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Margaret Atwood: "Atheism is a religion"

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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:38 PM
Original message
Margaret Atwood: "Atheism is a religion"
There was a thread about this episode of Moyers on Faith & Reason already, but it got very little response.
There's more to discuss than just her statement of atheism, but I thought that would make the best title. ;)

...
BILL MOYERS: Does that mean you take your stand on the side of faith?

MARGARET ATWOOD: No, no having been raised a strict agnostic.

BILL MOYERS: A strict agnostic?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Strict agnostic.

BILL MOYERS: Not an atheist?

MARGARET ATWOOD: No, atheism-

BILL MOYERS: What's the difference?

MARGARET ATWOOD: -- is a religion.

BILL MOYERS: Atheism is a religion?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: You mean it's dogmatic?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Absolutely dogmatic.

BILL MOYERS: How so?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Well it makes an absolute stand about something that cannot be proven.

BILL MOYERS: There is no God.

MARGARET ATWOOD: You can't prove that.

BILL MOYERS: So you become-- what' a strict agnostic?

MARGARET ATWOOD: A strict agnostic says, you cannot pronounce, as knowledge, anything you cannot demonstrate. In other words if you're going to call it knowledge you have to be able to run an experiment on it that's repeatable. You can't run an experiment on whether God exists or not, therefore you can't say anything about it as knowledge. You can have a belief if you want to, or if that is what grabs you, if you were called in that direction, if you have a subjective experience of that kind, that would be your belief system. You just can't call it knowledge.

more
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm getting under the desk and not coming out until this is over
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. that might be a good idea. Too bad I'm not that smart.
:toast:
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Good on ya, Grannie
I loved "The Handmaid's Tale," but Atwood is incredibly ignorant when it comes to lack of belief. Like all believers (whether or not she admits it), she can only see things in terms of dogma imposed from outside oneself. It's a limited view of other people, and she'd do much better to shut her mouth and open her ears.

And that's all I'm gonna say on the subject before I hit "hide thread."
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
59. LOL. Room in there for another? nt
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #59
81. You know, I might just peek out
it's actually safer in here than in GD if you say anything even mildly critical of St. Hugo of Chavez.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #81
82. Shazaam! ANOTHER new church?
They're popping up all over the place, aren't they?

So many gods, so little time...






Hiya, T.Grannie!
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #81
83. See now, we'd get along nicely on all counts! nt
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
107. move over girl
but I want to be able to watch

:popcorn:
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
132. Is there room under there for me,
TallahasseeGrannie? I don't want to get hurt by the fallout!
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yeah, and I'm a confirmed atheist
The trouble was in finding a bishop who would confirm me. :rofl:
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SCantiGOP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
26. Militant agnostic:
I don't know and you don't either ---This was on a bumper sticker I saw recently.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #26
46. I like that. :) nt
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
88. oooooh
that's a ceremony I might be too timid to attend!

LOL
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. It depends on the definitions one uses....
That's all.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Right. Is atheism an "absolute stand"?
I think it depends on how the atheist defines themselves. ;)
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. I have to agree with Margaret on this one
To a certain degree atheism is as irrational as theism. As an example, I don't have to try to prove to you that I don't have a Porsche sitting in my driveway. I know I don't have one sitting there so the thought never occurs to me.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. But do you have
a magical Porsche that only the chosen can see sitting in your driveway? If you say you don't, you are part of that religion.
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Exactly, so I would ignore the question
Funny, we were just talking about ignore on another thread, could that mean the end times are here?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
31. But ignoring it doesn't address the question.
If you say that there isn't that magical Porsche in your driveway, you are part of a religion given Atwood's definition.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #31
44. Perhaps it's the non answer answer.
:shrug:
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
28. Sorry, that could be tested, too. nt
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. OK, test it.
I have a magical Porsche in my driveway that only the chosen can see. It has many magical powers.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #30
37. It would be just like testing auras.
First, we'd need a more thorough definition of your magical invisible Porsche so we can test if it exists - what qualities you assert it has.
Is it also totally silent? Is it like Wonder Woman's plane so you're seen floating around while driving it? ;)

Gather the chosen. (they exist, right?)
Verify that they can all see it.
Separate the chosen from each other, and alternately remove/replace the Porsche while recording if the chosen spot it.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. Apparently I am the only one chosen
because I am the only one that sees it so far.

It's way magical.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #40
45. No problem.
We'd need a more thorough definition of your magical invisible Porsche so we can test if it exists - what qualities you assert it has.

Just for a couple, is it registered? What's the VIN number?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. It doesn't need a VIN
because it just magically came into existence. It is a Porsche, but it is invisible. It can move around at will and instantaneously. It can move on it's own decision.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #48
52. What do you mean by "Porsche" then?
All of them have VINs, and they can all be traced to where they were built.
Like I said, you need to more thoroughly define its qualities first. Otherwise, you'll just keep moving the goalposts.

What happens when it gets dirty?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #52
60. I'm not moving the goal posts
Since my Porsche is magical and was not built but always was, it needs to VIN.

Oh, my Porsche NEVER gets dirty.

btw, don't tell bloom we are having this "argument," don't know what the poor thing would do if all the vocal atheists on DU were not in lock-step.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #60
67. You'll have to play along or forfeit your case.
Edited on Sat Sep-23-06 07:19 AM by greyl
Since it appears nobody has figured it out yet, this is a similar line of inquiry I'd use to "prove" that someones God doesn't exist. If you'd play along, that may become obvious. ;)

All Porsches are Porsches due to certain necessary requirements of the definition. What you're talking about isn't a Porsche. I suspect it is either a serious delusion or dirty trick on your part, and I aim to prove it.

