Author Topic: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.  (Read 4975 times)

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Offline hideousmonster

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I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« on: November 28, 2011, 11:18:43 AM »
I was raised in a Catholic home by a conservative father, who made me suffer through mass every weekend. I would often fall asleep during it. I never learned most of the hymns that were sung every week, nor when to sing them, stand up, sit down, or kneel.  All I learned was that communion meant it was almost time to leave church. Some nights I would fall asleep deep within my bedroom closet, burying myself within my piles of clothes, hoping my parents would go to church without me the next morning, having given up finding me.

In high school I had a moment of feeling liberated, when I decided the devil was a fairy tale, and there was no reason to fear it. Without that fear, the foundation of my faith in God collapsed, and I began arguing with the Christian kids at school about how illogical and idiotic their beliefs were. There were plenty of them, as I live in Oklahoma: the reddest state in the Bible belt. And argued how it makes no sense to base your understanding of reality on the fear that changing your understanding will cause reality to retaliate against you. I explained how if the fantastic stories in the old book, the bible were true, then such things would still be happening today, and that the miraculous events surrounding the gospel prophets were no more likely to be true then the tall tales of Paul Bunyan, Pacos Bill, Merlin the Wizard, and Hercules. 

I took my debate online, unsatisfied with the idiotic non-arguments at my school, I wanted to argue with adults. I found many of those adults using the same juvenile arguments my classmates had been using. From time to time, they would get more sophistocated, like with their self-assempling clock analogy, but nothing that couldn't be delt with.

At a certain point I began to wonder how religion remains so widespread.  What supports it? I always assumed it was fear or neediness that made people cling to it. But I had trouble believing that I myself was that much more intelligent than so many people. These people were rational.  They were seeing things in the same world I live in which continued to reinforce their beliefs, and I wanted to know what that was.

I began trying to justify the continuous existence and popularity of the major religions the same way I was justifying the continued existence of individual species: natural selection. Those religions were some how stronger than the others. They out-competed the others in the ecosystem of philosophy. I began to wonder if it was all because they were forceful and imperialistic, and that's why they continued to dominate, and I began finding that that was not the case. Some of them were strong because the adherents bred a lot.

I then began to find that the major religions seemed to have very conservative family-organizing principals. Marriage was sacred, and respect for parents and ancestors was important. 

The realization that natural selection was engineering religious principals and traditions just as much as it was engineering life, led me to a new revelation: I was giving natural selection the same qualities that the religions had assigned to their gods.

I began wondering how I could tell the difference between a system which possesses intelligence, and one which does not, and I decided to use the human brain as a basis. What I eventually decided was that the brain works on two simple principals: 1. It's an open system which reorganizes itself in reaction to outside stimuli, and 2. the apparent reaction of an intelligent system becomes increasingly predictable every time it is exposed to the same stimuli. Those simple principals, as far as I could tell was what made the brain able to remember events, recognize patterns, and adopt habits, and appear creative.

I then decided that if there was indeed an all-encompassing intelligence, then it should be recognizable by whether or not it exhibits these qualities. I found them in every single solitary system I looked at.

No matter how I took a large system, and divided it up into smaller open systems, every single one of them seemed to operate under the same principals which seemed to make the human brain capable of intelligence.

It wasn't an aha moment, but I began to then compare the religious model with the atheist model.  The Atheist model seems to treat intelligence as though it only exists within a brain.  As though there are only small, localized systems which some how generate intelligence and consciousness as rare and quirky effects of the sort of perfect storm of circumstances.  The spiritualist model simply says that consciousness and intelligence are just a couple of operating principal that are intricately woven into every part of existence. In other words, intelligence and consciousness are preexisting resources the brain uses, rather than effects the brain generates.

To me the spiritualist model began to make more sense. I accept that intelligence and consciousness exist between the ears of at least some human beings. It seems much more logical to me to think that these phenomena are universal, rather than localized.

