not seeing where he said what you claim.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #210)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:51 PM

214. Oh it is, it is completely self-evident.

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Response to rug (Reply #214)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:00 PM

216. Great. Now where is the quote in the post you put up? I'm just not seeing it.

Help me out here. You provided an excerpt that you claimed contained the quote in question. Where is it?

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Response to rug (Reply #203)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:42 PM

235. Thanks for that. Sorry I am so late in replying!

 

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #182)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:47 PM

198. Evidence? n/t

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Response to Democratopia (Reply #182)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 07:00 AM

234. But he doesn't assert either of those things.

Would people please stop criticizing Dawkins based on bullshit he never said?

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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:45 PM

51. Decided? I don't think so.

Rationalists have not "decided" there are no supernatural entities. What they are saying, and what Dawkins said, is there is no evidence for the objective reality of such beings. Never has been. If the believers can't handle hearing this, the answer is simple: present some objective evidence for the reality of Jehovah, Zeus, Wotan, or any other magical being.

<crickets chirp>

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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:58 AM

205. So it's all in your imagination?

That's my view, but it's nice to hear a theist admit to it once in awhile.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:31 PM

2. Sure it is, if you believe irrational belief is rational.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:02 PM

8. Neither can exist without the negation of the other, so they both imply one another in that

negation, which is a rational axiom similar to what is known as non-Euclidian Geometry or like the types of phenomena that fall under the heading of "quantum".

If you mistake words for absolutes of somekind you might miss a lot of relationships in the phenomenal universe that are quite different from the limitations imposed upon them by the more or less arbitrary hypothetical constructions we refer to as "words".

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Response to patrice (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:52 PM

68. Belief in the supernatural is irrational.

Not sure what else to say about that.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:38 PM

3. "Those atheists who harangue us ..." A Richard Dawkins question is not a harangue.

 

The author of the HP article has not shown that he is a harangue-victim of Richard Dawkins or anyone else.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:40 PM

5. Lol! Haranguing is not such a bad thing and Dawkins is pretty darn good at it.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:04 PM

9. The strong can stand-to haranguing and possibly become more authentic as a result of it . . .

a GOOD thing, so harangue on, Mr. Dawkins.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:45 PM

6. That's why they refer to it as "faith."..n/t

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:48 PM

7. Do you think faith and rationality are mutually exclusive?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:31 PM

20. E = MC squared. Set in a decidedly other format, of course. Theoretical physics.

It was not rational in the given sense. Nor was it an act of faith in the given sense. Yet I think there's a perceptive correlation.

Einstein went beyond rationality to delve into a theoretical reflection on the given rationality. He was looking for an inclusive picture.

Faith, in this instance, was theory in a way. And clearly open to question. And Einstein's theory was embedded in an attempt to enhance our rational take on reality.

Kind of a convoluted post, but I think the bottom line I'm going for is - the big picture.

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Response to pinto (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:40 PM

23. Much as I loved my scientific education and training, physics was the one thing that

felt faith based to me.

I could gather the evidence I needed only for the simplest of concepts. Then I just had to take the leap that these guys really had tested and proved the concepts scientifically.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:35 PM

43. In the first place

you're making the same dishonest conflation of religious "faith" with other kinds of "faith" that re not irrational. And even if you weren't, the evidence for the validity of those discoveries and the understanding resulting from them was all around you, just as it is now. There was no "leap".

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Response to pinto (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:53 PM

54. Relativity was tested in the real world. Evidence that Einstein was correct can be observed.

Theoretical Physics can be immensly difficult to understand but to claim it is irrational is silly.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:46 PM

28. Not really. I've never given this much thought..n/t

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:07 PM

35. "Faith" in the religious sense, yes.

Why would a rational person take something on religious "faith" if they didn't have to?

"Faith" in other senses (which people like this author often try, dishonestly, to conflate with religious "faith"), not necessarily.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:50 PM

52. One can build a rational framework around fundamentally irrational beliefs.

But those core beliefs remain irrational. Faith is irrational, but a religious framework built around irrational beliefs can itself be rational.

Just don't look behind the curtain.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:05 PM

10. The philosophers cited all precede "Origin of Species..."

So they share in ignorance about evolution. If there is "evidence" for god, they didn't agree on what it was, as they had differing theologies. Which one got it right? Which one accounts for evolution?

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:11 PM

12. Apparently not, according to the author

"one of the earliest theories of natural selection was developed by the ninth-century Iraqi zoologist (and Islamic theologian) al-Jahiz, 1,000 years before Charles Darwin"”. And almost 500 years before the publication of On the Origin of Species, the acclaimed Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun wrote his Muqaddimah, in which he documented how “"the animal world then widens, its species become numerous . . . the higher stage of man is reached from the world of the monkeys...”"

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Response to cbayer (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:39 PM

22. Evolution is not a new idea. "Origin of Species...

...by Natural Selection" was though. It took things from a hypothesis to a rational system. Darwin leaves little for a supreme being to do with his system.

Other revelations through the years make it seem less likely that the universe has a purpose that fits into human scale.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:44 PM

26. Darwin struggled mightily with how his belief in god meshed with evolution.

It remains unclear where he stood at the very end, but my take is that he thought they were by no means incompatible, but he just hadn't gotten far enough to see how they meshed.

For many, scientific revelations over the years have led to more belief in purpose, but I agree that that purpose may not fit into a human scale or even a human realm of understanding.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:25 PM

41. I see it differently. He didn't have a god in his evolution theory.

That's why it worked so well.

That there was any recognizable god at all eluded him.

From his autobiography:
The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.
http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/Charles_Darwin_quotes.html

Remember that he was originally a theology student. It's also said that his wife had an influence on his statements and she was a believer.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:43 PM

45. Agree. There was no god in his theories, but there was god in his life at various points.

He had difficulty reconciling that and I think just left them separate and, in the end, said, "I just don't know".

Which worked out pretty well, imo.

I hope you are having a loving and wonderful day, imm.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #45)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:54 PM

46. Thanks for your kind wishes. It's always good when I talk to you!



--imm

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Response to cbayer (Reply #12)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:25 PM

112. Evolution is an Aristotlean idea, and in this quotation,

there is nothing of sexual selection nor of genetics nor of ADAPTATIONS to specific realities.
Does Ibn Kaldoun have any statistical data or dissection images to show?
The depiction of animal dissections in images doesn't seem very Islamic to me.

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Response to burnsei sensei (Reply #112)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:41 PM

117. Not surprisingly, early ideas on this were relatively primitive, but it

seems the ideas were there.

At any rate, many believers feel that evolution and their concept of god are not in the least incompatible.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #117)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:14 PM

125. Many Native American religions,

including those of the Lakota and several southwestern Nations, postulate something very like a theory of evolution. According to these origin stories, human beings ascended in stages through a series of (usually) four worlds, growing more human with each ascent toward the Earth Surface World. They also generally hold that there are "two-heart" beings who retain something of the non-human phases and can communicate better than most with non-human species and/or have particularly keen sight, hearing or other senses that fall outside the accepted human range.

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Response to okasha (Reply #125)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

129. Very cool and new information for me.

I think that often there is a long history that "predicts" the major scientific breakthroughs.

This one is particularly interesting.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #129)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:35 PM

149. Uh, no it doesn't

There is a lot of myth, fable, folktale, etc. out there that occasionally and by no more than accident or coincidence parallels or can be made by sufficient twisting to parallel later scientific breakthroughs.

Does the story of Ali Baba "predict" the development of voice-activated machinery? Does the Russian folk tale of the Flying Ship "predict" airplanes? Of course not.

THINK, for pity's sake. Just once, apply some critical thought instead of fawning through rosé-colored glasses to people who make you feel warm and fuzzy.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:06 PM

11. ?

Fine, a god that is indistinguishable from a non-existing god cannot be disproven, by definition.
Such a god is also irrelevant to the rest of the universe.
Even so, pretending that something is certainly true because it has not yet been entirely disproven is hardly rational.
As for the many philosophers you mentioned, all I can say is that intelligent people may be as desperate as anybody else to cling to their personal wishes and biases. Intelligence has nothing to do with it; intellectual honesty does.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:18 PM

14. 'I can'’t prove God but you can’t disprove him. '

this is by far the stupidest argument believers make. And to try to call it science is laughable. Sorry bubba , if you're pushing the idea that an omnipotent little old man is sitting up ion the clouds smiting some and blessing others you need to bring some evidence.

'The only non-faith-based position is that of the agnostic. ''

more bullshit.

I cant prove that giant purple and pink flying zebras didn't shot the universe out of their asses but I sure don't believe it.

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #14)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:29 PM

18. The difference between the giant purple and pink flying zebras is the number of people

who do hold the belief in a god or gods. If most of the people in the world say you have a tail, you might want to turn around and look. You may not see it and it might not even be there, but you probably want to take it into consideration.

