Author Topic: A funny thing theists assume about atheists  (Read 4658 times)

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #87 on: April 06, 2012, 08:36:09 PM »
And to write two extremely large posts explaining the reasons for said smites, isn't childish at all is it.

Very amusing indeed!
*chuckles*  Oh, this is nothing for me as far as post size goes.  I've actually written a post so long in an argument that it hit the 30,000 character limit, and I had to split it up into two separate posts.

Anyway, there is little point in continuing to belabor this particular subject.  Did you want to discuss something else relating to this topic instead?

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #88 on: April 06, 2012, 10:27:04 PM »
Yes, it's possible that the world would have been just as bad without religion in the same sense that it's possible that the world would have been just as bad without Hitler. Perhaps someone even worse would have risen to power in his stead. We can not say for 100% certainty that would not have happened, but to assume that it would have happened simply because it's possible is folly.

Jamie has wavered back and force between saying similar bad things may have happened, similar bad things would have happened, and the exact same bad things would have happened, but anyway he's said that his position is the worst case scenario that even he doesn't believe is likely, but merely possible, which I freely admit, just as it's possible that I could get hit by a car while watching TV in my living room.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 10:36:09 PM by joebbowers »
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #89 on: April 06, 2012, 10:57:07 PM »
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

First, I'm not interpreting Christianity, I'm not sure what you mean by that. I'm not saying she just flipped open the bible to the section on drowning your kids and decided it was a good idea. Clearly your kneejerk defense of Christianity caused you to hit reply before actually reading my whole post.

The mental illness was PPD, postpartum depression, not PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. PPD is a deep depression following giving birth. There's no excuse for confusing the two as I wrote out 'postpartum depression' more times than I used the abbreviation. If you had been paying attention, you might have seen that her religious beliefs caused her to 1) stop taking doctor-prescribed anti-psychotic medication and 2) continue having children when she confided to her husband that she was afraid she might hurt them. Combine that with the psychotic violent imagery which she was indoctrinated to believe was very real (Satan, demons, and hell), hyper-active agent detection, fear, and guilt, that are all part and parcel of religion, and you've got a recipe for murder brewed up and served fresh by your friendly neighborhood Jesus.

Of course, anyone who had bothered to follow along with the class would have known that. As far as Hitler and the rest of your post. You obviously didn't read mine and I didn't find anything else worth responding to in yours that hadn't already been covered.
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #90 on: April 06, 2012, 11:06:05 PM »
I guess the one thing we could all agree on is that this whole tragedy could have been avoided had Jesus not taken that day as a Floating Stat.
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." -- Charlie Chaplin

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #91 on: April 06, 2012, 11:24:14 PM »
Yes, it's possible that the world would have been just as bad without religion in the same sense that it's possible that the world would have been just as bad without Hitler. Perhaps someone even worse would have risen to power in his stead. We can not say for 100% certainty that would not have happened, but to assume that it would have happened simply because it's possible is folly.

Jamie has wavered back and force between saying similar bad things may have happened, similar bad things would have happened, and the exact same bad things would have happened, but anyway he's said that his position is the worst case scenario that even he doesn't believe is likely, but merely possible, which I freely admit, just as it's possible that I could get hit by a car while watching TV in my living room.
No, I haven't "wavered" as you put it (EDIT - though I suppose you might think so, given how you accused rickymooston of writing a knee-jerk defense of Christianity, despite the fact that he wasn't "defending" Christianity but criticizing your statement about her religious beliefs leading directly to her murdering her children).  Quit misrepresenting my position to suit your convenience.  I've mentioned this before, as have other people, yet you don't say anything to acknowledge it and just keep doing it.  Do you seriously think that you aren't doing it despite being told repeatedly?  You don't accomplish anything by dismissing criticism about this from other people except to make yourself look bad, because it's a lot more obvious to people who are on the receiving end and even people who aren't.

You say that we can't claim with 100% certainty that something as bad or worse would not have happened and that it's folly to assume it would have happened.  Well, the same goes with thinking it would have been better.  You can't claim with 100% certainty that something better would have happened either, so is it not just as fallacious to assume it would have been, as you keep doing?  Yet you've said that you know it would have been better, such as in the case of Andrea Yates, yet your reasoning is based on two assumptions; first, that religion is a form of socially acceptable insanity, and second, that without religion, people would be inherently rational.  Neither assumption is particularly valid.  The first is little more than your opinion, and falls apart once you consider that it is perfectly possible for someone who is non-religious or atheistic to have a similar delusion[1] without being insane.  The second is in no way guaranteed; the ability to think critically and rationally is not an inherent trait, but a skill that must be trained, and unless it were to be systematically taught to people as a whole, there is no reason to assume that people in a non-religious society would necessarily be rational.

By the way, your response to rickymooston is a fairly good illustration of the problem I've seen with your reasoning.  What honestly makes you think that he was writing a knee-jerk defense of Christianity merely because he disagreed with your example about Andrea Yates?  If you can jump to an unwarranted conclusion such as this, that an atheist would write a knee-jerk defense of Christianity, what does that suggest about other conclusions you've come to, such as the scenario you sketched out about Yates which was based on you filling in the holes off of a Wikipedia summary with your own ideas about her religious beliefs?  Nothing good, I can say that much.
 1. that the way they think things are is an accurate representation of the way things actually are, even when they actually aren't
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 11:31:18 PM by jaimehlers »

Offline Azdgari

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #92 on: April 06, 2012, 11:50:06 PM »
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 ...

Is there any other kind?
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Offline rickymooston

Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #93 on: April 07, 2012, 01:48:28 AM »
Bert two of the examples you are poorly defending are retarded. Other than smiting and being sacastic, I dont see you making a positive discussion to the discussion so far

Viewing the Nazis as a primarliy religious movement is a retarded position is as retarded as the counter position that it is an atheistic movement. The Nazis were focused on Natiinalism and race. Their hatred of people of other races extended to several groups beyond the Jews.  While they psrticularly resented the German Jews and some of the backgroundvof that hatred did date back to a history of religiously motivatedvpogroms, they extended their hatred to blacks, to gypsies and in general to non aryans. 