I started noticing that most of the arguments between Atheists and Theists were over semantics, or specific religions, or specific models for god, but really Atheists were not arguing against Theism.  They were arguing against  Bible Theism, or Muslim Theism, or take your pick. But the question over whether or not there actually is some form of an all-encompassing intelligence constantly engineering the universe, intelligently and consciously... Atheists have no argument against that... the most they ever say is that they personally disagree, albeit using much more words to make it seem as though they have reason to believe that.

I used to say absence of evidence is evidence for absence, but that's only true if the amount of evidence is known, and the fact is not all evidence is scientific, and therefore not all evidence is knowable.

Further research led me to the realization that there are innumerable examples of evidence of an afterlife, ghosts, angels, reincarnation, an all-loving creator, near death experiences, and so on and so on...  it's just not scientific. It's testimonial. The parts of the brain associated with them are just as likely to block our every day awareness of them as they are to cause them. It's all up to interpretation, really.

I do not believe the biblical account. My philosophy has become more Taoist and hermetic than Christian. I say that not because I read the Tao Te Ching or the Hermetica, and these texts convinced me they must be true.  I say that because I came to my own conclusions, watching the world around me, and found that whoever arranged those philosophies seemed to have made the same observations that I have. This time my spiritual and theistic philosophy is not founded in fear. It's founded in reason, observation, introspection, and simple trust that people I know who have themselves had paranormal experiences believe those stories, and the fact that the experiences they describe are just as valid as the observations of any trained scientist, and that while their interpretation may be slightly off, they are not idiots... there are simply no other ways they can find to explain what happened to them that cover all of the facts.

That's my story so far.


« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 11:32:27 AM by hideousmonster »
If a tree fell in a forest, and the people around to hear it were not scientists conducting a controlled audio experiment... did it make a sound?

Offline One Above All

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 11:22:42 AM »
You already made mistakes, beyond capitalizing "atheism" and "theism". There is no "atheist model" of anything. Theism dictates worldviews. Atheism does not.
I would argue with you here and explain why you're wrong, but it's against the rules.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline velkyn

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 11:36:27 AM »
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 11:43:40 AM »
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

This. Nowadays, theism/spiritualism/supernatural nonsense of every kind are just mankind's (poor) attempts to make itself special.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline hideousmonster

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 11:45:14 AM »
You already made mistakes, beyond capitalizing "atheism" and "theism". There is no "atheist model" of anything. Theism dictates worldviews. Atheism does not.
I would argue with you here and explain why you're wrong, but it's against the rules.

Good.  I've argued a lot for many years. I argued with others, and then I argued with myself. It's all semantics and confirmation bias. People favor the rationale which supports their own worldview, but only that rationale, and only when it supports the chosen worldview. They speak from that angle... spinning the language used to convince themselves and fooling themselves into believing the other person might be swayed.
If a tree fell in a forest, and the people around to hear it were not scientists conducting a controlled audio experiment... did it make a sound?

Offline hideousmonster

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 11:47:26 AM »
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."

EDIT: I should add, that this is precisely why I avoid using the term "supernatural." I prefer the term "paranormal." The reason is because the word "natural" is used by most modern intellectuals as though it means "governed by the rules of all of reality." I very much discourage you and atheists in general from using the word supernatural, because it only causes confusion between conflicting philosophies. When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 12:22:03 PM by hideousmonster »
If a tree fell in a forest, and the people around to hear it were not scientists conducting a controlled audio experiment... did it make a sound?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 12:12:46 PM »
Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."
This is why I like to say that there is no supernatural, only natural things we do not yet understand.

Personally, I have found it to be very hard to tell what ideas I come up with are reasonable and which are not based on just my own thoughts.  They always sound perfectly reasonable when I am only applying my own reason to them.  It is whether I can eventually explain them to other people that determines their actual reasonableness.  That appears to be the main problem you're having here.  Did you discuss these things with other people as you were thinking about them?

Offline velkyn

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2011, 12:36:54 PM »
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."