FWIW, I don't think he is pushing the idea of the little old man at all. He simply states that he believes and makes absolutely no case that others should see it the way he does. He also doesn't call it science at all.

Hope you are having a peaceful and loving day, bowens43.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:04 PM

47. That one does or does not have a tail can be checked

The fact that many people believe in a God doesn't help, since I can think of very good reasons why people would believe that regardless of whether it's true. In the end, I think it's very unlikely that any one religion is true. There are infinite possible ways for a god or gods to be, and I see no objective evidence for one scenario vs. another. I also see no reason to believe in god given that there is something rather than nothing - it just pushes the question back a step, since one has to ask why is there a god rather than none.

Here's the deal: people believe in god to explain what they don't understand, and that boundary between what is naturally there vs. what's god's fault keeps getting pushed further back as we - people - learn stuff. That indicates to me that the belief is not one that is factual.

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Response to mindwalker_i (Reply #47)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:14 PM

49. I can also think of reasons why people might believe, even though they have no hard proof.

That something has not been proven does not necessarily decrease the possibility that something is there or true.

Perhaps it is exactly as you say - "There are infinite possible ways for a god or gods to be". I think your position that there is no god is as legitimate as those that say there is. You make a rational argument for the position your hold.

But I have also heard theologians and other believers make what I think is a rational argument.

In the end, neither side will likely win, so my position is to support those who believe or don't, and use those beliefs or lack of them to fight for causes I believe in. What they personally hold to be true makes little difference to me.


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Response to cbayer (Reply #49)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:51 PM

53. Nor to me either...

UNTIL...they want to teach their beliefs to my kids, or make me believe as they do. Which is the order of the day, still, in the USA. There is no evidence for supernatural entities. So why do their believers believe?

1. Mama and Daddy did and taught them to.
2. Their friends do and they want to be like their friends.
3. They feel lonely and afraid and want to be loved and watched.

Mind you none of this is bad. Necessarily. Unfortunately, when all too many people believe they have THE TRUTH, the next thing that occurs to them is that EVERYBODY MUST ACCEPT THIS TRUTH.

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Response to Rod Mollise (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:35 PM

64. Which is why it is important to keep religion out of public schools, except as an

academic exercise, imo.

I totally agree with your last sentence, as did our founding fathers, imo.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #49)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:01 PM

65. "That something has not been proven

does not necessarily decrease the possibility that something is there or true."

Arguments for there being a god usually go something like, "well, something had to create the universe, so therefore god must have done it." People say that we don't know what could have created the Earth, then when that was explained (with actual evidence), the argument shifted to where the universe came from. Now, we (the human race) doesn't know what happened to cause the big bang or what happened before it, so the argument is that god must have started it. Either that or god created all the evidence pointing to a big bang and a history of the universe (like dinosaur bones, light from far galaxies, etc.) to test our faith.

There is evidence of the big bang and the subsequent creation (or rather evolution of) all the stuff in the universe. It may be incomplete and not proven, but there is at least reason to to believe it. There is no evidence for god.

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Response to mindwalker_i (Reply #65)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:35 PM

150. Are they?

 

I'm not sure arguments for god (or some other equally silly word) usually fall into creationism and/or physics category. The question relates more meaningfully to ethics and life attitude and all that jazz of alternate states of mind etc. "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.", as Albert Einstein said. And at least subjectively the friendliness can be and often is proven.



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Response to mindwalker_i (Reply #47)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:16 PM

80. Now that is good

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Response to mindwalker_i (Reply #47)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:31 PM

81. You got it

Well put and simple enough for anyone to understand:

Here's the deal: people believe in god to explain what they don't understand, and that boundary between what is naturally there vs. what's god's fault keeps getting pushed further back as we - people - learn stuff. That indicates to me that the belief is not one that is factual.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #81)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:41 PM

151. No deal

 

There is much more to life beyond explaining.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:05 PM

69. *yawn* Argumentun ad Populum

Are you getting this from bible sites or what? Come on, cbayer, is the the best you can do?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:10 PM

78. That is simply ridiculous.

The number of people who "believe" something has no effect whatsoever on if that something is actually true.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #78)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:28 PM

97. Of course it does.

And the reason is does is because of perspective.

Truth can not be defined by an individual. It must be validated by others, unless one believes there is an ultimate authority.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #97)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:47 PM

100. Holy fucking shit, that's stupid, most people believed in astrology, and in the past....

people believed that the Earth was at the center of the universe, and that it was flat, none of them are true. Not to mention most people in the past were polytheists.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #100)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:52 PM

101. Holy fucking shit, you are really rude.

Right now I promise you that most people believe in things that will turn out not to be true, just as they have in the past.

The discussion here is what makes something more likely to be true.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #101)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:03 PM

106. But popularity doesn't make something more likely to be true, because it isn't evidence...

evidence is what makes something more likely to be true. Otherwise you are appealing to a rather obvious fallacy.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #106)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:10 PM

108. The problem when it comes to religion, as you know, is that there is no evidence

either proving or disproving the concept of god.

My point is that when comparisons are made to things like flying unicorns, there is a glaring difference in the numbers of people that believe in one and not the other.

It seems logical to me that the more people share a belief, the more likely it is that there may be some truth to it. But I honestly do not know if that is correct or not. Just working the probabilities.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #108)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:17 PM

111. Its still a fallacy, besides that, once you get beyond the general concept of theism...

then you get bad fragmentation in the various concepts of deities, so much so that even those within a faith don't worship, nor believe in, the same god. So much so that you couldn't label any of them as clear majorities, except maybe monotheism, and that's only been a majority belief, world wide, in the past 400 years or so, largely a result of colonialism and aggressive evangelism.

But I digress, the fact is that without evidence, you cannot claim that any concepts of deity, or the existence of any deities are more accurate because most people believe in them, because, again, there is no evidence.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #108)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:55 PM

138. Here:

http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/popular.html

You're being illogical. Learn something.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #138)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:58 PM

140. Thanks! What would I do without people like you around to learn me.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #97)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:54 PM

137. Your "argument" is the very definition of illogic.

In other words, "argumentum ad populum", which states that just because a large number of people believe something does not mean it is true. You really should read up on logical fallacies, because you're committing them all over the place here.

Which invalidates your original statement.

Truth is not "validated by others". Something is simply true or it isn't.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #137)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:00 PM

141. OMG, again I can't thank you enough for teaching me here.

I am so grateful when people put labels on my POV because they disagree with me.

There must be a name for that as well.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #141)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:10 PM

145. There is.

It's called "ignorance."

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Response to okasha (Reply #145)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:24 PM

148. It does generally indicate lack of a valid counter-argument, IMHO.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #141)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:46 PM

152. You mean kinda like you label certain atheists "fundamenalists" because they disagree with you?

Good thing you've got that hypocrisy thing going for ya.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 02:13 PM

119. By that logic, all the people told that they were inferior because of....

...their race, sex or religion should think about believing it. I'm sure you are up in arms against societies that tell women they are inferior, that education is wasted on them, that they should obey men, that they should cover up and be escorted every where, that if men rape them, they are at fault,dishonored, and should die. These are beliefs, honest, strong beliefs that certain cultures hold, and both men and women believe them to be true. SHOULD all these women take all this as true simply because so many people believe in them? Should all women have "Checked for that tail" because so many men claim that rape is their fault?

See, that's the problem with thinking "Maybe it's true" simply because enough people believe in it. Without seeing if it really is true, you may end up ruining your life simply because you trusted what others said was true...without considering the fact that maybe it isn't. Maybe this is what they want to be true. They want you to have a tail, to not be equal to them, human, worthy of certain rights. So they believe otherwise, and they would love to make you believe it too and save them the trouble of having to prove they're right--and likely failing to do so, thus taking away from themselves a belief they really, really want to have.

If it weren't for people NOT trusting what others believed, if it weren't for people looking at the evidence instead and saying, "That's not true no matter how many people WANT it to be true...." then Jim Crowe laws would still be in effect, women wouldn't be able to vote, own property or work at any but the lowest jobs, gays would be imprisoned, killed, lobotomized, etc.

So here's the question for you: Why do you bring up the fact that so many people believing in god proves something when if someone brought up that so many people believe women are inferior you would argue that this proves nothing? Why does belief in god get a pass when it comes to "many people believe, must be true" but other things, things you oppose like bigotry and inequality, don't get a pass when it comes to "a great many people believe"?

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #119)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 02:29 PM

120. I agree with much of what you say and support those that challenge widely held

beliefs. That is what leads to radical social change.

I am speaking only to the comparison of beliefs in something held by only a few to those held by the majority in terms of probability that something may be true. It would also speak to the need to address it, as you point out using the example of inequality of women.

