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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:03 PM
Original message
The Atheist - An interview with Richard Dawkins


Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explains why God is a delusion, religion is a virus, and America has slipped back into the Dark Ages.

check it out, it's well worth the read

http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/04/30/dawk...

some highlights:

"It's often said that because evolution happened in the past, and we didn't see it happen, there is no direct evidence for it. That, of course, is nonsense. It's rather like a detective coming on the scene of a crime, obviously after the crime has been committed, and working out what must have happened by looking at the clues that remain. In the story of evolution, the clues are a billionfold."

"A delusion is something that people believe in despite a total lack of evidence. Religion is scarcely distinguishable from childhood delusions like the "imaginary friend" and the bogeyman under the bed. Unfortunately, the God delusion possesses adults, and not just a minority of unfortunates in an asylum. The word "delusion" also carries negative connotations, and religion has plenty of those.

A delusion that encourages belief where there is no evidence is asking for trouble. Disagreements between incompatible beliefs cannot be settled by reasoned argument because reasoned argument is drummed out of those trained in religion from the cradle. Instead, disagreements are settled by other means which, in extreme cases, inevitably become violent. Scientists disagree among themselves but they never fight over their disagreements. They argue about evidence or go out and seek new evidence. Much the same is true of philosophers, historians and literary critics.

But you don't do that if you just know your holy book is the God-written truth and the other guy knows that his incompatible scripture is too. People brought up to believe in faith and private revelation cannot be persuaded by evidence to change their minds. No wonder religious zealots throughout history have resorted to torture and execution, to crusades and jihads, to holy wars and purges and pogroms, to the Inquisition and the burning of witches."
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks, hombre!
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. thanks for this link. This book is on my long list of books to read.
I will probably end up buying it after i read it from the library first. :hi:
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. i credit today's christians
with making me an atheist. their behavior has been so repugnant to me that religion, ANY religion, turns me off. they are such damned hyprocrits. hope this guy's book sells a million.
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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. that's mostly the same for me too
i was raised non-religious but always had the idea in my head that there was something out there...but then a very sane, very intelligent group of my family (aunt, uncle and their three kids) threw all of that out the window when they joined a new church and turned crazy. they made me want to figure it all out once and for all and though it makes me sad i am still a bit grateful because they led me to the truth...
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. Just picked up "God Delusion" the other day.
Will read it on my vacation to DC this next week.
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. I need a macro for this - this obviously belongs in the religion section
Not in general descusion.

Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Why? Are you afraid people will actually LEARN the truth?
:eyes:
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Yep that's it exactly
I'm so frightened that DU that is something like 60% atheist already (according to the last poll I saw) will "learn the truth."

No actually, Genius, I want it where it belongs so that the people who want to participate in such discussions can discuss it there, and so that people here don't get dragged into theological dogfights that accomplish nothing.

Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. well
if anyone gets into a dogfight that's because they chose to do it...not because they got "dragged into" it

and i hardly think that any poll here on DU has any sort of scientific accuracy....

we are all adults here
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. We are all adults here?
When did that happen?
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #11
26. Well, of course theological arguments accomplish nothing.
Because belief is impervious to either reason or logic, and reason discards belief and faith in favour of demonstrable fact. The existence of a god or gods cannot be demonstrated, and so someone of minimal "spirituality" (for lack of a better term to describe religious susceptibility) discards it as irrelevant at best and an absurdity at worst, while someone whose perceptions give him a sense of the numinous KNOWS that something is there, because not only does he feel there HAS to be, he has on occasion had some rapturous experience of it (or thought he had, which comes to the same thing). The nature of the experience is generally the same, across cultures; only the rituals and names associated with it differ. What a Buddhist monk experiences as nirvana, a Sufi dervish or Catholic mystic experiences as the ecstatic rapture of God's love, a Protestant charismatic experiences as "being slain in the spirit", et cetera. All the same experience, more or less; all with different names. They can't all be right; so it's likely that none of them are, and this experience and the religious impulse are simply a quirk of human psychology.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #26
95. I disagree with your conclusion.
Spider Jerusalem:
"The nature of the experience is generally the same, across cultures; only the rituals and names associated with it differ. What a Buddhist monk experiences as nirvana, a Sufi dervish or Catholic mystic experiences as the ecstatic rapture of God's love, a Protestant charismatic experiences as "being slain in the spirit", et cetera. All the same experience, more or less; all with different names. They can't all be right; so it's likely that none of them are,"

or that ALL of them are right, which is more to the point. There are universal qualities to them all, they represent a basic human need and experience, they evolved in times and places completely unconnected to one another, so it certainly appears intrinsic and important, not a quirk.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #11
31. Why be such a control freak?
Isn't that what idiot freepers do? :eyes:
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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. i put it there too
but why limit it to that section where it'll only preach to the choir? everyone should read this...
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. agreed.
Woody is the man.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. Just out of curiousity
What types of topics do you think belong in the General Discussion forum? There are subtopic forums for nearly every issue and realm of thought imaginable, but most of them are graveyards for forgotten posts. Should every post about gun control involving the amish shooting be put into that subforum? Should all politics discussions go into General Discussion: Politics?

Why should this post, rather than any of the others, not belong in General Discussion?
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Because that's what the rules are supposed to be
Because there are a few topics that create a lot of fire but accomplish nothing, and posts either exalting religion or pissing on religion are among that select few - see also LIHOP/MIHOP posts.

So posts on those subjects should be in the religion section (well with the exception of LIHOP/MIHOP posts).
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Well
I somewhat see your point, for instance with the Israel/Palesine posts back during the most recent bru ha ha, got obnoxious to the point where they really belonged in the I/P forum. Is it a rule though that certain topics shouldn't be in General Discusion ever, or is it more of a 'wouldn't it be nice' type of thought?
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. I suppose it depends on how religious people would
respond to an interview that calls them deluded. That's not exactly a compliment is it?

Intrepteting the rules is, of course, up to the Moderators - and if they chose to leave this here in the general forum, than obviously I am wrong in my assessment.

Bryant
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #19
34. Your sole motivation for posting in this thread is to stir things up.
That is obvious because you have NOT discussed the topic at ALL.

Obviously you want this kind of discussion stopped because it doesn't suit you or your beliefs. :grr:
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. I don't want this discussion stopped
I want it in it's proper place. Which is where it is now.

As for discussing the topic, it seems like that would be pointless and painful. I don't want to trot out my religion for you people to piss on it - if that makes me a coward or an ostrich, so be it. But I'd rather focus on areas where we mostly agree. Or at least where we can have a productive discussion.

Bryant
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #36
45. Sounds about right.
The purpose of these threads is to bait Christians into defending themselves and then call them unChristian for doing so. Or worse.

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #45
56. Yeah, you are right
that is the whole atheist agenda: to bait Christians.

Give me a break. If you can't see your religion discussed in a non-positive light, then grow a thicker skin.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. K & R!
:kick:
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Beelzebud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
8. Great interview. I'll have to check out his books.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
14. Awesome Article
Dawkins is great. I love his books. I love his honesty. He doesn't hide his belief's like so many athiests do just to get along.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
15. I don't know how I could believe in either religion or atheism.
Both are unsubstantiated claims in my opinion. I'm not speaking out against evolution (I think plain common sense and the scientific research on this subject speaks for itself), but how could anyone say with any degree of certainty that a God or Creator did or did not exist? There is no evidence to support either claim. I think we need to own up to the fact that we just don't know. There's nothing wrong with not knowing, the problem comes in when people think they know but have no facts to back up their claims. Any thoughts?
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Easy. It's called reason
Religion is superstition. We can create an imaginary being to explain everything or we can use our own minds to try and reason it out. Just because we don't know something, it doesn't mean it is unknowable.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Religion is baseless, agreed.
Now please provide one fact proving that Atheism is correct. I've never heard one and can't think of one.
Reason can be flawed. I'm not saying that the origin of the universe will be unknowable forever, I'm saying it is unknown RIGHT NOW in 2006.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. You can't
It's a logical fallacy. A person who believes in Religion makes a statement "I believe in God" to which the athiest responds "prove it."

If the religionist were to say to the athiest "prove there isn't" it is a logical falacy refered to as a negative proof. The burden of proof is upon the person making the claim.