EDIT: I should add, that this is precisely why I avoid using the term "supernatural." I prefer the term "paranormal." The reason is because the word "natural" is used by most modern intellectuals as though it means "governed by the rules of all of reality." I very much discourage you and atheists in general from using the word supernatural, because it only causes confusion between conflicting philosophies. When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.
sigh.  And there isnt' evidence for anything "paranormal" either.  Semantics won't save such baseless claims.
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Offline kevinagain

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 01:31:28 PM »
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.

Offline hideousmonster

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2011, 02:12:07 PM »
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.

Oh really? I find your attempt to describe the people of Oklahoma to a life-long native Oklahoman to be very cute.
If a tree fell in a forest, and the people around to hear it were not scientists conducting a controlled audio experiment... did it make a sound?

Offline hideousmonster

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 02:36:45 PM »
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."

EDIT: I should add, that this is precisely why I avoid using the term "supernatural." I prefer the term "paranormal." The reason is because the word "natural" is used by most modern intellectuals as though it means "governed by the rules of all of reality." I very much discourage you and atheists in general from using the word supernatural, because it only causes confusion between conflicting philosophies. When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.
sigh.  And there isnt' evidence for anything "paranormal" either.  Semantics won't save such baseless claims.

Semantics are very important. Some words imply things that others do not. In fact, some words are incorrectly used, unless they are further clarified with one or more adjectives.  For instance, in that post, you say "there isn't evidence," but in the previous post you were much more specific.  You said "there is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence." This begs the question, is all evidence objective, verifiable, and repeatable, and if so, then why post all of those adjectives? Why do you need to clarify?  The reason is because you know that the word "evidence" means something different to you than to others. This is what I mean when I say people should use words which mean the same to everyone participating in the conversation.

I do not agree with your belief that there is no evidence for anything paranormal. I don't necessarily disagree either. Paranormal simply means observed phenomena which has not been proven by scientific investigation. It could be telepathy, time travel (the backward kind), ghosts, or technology advanced sufficiently enough to be indistinguishable from magic.  Your belief that such evidence does not exist is based entirely on the grounds of your own ignorance of such evidence, which is tantamount to fancying yourself omniscient.
If a tree fell in a forest, and the people around to hear it were not scientists conducting a controlled audio experiment... did it make a sound?

Offline albeto

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 02:40:57 PM »
Paranormal simply means observed phenomena which has not been proven by scientific investigation.

No it doesn't.  Paranormal means Beyond The Range of Scientific Explanation.  Things that haven't been proven by scientific investigation are called Things That Haven't Yet Been Proven By Scientific Investigation. 

What do you mean in your OP by "and the fact is not all evidence is scientific, and therefore not all evidence is knowable"? 

Offline kevinagain

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2011, 02:46:38 PM »
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.

Oh really? I find your attempt to describe the people of Oklahoma to a life-long native Oklahoman to be very cute.

no offense intended, hideous. my family was forced into oklahoma in the 1830s during the cherokee and chickasaw removals, and my grandfather watched the 1887 land rush from the indian side of the river. my grandparents were married in indian territory over 100 years ago, and i was born 1000 feet away from that courthouse.

the pentacostal churches in the town i was born in are now iglesias that serve the mexicanos and central and south americans who migrated in during the 1970s for factory work. there are no english language catholic churches there that i know about. my family is entirely southern baptist, as are almost all the other farming families in their neighborhood.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 02:48:28 PM by kevinagain »

