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Author Topic: Persecution of Atheists
kenmeer livermaile
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"For one thing, the Bible, if Dawkins had bothered to read it, says specifically that God made "everything that was made."

I suppose God didn't make Himself. See how *that* fits into this:

Instead I shall define the God Hypothesis more defensibly: there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us. This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution.

Dawkins heads off the pass and goes straight for primogenesis of God Himself. He tackles the Who made God riddle head on.

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kenmeer livermaile
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A further note:

"For one thing, the Bible, if Dawkins had bothered to read it, says specifically that God made "everything that was made."

+++

"Instead I shall define the God Hypothesis more defensibly: there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us."

The Bible says not one way or the other if the universe and everything within it was made or not. But it does say:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Whether or not he made them from subatomic quantum foam, it doesn't *quite* make clear, no. But it does address Ground Zero (Terra the Fair) and the heavens.

Ye may define the heavens as ye wish, but for me, the sky extends outward in all directions throughout the cosmos.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:

quote:
Others seem to treat him, well, as the Origen of Atheism, as the first atheist theologian.
The only people I know who do that are Christians, actually. I don't know any atheists who do. I do know a few people whose lives were changed forever by encountering the meme meme, though.
Results 1,370,000 for 2007 + atheism + dawkins

2,880,000 for 2007 + atheism -dawkins

I dunno, Tom. >32% of persons discussing atheism also mention Dawkins on the same page. That's pretty good mindshare In contrast, less than 18.5% of persons speaking of Christianity on the WWW happen to mention the Pope on the same page.

2,260,000 for christianity +2007 +Pope.
10,200,000 for christianity +2007 -Pope

Let's shoot for someone with a bigger share:

5,510,000 for christianity +2007 -Jesus
17,900,000 for christianity +2007 +Jesus

Ouch. Jesus doesn't even rank as high within the scope of "Christianity" as Dawkins ranks in "Atheism." [LOL]

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Everard
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That search tree you've developed there doesn't tell us how many of the people discussing atheism+dawkins are actually atheists, and how many aren't.
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kenmeer livermaile
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2007 religion dawkins

(Results 1 - 10 of about 1,410,000 for 2007 religion dawkins.)

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seekingprometheus
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Go away from a couple of hours and look how the atheism thread jumps on you.
quote:
SP, Dawkins' assumption that any assumption of "God" must be absolutely omnipotent, has nothing to do with God being "Anthropocentric."
This seems to be an odd statement--seeing how I don't recollect having said anything that remotely requires this apparent refutation. Here's my bit about Dawkins/anthropocentrism:
quote:
Several times he seems to brush off allusions to a vaguer "Einsteinian" kind of idea of God. It doesn't seem like he has a problem with such a nebulous concept--he seems to be arguing quite specifically against an anthropocentric deity.
This says nothing about omnipotence. Feel free to explain the reasons for your comment.

My personal view is that anything that ain't omnipotent just ain't God. And I happen to believe in omnipotence. It just obviously ain't personal.

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kenmeer livermaile
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This I like:

"Instead, his criticism is focused on belief in "a supernatural creator that is ‘appropriate for us to worship’",[8] While Dawkins has respect for "Einsteinian religion," he shows no respect for conventional religion. Dawkins maintains that religion is given a privileged and undeserved immunity against criticism, quoting Douglas Adams to illustrate the point:

“Religion ... has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? – because you're not. If someone votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. ... But on the other hand, if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say 'I respect that.'[9] ”

Dawkins goes on to list a number of examples of religion being given privileged status, such as the ease of gaining conscientious objector status; the use of euphemisms for religious conflicts; various exemptions from the law; and the Muhammad cartoons controversy." (from wiki)

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
2007 religion dawkins

(Results 1 - 10 of about 1,410,000 for 2007 religion dawkins.)

Nice try, but: 258,000,000 for religion +2007 -dawkins

That leaves Dawkins with ~0.5% of "Religion", KM.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I's just pointing out that quick google word associative statistics mean a bit of this and that.
Personally, you can call him the Origen of atheism all ye want. I agree, he's the current poster child.

Although I think a fellow named Thomas Huxley was in the business over 100 years ago. Even coined the word agnosticism to give both sides some breathing room.

Let's spin this gambling machine:

religion rational

(1,760,000 for religion rational.)

religion irrational

(1,270,000 for religion irrational.)

