Author Topic: A funny thing theists assume about atheists  (Read 4659 times)

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #58 on: April 05, 2012, 09:00:13 AM »
How do you know that a world where religious belief was never invented would have been better than the one we live in?
I say we give it a shot.
First off, when quoting, only quote what you specifically need.  You didn't need to quote joe's post that I responded to, and my post that joe responded to as well.

Second, how exactly do you intend to create a world where religious belief was never invented?  It's a little difficult to uninvent religious belief, you know, and we can't exactly build a time machine to go tell the first humans that religion is bad and not to invent it.

Offline MonicaLynn

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #59 on: April 05, 2012, 09:10:52 AM »
A quick thought... This is very sad. I'm sorry you Gus get treated as less than. I just finished trying to correct another " believer" tht was being mean to someone in another forum. Pisses me off.
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #60 on: April 05, 2012, 09:21:45 AM »

First off, when quoting, only quote what you specifically need.  You didn't need to quote joe's post that I responded to, and my post that joe responded to as well.

Ya, just saw the rule discussions thismorning.  I shall commit this sin no more.

Quote
Second, how exactly do you intend to create a world where religious belief was never invented?  It's a little difficult to uninvent religious belief, you know, and we can't exactly build a time machine to go tell the first humans that religion is bad and not to invent it.

We can't.  But we can give it a shot moving forward.  I say it's worth a try.
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." -- Charlie Chaplin

Offline velkyn

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #61 on: April 05, 2012, 09:37:28 AM »
A quick thought... This is very sad. I'm sorry you Gus get treated as less than. I just finished trying to correct another " believer" tht was being mean to someone in another forum. Pisses me off.

Monica, are you trying to tell us that you are a Christian and other people who claim to be Christians are "wrong"? 
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Offline MonicaLynn

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #62 on: April 05, 2012, 09:53:46 AM »
Yes. A lot f them are very rude and judgmental. For this very reason, many have vowed not o attend churches anymore.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #63 on: April 05, 2012, 09:56:05 AM »
First off, if I haven't already, I need to go find the topic where jetson linked the list of rhetoogical fallacies and give him a karma point for it, because it's proved to be very useful (not so much for this post, just in general, since it explains them simply and concisely).

I'm not suggesting it, I'm flat out stating it as fact. The world would be better off without religion. I would have assumed that to be common knowledge among the atheists here. I mean there are literally thousands of posts on this website describing war, murder, famine, overpopulation, fear, ignorance, intolerance, hatred,  poverty and just about every other evil you can imagine, caused by religion.
This sounds an awful lot like an appeal to popular belief; "I would have assumed that to be common knowledge among the atheists here".  Even if it were, in fact, common knowledge, that doesn't make it true.  Furthermore, you're conflating two different ideas; the idea that the world would be better off without religion (or at least, without religion in control, which I would agree with), and the idea that the world would have been better off if religion had never been invented.  And you're assuming that religion caused all of those things, when in fact it is human nature that caused them.  Yes, religious belief was a factor, and an important one, but it sprang from human nature, and I do not think we should pretend that religion is to blame but human nature is not.  All of those evils you listed could have happened (and probably would have) without belief in any deities.

Quote from: joebbowers
You take religion out of the equation and the vast majority of human suffering would not have occurred. While it is possible that a world without religion would be just as violent, it is incredibly unlikely. I can say that without a crystal ball because we can examine history and study the chain of events that led up to it. We know generally how theists and atheists think, and we can predict an alternative outcome with some accuracy. That's not a crystal ball, it's called reasoned estimation.
That's not "reasoned estimation", more like whistling in the dark.  For example, you say that you know generally how theists and atheists think, but who is to say that all atheists think similarly enough for that kind of generalization?  For that matter, who is to say that you can make that kind of judgment about theists, given the nature of SPAG?  Second, your whole scenario is predicated on the history of a world where religion existed, but you are then trying to make predictions using our history about a world where religion would have never come about in the first place, despite the fact that the presence of religion has been a part of our history since almost before we had recorded history.  I think it's more likely that you're making predictions based on what would happen if religion suddenly vanished from this world, which nonetheless would retain the memory and experience of what religion was like and presumably could make different choices based on that in the future.

Quote from: joebbowers
I gave you a step-by-step description of Andrea Yates' religion-fueled spiral into despair which led to the deaths of her children, followed by a clear explanation of how things would most likely have gone the other way without religion, based on research of her mental state leading up to the event.
No, you gave me a scenario based on your understanding of her case, and then an alternate scenario based on subtracting "religion" from the equation.  Given that your scenario was based on the wiki article about her, and your alternate scenario was developed from that, I think it's a little ridiculous to present them as "this is how it happened with religion, and this is how it would have happened without religion".  By the way, thank you for confirming that your "predictions" are not based on how a world where religion was never invented would have developed, but on this world, with the presumption that religion doesn't exist.