I make no claim as to whether the number of people believing in god being any kind of proof at all. My argument is that it is much harder to dismiss belief in god or gods than it is in flying unicorns.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:18 PM

15. Interesting article, but I think the author makes some mistakes.

Second, there are plenty of things that cannot be scientifically tested or proven but that we believe to be true, reasonable, obvious even. Which of these four pretty uncontroversial statements is scientifically testable? 1) Your spouse loves you. 2) The Taj Mahal is beautiful. 3) There are conscious minds other than your own. 4) The Nazis were evil.


I think two and four are obviously false. Beauty and evil come from the observer, and not the thing or situation being observed. They're reactions to perceived stimuli.

Three is similar to the brain in the jar conundrum and raises the same philosophical questions, such as, is the mind different from the brain, and if so, can a brain then have multiple minds, and therefore, more than one consciousness?

Remember, the late Antony Flew, the atheist philosopher who embraced God in 2004, did so after coming to the conclusion that “there had to be "an intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical universe”". To pretend that Flew, of all people, arrived at such a belief blindly, without thinking it through, “without evidence”, is plain silly.


Like beauty and evil, complexity and simplicity comes from the observer, and not the thing or situation being observed. It's subjective. The thought, "I am having this subjective experience, therefore God is real," is not well thought out, in my opinion.

but because He (God) is the best answer to the question posed by Leibniz more than 300 years ago: “"Why is there something rather than nothing?”"


Statements like this one make me scratch my head because God is something. If everything has a beginning, as mentioned in the article, then God also has a beginning. In my opinion, the best answer to the question is "I'm not sure."

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:24 PM

17. Glad you liked it. It is a rather unique take that I haven't heard much.

I think the line between subjectivity and objectivity are not always that clear. One person's objective assessment of an event or finding may be seen as quite subjective by others.

But I wholeheartedly agree that "I'm not sure" is generally the best answer to most of these kinds of questions. It allows for thoughtful discussion.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:47 PM

153. Obejctivity is subjective

 

Objects exist as such only in subjective view; the two categories are codependent. World needs not to be and is not limited to that category pair.

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Response to tama (Reply #153)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:22 PM

170. I agree to some extent.

If a person jumps head first into the deep end of an empty swimming pool here on Earth, the person will get hurt because of the combination of objective truths about us and gravity here on Earth.

The nature of the injury will be subjective to the person who jumped (age, muscle mass, etc.) and the way he or she landed.



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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #170)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:45 AM

184. Shit happens

 

And though 'shit' is grammatical subject, it's not agent. And there's no object. But yeah, shit happens, even if one does not believe in metaphysics of subject, object and person.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:42 PM

25. Dawkins had another gem in that interview.

Hasan asked: "You believe that being bought up as a Catholic is worse than being abused by a priest?"

Dawkins replied: "There are shades of being abused by a priest, and I quoted an example of a woman in America who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car.

"At the same time a friend of hers, also seven, who was of a Protestant family, died, and she was told that because her friend was Protestant she had gone to Hell and will be roasting in Hell forever."

"She told me of those two abuses, she got over the physical abuse; it was yucky but she got over it.


http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Famed-atheist-professor-says-being-raised-Catholic-is-worse-than-child-abuse-184604441.html

Sex abuse is "yucky".

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Response to rug (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:50 PM

29. Merry Christmas, rug!

I hope you are having a loving and peaceful day and are surrounded by your loved ones.



And I hope Dawkins is going the way of his much beloved dinosaurs.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:53 PM

30. Same to you and your family!

Ham is cooking and everybody's playing with their toys, all except my wife. I gave her a scarf.

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Response to rug (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:11 PM

37. We are going to dinner at our Italian friends house. He is Jewish and we are having

kosher lamb. And he is an excellent cook.

Scarf? Jewelry or art, rug. Doesn't have to be big or expensive, just something that speaks of her.

We don't do presents, lol.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:24 PM

40. Nice loving and peaceful Xmas message

Wishing for the death of someone whose tone ruffles your feathers:

"And I hope Dawkins is going the way of his much beloved dinosaurs"

I'm sure we can expect more of the same "tolerance" from you in 2013.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #29)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:23 PM

195. Turning into a bird?

Well, the Brits have a species called "Dicky bird," so I suppose that would be appropriate. I think of Dawkins as more like a grackle--noisy, rude, opportunistic and fond of pooping in public places.

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Response to okasha (Reply #195)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:26 PM

197. Yeah, right...that's what she meant



Still waiting for you to address substance, instead of getting your knickers in a bunch over "tone" I'm sure you'd rather atheists and anti-theists would just STFU and be just as silent, meek and deferential to religionists as they've had to be for centuries.

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Response to okasha (Reply #195)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:09 PM

229. So do you support or condemn

Her wish for Richard Dawkins' death?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #29)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 09:52 PM

224. Ladies and gentlemen, Christian Love in all its glory!

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #224)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:01 PM

225. What the hell is wrong with you?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #225)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:06 PM

227. Please elaborate.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #227)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:33 AM

231. And once again, she runs and hides

A coward when confronted with her own hate and bigotry, even while she flings accusations of the same at everyone else in sight who doesn't kowtow to her and her trainer. Pathetic.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #224)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:07 PM

228. She doesn't even get it

She thinks that it's perfectly fine to wish for someone else's death as long as it's someone she disagrees with and whose "tone" she disapproves of. Those people are better off dead, as far as she's concerned.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:55 PM

31. There is an undeniable pattern in nature which

suggest intelligent design. I don't know if it was aliens or God or Allah or Yaweh or Buddha or some other supreme being who created us but I do believe there is some life form smater than us because we're the ignorant lowlife motherphuckers who allow nutjobs to buy assault weapons and shoot 6 and 7 years. Truly there has to be something out there better than us.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:13 PM

38. Then who designed

God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, or whichever of those you finally decide actually exists?

And what IS that pattern, and what are your objective criteria for deciding that something is "designed"? Determining that something's designed by your mystery designer by comparing it to something that you already know is designed doesn't fly, btw.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:57 PM

55. Which pattern is that?

Knees? Did this intelligent designer have only occasional interest in the end product?

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:06 PM

70. No, there is not.

Prove it.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:14 PM

79. No, it doesn't suggest design, intelligent or otherwise.

It suggests physics. There is order in the way that the elements align.

If nature really were a result of "intelligent design", the designer was incredibly stupid. Otherwise, we would have different intakes for air and food. The intersection of the esophogus and trachea is a very bad design that has resulted in millions of choking deaths. Why is the human brain not fully capable of reason until age 25, but the sex drive and ability to reproduce kicks in at age 13? Why is the vagina located in between the two exits for human waste? That causes infection that has resulted in deaths of infants.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #79)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:56 PM

154. Discipline of Physics

 

is most certainly intelligent design.

I would say world views of physics are part of universe, in their way also creative part, but not THE Nature as such. Which remains mystery, especially so to physicists.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:58 PM

33. Since when is it "haranguing" to question an assertion?

Most people of faith assert their beliefs as if they were based in fact. It is fair game to challenge such assertions.

If a person chooses to believe something in the absence of evidence, that's OK with me as long as they don't insist that others partake.

A good way to double-check this is to take the same scenario but instead of "heavenly God" substitute "witchcraft" or "voodoo".

If you find a belief in witchcraft to be bizarre but you don't have the same feelings about the more respectable non-evidence belief systems, then you are probably not being very intellectually honest.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #33)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:09 PM

36. Dawkins can harangue with the best of them.

He does much, much more than just question assertions, as any one who has ever heard him speak or debate well knows. It's not necessarily a bad word.

I totally agree with you about leaving people to their own beliefs as long as they don't impinge on others.

But I do not agree that giving more credence to belief systems held by massive numbers of people than to those where only a few believe is irrational or intellectually dishonest. Quite the opposite.


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Response to cbayer (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:24 PM

59. So you think truth is a function of how many people believe something?

I'm glad nobody told Da Vinci, Copernicus, Einstein, Curie, Lincoln, Turing, Galileo, Salk, or Ford.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #59)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:30 PM

60. No, I think that the possibility that something is true may be correlated with the

amount of people that believe it.

This, of course, does not apply to discoverers. It is their job to present the data or new information that people will eventually adopt.

All of the people you list got hold of what later what others accepted as truth. They also all had ideas that were not adopted because they were faulty.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #60)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:19 PM

67. The scientific method does not consider disproven hypotheses as "faulty"

But it does require evidence before anything can be considered any more than a hypothesis.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #60)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:09 PM

71. Thousands of years of indoctrinating people into that belief caused those numbers.

Millions of kids believe in Santa, too. Is there reason to think it may be true?