Atheism is correct as long as the claimant cannot prove their assertion.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. Maybe "logical fallacy" is too big a word for me.
But proving that a religion (which has been created by man)has holes in it's logic and is baseless does not necessarily preclude a Creator (seperate from any we know via religion) from existing.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #32
38. There is no proving a religion wrong per se
It's up to the person making the claims to prove them. An athiest simply is pointing out that there is no proof to the claims. You're right though, that just because there is no proof of 'a creator' doesn't necessarily preclude that there is one. Just as there is no evidence of fairies, doesn't preclude that there actually are fairies.

It's just meaningless. Could there have been some multi-dimensional 'star being' 20 billion years ago who warped time and space from other universes to create our sphere of existance? Sure. Or we could have been sneezed out of an interstellar trans dimensional space goat. Or a bearded guy on a throne holding a lightningbolt. They make fun stories, but in a rational world it's sort of meaningless.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #38
42. I hear and appreciate your point.
What I guess it comes down to is that I believe that every religion in existence on earth today has been created by man and is invalid based on the the very arguments you state. However, the idea that the universe just suddenly came into being or always existed makes about as much sense to me as the universe being sneezed out of an "interstellar trans dimensional space goat". So I leave my mind and the possiblility of a Creator open.
PS I love the Space Goat visual.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #42
46. Credit to Douglas Adams
The sneezing the world out is a rip off from one of his Hitchiker's Guide books which if you haven't read them definately go for it, if you liked that visual.

As far as the hows and whys of creation all people can do is theorize and speculate. We'll probably never know. There are some interesting theories for it though in physics involving string theory. If you get a chance watch The Elegant Universe on PBS http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant / which talks a bit about it.

One of the most head twisty things about creation theory when you bring physics into the question is that time is a dimension as well, and that just because we exist in a temporal line, doesn't mean *waves hands around* all of existance...the multiverse and more, exists on the same line. If you think of the Universe as a cube. A three dimensional space. Time is just another dimension existing within the cube. Outside the cube of our universe though, there could be other universes. Maybe connected. Maybe not. Maybe sometimes touching. Maybe not. But time becomes meaningless. So even though the big bang may have happened 14 or 20 billion years ago, outside our universe that 'time' doesn't have meaning. It's all theory though, and interesting stuff, and there is no evidence for it. I mention it because it's tied into a theory of creation which doesn't involve a giant space goat. ;) Check out some theoretical physics books for other alternate theories that are fun to talk about around the campfire.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #46
49. I've seen the PBS special on string theory, m-theory, and
parallel dimensions. It's good, thought provoking stuff. I actually do read a lot of theoretical physics books as well and I work as an Engineer. Physics is a conscious part of my life. I just like to express the view that we really don't know a lot of what we claim to know when it comes to religion/atheism. Instead of going around in circles on this, I'll just leave it there. Nice talking with you.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #49
59. cya
Nice talking with you to. I agree that we really have no idea what happened at or before the big bang. Creator. Goat. Some undiscovered aspect of string theory. As a species maybe oneday we'll know the answer, but I highly doubt it'll be us.

All I know is that it's not enough of a reason to wake up and go to church every Sunday or pray five times a day.

Peace.
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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #42
53. I was taught that god has always existed &
I thought that most religions also believe that. Is that not the case?

When a Sunday school teacher once told our class that we could reconcile god with the big bang because where did the hydrogen come from, I asked where god came from. It seemed to me if we could believe that god has always existed that it isn't any more of a stretch to believe that the hydrogen just appeared out of nothing. Why is one more believable than the other? That little question landed me in the preacher's office for a very long & tiring lecture on faith. It was a defining moment. I realized that religion has no answers for me. However, I do not discount that it offers something for others, regardless of my inability to understand what that could possibly be. ;)
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. Right, they both make little sense.
That is what I am saying. Again, leaving religion out of it, a Creator creating the universe makes about as much sense as the universe coming from nothing or always existing. Both arguments do not appeal to our faculties of reason.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #54
65. precisely. I agree with this point.
NEITHER religion nor science, at this point, adequately explain the conundrum of either the creator or the universe always existing or suddenly existing from nothing.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #27
48. I don't find that a valid logic statemen, that's self-referent definition.
If an atheist says the existence of God cannot be proven, but refuses to say why that would be so, is not an argument.

One could have easily said, for example, that giant squid do not exist. True, it would be HARD to prove a negative, but that does not automatically make you correct. Simply because something is difficult or even impossible to disprove does not make it automatically false.

So, If I say that I believe in God, and you say "prove it", and I say I cannot, you consider that proof that I"m wrong or delusional.

If however, you say that there is no God, and I say "prove it", and you say you cannot (or will not), should I also consider that proof that you're wrong or delusional?

Merely saying that a negative cannot be proven does make the negative correct.


also, I tire of the histrionic false dichotomy of God exists OR evolution exists. The correct dichotomy would be Evolution exists/does not exist, or God exists/does not exist. Whether God exists does not prove or disprove Evolution and Whether evolution exists does not prove/disprove God.
The two are NOT mutually exclusive.

to wit, the following could all be true statements:

1. God exists and Evolution exists
2. God does not exist and Evolution exists
3. God does not exist and Evolution does not (though this is the weakest one, since evolution clearly seem likely)
4. God exists and evolution does not.

The following statements are inconclusive or fallacious:

1. Evolutions exists because God does not
2. God exists because evolution does not.

God's existence and the veracity of Evolution are not on the same chart. Using one to prove/disprove the other is the whole problem with this debate.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. Agree and Disagree
I agree that God and Evolution can be separated, probably into more statements than you list. You can believe in God and agree that Evolution is a fact. They don't have to be mutually exclusive, whether you believe in a prime mover, or whatever.

However I disagree with some of your other statements...

"If an atheist says the existence of God cannot be proven, but refuses to say why that would be so, is not an argument."

It is, if they are responding to the person positing the argument. Atheism was a response to Theism. People weren't walking around saying "there is no god" before religion. It is a perfectly valid argument to say that a Theist made a claim, but can provide no proof for that claim. Otherwise you're asking for a Negative Proof, which is a logical falacy.

"One could have easily said, for example, that giant squid do not exist. True, it would be HARD to prove a negative, but that does not automatically make you correct. Simply because something is difficult or even impossible to disprove does not make it automatically false."

You're correct. Something that is difficult, if not impossible to prove, does not make it automatically false. Again though we're dealing with logical falacies. A marine biologist would not stand up out of nowhere and say 'giant squid do not exist' without someone, whether in an old seafaring book or mythological story, claiming that they do. Even then they would not make that a goal of their research because it would be a Negative Proof which is invalid.

"So, If I say that I believe in God, and you say "prove it", and I say I cannot, you consider that proof that I"m wrong or delusional."

With all respect, yes. If I made a claim that I believed in something you considered outlandish, and I admited I had no proof at all that claim was correct, and yet based my life on it, I would consider that delusional.

"If however, you say that there is no God, and I say "prove it", and you say you cannot (or will not), should I also consider that proof that you're wrong or delusional?"

No, becuase that is illogical. It's up to you to prove your claim, not me to disprove it.

"Merely saying that a negative cannot be proven does make the negative correct."

That is true, but it's hardly 'merely saying'. It's logical that you cannot prove a negative. The burden of proof is on the claimant.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #50
62. you're arguing point of view, rather than logic on this one part:
"So, If I say that I believe in God, and you say "prove it", and I say I cannot, you consider that proof that I"m wrong or delusional."

With all respect, yes. If I made a claim that I believed in something you considered outlandish, and I admited I had no proof at all that claim was correct, and yet based my life on it, I would consider that delusional.

"If however, you say that there is no God, and I say "prove it", and you say you cannot (or will not), should I also consider that proof that you're wrong or delusional?"

No, becuase that is illogical. It's up to you to prove your claim, not me to disprove it.


Atheist are not absent of claim. For them to assert deists are wrong, or illogical or delusional is a tacit claim that what they belief is wrong.

I would argue that neither statement can be conclusively proven at this point in time. Therefore, its merely point of view that causes you to think one statement is logical and the other is not, at least in terms of proof. I could just as easily state your assertion is illogical and outlandish. Absent of proof either way, subjective judgements on the sanity or logic of either side is premature and prejudicial.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #62
66. Atheists usually have no argument against deists since...
deists do not try to get laws passed restricting others.