Quote from: joebbowers
If you take away the most significant cause of an event, that event becomes far less likely to occur. To say that it all would have happened anyway is a ridiculous claim to make, and I think the onus is on you to provide the evidence. It would be the same as saying anyone who was struck by a car while crossing the street would have been struck by a car anyway if they weren't crossing the street, because it's possible that a car would have careened out of control off the highway and crashed into their living room.
Given the problems that I've already detailed regarding assumptions you made and the process of logic you used to come up with this idea you're expounding on, I think you might want to spend some time reworking your model before trying to claim the onus is on me.  If you're going to make an argument based on removing religion from this world, that is a far cry from the argument of how the world would have been if religion had never been invented.  Get your argument straightened out, in other words.

Quote from: joebbowersYou're assuming, whereas I'm basing my conclusion on research.[/quote
Research which you conveniently don't produce or show.  Not even so much as the courtesy of a link to the places where you got this information from.  Am I supposed to just take your word for it that it was research instead of assumptions and a priori reasoning?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 09:57:50 AM by jaimehlers »

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #64 on: April 05, 2012, 10:04:15 AM »
Second, how exactly do you intend to create a world where religious belief was never invented?  It's a little difficult to uninvent religious belief, you know, and we can't exactly build a time machine to go tell the first humans that religion is bad and not to invent it.

You know exactly what he meant Jamie. He meant let's try to see if the world can be better without religion, and continue working to eliminate it. There you go intentionally misinterpreting things again.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #65 on: April 05, 2012, 10:52:18 AM »
Jamie, you're trying to tell us that a radically different world would be basically the same, and I'm supposed to provide the evidence to explain how that doesn't make sense?

I think you're probably the lone atheist on these boards who believes the world wouldn't be better off without religion. That doesn't mean we're right, and you're wrong, but it does mean I'm not going to waste any more time convincing one person of an idea that the rest of us take as obvious, and that this very website exists to promote.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #66 on: April 05, 2012, 11:55:11 AM »
You know exactly what he meant Jamie. He meant let's try to see if the world can be better without religion, and continue working to eliminate it. There you go intentionally misinterpreting things again.
Except that he responded to my question, "How do you know that a world where religious belief was never invented would have been better than the one we live in?"  The intent of my response was to get him to think about what he said and to clarify it.  He had no trouble understanding this and clarifying his statement.  Yet, according to you, I was "intentionally misinterpreting things again".  *shakes head*

Jamie, you're trying to tell us that a radically different world would be basically the same, and I'm supposed to provide the evidence to explain how that doesn't make sense?
Of course I'm not trying to say that it would basically be the same.  There would be lots of differences between this world and one where religion had never been invented.  But given the evolution of humans and the way we've developed (it took a long time to wear away our tendency towards violence even to the degree we've managed it, and we're still nowhere near done), I don't think there's any justifiable way to say that such a world would have been less violent than this one.  Atheism doesn't preclude the tendencies people have towards violence, and it wouldn't even have meaning in a world without religion, so how could it do anything to encourage people to act more rationally in such a world?

Now, granted, there's a difference between a world without religion in the first place and this one if religion goes away, but my point is that you can't simply subtract religion from the equation and then predict that things will be better without it, because another thing that atheism doesn't do is keep people from doing stupid things without good reasons.

Quote from: joebbowers
I think you're probably the lone atheist on these boards who believes the world wouldn't be better off without religion. That doesn't mean we're right, and you're wrong, but it does mean I'm not going to waste any more time convincing one person of an idea that the rest of us take as obvious, and that this very website exists to promote.
First off, another appeal to popular belief, claiming that atheists on this board all believe the world would be better off without religion.  Second, a strawman, misrepresenting my position (I said specifically that I wanted to see religion removed from its position of prominence and authority; I don't care much about it after that).  Third, another strawman, misrepresenting my argument in this thread as being about that rather than about catching the flaws in your reasoning and rhetoric.  And fourth, your dismissive attitude based on those strawman and your appeal to popularity.

Let me put it to you in plain English.  Just because you are an atheist posting on a board full of atheists doesn't mean your ideas and attitudes get a free pass.  Especially when some of those ideas and attitudes have been shown to be flawed.  And the fact that you try to blow off people who point out those flaws reflects on nobody but yourself, so perhaps you had better stop misrepresenting what other people are trying to tell you and start thinking about why they keep telling you those things.

Offline kcrady

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #67 on: April 05, 2012, 12:27:49 PM »
Jaime's contention is that if religion had never been invented, all of history's atrocities would have happened anyway (or perhaps, different but roughly equivalent atrocities, committed for other "reasons") because the cause of the atrocities is "human nature."  Joe's contention is that religion enables at least some atrocities that would not be enabled without it, i.e., if there was no religion, would the Aztecs really have went ahead, invested lots of work and resources into building pyramids so they could drag thousands of captives up the steps and sacrifice them to...an idea that never occurred to them?