What happens when water is poured on it?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #67
103. Fine, but this is the ultimate Porsche
I looks just like one, for those that can see it, but it has so many other qualities and was not built at the German plant. It just always has been. The founder of Porsche must have been chosen because all other Porsche has been made in it's image.


Nothing happens when you pour water on it. It transcends water.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #103
122. Is it that way with all liquids?
Does it run on gasoline, or is it a bike?

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #122
126. It runs
on its own fantastic power.

How dare you blaspheme my magical Porsche by claiming it is a mere bike?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #126
128. So, you're saying it's an internal combustion engine
with no internal combustion?

I didn't want to jump to a hasty conclusion that it was a car, because the definition "Porsche" covers many things besides cars. You've provided a lousy definition so far, throw me a bone! ;)
How do you know it's there again? Are you saying you are magical, too?

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #128
130. My magic Porsche also transcends combustion
Edited on Mon Sep-25-06 02:52 PM by Goblinmonger
I know it is there because I have seen it and feel its presence every day. I'm not magical, but I feel lucky to be chosen to see it.

I think I have been throwing you bones all through this dialogue. :P
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #30
96. Not quite analogous
Edited on Sat Sep-23-06 07:07 PM by Donald Ian Rankin
If you say "I have a magic porsche sitting in my driveway that only the chosen can interact with", I can test that by finding one of "the chosen".

If you were to say "I have a magic porsche sitting in my driveway that it's impossible for anyone to interact with at all", then I would argue that it's not appropriate to term whatever it is a porsche - it's not clear what the definition of a porsche in this context is, but I'm dubious about the ability of something that no-one can interact with to satisfy it.

If you were to say "I have a demon that nobody can interact with sitting in my driveway" then I can't be sure you're wrong - I'd bet against it, but it's not something I can disprove.

I think atheism clearly isn't a religion. I do, however, think that *strong* atheism is an unjustifiably dogmatic and necessarily faith-based religious position. THe absence of evidence for a surpreme being makes there not existing one a reasonable working hypothesis, but not provable.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #96
102. I see no real difference between your examples
I am one of the chosen. I can see the Porsche. If somebody can't, they clearly aren't chosen. They are part of a religion that disbelieves in the Porsche.


Why are you less judgemental about a claim of a demon than a claim of a magic Porsche?
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #102
117. The definitions of "demon" and "porsche".

When you call something a porsche, you're making certain implicit claims about it - that it is a car made by whoever makes porsches, and is much like all the other cars called porsches.

The claims you make when you name something a "demon" are a bit vaguer than when you name it a "porsche" - it's supernatural, sentient, probably malignant, etc. The properties implicitin "demon" are much easier to square with being undetectable than those implicit in "porsche".
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #117
125. First of all I said "magical Porsche"
not just Porsche. But when I said it was invisible, that leads us into the supernatural. Yet you didn't give me a pass on that like you would with someone claiming a demon. Still seems interesting.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
18. My Atheism is based on reason.
The notion of God is illogical. It is about reason,, not faith.
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Yes, but can your reason positively prove that there is no God?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. I'm sure it is. However,
which notion of God do you believe to be illogical?
There must be dozens of them... ;)
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
6. Let me name some other religions:
TTFDLMA (The Tooth Fairy Doesn't Live in My Ass Religion)
DRR (Dragons aren't Real Religion)
UDE (Unicorns Don't Exist Religion)
TNGER (There's No Gold at the End of the Rainbow Religion)
EAF (Elves are Fake Religion)

Give me a fucking break. WHY MUST SO MANY THEISTS DEFINE ATHEISTS THROUGH THEIR VIEW OF THE WORLD?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Those statements can all be proven, thus they aren't religions.
(according to Atwoods idea)

BILL MOYERS: Atheism is a religion?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: You mean it's dogmatic?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Absolutely dogmatic.

BILL MOYERS: How so?

MARGARET ATWOOD: Well it makes an absolute stand about something that cannot be proven.
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. So how does one go about proving a negative? n/t
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. It totally depends on the negative, but it can be done.
Look at Goblinmonger's list. Do you really think those are all non-falsifiable statements?
(at least one is meaningless on its face)
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-22-06 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I have always understood logic to assert that "that which is not,
cannot have proofs to offer." Or a better description would be:

Argument from Ignorance
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article covers both the 'Argument from ignorance' and the 'Argument from incredulity'.
The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or argument by lack of imagination, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or that a premise is false only because it has not been proven true.

The argument from personal incredulity, also known as argument from personal belief or argument from personal conviction, refers to an assertion that because one personally finds a premise unlikely or unbelievable, the premise can be assumed not to be true, or alternately that another preferred but unproven premise is true instead.

Both arguments commonly share this structure: a person regards the lack of evidence for one view (or alternately, regards their personal bias against the view) as constituting evidence or proof that another view is instead true. In reality this is not valid evidence or proof, as further described below. The types of fallacies discussed in this article should not be confused with the reductio ad absurdum method of argument, in which a valid logical contradiction of the form "A and not A" is used to disprove a premise.



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