If someone tells me they talk to a pink elephant every night I may conclude they are delusional.

If I as an atheist make a statement that I do not talk to pink elephants every night would I be considered delusional?
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #66
70. not a very good analogy
whether you "have an argument" (which in this case means "have a problem with" rather than meaning have a debate with) against deists, purely based on whether they try to get laws passed has very little to do with whether there is a deity or not. That has to do with societal and legal concerns, not the veracity of the existence of a deity.


I tire of the attempt to always frame this debate in terms of "pink elephants" or "unicorns", etc. It is inherently condescending and perjorative, and you know that.

Instead, I would reframe your analogy thusly:

If someone tells me they talk to God every night I may conclude they are delusional.

If I as an atheist make a statement that I do not talk toGod every night would I be considered delusional?


after all, that IS what we are discussing, yes? is there any need to replace god with "pink elephant" besides attempting to insult?

let's look at my reframing of your analogy:

Obviously, NEITHER person would be considered delusional by people in their same group. It is almost a definition to assume that atheists would NOT speak to God at night, nor would anyone expect them to. Does that mean they are or are not delusional? NO, they are being consistent with their world view.
Likewise, It is almost a definition of a Deist that they (for some) have nightly discussion with their Deity. Within their own framework of belief, they are not being delusional.

BUT, neither of those conditions argues the existence or nonexistence of a deity. It merely discussing how different groups view each other's beliefs or nonbeliefs. God could still exist whether an atheist recognizes him or not, and God could not exist whether a deist speaks to him at night or not.

When will people understand that NONE of these argument prove anything, except the lengths some people will go to insult the beliefs of others.

Look, its like this: God either exists or he does not. I personally choose to believe he does, and if I do, and I'm incorrect, so be it. because in the meantime, I"ve tried to order my life as much as possible to conduct myself with compassion and love for my fellow man and respect for his humanity. If I am wrong, I am at least doing good, even if for the wrong reason.
If he does not exist, and the atheist is correct, well then fine. Then there's no afterlife and none of will know whether we were right or wrong at the end because if there is no afterlife we will not be able to perceive it. An atheist can also order their life as much as possible to conduct themselves with compassion and love for their fellow man, you don't have to be a deist to be a good person.

In the end, it matters not what you believe, it matters what you DO.

In the UCC church we have a saying: (which I will probably mess up, but here goes) To know is to believe, to believe is to care, and to care is to do

we're all bozos on this bus, if there is any difference at all, I guess I don't spend any of my time claiming atheists are delusional, why do you insist on wasting time calling deists delusional? Its not persuasive, nor instructive, its only condescending and disrespectful. How about just saying "I don't believe what you believe?" I can accept that.

The man who needs to insult others to make himself more secure of his own position, should spend more time working on his own position.

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #70
76. well said.
"When will people understand that NONE of these argument prove anything..."

spot on, one rarely hears this argument during these type of theological debates, however I find the acceptance of EITHER religion OR atheism as "truth" is the crux of the matter. Truth is out there, it exists. The problem is we are unaware of it until it is PROVEN and most people just can't stand to say, "I don't know".

(if) "...the atheist is correct, well then fine. Then there's no afterlife and none of will know whether we were right or wrong at the end because if there is no afterlife we will not be able to perceive it."

great point, I state the same assumption every time I debate this issue with anyone. I find this idea just as comforting as the idea of an afterlife. No regrets, no worries, no sadness, no existence.

I also appreciate your comments on the condescending nature of some of these arguments. When used sincerely to convey the point that the creation of a Deity in someone's mind is arbitrary, I have no problem with someone making a reference to a sneezing goat or pink elephant. As you state, however, I find that the majority of the time this argument is used, it is done in an insincere, condescending manner.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #76
83. Well parables and analogies help sometimes...
I recommend you read "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris.

You seem to have a perspective based on reason yet you have no problem with a large part of society talking to imaginary beings...enabling that behavior is not reasonable.

We have seen many cases here in our enlighened society where people have killed their own children or others based on communications with their god. We see how some people are killing according to their interpretation of what their personal god relayed in books.

I agree for the most part it is benign and as Thomas Jefferson stated, "It does me no harm whether my neighbor believes in one god, many gods or no gods." However, when these neighbors want to restrict the rights of others or limit science education in our schools they become a malignancy that must be confronted. There are people today killing in the name of these gods. Are we really supposed to respect even their beliefs?


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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #83
87. if you confuse bad actions with belief, you should first understand
whether the bad actions are CONSISTENT with the belief or not.
For example, christians, if they truly wanted to be christ-like, would be paragons of compassion, forgiveness and love for their fellow man, because that is what Christ's example was. If people act contrary to that, but still call themselves christian, is the faith wrong or are they wrong?

you speak of "enabling" theists, and that they are a "malignancy that must be confronted".
What type of confrontation are you suggesting? And what do you do if people do not wish to conform to atheism? Do you at that point coerce or destroy them?
How is that any better than what you accuse them of?
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #87
91. One cannot conform to atheism...
and by confront I mean educate even if a bit of ridicule about a certain tenet they hold is the catalyst to get them questioning said tenet. Martin Luther King Jr and many other great preachers were not afraid to confront those who used religion(the same one they followed in most cases)to oppress.

I have a healthy respect for "Christian" philosophy(and other philos) and those who promote the values you cited. I have no respect for the leaders or followers who use said philosophy to oppress, divide, or harm others.

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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #91
96. at what point does "confrontation" and "education" become proselytizing?
you speak of ridiculing their beliefs as a catalyst to get them questioning.

1. this assumes a christian has not questioned their faith at any point, which I assure is wholly incorrect.
2. The use of a "catalyst" still does not ameliorate that you are proposing make theists into atheists because its what YOU want or believe would be right.
What about what the theist desires? are their rights less than yours, simply because you feel you are more enlightened than they?
If so, again, what would be the difference between your intent and point of view and theirs?

If, as an atheist, you feel that others SHOULD adopt your worldview and that you don't care whether you achieve that through ridicule or "education", I fail to see that as any different from the people you ridicule. Wouldn't you then be attempting to "oppress, divide "?

3. the assumption on your part is that theists are automatically intellectually inferior to yourself. I don't know where that hubris originates, whether from reading "Atlas shrugged" or some other place. But surely you can understand that such a position is neither instructive, or enlightening. It is merely ridicule, which you freely admit. Do you really want converts to atheism who flocked to you because you ridiculed them? Is abuse or condescension an essential tenet of your position?

why, if so?

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #96
101. I think atheists wanting to "convert" theists into atheists
has to do with the atheist's stance on reason. I also believe that the hostility which comes from sincere atheists when discussing religion stems mostly from genuine disdain for the violence and destruction that "blind faith" over reason can cause. As I'm sure you've encountered, if you try to debate an issue with someone who is unreasonable you can not get very far. In such a case, the reasonable person is forced to throw up his or her hands and walk away frustrated. If both parties are unreasonable, violence will most likely appear to settle the debate.

I grew up Catholic. I went to Catholic school until I switched to public school in 7th grade. I used to subscribe to the tenents of atheism after my questioning of the Catholic faith could not provide sufficient answers. The reactions to theists which I have stated above come from personal experience. These were some of my frustrations at the time. Since then, I've come to question the "reason" that I once held so dear as well. That questioning of reason and atheism has left me here in this no-mans-land which I suppose you could call agnosticism if you had to label it.

It is my contention that reason is the most valuable and useful tool in settling debates on reality AS LONG AS ONE CONDITION IS MET AT THE TIME OF THE DEBATE. The assertions made during the debate must be able to be PROVEN TO BE TRUE in reality. Reason, therefore is not infallible.

This is where the atheism/theism debate breaks down for me. Religions can be proven to contain hypocrisies and inconsistencies, thus rendering them unreasonable. (This is also my personal view on religions.) However, the implications of a god not creating the universe seem just as unreasonable as the idea of a god indeed creating it, irrespective of any religion.

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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #101
105. "proven to be true" is the atheist's yardstick and criteria
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Lerkfish/7

is a good discussion on yardsticks.


you're setting conditions for the debate that automatically favor your position, and disincludes issues of faith and belief.
That's great for you, because then only atheists get to join in the discussion.
That's hardly a fair debate arena for anyone of faith, however.