Its certainly the case that religion hss been embroiled in several conflicts. Hover the gendral point made that other considerations are involved is true and the other side in the duscussion elaborated on that somewhat.

The laxy who drowned her kuds was bat shit crazy. Crazy peopke have been set off by all kidsvof things; e.g., movies, riliogions, novels, etc dtc

One of my friends was set off by rwi of my innocent remarks. The first was he needs vitamens to get healthy. And the second was me phoning ftom a government number. He was set off by movies and novels. Any inputs into hisvparanoid schitophrenic brain, fed into so.e of his drlusions or halicinations.

Sorry about the poor t yping. I am not used to a touch screen
"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.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #94 on: April 07, 2012, 08:56:43 AM »
I should clarify, regarding my last post, that "is there any other kind?" referred to bullshit interpretations of Christianity, not to mothers who drown their kids.  The bolding was Ricky's, not mine.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #95 on: April 07, 2012, 10:07:14 AM »
I should clarify, regarding my last post, that "is there any other kind?" referred to bullshit interpretations of Christianity, not to mothers who drown their kids.  The bolding was Ricky's, not mine.

Bwahaha, hilarious. I knew what you meant, but now that you pointed that out, I can see how some would be confused, and think you were saying that all mothers drown their kids. What a cynical bastard that would make you, haha.
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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #96 on: April 07, 2012, 11:42:47 AM »
Having gone over this thread again, I'm of the opinion that both Jaimehlers and Anfauglir[1] are proponents of Necessitarianism[2]

The reason I think this is because, to say something like Hitler would have still been the same person regardless of a religious upbringing is nonsensical to me.

If there were no religion it could possibly mean that 1, his parents may never have met, or 2, they were never repressed, none of the doctrines and tenets of religion would have effected their lives so the would not have been the same people, they therefore would have treated Hitler differently, he may have done things totally differently.
There are a myriad of possibilities and to deny all those possibilities, leaves one to determine (excuse the pun) that they must believe in necessitarianism.

The chances of the same thing happen to a person on the same day at the same time is impossible, and this is what they are asking us to believe. 
 1. Although Anfauglir has since changed his opinion to an extent
 2. The doctrine that all events, including acts of the will, are determined by antecedent causes. It is a metaphysical principle that denies all mere possibility.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

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Offline Timo

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #97 on: April 07, 2012, 11:47:11 AM »
Okay so...

Why do they hate westerners?
Would they have been inspired to hate them without religion?
Would they have been motivated to destroy them without believing it was God's will?
Would they have been able to motivate others to destroy them without convincing them it was God's will?
Would they have been able to convince other to become suicide bombers without convincing them that it was God's will, and promising them virgins and an eternal afterlife in paradise?

If yes to any of the above questions... evidence?

I'm not really all that confident in my ability to write compelling counterfactuals, but I would go as far as saying that our man joe is painting a rather simplistic picture of the al Quaeda network's motivations here.  Bin Laden was pretty clear in outlining his grievances with the US.  Though I would agree that, in his case in particular, and in the case of a lot of Muslims more broadly, these grievences were informed by their faith, you really didn't need to submit to Allah to share their opinion that they were legitimate grievances at the time.  So what were some of those grievences, you ask?  Good question.  Here's something from ye olde wiki machine:

In 1998, Al-Qaeda wrote, "for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples."

It's clearly the case that there is religious language being used, but the problem that is being highlighted is the nature of the relationship of the United States to Saudi Arabia, which is something that plenty of non-religious people also found to be problematic.  The same is true of a lot of his comments on Israel.  Also from the wiki:

n his November 2002 "Letter to America", bin Laden cited the United States' support of Israel as a motivation: "The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its price, and pay for it heavily."

Again, his problem here is the establishment of the state of Israel (and all of the conflicts with neighboring Arab states and the Palestinians that came with it).  While being a Muslim can certainly play into one's feelings about the Jewish state, one needn't be a Muslim to think that think that what Israel was doing and had done was deeply wrong.  For example, I know some Palestinians, Jordanians and Lebanese folks that are for the most part not very religious (and only a few are Muslim in the first place, most are marginally Christian or Druze) who have very little patience for anyone defending the Jewish state.  This has almost nothing to do with religion and really everything to do with their family's having been displaced by the establishment of the state of Israel and its subsequent conflicts with its neighbors.

Now, maybe it would have been the case that Bin Laden et al wouldn't have identified enough with the plights of Palestinians, Iraqis or his fellow Saudis to plot against the US were it not for his religion.  Maybe they would have instead pursued political solutions.  Some of my aforementioned friends, for example, participate in protests and other forms of activism (a lot of "awareness raising") but aren't interested in hurting anyone physically.  That could have been true of Bin Laden too.  I don't know.  And I don't think we really can know.  But I think it is the case that someone living in the Middle East at that time and especially today, no matter their religious affiliation, could probably find some good reasons to hate the United States, with or without religion.  We've done and continue to do terrible things in that part of the world. 

That obviously doesn't justify what's been done.  I'm just saying that it's not as if Bin Laden or anyone else in the region needed to dig into the Quran to find a reason to hate us.  And with that being the case, no they didn't need God to lead them to hate the West, to conclude that it needed to be destroyed, or persuade others that they too should be down with their cause.  In fact, I remember people having a sad about Noam Chomsky characterizing 9/11 as "blowback" back in 2001.

As for the last question, I'd say yes.  In Tunisia, a man named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest a government that routinely abused and extorted him, making it impossible to support his family.  About a dozen or so other men also burned themselves to protest their respective authoritarian regimes.  What these cases show is that if you back people into a corner, you can theoretically convince them to give up their lives since, in life, they weren't worth much.  Still, the 9/11 hijackers weren't exactly backed into a corner.  They were privilaged people, studying abroad.  So I'm not sure that this might apply to them.  Still, it's not as if privilaged people don't occasionally do what they think is right in spite of the fact that it might cost them their lives.  Track Palin, for example, was a privileged person if nothing else.  His mother was the governor of his state.  That did not stop him from enlisting and serving his country in Iraq.