Come on, cbayer, this is weak sauce. You are better than this.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #71)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:16 PM

73. Sorry to say

No, she isn't. She has shown repeatedly that her thinking is deeply flawed and fundamentally uncritical.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #73)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:20 PM

74. I guess what bothers me the most is that it seems wilfull.

And that is irrational.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #74)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:30 PM

75. Religion is not necessarily irrational

Some people look at it as playing the odds. They look for a religion that allows them to carry on more-or-less as they would with or without the religion. But then they are covered in the event that the religion happens to be true and they get heavenly eternal life.

Most religions are built with such a marketing proposition in mind. Everybody is happy. Nobody gets hurt. And along the way, maybe they run a soup kitchen or two.

Playing those odds is perfectly rational. It is a rational exchange of one's intellectual honesty for the possibility of something better in the supernatural world. it isn't a deal I would make, but I certainly understand why others see that as good odds.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #75)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:49 PM

82. " Everybody is happy. Nobody gets hurt"



To believe that is irrational.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #82)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 10:06 PM

83. people don't get hurt by the theology.

If a person chooses to believe in fairy dust or anything else, that is OK with me as long as they don't insist that children be taught the "science" of fairy dust in school.

Obvious the children of the religious are denied an opportunity at intellectual development, but there are plenty of examples of kids that survived that and ended up being good critical thinkers.

The stuff that really hurts people is not really the dogma but the culture of abuse that can grow in such an insular environment. But there is rape, incest, and molestation in non-religious environments too.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #83)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 11:16 AM

93. "...But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steve Weinberg

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #93)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 11:45 AM

94. And religion provides a safe hideout for evil and sick people

In my experience, there isn't must quality control within your typical congregation. If I show up and put money in the plate, I'm in.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:21 PM

39. His appeal to "evidence" requires the question

"What evidence would convince you that no god exists"? Or, if you want to soften is a bit "What evidence would convince you that it is more likely than not that no god exists?"

If the answer is (as for many religious folk) "no evidence could ever convince me of that" or simply silence, if the person being asked is unable to provide specific examples, then their position that the evidence they have seen so far does convince them can hardly be considered rational, since in that case, any evidence, no matter how lame, would put them in the side of belief, never to be persuaded otherwise.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:10 PM

48. "A Flying Horse" is rational? A flying unicorn, maybe. But a horse? no way. nt

 

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #48)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 05:17 PM

50. How many people on this planet believe in flying horses or flying unicorns?



The basis of what we deem "rational" is all based on what others around us do and think. The more dissimilar one becomes, the more one is deemed to be irrational.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:11 PM

72. How many people on this planet were indoctrinated into flying horse belief?

Were there a global mechanism to tell children that flying horses were real, despite no evidence to support that, we would have billions of flying horse believer

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Response to cbayer (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 11:41 PM

84. "rational" should be based on "reality"

 

And flying horses and unicorns just don't make the cut.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #50)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:03 PM

178. I don't have an exact number, but the author of the article claims

to believe in flying horses, or at least one flying horse.

"You believe that Muhammad went to heaven on a winged horse?"” That was the question posed to me by none other than Richard Dawkins a few weeks ago, in front of a 400-strong audience at the Oxford Union. I was supposed to be interviewing him for al-Jazeera but the world’s best-known atheist decided to turn the tables on me.

So what did I do? I confessed. Yes, I believe in prophets and miracles.


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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:13 PM

57. Lots of room for discussion in this op...

The author is wrong IMO. Religion is no more rational than atheism meaning they are both irrational. Religion is inheriantly outdated and irrational; science is based on several irrational premises.

Science assumes that the universe is in fact rational. In fact, despite a body of scientifically observed and "proven" phenomena and volumes of theory the universe is not one iota more rationally explainable than it ever was. It is only an assumption that it's laws and theories are progress.

A belief in the rational universe insists the eminence of the mind as the supreme arbiter of observed phenomenon. Not a rational assumption.

It also assumes that everything can be scientifically learned or proven in some way while ignoring inconvenient truths.

In addition it assumes that everything can be sensed or considered. Also not a rational belief.

Science also irrationally takes life and consciousness itself for granted.

Finally it presupposes limits on the universe where limits are irrational.

I should note that I am not anti-science I just believe science is much more limited than it presupposes. I don't believe in the eminence of the mind and view attempts to elevate it beyond it's function to be egotistical.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:21 PM

58. Let's hear your definition of "rational"

Is it "rational" to assume the Parallel Postulate? And if not, does that make Euclidean geometry "irrational"

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:32 PM

61. He actually makes the case that both theism and atheism are based on faith and that

agnosticism is the closest to being rational.

Enjoyed your post very much.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #57)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:19 AM

89. Hard to take all this gobbledygook seriously

when you're incapable of even defining the term you beat like a dead horse.

You apparently like telling yourself things and just assuming they're true because they seem to make sense to you. Is that "rational"?

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:34 PM

63. No. It's irrational. It just has a rational explanation. /nt

 

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:04 PM

66. I love to see the crazed whiny flailing Dawkins elicits.

Involuntary humor.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:44 PM

76. Well, Medhi Hasan appears to be the idiot here.

Let's look at this little gem of irrationality
So what did I do? I confessed. Yes, I believe in prophets and miracles. Oh, and I believe in God, too. Shame on me, eh? Faith, in the disdainful eyes of the atheist, is irredeemably irrational; to have faith, as Dawkins put it to me, is to have “"belief in something without evidence"”. This, however, is sheer nonsense. Are we seriously expected to believe that the likes of Descartes, Kierkegaard, Hegel, Rousseau, Leibniz and Locke were all unthinking or irrational idiots?
Firstly no one said shame on Mr Hasan for believing in magic, that thought popped into being from Mr Hasan's own intellect. No one accused the line up of philosophers of being unthinking or irrational. The fact that nearly all the evidence available to these great men was of the truth of the Bible escapes Mr Hasan. Equally the nature of society and the entire education system advised them that there was evidence for a deity. What is more all of these men knew that denying a deity was a recipe for isolation, ridicule and possibly even prosecution.

Now this
In trying to disparage “faith”, Dawkins and his allies constantly confuse “evidence” with “proof”; those of us who believe in God do so without proof but not without evidence
H'mmm, Do you think Mr Hasan might be ignorant of Professor Dawkins extremely successful background in science where knowing the exactly what evidence is and how that evidence can be built into proof? Perhaps Mr Hasan is trying to sell some bill of goods.

Then comes the de rigeur quotation of McGrath "Our beliefs may be shown to be justifiable, without thereby demonstrating that they are proven.” The difficulty here is that justification is not evidence and attempting to put that meaning into McGrath's words is at the least deceptive and at worst an outright lie.

Now we come to the science bit, as Mr Hasan says; except what he chooses to place in this section has nothing to do with science. Mr Hasan of course uses Carl Sagan's "absence of evidence" quote (without attribution) and then states he, (Hasan) cannot prove God but we (atheists) cannot disprove him. Again here is the confusion between evidence and proof and ignorance of the fact that you can never prove a negative. Perhaps Mr Hasan could read "The Blind Watchmaker" where Dawkins states specifically that he cannot be certain there is no God.

Firstly, there is no evidence for God; none, zero, nada, zilch. For there to be a proof there has to be evidence but all that can be cited in favour of a deity is hearsay and that from sources that are often flagrant forgeries and/or compilations of older oral tales from a multitude of sources. Some of the content of these tales has been shown to be incontrovertably be untrue; examples include the supposed Abrahamic origin of the Jewish peoples (disproved by genetic studies) or Noah's flood (disproved by geology). Of course that does not mean there is no God, just that the sources for that particular type of God are lies.

Secondly you can show that the interventionist and vindictive God of the Old Testament does not exist because that God does not intervene. Commit the most vile and abhorrent blasphemies and God will not intervene, despite what is said in His holy books. What you are left with is a god that deliberately hides Himself or Herself. This hidden deity cannot be disproven but leaves no evidence of presence, not even indisputable miracles.

1:40 am and my Sigoth is saying I must come to bed. ... to be continued.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:09 PM

77. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

THAT is the only statement that is valid. You cannot in any way prove the existence of a God. Therefore belief is not rational.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:24 AM

85. Yet another clueless Huffpo article...

"In trying to disparage “faith”, Dawkins and his allies constantly confuse “evidence” with “proof”; those of us who believe in God do so without proof but not without evidence. "


I guarantee they do it without either, and that Dawkins is not the one confused about those terms. Primarily because there is no such thing as evidence for the existence of an all powerful supernatural entity. Merely entertaining the idea voids the concept of evidence. If you allow for the idea that there exists some magical superbeing that can bend the laws of the universe to its whims then you CAN NOT make any reliable observations that could be construed as evidence of such since you have no basis for determining if your observations are valid in the first place. The second you allow the supernatural to be entertained as a hypothesis everything goes right out the window. You think you saw God do something? Really? And you know it was God and not a witch casting a spell on you to make you see things HOW exactly? Or a merry prank by some trickster leprechaun? Or a million other equally (im)plausible magical explanations that cannot be ruled out because there exists no way to test them against each other to determine which it was?