One problem with this debate: a world in which "religion had never been invented" would be one in which "human nature" was itself different.  Religion is itself a product of human nature: authoritarian tendencies, over-active agency detection, a tendency to see the external world through social goggles and relate to it on that basis, and so on.  For example, "Thor" is much easier for us to understand and relate to as a concept than the equations governing the behavior of electrostatic energy.  This despite the fact that the latter are actually much simpler in computational terms, because you don't have to code a human-level AI to model the behavior of electricity.  And to create an accurate computer model of "Thor" as god of lightning, you'd still have to accurately model the equations anyway, since they're derived from how atmospheric energy actually behaves, regardless of whether or not there's a "Thor" involved.  In other words, "Thor's" human-level intelligence, emotions, etc. are entirely superfluous for modeling the behavior of atmospheric electricity, but it's still easier for us to conceive of "Thordidit" as an explanation for lightning than the physics, because of the way we naturally see reality through person-colored glasses. 

So, if we try to imagine a world where religion had never existed, the humans there would have to be different creatures than the ones here.  Their brains would work differently, so even if we could send a trans-dimensional probe into a parallel universe where religion never existed, and see that it was a better world, Joe could say, "See, I'm right," and Jaime could say, "No, I'm right because their 'human nature' is different than ours."

Instead of using "religion had never been invented" as the comparison, let us instead imagine a world in which religion had existed, but humanity had shaken off its shackles at some point in the past (i.e., prior to the atrocities we're discussing).  Say, if Pharaoh Akhenaten had singlehandedly discovered naturalism and trounced the Egyptian priesthoods decisively in debate, and used his position to spread atheism throughout the world of his day.  His writings spread from Egypt, toppling religious beliefs to the point that they became a tiny fringe in a secular world, opposite to the way that atheism was a tiny fringe in a religious world, as happened here.  So, for the following centuries of human history there would have been a secular culture equipped with historical memory of religion, how it worked, and intellectual antidotes for its causes.

Would this have produced a better world, one with fewer atrocities due to the greater difficulty of generating public sanction for them in the absence of concepts like religious faith, gods who should be obeyed without question, the Divine Right of Kings, an afterlife, and so on?  Even though I think there still would have been atrocities in such a world (e.g., Stalin and Mao were both able to perpetrate democide without religion, though it might be argued that both were able to cash in on the "benefits" of populations conditioned to unquestioning obedience by religion), I think there would have been fewer atrocities, and certain kinds (e.g., Aztec human sacrifices, people sacrificing their firstborn children to gods) wouldn't have happened at all.

I think the case for this is all but self-evident.  If religion could not spur the commission of atrocities that would not have happened without it, and such things would "happen anyway" due to human nature, despots wouldn't use religion so much.  Religion is expensive.  Pyramids and cathedrals aren't cheap, nor are the gilded priest-castes who use them.  If Jaime's view is correct, medieval kings could have launched a brutal conquest of the Holy Land by saying to their followers, "Let's do this for money and power!" instead of needing a Pope (Innocent III) to proclaim, "God wills it!"  The Aztec kings would have motivated their armies and killed equal numbers of captives without having any need to share power and wealth with a priest-caste who convinced people that the sacrifices were needed so that the gods would keep the Cosmos running.  And so on. 

Which means: religion would be entirely superfluous and useless as an institution for bending people's wills to the service of tyrannical regimes.  So why would said tyrannical regimes have invested so much wealth, human labor, etc. into religion in the first place?  Why would the kings tolerate the existence of priesthoods whose wealth and power rivaled their own, when the priesthoods served no purpose the kings could not accomplish on their own with wholly secular regimes?

I think the conspicuous wealth, power, and resource-consumption (temples, sacrificial offerings, etc.) of religious establishments all over the world and throughout all recorded history is abundant proof of religion's vast power to brainwash people and compel obedience on a mass scale.  If religion did not have such power as religion, nearly always outstripping non-religious attempts to do the same, religious establishments would not be nearly as ubiquitous as they are and have been historically.  If religion had no effects over and above "human nature," how could it compete with secular alternatives that could achieve the same ends (atrocities, utility in propping up tyrannical regimes) without expensive temples, sacrificial offerings (animals, grains, captives who could otherwise be used as slaves, children, virgins, etc.) and a wealthy but superfluous priest-caste?  If we look at history's great atrocities, the ability to brainwash people and compel obedience on a mass scale are always crucial to their commission.  Is not the ubiquitous success of religion itself proof that religion is extremely useful (more so than secular ideologies) to accomplish those ends?
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #68 on: April 05, 2012, 01:10:14 PM »
Thanks for putting that in perspective, kcrady.  I'll have to think on it some before I respond, though you saw to what I was trying to get across very well, and I appreciate that.  Though, there are two things that I'd like to say; first, that a world where people have the experience of religion and deliberately choose to turn away from it (that is, regardless of their individual beliefs, they don't give religious "authorities" power or influence) could well be better than one where most people still follow religion, and second, that some non-religious ideologies seem to me to have the same ability to compel instant, unthinking obedience as religious ones.  So it depends largely on whether those ideologies could gain traction in a world that moved beyond religion.