So nah, this wasn't really as simple a thing as Bin Laden telling people that there's this God guy and he's super pissed at the West and if you follow him you get a bunch of virgins.  The West was doing things that legitimately angered Bin Laden and a lot of other folks in that region.  Bin Laden used a religious message to capitalize on those grievances.  But it's not as if those grievances wouldn't have existed without Islam. 

To sum this up, I think the good professor has it right:

But even in the Middle East, violent conflicts are not primarily religious. Religion is a way to identify your enemies, to encourage committment, and to rally your followers, but religious differences alone don't make people fight.

Indeed.

In any case, when I read this, I thought a little deeper and realized that this conversation can't go very far:

I just don't get how you can say things would have been exactly the same under wildly different circumstances. He was a "nut-job with an inferiority complex" because his drunk Roman Catholic father was a strict disciplinarian and beat him. Would his father have been the same man in a world without religion?

With this in mind, I think it's impossible to really make a compelling case one way or the other.  We can't really imagine what a world without religion would look like because we don't live in one.  It pervades our existence in a way that makes it difficult to isolate its influence and assess its harm.  If I were to point to any atheist doing anything wrong as a potential example of how humans can be nasty to each other independent of religious motivation, joe could just as easily point to some theist putting that idea in their head because ultimately, everyone operates in a space in which religion is there to influence them in some way, shape or form.  And even if I were to point to some ostensibly non-religious cultural factor, joe could still bring it back to religion if he felt like it, since it pervades every culture.

For example:

The Phelps' kids are raised to believe that "God hates Fags", if one of them were to murder a homosexual, how can you possibly say with such certainty that they would have done it anyway had they not been raised with those beliefs? What are the odds of an atheist murdering a homosexual because he or she a homosexual? It's possible, but to say that it is a certainty without explanation is completely ridiculous.

I'd point out first, that the odds of anyone, religious or otherwise, murdering a homosexual because they are homosexual is pretty slim in this country.

But to get to the heart of the matter, you don't need to be religious to be homophobic, even violently so.  I know this for a fact because I've never been particularly religious, but I was, at one point, particularly homophobic.  I'd say that it was cultural.  I grew up "knowing" that gay men weren't really men in the way that I was a man (at all of 16) and that gay women had just been messing with the wrong men.  Had they been messing with a real man, a man like me (at all of 16) they'd still be on the winning team.  I never went as far as physically bashing someone, but, if I'm being honest with myself, I don't think it would have been something that was completely off the table back then.  I was fucked up.

This had nothing to do with the church I grew up in, which I think technically considered homosexuality to be a sin if you were to look at its official doctrine but didn't really make a point of bringing that up.  I suppose that you could maybe argue that it might have been something I learned in the broader community I was raised in, which was largely religious and did include congregations that indeed promised hell-fire for sodemites and fornicators of all sorts.  I'm sure that's a big part of the story.  But I think that in my community in particular, a mostly black community, we have to also talk about the legacy of slavery and the apartheid state that followed.  I have no doubt that this also warps our views of what black men and women should be.  We occupy a strange place in the collective imagination of this country that I don't think is any less strange within the community itself.  I'm not sure how exactly to express it, but I felt like there was always this pressure to conform to some sort of essentialized version of blackness.  That sometimes had to do with religion.  We're definitely supposed to have us some church.  (Or at least the women are.)  But a lot of times it didn't.  My brother, for example, was often accused of acting white because he liked (and still likes) metal.  \m/  And on a sexual level, we assumed that we were nice with it in a way that white dudes just weren't.  And a lot of white women, as far as I could tell, seemed to have shared our assumption.  And it's that kind of thing that makes me wonder if homophobia would have just been a part of our culture even if white folks never gave us the Jesus, since being homosexual is definitely a deviation from this essentialized version of blackness.  But it's impossible to tell because it's impossible to isolate this experience from religion.

So yeah, I think that on the whole, I'm not prepared to say whether religion is something that's a net plus or a net negative for humanity.  It's true that it can fascilitate hate and war, but it can also foster community and charity.  It's also certainly true that we humans are capable of doing all of these things without religion or a religious justification.  On the whole, as a guesstemation, I'd lean towards net negative personally, if for no other reason then religion can shame like nobody's business, but I tend to share some of jaimehlers' cynicism.  It seems likely that religion is just one tool that we use to build and destroy communities.  It could be the case that even if it were somehow rooted out, we'd just zero in on something else--like ethnicity or nationalism--organize ourselves around that and be just as cruel to each other.  There's not really a way to know.  It's been a part of us for as long as we've been around.

So I think that kcrady has it right when he writes that a world without religion is a world in which our nature is fundamentally different.  With respect to his alternative scenario, I'd quibble some.  He writes:

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 that our war on terror, as well as our war on drugs are good examples of our ever present capacity to talk ourselves into some large scale and pretty appauling acts of violence based on mostly secular arguments.  I mean, joe is correct in writing that Bush claimed to be guided by God in the Iraq War.  But it's important to remember that this is not how the war was sold to the people at large or to those in power.  We were supposed to be shitting our pants over yellow cake.  And it's perhaps even more important to remember that people on Bush's national security team had been committed to removing Saddam Hussein and other heads of so-called rogue states from power long before GW so much as announced his candidacy.  (See: the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance)  And our drone war in particular is a good example of how some pretty bad things can be done without much of a need to be justified to the public in the first place.  How many people know that we're bombing people in Yemen and Somalia?  How many people would even care if they did?

And nah, the Aztecs were mostly sacrificing warriors from rival tribes.  Even if no one ever dreamed up the need to pull dudes' hearts out they chest like Johny Cage, it would have most likely been the case that warriors from rival tribes would have been killed or enslaved by the Aztecs in some less dramatic fashion.  That said, I don't think anyone would have been offering their crying children to Tialoc in the hope that it could rain.