There is no such thing as evidence in supernatural fantasy scenarios. There is just people deciding to believe what they want because they want to. Go ahead and call it "faith", that doesn't somehow make it noble and virtuous. It remains silly and irrational.

" First, it may be a tired cliché but it is nonetheless correct: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I can'’t prove God but you can’t disprove him."


You know, if you're going to quote a tired cliche you should know what it means. Yes, absence of evidence is indeed not evidence of absence. Butt he statement that we CAN NOT prove or disprove God raises a seperate point entirely. It is not that we don;t happen to possess evidence at the moment.. it is that evidence is UNATTAINABLE because the hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

Science rejects unfalsifiable hypotheses. For very good reason. So congratulations Mehdi Hasan, you just explained why the God hypothesis should be rejected while trying to argue in favor of it. Nice work.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:25 AM

86. I think I get the drift. At least in the western world, there were far more Jews than Christians

until at least the beginning of the the 4th century, so until then Judaism was true. Then, because of the influence of the Empire, Christianity became true and Judaism became false. If present population trends hold, Christianity will soon become false replaced by then to be true Islam.



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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:40 AM

88. No, religion is not rational.

It is the very definition of irrational.

Humans are ONLY able to survive through the application of our best rational problem solving to the world we exist in. We experience the world, the real world, through our senses, and then determine how best to proceed from there, with the goal being our survival. It is our REASON which tells us that moving cars crush us and that boiling water burns us. It is our reason which tells us that paint thinner is not a good substitute for mommy's milk, and that Tigers are best avoided. Our ability to survive as individuals, societies, and even a species is directly proportional to how well we percieve, understand, and react to the world we live in.

Religion requires that we dispense with this process. It tells us that the world is not as we percieve it and understand it. Worse, it demands obedience to the principle that the world and universe cannot be understood, and that even attempting to do so is a moral failure. Rational thought, the very thing which allows us to survive, becomes a crime. This is the true evil of religion.

Where our reason has brought us an understanding of the universe which stretches from the tiniest particles and all the way back to the edge of the beginnings of time itself, and even beyond. It has brought us medicines and airplanes and space telescopes and even the computer you are reading this on. Religion continues to contribute what it always has and no more: ignorance, guilt, and irrationality.

Fantasy and imagination are gifts when we label them as such. Some might one day be real, others exist already and forever in the imagination of the reader.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

or...

"The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home."

or....

"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter."

















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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:34 AM

90. Hasan's best argument just kicks the can down the road.

Hasan sums it up like this:
In short, most of us who believe in God do so not because we are irrational, incurious or immature but because He is the best answer to the question posed by Leibniz more than 300 years ago: “"Why is there something rather than nothing?”"


And earlier in the piece says it this way:
Take the Kalam cosmological argument – first outlined by the medieval Muslim theologian al-Ghazali, and nowadays formulated by the Christian philosopher William Lane Craig as follows:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Whether you agree with it or not, it is a valid deductive argument, a genuine appeal to reason and logic.


But the existence of God wouldn't satisfactorily answer that question because if God exists then God too had to come from something (or else the premise is mistaken). So then we either have to go with a "turtles all the way down" solution or admit we're stuck with the fact that something does seem to exist and we don't know how it came from nothing or whether the concept of there being nothing even makes any sense. So God has no real explanatory power for this question - even if we posit God we're still left with exactly the same unanswered question as we had before we did so.

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Response to eomer (Reply #90)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:29 PM

127. You are misunderstanding the Kalam cosmological argument.

Your post (and Hasan) states it as:

Take the Kalam cosmological argument – first outlined by the medieval Muslim theologian al-Ghazali, and nowadays formulated by the Christian philosopher William Lane Craig as follows:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Whether you agree with it or not, it is a valid deductive argument, a genuine appeal to reason and logic.


Then you state:

But the existence of God wouldn't satisfactorily answer that question because if God exists then God too had to come from something (or else the premise is mistaken). ...


But your claim does not follow from the argument.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #127)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:38 PM

130. How is the argument different for God than for the universe?

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.


1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) God began to exist.
3) Therefore, God has a cause.


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Response to eomer (Reply #130)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:47 PM

132. The critical point is whatever "begins to exist" has a cause.

The implication is that there is something that did not have a beginning - it always existed.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #132)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:28 PM

159. And which would you say already existed, and what's your basis? n/t

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Response to eomer (Reply #159)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 07:19 PM

165. I'm not saying anything already existed.

I'm merely pointing out that your claim about the argument is not a valid deduction.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #165)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:25 PM

171. So if God didn't always exist then it is something that began to exist and therefore has a cause.

What then is the cause for (the creator of) God?

Edit to add: God either did or didn't always exist. If God didn't always exist then the argument would say that something must have created God - another God! If God did always exist and therefore doesn't require a creator then why can't we say that the universe did also always exist and therefore doesn't require a creator. Why would God and the universe be any different under this argument? If God can be excused from the argument applying to it why can't the universe by the same reasoning?

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Response to eomer (Reply #171)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:56 PM

174. Read the argument.

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #174)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:53 AM

183. Did already, thanks. Going back to a post where you actually said something...

The critical point is whatever "begins to exist" has a cause.

The implication is that there is something that did not have a beginning - it always existed.


So what is it that always existed and thus did not have a beginning - why not the universe? If we're to choose between God and the universe being the thing that always existed why not choose the one that we at least know does exist - the universe? Isn't that an advantage over God? On what basis do we say that the universe didn't always exist?

What this argument actually demonstrates is that there is something beyond our comprehension. What would it mean to say that something always existed (whether God or the universe)? But on the other hand, what would it mean to say that there was a time when nothing existed, including time? What would it mean to say that space is infinite? But on the other hand, what would it mean to say that space is finite, that there's an end to it? These things are beyond our comprehension and likely to stay that way.

Adding God to the mix really does nothing more than give this problem a name, if we stick to what can be demonstrated. It's basically saying: there's something beyond our comprehension and we don't like that so let's create a concept of some entity, called God, that can do anything we want because we just made it up. So our created God doesn't have to either end or not end, neither of which seems possible in our experience of the real world, because our created God is so amorphous that it can be everywhere and nowhere at the same time and, voila, problem solved, comfort restored.

But the created God doesn't really solve anything - other than making some of us feel comforted. It has no real explanatory power because the only way it solves the problem is by saying that there must be some level that we can't comprehend at which the problem goes away - but that's what we would have said anyway before we created God.

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Response to eomer (Reply #183)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:57 AM

190. If you read the argument, why do you keep bringing up god?

The conclusion of the argument is that the universe has a cause. It never mentions god. Yes, the complete Kalam cosmological argument will go on to talk about god, but that's not part of the cited argument. Further, Hasan is not defending the argument. He is citing it as a rational argument used to defend a religious point of view:

Whether you agree with it or not, it is a valid deductive argument, a genuine appeal to reason and logic.


And, yes, it is a valid deductive argument.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #190)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:08 PM

192. Because it is part of the argument; why do you want to strip off the conclusion?

The argument is understood by Hasan (and traditionally) not just to show that there must be a cause for the universe but further that that necessary first cause must be God. Hasan cites it only because it is an argument for God; if it isn't then it has no place in his article about rational arguments for God.

But I don't agree that it's an argument for God at all, which is what I commented originally. It isn't an argument for God because it just assumes that which was to be proved. It assumes away the possibility that the first thing to exist was the universe itself. If there must be a first cause, why is God any better of an answer than the universe? Unless you can show that then you're not arguing rationally but just pretending to.

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Response to eomer (Reply #192)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:54 PM

194. It is not the conclusion of the given argument.

You claim:

The argument is understood by Hasan (and traditionally) not just to show that there must be a cause for the universe but further that that necessary first cause must be God.


The further is based upon further arguments. If you want to argue with the further arguments, then you need to address those arguments, which you have not done. For instance, in post #90, you claim:


But the existence of God wouldn't satisfactorily answer that question because if God exists then God too had to come from something (or else the premise is mistaken). So then we either have to go with a "turtles all the way down" solution or admit we're stuck with the fact that something does seem to exist and we don't know how it came from nothing or whether the concept of there being nothing even makes any sense. So God has no real explanatory power for this question - even if we posit God we're still left with exactly the same unanswered question as we had before we did so.


No, if you're trying to address the entire argument, it does not kick the can down the road. It explicitly addresses what the properties of a first cause must be. You're completely ignoring that.