Offline velkyn

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 03:38:33 PM »
Semantics are very important. Some words imply things that others do not. In fact, some words are incorrectly used, unless they are further clarified with one or more adjectives.  For instance, in that post, you say "there isn't evidence," but in the previous post you were much more specific.  You said "there is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence." This begs the question, is all evidence objective, verifiable, and repeatable, and if so, then why post all of those adjectives? Why do you need to clarify?  The reason is because you know that the word "evidence" means something different to you than to others. This is what I mean when I say people should use words which mean the same to everyone participating in the conversation.
Paranormal: not scientifically explainable : supernatural  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paranormal
Quote
Paranormal is a general term (coined ca. 1915–1920[1][2]) that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation"[3] or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure.[1][4] Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, only insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology.[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal 
And yes, evidence is all of those things.
Quote
1a : an outward sign : indication b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter 2: one who bears witness; especially : one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against his accomplices
I only have to spell it out for woomeisters like you.  It’s your ignorance on what evidence means that requires it, not the word itself.  You want to change its meaning so your nonsense has some validity. Sorry, that doesn’t work for theists or people like you. I find it pretty amusing that you are so indignant about wanting to use words that mean the same to everyone. That’s what dictionaries establish and funny how your “definitions” don’t match the accepted ones.
Quote
I do not agree with your belief that there is no evidence for anything paranormal. I don't necessarily disagree either. Paranormal simply means observed phenomena which has not been proven by scientific investigation. It could be telepathy, time travel (the backward kind), ghosts, or technology advanced sufficiently enough to be indistinguishable from magic.  Your belief that such evidence does not exist is based entirely on the grounds of your own ignorance of such evidence, which is tantamount to fancying yourself omniscient.
I dont’ give a rat’s ass what you agree with or disagree with (make up your mind, you can’t hve it both ways).  Oh and no, HM, I’m not trying to claim I’m omniscient at all. I’ve seen what is claimed to be evidence.  It’s garbage.  Sorry for you but I do like this kind of stuff and keep an eye on the various claims about it.  I’m not the ignoramus that you seem to be hoping for, so you can mistakenly declare that I don’t know what you are talking about.  You want to claim evidence, real evidence that can be observed by anyone, recreated, you know all of that which is required for actual real things, you show it.  Don’t just whine that I don’t consider it.

You make the claims like this
Quote
“I used to say absence of evidence is evidence for absence, but that's only true if the amount of evidence is known, and the fact is not all evidence is scientific, and therefore not all evidence is knowable.”

and this
Quote
Further research led me to the realization that there are innumerable examples of evidence of an afterlife, ghosts, angels, reincarnation, an all-loving creator, near death experiences, and so on and so on...  it's just not scientific. It's testimonial. The parts of the brain associated with them are just as likely to block our every day awareness of them as they are to cause them. It's all up to interpretation, really.
what are these evidences?  Do you accept them or not?  And testimonials?  you really think that qualifies as evidence?  We all know how screwed up people can be and how their minds play tricks and indeed, how desperately humans love attention.  I’m sure you’ll insist that testimonials are used in criminal cases and indeed they are but only when backed up with physical evidence. 

I’m sorry to see the usual woo bs.  The absence of evidence is pretty darn strong evidence of absence.  Theists and those who want to claim various kinds of woo want their nonsense to be immune to requests for evidence to back them up.  You want to wave your hands and claim that since no one can show you there’s a teapot floating around Zeta Reticuli, there must be one and oooh how special you are for “knowing” it.  It’s just the bad bad people who actually ask you for evidence for such stuff that “refuse to see it”.  Same old arguments used by theists.  You’ve found some stuff that agrees with you so gee, it simply *must* be right.  I’d wish it was right too, it would make for a much more fun universe but until I see evidence, and not just someone claiming that they saw Uncle Albert floating above the bar, I can’t.   

and to address this bit from your OP:
Quote
It wasn't an aha moment, but I began to then compare the religious model with the atheist model.  The Atheist model seems to treat intelligence as though it only exists within a brain.  As though there are only small, localized systems which some how generate intelligence and consciousness as rare and quirky effects of the sort of perfect storm of circumstances.  The spiritualist model simply says that consciousness and intelligence are just a couple of operating principal that are intricately woven into every part of existence. In other words, intelligence and consciousness are preexisting resources the brain uses, rather than effects the brain generates.
  I do insist that you show us how you know that the intelligence can exist outside of the brain.  There is nothing to support this nonsense.  It’s the same claims that Christians make about the “soul”.  You just change words around and dress it up with some “sciency” sounding words.  All well and good but with no actual evidence of your claims, its just as stupid as a Christian’s.   


