Author Topic: Atheists and the "Illuminati"  (Read 661 times)

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« on: July 18, 2013, 01:41:26 PM »
It seems to me that, were I a materialist, the question of God would be a fairly simple one: We can't have any direct evidence of the supernatural, therefor it's not even worth thinking about. However, conspiracy theories like the "Illuminati" the "international bankers" and all that could potentially be believed. I'm curious as to how a skeptic would view those theories.

I'm posting this assuming that most of you are familiar with the general premise of these assertions: IE: A clandestine group of the world's elite are trying to manipulate us through a series of elaborate hoaxes and control of the media, and they've faked.... well, basically every notable event since the turn of the last century from the moon landing to 9/11 to school shootings. 

My question to you is:

Does your rejection of these kinds of conspiracy theories come from the same thought process as your rejection of the idea of "god"? That is, in the case of conspiracy theories, is it merely that there is no evidence for any of this, or is it more than that?
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 01:55:20 PM »
This brings up an interesting related question: is it possible for a proper skeptic to be a theist?  My answer, with Matt Dillahunty, is no: skepticism, properly applied, inevitably leads to atheism.  The thing is, of course, that no skeptic is a perfect skeptic, as much as we would like to be, and as a result, there are some people who self-identify as skeptics but who are also theists.  (Or believers in ghosts, UFOs, et cetera et cetera.)

For my own part, since I do strive to be as good a scientific skeptic as I can, the main reasons for my rejection of supernatural claims are essentially the same as for my rejection of (most) conspiracy theories.  I am an evidentialist, so if you make a claim -- whatever the claim may be -- I will ask for your evidence.  Should none be offered, I will not accept the claim.
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Offline John 3 16

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2013, 02:21:37 PM »
Well, our beloved administrator Ambassador Pony has his personal text " illuminatus"

I am not sure if he is serious or not.
If he is serious, he would be the best nominee to ask answer a lot of questions relating "conspiracy theories".
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 02:37:16 PM by John 3 16 »
Are you a hatheist?  (hey-thee-ist)

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Offline El Guapo

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 02:59:18 PM »
It seems to me that, were I a materialist, the question of God would be a fairly simple one: We can't have any direct evidence of the supernatural, therefor it's not even worth thinking about. However, conspiracy theories like the "Illuminati" the "international bankers" and all that could potentially be believed. I'm curious as to how a skeptic would view those theories.

Considering the political, social and economic changes pursued/secured by religious groups, I would contend that belief in a deity would qualify as a conspiracy group as well.  Just one not as well cloaked and with a staggering number of global co-conspirators. Moreover, it would probably be more dangerous, impacting more people over a longer period of time than all the other conspiracies combined.   
Ultimately, atheists and other non-believers (or who believe in different deities) all suffer as a result of this Theist Conspiracy:  limited access to abortions, dumbing down of school curriculum, loss of tax revenues from Religious groups, wars, etc.

Online Azdgari

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 03:50:02 PM »
I am not sure if he is serious or not.

He's not.  It's a label that used to belong to the admins/mods(?) on the old forum this site had.  Pony was one of them.  It was a tongue-in-cheek sort of label.
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Offline Traveler

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 04:02:52 PM »
I am not sure if he is serious or not.

He's not.  It's a label that used to belong to the admins/mods(?) on the old forum this site had.  Pony was one of them.  It was a tongue-in-cheek sort of label.

^^^ This. I was one of them too. We did have some mod powers, though I don't recall us being all-powerful.  ;D
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 04:05:41 PM by Traveler »
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Offline wright

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 04:27:43 PM »
I'm posting this assuming that most of you are familiar with the general premise of these assertions: IE: A clandestine group of the world's elite are trying to manipulate us through a series of elaborate hoaxes and control of the media, and they've faked.... well, basically every notable event since the turn of the last century from the moon landing to 9/11 to school shootings. 

My question to you is:

Does your rejection of these kinds of conspiracy theories come from the same thought process as your rejection of the idea of "god"? That is, in the case of conspiracy theories, is it merely that there is no evidence for any of this, or is it more than that?

Interesting question. For the most part, yes: I reject conspiracy theories using the same process. If there really is some secret cabal in charge of world events, then they're doing a piss-poor job in most ways except one: suppressing or deflecting all evidence of their existence. Not unlike this all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful deity supposedly in charge of the universe who no longer appears in flaming topiary.

The world is too inefficiently managed for me to give credence that a single group is even trying to do so. At best, I think there are various competing groups (corporations, financial cartels, intelligence agencies) attempting to pursue their individual short-term goals and almost inevitably being exposed to public scrutiny.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 05:39:49 PM »
When I teach about the Middle East, a few students are almost compelled, it seems, to bring up the "worldwide Jewish conspiracy to control": the US, the government, the media, the banking system, Islam, etc. I ask for evidence, which usually turns out to be some badly-edited wing-nutty websites.

I tell them what my Jewish colleague says; if Jews had a fraction of the vast powers and resources they have been accused of, they might have been able to prevent or combat the persecution they have suffered over the past couple thousand years-- mainly at the hands of Christians.

