My Atheism

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What does it mean?

It means I don’t believe in any divine beings. Everyone is born an atheist. There are degrees to atheism, such as whether one simply disbelieves in god(s), or whether one thinks god definitely doesn’t or cannot exist.

I wouldn’t say that a god cannot exist, but I am reasonably certain that one doesn’t exist, just as I’m reasonably certain there isn’t a teapot orbiting Neptune. I see absolutely no evidence that a god(s) exist, and no part of the universe necessitates postulating one for explanatory purposes. In short, I apply Occam’s razor.

Do I like it?

As far as simply believing or disbelieving goes, I neither like being an atheist nor dislike it. Atheism is a result of my rational and critical examination of the world. So, I didn’t choose to be an atheist.

Morality

I don’t like unnecessary harm. I can appreciate that other living beings also don’t like it either. Harming others makes me feel bad, and being nice to others makes me feel good. I also appreciate that (most) other living beings feel this way too. Therefore, treating people as you’d like to be treated is not only beneficial for the individual, but also for society.

I believe that “wrong” should be determined by whether unnecessary harm is caused; where there is a victim.

Because I am not bound by someone else’s morality, I can think for myself about right and wrong. I can assess the ethics of any issue without any superstitious cloud or hindering. I think “what is best for other people?” and “what will other humans think about this?”

Because of this, I respect the differences in others. I know that judging someone on their colour and sexuality is ignorant and primitive. I know that national boundaries are arbitrary lines on a map, and that we’re all one people. I can respect others’ rights to their opinions, even if I disagree with them. I have the right to criticise and question beliefs and also have mine criticised too.

Friendships

Humans are the only sapient species we know. To form close relationships with another thinking being is one of the joys of life. We are alone in our heads, with our thoughts. But relationships are a way to share our thoughts and experiences, and connect with another person. They are, in my opinion, the most important thing in life. We should treasure our friends and family because they will always be there, and they might be all we ever have. The fact that we will all lose each other one day makes relationships that much more precious.

The Environment

The universe eventually gave rise to humans. It sustains us, and all other life. I have a deep respect for the environment. I believe humans should interfere with nature as much as necessary to improve technology and quality of life, but not to the irreparable detriment of the planet.

Since there is no one to solve our problems for us; no almighty sky father to run to our rescue; no deific knight in shining armour to sweep us away, the onus is on humans to take care of the planet for ourselves and our descendants.

Beauty of life and science

I don’t need to pretend that a powerful being purposefully created everything in order to appreciate the beauty in nature.

Look at a sunrise, or a sunset. Look at sky on a clear light-free night. Look at the face of someone you love.

I feel awe when I see the size of the earth in comparison to the universe. I feel humbled when I learn about the evolution of life, and how the fragmentary portion of existence I’ve sustained thus far is beyond infinitesimal in the scale of the universe.

I am nothing. And yet, I have the ability to make my life the best it can be. I can be a positive influence on the world I live in. I can make other lives better and make them happy.

I know I am not a pawn in a cosmic battle between good and evil. I know there isn’t an evil being tricking me and tempting me every step of the way, and I know that my thoughts are my own. There is just me and other people. I am not constantly second guessing myself and berating myself for supposed imperfections. There is no one to keep apologising to, and nothing to keep apologising for. I respect myself for who I am, and respect other people for who they are.

Science is the way to understand the universe. I believe that if something is knowable, science will one day discover it. Science is the rational honest exploration of the universe, free from personal bias and belief. Science has taken us from burning and butchering others at the stake to understanding our planet and improving quality of life.

Because I have no bias apart from the facts, I am free to follow wherever science leads. Sure, science can be wrong, just like anything. But science is still our best way to truth.

The future

I’m going to die. Just like you. Just like everyone who’s ever lived, or ever will.

In the end, the only thing that matters is what we do with the life we have. You can either wallow in self-pity and mourn past mistakes, and wish for all the things that could be different in your life. You might think “well I’m going to die anyway so who cares?” Well, that’s the attitude of a loser.

On the other hand, you can get over your regrets. You can act. You can cherish other people. You can change the things you want to change. You can make yourself the best person you can be. You can enrich the lives of others and make the world a better place.

This is how I see life. It’s a gift. It shouldn’t be wasted. Becoming an atheist is the best thing that ever happened to me, because I see the world as it really is. What could be better?

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194 Responses to “My Atheism”

  1. Joe Says:

    I’ve subscribed to your blog. Interesting overview.

  2. Matt Says:

    A very interesting personal introspective. Good stuff.

  3. vjack Says:

    Great post. Concise, clear, informative – this will be one to save. Oh, and I finally got around to adding you to my blogroll.

  4. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Excellent E., just excellent. This should be framed and hung on the wall.

  5. Pedro Couto e Santos Says:

    “I wouldn’t say that a god cannot exist, but I am reasonably certain that one doesn’t exist”

    Then you’re an agnostic, not an atheist.

    Good article, nonetheless.

  6. tobe38 Says:

    @ Pedro

    Not so. If you lack belief in any gods, you’re an atheist. Period.

    An agnostic is someone who thinks that the existence of God is unknowable. An agnostic can be either a theist or an atheist.

  7. honjii Says:

    Great post. I’m surprised you haven’t had a visit from (those I refer to as) the “god squad”. Whenever I write a post of this nature they show up to point out my very flawed thinking and the error of my ways.

  8. evanescent Says:

    Hi Honjii, it’s probably just a matter of time!

  9. ChiefJack Says:

    I truly enjoyed this one! Like you, I can’t conceive the belief that a great cosmic magician just snapped his fingers and “poofed” a universe into existence. Even if he had, who created HIM, and shouldn’t we rather be worshipping those who created God? Oops, I forgot, we’re already doing that, since God is a creation of man, developed to keep lesser minds in check.

  10. I didn’t have it today « blueollie Says:

    [...] is another blog post about atheism; it pretty much captures how I feel What does it [...]

  11. Matt Says:

    Just wondering. if there is no god and no afterlife then does this life even matter for anything?

  12. januarys Says:

    I do like your post, and feel like you do about a lot of things. But I do feel a little bit insulted, I guess. Do you really feel that someone who believes in a god/higher power, “can’t” think for themselves, or do all the things you “can” do? I’m not trying to be nasty, I really wonder how you feel about that one. I’m open.

  13. toni Says:

    We all need to start talking openly about atheism, there are alot more than most people realize, and matt only you can decide about “matter”, you still have your own brain and your own self to live within….i believe finding your own “zen” or truth is what really makes us each a whole person, personally i don’t need that “gold star elementary school reward” my reward comes from living with personal acceptance within my own skin….and that includes how i conduct my life….
    personally i do not believe in organized religion and i find the people of like mind are far more interesting to talk to…….think……t

  14. polishpress Says:

    I just can’t understand why is everyone cheering this article so much. It’s all boring and obvious and second hand.

    Ok, so you don’t believe in God; why do you explain yourself then? And why do you use the religious tools and language to do so? Is it because you don’t have any other?

    I wouldn’t normally comment that: I was surprised with the comments though.

    Although, maybe, in the überreligious parts of USA, this might be controversial or new to some.

    Unless you’re 14, then you’ve done a great job with the essay.

  15. honjii Says:

    Matt,
    Of course this life matters, it’s the only one you get. The average person lives around seventy-five years. Do you think those years should be spent planning, waiting, and worrying about your trip to the great beyond (where in all probability your job title will be “worm nourishment technician”)? Why don’t you just try to relax and enjoy your visit here on earth?

  16. Matt Says:

    I think that you should enjoy life here on earth. But you should also live it for God. The years that you do live you can still have a lot of fun living even if you are living for god.

  17. toni Says:

    pp….LOL…that’s just the point,..YOU don’t live here AND being around these religious nuts IS like talking to an 11 year old, …i can’t begin to know what it is like where you live AND i wouldn’t be so immature as to judge it without trying to understand it….frankly i’m not sure what you refer to about religious language but then maybe this …736n.x[302-2jdg./; 7547nv uo,46 ngdhdu …hows that, is that better language for you…..t

  18. toni Says:

    matt, oh one great big fat juicy “gold star” for you……..t

  19. sibbesian Says:

    At the risk of being thrown out with the god squad my question is ‘why?’ Why does it matter what you think about right/wrong race, politics beauty etc. In a truly atheist worldview all these things are surely irrelevant.
    Also sorry that your worldview descends into a stereotypical view of religion e.g’ irrational, science is opposed to religion, science has delivered us from the evils of religion,etc.
    Also sorry to learn the best thing you have done has led you to conclude you are nothing. I hope your journey leads you beyond this.

  20. januarys Says:

    Thrown out. That’s how I feel. I believe in God. I have the right to make that choice. Why is it necessary to throw me out?

  21. toni Says:

    s..who put you in charge of what is important to an atheist worldview?…you make no sense…you confuse narcissism with what we are talking about i think you should reread the article and the posts…hope this helps with your confusion….t

  22. toni Says:

    j have no clue, ask s, ….t

  23. polishpress Says:

    sibbesian, you’re having a laugh right?

    what on Earth are you talking about? I’ve honestly never heard such rubbish!

    stereotypical view of religion?? so, in your opinion, religion does not oppose science?

    that’s quite obvious, like, since… Descartes??? Ever heard of the man?

    FYI: science is what can be proven and intersubjective. When you drop a pencil, it will fall down. Whether you do it, whether I do it, whether the Bishop of Canterbuty does it: it will alyways fall down. This is a proof of the forcce of gravitation. Science is where a theory can be checked out and proven right or wrong.

    God is not a question of science, it’s a question of BELIEF, of superstition. How would you call someone believing in something that there is no proof of? Irrational maybe? I’d have some more adequate.

    And apart of the existence of God themselves, which there are not proofs of, if they existed what would they be? What is God? How do one knows what God wants? More questions you ask, more answers you’d have to leave to another beliefs, and more beliefs – and no proof. Religion (religion, not faith, but maybe too?) has always been a way of some people holding power over other people – and that is it’s main purpose.

    Look at what you have written: “you are not with us = you are nothing”. Is that what your religion tells you to think? What is the difference the, between you sibbesian, and Arab terrorists?

  24. januarys Says:

    hot dang it i’m confused again. i thought science purports itself to be entirely made of theory? like, gravity is a theory, relativity is a theory, etc? i mean i thought all interpretations of reality openly admitted they were theory?

    uunnnghh i need a popsicle or something, i’m going to give my brain a nap.

  25. polishpress Says:

    science is everything that CAN BE PROVEN RIGHT OR WRONG. something that cannot be proven either right or wrong is not a science.

    A theory, in science, is a model, a description, of how certain things in nature or society work. And there has to be experimental evidence (to call this description a theory).