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #105
107. but how else to agree on reality?
thanks for the link, I'll have to check it out later
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #107
111. agreeing on "reality" as criterion for debating at all, when the point
Edited on Fri Oct-13-06 12:18 PM by Lerkfish
of the debate is actually what is real, is precluding the debate in your favor, in a rather smug way, intentional or not.


It would be like the judge saying, ok, before we start the trial, we must first agree the defendant is guilty. Once both the defense and prosecution agree he is guilty, then they may present their arguments.


do you see?

to require the debate to be based on what is "provably true" is antithetical to faith from the beginning, where if you accept something is provably true, it is no longer faith but merely observation.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #111
114. Seen from the point of view of a theist
being the defendant in your analogy, I can understand how you would feel that way.

However, on its own, I find that it is an improper analogy. Improper because the goal of any trial or criminal investigation is to find out what really happened IN REALITY. You can not submit an assertion as evidence via hear-say.

I'm not sure it's possible to find a legitimate analogy to satisfy the point you are making.

Think about the reciprocal of your argument. Removing "reality" as a criterion for debate would preclude the debate in the favor of faith just as much as including it would preclude the debate in favor of the observable. Would it not? The problem is that reality is observable and the negation of reality makes no sense because reality is real.

With that said, I do understand the faith/observation problem you are describing. And, of course, you are free to believe what you wish. I respect your opinion.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #96
102. People do not "convert" to atheism...
and as I stated before, people should be allowed to believe whatever they choose. That is, unless their beliefs interfere with my rights or the rights of others.

History has shown that some theists--leaders and followers--have burned or killed innocent people based on their beliefs...or worldview. This should and does scare even those who follow the same religion. Many literalists/extremists can not be reasoned with as I am sure you know.

The only tools we have are education and reason and when that fails, confrontation. Challenging a destructive belief is necessary and should be done by other believers and non-believers alike. I have found that most destructive beliefs were taught without questioning by the believer. Simply getting them to search on their own is all it takes. Remember, most destructive cults and sects do not allow or encourage questioning.







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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #102
104. when they choose to interfere with your rights, it should be addressed
legally and through the courts. That's because it has become a secular issue and one that is antithetical to the constitution.

but to extrapolate from that to the suggesting they should also adopt (don't know if that's a better than convert) atheism is attacking the wrong problem.

the real problem is not what they believe per se, but that they are not working and playing well with others or respecting THEIR rights.
What I'm saying is two wrongs do not make a right: trying to "educate" or realign their thinking is attacking the wrong problem.

The real problem is them attempting to extend their beliefs over yours through secular turf. Reacting by wanting to eliminate their beliefs will not solve the problem. The solution is to reinforce the turf in a secular way and protect the rights of both.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #102
106. bad choice of a word, that's why I put it in quotes.
other than that, I stand by my statements on reason from my previous post.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #83
88. Let me try to clarify the distinction which is at the base of my
argument. Religion as we know it, including all of the associated gods of religion (Jesus, Allah, ect, is one thing. The possibility of a Creator of the universe actually existing irrespective of religion is SOMETHING ELSE.

ALL of the world's religions have clearly expressed positions on how a person should live his or her life, god, the afterlife, ect. All of these religions have holes in their logic which can be shown through the use of our faculties of reason. I agree that belief in these religions is irrational. As an effect of this irrational belief, believers may engage in other unreasonable behavior and can be more easily manipulated by people using religion as a front. The religions of the earth foster an unreasonable world view, I agree. And for the record, I'm not ok with that.

However I find the implications of atheism, espectially with respect to the creation of the universe, also unreasonable. The idea that the universe always existed, or the idea that it started from nothing for no reason also makes little sense to me. I can not confidently say that there is a god who created the universe or there is not. Therefore, I leave my mind open to the possibility while at the same time I reject the established religions of the world. I find nothing unreasonable about that position, but I certainly welcome your input.

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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #88
90. But atheism is a stance on deities!
However I find the implications of atheism, espectially with respect to the creation of the universe, also unreasonable.


That's a scientific, not atheistic implication.

The universe is a strange place - we do not get to dictate how it operates based on our preferences however.

Of course adding a god as 'first cause' doesn't really help matters. Does that really give any more of a 'reason' other than 'it had to happen because them's the rules'? Just shifts the entire debate to what this god fellow is all about.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #90
93. Assuming you read my previous posts, let me state it this way.
Of course adding a god as 'first cause' doesn't really help matters. Does that really give any more of a 'reason' other than 'it had to happen because them's the rules'? Just shifts the entire debate to what this god fellow is all about.

Right, the existence of god doesn't give any more of a reason for a "first cause" than than the argument "it had to happen because them's the rules" does. Both stances make little sense. Therefore, I don't know, noone does. That is my point. Saying for certain that god DOES OR DOES NOT exist implies that the person making the assertion knows that to be true.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #93
100. Sense and sensibility
Right, the existence of god doesn't give any more of a reason for a "first cause" than than the argument "it had to happen because them's the rules" does. Both stances make little sense.


But my point is that it doesn't matter if it makes 'sense', the scientific argument merely says, "this is the best conclusion we can muster with available evidence". Making sense of it is secondary. That is to say obstensibly the universe exists because of some natural process, some sort of rules.

Since most people like to liken god to a super-intelligent being I liken it to a god that is very very stupid, so stupid infact it is only able to do exactly what it has to do.

Either way it's really not an atheistic argument since other explanations are certainly possible that do not involve gods - steady state theory for example (although long since abandoned of course).
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #100
103. I understand that there are alternate explanations
for how the universe came into being. You are saying that scientific explanations have nothing to do with the atheistic argument. Correct? If you look at these arguments alone, I agree. There has never been any proof that a god created the universe. Therefore, from a purely scientific point of view, a god would never even enter into the discussion. As you say, science deals with only available evidence.

Which leads me back to the point, noone knows if there is a god or not. Religious people don't know and scientific people don't know. However, religious people claim to know that god does exist and atheists claim that god does not exist. Go figure.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #103
115. Do you claim to know which religion is the best religion? nt
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #115
117. no. nt
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #117
118. Do you claim to know a few that are bogus? nt edit:
Edited on Fri Oct-13-06 02:45 PM by greyl
Sorry, nevermind.
After reading what I didn't before, I see your answer is "yes".
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #103
138. Except atheists don't claim that God does not exist.
Sheesh.

Must we start this again?

(Most accurately, 'only some atheists claim that god does not exist')

implicit atheism - base belief on evidence.

Complete lack of evidence for god means that us implicit atheists completely lack belief in God.

Simple.

Does not mean we claim that God does not exist.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #88
92. We are on the same page...
as I am sure at least half the atheists who post in this forum are.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #70
77. That's not reframing an analogy.
That's removing the use of analogy completely.

Simply put, there is nothing else in the universe that, if someone claimed to commune with them nightly, we would not think they were delusional outright... except for gods. The atheist wonders, why do gods get an exemption? Why do people get so offended because their pet belief is simply compared to something else that I don't think exists?

How can an atheist express his or her opinions on gods without offending your beautiful mind? You've decided beforehand that any comment hinting that gods are imaginary is going to be considered an "insult," so what are atheists allowed to say? "Gee golly, gods are swell and I sure wish I could believe in them since there's so much evidence and all, though sadly I'm just too blind and ignorant to see it. Alas, perhaps someday I'll be enlightened and believe in them too!"
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #70
80. You are interchanging deists and theists...
in several posts. Deists do not see the deity as a personal entity.

Deists follow reason and I do not see them as delusional. Theists on the other hand follow a theology with doctrine, mythological entities and articles of faith that ignore reason.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:09 AM
Response to Reply #80
82. thanks for your definitions.
I may be misusing the term. When I said "deist", I meant someone who believes in the existence of a higher power. I was trying to be generic and inclusive of all groups that do so.
thank you, because after looking it up, I was using it incorrectly.

I should have been saying "theist".
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #82
84. A common mistake...
but makes it hard when trying to debate a particular issue. Deism is rational IMO and I think a majority of americans would fall under that definition in the polls if they knew the difference between theism and deism.

I call myself an atheist not a adeist(a term that does not seem to exist but I am working on it.lol)
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #84
97. that's fine, but I'm confused about one thing.
you say you find Deism rational, and I gather you don't hold the same level of respect for theism.

but when you forced me (in a good way) to look up deism, this is what I found:

deism (dzm, d-) Pronunciation Key
n.
The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.