This is not to say that the Israeli government hasn't been pretty savvy about manipulating the US to support it, but that is hardly a secret conspiracy...
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 05:41:23 PM by nogodsforme »
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.

Offline wright

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 07:21:18 PM »
^^^Exactly. If there were an actual Illuminati of whatever persuasion, most if not all of history would be vastly different. I just can't see how historical events (taken as a whole since, say, the invention of agriculture) have consistently favored any particular group, let alone the Jews.

Though those committed to conspiracy theories have no trouble rationalizing such inconsistencies.
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Offline Betelnut

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 07:36:19 PM »

My question to you is:

Does your rejection of these kinds of conspiracy theories come from the same thought process as your rejection of the idea of "god"? That is, in the case of conspiracy theories, is it merely that there is no evidence for any of this, or is it more than that?

Yes, same thought process.  It is called a "bullshit detector."

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 11:51:24 PM »
^^^Exactly. If there were an actual Illuminati of whatever persuasion, most if not all of history would be vastly different. I just can't see how historical events (taken as a whole since, say, the invention of agriculture) have consistently favored any particular group, let alone the Jews.

Though those committed to conspiracy theories have no trouble rationalizing such inconsistencies.

How could the European purges and the Holocaust have happened if Jews were pulling all the powerful strings? It's like some folks in the US think that illegal Mexicans have "taken all the good jobs". Yeah. Right. Exclusive country clubs and gated communities are just teeming with brown people-- doing the janitorial and landscaping work.

It's insane. No one group has control over everything in the world. I almost wish it was true, because if we could just find the bastards.... ;)
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.

Offline wright

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2013, 12:07:07 AM »
It's insane. No one group has control over everything in the world. I almost wish it was true, because if we could just find the bastards.... ;)

Hell, if they could demonstrate better managerial skills than the current political / economic free-for-all kindergarten[1] we have now, I'd be tempted to throw in with them.
 1. no insult to real kindergarteners and teachers intended
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Online Ron Jeremy

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 01:08:31 AM »
I think you've got something there. Any new extraordinary idea needs extraordinary evidence to be believed. I think this is the way most people think, trouble is as we know, religion has been indoctrinated into most believers since childhood so the extraordinary idea for them to accept is the reality that gods don't exist.

In my own line of work as an aircraft engineer I've heard a couple of main conspiracies in aviation from outsiders; one 'chemtrails' (chemicals sprayed routinely from aircraft to control or infect the population) and 'pilots see UFOs all the time but will be sacked if they talk'.
All nonsense, but if you explain to a 'believer' that chemical spraying would take lots of resources and involve loads of people, some of whom are bound to talk (engineers, tankers, pilots, loaders, etc) and simply doesn't happen, the believer will just think that I'm part of the conspiracy.

Real life doesn't work like a movie. In real life things break, people talk, mistakes are made, people become lazy, huge secrets are very difficult to keep.
In 1967 in England, some aviation students placed several mock crashed UFOs in a line across England (following Ley lines) and waited to see what would happen. The farmer that found the first one called the police; they weren't interested, it wasn't a crime. Then he called the RAF; they weren't interested, it wasn't one of their aircraft. He called the army who told him to call the RAF again who told him to call the police again, etc. In real life, nobody wanted the responsibility. I think in the end the army eventually grudgingly came out and their response was to blow it up to see what was inside.

I do treat conspiracies the same way I treat gods. If you tell me about either, I want to see your evidence and I want to know how YOU know about this. Question everything is how I feel, maybe because I'm a maintenance engineer.

Following on from the original poster, I'll routinely question my doctor or dentist or lawyer on the course of action they're advising me to take and if I feel they're wrong I'll keep going until they've convinced they are right or I will not accept their advice. Probably also the reason why I can't accept religion's gods.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Aspie

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Re: Atheists and the "Illuminati"
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 03:07:20 AM »
It's not just the lack of evidence, but the fact that such claims to such knowledge are essentially antithetical to evidence by design. One of the most defining characteristics of any conspiracy theory is the insistence that any evidence substantiating it will inevitably be suppressed by the powers that be hence the only safeguard against the wool being pulled over your eyes can be the uncritical acceptance of arbitrarily-established connections and unabated speculation of ulterior motives as absolute truth. When it comes to conspiracies such as the Illuminati the truth can never stand on its own instead requiring you to have the "right" mindset in order to be receptive to it. Gods, much like the Illuminati, are shadowy puppet-masters alleged to be working behind the scenes in spite of other more immediate possibilities which have not been ruled out and possibly not yet even considered simply because they are the most intuitive conclusions for people inclined to think a particular way. Of course, as science shows us, intuition is a highly unreliable means to assess reality.

I reject both primarily on epistemological grounds; not only can there be no evidence worthy of consideration due to the nature of the claims, but such "knowledge" isn't something which we can use or build upon thus its functionality is rooted entirely in its ability to persuade rather than inform.