    Had this on methodology of sciences classes: I’m not an expert:)

  26. sibbesian Says:

    Polishpress- Religion does not oppose science. Ever heard of Faraday, Boyle, Linnaeus, Polkinghorne to name but a few. Or is your philosophy of science so poor that you do not recognise that modern science grew out of a Christina worldview? I would also suggest that medical doctors, many of whom are Christians practice science. Also you should look again at Descartes who was trying to reconcile philosophy with the Catholic faith. Don’t give me that old science versus faith line.
    You say science is what can be proven. Science as Thomas Kuhn points out deals not primarily with facts but with what may be termed a hunch and proceeds from there. And paradigms shift as new knowledge and theories emerge. Furthermore we also recognise that all knowledge is effected by the ‘knower.’ What we bring to the table in whatever field has some bearing on what we find. So don’t try to give me the objective scientist we deal in facts hokum.
    Also you rather rashly equate belief with superstition- does that mean that what you believe is superstition or only what I believe?
    Nobody says that God is a matter of science because science is not the only form of knowledge that we have or use.
    Faith does have its reasons. As a Christian I have confidence in the Bible, confidence in Jesus Christ who died and rose again, confidence in the Christian worldview.
    Also if you check back in the posts I did not say atheists are nothing, it was Evanescence who in his original post described himself as nothing. As I said I think that is sad because I believe that God made him in his image and that he might have joy in knowing him. I am not any better than any atheist, I am what I am by the grace of God.

  27. januarys Says:

    “something that cannot be proven either right or wrong is not a science.” hey cool i really haven’t heard it put that way. i think it would make a little more sense to me to say “true or false” rather than “right or wrong” – just because those terms can seem a little loaded – but i get what you meant, and i think it’s pretty intriguing, thanks. :) :)

  28. polishpress Says:

    So that was the God that was.

    now, a competent believer should pull out the “ontological proof of the existence of God”

    first coined by Anself of Canterbury (somewhere around the year 1000) and then enhanced by… Descartes (gosh, this is so unflattering to his intelligence; should he be forgiven?, as the – well – father of modern philosophy and science?)

    Basically it says that God exists because the concept of God exists. If there was no God, we wouldn’t be able to invent a concept of a perfect being.

    now I see the name translates into English as “argument” not a proof, so there you go:) But it was Kant who named if ‘proof’, not the linguists:D

    This argument though is just a sophism. As you know you can prove any thesis using reason: even contradicting.

    What this ontological argument lacks is (obviously) empirical evidence.

    Any claim that religion has anything to do with science has no leg to stand on.

  29. evanescent Says:

    Januarys said:

    I do like your post, and feel like you do about a lot of things. But I do feel a little bit insulted, I guess. Do you really feel that someone who believes in a god/higher power, “can’t” think for themselves, or do all the things you “can” do? I’m not trying to be nasty, I really wonder how you feel about that one. I’m open.

    Do I think that theists can’t think for themselves? No. I think that theists CAN think for themselves, but when it comes to their beliefs they CHOOSE not to.

    Polishpress said:

    I just can’t understand why is everyone cheering this article so much. It’s all boring and obvious and second hand. Ok, so you don’t believe in God; why do you explain yourself then? And why do you use the religious tools and language to do so? Is it because you don’t have any other?

    I wouldn’t normally comment that: I was surprised with the comments though.

    Although, maybe, in the überreligious parts of USA, this might be controversial or new to some.

    Unless you’re 14, then you’ve done a great job with the essay.

    Ok polishpress, you don’t like the article, fine. It was entitled MY atheism, which is what it means to ME. If you don’t like what I have to say, there’s nothing I can do about that.

    @ Toni: well said at everything you’ve said.

    Sibbesian said:

    At the risk of being thrown out with the god squad my question is ‘why?’ Why does it matter what you think about right/wrong race, politics beauty etc. In a truly atheist worldview all these things are surely irrelevant.
    Also sorry that your worldview descends into a stereotypical view of religion e.g’ irrational, science is opposed to religion, science has delivered us from the evils of religion,etc.
    Also sorry to learn the best thing you have done has led you to conclude you are nothing. I hope your journey leads you beyond this.

    In a true atheist world all these things are surely irrelevant??? Is that what YOU think? It’s not what I think. Re-read the article.

    Are you forgetting I used to be a theist? Perhaps I understand religion better than you know.

    My article was not science vs religion, but rather I said, once science took a hold of how we understand the world, real progress was made. That’s a simple fact.

    @ Sibbesian:
    That various scientists in the past were also religious is hardly surprising, as it was the default worldview back then. The point is, did they discover anything because of their beliefs, or because of empirical study of the natural world?

    I say this time and again: when science learned something or when science was proved wrong, who made the breakthrough? Was it religious people with a bible in their hands, or was it OTHER scientists, no matter what their personal beliefs? Science is open to anyone, no matter what they believe. Strangely, it’s only the religious who have a problem with science at times. Why is that I wonder??

    As for what I said about “being nothing”, I mean I have humility in that humans are not even a drop in the ocean of the universe. This should humble us. At the same time everything we will ever know is here and now, and we can make such a difference to our lives and those of others. Isn’t that an amazing feeling? I think so.

    Also, sibbesian, you think it’s sad that I might call myself “nothing”, yet you attribute your being to “the grace of god”. This is truly sad. You give thanks for your nature to a non-existent Overlord of war of suffering, inventing by primitive Jews millennia ago. That is truly unfortunate.

    Januarys quoted some saying:

    “something that cannot be proven either right or wrong is not a science.”

    That’s correct: science must be falsifiable. It must be able to be tested and, even in principle, capable of being wrong. When someone asserts dogma that cannot be disproved and isn’t capable of being scrutinised, they aren’t doing science.

    Thank you to everyone who’s commented so far, even those who criticise or disagree with me; I put my comments out there so I welcome yours. Please be patient if it takes me a while to get back to you all.

  30. polishpress Says:

    yes januarys:) true or false is much better. (that’s the difficulty when you’re trying to make a point about serious matters in a foreign language lol)

  31. polishpress Says:

    sibbesian:

    1) Sorry for misinterpreting your words about Evanescence: as you correctly assume I didn’t read his post until the end, and I understood you wrongly (it was him, who called himself nothing). As I thought your behaviour wasn’t all right I compared you sarcastically to Arab terrorists for which I would like to apologise.

    2) I never said that science is something that can be proven. I said science is something that can be proven true or false. It is something that can be

    3) I think that the main line of argument between us is the understanding of science.

    Here’s what Wikipedia defines as science:
    “a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.”

    And here’s about scientific method:

    “body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on gathering OBSERVABLE, EMPIRICAL and MEASURABLE EVIDENCE subject to specific principles of reasoning,the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

    (What I think you meant is that some religions don’t reject scientific facts about – for instance – evolution. But that is not the matter in question. I’m not looking here from the religion’s perspective but from the science perspective.)

    I really can’t understand why don’t you want to accept the most basic and obvious fact, that the existence of God (or his/her non-existence) is not the scope of science. Simply because no evidence can be produced either for or against. If you have any, then feel free to share it with us.

    4) Many doctors are Christians (or Muslim, or Jewish, or whatever), yes, but what does that prove?

    It’s not a toothpaste commercial, the fact that 95% of dentists use Colgate doesn’t make this paste better than Blend-a-med. Science is not democracy. If 95% is talking rubbish, it doesn’t make them more right that they are a majority.

    5) Thomas Kuhn and his Marxist paradigm-shift;) But I still don’t know where you’re going from here. The revolutionary new knowledge has still to be acquired with the use of scientific method. This is a dead end for your argumentation.

    6) as to superstition, maybe there is some change in meaning between English and Polish equivalent of this word. Anyhow I still think it is all right to call superstition every kind of belief that in unscientific: ghosts, spirits, gods, God, etc. Your superstition is better than others in that it is very old , shared by many, and supported with the power of state and institution of Church.

    Although you are right, I am talking here from my perspective, and this term lacks respect. I take that back then: it could offend and won’t use it any more.

    7) And then you said “Nobody says that God is a matter of science because science is not the only form of knowledge that we have or use.”

    Here I agree with you!!

    I’m not saying you are wrong with your confidence in God and Jesus. Like I wouldn’t say that someone who says “Apples are better than peaches” is wrong, although I might not share his opinion. If he wants to have apples, good for him. If you have confidence in God, good for you.

    (As to the worldview things are more complicated: what is a Christian worldview? Do all Christians have the same worldview? Are there sub-kinds of Christian worldview? Do American evangelists and Dutch Lutherans have the same Christian worldview? Do I have a Christian worldview? – I think all people in the Western culture do (as it evolved from the Greek-Roman and Judeo-Christian tradition)) Therefore I think that I , not being Christian, have the Christian worldview. I’m (genuinely) interested on your opinion on this.

  32. toni Says:

    E, thanks again for the article and i stand by my first post,….thanks for the interesting conversation…..and giving us a little better understanding of each of our own life’s jounney……….t

  33. polishpress Says:

    evanescent,

    Your blog was link on the main wordpress site when I entered, and you unfortunately got me;)

    I am just vile with my “anti-opinionism”. Nowadays everyone thinks that everything is a matter of opinion, which just makes people lazy and makes them not accept criticism and make changes; and prevents them from evolving. Therefore, yes, I do criticise – when something has earned for it. It’s not a matter of liking, but a matter of standard. I may enjoy a piece that I completely disagree with. But you correctly point out that it is a post about YOUR atheism, and therefore I should just shut up (I should, but each time I try to shut up I never manage to) :)

    If I may reccomend you this book
    “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins (I’m sure it’s available in the US – although might have been burned in some libraries) ;))
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion

    Apart of the point it makes (over many many many pages), it’s a lot of fun.

    Here’s what he says about God, as portraited in the Old Testament:
    “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction. Jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak, a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

    He does have a point, when you think about it.

  34. Geno Says:

    For all who have made the challenge to us believers to prove God scientifically I ask this question. Do you only accept scientific answers to know something. Are all knowable things known only through science? (watch what you say because that seems to be the claim.

    If there are things that we know by other means, perhaps that is the same way we know God. Give it a thought.

  35. toni Says:

    p…i agree with your statement re: looking inward for answers, it’s what my first post was all about, and the reason i brought up narcissism rather than atheism..
    Carl Jung called it “entering the Chrysalis” the butterfly stage of growth…..most people never get there…”your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart….who looks outside dreams…who looks inside, awakes…Carl Jung” or by another name “the road less traveled”……
    and yes the book is available in the us….thanks for posting…….thanks again e…..t

  36. Geno Says:

    polishpress,
    Since you are new here and seem to be a disciple of Dawkins, I would also like to point out what Dawkins says (I know that this sounds terribly not politically correct – but if you check his web site, he does acknowledges in a video having made the comment in his book)

    Science and atheist has led Richard Dawkins to state that it is better to molest a child that to take him to Sunday School. (watch his Galapagos cruise Q&A session.)

    Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion – Page 317
    “Once, in the question time after a lecture in Dublin, I was asked what I thought about the widely publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland. I replied that, horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing up a child Catholic in the first place.”