Hm, I think that's a better phrase than a world without religion.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #69 on: April 05, 2012, 05:30:01 PM »
Okay, on second look, there are certain points which I would like to make.  First, and this will require some explanation, the concept of evolutionary inertia[1].  Basically, it's the concept that once you have something established in a niche, it by nature precludes other things that might have developed to fit that niche.  For example, take the internal combustion engine; when it was invented, steam engines were still relatively inefficient, and the internal combustion engine, which was inherently better, quickly replaced steam engines, taking over that niche, and relegating steam engines to obscurity for the most part.  So, what might have happened if the steam engine had been invented much earlier, and as a result had been improved to a sufficient degree that the internal combustion engine couldn't compete with it when it was finally invented?  It would have been the internal combustion engine that was relegated to obscurity (though, it might have eventually been improved enough that it could eventually be shown to be better).

kcrady already broached this idea, if naturalism was discovered early enough to keep religion from becoming established and powerful.  I think, if religious ideology had been suppressed, that there would have been other consequences, such as a much earlier rise of nationalism.  And nationalism is one of those things that can mimic religion's ability to brainwash and compel obedience ("my country, right or wrong").  Now, I'll grant, there probably wouldn't have been institutionalized religious atrocities like Aztec human sacrifices, but I don't think that means there wouldn't have been similar atrocities related to nationalism (I think many of the atrocities of the 20th century were linked to nationalism to a greater or lesser degree).  For example, instead of going to war with their neighbors to get captives for sacrifices to the gods, they could have instead gone to war in order to bolster national pride (and gain tribute), and put the captives into bloody gladiatorial games for the glory of their nation.

The point being, it's far from impossible that there wouldn't have been other ideologies that religion by its nature suppressed that would have resulted in bloody atrocities in their own right, that may have been as bad or possibly worse than the ones spawned by religion.  I have no idea how probable it would have been, but that's part of the reason why I don't think we can afford to assume that a world where religion never got a foothold would have been less bloody.
 1. there may be an actual term for this, but if so I don't know it

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #70 on: April 05, 2012, 11:55:44 PM »
You mean like "one nation, under God".... "in God we trust"... "for God and country"... that kind of nationalism? Where our government leaders constantly remind us that God is on our side, you don't think nationalism and religion are closely linked?
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #71 on: April 06, 2012, 03:54:51 AM »
Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.

Thanks.   Though it would have helped more, perhaps, if you had gone on to re-state his point in a way I might have "got"?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #72 on: April 06, 2012, 03:58:48 AM »
You take religion out of the equation and the vast majority of human suffering would not have occurred......If you take away the most significant cause of an event, that event becomes far less likely to occur.

Okay, I'll agree that.

If religion had NEVER existed, though, would the societal benefits it gave through the years still have been gained?  Are we talking about an overall "on balance, best option is....." question?

Kcrady's point about Akhenaten, for instance....would that have been the best point for religion to be eradicated?  Sometime earier or later?  Or never to have happened at all?

(That's not directed at Joe, BTW, more of an open question)
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #73 on: April 06, 2012, 04:07:27 AM »
The bad far outweighs the good. What good things has religion done that wouldn't likely have been done without it?

The only good I can think of that religion does is charity, and atheists do more in that area than theists, not to mention that (mostly Catholic) religious influence has caused much of the poverty in the first place.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #74 on: April 06, 2012, 09:57:56 AM »
You mean like "one nation, under God".... "in God we trust"... "for God and country"... that kind of nationalism? Where our government leaders constantly remind us that God is on our side, you don't think nationalism and religion are closely linked?
No, and you should have known better than to make that kind of assumption in the first place, given that I was excluding religion from consideration as a factor as kcrady requested.  Seriously, you responded to three paragraphs which were an honest attempt to think about how things might have worked out if religion hadn't gotten into a position of strength to begin with by claiming that the kind of nationalism I was talking about would require religion.  This is what I meant when I said you had confirmation bias, Joe; you go only for examples that support the point you're trying to make, and if someone brings up a different example (such as here), you either try to claim that it would require religion anyway, or you strawman it so you can claim it isn't pertinent.