Arguments of this type were, to my satisfaction, addressed by Kant over 200 years ago. However, that does not invalidate the claim by Hasan that it is a valid deductive argument.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #194)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:22 PM

200. I think we agree, actually, to a point.

KCA depends on the premise that the universe is finite (begins). That premise is not so different than what was to be proved. So KCA by itself just kicks the can down the road. It requires additional arguments that aren't provided within KCA as typically stated. And yet some people have proffered it, without augmenting it, as proof that God exists. That's what Hasan did and it is proper to call him out for it.

The attempts to fill the holes of KCA are various and so it's up to Hasan (or you if claim it can be fixed) to choose the addition(s) that you say will perfect it.

My position is that it can't be fixed - that it is inherently impossible to prove either that God exists or that the universe is finite. But if you think you can then offer it up.

What you and Hasan shouldn't be allowed to get away with is to claim that some proof exists without being challenged to produce it. Both of you have attempted to pull a fast one - to give the impression it's been proved without specifying just how. It's not up to the person refuting to perfect your argument or guess what crucial fixes you think would fill the holes.

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Response to eomer (Reply #200)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:50 AM

219. Just noting

 

Premise of finite universe does not necessarily imply linear time and causality and hence "immovable mover", universe can be finite also starting from other notions and premises about time and causality. And as mathematical concepts, finity and infinity have many aspects and complexities not even limited to Cantorian infinities. In many ways world views of modern physics seem to describe universe not as either-or but the border zone between finity and infinity.

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Response to eomer (Reply #192)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:19 PM

199. You need to understand this about Mr. Jim________

He's a non-believer himself, but thinks that religion is necessary to keep the majority of people under control. A very cynical and arrogant viewpoint to be sure - but rather than just come out and admit that, he argues with atheists who are pointing out the flaws in theistic reasoning. Presumably because he doesn't want the (in his view) simpleton believers to get discouraged and give up their beliefs.

So with regards to your last sentence right there, it's the latter. He defends theistic positions because he has such a negative view of his fellow humans that he believes religion is necessary to keep them under control.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:22 AM

91. HuffPo apparently has an ample and continuing supply...

...of writers who can recycle the same tired, sophomoric arguments into feel-good pieces about religious belief.

So, believing Mohammed went to heaven on a winged horse is a rational belief? Really? Simply because I can't absolutely prove it didn't happen, belief in such a childish tale becomes "rational"?

I could go point by point through the blazing idiocy of this article, but others have already covered much of that ground, so I'll just take the time to gasp and laugh.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #91)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:25 PM

96. Just FTR, this is no lightweight writer.

He is the Political director of The Huffington Post UK.

And, IMHO, Huffington Post has one of the best religion sections out there.

It's not a feel-good piece, but a substantial retaliation of Dawkins dogma, which might be described as the same tired, sophomoric arguments recycled into feel-good pieces about lack of religious belief.

I guess it all depends on your perspective.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #96)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:47 PM

133. You have to be joking...

I spend a considerable amount of time over at the HuffPo religion section but it certainly isn't for the quality of writing, which with a few exceptions is horrendous. It's just to engage in the comment thread discussions. And I'm unsure what particular gravity I'm supposed to assign someone's opinions on issues of religion just because they're a political editor for a news website... you appear to think that was significant, I cannot for the life of me think of why that might be though.

They treat Deepak Chopra as a valued contributor to the section... he who thinks "quantum" is practically a magic word. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about their standards I don't know what to do for you.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #133)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:54 PM

136. Agree with you on Deepak Chopra, that is for sure.

There are few sites that have good stories on religion. The only one I like better is Religious Dispatches, but they don't publish very much.

I can't think of another site than Huffpo that is doing as good a job with religion in a general sense.

Do you know of any?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #96)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:03 PM

169. He may not be a lightweight writer...

...but he's acting like a lightweight thinker.

"You can't prove I'm wrong" has always been a weak argument. I'm still resisting going point by point over stuff that's already been covered by other posters because if you can't seen how a weak argument like "You can't prove I'm wrong" doesn't work well for making "Mohammed rode to heaven on a winged horse" a rational assertion, then why even bother coming up with my own take on all of the other weak points in the OP article?

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:55 AM

92. Mehdi Hasan, meet Russell's Teapot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

Amazing how nonbelievers who lived a century (or longer) ago put forth ideas that STILL demolish theistic arguments. I suppose it's because the theists are still trying to push the same garbage that they were 2000+ years ago. There's only so much lipstick you can put on that pig!

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Response to trotsky (Reply #92)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 07:33 AM

220. "put forth ideas that STILL demolish theistic arguments." If you are referring

 

to Russell's Teapot, that argument never demolished anything. It merely exposed the limitations and purposefully narrow-minded, very structured, nature of atheistic reasoning.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:43 PM

99. Do any theists even bother listening to atheists, most of us(including Dawkins) are agnostic!

Jesus fucking Christ nailed to two popsicle sticks, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Oh, and where the fuck is the evidence for your god?

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #99)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:55 PM

102. Jesus fucking Christ nailed to two popsicle sticks? Could you be any more rude?

I have never made a claim for a god and have no evidence to offer you.

Now, if you wish to continue have discussions with me, I am going to ask that you bring it down a few notches and engage with me civilly.

If that's not possible, then I will say good bye now.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #102)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:01 PM

105. So you concede that faith is belief without evidence?

Also, don't ask for civility when you return none of your own, especially in regards to bashing atheists and assuming beliefs about them that are condescending, rude, and personal attacks on us.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #105)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:07 PM

107. Yes I would define faith as belief without absolute evidence.

I do not bash atheists. I maintain civility, strongly support both theists and atheists who I feel are working from their perspectives to promote civil liberties and social social justice, and would challenge you to prove otherwise (or perhaps you are working on faith - believing me to be something without any evidence).

Criticizing Dawkins is not uncivil and in no way a personal attack on anyone.

So I am asking for civility. If you find me to be condescending and rude, then I suggest that we not engage.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #107)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:12 PM

109. But you don't criticize Dawkins, you(and the authors you link to) erect straw versions of him to...

knock down, even using such deplorable tactics as quote mining to get your bigoted points across.

Also, remove the word "absolute" there is no such thing as "absolute evidence" you are trying to redefine faith to encompass ALL human inquiry, and that is insulting to those who do true inquiries into the nature of us and the universe.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #109)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:13 PM

110. We are done. I am not a bigot.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #110)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 02:35 PM

121. H_A didn't call you a bigot.

They said you were making bigoted points. Which you are. You are repeating religious bigtory without seeing it for what it is.

I know this is just your evastion tactic so you don't have to address the bigotry of the arguments you are using, but I think it's good to make sure this is pointed out to others.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #109)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 07:41 AM

221. "there is no such thing as "absolute evidence" you are trying to redefine..." - It

 

appears that you are the one trying to redefine here. So are you claiming that all evidence is objective evidence?

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Response to humblebum (Reply #221)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 05:13 AM

222. I'm saying that using the word "absolute" as an adjective usable with the word...

evidence is either redundant or indefinable. Evidence has various graduations of confidence attached to it, particularly in science, none of which would "absolute" fit in as a useful descriptor.

As far as whether all evidence is objective, I guess I would answer yes, because I make distinctions between evidence and experience, for while experiences can be signs of evidence for something, that is only true if more than one person can observe the effects of it, hence making it objective.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #222)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 07:09 AM

223. It seems to be a matter of wording to you then. I believe that by the phrase "absolute evidence"

 

was meant as "objective" evidence as opposed to "subjective" evidence, which is also recognized. Certainly not all evidence is clear and definitive, even though it is observed or experienced.

If it is able to be interpreted in more than one way, then it is not objective but nonetheless constitutes evidence, which would be considered subjective.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #223)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:45 PM

232. Subjective "evidence" can only be observed by the individual who observes it...

by definition I wouldn't call this evidence, but experience, as in personal experience, and it should always be taken with a huge grain of salt by others until they observe whatever the first person observed, and are able to test it, then it graduates to become evidence, which is, in itself, objective.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #232)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:11 PM

233. Yes, that is why it is called "subjective" evidence. And yes it is experience also, or observation,

 

but the evidence need not be restricted to just a single person. A hundred people could witness an event considered impossible by most and no one other than the witnesses would believe in that the event happened. In that case, the evidence is subjective to the witnesses, not objective simply because it is not accepted by most others

And subjective evidence isn't always an event seen or experienced by someone. Circumstantial evidence used in a court case is subjective evidence, and is often the only evidence in existence. And at times evidence is subjective because what it is evidence of is not always able to be determined.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:28 PM

113. Thread title is wrong.

The thing that defines religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence or proof. Believing something is true without evidence or proof is by definition irrational. I have seen just about all the arguments here in one thread. Appeal to authority, appeal to popularity, circular logic, and personal attacks, my very favorite forms of logic, not.