    He also likened child abuse to just being “an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience…” page 316

    I don’t know, I think we need to get him off the streets – polishpress, since you have the book, look it up and see if I quoted him correctly. ;)

  37. sibbesian Says:

    Evanescent-thanks for taking time to respond. My question why still stands.I’m asking a genuine question- why do things like truth, beauty etc matter to an atheist since they have no ultimate meaning? Can an atheist not equally choose hate over love and that choice have equal significance?
    I agree science has led to progress in many areas. And Christians have often embraced that. But naturally enough have opposed science where it has conflicted with their worldview as you would expect. My problem with the view I’m getting from you- and it may be a mis perception- is science=only good and religion=only bad.
    Again can I ask an explicit question- do you think Jesus was a bad man?
    My point re various scientists was simply that science and religion are not inevitably in conflict. A point you seem to want to maintain in your paragraph about scientific breakthroughs. Interesting stats- the number of scientists at the end of the 20th century who believed in God was exactly the same as it was at the beginning.
    Doesn’t prove anything but an interesting stat!
    Again a genuine question why should it matter whether or not I make a difference to the life of another person if that has no ultimate meaning? Why not eat drink and be merry?
    ‘You give thanks for your nature to a non-existent Overlord of war of suffering, inventing by primitive Jews millennia ago. That is truly unfortunate.’ This is not the God I worship. The God I worship so loved me He gave His Son to die on a cross to save me.
    Polishpress- I accept your apology. These things happen. I am quite happy to accept your definition of science and the fact that science doesn’t prove God one way or the other. The question of God is not a scientific question.
    Re point 4- I’m simply making the observation that there are many scientists who are also religious, therefore the two are not as you have previously suggested incompatible.
    Re worldview- there are of course differences in worldview between various Christian churches. But they also share certain characterisitics in terms of their world view- God the creator, man the creature, that Creator and creature do not share the same essence, that the world is finite, that it is in trouble because of man’s rebellion against God etc. How far you share that Christian worldview only you can say. But European intellectual heritage is of course rooted in a Christian worldview.
    Great talking to you guys- and I look forward to hearing from you- but now I really need to go to bed, its 1:40- sorry if that makes me a wimp as well as a Christian!

  38. toni Says:

    geno, i can take your first post and turn it around on you re atheism, plus your second post is all over the net…..you have posted it a millions times AND it has been discused a million times…AND YOU KNOW IT..AND YOU KNOW THAT IT IS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT AND YOU KNOW THAT TOO…come to these posts with legit discusions….that one is not worth my time…and we are not discusing THAT book, his reasons are his and not mine nor the reasons for this article on this blog…..ADDRESS THE BLOG AND THE ARTICLE …FINITE…t

  39. toni Says:

    E, you only want to argue, you are not paying attention and frankly i find your questions ODD, what does truth and beauty have to do with GOD, frankly most “christians” don’t practice either, and why are you trying to base the discusion on science all the time….
    And i repeat, i find your questions ODD. if you truely are interested then reread the posts and come up with a new perspective because your questions have already been answered, your just not paying attention….sleep well…t

  40. januarys Says:

    I would like to thank everyone who answered my questions.

  41. toni Says:

    january you put a smile on my face, think i’m going to go have a popsicle…..t

  42. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Geno

    You quoted him correctly. You just didn’t “interpret” him correctly. But you already know that.

    You should stick with the bible.

  43. Geno Says:

    toni,
    I was addressing a comment on this thread. Is that not fair? Right now, you are not addressing the article – you are addressing my comment.

    Spanish,
    Watch the video – start at 19 min – once the questioner calls him on it, he apologizes for making it – but you will notice that it isn’t changed in the new edition, so I will suppose he still stands by it.

    Why should this be covered up?

    Here is the link
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6760101948688052328

  44. Geno Says:

    toni,
    What the heck does this mean in your post? “geno, i can take your first post and turn it around on you re atheism”

    I asked if we know things through any other means than science. That should be simple enough for even you ;)

  45. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    How did I mis interpret him? The entire chapter is about how evil and damaging religion is and how harmful it is to children. When asked to compare it to child abuse, he is very clear – it is far worse.

    But I think the man lies. He was brought up in a religious family, a religious church and a religious school.

    See he is stuck. He seems to have turned out fine (wrong on the issues but he seems to have a good healthy disposition.) Now, he either lied about the affects of religion on a child (since he was once one) and in that case he should be ignored or his religious upbringing really did do him damaged and he is actually a deranged character – in which case he should be ignored.

    So which is it?

  46. toni Says:

    Geno, I don’t care, he doesn’t represent me….it is a non issue, and again about 80 other web sites have already addressed it, because it is the same drivel you keep repeating….maybe what you should do is go back and read all of the comments on all the other sites that you have posted to OR reread the chapter and PUT the context in its proper place….and you may just want to read my post on Carl Jung….oohh the butterfly REALLY wants YOU…..t

  47. toni Says:

    januarys, that was good, by guys go ahead and play without me i’m going to have another popsicle….AND i’m still an atheist…..t

  48. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Geno

    This is the second time I’ve watched this video, and the second time I’ve responded to it. Are you a troll? Seriously, you remind me of my when my children ask for something, and they keep asking, even when I kept saying no, as if “no” will suddenly take on a different meaning, or perhaps I’ll give in to shut them up, and say yes. I’m sorely tempted to say “Geno, you’re right, Dawkins is a Janus faced hypocrite” if you’ll promise to go away.

    But I won’t, because you’re so.much.fun.

    Science and atheist has led Richard Dawkins to state that it is better to molest a child that to take him to Sunday School.

    He neither says this in the book, nor in the Q&A on the video. What he says in the book, is that sometimes the long term psychological damage from telling a child her friend is in hell can be worse than being fondled as a child. In the Q&A, he implies that he stands by that, but that calling the labeling of a child by a religious denomination may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but “sometimes a little exaggeration is needed to accomplish consciousness raising”.

    If you can’t see the difference there, then I completely understand why you “believe” ID is science. You’re able to talk yourself into believing whatever it you want to believe in.

    I’m not wasting any more time on this.

  49. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    I never asked you to butt in in the first place. My original comment was to polishpress.

  50. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    Just for clarity, his quote in the book is exactly as I said.
    “horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing up a child Catholic in the first place.”

    See the point – bringing up a child Catholic! – Not about hell etc, that is his video attempt to back pedal once the questioner got to him. And the questioner is a Dawkin groupy, but he can even see through Dawkins perversions!

    But the real proof will be this new edition – is it clarified – I don’t think so.

  51. Geno Says:

    evanscent,
    Even though you have stated many times that you do not think that earth was created for man, the part of your article that addresses The Environment is quite puzzling.

    Why do you hold that mankind should be in charge of the environment? According to evolution, the environment seems to have gotten along fine without man for about 13 billion years.

    When we build dams (our technology) like Aswan, how many species were destroyed by us changing the environment? Was that a plus or a minus – or does it not matter as long as man is benefited.

    With everyone worried that the earth is melting, why do we care? If man perishes so what? Isn’t that the evolutionary process – we pass and another species then will rule the world?

    So, is it a moral good that we do or just man’s continuation of domination over other species?

    The natural world would exist in perfect harmony without mankind. We are the only species that regularly contributes irreversible destruction and damage to the earth because we are the only species capable of committing evil. Our welfare is inherently dependent on dominating all other species!

  52. toni Says:

    SI, you made me laugh, i love the posts that make me laugh, thank you…hhmm our little geno is not too bright is he,……ok another smile deserves another popsicle…but i just ran out of grape, going to have to have an orange….hhmm geno i’m really not liking you….you are costing me alot of calories…so think next time i’ll buy sugarfree… that way i can have alot more fun…..haha ……..t

  53. Matt Says:

    Geno,

    You do seem to be horribly taking things out of context. For example, the ‘embarrassing’ comment Dawkins made was specifically in reference to his own experiences and not those of anyone else. And he has the right to label his own experiences any way he wants because they were his own and no one else’s.

  54. tobe38 Says:

    toni said:

    plus your second post is all over the net…..you have posted it a millions times AND it has been discused a million times…AND YOU KNOW IT..AND YOU KNOW THAT IT IS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT AND YOU KNOW THAT TOO…

    I’m glad it’s not just us who have noticed that then. Yes, Geno has brought this up and had it refuted at no fewer than a million sites, including this one just a few weeks ago:

    http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/intelligent-design-is-not-science-mon-30th-jul-07/

  55. toni Says:

    Ha Ha tobe38, great detective work, so i think we can all agree that Geno’s Dawkins is Out, Geno don’t worry since you are a one trick pony, google some of the blogs in australia, then you can move over into the eu…. http://www.tailrank.com should be able to help…they specialize in blogs, just type in “australia people that haven’t heard my $hit yet”……hhmm tobe38, matt can i offer you an orange popsicle…. :) …….t

  56. toni Says:

    OOooopps sorry SI, i forgot to offer you a popsicle….hope you like orange…. :) t

  57. evanescent Says:

    I go to bed for a few hours and look what happens! ;)

    Geno said:

    Even though you have stated many times that you do not think that earth was created for man, the part of your article that addresses The Environment is quite puzzling.

    Why do you hold that mankind should be in charge of the environment? According to evolution, the environment seems to have gotten along fine without man for about 13 billion years.

    Yes that’s correct. So what? Aren’t humans also a part of nature?

    When we build dams (our technology) like Aswan, how many species were destroyed by us changing the environment? Was that a plus or a minus – or does it not matter as long as man is benefited.

    Of course it matters, but I’m not a naturalist or “tree-hugger”, and I’m not going to walk around watching every step in case I stand on ants: there is a degree of reasonability required. I believe there’s no reason why man shouldn’t interfere with nature as long as irreparable or unnecessary harm isn’t caused. You might complain about dams killing animals, ok fair enough, but no one complains when they have clean fresh water delivered to their houses every day, which directly improves human quality of life, and/or saves lives.

    With everyone worried that the earth is melting, why do we care? If man perishes so what? Isn’t that the evolutionary process – we pass and another species then will rule the world?

    Blah blah blah. Not answering this question because it’s been explained to you time and again. I’m not going to dignify this strawman representation of evolution with a response.

    So, is it a moral good that we do or just man’s continuation of domination over other species?

    The natural world would exist in perfect harmony without mankind. We are the only species that regularly contributes irreversible destruction and damage to the earth because we are the only species capable of committing evil. Our welfare is inherently dependent on dominating all other species!

    Doesn’t your fairy tale say that “god” gave man domination over all life and the earth? Theists in the past have used this verse to justify any treatment of animals or the environment.

    Yeah you’re right we are the only species capable of committing evil. Must be a design flaw eh?

    I’m not going over the naturalistic fallacy with you or evolution again because it’s waste of time. I’m starting to think you’re just a troll, as your constant spamming of Dawkins misinformation proves.

    For evolution, read what I said on it: http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/my-evolution-elucidation-wed-1st-aug-07/

  58. Geno Says:

    So let’s run the numbers because I think that they help explain your error in evolution.
    I have posted about Dawkings on 3 Blogs
    Evanescent – Tobe – Escaped Mental Patient.
    Now you guys after doing the math have come up with toni’s “no fewer than a million sites” and tobe’s “refuted at no fewer than a million sites”

    So, evolutionary years are 3 real years = 1 million evolutionary years. Sounds about right ;)

    No one ever answerd my question above;
    “For all who have made the challenge to us believers to prove God scientifically I ask this question. Do you only accept scientific answers to know something. Are all knowable things known only through science?”

  59. toni Says:

    YAWN………..

  60. toni Says:

    Geno, do you think there should be an ATM machine in the lobby of every church…..?…..
    Hope you don’t mind the qustion…since its kind off topic….?………..t

  61. evanescent Says:

    “Are all knowable things known only through science?”