As for the Communists, they make me think maybe there's just something in us that will always make us capable of doing all the sorts of harm to ourselves that religion does without a deity.  Rejecting science, for example, is problematic.  And it doesn't matter if your reason for rejecting it is on the grounds that it contradicts the first chapters of Genesis or that it is somehow "bourgeois."  The communists show us that we can be cruel, anti-scientific and completely terrible to each other all while patting ourselves on the back for at least overcoming superstition.

Also:

Do you believe in God? You are not Jewish. You are of middle-eastern or north African descent. If you participate in Jewish cultural festivals, that still doesn't make you Jewish.

A lot of atheists decorate Christmas trees and hide eggs for their kids at Easter. That doesn't make us Christians, it only means we grew up in Christian culture.

I think that might have something to do with where these Christmas loving atheists are living.  My guess would be the Americas or Europe, where Christians constitute the vast majority of people.  My guess is that if they were say, Palestinians that came from Christian families, they'd still identify themselves as Christian even if they didn't accept Jesus as their personal Lord and savior.  In that case, and in the case of a lot of Christians around the world, the label "Christian" is indicitive of a deeper group identity that goes beyond some personal belief.  And even among Christians in Christian-majority places, you'll still find plenty of people that identify as Catholic or Protestant even if they're not religious.  And that's because these labels aren't always about religion.  They can be ethnic signifyers too. 

So no.  The word Jewish can describe a member of the Jewish faith.  But it can also describe someone who is ethnically Jewish. 

Also also:

Chag Sameach


Peace
pero ya tu sabes...

Offline Timo

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #98 on: April 07, 2012, 11:48:23 AM »
Also also also:

I completely agree with joe about ricky's use of the word "retarded."  Dude, build your vocabulary.
pero ya tu sabes...

Offline rickymooston

Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #99 on: April 07, 2012, 12:48:20 PM »
Joe, thanks for the smite. I agree some variety is required in my vocabulary.

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 ...

Is there any other kind?

I subscribe to the idea that while there are areas that are open to several reasonable interpretations, common themes exist and that one can reasonably apply the term unChristian in some cases.

Ironically, I do feel many or most Christian societies felt short. The topic of this and Spag might make quite a thread.

The book true Christianity touches most of the themes i think belong but its probably wrong on the trinity. I am unconvinced that the doctrine of the trinity is on solid ground.

I wish i could say slavery wasnt condoned but clearly the Christian biblical view was that the slave master could be a Christian and the Christian slave was obligated to be a goid slave ...
"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.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #100 on: April 07, 2012, 01:40:52 PM »
Having gone over this thread again, I'm of the opinion that both Jaimehlers and Anfauglir[1] are proponents of Necessitarianism[2]
 1. Although Anfauglir has since changed his opinion to an extent
 2. The doctrine that all events, including acts of the will, are determined by antecedent causes. It is a metaphysical principle that denies all mere possibility.
*facepalm*

If you had seen Anfauglir and I debating the possibility of free will, you would know how utterly silly this pronouncement is.

Your opinion here is not based on taking a fresh second look at the thread and coming up with a new explanation, it's just dressing up the old one with some fancy terminology to make it sound better.  Furthermore, the way you're presenting this is very condescending.  Your opinion isn't made of gold, and you aren't on a pedestal, so don't act like you're benevolently "deigning" to hand it down to us as if it's of special significance.

Quote from: bertatberts
The reason I think this is because, to say something like Hitler would have still been the same person regardless of a religious upbringing is nonsensical to me.
It is also nonsensical to come up with an exaggerated caricature of someone's opinion (like this) and then draw conclusions about the person based on it.

Quote from: bertatberts
If there were no religion it could possibly mean that 1, his parents may never have met, or 2, they were never repressed, none of the doctrines and tenets of religion would have effected their lives so the would not have been the same people, they therefore would have treated Hitler differently, he may have done things totally differently.
There are a myriad of possibilities and to deny all those possibilities, leaves one to determine (excuse the pun) that they must believe in necessitarianism.
*facepalm again*

Did you actually reread the thread, or did you just go over it in your mind?  I ask because I do not understand how you could possibly have come up with such a distorted idea of what I was talking about if you'd actually taken the time to reread my posts.  Such as #66, where I specifically stated that a world where religion had never come to prominence would have lots of differences from this one, but that I did not consider it valid to assume that it would have been less violent.

Quote from: bertatberts
The chances of the same thing happen to a person on the same day at the same time is impossible, and this is what they are asking us to believe.
Except that my argument was not that at all, which is why I think you're just dressing your previous opinion up a bit to make it sound better.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #101 on: April 07, 2012, 02:06:04 PM »
Joe, thanks for the smite. I agree some variety is required in my vocabulary.

If that's not sarcasm then I'll have to admit I really respect you for this admission. A good friend of mine is mentally retarded and I hate it when people use the term derogatorily.

I have more to respond to but it's 3 AM here and the wife is getting angry. I'll write up those responses tomorrow.
"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 Azdgari

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #102 on: April 07, 2012, 02:23:14 PM »
Knowing Ricky, it's not sarcasm.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #103 on: April 07, 2012, 04:36:06 PM »

Your opinion here is not based on taking a fresh second look at the thread and coming up with a new explanation, it's just dressing up the old one with some fancy terminology to make it sound better.
In post #11 you stated that "Andrea Yates would have drowned her kids regardless of religion."
How could you possibly make that determination without thinking that a predetermined cause was in effect.   
And in regard to you stating "Hitler wouldn't have had a convenient religious sub-group to target, but he could certainly have targeted racial sub-types." Again how could you make that determination without thinking that it was predetermined, what and how Hitler would act.

In post #15 you stated that "My point is that whichever atrocity you pick, there's a way it (or something similar) could have happened without religious ideology." without a predetermined cause this would be impossible, thus again your thinking must be that of Necessitarianism.

In post #33 Anfauglir stated "Hitler WOULD have still hated: he was a nut-job with a deep inferiority complex who wanted to rule." this also makes the assumption that it was predetermined he was going to be evil.

Then in post #62 You make the suggestion that Joe is doing this "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" whereas I believe this is what you are doing given the above posts I've quoted. I've not seen Joe do this, far from it.