Now using 'exact phrase' preferences:

religion is irrational

(594 for religion irrational "religion is irrational)

(screwed-up url, who needs it anyway?)

(religion rational "religion is rational)

Next: Rorsarch blots

[ March 04, 2007, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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seekingprometheus
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And wasn't there some guy named Bertrand a while ago? What a sissy name.
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seekingprometheus
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Any conversation about God is ultimately about authority.

Insisting that God is personal is all about insisting that certain personal values are the ultimate universal authority.

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seekingprometheus
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Oooh! And on the Liar Lunatic Lord bit false dichotomy:

Maybe Jesus wasn't a liar a lunatic or a lord.

Maybe it's just a game of telephone played by millions of people who speak different languages for two thousand years.

Maybe he originally said: "I'm bored" [Big Grin]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
And wasn't there some guy named Bertrand a while ago? What a sissy name.

Bertrand Russell generally defended his own point of view. He didn't set out to get those who disagreed with him marginalized or locked up.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
Any conversation about God is ultimately about authority.

Insisting that God is personal is all about insisting that certain personal values are the ultimate universal authority.

And what makes you the ultimate universal authority on what the beliefs of other people mean to them?
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
And what makes you the ultimate universal authority on what the beliefs of other people mean to them?
[Big Grin]

I didn't say "any conversation about what someone's beliefs mean to them." I said "any conversation about God."

The reason these conversations get so hot and heavy is because they are really about authority. The underlying theme behind atheist arguments is that accepting personalized values as having some metaphysical authority in the universe is a mistake. The underlying theme behind theists arguments is that refusing to acknowledge an absolute authority behind personal values is a mistake.

The real issue is authority.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
He didn't set out to get those who disagreed with him marginalized or locked up.
*sigh* Will you read the freakin' book yet, Pete, so you can stop slandering Dawkins?
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seekingprometheus
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You can, however, ask me what makes me the ultimate universal authority on determining what conversations about God really mean. [Big Grin]
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seekingprometheus
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Yeah TomD--I noticed that too.

I've been particularly amused with the way Pete constructs a straw man argument and then accuses the straw man of straw man fallacies. [LOL]

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PanHeraclitean
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I've actually been watching a lot of material on google video. The guys been putting himself up front and on film since the 70s. You can even watch his series that he mentions in the preface of the book.

Here's one.

Here's another. There are comments by listeners that float by through the show.

[ March 04, 2007, 10:27 PM: Message edited by: PanHeraclitean ]

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Bertrand Russell generally defended his own point of view. He didn't set out to get those who disagreed with him marginalized or locked up.
I agree with Tom, this is a serious misrepresentation bordering on defamation. Show me where Dawkins has ever suggested such a thing.
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PanHeraclitean
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Some more interesting stuff from Dawkins. It makes me wonder if such "queerness" should be taken seriously, why can't a conception of God.
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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Some more interesting stuff from Dawkins. It makes me wonder if such "queerness" should be taken seriously, why can't a conception of God.
In a word: evidence.

Thanks for the link, that was interesting.

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PanHeraclitean
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I don't even want to think of touching that after having watched that last Dawkins clip. Evidence is as good for what he said as tooth fairies, At least there is a substantial body of believers for God and they have what could count as very probable evidence when weighed against the "queerness" of science.

The last part was very interesting to me about how we are programmed as social animals and scientific explanation doesn't get you very far in the social sphere. Yet fixing the faulty part in the child-murderer makes me think a lot of "love your neighbor as yourself" or "love your enemy". That is a very real application for fixing the faulty part, don't you think?

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
I don't even want to think of touching that after having watched that last Dawkins clip. Evidence is as good for what he said as tooth fairies, At least there is a substantial body of believers for God and they have what could count as very probable evidence when weighed against the "queerness" of science.
Nonsense. Quantum mechanics is very weird, but as he states the theory is very accurate. A theory that consistently predicts the outcome of experiments within a very small margin of error is considered to be true. We know rocks and crystals are mostly empty space because we have evidence for it (that empty space is the reason why 'critical mass' exists with nuclear material). These things are weird simply because our brains never evolved to perceive things at an atomic or quantum level.

Science is true because it collects and predicts evidence, not because a lot of people choose to believe in it. All scientific conclusions are tentative and subject to change if new evidence becomes available.