    This isn’t the article to discuss this, but I will give you an answer here on the priviso that we save any proper discussion for the relevant article. I suggest the article My Light from a few weeks ago:
    http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/06/16/my-light/

    I personally believe that if something in this universe is knowable, then science is our best possible means of discovering it. Science is the rational objective study of the natural world by empiricism. So, if something can be empirically studied in nature, then science is the best way to explain it.

    I think that to speak of anything beyond the natural is meaningless and extraneous.

    Science itself however makes no such claim. The idea that only science is valid is not itself a scientific statement. Therefore this position is either false or invalid. (I don’t know any atheists who are subscribe to this position of scientism.)

  62. toni Says:

    You are correct E….muddy waters….sorry for getty off track…..t

  63. John P Says:

    Actually, orange Popsicles are my favorite. Next favorite is cherry. I don’t like sugar free, can’t stand that aftertaste. So sure, I’ll have one.

    Spanish Inquisitor

  64. John P Says:

    I think that to speak of anything beyond the natural is meaningless and extraneous.

    Science itself however makes no such claim. The idea that only science is valid is not itself a scientific statement. Therefore this position is either false or invalid. (I don’t know any atheists who are subscribe to this position of scientism.)

    But what other discipline out there can we look to? I know of no other, than science.

    And it seems that we may elevate science to a special place it really doesn’t hold. Science is just the application of logic, reason and critical thinking to analyze evidence that we have before us, in order to better understand the natural world. It has no other purpose than that. To elevate it to some form of competition with religion, or any other discipline (if any) is not something science is interested in. There is nothing mystical or secret about science.

  65. evanescent Says:

    Hi John P, I don’t think there is any better discipline than science with which to acquire knowledge, but I was pre-empting accusations of scientism.

    The statement: “Science is the only way to acquire knowledge”

    …is not a position that can be known scientifically. Therefore the statement if true, is self-refuting.

    There are forms of knowledge, perhaps art or poetry that, albeit empirical, are not scientific.

    But as a methodology for understanding the natural world, I don’t believe anything could replace science because it would have to be another better form of “science” itself!

  66. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    My question about methods of knowing things does relate to the article (if you consider the comments as a part) – polishpress made the comment as have others in the past.
    “FYI: science is what can be proven and intersubjective. When you drop a pencil, it will fall down. Whether you do it, whether I do it, whether the Bishop of Canterbuty does it: it will alyways fall down. This is a proof of the forcce of gravitation. Science is where a theory can be checked out and proven right or wrong.
    God is not a question of science, it’s a question of BELIEF, of superstition.”

    So my question was do we have the capability to know anything outside of the scientific method – if so, then perhaps that is also the realm that God is knowable.
    Do you know that your wife and kids love you? Do you know your own thoughts are there? – do you need to put them to some scientific test or do you know?

    I love it when I read about Sam Harris when he goes away for 2 weeks each year to meditate. Even he KNOWS that there is something else besides the molecules and the physical.

  67. januarys Says:

    COME TO MY HOUSE!

    I have lots of phylliswirl pops. They don’t have milk in them. My favorite is Dreamsicle but I’m willing to share.

    The popsicles do not contain any religious inferences or political views, and have not commented on any other websites. They will not deconstruct any argument you make, nor are they looking at you in any kind of negative light. That is why popsicles are the perfect food.

    Now macaroni is another question, clearly, seeing as it thinks itself to be some kind of philosopher and it’s ways Sohpocles THIIIS and Nietzche THAAAAT…

  68. januarys Says:

    Just to give you an example. I had some macaroni two days ago, and I stored it in the fridge. When I got it back out it had left me a note, which I now give you word for word:

    “There is no eternal cause in prolonging my life as you do, nor is there any moral justification for you to chill me when I would rather you eat me. You are a woman who is teetering on the brink of immorality, and had I legs, I would not stand for this behavior.”

    No kidding, true story!

  69. tobe38 Says:

    @ januarys

    Lol – you’re killing me here! ;)

  70. evanescent Says:

    I love it when I read about Sam Harris when he goes away for 2 weeks each year to meditate. Even he KNOWS that there is something else besides the molecules and the physical.

    Geno, that’s what we call putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5! ;)

  71. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Do you know that your wife and kids love you? … – do you need to put them to some scientific test or do you know?

    Actually this is something that can be known scientifically. You can evaluate the evidence in favor of the question by looking at the empirical signs of love: do they do things for you out of kindness, do they accept your every fault, do they, in short, act like they love you? That’s the best you’ll ever know, because you can’t see inside their mind. They could act like they love you, but deep inside hate your guts, and are only hanging around for a the insurance. You can think you know, but you really don’t.

    Like all science, all you can do is posit a theory, based on the best evidence. You will never really know.

    Believe me, I’m a divorce lawyer. There are a lot of people who believe their wives love them, only to find out that what they thought they knew, they didn’t.

  72. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    So, are we back to square one? We can only know those things that we can test scientifically – put a meter on it?

    You said “Like all science, all you can do is posit a theory, based on the best evidence. You will never really know.”
    This is all that I have been trying to get at – atheist say that they KNOW” evolution is true. If they would just back it off some and say, “based on the evidence before me now, I believe this to be true.” Instead of being so dogmatic and calling every other theory dangerous.

    An example, Christopher Hitchens debates David Allen White on a radio show and he gets called on this very thing.
    He pontificates in typical Hitchens manner that he doesn’t have enough evidence to say for sure that Socrates actually existed, or that Jesus was a real person or that Shakespeare actually wrote his works. Although there are whole libraries written on each of these he still has doubt. (which I do not object to.)

    What he gets called on is how he can leave open doubt in those cases but does not allow for doubt in a biological act (evolution) that may or may not have happened 6 million years ago. Now that man has some balls on him!!

    http://www.townhall.com/TalkRadio/Show.aspx?RadioShowID=5

    Aug 10th hours 1 & 2

    So, are there some things that we just know in our knower?

  73. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    Back to your article. I ask these questions to flesh out your feelings a little deeper.
    Morality: You make the following statements; (I am not saying I disagree with any particular statement)
    1.) “I don’t like unnecessary harm.”
    2.) “I believe that “wrong” should be determined by whether unnecessary harm is caused; where there is a victim.”
    3.) “I am not bound by someone else’s morality…”
    4.) “Because of this, I respect the differences in others.”

    If one were to disagree and be 180 degree opposite, would they be wrong or just unfashionable?

  74. tobe38 Says:

    Geno,

    If you want to be technically, philosophically accurate, we can never know anything beyond any doubt. But the word ‘know’ has to mean something on a day-to-day basis, otherwise language just becomes meaningless.

    Is it possible that the Earth is not spherical? Technically, yes, it’s possible. It’s possible that some how we’ve all managed to misunderstand the evidence, that every astranaught has experienced an optical illusion, that every calculation has somehow been wrong. But, statistically, the chances of this being the case are so astronomical that for all intents and purposes, they are zero. If you want to be pedantic, it’s 0., then probably about a trillion trillion trillion zeros and then 1.

    On a day to day basis, we are quite entitled to say that we ‘know’ the Earth is spherical. The evidence is so overwhelmingly in favour of evidence that it is perfectly reasonable (at least to those without a religious agenda) to say we ‘know’ that life on Earth has evolved. It’s a lot easier and quicker than saying “based on the available evidence it is most likely, according tostatistical analysis, that the Earth is spherical”. Much quicker to just say that we know the Earth is spherical, and perfectly reasonable and acceptable.

  75. Geno Says:

    tobe,
    I think your comment here says it all and that it is the only way you can “prove” evolution.

    You said “The evidence is so overwhelmingly in favour of evidence that it is perfectly reasonable”

    I like that, the evidence proves the evidence. I think I will use that to prove God!! Ha! HA

  76. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    1.) “I don’t like unnecessary harm.”
    2.) “I believe that “wrong” should be determined by whether unnecessary harm is caused; where there is a victim.”
    3.) “I am not bound by someone else’s morality…”
    4.) “Because of this, I respect the differences in others.”

    If one were to disagree and be 180 degree opposite, would they be wrong or just unfashionable?

    Well, some people like pain, and some people like causing harm to others, so I can’t speak for them.

    But if we take “wrong” as: causes unnecessary suffering to another living being, then yes, we can most definitely say whether somebody is right or wrong.

    Objective morality is possible, regardless of who you are or what you believe. Rape is always wrong. Murder is always wrong. This is true because morals can be objective, which means that every being can be subject to them (whether you believe in god or not). But one thing is certain: morality is independent of belief in god.

  77. Geno Says:

    tobe,
    But seriously, that isn’t the way that Hitchens defines “knowing”. He seems to be a little more flexible about the things he doesn’t care about and a little more rigid on his pet theories. – Wouldn’t you say?

  78. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    tobe,
    I think your comment here says it all and that it is the only way you can “prove” evolution.

    You said “The evidence is so overwhelmingly in favour of evidence that it is perfectly reasonable”

    I like that, the evidence proves the evidence. I think I will use that to prove God!! Ha! HA

    So, just to clarify: Tobe took the time and effort to explain an important philosophical issue of certainty and epistemology to you, and you basically laughed it off in the age old fashion of “nah na nah nar nar, so my god exists!”

    In my opinion, Tobe wasted his time!

  79. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    I agree that those things are objectively wrong. But that is not what you said in your article.
    You said that you were not bound by the morality of others (which objective morality would be) and you said that you can respect the differences of others. It doesn’t sound too respectful if you are going to tell them that they are absolutely wrong.

    You do err when you throw out the comments about morality and God. I have not made that claim here – that is what we call “putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5.” ;)

    So, when you appeal to #1 and #2 (above), they actually have nothing to do with objective morality (in other words, if “objective” morality is true, it doesn’t matter what we think or feel – right?)

  80. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    You said “The evidence is so overwhelmingly in favour of evidence that it is perfectly reasonable”

    My apologies, I meant to say “in favour of evolution“.

    I think your response says it all, Geno. The point is, we know something when there is evidence for it. That’s why we can say we know evolution is right – because of the evidence! It’s not the same as someone saying “I just know God exists”.

    Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut, and Evanescent did once come up with a rather clever maxim:

    Atheists believe what they know, but theists know what they believe.

    Think about it.

  81. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    Did tobe’s statement make sense to you? Perhaps it is a British idiom I am missing.

    The evidence proves the evidence – give me a break, aren’t you suppose to be throwing in one of your fallacy corrections here – like CIRCULAR REASONING!

  82. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Geno

    So, are we back to square one? We can only know those things that we can test scientifically – put a meter on it?

    You’re extrapolating from the specific to the general. I was talking about love. I figured you were leading to the statement that love is something we just “know” without evidence. We can feel it, intuit it, etc. I think it is something that we can test, experiment and try to understand, but never really “know” in the absolute sense, as Tobe mentioned. If that isn’t where you were heading with it, then I misunderstood.

    This is all that I have been trying to get at – atheist say that they KNOW” evolution is true. If they would just back it off some and say, “based on the evidence before me now, I believe this to be true.” Instead of being so dogmatic and calling every other theory dangerous.