I don't care if someone believes pink pegacorns fly around the moon. But, when they argue that their belief is rational I can't take that seriously. And when they argue that they have special privileges because of their belief then I think they need to be taken down a peg. And when people use their belief as a weapon against other people they need to be put in the naughty corner.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #113)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:30 PM

115. I must ask, what is a pegacorn, because it sounds awesomer than a unicorn. n/t

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #115)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:03 AM

180. Pegasus + Unicorn

They are pretty rare as wings are a recessive trait. But, one in four offspring of Pegasus and a Unicorn produces a Pegacorn.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #113)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:39 PM

116. How about believing there is no god or gods without any evidence?

If I am a physician and I tell you that you do not have cancer, I will be able to show you some evidence that that is the case.


I agree with you about the demands for special privileges and using beliefs as a weapon to harm others, but that can come from both believers and non-believers.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #116)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 02:38 PM

122. Are you really comparing proof that there is no god with proof that there is no cancer?

A doctor can prove you don't have cancer because he has proof of what having cancer looks like--and what it does and how it progresses and what the telltale markers of it are like lumps and tumors, etc. More simply put, I can look at your face and say, "you don't have a wart" because I know what a wart on the face looks like, and yours doesn't have one.

Which means you MUST have proof of what god--a god any god--looks like or is like in order to prove there isn't one. Which means, once again, the burden of proof is on you. First prove there is a god, and then you can take us to task for not believing in the evidence. Rather like climate change deniers are taken to task for not believing in the evidence.

Otherwise, the argument you present is more like going to a doctor who says, "Congratulations, you are free and clear of that curse you were under." Would you pay that doctor a thousand dollars for that diagnosis? If not, why not? You can't prove you weren't under a curse, can you?

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #122)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 02:46 PM

123. Exactly my point. There is no way to compare scientific facts with religious beliefs.

Taking the unequivocal position that there is or is not a god are similar and neither is technically rational (or they are equally rational).

Climate change deniers can be seen as not rational in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. God believers on the other hand have no evidence that what they believe is false.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #123)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:22 PM

126. Wow, consistency just isn't one of your strong points.

"There is no way to compare scientific facts with religious beliefs."

Yet that's just what you tried to do with your doctor/cancer analogy.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #116)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:51 PM

135. Unfalsifiable hypotheses are rejected as lacking any utility.

"God exists" is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. It is not rejected simply because there is a lack of evidence in favor of it, it is rejected because evidence in favor or against it is IMPOSSIBLE and thus even considering the question is a monumental waste of time and energy that accomplishes nothing.

Hypothesizing that God exists provides no testable explanations of any observable phenomena, it confers no understanding of anything, it grants no knowledge... it does NOTHING. It thus belongs on the trash heap of ideas.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #135)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:57 PM

139. Agree. God(s) are not testable hypothesis and probably never will be.

That is why it is not rational to take a hard stand on either side. To state unequivocally that god exists or does not exist requires faith that you are right in this matter or that your experiences are valid, despite any evidence to support that.

But for you to say that some people's belief in a god or gods confers no understanding, imparts no knowledge and belongs on the trash heap is, well, simply anti-theism and a position unto itself.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #139)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:05 PM

142. No.

" To state unequivocally that god exists or does not exist"

Atheism is the rejection of the claim. That is all. You have had this explained to you over and over and over.

"But for you to say that some people's belief in a god or gods confers no understanding, imparts no knowledge and belongs on the trash heap is, well, simply anti-theism and a position unto itself."

No, it is the unavoidable consequence of the idea being unfalsifiable. It CAN'T confer knowledge. It CAN'T impart understanding. If you cannot know if a statement is right or wrong then it hasn't told you a damn thing by definition. It is not an explanation, it is a claim. Saying "God did it" has as much explanatory power as saying "Flubberdygubbit did it". It is simply another way of saying "I dunno... so, ummm, magic happened". And then pretending that is somehow an explanation.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #142)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:18 PM

147. It may have been *explained* to me, but I continue to disagree.

For some atheism is what you describe. For others, it is an active rejection of a belief and of those that hold those beliefs. At that point, it becomes something more. Perhaps a modifier or other word it needed to describe it, but anti-theism is the closest I have found. Some atheists are anti-theists, just as some theists are anti-atheist.

To reject the notion that religion and religious beliefs have not conferred knowledge or impart understanding is what seems irrational to me. Many things, including music, art, social justice and even scientific discovery have been driven by the religious and their beliefs. I don't have to believe in a god or gods to understand that others do and that that has sometimes been a very good thing.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #147)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:12 PM

156. For cripes sake...

"For some atheism is what you describe."

No, for all. Every single last one. There is no such thing as an atheist who does not fall under the category I just listed because that's what atheism freaking IS.

" For others, it is an active rejection of a belief "

So what?

For theists it is the belief in the existence of a deity. That is theism. Some of them believe in some undefined nebulous something... some believe in a very specific super being father figure in the sky... I don't care. they;re still theists. If they want to add specifiers to enumerate what kind of theists they are they can go right ahead.

Same goes for atheism. Atheism IS WHAT IT IS. Not believing a deity exists. The end.


"To reject the notion that religion and religious beliefs have not conferred knowledge or impart understanding is what seems irrational to me. "

Then name one single iota of knowledge that has been conferred by religion. Not some bit of common sense folk wisdom that religion misappropriated. Not some platitude like "you should be nice and then other people will be nice to you" ... which is like saying we need religion to tell us water is wet or the sky is blue... actual knowledge that CAME FROM religion. One bit of it. I'll wait.

Knowledge religion generated. Lay it on me.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #156)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:29 PM

160. I defend religionists, but I don't offer factual support for specific religious beliefs.

Could not be less interested in doing so and will leave that to the religionists.

I also think people should be able to define themselves. You have a definition that makes sense to you. I disagree that that is the only definition available.

If your goal is to dismiss religion, so be it. Makes not a bit of difference. It's still going to be there and individuals can choose to work within that framework.... or not.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #160)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:36 PM

161. Didn't ask you to.

You said you found it irrational to say that unfalsifiable religious hypotheses do not convey knowledge. Religion has been around for *thousands of years of recorded human history*.

Name one piece of actual knowledge ANY religion has generated through making any unfalsifiable claim in that ENTIRE time. One.

If you can't, I recommend taking a little time by yourself to re-think your worldview.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #161)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:44 PM

162. I consider great art, great music, great literature, philosophical inquiry,

all to impart knowledge. I believe science has been driven at times by religious inquiry.

Don't worry your pretty little head about me re-thinking my worldview. It's just fine, thanks!

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Response to cbayer (Reply #162)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:53 PM

163. Fascinating, now if you don't mind...

NAME ONE OF THOSE ITEMS OF KNOWLEDGE that resulted from an unfalsifiable religious claim.


You appear to be doing everything you can to dance around an incredibly simple request. Almost as if you know you can't answer it.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #163)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:56 PM

164. My goodness. Settle down.

We simply disagree. It's not a simple request because my hunch is there is absolutely nothing I could give you that would satisfy you.

I don't have to answer it. It's a gotcha question, which I am sure you know.

Perhaps there are others that will play, but I won't.

See you around the campfire.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #164)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 07:29 PM

166. People who interact dishonestly irritate me.

"It's not a simple request because my hunch is there is absolutely nothing I could give you that would satisfy you. "

In other words, you have nothing.

"It's a gotcha question, which I am sure you know. "

Of course it's a gotcha question. Religion has NEVER produced ANY knowledge in the entirety of human history through making unfalsifiable claims so it's impossible to answer. Which is why you aren't answering it and why I knew you wouldn't.

So, care to retract your claim that my statement was irrational? Or were you just going to run away and keep pretending that you could answer but the problem is all on my side so you're just "not playing"?

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #166)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 07:40 PM

167. People that are argumentative irritate me.

You already have all the answers. Words like NEVER and ANY and *I knew* irritate me. Demands that I retract my POV irritate me.

And bullies really, really irritate me.

See ya.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #167)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 11:16 PM

179. Run along... don't trip over that tail between your legs.-eom

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #179)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:19 AM

186. I'm glad that you got to see for yourself the total dishonesty and denial...

Take particular note at the end of the conversation where you had her cornered with her own words, she resorted to personal attacks and nonsensical postings before running away. My favorite is the "it's a gotcha question so I'm not answering." That one runs in the family.