In fact, your second sentence is totally incomprehensible to me. It doesn't matter how many people believe in something; that doesn't make it any more or less likely to be true. Something is true or not, regardless of what anybody believes. And there is simply no empirical evidence for God. In fact, religious faith specifically eschews evidence. Faith that eschews evidence is a form of solipsism; whether they will admit it or not, most religious people seem to behave as if believing in something makes it true. I can give you case after case where this has proven to be wrong.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Lassek:
quote:
Bertrand Russell generally defended his own point of view. He didn't set out to get those who disagreed with him marginalized or locked up.
I agree with Tom, this is a serious misrepresentation bordering on defamation.
Actually, Tom accused me of "slander" [Roll Eyes] And while just about any statement, true or false, may border on defamation in England when the victim is rich and famous, the standards in America are a lot higher.

quote:
Show me where Dawkins has ever suggested such a thing.
How about calling religious people irrational and child abusers?

Calling someone "Irrational" is marginalizing them.

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seekingprometheus
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Pete-

Are you claiming that religious beliefs are "rational?"

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
And what makes you the ultimate universal authority on what the beliefs of other people mean to them?
[Big Grin]

I didn't say "any conversation about what someone's beliefs mean to them." I said "any conversation about God."

The reason these conversations get so hot and heavy is because they are really about authority. ...

The real issue is authority.

Only because you keep citing yourself as authority for what the "real issue" is.

quote:
The underlying theme behind theists arguments is that refusing to acknowledge an absolute authority behind personal values is a mistake.
I'm a theist, and you keep on implying that I've done what you said, but you have yet to show me where I've asked anyone to acknowledge an absolute authority behind personal values.

I acknowledge that you don't acknowledge God's existence, and I've not asked you to accept God's values as absolute. So why do you continue to insist that all theists are absolutists?

quote:
My personal view is that anything that ain't omnipotent just ain't God.
Ah, so if I say I know God exists but that I doubt that he's omnipotent, would that make me an atheist by your account? [LOL]
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Ah, so if I say I know God exists but that I doubt that he's omnipotent, would that make me an atheist by your account?
I've said before that that the being you claim to know exists seems to quite clearly be a demigod.

If asked what kind of "ist" you would be by my account, I'd say a polytheist. [Smile]

As for these comments of mine:
"Any conversation about God is ultimately about authority.

Insisting that God is personal is all about insisting that certain personal values are the ultimate universal authority. "

and

"The reason these conversations get so hot and heavy is because they are really about authority. The underlying theme behind atheist arguments is that accepting personalized values as having some metaphysical authority in the universe is a mistake. The underlying theme behind theists arguments is that refusing to acknowledge an absolute authority behind personal values is a mistake.

The real issue is authority. "

These statements of course represent my opinion. Sorry if that isn't clear enough.

Since you seem to disagree, I'm curious why you think the conflict of this particular subject is so intense.

I recognize that you dislike the sound of absolutism, but note that I haven't insisted that theists are absolutists. I've simply said theists arguments boil down to positing an absolute authority. Whether this authority is moral, as in a reason for calling something good or evil outside of one's subjective values, or creative, as in positing fundamental source of ontology, this issue is at the heart of theistic arguments.

And I repeat my question: Are you claiming that religious beliefs are rational?

You keep attacking anyone who calls such beliefs irrational, but I have yet to hear you claim that such beliefs are rational.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Actually, Tom accused me of "slander"
Pete, it's the worst sort of pedant who immediately jumps to the legal definition. If I'd been that sort, I would have used the word "libel" or something, anyway. What, you think I'm suggesting that he press charges?

I stand by my use of the word. Check a dictionary if you disagree.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Actually, Tom accused me of "slander"
Pete, it's the worst sort of pedant who immediately jumps to the legal definition. If I'd been that sort, I would have used the word "libel" or something, anyway. What, you think I'm suggesting that he press charges?
No, I think you're trying very hard to give the impression that I've maligned him, despite the blitheringly obvious fact that Dawkins did exactly what I said he did.
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Pete at Home
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That's even goofier, sp, since polytheist by definition refers to multiple Gods, and I only believe in one God.

I'm not sure why your opinion of what the "real issue" is should matter. If I said that any conversation about Richard Dawkins is ultimately about authority is ultimately about authority, where does that leave us?

"I've simply said theists arguments boil down to positing an absolute authority."

Whether I like that or not is irrelevant. I simply asked you to quote my theistic argument that demonstrates your interesting claim, rather than asking me to accept it on force of your own authority.