    That’s all scientists DO say about evolution. Where are you getting this sense of absolute knowledge about evolution? I haven’t seen it here. I think the best that can be said is that all, 100% of the evidence we have points to evolution, and 0% points to ID or some other supernatural explantion for the origin of species (not life).

    The only absolute is that absolutely all the evidence points in one direction. Does that mean that we absolutely know evolution to be true? No.

    But we’re still waiting for the evidence that points elsewhere.

    The theory of ID is dangerous, because (a) it is not really a scientific theory, it’s a religious and cultural theory, so it’s not exactly an alternative to the scientifically recognized theory of evolution, and (b) it’s a science stopper, because what it says is that based on the evidence we see, Godditit, so stop looking for a natural explanation, stop testing, because you’re not looking in the right place, the answer is supernatural, and (c) it assumes the answer to the questions it asks, which is the opposite of the way science does it’s business.

    There’s no dogmatism there. Just healthy skepticism.

  83. evanescent Says:

    You’re fond of using ‘British’ pejoratively aren’t you Geno?

    You said that you were not bound by the morality of others (which objective morality would be) and you said that you can respect the differences of others. It doesn’t sound too respectful if you are going to tell them that they are absolutely wrong.

    Wow, you really didn’t get it did you? I’m really not sure how you missed the point:

    It’s objective which means it’s not subjective. Got that?

    Which means something is moral/immoral regardless of what somebody else thinks.

    Are you saying that matters of rape or murder are a matter of opinion??

    And what does me respecting the differences in other people have to do with disagreeing with people? Or are you saying that because I respect differences I should respect rapists and paedophiles?

    As usual Geno, you completely missed the point, took two unrelated issues, and tried to merge them to imply a contradiction.

    You’re either a troll, or simply can’t read properly. I’ve had enough.

  84. Geno Says:

    “You’re fond of using ‘British’ pejoratively aren’t you Geno?” – No, you and Tobe seemed to have this great understanding of “the evidence proves the evidence” I just thought it might be a British saying.

    The point of your article was “I think this”, or “I think it should be this.” My point is that if it it objective then it doesn’t matter what any of us thinks about it – it is! You are the one who jumped to rapists and pedophiles. I just asked about people who had a differing view of morality. Keep your cool.

  85. Geno Says:

    A troll? From wikipedia “A troll is a fearsome member of a mythical anthropomorph race from Norse mythology. Their role ranges from fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England (also called Trolls at times, see Troller’s Gill) – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds.”

    That could be me. :-)

  86. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    From your article “I can respect others’ rights to their opinions, even if I disagree with them. I have the right to criticise and question beliefs and also have mine criticised too.”

    Isn’t that what we are doing?

  87. evanescent Says:

    If you were criticising my opinion Geno, I would have no problem, but having to constantly spell things out to you is very frustrating. Since I find it hard to believe you have that much difficulty understanding, what am I supposed to think?

    A troll? From wikipedia “A troll is a fearsome member of a mythical anthropomorph race from Norse mythology. Their role ranges from fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England (also called Trolls at times, see Troller’s Gill) – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds.”

    That could be me.

    I knew it!

  88. tobe38 Says:

    Geno,

    I’ll say it a second time, and that’s it. I meant to say “in favour or evolution”, not “in favour of evidence”. Congratulations, you spotted a typo. I’ve corrected it. Move on.

    Now, any chance you could deal with what I actually said, as in the argument, or are you going to spend the next 50 comments milking the typo?

  89. Geno Says:

    tobe,
    I saw your correction – that is not what was being discussed. What was being discussed was evanescent defended the statement as is was and then got mad at me.

    Why would I bring it up again?

  90. polishpress Says:

    Geno:

    I’m not a “disciple” of Dawkins, I just enjoyed his book a lot, and would agree with him on most points. I like his British sense of humour which connects with mine on many levels:D
    As to what you quote him talking about child abuse:
    1) it has nothing to do with what he says about religion, and
    2) i would tend to agree with him. The massive religious brainwash that is being done to children is more harmful. And I live in Poland, I see children being indoctrinated to Catholicism every day.

    To sibbesian (who probably will not read this, but well)
    - I define the Christian worldview as something much more general, as the civilisation proper. As for instance: individualism, individual responsibility, need to obey the law, understanding the time as something linear, personal freedom for everyone to live they way they want, rationalism, etc. That is for me the Christian worldview, and I am part of that.

    I hope everyone is having a good time at this debate that no body needs and no one will learn anything new from.

    But I’ve learned a new word in English: popsicle! LOL

  91. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    I saw your correction – that is not what was being discussed. What was being discussed was evanescent defended the statement as is was and then got mad at me.

    Evanescent did not defend the statement as it was, he just worked out that a mistake had been made and what I intended to say from the context. I can’t believe you couldn’t manage that either, I thought it was quite obvious.

  92. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    It was obvious to me.

    But then Geno still thinks Dawkins says it’s better to molest a child than take him to Sunday School, so what would you expect?

  93. Geno Says:

    polishpress,
    Thank you for being the only one here who will stand up and state their case clearly as you did “The massive religious brainwash that is being done to children is more harmful.”

    I don’t understand why the others run away from the Dawkins’ comment. Again thank you – and your english is great! :-)

  94. Geno Says:

    tobe, evanescent and Spanish,
    You know very well that if I made the statement, “the evidence proves the evidence” you would not have taken it as a typo. You would have thrown at me a dozen “fallacies” to my statement.
    Evanescent could have said, “I think tobe made a typo.”

  95. tobe38 Says:

    Geno,

    No, we would have been too busy dealing with the actual fallacies in your arguments (of which there are plenty) to have wasted any time pretending a typo was one as well.

    I cannot believe you are spouting this rubbish about Dawkins again. I responded in a previous debate and you are still to respond. Just to jog your memory:

    You quoted Dawkins likening child abuse to “an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience”. What you failed to mention is that Dawkins was referring to his own experience. Quite misleading on your part to leave that out. Dawkins is entitled to interpret his own experiences in any way he chooses, and if you didn’t agree with that, you would not have tried to conceal that rather important detail.

    You also fail to address Dawkins account of the girl who was molested and bereaved within the space of a few months, the friend she lost, she was told, had gone to hell. Learning that her friend was burning in hell for all eternity was by far the more traumatic and harrowing event for her.

    This is not necessarily always the case, but it makes an important point. It is patronising to tell a child that because they have been molested their life is now over. Many people who were molested as children grow up to be confident, fully rounded people with happy lives and healthy relationships. Many people who are indoctrinated with religious dogma as children grow up with extreme psychological damage and emotional baggage. There are exceptions either way in both cases, but I agree with Dawkins that they are not dissimilar, and they are comparable. Personally, I don’t agree with him that religious indoctrination is worse than molestation per se, but I think it can be, depending on which cases you examine.

    For you to just write Dawkins off as someone without moral values, or “advocating” sexual abuse is completely irrational. Just because you say one thing is worse than another, doesn’t mean you’re advocating the other. Murder is worse than theft, but I’m not advocating theft.

    You haven’t actually engaged with what Dawkins really said at all.

  96. evanescent Says:

    Geno, I think that religion has caused more harm than child molestation ever will! I never denied this.

    But that’s besides the point: you constantly kept taking Dawkins comments out of context despite them being explained to you time and again. I seem to remember Tobe going over this with you time and again.

    ANYWAY – this is totally off topic. I’m not going over the Dawkins issue again here. This article is about atheism.

  97. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    I won’t speak about Dawkins anymore, but both of my comments were in response to polishpress twice and Spanish once. Scroll back up and see who brought Dawkins into the conversation.

    I know when I have hit a nerve. If everyone here agrees with the comment, why does everyone say that I misrepresent it – even when Dawkin’s acknowledged it in the video I posted. You are defending a guy who asks for no defense.

    tobe,
    Just because you offer your opinion on something, doesn’t settle the case. It’s your opinion and I will add it to the list of others.

  98. tobe38 Says:

    Geno,

    You said:

    If everyone here agrees with the comment, why does everyone say that I misrepresent it – even when Dawkin’s acknowledged it in the video I posted. You are defending a guy who asks for no defense.

    Previously, the Spanish Inquisitor said:

    This is the second time I’ve watched this video, and the second time I’ve responded to it. Are you a troll? Seriously, you remind me of my when my children ask for something, and they keep asking, even when I kept saying no, as if “no” will suddenly take on a different meaning, or perhaps I’ll give in to shut them up, and say yes. I’m sorely tempted to say “Geno, you’re right, Dawkins is a Janus faced hypocrite” if you’ll promise to go away.

    But I won’t, because you’re so.much.fun.

    Science and atheist has led Richard Dawkins to state that it is better to molest a child that to take him to Sunday School.

    He neither says this in the book, nor in the Q&A on the video. What he says in the book, is that sometimes the long term psychological damage from telling a child her friend is in hell can be worse than being fondled as a child. In the Q&A, he implies that he stands by that, but that calling the labeling of a child by a religious denomination may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but “sometimes a little exaggeration is needed to accomplish consciousness raising”.

    If you can’t see the difference there, then I completely understand why you “believe” ID is science. You’re able to talk yourself into believing whatever it you want to believe in.

    Do you not bother to read what we write, or do you read it and then just ignore it?

    And we’re not defending him – there’s nothing to defend. That’s what we’re trying to tell you!

    Just because you offer your opinion on something, doesn’t settle the case. It’s your opinion and I will add it to the list of others.

    Another one of your recycled non-responses. You managed to squeeze out of actually responding to an entire article from Ebon Musings with that one.

    “The weather was fair today”. That’s an opinion. It’s subjective. You could say, “no it wasn’t”, and that would be your opinion. We could disagree all day but not get anywhere.

    When you link statements together in a logical progression towards a conclusion, that’s called an argument. It invites discussion because then other people can try to point out flaws in your reasoning, and therefore show that your argument is not sound.

    So, we’re in a debate. Why don’t you do to my comment what we do with yours – actually go through it and show why and how it’s flawed? Saying “that’s just your opinion” won’t cut it. In an adult, intellectual discussion, you’re expected to either argue the point or concede it.

  99. Geno Says:

    tobe,
    You may be in a debate – I am in a conversation and therein lies your problem.

    Just be honest like polishpress. Dawkins does not need your defense.

    evanescent – it was not my intent to speak to this issue again. I think tobe is now playing the role of the troll ;)

  100. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    Definitions from Wiktionary:

    Debate

    # an argument, or discussion, usually in an ordered or formal setting, often with more than two people, generally ending with a vote or other decision.

    After a four-hour debate, the committee voted to table the motion.

    # an informal and spirited but generally civil discussion of opposing views.

    The debate over the age of the universe is thousands of years old.
    There was a bit of a debate over who should pay for the damaged fence.

    # (uncountable) Discussion of opposing views.

    There has been considerable debate concerning exactly how to format these articles.

    Conversation

    Expression and exchange of individual ideas; talking with other people.

    Geno said:

    You may be in a debate – I am in a conversation and therein lies your problem.