This is a fundamentally dishonest approach when you're discussing a subject with someone.  It's the kind of approach that a person who's only interest is in convincing others that they are always right, instead of making an honest effort to discover what's actually correct even if it means that they, personally, might be wrong about something.  It's the same kind of general approach that many or most theists take[1] - they aren't interested in honest argument or in discovering what's actually correct, only in validating what they already believe to be right, and if someone starts seriously trying to challenge them, they must be smacked down no matter what.
 1. though, obviously, one doesn't need to be theistic to have this attitude

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #75 on: April 06, 2012, 11:46:29 AM »

This is a fundamentally dishonest approach when you're discussing a subject with someone.  It's the kind of approach that a person who's only interest is in convincing others that they are always right, instead of making an honest effort to discover what's actually correct even if it means that they, personally, might be wrong about something.  It's the same kind of general approach that many or most theists take[1] - they aren't interested in honest argument or in discovering what's actually correct, only in validating what they already believe to be right, and if someone starts seriously trying to challenge them, they must be smacked down no matter what.
 1. though, obviously, one doesn't need to be theistic to have this attitude
Pot calling the kettle black, comes to mind.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #76 on: April 06, 2012, 12:05:06 PM »
Pot calling the kettle black, comes to mind.
Perhaps you'd care to explain that?  You de-karma'd someone earlier because they made a statement which they didn't explain (a one-word answer to a question), so I think you should set an example by not doing a similar thing yourself (eight words, basically a cliche).

And, in any case, I don't think this is a very accurate statement about me.  You see, I'm not interested in proving that I'm right about something, except when I also think that it's correct - whether it's correct is what matters to me, not whether I happened to be right about it.  And at that, I'm willing to listen to people who don't agree, and if their arguments are better or they have better evidence, I'll change my mind once I've reasonably considered it.  And I have done so before.  I don't (much) mind admitting I'm wrong about something when I am wrong about it, and I'm certainly not going to let my ego run rampant about it.  It doesn't do me or anyone else any good for me to keep claiming I'm right about something just because I don't want to admit that I'm wrong, but I'm not just going to take someone's word for it just because they think that they have the right of it.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #77 on: April 06, 2012, 12:09:50 PM »
No, and you should have known better than to make that kind of assumption in the first place, given that I was excluding religion from consideration as a factor as kcrady requested.  Seriously, you responded to three paragraphs which were an honest attempt to think about how things might have worked out if religion hadn't gotten into a position of strength to begin with by claiming that the kind of nationalism I was talking about would require religion.  This is what I meant when I said you had confirmation bias, Joe; you go only for examples that support the point you're trying to make, and if someone brings up a different example (such as here), you either try to claim that it would require religion anyway, or you strawman it so you can claim it isn't pertinent.

Nationalism and religion go hand in hand. I was pointing out that the kind of fervent nationalism that inspires people to go to war is rooted in religion. Secular countries almost never go to war except to defend themselves from attack by religious countries. Note that I consider Communism a religion.[1][2][3]

You name a war and I bet I can explain how religion either caused it or fueled it. It's not confirmation bias when it's right 100% of the time. It's just confirmation.
 1. To understand why Communism is a religion, read The God that Failed.
 2. I've lived in China for 8 years and personally witnessed how Chinese citizens worship the dead Mao.
 3. Someone will point out here that the US is constantly at war to which I would counter that Bush believed God told him to go to war, and many Americans considered it retaliation for the religion-inspired attack by Muslim suicide bombers on 9/11.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #78 on: April 06, 2012, 01:32:19 PM »
I already granted that nationalism mimics religion in a number of respects.  Yet, I don't think we can afford to assume that without religion, nationalism wouldn't have come about on its own, or been used to justify various atrocities for the good or glory of the nation.

For example, you say that Communism is a religion.  I disagree, since Communism, a kind of nationalism, is an ideology that glorifies the state, where religion is an ideology that glorifies a god or gods.  In other words, they both exist to glorify something higher than an individual person.  However, nationalism is not theism (it does not involve belief in a god).  That means it is not an actual religion, by definition, although it shares many characteristics with religion.  In other words, your definition of religion here is too broad; if you incorporate every ideology that glorifies something higher than the individual into your definition of religion, and then say that without "religion", few of the evils that plagued humanity would have happened, you're stacking the deck in your favor.

Remember Olivianus?  He acted in a similar manner by incorporating anything he disagreed with into "atheism", so that he could claim that without "atheism", Christianity would be some great good.  Your definition of Communism as religion comes across in a similar manner (though not delusional, like his definition was, I just feel it's not correct).  As for Chinese citizens worshiping Mao, I have to ask, were they praying for his guidance, deliverance, or for him to grant their wishes?  Or were they showing respect and veneration for a great and powerful leader who they believe did great things for their country, the same way Americans respect and venerate former presidents like Washington and Lincoln?