"Whether this authority is moral, as in a reason for calling something good or evil outside of one's subjective values" --

Why can't a subjective authority be moral, as in based on that authority's subjective values? Why do you reject the idea of relative values, i.e. values based on a culture or on God, or on some other free-willed philosopher? [Smile]

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PanHeraclitean
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Adam, my point is not that belief makes something true. My point is that the evidence that these poeple have would be as "accurate" as quantum when you take a look at the complexity of their situations. Sure you can say it is brain states, but what causes the brains states. Once you get that you have lots of options as to why it is interpreted as a religious experience. Sure some may be gullible enough to say "it's a miracle". But there is more complexity to belief than just blind faith.

I love how you say faith eschews evidence and then follow up with any faith the eschews evidence is solipsistic. How does faith eschew evidence? Again I will say that we can does the ad infinitum for material causality. But most people aren't satisfied with the training that atheists go through to be able to just say the why to things is not important. How is that trait beneficial for man?

Radio silence commencing until next saturday night. Feel free to email if you want.

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MattP
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quote:
But most people aren't satisfied with the training that atheists go through to be able to just say the why to things is not important. How is that trait beneficial for man?
My experience is that atheists are quite interested in "why", which is why they get so torqued about religious people just saying "God" every time we get to a place of ignorance. Answering a question of "why" with "God" blocks investigation for what may be (and often has turned out to be) a non-God answer to the question. God is a universal false positive.
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Everard
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"My point is that the evidence that these poeple have would be as "accurate" as quantum when you take a look at the complexity of their situations. "

I would both agree and disagree with that. The evidence of one person's experience is accurate evidence of that person's experience. And this evidence is as strong for measuring that person's existence, as an example of quantum tunneling would be within quantum theory. And both are accurate peices of data.

The thing is, though, that the former peice of evidence only measures the person's internal experience, not anything about the exterior world. On the other hand, the evidence of quantum tunneling tells us something about the exterior world... not internal experiences.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think you're trying very hard to give the impression that I've maligned him, despite the blitheringly obvious fact that Dawkins did exactly what I said he did.
No. You're misrepresenting him, but I believe you're doing it out of ignorance rather than bad faith. I again strongly recommend that you read the book, since you're spending a lot of time arguing against positions he doesn't hold.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Well, my little passage through several days of anemic patheticness has passed, and not only can I now once again stand for more than a few minutes without growing dizzy (o come on, ye willows, and weep for me awreddy! [Wink] , I can also focus positively enough to continue the exhausting but exalting work of creating imaginary people in imaginary settings and moving them about according to my almighty will.

So I will leave y'all for several days, leave Pete to his splendid collection of straw men and rag dolls, and resume the grueling chore of playing god.

Decisions, decisons... I've decided to keep the cannibals and designed a happenstance continuum that plausibly justifies their existence. Now, then: do I keep the giant sand worms? If I do, do they metabolize more or less conventionally a la carbohydrate organics? Or should they subsist on isotopic radiation?

I, their god, am a somewhat silly god, but who can pass up a chance to include giant sand worms, huh?

This caught my eye:

"You keep attacking anyone who calls such beliefs irrational, but I have yet to hear you claim that such beliefs are rational."

To do so would be irrational, you see. The best one can do from that platform is to distract attention away from the fact by denouncing one's critics as bigots for daring to point out the inherent irrationality of the metaphysical.

Or, like Steve Martin said regarding his passion for the hobby of cat-juggling and the problem of fitting it into his busy schedule as a Holly wood star:

"I juggle in my *mind*..."

Amen, bro.

And yes, I felt that my religious upbringing consituted a form of child abuse. Unwitting but nonetheless damaging to my psyche.

But I also note that we humans seem to have an enormous appetite for bunkum, and a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. I don't think it's possible for us to exist without the belief that the cosmos somehow cares about us.

I suppose there's a rational aspect to this. If one were to ask the cosmos how much does it love us, we could accept as answer the entire lambda wave breadth of space-time.

Saith the cosmos, arms spread wide, "THIS much."

Yea mon.

ciao

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DaveS
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This is as good a thread as any to post this article from yesterday's NY Times magazine on how/why humans have developed religious beliefs. The article is called "Darwin's God". It's long, but this is a representative excerpt:
quote:
The magic-box demonstration [described earlier] helped set Atran on a career studying why humans might have evolved to be religious, something few people were doing back in the ’80s. Today, the effort has gained momentum, as scientists search for an evolutionary explanation for why belief in God exists — not whether God exists, which is a matter for philosophers and theologians, but why the belief does.