Joe replied to that post with this post#65 "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?"

Then we find in post #88 Joe again states "Jamie has wavered back and force between saying similar bad things may have happened, similar bad things would have happened, and the exact same bad things would have happened, but anyway he's said that his position is the worst case scenario that even he doesn't believe is likely, but merely possible, which I freely admit, just as it's possible that I could get hit by a car while watching TV in my living room." Even Joe I would assume is thinking you believe in some kind of predetermination. just from his replies to you.

No sir I came to my conclusion reading through the thread again.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 04:38:34 PM by bertatberts »
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 nogodsforme

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #104 on: April 07, 2012, 05:23:42 PM »
I don't think that most people truly believe in the religion they claim to follow. That is the reason for SPAG-- everyone has to create a way to practice that makes sense in the real world, as opposed to what the sacred texts say. Can you really go around in most societies, killing people for eating the wrong foods or wearing the wrong clothing (as long as it's not a hoodie  >:(...) Not for long.

For what it's worth, that has made the world better off than if people had really believed..... :o
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #105 on: April 07, 2012, 06:19:58 PM »
In post #11 you stated that "Andrea Yates would have drowned her kids regardless of religion."
How could you possibly make that determination without thinking that a predetermined cause was in effect.
I'm getting really tired of you harping on this particular statement.  How many times do I have to say, "I misspoke about this", before you get it?  You aren't accomplishing anything by continuing to bring it up except to irritate me and demonstrate that you aren't really interested in anything except trying to "prove" you're right.

Quote from: bertatberts
And in regard to you stating "Hitler wouldn't have had a convenient religious sub-group to target, but he could certainly have targeted racial sub-types." Again how could you make that determination without thinking that it was predetermined, what and how Hitler would act.
Same song, second verse.  Doesn't work any better now than it did the first time.  A person's father doesn't have to be religious to be a strict disciplinarian who beats his children; a person doesn't have to be religious to be pissed off at the world; a person doesn't have to be religious to see a chance to seize power; and a person doesn't have to be religious to use a relatively weak group as a scapegoat, and purposefully kill them off because of deep-seated hatred.  Is it certain?  Of course not.  But put someone under the same kind of circumstances as Hitler faced, without religion, and I think it would be pretty likely that they would have followed a similar path as Hitler, especially if the world had never had to deal with someone like that before.

Quote from: bertatberts
In post #15 you stated that "My point is that whichever atrocity you pick, there's a way it (or something similar) could have happened without religious ideology." without a predetermined cause this would be impossible, thus again your thinking must be that of Necessitarianism.
This is complete nonsense as an argument.  I said that you could find a non-religious cause for an atrocity, and you conclude that it's impossible to do so without a predetermined cause?  Yes, that makes lots of sense[1].  You do know that you can generally figure out possible causes from the effect, right?

Quote from: bertatberts
In post #33 Anfauglir stated "Hitler WOULD have still hated: he was a nut-job with a deep inferiority complex who wanted to rule." this also makes the assumption that it was predetermined he was going to be evil.
I'm not Anfauglir, so I can't speak for him, but I think you're being absurdly literal here.

Quote from: bertatberts
Then in post #62 You make the suggestion that Joe is doing this "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" whereas I believe this is what you are doing given the above posts I've quoted. I've not seen Joe do this, far from it.
Given that you apparently missed me saying that I misspoke about the original statement I made about Andrea Yates four or five times now, given your ridiculous argument that my statement that Hitler could have used racial groups instead of religious ones had to have been predetermined, given your nonsensical argument that you have to have a predetermined cause in order to know that an atrocity would come from it, I am not especially impressed with your powers of deduction here and don't trust your opinion.

Quote from: bertatberts
Joe replied to that post with this post#65 "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?"
Except that Joe has been arguing all through this thread that without religion, various atrocities wouldn't have been committed, and things would have been better all around for the human species.  He illustrated this in his original post here by stating, "You think Andrea Yates would have drowned her kids without religion? You think Hitler would have tried to annihilate the Jews without religion? The Crusades? 9/11?"  And no, I did not claim that Joe was arguing based on Necessitarianism as you are now, my argument was that he was making predictions about what would have happened if religion hadn't been a factor in those cases and presumably many others, and I did not consider those predictions to be particularly valid.

Quote from: bertatberts
Then we find in post #88 Joe again states "Jamie has wavered back and force between saying similar bad things may have happened, similar bad things would have happened, and the exact same bad things would have happened, but anyway he's said that his position is the worst case scenario that even he doesn't believe is likely, but merely possible, which I freely admit, just as it's possible that I could get hit by a car while watching TV in my living room." Even Joe I would assume is thinking you believe in some kind of predetermination. just from his replies to you.
Why am I not surprised that you pulled out Joe's accusation that I was "wavering"?  And I think you're jumping to conclusions.  First off, the only time I've said anything like "the exact same bad things would have happened" was in my first statement about Andrea Yates, which I already admitted to misspeaking about.  So that is irrelevant.  As for the other two, Joe stated that if I had said that bad things would have happened without religion, he would have agreed with me; his specific concern was his understanding that I had said Andrea Yates, Hitler, the Crusades, and 9/11 would still have happened.  Except that if you look at my original statement, the only thing I said would have happened the same was Andrea Yates, which I've said several times already was a misspeak on my part; Joe and kcrady both called it out, which ultimately led to me admitting that I misspoke about her, back on page 2, reply #33.  The other parts were that Hitler could have used racial groups instead, that the Crusades were a kind of imperialism, and that 9/11 was basically asymmetrical warfare.

Quote from: bertatberts
No sir I came to my conclusion reading through the thread again.
No, sir, you at most skimmed it over and picked out stuff that supported your existing argument, and dressed it up to look a little better.  The fact that you missed a number of things which didn't support your argument strongly suggests that you were not interested in making a serious reevaluation of your opinion here, but only in confirming what you already thought was true.
 1. sarcasm

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #106 on: April 08, 2012, 12:41:59 PM »
Ugh... I've been putting this off but it has to be done. I deserve a darwin for the copy and paste hell I'm about to go through, not to mention re-reading this entire thread to compile this list...