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #79 on: April 06, 2012, 01:32:29 PM »
Pot calling the kettle black, comes to mind.
Perhaps you'd care to explain that?  You de-karma'd someone earlier because they made a statement which they didn't explain (a one-word answer to a question), so I think you should set an example by not doing a similar thing yourself (eight words, basically a cliche).
Strawman, I gave a negative Darwin, because the person completely ignored an extensive post that answered the question.
Quote from: jaimehlers
And, in any case, I don't think this is a very accurate statement about me.  You see, I'm not interested in proving that I'm right about something, except when I also think that it's correct - whether it's correct is what matters to me, not whether I happened to be right about it.  And at that, I'm willing to listen to people who don't agree, and if their arguments are better or they have better evidence, I'll change my mind once I've reasonably considered it. And I have done so before.
Well you don't seem to have succeeded.  Your first post (#11) in this thread intimated that you believed you where right, because you have never tried to posit any evidence to show you were right.[1]   
Quote from: jaimehlers
I don't (much) mind admitting I'm wrong about something when I am wrong about it, and I'm certainly not going to let my ego run rampant about it.  It doesn't do me or anyone else any good for me to keep claiming I'm right about something just because I don't want to admit that I'm wrong, but I'm not just going to take someone's word for it just because they think that they have the right of it.
Yet you're still insisting that they accept yours, whilst you don't produce one iota of evidence to back up you claims.
 1. not in that post or any later ones
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #80 on: April 06, 2012, 02:13:55 PM »
Strawman, I gave a negative Darwin, because the person completely ignored an extensive post that answered the question.
They expressed their opinion on Joe's questions; perhaps they simply didn't see the later post, and you only assumed that they ignored it.  Let's compare that to some of your behavior in this thread, such as post #39, where you stated that Anfauglir missed Joe's point and didn't put much thought into it; when Anfauglir mentioned in post # 71 that you should have restated Joe's point so that he could "get" it, you didn't so much as deign to respond, instead, you moved on to making a similar insinuation about me (accusing me of "pot calling kettle black" behavior).  And in case you're wondering, I gave you a karma smack for that because I didn't think much of that insinuation at the time and your subsequent behavior (such as this post and the previous one directed at me) strongly suggests you're not exactly putting much thought into these insinuations you're making.

Quote from: bertatberts
Well you don't seem to have succeeded.  Your first post (#11) in this thread intimated that you believed you where right, because you have never tried to posit any evidence to show you were right.[1]
 1. not in that post or any later ones
What?  I intimated I believed I was right, because I've never tried to posit any evidence to show I was right?  First off, that argument doesn't make sense (and it's also very badly phrased); second, I made statements of opinion - epistemologically subjective statements - based on what I thought were Joe's rhetorical questions.  The only one which I didn't give a reason for - which I later admitted I misspoke about - was the case of Andrea Yates, and I clarified what I said and gave a reason for my opinion when I admitted to misspeaking.

Quote from: bertatberts
Yet you're still insisting that they accept yours, whilst you don't produce one iota of evidence to back up you claims.
How, exactly, am I supposed to show evidence regarding a purely hypothetical situation?  For that matter, how is Joe supposed to?  How is anyone supposed to?  The most any of us can do is think about the might-have-been and hypothesize what might have happened if something was different, but that's not evidence.  Joe's argument is based on his reading of the Andrea Yates case, which he already acknowledged he mostly got from Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is an okay source, but I wouldn't want to make judgments about a medical matter using it.  And second, I'm not insisting that anyone accept my opinion.  I'm stating my opinion based on my reasoning, but I have not insisted that anyone accept it just because I said so.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #81 on: April 06, 2012, 02:58:33 PM »
Quote from: jaimehlers
How, exactly, am I supposed to show evidence regarding a purely hypothetical situation?
Here's a reasonable argument, to show why your opinion is wrong.

If someone cloned you when you were born and moved the other you, to the other side of the world. At the age of thirty you both meet would that person be anything like you, the answers is No! We are the sum of our experiences, You may have a few things in common but you don't have the same thoughts, feeling or experiences, this is why you can't possible say that Hitler or Andrea Yates etc... Would have been the same without there religion. or even things would have happened anyway, you're being short-sighted if you think that.

Unless they were brought up exactly the same way without religious influence and had the same influences from their peers, they would not have been the same person,[1] it is nonsensical to even suggest they wouldn't.

It does appear to me that you're doing the same thing you're condemning Joe for. I seriously do think you are not getting the whole picture.
 1. everyday without religion would have to be exactly the same as a day with religion
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline rickymooston

Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #82 on: April 06, 2012, 03:36:44 PM »
My point is that to say that all of those events would have happened without religion is pretty far-fetched without some serious explanation which I have yet to see.

Joe:

1. The mother that drowned her kids. If the claim is that this is because of Christianity, that is a b.s. interpretation of Christianity and a retarded example. At least one mental illness, PTSD was mentioned here. I'd be shocked if something like schitzophrenia wasn't involved. Cray people have murdered people for other reasons

2. Hitler is a very retarded example. Hitler's crusade was about nationalism far more than religion.  Jews were viewed as being an "alien" racial culture. While he was obviously a "member of the Catholic church", its hardly the case he was evangilizing catholism. This is a retarded example.  Note: Hitler didn't give a flying f*ck whether a jew "converted" to christianitty or not;all he cared about was race. Hitler also murdered people of other races such as the Gypsies.