EDIT: afer looking at your older posts, I'm wondering why you've come back here wtih essentially teh same arguments that were considered and discarded 10 months ago?
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 03:41:25 PM by velkyn »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2011, 05:43:05 PM »
If semantics didn't matter, we'd have no controversy about the word 'theory'.

That being said, it doesn't matter what you call something, it matters what you can show people about it.  Evidence, in other words.

Offline jetson

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2011, 06:32:41 PM »
Quote
Further research led me to the realization that there are innumerable examples of evidence of an afterlife, ghosts, angels, reincarnation, an all-loving creator, near death experiences, and so on and so on...  it's just not scientific. It's testimonial. The parts of the brain associated with them are just as likely to block our every day awareness of them as they are to cause them. It's all up to interpretation, really.

Of course there are innumerable "stories" from humans throughout time.  Humans love to tell stories, that's precisely how gods hot started.  Not because they exist, but precisely because they do not.

All gods are imaginary, get over it.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2011, 11:13:43 AM »
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Offline jetson

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2011, 07:02:49 PM »
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

Offline Sonshein

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2012, 08:40:33 PM »
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest". At least (and this is a very limited understanding, I admit), it seems to me that "vertical" evolution would never occur and life never would have evolved higher than simple bacteria since this has proven to be the very fittest for life. Single cell bacteria evolve "horizontally" but that means they simply become better bacteria.

Therefore - since we know that "Vertical" evolution has occurred since it seems that us humans are here - I think something must have "pulled", "pushed" this evolution. By no means am I saying this "force" is cognizant of humans, it may simply be "anti-entropic"?? (is there a word?). If "survival of the fittest" is correct; and we know that entropy attacks all "higher order" it seems there must be something.....

By the way - I thought the original piece was very well written and thought out.

Offline jetson

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2012, 10:03:09 PM »
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest". At least (and this is a very limited understanding, I admit), it seems to me that "vertical" evolution would never occur and life never would have evolved higher than simple bacteria since this has proven to be the very fittest for life. Single cell bacteria evolve "horizontally" but that means they simply become better bacteria.

Therefore - since we know that "Vertical" evolution has occurred since it seems that us humans are here - I think something must have "pulled", "pushed" this evolution. By no means am I saying this "force" is cognizant of humans, it may simply be "anti-entropic"?? (is there a word?). If "survival of the fittest" is correct; and we know that entropy attacks all "higher order" it seems there must be something.....

By the way - I thought the original piece was very well written and thought out.

I think you need to say what you mean by "pure evolution", as well as how you think "survival of the fittest" fits within the theory.  Then we can discuss further.  Welcome to the forum, by the way!

Offline Brakeman

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2012, 10:19:29 PM »
and the fact is not all evidence is scientific,

Nope, not true at all.  All evidence IS scientific, or it is not evidence.
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Bad Pear

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2012, 11:18:04 PM »
When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.

Bold mine.

I have never found this to be the case. Every theist I have ever had a discussion with, when talking about the supernatural, has defined it as "something existing outside of/ungoverned by nature". I would agree with that definition and on that basis call the word meaningless. In fact most Theists that I have argued with use this understanding of the word to justify the lack of evidence for, or restrictions on the power of, their god.

Lightning was no more supernatural in the Stone Age than it is now simply because it wasn't understood.