I'm confused why one would feel this is more acceptable to atheism. It still requires a belief there was a God at one time. The only difference between deist and theist is whether the divine being is still involved or alive (nietsche).

can you eloborate on why you find that more rational than theism and less anithetical to atheism?
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #97
108. Reason is my reason.lol
As an atheist I lack a belief in the deity of Deists but do not reject the possibility of that deity based on reason.

As far as the deity of most theists, I both lack the belief in said deity and reject the possibility of the existence of same based on reason.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #108
112. I can't say I find your point of view consistent.
If you do not believe in a deity at all, saying that deists are more rational because they believe there WAS one vs. theists who say there IS one, is merely a difference in tense. Underlying both is a belief you disagree with, you simply find those who think their deity created everthing and just left is more rational than those who think he created everything but still observes.

the difference between deist and theist never addresses your core point, so I'm at a loss why you find deism more credible or reasonable.
In fact, theism is more reasonable in my mind, because its harder to understand why a divine being would create the universe and then simply abandon it.
There's no proof for either assertion, either deist or theist, they are both based on faith.

I am confused because it seems like you're saying you are less threatened by the idea of a dead God than a living God. But both views negate your position.


perhaps I'll have to just leave it at that.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #112
113. How is my position negated?
My overall position is based on reason.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. here, here... except
I don't think anyone was trying to use evolution to prove/disprove the existence of a Creator (maybe I just missed it)
Another problem with this debate is that people make no distinction between Religion as we know it and a possible Creator. Religion, on the whole, was created by people to worship the particular Deity of their choosing. If there is a Creator of the universe, this Creator would exist independently of the "Religion" established by man to worship "him". Thus, we can dispel the idea of religion but hold open the possibility of a Creator. I can't believe I said "thus".
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #51
63. I agree, that's what I was trying to get at, but you stated more clearly
Religion is an attempt to understand the divine.
The Divine could and would exist or not independent of humanity's attempt to understand it.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #63
68. Not quite. Religion is about worshipping the divine...
Science deals with understanding how/why things work based on evidence.

That which is called divine is not testable by science.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #68
71. sorry, I disagree. Understanding is a big part of religion
true worship comes with more complete understanding, otherwise its empty gibberish
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #71
81. Could you explain your understanding of the god you worship?
What is the basis for that understanding?
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #81
85. I will, but it will probably raise more questions than it answers for you.
also, your question is sufficiently open-ended so that I might be missing the point of it.

I will address my interpretation of your question. If i'm off from what you meant, I apologize in advance.

I could devote a lot more to this answer, but I'll go for brevity (I hope) rather than complete clarity and you can ask questions about specifics if you want.

1. I do not necessarily believe I have the only understanding, or the best understanding, or the most complete understanding. For one thing, doubt is a healthy and necessary part of faith, and for another, that would be impossible for me to accurately measure my own understanding since if there are deficits in my understanding, I might not be aware of them.

2. As I have gotten older, my understanding has changed based on what has happened in my life and essentially my perception or understanding of God has evolved (pun intended). so, with those caveats out of the way, here is what I personally believe (which does not necessarily mesh completely with my church's view)

A: God or the divine being. I believe God created everything. Everything that is, was created by God. So, therefore, if evolution is true, it only means to me that God created a system for animals to evolve, cool. I have personal reasons why I believe in God, but most of them are nontangible and nontransferable-- in other words they do not take the form of "proof", but rather faith, and that would likely not satisfy a non-theist. okay. I believe the essence of God is that he is huge fan of life and love. From him/her all life began, and the bible and life experience shows me that the greatest thing a human can do is love other humans, and the depth of that ability to love leads to a better self-actualization of our potential.
There is a great saying that God makes perfection by putting all our imperfections together. I really could go on and on about this, but I'm running out of time for a meeting, so I'll be more brief.

B: The meaning of meaning. I believe we were created for purpose, but that we don't always know our purpose. I feel that God CAN intersect with our lives and make things happen, but I don't feel he has to or is obligated to. Some people complain why God does/does not do such and such, and I think essentially WE have the ability and responsibility to create another Eden, not God. If Love were a priority instead of war, if we spend as much money, logistics, strategy and people on waging peace as we do now on war, imagine what that would be like.
Also, looking around, I see that God created us all in a vastly diverse way, with free will. When it says we are created in his image, I don't think that means a physical image since God is not a physical being as far as we know. I think that really means he created us with the WILL to create or destroy and the FREEDOM to decide which. Hopefully, at some point we develop the WISDOM to understand how our choices effect those around us. Therefore, I personally am happy that there are diverse paths to enlightenment taken by diverse people, I think that's a good thing. What I think is bad is when leaders attempt to bend wills of people to their choosing, in essence, robbing people of what makes them the most god-like: their ability to choose. This is why I'm a pacifist and vehemently against torture and hegemony. Wars and domination of others is the opposite of what God intended, I believe. I think its fine if people CHOOSE to gather together in common belief systems, but I think its WRONG to coerce them to do so or prevent them from doing so.

C: faith.

-- There are (in my view), three types of faith: Tinkerbell, conditional, and steadfast.
Tinkerbell faith are those who think that IF they believe strongly enough, things will be ok for them. I think this is an unhealthy basis for faith because it makes it seem dependent on the piety of the person as what God will or won't do, which I think is setting yourself up for failure or even dangerous outcomes. One example is the church that holds venomous snakes as "proof" of how pious they are. Also this type of faith mistakes common everyday occurences as divine intervention "I prayed for a good parking space". This kind of faith condemns people for whom bad things happen: "if you had been right with God, this wouldn't have happened to you". I don't believe that's how God wants us to feel when bad things happen.

Conditional faith is similar to tinkerbell faith, except that instead of occurences being dependent on the strength of one's faith, It bases faith on how occurences happen. i.e. "God, if you keep my wife alive, I will give all my money to charity" or it acts as if all the good things that happen to a person are like wages for being faithful. You've probably heard preachers say if you give money to them, you'll get rich. That's conditional faith as well, it implies that what happens and your faith are like a barter system with God, and I don't believe God bargains.

Steadfast faith is independent of outside circumstances or happenstance. The best example I have of that is when Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were getting ready to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not denouncing God and worshipping the king. What they said was: "you should know, king, that our God is capable of delivering us even from this furnace, yet even if he does not we will still worship him instead of you".
That was faith DESPITE surroundings or circumstances or outcomes. A person should have faith because they believe it is right to have faith. period. not because their life has been good,etc.

ok, that is likely more and yet less than you asked for, and I have to go to a meeting now.

I apologize that I did not achieve brevity! LOL!
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #85
89. I wish all theists understood it that way...
and taught it that way. As a former believer, that is how I understood it as well.

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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #89
94. so do I, my friend, so do I
but I also wish they would understand it that way cause they choose to.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #51
67. Yes, yours is the deist positon as well as the one held by most ...
agnostics and some atheists.

Theists believe there is an entity pulling strings or designing things according to some theological plan.

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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. atheism's not exactly something you believe in...
it's a lack of belief. a rational world view. i don't qualify statements by saying what i don't believe in. if something doesn't exist than it doesn't exist and it doesn't cross my mind ever. if you were to compile a list of your ideals and beliefs would you be sure to include that while there is no evidence against their existence, i still do not believe in unicorns?

true there's no evidence that there is no god or deity, but there's plenty of evidence that supports the idea of evolution, of a billions of years old planet, etc. etc. etc.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. I agree that evolution is valid.
I also agree that religion is a delusion. However, I draw a distinction between religion which has been created by people, and a potential Creator of the universe. I think we need to be careful when we talk about reason in a question like this. I mean, does it seem reasonable to you that the universe came out of nowhere or always existed? That doesn't make much sense either.
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
47. that may be so...
but i think i will believe in something other than religion. good luck to you though. and thanks for playing.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #47
52. Do you have anything substantive to say
or are you content making snippy little comments?
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #52
57. OMG!!!
i found a fundie!
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. So you reply with another one?
And I'm a fundie? I don't want to argue with you. You should read my posts before you attempt to label me. A few people here were trying to have a serious discussion. Your little quips do nothing to further it.
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. well...
it's not a requirement to post substantive posts from what i have seen here. what are you trying to do? convert me? forget it. won't work.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. That's pretty much athiesm
so called 'Strong' athiesm takes that standpoint that there definately is no god. The majority of athiests though feel pretty much exactly how you describe. There is no evidence to support either claim. Then, because there is no evidence, an athiest doesn't generally even think about it.