Jamie, this is why I said you were wavering:

First you suggest that the same events would have occurred:
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.

Then you clarify your position to say that similar events might have occurred:
My point is that whichever atrocity you pick, there's a way it (or something similar) could have happened without religious ideology.  That doesn't mean I think religion is an acceptable excuse for those atrocities, though.
and again here:
The fact that religion can cause harm in no way suggests that religion is the only thing that can cause that kind of harm.  Religion is often a convenient excuse for that sort of thing, but it is wrong to conclude that without religion, that some other excuse couldn't have been found instead.

Both of which I agree with, by the way. But in the next one you again suggest that similar things can happen but return back to specifically stating that Andrea Yates might have happened anyway. A seemingly reasonable enough conclusion, as I hadn't yet given a thorough explanation of why I believed her religion was responsible, but that also implies you don't know anything about her case and are in no position to judge my understanding of it.

This is part of what I meant by saying that you aren't thinking clearly about this.  I'm quite sure there have been other mothers who have murdered their children without using religion (or demons, or Satan...) as an excuse.  All it takes is lack of empathy to allow that.  And even leaving that aside, you've already admitted that you don't actually know what caused her insanity.  You've suggested that it's related to her religion; what's your basis for this?  Unless you have hard evidence to support it, you're shooting in the dark.

Then, after I specifically outlined the course of events that lead her to drown her children, how her religion was clearly the anvil that broke the camel's back, and how even in her own words she admitted as much, you post this:

I don't accept joebbowers's presumption that religion was the direct cause of Andrea Yates's insanity and decision to kill her children.

Your reasoning:
As for Yates, she was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.  It's important to note that this is a general category of mental illnesses that come about after childbirth, and there is no causal link between them and religious belief.  In other words, postpartum psychosis is something that can and does affect a number of women who have given birth, regardless of their religious beliefs or even if they have religious beliefs.  I don't deny that her religious beliefs affected her actions, however, I don't think that one can legitimately say that religious belief is the deciding factor either. 

I had already explained that she 1) knew she was predisposed to postpartum depression 2) knew there was a danger of hurting her children if she got pregnant again 3) stopped taking her anti-psychotic medication against her doctor's advice in order to get pregnant again due to her Quiverfull religious beliefs. There is even more to it than that, but I've already explained it at length, I won't repeat myself further.

Bert's assessment of your thought process may have some merit here. I believe you are assuming it must have ended this way, and looking for any possible excuse to back that up, instead of acknowledging the simple fact that if she had made different choices at any of the crossroads leading up to that day, the end result would have been different.

Later in the same post, you restate your believe that the same events may/would have happened anyway:
As for the other points joe commented on, perhaps he should go back and reread my post.  What I said is that Hitler could have targeted racial sub-types if he had not had a religious sub-group to target; the Crusades were a kind of imperialism and thus piety was not especially high on their list of priorities; and 9/11 was an example of asymmetric warfare which does not require religious belief.

I lost interest in your line of debate here though, where you admitted that your position was little more than theoretical and that you were essentially playing devil's advocate. I'm not interested in debating the remotely possible.

The difference between my attitude and yours is that I'm making a worst-case assumption, knowing full well that it probably wouldn't have been that bad.

Of course, then you went from 'worst-case, probably wouldn't' talk to:

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.

So we've rather quickly gone from probably wouldn't have back to probably would have, and re-affirming your belief that the same specific events would have happened, including Andrea Yates:

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".

I linked the Wikipedia article about her, which is thoroughly sourced. In addition to that I read several other articles about her from other websites. It seems that you're attacking Wikipedia's credibility here in order to ignore my argument and continue to support your conclusion that things would have happened the same way had she not been religious.

Andrea Yates' case is not ancient history, and it is well documented. It is not difficult to piece together a fairly accurate timeline based on alternative choices she may have made. While it's impossible to know for sure which I freely admit, every time you take religion out of the equation whenever she made a choice, her path leads farther and farther from what actually happened. For you to ignore that and continue to assume the end result would have been the same despite different choices made is not only dishonest but as Bert has suggested, downright Necessitarian.

Then again stating that similar bad things may have happened with no mention of my examples:
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.

Then this:

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

This ignores the fact that her religion caused her postpartum depression to become as bad as it was.

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.

And this ignores the likelihood that his anger and hatred were religiously inspired, and that he may not have been able to raise such an army and convince people to commit genocide without religion. This is truly Necessitarianism. Don't just dismiss this but look at your own words, you're assuming that he would have been "megalomaniacal and furious" without religion, based on what? Because you already have a conclusion and you're working backwards. You know what happened and you assume that you can remove as many of the pieces of the Jenga tower as you like and it won't fall over, because it is, in fact, what happened. The problem is that it's not a Jenga tower, it's a roadmap, and one different turn would have led to a whole different series of choices.

I hope you can see why I accused you of wavering. In fact I still don't know whether you're just playing devil's advocate and suggesting a worst-case scenario that you don't even believe in, or whether you actually believe Andrea Yates, Hitler, the Crusader or 9/11 would have happened in a world without religion, or similar events would have occurred or similar events may have occurred.
"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 rickymooston

Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #107 on: April 08, 2012, 01:15:07 PM »
If you had been paying attention, you might have seen that her religious beliefs caused her to 1) stop taking doctor-prescribed anti-psychotic medication and 2) continue having children when she confided to her husband that she was afraid she might hurt them.

Well, the thing is, all kinds of idealogical influences cause people to do stupid things such as not taking their medication. There are people who don't take their medications because of scientology because of their culture, people of self-denial and a number of other things. Even some medical doctors deny mental health conditions exist and actively misuse science to try convincing people of this.

I have a friend with schitzophrenia. He is in denial somewhat but he takes his meds in order to "sleep better". Its not easy to admit you have a genetic disease that causes you to see things that aren't there, that interferes with your ability to think logically and that makes your disfunctional whenever you have an "episode".

Knowing Ricky, it's not sarcasm.