3. The crusades. The crusades were a reaction to the Muslim invasions which were partially motivated by religion. (Hint: Mohammad gained wealth out of the endeavor)  There certainly was a religious aspect to the conflict and certainly religion was involved in the recruitment on both sides. This is a good example

4. The Irish conflict and the 100 years years. These are good examples.
"i had learn to focus i what i could do rather what i couldn't do", Rick Hansen when asked about getting a disabling spinal cord injury at 15. He continues to raise money for spinal cord research and inspire peoople to "make a difference". He doesnt preach any religion.

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #83 on: April 06, 2012, 04:33:02 PM »
By the way, bertaberts, I loved the way you just couldn't stand to let me smite you without smiting me back.  Way to show maturity in how you respond to people you disagree with.  I especially found it amusing how you threw my very own words right back in my face, even though I actually did state my reasoning for most of what I said there, and as I already admitted twice, I misspoke in the first case.

Guess you sure showed me...though probably not at all in the way you intended.

Here's a reasonable argument, to show why your opinion is wrong.
I'll grant that it's a reasonable statement (having read it before I started responding), but you missed my point entirely, and thus your argument also misses the point.

Quote from: bertatberts
If someone cloned you when you were born and moved the other you, to the other side of the world. At the age of thirty you both meet would that person be anything like you, the answers is No! We are the sum of our experiences, You may have a few things in common but you don't have the same thoughts, feeling or experiences, this is why you can't possible say that Hitler or Andrea Yates etc... Would have been the same without there religion. or even things would have happened anyway, you're being short-sighted if you think that.
You really don't understand what I was trying to get at, do you?  Of course I know that things would have been functionally different without religion.  My point in making that statement was that the same kinds of things would have happened even without religion, in similar circumstances.  A woman like Andrea Yates, suffering from postpartum psychosis, could very well have murdered her children without the influence of religion; a man like Adolf Hitler, megalomaniacal and furious, could very well have become the leader of his country and worked out a program of mass genocide without religious belief ever becoming involved; and so on.  Yes, religion was a factor in all of those things I said in that post, and I don't deny it, but it was not the only factor, and we should not assume that taking it out would result in a better scenario.

What you are forgetting is that we're talking about a world where religion would have been suppressed before it influenced anything.  What that means is that it wouldn't have factored into anything major.  What that also means is that people would never have had the historical experience of people committing atrocities because "God" told them to do it.  Morality, reason, all of it, would have never had the example of religious belief to learn from.  And yet, you're backing up Joe's claim (by claiming that I hadn't thought this through very well) that we would have been better off without religion, despite not having any of the experiences of how easy it is to get people to do things using religious belief.

Not "could have been better", not "might have been better", "would have been better".  As if it was practically certain that if we ran through history again, with religion getting suppressed early on and naturalism taking its place, that history would have been better off.  Yes, maybe it would have been better, since we can't know for sure without actually running through it.  But it could have been the same, generally (despite the fact that the actual events would have been different), and it could also have been worse.  I personally don't think it would have been, because I can't think of anything that would have more potentially-damaging persuasive power than religious belief, but I could easily be wrong there.  I would rather make the most pessimistic assumption I can think of and have it be better, than make an optimistic one and have it be worse, though of course it's not something we'll have to worry about.

Quote from: bertatberts
Unless they were brought up exactly the same way without religious influence and had the same influences from their peers, they would not have been the same person,[1] it is nonsensical to even suggest they wouldn't.
 1. everyday without religion would have to be exactly the same as a day with religion
And it is even more nonsensical to lecture someone because you took something too literally.  I find it astounding that you assumed that I meant things would have been exactly the same without religion.  Perhaps I wasn't especially clear on that point, but you still jumped to conclusions about what you thought I had to mean.

Quote from: bertatberts
It does appear to me that you're doing the same thing you're condemning Joe for. I seriously do think you are not getting the whole picture.
Wrong, and wrong.  First off, none of your statement here actually addressed the former, me doing the same thing I'm condemning Joe for.  Your actual argument here was about me supposedly not thinking this through well enough.  I think I've shown well enough that I've put plenty of thought into this, although I hadn't actually laid it all out like this before now.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #84 on: April 06, 2012, 04:48:24 PM »
By the way, bertaberts, I loved the way you just couldn't stand to let me smite you without smiting me back.  Way to show maturity in how you respond to people you disagree with.  I especially found it amusing how you threw my very own words right back in my face, even though I actually did state my reasoning for most of what I said there, and as I already admitted twice, I misspoke in the first case.
You gave me a negative Darwin with these words " Don't just state your opinion, explain your reasoning. "Which I found amusing considering I had stated in a previous post, that it was merely your opinion with no hint of evidence.
So it was only fair you received the same.
If I could have had your negative Darwin of me removed for unfairness, I would have. So my only recourse was to return the favour, was it not.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with maturity, just fairness.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #85 on: April 06, 2012, 05:38:24 PM »
You gave me a negative Darwin with these words " Don't just state your opinion, explain your reasoning. "Which I found amusing considering I had stated in a previous post, that it was merely your opinion with no hint of evidence.
So it was only fair you received the same.
If I could have had your negative Darwin of me removed for unfairness, I would have. So my only recourse was to return the favour, was it not.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with maturity, just fairness.
So, let's compare the two posts, shall we?

Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
You gave no reasons, no examples, just stated your opinion and left it at that.

Andrea Yates would have drowned her kids regardless of religion.  Hitler wouldn't have had a convenient religious sub-group to target, but he could certainly have targeted racial sub-types.  The Crusades were basically a kind of imperialism; you'll note that the Crusaders lived like kings in the Holy Land during the time they did conquer it, suggesting that piety was not exactly high on their list of priorities.  And 9/11 is a textbook example of "asymmetrical warfare", which certainly doesn't need religion.
As I've said before, the first one was a misspeak on my part.  But the rest I gave examples of how they could have related to non-religious things.  In other words, I did support what I was saying.

By the way, an excessive concern over "fairness" is usually a sign of immaturity.  I didn't give you a Darwin smack because I felt you were being unfair to Anfauglir, I gave you a Darwin smack because I felt that your attitude towards him, and later towards me, was very condescending.  You simply stated an opinion about Anfauglir's post without supporting it, and when he asked if you couldn't have explained Joe's point to him so he would have gotten it, you blew it off, apparently so that you could criticize me the same way.  Even then, I didn't smack you until you'd responded to me with an even more condescending attitude, blowing off my suggestion that you explain your reasoning when you're criticizing someone as a "strawman", claiming that I'd been engaging in the same behavior I was criticizing Joe about, and claiming that I'd not once given "evidence" for my opinion in this thread, even though I'd been supporting my posts in general.

So you smacked me back, which is your prerogative since it's your opinion.  Nonetheless, the main reason you smacked me, as you yourself admitted, is because you didn't feel it was fair that you got smacked, so you decided to smack me back and throw my words in my face, because you felt the two posts to be the same general thing.  Except that they clearly were not, as I've showed above.  So what we're left with is you being upset about the unfairness of being smacked and deciding to give one back in order to return the favor.  Not the best way to show maturity and dignity in an argument.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #86 on: April 06, 2012, 07:07:57 PM »
You gave me a negative Darwin with these words " Don't just state your opinion, explain your reasoning. "Which I found amusing considering I had stated in a previous post, that it was merely your opinion with no hint of evidence.
So it was only fair you received the same.
If I could have had your negative Darwin of me removed for unfairness, I would have. So my only recourse was to return the favour, was it not.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with maturity, just fairness.
So, let's compare the two posts, shall we?

Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
You gave no reasons, no examples, just stated your opinion and left it at that.

Andrea Yates would have drowned her kids regardless of religion.  Hitler wouldn't have had a convenient religious sub-group to target, but he could certainly have targeted racial sub-types.  The Crusades were basically a kind of imperialism; you'll note that the Crusaders lived like kings in the Holy Land during the time they did conquer it, suggesting that piety was not exactly high on their list of priorities.  And 9/11 is a textbook example of "asymmetrical warfare", which certainly doesn't need religion.
As I've said before, the first one was a misspeak on my part.  But the rest I gave examples of how they could have related to non-religious things.  In other words, I did support what I was saying.

By the way, an excessive concern over "fairness" is usually a sign of immaturity.  I didn't give you a Darwin smack because I felt you were being unfair to Anfauglir, I gave you a Darwin smack because I felt that your attitude towards him, and later towards me, was very condescending.  You simply stated an opinion about Anfauglir's post without supporting it, and when he asked if you couldn't have explained Joe's point to him so he would have gotten it, you blew it off, apparently so that you could criticize me the same way.  Even then, I didn't smack you until you'd responded to me with an even more condescending attitude, blowing off my suggestion that you explain your reasoning when you're criticizing someone as a "strawman", claiming that I'd been engaging in the same behavior I was criticizing Joe about, and claiming that I'd not once given "evidence" for my opinion in this thread, even though I'd been supporting my posts in general.

So you smacked me back, which is your prerogative since it's your opinion.  Nonetheless, the main reason you smacked me, as you yourself admitted, is because you didn't feel it was fair that you got smacked, so you decided to smack me back and throw my words in my face, because you felt the two posts to be the same general thing.  Except that they clearly were not, as I've showed above.  So what we're left with is you being upset about the unfairness of being smacked and deciding to give one back in order to return the favor.  Not the best way to show maturity and dignity in an argument.
And to write two extremely large posts explaining the reasons for said smites, isn't childish at all is it.

Very amusing indeed!

 
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12