This is different from the scientific assault on religion that has been garnering attention recently, in the form of best-selling books from scientific atheists who see religion as a scourge.
...
Lost in the hullabaloo over the neo-atheists is a quieter and potentially more illuminating debate. It is taking place not between science and religion but within science itself, specifically among the scientists studying the evolution of religion. These scholars tend to agree on one point: that religious belief is an outgrowth of brain architecture that evolved during early human history. What they disagree about is why a tendency to believe evolved, whether it was because belief itself was adaptive or because it was just an evolutionary byproduct, a mere consequence of some other adaptation in the evolution of the human brain.


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seekingprometheus
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Pete-

I note that you have still refused to answer my question. I'll repeat it yet again:

Are you claiming that religious beliefs are rational?
quote:
That's even goofier, sp, since polytheist by definition refers to multiple Gods, and I only believe in one God.
I'm reminded of all the times you've suggested that if we plied believers in omnipotence with a little cross-examination, we'd find that they didn't *really* believe in an omnipotent God.
quote:
Whether I like that or not is irrelevant. I simply asked you to quote my theistic argument that demonstrates your interesting claim, rather than asking me to accept it on force of your own authority.
I actually don't recall having heard theistic arguments from you. At least not in this thread. I would characterize most of what I've heard from you as ad hominem attacks.

I can't even get you to commit to saying whether or not theistic beliefs are rational. You seem to simply declare that anyone who argues that theistic beliefs are irrational is bigoted.
quote:
Why can't a subjective authority be moral, as in based on that authority's subjective values?
Because you're not positing a subjective authority here. You're positing an objective authority. The subjective reality of God is inaccessible to you and me.
quote:
Why do you reject the idea of relative values, i.e. values based on a culture or on God, or on some other free-willed philosopher?
I don't reject the idea of relative values. You use the word relative here, but you don't seem to understand what such a term means. It seems that perhaps you're missing this because you don't realize that you're positing an absolute point from which all values are determined. In other words, even if all values are "based upon" the doctrine of some "free-willed philosopher," you're still claiming that all value must determined by the relation of the subject/event to that absolute point (in this case, the point would be the "teachings" of our free-willed philosopher).

I'm not even claiming that this is wrong or mistaken--I'm simply claiming that you're positing an absolute.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
Pete-

I note that you have still refused to answer my question. I'll repeat it yet again:

Are you claiming that religious beliefs are rational?

Are you claiming that secular beliefs are rational?

There's nothing inherently rational or irrational about religious beliefs. Some religious beliefs are rational, some are not, depending on the belief and on the facts available to the believer.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
In other words, even if all values are "based upon" the doctrine of some "free-willed philosopher," you're still claiming that all value must determined by the relation of the subject/event to that absolute point (in this case, the point would be the "teachings" of our free-willed philosopher).
No; you're the one inserting the word "must" into the discussion; I never musterbated here. [Big Grin] Please quote where I claimed that "all value must determined by the relation of the subject/event to that absolute point (in this case, the point would be the "teachings" of our free-willed philosopher)."

I choose to assess some values in relation to my understanding of Jesus' teachings. My understanding of those teachings changes. I find those teachings a useful point of reference for settling certain moral issues. Probably if Jesus' teachings were more comprehensive, I'd use them more comprehensively, but this is where we are.

quote:
That's even goofier, sp, since polytheist by definition refers to multiple Gods, and I only believe in one God.
------------------------------------
I'm reminded of all the times you've suggested that if we plied believers in omnipotence with a little cross-examination, we'd find that they didn't *really* believe in an omnipotent God.

Your point being?

quote:
Why can't a subjective authority be moral, as in based on that authority's subjective values?
------------------------------
Because you're not positing a subjective authority here. You're positing an objective authority.

Where did *I* posit an objective authority? Seems like you're making assumptions.

quote:
The subjective reality of God is inaccessible to you and me.
Funny, I don't recall saying that God is inaccessible to me. What's your authority for telling me my relationship to God?

Seems to me like you're projecting your beliefs system onto me. I'm not doing that to you. I tried to get you to identify your belief system last week and you shied away from "labels."

quote:
I'm simply claiming that you're positing an absolute.
I know that's your claim; I'm asking you to back it up based on what *I* said, without inserting your assumptions about my beliefs.
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