You are correct. His point of critism of my writing was legit, lol. I didn't really think about sensitivity towards the mentally handicapped and indeed the term retarded is far more often employed against people who don't have an excuse for the lack of thought they employ. In actual fact, I've never used the term retarded on a mentally handicapped person ...  :o

I have more to respond to but it's 3 AM here and the wife is getting angry.

Um, if you are ignoring your wife to respond to stupidity on the internets, then she should indeed get angry. If my wife was here, there is no way in hell, I'd neglect her in order to endulge my addiction to philosophy.
"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.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #108 on: April 08, 2012, 05:03:40 PM »
Alright, so.  First off, the points you noted about me changing what I said are not actual changes in what I think or thought, but rather being a little sloppy with grammar.  It's not something I always notice because it doesn't usually matter.  In this case it did, and I should have been more careful.

Bert's assessment of your thought process may have some merit here. I believe you are assuming it must have ended this way, and looking for any possible excuse to back that up, instead of acknowledging the simple fact that if she had made different choices at any of the crossroads leading up to that day, the end result would have been different.
This is incorrect.  One of my favorite book series is the 1632 alternate universe series written by Eric Flint.  The premise is that a 20th century West Virginia town is transplanted to the middle of 17th century Germany, during the Thirty Years War, and then moving forward from there.  One of the points made several times in the series is that expecting the same events to happen after such a drastic change is completely foolhardy, and it also makes fun of the tendency of everyone and their brother to use the future history brought back to try to predict events.  There's a very amusing scene near the end of 1633 where the Earl of Wentworth is trying to talk King Charles out of fleeing London because of a disease outbreak, and Charles tries to browbeat Wentworth with the fact that no such outbreak was mentioned in the copies of history books he'd acquired.  When Wentworth tries to explain that they had already brought thousands of mercenary soldiers to England, some of whom would certainly have been infected with the diseases from the mainland, and thus the books would not have been able to write about such an outbreak, Charles and his wife run right over him with more protestations that there was nothing written in the books about the plague outbreak.

Even if I had a tendency towards Necessitarianism as bertaberts suggested (and I didn't, and don't), this would have kicked it in the teeth.  There is no way that I would not have learned from the example of a peevish and stupid man being such an utter fool not to realize that if you make one change, it will beget others whether you want it to or not.  You can't just make the one change you want and expect that nothing else will change because of it.

Now, as for Andrea Yates, perhaps I had better explain my reasoning some more.  This was never about me thinking that no matter what she did or didn't do, believed or didn't believe, she would still have ended up acting in the same way.  This was about my own understanding of her case, which is that her religious beliefs had an effect on her actions, but her unconscious desires had a much stronger effect.  Had she not been religious, of course things would have changed.  Would they have changed enough to negate her desire for more children that led her further into postpartum psychosis?  That's what I'm questioning.  I got the impression from her case, and what you said about it, that she was trying to justify her actions after-the-fact with her religious beliefs.  This is a fairly common phenomenon, people will do something without thinking and then try to rationalize it afterward.  Now, I'll grant, I'm not a psychologist, and I haven't studied her case, so my opinion about it may not be very accurate.  However, trying to determine what someone would have done if you had changed X, or Y, about them, is always perilous, especially if one only has a cursory understanding about her life and history.

So no, I don't think she absolutely would have drowned her children no matter what, but I think it's pretty likely that she would have, unless you change her enough so that she's a dramatically different person.  And I just don't think subtracting her religious beliefs would have been enough of a difference.  SPAG, remember?  A person's religious beliefs are largely things that the person already thinks or believes that they have rationalized "God" into supporting as well.  So I think her desire for more children would have been present even if she hadn't been religious, and I think it may very well have been strong enough to provoke her into making the same fatal mistakes.

It isn't even slightly about Necessitarianism, in other words.  I'd never really heard about it before bertabert mentioned it, and I was thoroughly unimpressed when I read about it.  As I illustrated above, I already considered the idea to be quite ridiculous several years before I ever joined this site, and I've seen nothing since to make it anything resembling believable.

The same thing applies with Hitler.  What I said earlier still applies - you don't have to be religious to do what he did.  Change things so that religion isn't a part of his life, and perhaps he might not have...but perhaps he might still have, if his father had still been an authoritarian disciplinarian regardless of religion.  Or someone else might have instead, who had similar things happen which were not based on religion that drove them into making many of the same decisions.  Like I said earlier, change begets change, and while some changes are obvious, others are not.  I just don't think we can say that there wouldn't have been a Holocaust-style atrocity at some point, regardless of whether it was because of Hitler or because of someone else.  To put it another way, even if you treat history like traveling from one place to another and take a different turn at one point, you can still end up going over much of the same terrain, or potentially even worse terrain, depending on where you turn.

Quote from: joebbowers
I hope you can see why I accused you of wavering. In fact I still don't know whether you're just playing devil's advocate and suggesting a worst-case scenario that you don't even believe in, or whether you actually believe Andrea Yates, Hitler, the Crusader or 9/11 would have happened in a world without religion, or similar events would have occurred or similar events may have occurred.
Well, I hope I explained the "wavering" well enough to you.  As for the other part of what you said here, I think many similar things would have happened in a world beyond religion.  Not the exact same ones, of course, because making a change early enough (say in Pharaohic Egypt, as kcrady suggested) would have rearranged things so thoroughly that they wouldn't even come close to resembling the world we live in today.  My thinking, though, is that people being people, you can still assume there would have been plenty of bloodshed and plenty of atrocities committed because of other ideologies without religious belief stirred in the mix.  Maybe it would have been better, maybe it would have been worse.  I don't think you can assume either, though it's also wrong to assume it would have been about the same.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #109 on: April 08, 2012, 10:47:36 PM »
Well, the thing is, all kinds of idealogical influences cause people to do stupid things such as not taking their medication. There are people who don't take their medications because of scientology because of their culture, people of self-denial and a number of other things. Even some medical doctors deny mental health conditions exist and actively misuse science to try convincing people of this.