Some would then say that you can't prove a negative. There is no evidence against, as Dawkins put it, a teaketttle in orbit around Mars, nor is there evidence for it. Because there is no evidence for it, it's absurd that the lack of evidence against it becomes a sticking point.

If you think there is no evidence for or against God, and don't believe in God, you're an athiest.
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #21
39. that's me
i don't even think about it. when i hear people discussing it, i just think that they are stupid & there are better things to think about.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #39
43. I enjoy talking about it on occasion
I enjoy a good philosophical conversation about creation and space/time. It's fun when you're sitting around a campfire with friends to have interesting discussions and that's one of them.

I wouldn't base my Sunday schedule, and daily habits based on the translated writings of a desert wanderer who died 2000 years ago though. To me belief in Jesus is as absurd as belief in Zeus or Superman, but I'll be damned if I don't love Jesus Christ Superstar, and comic books. ;)
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Marnieworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #15
40. Here's Dawkins response to that question
"It's said that the only rational stance is agnosticism because you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of the supernatural creator. I find that a weak position. It is true that you can't disprove anything but you can put a probability value on it. There's an infinite number of things that you can't disprove: unicorns, werewolves, and teapots in orbit around Mars. But we don't pay any heed to them unless there is some positive reason to think that they do exist."


I'm with him on the "probability value" thing.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #40
44. I would ask him what the positive reason is
for him to believe that the universe has always existed or came out of nowhere. I say deal with each religion on it's own merits as it pops up.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
73. Atheism isn't a claim - it's the LACK of one.
NT!

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #73
78. I'm sorry. That, to me, is a catch-all phrase
similar to the catch phases that Bush uses to stifle intelligent debate on his policies. Repeat these phrases enough, and critical though is no longer necessary.

What does Atheism mean? What does it inherently imply?

As you probably know, the prefix "a" means "lack of". "Theism" means the belief in the existence of a God. So Atheism means lack of the existence of a God. No?

By its definition, atheism implies that there is no god.

what does NT! mean?

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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #78
86. Would you agree there is a difference between theological gods...
(Zeus, Apollo, Hercules, Isis, Athena, Jehovah...)and the deity you stay open-minded about?

NT means No Text--used when only a subject line is used and no text in the body.

Theist--one who believes in a theologically defined god.

Atheist--lack of belief in theological gods.

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #86
98. If I am correct in my understanding of your question
you are saying that theological gods are the professed gods of people, of which most have associated religions. I do draw a distinction between them and the diety I stay open minded about.

One furthur clarification though, my staying open minded about a diety does not mean that I actually BELIEVE IN a diety. I believe in the POSSIBILITY of a diety.

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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #78
121. Wrong!
You said:

"the prefix "a" means "lack of". "Theism" means the belief in the existence of a God. So Atheism means lack of the existence of a God. No?"

You conveniently left out BELIEF in you definition of atheism. It should read:

Atheism means lack BELIEF of the existence of a God.

NOT lack of existence, but lack of BELIEF in the existence.

The only attribute common to all atheists is that theists disagree with us. The only statement that all atheist agree to is "I don't believe."
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #121
129. The intent of that post was
not to play with words. I was attempting to convey what is IMPLIED in atheism. You are of course correct in pointing out that atheism means a lack of BELIEF in the existence of a god. I stated in my post,

"...the prefix "a" means "lack of". "Theism" means the belief in the existence of a God. So Atheism means lack of the existence of a God. No?

By its definition, atheism implies that there is no god."


I skipped a step in my logic in going from the definitions of the prefix "a" and Theism to my comment on Atheism. Also the use of the word "means" was a mistake on my part. Upon looking at my post again after your comments, it should read (w/ my changes in all caps):

"As you probably know, the prefix "a" means "lack of". "Theism" means the belief in the existence of a God. SO ATHEISM MEANS THE LACK OF BELIEF IN THE EXISTENCE OF A GOD. So Atheism IMPLIES THE lack of the existence of a God. No?"

I've heard from others on this forum that Atheism implies nothing. It merely asserts a lack of belief in the existence of a god. OK, fine. I can see that. This assertion brings one question to mind for me, however.

In asserting the lack of belief in the existence of a god, does atheism IMPLY a lack of belief in the POSSIBILITY of a god?

That is my hang-up with Atheism.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #78
130. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods, motivated...
...by the conclusion that there is no credible evidence for them.

It is NOT the assertion that there are no gods, except for strong atheists.

I don't know to make it any clearer.

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #130
131. Something implied is different than
something asserted.

"Atheism is the lack of belief in gods, motivated by the conclusion that there is no credible evidence for them"

Common sense tells me that if you lack belief in the existence of something, you are IMPLYING that the thing you do not believe in doesn't exist.

Regardless, if the statement you posted earlier read as follows, I would agree with you.

"Atheism is the lack of belief in Religion, motivated by the conclusion that there is no credible evidence to support Religion's claims"

I remain open to the possibility that the universe was created somehow by something that we do not understand.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #131
134. You should do

I remain open to the possibility that the universe was created somehow by something that we do not understand.


We certainly aren't clear at all on why it all started.

Common sense tells me that if you lack belief in the existence of something, you are IMPLYING that the thing you do not believe in doesn't exist.


Sure there's an implication but it leaves open the door that at some point somebody who believes in a god might actually provide a good reason for an atheist to believe also.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #134
140. I'm cool with that.
"Sure there's an implication but it leaves open the door that at some point somebody who believes in a god might actually provide a good reason for an atheist to believe also."

Is that "leaving the door open" part of the accepted definition of Atheism? I can't say I've ever researched EXACTLY what is entailed in Athesim, but every "Atheist" who I've met in my life seems to shut out the possibilty which you are leaving the door open to. That is why I say I don't subscribe to any religion or to atheism, I'm just an entity living on earth who holds out the possibility that the universe was created by some means which we do not understand at this time.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #140
141. Non-atheistic properties
Is that "leaving the door open" part of the accepted definition of Atheism?


Not really; that really only applies if the atheist came to his atheism via skepticism. There's nothing that precludes atheists from being as irrational as everyone else - it's merely the case that most people who are atheists in a highly theistic society are generally the skeptical sorts. Again it's on of those things that is not really specific to atheism but becomes associated with it simply because a large number of atheists have these viewpoints.

Either way the definition of atheism doesn't require that to be an atheist now you have to be an atheist in the future.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #141
144. got you. nt
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #140
142. Not believing in something if there is no evidence for that thing
Edited on Tue Oct-17-06 12:13 PM by Evoman
is the ONLY way to keep an open mind. Its the only way to remain non-commital and leave yourself open to changing your mind when adequate evidence is uncovered. If you believe in something with no evidence, as many theists do, how do you ever propose that your mind can be changed? After all, its is logically and rationally impossible to prove a negative. IMPOSSIBLE. There is no way that anyone can ever change your mind, right? We could uncover every corner of the universe, and the theist could still say "Well, god exists between two superstrings". See what I mean.

I am tired of this idea that atheists are somehow automatically less open minded that religious people, because nothing could be further from truth. My mind has been changed MANY times when I have come across something that did not previously believe in. I change and adapt my views all the time...I just require good evidence to do so. And nobody has EVER gave me convincing arguments to god exists..I simply get stupid arguments based on screwy logic (ontological argument) or evidence that can be explained completely by natural processes (Intelligent design) or gap arguments (we don't know that so god did it). They are utterly unconvincing.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #142
145. I agree.
I don't understand where you got the idea that atheists are less open minded than religious people from my posts though. I never said that and don't believe that to be true.

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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #140
143. Atheism has no rules or doctrines or beliefs regarding...
deities. It is not a belief system but the absence of one. Do you realize that most theists would consider you an atheist based on how you describe your beliefs?
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #143
146. Yes, I realize that.
My beliefs go hand in hand with atheism as it has been described to me on this forum. I certainly do not subscribe to any religion, but I do respect the possibility that there may be a creator/god/whatever who created the universe.