    What the hell is that even supposed to mean, Geno? Are we not trying to get our ideas across to each other? Why exactly are we here? Isn’t the idea that someone writes an article and then we have a discussion after it? You make points, ask questions, ask people to respond to them, complain when they don’t, give links to things to read etc. But when you don’t respond to someone else, writing off their argument as ‘just an opinion’, suddenly you’re just having a ‘conversation’.

    Just be honest like polishpress. Dawkins does not need your defense.

    I’ll repeat my question in capitals. I’m not shouting at you, it’s just so that if the answer is the former, it may catch your eye.

    DO YOU NOT BOTHER TO READ WHAT WE WRITE, OR DO YOU READ IT AND THEN JUST IGNORE IT?

    it was not my intent to speak to this issue again. I think tobe is now playing the role of the troll

    Let me re-cap this Dawkins saga:

    1. You tried to bring it up on my blog on an article where it bore a relevance factor of 0, and I didn’t allow it for that reason.
    2. You brought it up in a post here on Evanescent (where it had not much more relevance) and after much persistence on your part, I finally bit and responded.
    3. You ignored my response.
    4. You brought it up in the comments on this post, as if my response in the previous article had never happened.
    5. The Spanish Inquisitor responded.
    6. You ignored him.
    7. I challenge you again to deal with my response to your criticisms.
    8. You dodge the issue again.

    But, apparently, I’m the troll?

  101. Geno Says:

    Tobe,
    you said “So, we’re in a debate.” I disputed that and your definitions dispute it. Offer the argument or concede the point (as you would say).

    About the Dawkin’s issue, my comment originally was to polishpoint way back in the thread. You will note that I treated her response with kindness and a compliment – perhaps that should tell you something about conversations!

  102. Geno Says:

    tobe,
    It’s your attitude “But when you don’t respond to someone else, writing off their argument as ‘just an opinion’,”

    When you give an answer to a general question, you think you have settled the issue. I take what you guys say and ponder it some. Some I may answer back, some I just don’t even accept and don’t even have the air in me to even respond. To you it may make sense, but to me it leaves me scratching my head. I don’t having the cheering squad behind me like you do – so I am at the disadvantage.

    Let’s be precise on this one issue – Does Dawkins believe that bringing a child up in a religious environment CAN be worse than that child being molested? I softened it some – this should be a yes or no answer – does he state that it is possible? Second, do you concur? That is all that this has been on the million blogs (per your count) I have posted it.

  103. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Tobe

    It’s a debate when they are winning. It’s a conversation when they are losing.

  104. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Does Dawkins believe that bringing a child up in a religious environment CAN be worse than that child being molested? I softened it some – this should be a yes or no answer – does he state that it is possible?

    Yes. With the qualification that he doesn’t say that it is the act of being brought up in a religious environment that is to be compared to fondling (his word), it is being told by the guardians of that religious environment when you are at the impressionable age of seven that your protestant friend died and went to hell, that is worse than being fondled.

    OK? That’s the the third time I’ve posted that. Please acknowledge that you read it and understood it. I don’t care if you agree.

    Second, do you concur? That is all that this has been on the million blogs (per your count) I have posted it.

    Yes, with the qualification stated.

    A “million blogs” is hyperbole for the purpose of making a point, and you know that.

  105. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    I read your post and I understand it. I wonder why Dawkins didn’t clarify it in his book. Perhaps in the next edition if he is an honest writer (since it was brought to his attention by one of his devotees in the video.)

    You guys are like a wrestling tag team. Evanescent brings up a point and I answer him, then tobe doesn’t like the answer so he howls at me. I answer his question and then you pop in. Perhaps you guys are like the Trinity – one in nature and essence but in 3 persons. ;)

  106. David Says:

    Hello. New here.
    Came across this blog by accident.
    I read the article by Evanescent and like polishpress found it to be mundane and uninspiring. However the lively debate (or conversation :wink) was far more interesting.
    If I could add my two pennies worth.
    I would just like to ask Geno why he is so adamant in establishing whether anybody concurs with what Dawkins may have said regarding his opinions on the damage religious upbringing (specifically Catholic upbringing) can have on the well-being of a child.
    I ask this because I wonder whether Geno needs confirmation that all atheists are deep down child molesters, which would presumably therefore reaffirm his belief that straying from the Christian dogma leads one to such perverse inclinations.
    If not why is the evaluation of a certain statement (which may or may not have been taken out of context) so important for Geno to establish the merits of. Particularly considering it has little bearing of the works of Dawkins as an atheist.

  107. tobe38 Says:

    Geno,

    you said “So, we’re in a debate.” I disputed that and your definitions dispute it. Offer the argument or concede the point (as you would say).

    The definitions I gave don’t contradict me. The second listed for debate is virtually sysnomous with the one given for conversation. Either way, are you disputing that we are expected to engage and exchange ideas and attempt, at least at some level, to convince each other that we’re right? This is another red herring to divert attention from the fact that you cannot respond to my arguments.

    About the Dawkin’s issue, my comment originally was to polishpoint way back in the thread. You will note that I treated her response with kindness and a compliment – perhaps that should tell you something about conversations!

    This is an open thread, we are all free to respond to any points, as you frequently do. I’m sorry you feel I’m being unkind and complimentary, but that’s another red herring.

    It’s your attitude “But when you don’t respond to someone else, writing off their argument as ‘just an opinion’,”

    When you give an answer to a general question, you think you have settled the issue.

    I think nothing of the sort. I think I’ve offered an argument on a particular point and I’m waiting for you to respond to it.

    I take what you guys say and ponder it some. Some I may answer back, some I just don’t even accept and don’t even have the air in me to even respond. To you it may make sense, but to me it leaves me scratching my head.

    If you don’t understand, say so and we’ll try to explain it better, or offer you other resources. But please don’t just ignore us, and then bring up the same argument later as if we never responded – that’s what winds us up!

    I don’t having the cheering squad behind me like you do – so I am at the disadvantage.

    Sorry if you feel outnumbered, but this shouldn’t alter you being able to respond to people’s points or ignoring them. Regardless of numbers, arguments win through. If the evidence is on your side, present it. If our arguments are flawed, please demonstrate how.

    Let’s be precise on this one issue – Does Dawkins believe that bringing a child up in a religious environment CAN be worse than that child being molested? I softened it some – this should be a yes or no answer – does he state that it is possible?

    Yes, which is exactly what I said in my response. It can be, depending on which cases you examine. In general, it’s difficult to say.

    Second, do you concur? That is all that this has been on the million blogs (per your count) I have posted it.

    Yes, in certain cases, which again, is what I’ve already said. If you’d read my comments, you wouldn’t have had to ask either of those questions.

    You keep whining about me joking about you posting that point on a million blogs. You’ve accused both me and Evanescent previously of being too serious and needing to lighten up. I suggest you practice what you preach. Unless it’s just yet another red herring to distract from the fact that you can’t deal with the real arguments.

    I read your post and I understand it. I wonder why Dawkins didn’t clarify it in his book. Perhaps in the next edition if he is an honest writer (since it was brought to his attention by one of his devotees in the video.)

    It was clear in his book, that’s what we’ve been saying, despite your attempts to make it appear unclear.

    You guys are like a wrestling tag team. Evanescent brings up a point and I answer him, then tobe doesn’t like the answer so he howls at me. I answer his question and then you pop in. Perhaps you guys are like the Trinity – one in nature and essence but in 3 persons.

    It takes three of us, Geno, you can be quite exhausting!

  108. Geno Says:

    David,
    It would be too long of a process to explain. It has gone on for quite some time. I don’t care about Dawkins at all and he has brought nothing new to the “I hate God” debate.
    I found the quotes I talked about when I read the book and thought that they were quite strange. Of course I understood them to be hyperbole, but thought I would challenge his devotees on them. They all squawked and told me I took him out of context, but then turned around and told me that they believed that bringing up a child religious was worse than child abuse.
    So that got me to go back and read Dawkins again in light of the fact that perhaps it wasn’t hyperbole, but that he did mean it.

    Since Dawkins’ whole premise is that religion is dangerous and destructive I guess my first assumption was in error and he did place it as lower than child abuse.

    On the video on his web site he was challenged by a follower about his statement being “over the top.” He got a little squishy and said that he probably shouldn’t have said it that way, but he was trying to make a point.

    Polishpress, who was new here was the first one to state that he said it and she agreed – finally an honest reader.

    So that’s why I kept on about it. I hope that catches you up.

  109. Darren Says:

    Good grief. My world is shaken. Geno, did you just admit you may have been mistaken??

  110. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    the “I hate God” debate.

    This is good, Geno. This is what you do. Re-characterize everything to fit your view of things. As I said, you’ll believe anything you want, as long as it fits your pre-conceptions.

    I found the quotes I talked about when I read the book and thought that they were quite strange. Of course I understood them to be hyperbole, but thought I would challenge his devotees on them. They all squawked and told me I took him out of context, but then turned around and told me that they believed that bringing up a child religious was worse than child abuse.

    Ditto. If you knew the quotes were hyperbole, why did you make such a big deal about it?

    We did not say they were taken out of context. We said you mischaracterized him. You kept going on about how he claimed Sunday School was worse than being molested. He never said that, never made such a sweeping generalization. Those were your words. We pointed out that he didn’t say those word, or make that assertion. You repeated them. I had to tell you this three times. Tobe and E. also told you.

    Now you say “I guess my first assumption was in error “? No wonder we need three people to debate with you.

  111. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    “the “I hate God” debate.
    This is good, Geno. This is what you do. Re-characterize everything to fit your view of things. As I said, you’ll believe anything you want, as long as it fits your pre-conceptions.”

    Can you name for me, one popular atheist book written in the past 5 years that just lays out a “Case for an atheistic lifestyle” that does not tear down or denigrate a religion? Look at all of the titles, they are all anti god, anti christian and entirely pejorative.

    1.) The God Delusion
    2.) god is not great – how religion poisons everything
    3.) Letters to a Christian nation
    4.) The end of faith
    5.) God: The failed hypothesis; How science shows that god does not exist. (I am just now finishing this one – this guy is a hoot!)

    From wikipedia (which) all atheists refer me to for scientific research) has this to say “The God Delusion is an anti-theistic book by British ethologist Richard Dawkins, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.”

    So, I have yet to see a pro atheist book, one that doesn’t mention religion, and just makes it’s case from nature or where ever you guys get it from.

    Even the bible makes it’s case without bringing up atheism. So, I stand by my statement that it is a “I hate God campaign.” Prove me wrong!

  112. Geno Says:

    Darreen,
    Yes, I was mistaken when I thought that the Dawkins statement was hyperbole.

  113. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    Even the bible makes it’s case without bringing up atheism.

    Really?

    Jeremiah 5:4:

    “Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.”

    So, those who don’t know God are foolish.

    Jeremiah 12:17:

    “But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.”

    Anyone who doesn’t obey god will be utterly destroyed.

    Psalm 14:1:

    “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

    People who say God doesn’t exist are corrupt abominable fools.

    And again:
    Psalm 53:1

    “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.”

    People who say God doesn’t exist are corrupt and not one of them is good.

    ———————————————–

    That’s what you call eating your words.

  114. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    “Atheistic lifestyle”?

    “I Hate God Campaign”?

    LOL. Where do you get your material, Geno? Chick tracts?