If we really were around a campfire, having these conversations face to face, she, and the many others that post this same nonsense, would ever spew the blather they do. It is dishonest and despicable. But mostly because it would be embarrassing.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #186)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:36 AM

191. Oh I've seen it before.

It's still stunning though, I cannot for the life of me figure out what they get out of pulling this act. They obviously knew they couldn't think of a single bit of knowledge religion has ever generated, you would think that the revelation that you can't think of one single damn piece of knowledge generated by religion in like five *thousand* years would make someone stop and think... but no. Full on evasion and denial mode to avoid dealing with it.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #167)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:42 AM

189. Was the name-calling really necessary? n/t

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #166)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 08:33 PM

172. Not worth wasting your time on

This thread has shown better than any other that our friend is so totally entrenched in her worldview that she's incapable of seeing outside it, incapable of thinking critically, and incapable of interacting honestly and seriously with anyone except her kennel of lapdogs.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #172)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:24 AM

187. It never ceases to amaze me. The pure hypocrisy and wilfull ignorance displayed is stupefying.

You could see the tactic coming about two or three posts in, where she realized she had already painted herself into a corner and was struggling to find a way out. As usual, she resorted to personal attacks and the trademarked "gotcha question" gambit.


Lapdogs.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #116)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:18 PM

157. Is it rational to be absolutely, 100% certain

that there is no real Santa Claus, despite extensive evidence to the contrary, and despite the fact that you can't "prove" that there is no one who flys around in a magic sleigh and leaves toys in millions of homes on Xmas Eve?

Or would you regard an adult human who still thinks there is a real possibility for the existence of such a being as having something wrong with them?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #116)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:08 AM

181. You don't need evidence for things that don't exist.

Millions of children perhaps billions, believe a man in a red suit delivers them Xmas presents every year. They believe it because their parents tell them that this is so. At around 8 or some as early as 5 if they are precocious stop believing in Santa Clause. Many of these children however also believe in God. Because their parents say that he it is so, that there was a creator that they worship.

I believe in multiple universes, but I am not going to claim special privileges for my believe or a tax free status for some church. I claim no knowledge of a creator nor do I assert that there isn't or never was one. But, if someone says there is, they need to show proof, not just some idea they got that has been handed down for generations without question.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 02:04 PM

118. By all accounts, religion is not rational.

It is true that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence, however believing in something without evidence either for or against is not rational, it is pure speculation. The term rational is defined by reasoning based on known facts or evidence, in the absence of evidence (facts) there can be no reasoning and therefore is not rational.

It is one thing to believe something, it's quite another to pretend that your belief is not actually belief but rational fact based reasoning. This is the problem with religious people, they are not happy to simply believe something, rather they must pretend thier belief is something more than belief. This problem shows that said believers do not really believe in thier religion or they would not question the reality of it in order to convince others they are sane.

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Response to DrewFlorida (Reply #118)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:41 PM

131. I think your definition may be too narrow.

I believe in love without any "evidence" that it exists. Does that make me irrational?

I feel inspired by the beauty of the ocean, though I have no evidence to describe what inspiration is. Does that make me irrational?

To me, irrationality means to believe in something despite there being evidence that it does not in fact exist or is clearly untrue.

Those that maintain that they know something to be true or untrue without any evidence for their position are irrational. Those that say they believe something to be true or untrue are quite different.

While you may be correct about some religious people, your assumptions paint with too big a brush. Calling people who believe insane is factually incorrect, by the way.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #131)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:26 PM

175. I'm not sure why you need to rationalize feelings or beliefs.

Having the feeling called love is different than believing in love, what does it mean to "believe in love", that statement is ambiguous at best and certainly not rational. You could say you have trust and a bond and a desire to build upon that, that's rational, based of quantifiable facts. When someone says they believe in God what does that even mean? It is very ambiguous as well, and the more you try to quantify it the less factual it becomes. Do you say I believe in a single God in the likeness of man who built the earth and heavens in 7 days approximately 9000 years ago? That would be extremely irrational and insane.
To address a couple of your other examples, "To be inspired by the beauty of the ocean", actually you do have evidence as to what inspiration is just as you have evidence of what you regard as beautiful.

The problem with religion and belief is man's ego, humans always have to control everything, and if they can't control it, they pretend they can, in order to feel secure and mighty. The fact is we don't know how the earth and cosmos were created or by what force they were created, nor do we know why we are here or for what purpose, yet every religion pretends they know every detail because God (in the likeness of man) spoke to them and told them so. The only problem with that is, as science learns more and more, those supposed facts turn out to be false, I'm reminded of Galileo Galilei and his house arrest for teaching that the Earth revolved around the Sun. How arrogant of religion and humans to think and pretend they knew otherwise and then to cover it up for hundreds of years afterward, not even admitting as much until 1960.

So what exactly is it that you believe? whatever it is it's probably wrong, but if that gives you a secure feeling, good for you!

I prefer not to speculate about things which are beyond my human understanding, I don't need to feel as though I am God and I can know everything, I am secure in knowing what I know and keeping my mind open to discovering and understanding more as I grow in knowledge and experience. I know I will never know everything, I'm ok with that!

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Response to DrewFlorida (Reply #175)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:37 AM

185. Control and religion/spirituality

 

>>>The problem with religion and belief is man's ego, humans always have to control everything, and if they can't control it, they pretend they can, in order to feel secure and mighty.<<<

Giving up control often requires believing that there are or can be higher levels of intelligence, conscience and compassion than certain usual brain states (called e.g. "ego") and trusting that universe is a friendly place... which sounds lot like foundation of religion/spirituality to me.

On the other hand, materialistic and technocratic veins of scientific world views and praxis seem to be all about control and ego, feeling secure and mighty?

Giving up control (who/what is the controller?) is good and beneficial practice in my experience, and comes in many forms, e.g. various martial arts, meditation practices etc.

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Response to tama (Reply #185)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:25 PM

196. When a person is arrogant enough to think they can possibly know everything,

even to the point of fooling themselves into believing they have given up control to a higher intelligence which they have made up in their own mind, that is hardly spiritual or religious, it's just a fool's game, a weaving of a web of false hoods in order to trick oneself into believing that they are somehow more in touch, more holy, more good, more worthy, more deserving, than others. The world is full of people who supposedly believe in this or that, yet their behaviors betray their true belief being different from their stated belief. The world is full of Christians who don't know the first thing about Christ and his teachings, and live their life in pursuit of worldly goods and money in direct opposition to the very religion which they supposedly believe. If a person really believes something he doesn't need to display it to the world so they can see what a great person he is, the socialization of religion is one of the big indicators of a religions falsehood.

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Response to DrewFlorida (Reply #196)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:59 PM

202. So?

 

Word "person" means originally mask. What's behind it? What in front?

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:30 PM

128. Religion is based on faith.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:09 PM

144. Other choice bigoted drippings from Mehdi Hasan's brain:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehdi_Hasan

“We know that keeping the moral high ground is key. Once we lose the moral high ground we are no different from the rest of the non-Muslims; from the rest of those human beings who live their lives as animals, bending any rule to fulfil any desire.”

“The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, 'a people of no intelligence', Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of 'no intelligence' – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Quran describes the atheists as 'cattle', as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.”

Great guy. But at least he's got you in his fan club, cbayer!

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Response to trotsky (Reply #144)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:22 PM

158. Well, we all know

what a champion of "tolerance" she is. And how she has promised to speak out against anyone who insults or denigrates someone because of their beliefs, or lack thereof.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:11 PM

155. Saying that a belief is justifiable and rational

simply because there is evidence in favor of it, is incredibly vapid. There is "evidence" that the world is only 6000 years old. There is "evidence" that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. There is "evidence" that the moon landings were faked. But when "evidence" collapses under scrutiny, then it justifies nothing at all.

And sorry, but absence of evidence IS evidence of absence, despite the author's unthinking claim to the contrary. What it is not is PROOF of absence. The authors seems utterly clueless about the distinction, despite basing earlier claims on that very thing.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:55 PM

177. .

 

Nope.jpeg

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:01 PM

193. If Mehdi Hasan's religion is rational, then so is Fred Phelps'.

Reverend Phelps believes he has evidence that "god hates fags," after all. If Hasan's evidence is good enough to justify his beliefs, then the same is true for Phelps and his hateful gang. You can't prove Phelps is wrong, so he must be right!

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:46 PM

201. Wrong.

"Evidence" that is based on logical fallacies like confirmation bias is not evidence. For it to be evidence, it has to be, well, evident. That is, verifiable by anyone.

We have proved that god does not exist. Given what we do know about the universe, biology, human behavior etc., no all good, all-knowning, all-powerful, immortal, deliberate creative force can exist. Take away any of those qualities and what you have is something other than god. Further, nothing has ever been observed that requires something other than ordinary nature to explain it. Some things remain unexplained, but that by itself is not evidence of the supernatural. The universe would be a fundamentally different place if he/she/it/they exists.

I.m using "proved" in the common sense of the word. Strictly speaking, "proof" is a mathematical demonstration.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:03 PM

226. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

amazing the stuff people come up with the explain why they cannot live in the real world

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