Consciousness brings about such extraordinarily fascinating questions of possibilities. How can something (the universe) come from nothing?

And if there is a god, whoa! How crazy is that?
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #78
136. atheism implies that you don't believe in God.
not that there is no God.

The end.

How could you do this? You said

"As you probably know, the prefix "a" means "lack of". "Theism" means the belief in the existence of a God. So Atheism means lack of the existence of a God. No?"

Here is how I would correct it:

As you probably know, the prefix " means "lack of". "Theism" means 'the belief in the existence of a God'. So atheism means lack of the belief in the existence of God"

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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #136
139. I disagree. Atheism ASSERTS that you don't believe
in god. Through that assertion, it IMPLIES that there is no god. That is my point. I am simply stating that no one knows if there is a god or not. I agree with Atheism's refutation of the Earth's religions, however I do not shut the door to the POSSIBILITY that universe was created somehow by some entity.

Regarding my statement which you quoted, I clarifed what I meant to say in my most recent post before this one.
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #139
147. Most atheists do not believe there is no God. Period.
We simply don't "shut the door to the possibility" that there is a God.

We simply completely lack belief in God, because there is a complete lack of evidence for God.

Basically, I do not believe in God. Here is the exact derivation:

1) I believe based on the evidence.

2) There is absence of evidence for God.

3) Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

4) Therefore, as per the evidence, I have a complete absence of belief in God, but absence of belief is not belief of absence.

It's that simple.

And before you assert that us atheists "shut the door to the POSSIBILITY that universe was created somehow by some entity", why don't you ask a few of us to see how we really think rather than telling us what we believe?

Graaargh!

P.S. If you are thinking by this stage that I am agnostic, you would be wrong. Feel free to ask why.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-18-06 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #147
149. MOST atheists do not believe there is no God?
Before I address the explanation of atheism you have provided, I would like to address your insinuation that I am trying to put words into people's mouths.

In your reply you stated,

"And before you assert that us atheists "shut the door to the POSSIBILITY that universe was created somehow by some entity", why don't you ask a few of us to see how we really think rather than telling us what we believe?"

In the subject line you indicate that your position is one not held by ALL atheists. As quoted above, you then go on to repudiate me for making an assumption about the implications of atheism in general. Yet you previously stated that there is no consensus as to what atheists believe. This leaves someone like me who is questioning atheism to tailor his argument relative to which type of atheist he is speaking with? And how am I to know with which type I am speaking with before hand?

In addition, I have specifically asked others on this thread to define the tenets of atheism. As I have stated, I have not researched atheism enough to know EXACTLY what it purports. So please, refrain from accusing me of telling people what they believe. I am merely digging deeper into the subtly and implications of atheism in order to possibly arrive at a full understanding. Your frustration and/or anger are not necessary.

Ironically, your explanation of atheism coincides exactly with my position on the possibility of a diety/theology/atheism. I find it solidly rational and eloquently stated. With that said, I don't see any reason why we must take this any further. We could, of course, if you would like to or if you feel I am missing something.

I do have a question for you, though, as you seem to know the definitions of the various schools of thought on dieties. It was my understanding that agnosticism claims that one does not know if a god exists or does not exist. Therefore, it does not endorse religion nor claim to know with certainty that a god does not exist. This seems to be exactly what you are saying about atheism. What then, is the definition of agnosticism?
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-18-06 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #149
150. Aha, ok I missed a word once.
Yeah, these arguments have gone through so many times that I, and many others, start saying atheist instead of qualifying it with implicit atheist. You'll get used to it pretty quickly. :rofl:

I'll be precise then.

"Atheism ASSERTS that you don't believe (...) it IMPLIES that there is no god"

As a general case, that is incorrect. The explicits will tell you there is no God, the implicits say we can't be 100% certain, but there is no evidence-based reason to believe at all.

And for "So please, refrain from accusing me of telling people what they believe."

Well, I then conclude that your previous statements were not as sure as they sounded. To me, "I agree with Atheism's refutation of the Earth's religions, however I do not shut the door to the POSSIBILITY that universe was created somehow by some entity." sounds like an assertion that atheists (sorry, "implicit atheists") don't allow for the possibility that the universe was created somehow by some entity.


Now your turn to be wrong: "Your frustration and/or anger are not necessary" actually, I am neither frustrated or angry. :)


"What then, is the definition of agnosticism?"

I'll put things like this - the main difference between implicit atheists (or agnostic atheists if you'd prefer) as far as I have been able to discern from talking to people, is what exactly the evidence points too - in agnosticism, the two competing ideas of no-god and god are on roughly equal footing, but the derivation of implicit atheism weighs two competing theories, H(0) is that the world exists pretty much as we see it, and H(1) is that there is more going on. These two are not on equal footing - it is up to those making the claim to provide evidence for it.

:)

Making sense? I'll rewrite it if you want. Now we know neither is trying to annoy the other, we could talk pretty happily, I think. :)
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #150
151. Right, I was speaking about the implications of Atheism
strictly from my, for lack of a better term, "common sense" point of view. I had never heard of the distinction between implicit and explicit atheists. It seems to me that implicit/agnostic atheism describes my beliefs rather well. I would hesitate to accept that label, however, because it would be almost impossible for me to discern whether or not H(0) and H(1) should be on equal footing. Upon initial inspection, I would be inclined to say that they should not. Credence should be given to H(0) on the grounds that all established religions have no observable basis for their claims of "truth". And since the only way our bodies can interact with our environment is through our physical senses, we are capable of knowing that something actually exists in reality only when we can perceive it via these senses. (i.e. seeing proof)

However, the tough thing about the viewpoint you described as H(1) is that there may in fact be more going on than meets the eye. However, we would be ignorant of it.

It makes me think back to a demonstration by Carl Sagan in one of his Cosmos episodes (perhaps you've seen it). Sagan was explaining what a 2 dimensional creature from "Flatland" would be able to perceive in a 3 dimensional world. The creature would have length and width but no height at all. He could never perceive this third dimension. Objects could exist in this third dimension, but the 2-D creature would never be aware.

This brings me to quantum mechanics. The Newtonian physics which governs the movements of the celestial bodies seems to break down on this level. I've seen and read theories where physicists hypothesize that there may be as many as 12 dimensions in which we are living. They also speak about the possibility of alternate parallel universes. The possibility of this lack of perception restrains me from stating that I really know anything for certain.

I'm not trying to state or imply that scientific pursuits are worthless, quite the contrary. If not for the scientific achievements of the last approx. 7000 years and especially over the last few hundred years, we would be incapable of even contemplating these issues. All I'm saying is, there may be more out there.

I thoroughly enjoy having these discussions. I find them consciousness expanding. The deeper you go into these questions, the more questions emerge. :hippie:
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:30 AM
Response to Reply #15
75. Execpt atheists don't claim with certainty there is no God.
Not the most of us anyway.

16 words well worth hearing.
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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #75
79. This is why I do not like to label or group people
according to their beliefs. Perhaps the people you know whom you call "atheists" don't claim with certainty that there is no god. Fine. However, the word atheism itself implies the lack of existence of a god or Deity. I'm not arguing for religion, as I've stated earlier. I'm arguing against religion AND atheism.

65 words well worth hearing as well

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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #79
99. But the "atheism" you are arguing about is a theist interpretation...
of what atheists believe--not what actual atheists believe or don't believe.

Here is another example...

Many believed that earthquakes were caused by a deity based on theology. There was no need to look any further.

Those who did not hold this belief were able to discover tectonics.

another one...

People who had seizures were believed to be possessed by demons. There was no need to look any further.

Those who did not hold a belief in demons were able to look deeper and find the cause and in most cases treat.

Now to the origin of the universe, many believe there was a creator according to their theology so no reason to look further.

Many who do not hold that belief work toward discovering what caused the universe to come into existence.

An atheist may reject the cause put forward by the theists based on the fact that the basis for that belief(usually scripture)has been shown to be false several times before. It is dismissed as evidence(the scriptural interpretation)that needs to be considered scientifically.

Of course I realize I am using atheist and scientist interchangeably but rarely will you find a scientist who is a theist in the strict definition. Most are deists and/or atheists. There have been a few theist scientists who although they set out to prove a theological belief/cause, made many discoveries important to humanity along the way.