    I suspect my lifestyle isn’t much different than your, except perhaps on Sundays, what with all that free time I have. I actually work on Sundays.

    And how could anyone hate something they profess to have no belief in?

  115. David Says:

    As Hitchens once said, to paraphrase: “to hate God would be frankly absurd!”

  116. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    The references are to the LORD. The people mentioned do not recognize the true god. Some worship Baal, some worship Molech, and some even worship Dawkins.
    The bible recognizes that everyone has their own god!. The scripture even says that to some, their god is their belly.

  117. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    So what you are saying is that these books cannot be written without tearing down god and religious people. Atheism stands only against god?

    Why are these books called anti theism books. Why aren’t they pro atheism.

    Even Bertran Russell couldn’t spit out why he was an atheist other than he didn’t want to be a christian.
    “Why I am not a Christian.

    Why doesn’t anyone write the book “Why I am an atheist” and not even bring up the non existent god? You know why – these authors just want to get you guys riled up so that you storm the castle like peasants with their pitchforks.

    I am out for the day. I am taking my grand kids to the beach – showing them another example of God’s creation (which I think is good and not child abuse at all – call the cops on me!)

  118. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    So what you are saying is that these books cannot be written without tearing down god and religious people. Atheism stands only against god?

    See. Here’s the problem, Geno. You’ve got to stop putting words in our mouths. I don’t know how you reach these conclusions from what we say.

    The recent spate of books don’t “tear down god and religious people”, because god doesn’t exist, and people are, well people. They tear down religious thinking, religious attitudes, religious actions, anything that is based on a belief in the supernatural. Your god is just one aspect of the overall lack of evidence for the supernatural state.

    If you read these books you’re criticizing, you’ll notice that the concept of god is sprinkled liberally throughout the books, not as a real life entity, but as a concept that has no basis for its claimed existence. The evidence for god’s existence just isn’t there, and that’s what these books tear down, for the most part. Anyone who bases their belief on this lack of evidence has to be prepared to be criticized for those beliefs.

    You’re not one of those Christians who thinks that these books unfairly oppress Christians, are you?

  119. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    evanescent,
    The references are to the LORD. The people mentioned do not recognize the true god. Some worship Baal, some worship Molech, and some even worship Dawkins.
    The bible recognizes that everyone has their own god!. The scripture even says that to some, their
    god is their belly.

    Yeah that’s all well and good Geno, but the real point is that you said the bible didn’t mention atheists to “make it’s case”, and I showed 4 verses that proved that it mentions non-believers and other-believers very often, and calls them foolish and wicked.

    QED

  120. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    What you are saying is that there is no good reason to be an atheist other than the fact that you don’t want to be a Christian or otherwise religious. That is all I can get out of each of these books. I have read them all (not quite finished with Vic Stenger’s).
    Can you name me one time that any of the above authors states a positive case for atheism – one that is not based on trashing religion. I will even challenge you further. Has any of the authors even written a chapter without mentioning, god, religion or all the harm that comes from religion – come on 4 authors, 5 books – show me the one chapter that on it’s own states a positive case for atheism.
    Can you make a case for atheism without mentioning god, religion or the harm that comes from religion? I don’t think so – whatever you come up with will sound just like it comes from the New Testament – probably the Sermon on the Mount.

    Again, today’s version of atheism is just the same old “I hate God” stuff.

    I don’t even feel challenged let alone oppressed by this stuff.

  121. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    “non-believers and other-believers” – these are non believers in the god of the bible, the same as other believers.
    There is no such thing as a non believer, you have made science your god and you put your faith in the “billion year gaps” (your very own god of the gaps.)

    and they are foolish and wicked!

  122. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Can you make a case for atheism without mentioning god, religion or the harm that comes from religion?

    I doubt it, since atheism is simply the negative of theism. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

    You characterize it as “trashing god” which means you take it personally. They’re saying bad things about your invisible friend. I understand you may take it that way.

    But as we mentioned above, we don’t believe he exists, so we are not trashing him personally. We are trashing the non-critical and non-skeptical thinking that leads to a belief in a non-existent supernatural being. The books are all about bad brain processes, and the bad actions they lead too (like suicide bombings at the extreme) not personal attacks on someone or something.

    You’re not reading those books with an open mind, Geno, which I’ve always thought it was impossible for theists to do. They’re inoculated against skepticism, as you seem to be. In fact, you turn your innate natural skepticism around and use it to confirm your beliefs, not even realizing you are doing it.

    Look at that stupid claim you made about Dawkins, and what he allegedly (but didn’t) say about molestation/Sunday School.* You don’t want to believe what he says, so you turned his actual point around into something far worse than it was, so you have something to attack.

    —————–

    * I don’t want to argue the merits of that claim again, I just use it as an example of how you use skepticism to confirm your beliefs. What Dawkins said was not outrageous, but when turned into a molestation/Sunday school dichotomy, it becomes so. One can’t be skeptical of what he actually said, but if one massages it a little, one can.

  123. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    I love this one from you “You’re not reading those books with an open mind, Geno, which I’ve always thought it was impossible for theists to do.”
    So Spanish, do you read the christian books with an open mind? Let’s be fair here, we all come to the table with our own set of presuppositions and anyone who denies that is just flat out lying. Now that that is out of the way.

    You have made my case – atheism is just a negative reaction to theism. There is no reason to be an atheist other than your opposition to religion. Look, I can make a positive case for christianity without mentioning atheism or any other non christian religion. I can say that I believe christianity to be true because; (now remember, I don’t expect to to believe any of this, but I can present my case.)
    1.) I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and true God himself.
    2.) I believe that the bible is God’s true word to mankind today.
    3.) I believe that there is substantial predictive prophecy in the bible that has been fulfilled.
    4.) I believe in miracles.
    5.) I, along with millions of people, many of whom I know personally have had a personal experience with God.
    6.) So on and so on!

    See how easy that is to do? I didn’t have to say atheism is bad and it creates Joe Stalins. I didn’t even have to compare morality or anything else. I can just state my case. But you can’t even begin without stating that you are against something – religion. Look at the beginning of evanescent’s article at the top. The very first thing he does is describe himself as an anti theist. I don’t get it. “A” before a word means without, not against.
    If “a”theists are without God, why are they always against god or even the thought of god.
    So try it, can you say “I am an atheist because…”
    1.)
    2.)
    3.)

  124. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    “You characterize it as “trashing god” which means you take it personally. They’re saying bad things about your invisible friend. I understand you may take it that way.”

    Believe me, I don’t take it personally. I come from a whole family that curses God daily. This is exactly what I expect atheist to do and I did the same when I was an atheist – in fact you cannot do otherwise, so I don’t know why you continually deny that that is the purpose – kick the idea of god around until people understand that it is wicked and vile – remember this one “god is not great – HOW RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING”?

    So, admit it because Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Stenger are not denying that they hate God. In fact you are not being genuine if you think God is as Dawkins and Hitchins have described him in the Old Testament. Why wouldn’t you hate the one who has caused so much evil?

  125. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    Let’s put this one to the test “We are trashing the non-critical and non-skeptical thinking that leads to a belief in a non-existent supernatural being.”

    Therefore, the atheists are the one’s who practice critical and skeptical thinking. So when Billy Graham or Greg Laurie blow into town and put on one of their arena ministries, about 5,000 atheist go down onto the floor to convert to christianity. I agree with you, after the critical thinking is complete, they realize that christianity is the only way. I wonder if Richard Dawkins has had any substantial numbers of christians convert to his style atheism after a talk?

    So, why do all those critical thinking atheist convert in such great numbers?

  126. Darren Says:

    I am an atheist because:

    1, I have never seen any reason not to be.
    2, The natural world, the universe, is vast and inexplicable and wondrous, and I accept that I will never understand it all. I feel no need to fill in the gaps with supernatural stories.
    3, I am a human being, and believe that human nature is at once noble and terrible.
    4, The human mind is a both complex and tricky. I accept that it will rationalise the unknown and unknowable to keep me sane.
    5, The future is fluid and cannot be foretold.
    6, There is no such thing as perfection.
    7, The dead stay dead. I accept my mortality.
    8, I am lucky enough to be a sentient being. Life after death is by definition impossible. I want to live this life while I have it.
    9, I am proud to be so.

  127. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    evanescent,
    “non-believers and other-believers” – these are non believers in the god of the bible, the same as other believers.
    There is no such thing as a non believer, you have made science your god and you put your faith in the “billion year gaps” (your very own god of the gaps.)

    and they are foolish and wicked!

    I don’t worship science. Science isn’t the priority in my life. Science actually exists. Science doesn’t demand obedience. Science doesn’t pretend to be the total 100% absolute truth. Science is about knowledge not faith. Science is about facts not superstition. I would never kill or hurt in the name of science. I would never lie in the name of science. I would never deceive myself or hide from the facts because of science. I’d never go on a crusade because of science. I’d never spread lies and misinformation in the name of science. I’d never fly a plane into a building in the name of science. I’d never think that non-scientists were worthy of death or eternal torture. So….. it’s really nothing like a god.

    Science is based on the objective study of the world we can test. And you call that foolish? Wow.

    That’s all there is to say on that, Geno. (Except of course to point out that once again I used your own bible to prove you wrong ;) )

    As for Darren, that’s a great comment. Well said, and very beautifully phrased as well. Kudos.

  128. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    evanescent,
    “non-believers and other-believers” – these are non believers in the god of the bible, the same as other believers.
    There is no such thing as a non believer, you have made science your god and you put your faith in the “billion year gaps” (your very own god of the gaps.)

    and they are foolish and wicked!

    I don’t worship science. Science isn’t the priority in my life. Science actually exists. Science doesn’t demand obedience. Science doesn’t pretend to be the total 100% absolute truth. Science is about knowledge not faith. Science is about facts not superstition. I would never kill or hurt in the name of science. I would never lie in the name of science. I would never deceive myself or hide from the facts because of science. I’d never go on a crusade because of science. I’d never spread lies and misinformation in the name of science. I’d never fly a plane into a building in the name of science. I’d never think that non-scientists were worthy of death or eternal torture. So….. it’s really nothing like a god.

    Science is based on the objective study of the world we can test. And you call that foolish? Wow.

    That’s all there is to say on that, Geno.

    As for Darren, that’s a great comment. Well said, and very beautifully phrased as well. Kudos.

  129. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    When you say it twice like that, it sounds like a mantra. Is that how Darwinoids memorize that statement? :-) :-)

    Also, Darren’s point was very well taken and I applaud him for the effort. I was waiting for Spanish to reply, however, this does make my point. If atheism can be affirmed in a positive way without countering off of religion (as Darren has shown and Spanish denies), why don’t the authors mentioned above do it with their books? Could I be correct in saying that their agenda is “I hate God” and NOT “Why I am an atheist.”

  130. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    What you are saying is that there is no good reason to be an atheist other than the fact that you don’t want to be a Christian or otherwise religious.

    Please stop interpreting me, Geno. The way you put it, it sounds like I’m assuming that being a Christian is the only thing to be, as if I have no other option, yet I reject it.

    It’s called a false dichotomy. Either you’re a Christian or you are not. Being an atheist means nothing, other than that I have no belief in the supernatural. I’m still a human, I’m still a Pennsylvanian, a Democrat, a lawyer, a father, a brother, a son, a member of many organizations, a male, even an ex-Christian. I’m all of those things, and none of them identifies me. Neither does my atheism.