I see Merriam-Webster agrees with me on this.

su·per·nat·u·ral adj
\?sü-p?r-?na-ch?-r?l, -?nach-r?l\

1: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.
2a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
  b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

Unexplained phenomena and supernatural phenomena are not the same thing. One exists, the other does not.
Atheism is not a mission to convert the world. It only seems that way because when other religions implode, atheism is what is left behind

Online Azdgari

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2012, 12:45:55 AM »
The components of the word agree with Bad Pear, too.  "Super" = Surpassing, greater than, above.  "Natural" = Naturalistic.  So the supernatural is something not naturalistic, and thus incoherent.
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Offline Sonshein

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2012, 09:45:12 AM »
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest". At least (and this is a very limited understanding, I admit), it seems to me that "vertical" evolution would never occur and life never would have evolved higher than simple bacteria since this has proven to be the very fittest for life. Single cell bacteria evolve "horizontally" but that means they simply become better bacteria.

Therefore - since we know that "Vertical" evolution has occurred since it seems that us humans are here - I think something must have "pulled", "pushed" this evolution. By no means am I saying this "force" is cognizant of humans, it may simply be "anti-entropic"?? (is there a word?). If "survival of the fittest" is correct; and we know that entropy attacks all "higher order" it seems there must be something.....

By the way - I thought the original piece was very well written and thought out.

I think you need to say what you mean by "pure evolution", as well as how you think "survival of the fittest" fits within the theory.  Then we can discuss further.  Welcome to the forum, by the way!

Thank you very much for the welcome!
1. Instead of pure evolution, I guess I should say "only evolution". Or, evolution as only a part of nature without some other force involved.
2. "Survival of the fittest: On one hand I know that we evolved, but I still don't see how we evolved "upward". Seems to me at any level i.e., bacteria plant, fish etc. these things would only become better bacteria.. etc. Take a fish - if it was evolving to walk on land and growing little stubs for legs, it would not be a better fish, it would be a "worse" fish and therefore it would get wiped out by it's predators. We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

Again - thank you and thank you for the time you've taken to respond. Scott

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2012, 10:10:07 AM »
The fish you described (with the stubs) is no longer a fish. At best you could say it's somewhere between fish and amphibian. However, it most certainly is superior to fish. Where do fish's predators live? In the water. Where can the fish with stubs go? Away from it. Add a set of lungs to that and you've got yourself a being whose predators are not in the same habitat.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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We choose our own gods.

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Offline One Above All

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2012, 10:14:28 AM »
We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

A higher state relative to what?
You seem to assume that humans (or at least beings composed of millions of cells) are the peak of evolution. We are not. Each species evolves depending on what makes it better suited for its habitat, not in a straight line towards a specific "goal".
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Sonshein

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2012, 10:54:11 AM »
The fish you described (with the stubs) is no longer a fish. At best you could say it's somewhere between fish and amphibian. However, it most certainly is superior to fish. Where do fish's predators live? In the water. Where can the fish with stubs go? Away from it. Add a set of lungs to that and you've got yourself a being whose predators are not in the same habitat.

Well, perhaps once it could get on land it might be able to get away from predators - but until it could actually get on land - it would be slower, both to catch food as well as to get away from predators. The way I understand it is the legs don't functionally mutate in one generation - they would start out as a detriment, not an advantage and therefore would be wiped out.

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2012, 11:05:33 AM »
Really? Rather than just two fins and a tail helping with propulsion you get at least two fins, a tail and two stubs. How is that detrimental?
Still, if we assume the stubs to be non-functional, they wouldn't be detrimental, nor would they be helpful. They would just be there without doing anything, until they became functional "legs".
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Sonshein

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Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2012, 11:12:19 AM »
We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

A higher state relative to what?
You seem to assume that humans (or at least beings composed of millions of cells) are the peak of evolution. We are not. Each species evolves depending on what makes it better suited for its habitat, not in a straight line towards a specific "goal".

Perhaps better than a "higher state" I should say a "higher state of complexity?" - or a "higher order"(less close to chaos).  I by no means assume that humans have reached the peak of evolution - but I can't see how they are "fitter for survival" than a bacteria, since it seems most/many scientists believe that at some time we will probably not survive - but the bacteria will still be here. Again - it seems to me that bacteria have already proven themselves to be the fittest for survival - ?4/5 billion years worth of survival.