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PreacherCasey Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #99
109. I get you about using the theist interpretation.
That's why I don't like group labels. I agree with the rest of what you said.
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #79
122. Just let me clear one thing up for you - atheism implies the lack of
belief in a deity.

There is no need to claim anything about the deity rather than simply not believing in it.

And I'll take up your argument against atheism with the claim that implicit atheism is the one most backed by evidence.

Implicit atheism in a nutshell:

- Base belief on evidence and evidence alone.
- There is a complete lack of evidence for any God.
- Therefore implicit atheists completely lack belief in God.

Let's argue which is the more logical, implicit atheism or agnosticism - I've not had one of these in a while and I feel like it. I'll keep it nice though! :hi: :)
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
23. That, of course, is nonsense.
Glad to see that there is no hostility between religion and science, unlike what the fundies are always claiming. Also, that scientific atheists are so meticulous in their rational arguments, such as, 'that, of course, is nonsense.'
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. Well, it IS nonsense to say there's no direct evidence of evolution.
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 01:52 PM by Spider Jerusalem
That's a simple factual statement, not an argument.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #28
74. Is there direct evidence? Dawkins only claims there are clues.
And also ignores the differences between evolution, speciation, and abiogenesis.

To call something nonsense is a rhetoric device whereby the debater, rather than refuting with facts, simply claims the alternative proposition is preposterous or laughable. The 'of course' is another way to subtly say, 'since those who disagree with me are either idiots or lunatics, OF COURSE, their arguments are preposterous'.

So preposterous that he does not even have to bother refuting them or showing the evidence - he simply makes the claim that 'the evidence is there, and there is lots of it.' Is he going to show it some time, or explain it, or is he having too much fun entertaining his fan club by insulting the people who presumably need to be educated on these matters? Apparently, from these excerpts, clever and outrageous insults are a substitute for rational arguments.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #74
110. Of course there is and I am sure most reading his stuff know that...
and covered it in 6th grade.

I am starting to see the wisdom of allowing Intelligent Design since it will at least teach the basics of evolution and scientific inquiry among the extremists.
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philosophie_en_rose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
30. Yay!
:woohoo:

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salinen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
33. only atheist
are going to heaven.
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. there is no such thing as HEAVEN
or HELL either for that matter. your "heaven" or "hell" is right here. deal with it.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #37
64. and your support for that absolutist view?
merely expressing something emphatically does not make it true or untrue.
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bpeale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #64
69. in my world view it is true
since i place no credibility on religious BS, then, to me, it is true. i don't have to justify it to you or anyone else.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #69
72. yet you felt the need to do just that, didn't you?
I applaud and celebrate your world view, I think God meant for there to be diversity in all things.

I respect your non-belief.

However, just as I do not expect you to swallow my world view, nor should I swallow yours. I can learn from your words, but from your hubris I learn only to avoid you.
Is that what you wish?
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Imperialism Inc. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
35. Read the first chapter plus so far. It is quite good.
I checked it our from the library. It is actually a little better than I thought it would be. I'm considering buying it.
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Control-Z Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
41. I am so glad you posted this in GD
I have little interest in debating Religion/Theology so I would have missed it. (I caught it right before they moved it.) Thanks for posting.
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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
55. lame! this got moved?
it's an interview from a frequently linked site...what then qualifies under general discussion?

no tipping of sacred cows allowed in forums that people actually read...
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #55
60. i read this forum all the time
among others. i do more reading than participating unless i get all riled up, which happens..
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #55
116. It's not lame, it's perfectly appropriate.
You should be glad it wasn't moved to the Atheist's group. ;)
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
119. I just read it.
He lost me about here: "Q: But it seems to me the big "why" questions are, why are we here? And what is our purpose in life? A:It's not a question that deserves an answer." That's what I don't get. Maybe I'm too stupid, maybe I'm too firmly indoctrinated into the Christian worldview, but it seems like (with that and the follow up question) that he's saying that only the purely, solidly rational is worth anything. I don't understand that.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #119
120. Questions and answers
In mathematics there are things that just cannot be proven.

For example it is not possible to know the truth of this statement:

"Every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes," also known as Goldbach's conjecture.

Unless there's a major shift in thinking on algorithms nothing's going to change that.

As such, questions like, "why are we here," simply do not have answers that can be derrived by rational inquiry (or at least impirical data). Hence there's no way us to arrive at a consensus that is beyond introspection. Thus the answers are as aritrary as to one's musical preferences.

only the purely, solidly rational is worth anything. I don't understand that.


What has non-rational inquiry provided of worth?
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #120
123. Why is inquiry the be-all end-all?
I'm not even sure that there is such a thing as non-rational inquiry, other than introspection. Does that make them utterly worthless? And if they are, does that just destroy the concept of individualism?
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 02:13 AM
Response to Reply #123
124. Introspection is useless for telling us about the universe
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #124
125. what do questions about the universe tell us about ourselves?
On an individual level, how does knowing about the big bang help the college boy who's been ditched by his friends and shot down bu a girl and knows nothing about if his parents are getting divorced?
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #125
126. It doesn't help
But then that was my point way back somewhere else. The Bible is only useful as a book that tells us about the way one group of people thought about morality and such. The unscientific stories should be taken as much as myth as any other culture's. Introspection can't tell us about the big bang - but it seems if you combine the myth with the human study and combine it into truth some people will take the parts they say are useful and use them to prop other the other, less useful, bits.

Science can't tell us the answer to these questions - perhaps fundamentally but maybe more due to intractability. But for questions science can answer it is quite ridiculous to create an answer if one is not yet known and cling to it for emotional comfort.
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-15-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #126
127. so how do we know what science can answer?
Dawkins seems to be saying that, given enough time, science can do anything, even explain our least rational impulses. That seems every bit as deterministic as Calvinism.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-15-06 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #127
128. Fruit of labours, so to speak
The results of scientific inquiry to date certainly say a lot about what science can answer.

Dawkins seems to be saying that, given enough time, science can do anything, even explain our least rational impulses.


That may well be the case. We certainly know a lot already about why we behave the way we do without the need for mysticism - souls, karma, chi - whatever.

The questions that could be scientifically answered in theory but may not be practical include anything in the intractable set of mathmatical problems. That is most certainly where the limits lie - unless someone figures out that P = NP or can construct a computing device that doesn't have this problem.

That seems every bit as deterministic as Calvinism.


If the universe is deterministic that's the way it is. The only Calvinist I've encountered is deeply insane anyway - I'm not sure I could care less if they were happy about this fact or not.
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #128
132. So asking what that does to the human spirit is meaningless?
The entire idea of individualism goes out the window, then. I might be able to accept that eventually, but I don't think I'll ever like it.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #132
133. Liking it is irrelevant
Whoever said the truth has to adhere to our tastes?
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #133
135. I understand that.
And, like I said, if it happens, I'll accept it, but I do wonder what happens to us as a species if we find out that our every thought is reducible to some mechanistic explanation. Is musical talent some freak happening, then? What about a skill with words, or gift for math?

Maybe I'm just a bitter-ass humanist worried about my career in this promised glittering new age of rationality.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 04:57 AM
Response to Reply #135
137. Music is math
I do wonder what happens to us as a species if we find out that our every thought is reducible to some mechanistic explanation.


We know quite a lot about it already - how much would you like to know about it?

Is musical talent some freak happening, then? What about a skill with words, or gift for math?


Human brains are essentially pattern recognition machines. Those who can produce the most compelling musical patterns would be the most musically gifted. Mathematics again has similarities - music itself is very mathematical in nature. These talents have similarities.

I mean we already understand a lot about how varying degrees of autism affects mathematical skill - and ability with music tends to increase alongside that.

Maybe I'm just a bitter-ass humanist worried about my career in this promised glittering new age of rationality.


The only careers rationality would threaten would be the irrational ones. So what is your career?
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-17-06 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #137
148. Music is not just math.
It's math with added meaning. The power of a piece like "Komm Susser Todt" isn't just the length of the notes, or the pitches, or the rythms sung by the different voice parts, it's all the plus how it interacts with the words, how the director is conducting things at the time, the way the choir is singing.

I'm studying to be a historian, focusing on medieval and early modern folklore. I want to study things that are, from a modern perspective, more or less irrational to find out what they tell us about ourselves.

I'd like to think on what you've said, and respond more later.
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