I already explained how her Quiverfull religious belief made her stop taking her medication. Many times. Clearly. In her own words, she admitted it. Which you continue to ignore. Look Ricky, I get it. You're a Christian, you're going to defend it no matter what. You'll ignore the evidence, sidestep the hard questions, and then claim victory. Nobody expects intellectual honesty from you, we know that you're delusional and don't have much capacity for reason. You're welcome to participate, and we appreciate your perspective, but you will never win a debate here because you're on the team with faith and we're on the team with evidence.

Um, if you are ignoring your wife to respond to stupidity on the internets, then she should indeed get angry. If my wife was here, there is no way in hell, I'd neglect her in order to endulge my addiction to philosophy.

Aah judgement, invading others personal lives, smells like Christian Spirit.

Who said anything about neglect? She's been playing a computer game. She just wants to get laid. How about you keep your nose out of other people's relationships, ok?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 10:57:28 PM by joebbowers »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #110 on: April 09, 2012, 09:09:06 AM »
Actually, rickymooston has described himself as an atheist.  Specifically, here.  He talked about what he enjoyed, past tense, as a Christian, and shortly after said talked about being an atheist in the present tense.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #111 on: April 10, 2012, 08:30:26 AM »
The same thing applies with Hitler.  What I said earlier still applies - you don't have to be religious to do what he did.  Change things so that religion isn't a part of his life, and perhaps he might not have...but perhaps he might still have, if his father had still been an authoritarian disciplinarian regardless of religion........

From an article on our branch website.....http://www.pcs-southend.org.uk/
Quote from: The Holocaust Rehearsed

In 1939 Adolf Hitler authorised Aktion-T4 a programme of mass-murder targeting disabled people. Although Aktion-T4 killed more than 250 000 people this portion of history is often overlooked if not completely forgotten.

Under the T4 disabled people were transported to ‘Killing Centres’ in ‘Death Buses’ in their thousands, so why isn’t more known about what became a rehearsal for the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution?’
.....
It was a small act of resistance by disabled people in the town of Absberg that seemingly brought an end to T4. The night before their removal to a killing centre the disabled people of the Absberg holding centre, who had socialised with the townsfolk, knocked on doors to say good-bye. Unfortunately they were unable to prevent their own murders but the residents were so outraged at what had happened it led to the intervention of Bishop Van Galen and ultimately to the cancellation of T4.
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 kcrady

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #112 on: April 14, 2012, 04:08:15 AM »
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.

The premise here seems to be that people will inherently and inevitably commit some certain number of atrocities per capita, so that if one motivation (e.g. religion) is removed, others (pillage, cannibalism, nationalism, whatever) will increase, and/or new motivations will be invented to restore the atrocity equilibrium.  I am not persuaded.  I think Steven Pinker's research, detailed in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined provides strong evidence that there is no "atrocity equilibrium" that "human nature" compels us to remain at or exceed.  If there is no determining factor that forces us to maintain some particular level of violence and atrocity and invent "reasons" for it post hoc, then removing one of the motivations (religion) should generate improvement.  So far you have not shown why this would not be the case.

Do you have any evidence that in the absence of religion, nationalism, racism, newly-invented ideologies, sports rivalries, etc., would increase their role as atrocity-motivators to take up the slack?  If so, this principle should also apply to the reduction or removal of non-religious atrocity motivators.  For example, what has replaced racism as the motivation for lynchings in the South, and if it isn't blacks being lynched (because racism was the motivation for targeting them in particular), who is being lynched (or killed in some new way) in their place?
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #113 on: April 14, 2012, 09:31:50 AM »
kcrady:  However, I'm not trying to argue for some kind of atrocity equilibrium.  Human nature compels us to do what we feel we must in order to survive and prosper, and we've developed so that charismatic leaders can exert a considerable amount of influence on us.  If those charismatic leaders argue that we must commit atrocities in order to survive and prosper[1], many people who are under the sway of those leaders will buy into it.  Not all, certainly, but enough to make it a very real possibility.  Now, it's true that a lot of those charismatic leaders have used "God" to bolster their own charisma.  But I don't think they need it to gull people into following their schemes.

As far as the decrease in atrocities goes, I'd argue that there are two primary reasons for this; atrocities are becoming more visible, and our sense of empathy is widening.  For the first, let's compare the Thirty Years War with World War II, since both wars had a huge amount of civilian deaths.  Yet, the civilian deaths in the Thirty Years War were largely invisible.  They weren't systematic either - they were generally the result of individual groups of soldiers on forage expeditions, or the sacks of cities.  And the news of them generally did not spread fast, if at all.  Sacks of cities, perhaps, such as the Sack of MagdeburgWiki, but I'd wager the majority of the civilian deaths in that war happened to people who did not live in a major city.  In other words, while the atrocities happened, they weren't noticed for the most part.  By comparison, Hitler's systematic extermination of various groups he didn't like was kept hidden, but there was plenty of evidence that it was happening if you knew where to look.  And after the war, the true scope of the atrocity was too visible to ignore.

That's all for now.
 1. I would argue that their arguments are actually based on the charismatic leader gaining or keeping power rather than what the society needs

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #114 on: April 14, 2012, 10:21:42 AM »
Hitler attacked German/Ashkenazi Jews, because there was a load of intellectual Marxists within their ranks, who advocated violent revolt. Although Hitler was a socialist, and much of Germany's welfare system originates from him, he didn't like the Marxist perspective, so he killed them all. He harnessed people's natural tendency to kill Jews, or anyone educated.

Religion did directly cause this, because, as a tight-knit biblical group, the German Jews were taught to read at an early age, so they could read the bible. This raised their literacy rates, making them intellectual and rich. As such, they became a target who could be identified by their surnames.
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Offline jeremy0

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #115 on: April 15, 2012, 12:08:44 AM »
I am with my former book club buddy from England in that religion has caused more harm than it does good.

The problem is, you can't beat stupid.  And you can't argue with someone that has become intoxicated by their own religious leaders..
I am of the opinion that yes, most of the horrible shit that happened in history has had some form of religion behind it.  Even if it's devil-worship..
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