    You really can’t help rearranging what we say until it is attackable, can you? Why don’t you try actually attacking what I say, not what you think I say.

    Look, I can make a positive case for christianity without mentioning atheism or any other non christian religion. I can say that I believe christianity to be true because; (now remember, I don’t expect to to believe any of this, but I can present my case.)
    1.) I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and true God himself.
    2.) I believe that the bible is God’s true word to mankind today.
    3.) I believe that there is substantial predictive prophecy in the bible that has been fulfilled.
    4.) I believe in miracles.
    5.) I, along with millions of people, many of whom I know personally have had a personal experience with God.
    6.) So on and so on!

    All the above says is that Christianity is true because you beleive it. What kind of “positive case” is that for the proposition, “Christianity is True”?

    Here, let me give you my positive case for the proposition “Christianity is False”
    1.) I believe Jesus Christ to not be the Son of God and true God himself.
    2.) I believe that the bible is not God’s true word to mankind today.
    3.) I believe that there is no substantial predictive prophecy in the bible that has been fulfilled.
    4.) I do notbelieve in miracles.
    5.) I, along with millions billions of people, many of whom I know personally have neverhad a personal experience with God.
    6.) So on and so on! Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

    See how easy that is to do? I didn’t have to say atheism is bad and it creates Joe Stalins.

    See how easy that is to do? I’ve done it without mentioning atheism once! And I didn’t have to do it by saying religion was bad, or by pointing to the Spanish Inquisition or Osama bin Laden.

  131. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    So when Billy Graham or Greg Laurie blow into town and put on one of their arena ministries, about 5,000 atheist go down onto the floor to convert to christianity.

    C’mon Geno. If you really think 5000 atheists just gave up on atheism because Billy Graham gave a stirring speech, then you also believe that faith healers cure cancer by smacking the afflicted on the forehead and praying to god.

    Admit it. You’re not really a chemist.

  132. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    “See how easy that is to do? I’ve done it without mentioning atheism once! And I didn’t have to do it by saying religion was bad, or by pointing to the Spanish Inquisition or Osama bin Laden.”

    My point exactly – you have shown me why you are not a christian (and I appreciate everything you listed – I would never argue about how someone comes to their belief system) – however, you have not said why you are an atheist – Darren was able to articulate why he is.

    “Admit it. You’re not really a chemist.” Did you arrive at that by my Billy Graham statement?

    So what are you saying, the logical, critical thinking atheists were just fooled for the moment?

    Actually I am a Professor of Chemistry. (chemist is such a working class title).I wonder if you are really an attorney ;)

  133. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    My phrase “making a positive case” just means to state why you believe what you believe and not identify by what you don’t believe.

    An example, you could say, “I am a Democrat because…” and list you reasons. To have a good case for being a Democrat does not involve stating another parties case and tearing it down, it just involves pointing to the good of your party. Try it.

  134. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    OK. I’m an atheist because there is no good reason to be anything else.

  135. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    When you say it twice like that, it sounds like a mantra. Is that how Darwinoids memorize that statement?

    No. But nice attempt at avoiding what I wrote.

  136. evanescent Says:

    Spanish said:

    OK. I’m an atheist because there is no good reason to be anything else.

    Perfect. I should have just written that as my original article! He he.

  137. Darren Says:

    Geno, while it’s perfectly possible to remain an atheist from birth and reject supernatural mumbo jumbo for the superficial nonsense that it is, it cannot be denied that religion has been, and is, responsible for the justification of the most appalling evil.

    Yes, the tone you’re picking up from these books by atheists is actually antitheism, and for good reason. Religious belief, and the institutions that perpetuate it, is anachronistic and harmful to society. It needs to be purged from the social consciousness and relegated to an activity to be practised between consenting adults in private.

  138. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    OK, Geno. Now that I’m up, let me expound on that last statement, so that you don’t try to twist it around to mean something more, like you always do.

    Atheism is a simple statement of non-belief. It means that I do not believe in the supernatural because there is no evidence for it. Hard, sensory, evidence. Solid, repeatable, unambiguous evidence that can be experienced by everyone, not just those who put stock in the bible. Everyone. Without exception.

    It is not a religion, a way of life, or a lifestyle. There are no tenets to atheism, except “I have no belief in the supernatural”.

    Atheists may subscribe to other “religions” or “lifestyles” or “worldviews”, but atheism is not one of them.

    As you rightly point out, it can simply be a negation of theism. “Without” theism is for all practical purposes, “not” atheism. If I’m atypical, it means I’m not typical, (who ever heard of “without typicality”?).

    Many people are atheists and subscribe to other schools of thought. I, for instance am also a humanist. Now that has a whole series of tenets. For an example of what secular humanists subscribe to, check out the Council for Secular Humanism. I subscribe to much, but not necessarily all, of what they declare.

    Many people in what you and I would call a religion are also atheists. Buddhists, for example, do not have a belief in any god, so in that sense, they are all atheists. What makes them atheist is not their Buddhism, but their lack of belief in any god.

    So please do us all a favor when you debate (or have a conversation with) us. Do not presume that just because you feel the need to put everyone in a theistic hole, that we belong there too. We know what you base your beliefs on. You listed them above. We are a square peg that you insist on putting in a round hole. When we argue atheism, all we are doing is pointing out faulty, illogical, inadequately based thinking on the part of theists. We are not, repeat not, advocating another religion.

    So when I seem incredulous that a Professor of Chemistry (I assume at an institution of higher learning or a research institute) is able to base his entire occupation on a discipline that rests exclusively on the study of empirical evidence, and not on faith, then turn around and compartmentalize his thinking and base his personal life on what amounts to superstition, inadequate evidence, contradictory evidence, and simple beleif, you’ll know where I am coming from.

    As a lawyer, I m trained in logic and reason. I think that’s why I find your ability to throw it out on a whim so incredible. I couldn’t do it myself. If you read my blog, you’ll see that I never could. I fought the indoctrination I received as a child until I resolved it in my head. It took a long time, but I was ultimately successful.

    You could never prove the existence of god in a Court of law. Rules of evidence, which are based on pure logic and reason, would not allow it. I think that was why I was attracted to law.

    Bottom line: Atheism is not pejorative, a lifestyle or a religion. Understand that, and our “debates” will go a lot smoother.

    Now you know why I’m an atheist.

  139. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Good point, Darren.

    Once Geno understands why we are atheists, he can move on to Lesson 2, “Why we are anti-theists”.

    He needs to master Lesson 1 first, to understand lesson 2. :)

  140. evanescent Says:

    Darren said:

    It needs to be purged from the social consciousness and relegated to an activity to be practised between consenting adults in private.

    Just like S & M!

  141. Geno Says:

    You guys can’t even follow a line of conversation. Someone earlier brought up Richard Dawkins. I replied that he didn’t concern me at all and that he offered nothing to the “I hate God” line of thinking that has gone on for the past 100 yrs (probably since the beginning of time).

    You guys all jumped to his defense (led by the attorney) saying that it is impossible to hate god and then continued to give me reasons why there is no good reason on its own to be an atheist other than, not just a negation of god, but the total “trashing” of god and all those who hold to a religious position.

    I can only go by the “evidence” which is laid out in the 5 books I listed above (of which I have read each one – just finished Vic Stenger’s science fiction novel last night). In good faith, I put out the challenge for any of you to show me one chapter in any of those books where atheism is not totally reliant on inflaming the troops against religion. Why isn’t Richard Dawkins satisfied with just writing a book that says “I don’t believe that crap.” If god is such an obvious delusion, why does he have to write 400 pages to explain it? I know the answer! Because it took him that many pages to say “I hate god!”

  142. Joe Says:

    Do you hate Zeus, Geno?

  143. Geno Says:

    Darren,
    I am fully accepting of the fact that people over the ages have done hooorible things in the name of religion. That does not necessarily put the blame on the religion. I prefer to blame the people.

    You however, do not even have that integrity. I have pointed out before, that atheism has only had power for about an 80 yr. period during the 20th century. It is the only time in history when mankind has entrusted power to declared atheistic governments. It was so horrible (probably 100 million people slaughtered in an 80 time frame that the world had to put a stop to. Had atheism been allowed to carry out it’s rage, led by the war slogan “religion is the opiate of the people”, no telling if mankind would even exist today.

    I accepted my atrocities – I will bet that what will follow is statement after statement saying “these guys weren’t true atheists” or “these guys were not acting under atheism” or something else.

    If you do, I will just tag line “OK, the crusaders were not ‘real’ Christians.” But that gets us nowhere.

  144. Geno Says:

    Joe,
    No I do not hate Zeus – but Richard Dawkins does!

  145. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    “So when I seem incredulous that a Professor of Chemistry (I assume at an institution of higher learning or a research institute) is able to base his entire occupation on a discipline that rests exclusively on the study of empirical evidence, and not on faith, then turn around and compartmentalize his thinking and base his personal life on what amounts to superstition, inadequate evidence, contradictory evidence, and simple belief, you’ll know where I am coming from. that a Professor of Chemistry (I assume at an institution of higher learning or a research institute) is able to base his entire occupation on a discipline that rests exclusively on the study of empirical evidence, and not on faith, then turn around and compartmentalize his thinking and base his personal life on what amounts to superstition, inadequate evidence, contradictory evidence, and simple belief, you’ll know where I am coming from.”

    Your incredulity has no bearing on what I teach or believe. Are you saying that I compromise my teaching when I lay out how chemistry works or any of it’s complexities?

    BTW, I watched the OJ Simpson trial – I’ve seen how the “evidence” works. I remember seeing as you said “Rules of evidence, which are based on pure logic and reason,…” ;)

  146. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    I meant to finish up with, I think that evolution sometimes presents it’s “evidence” in a Johnny Cochran manner – “if I can’t find the fossil, it must exist.”

  147. cragar Says:

    I get busy for a few days and miss out on the fun.

    Geno is up to his old tricks I see. The only thing I can say is I was an atheist long before Dawkins or any other atheist author was around, and from reading the blogs I do, most of us were. I became an atheist because I read a lot-both theist and science books, and didn’t let others tell me what to believe.

    Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. have just become the voice to this evergrowing segment that I am a part of. 50 years ago less than 5% of Americans were atheists. Now that number is estimated at 8-12% depending on which polls are correct. In future years that number will continue to increase as people continue to learn that they don’t have to use only one book written by 40 people 2000 years ago to live their life by.

  148. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    You however, do not even have that integrity. I have pointed out before, that atheism has only had power for about an 80 yr. period during the 20th century. It is the only time in history when mankind has entrusted power to declared atheistic governments. It was so horrible (probably 100 million people slaughtered in an 80 time frame that the world had to put a stop to. Had atheism been allowed to carry out it’s rage, led by the war slogan “religion is the opiate of the people”, no telling if mankind would even exist today.

    I’d bother replying to this nonsense, like I and many others have done before, but we all know Geno will just ignore it and recycle this rehearsed trash next time, so I’ll just leave it.

  149. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    that is a comment!

    And I will reply, – I can make a case that all of the so called religious atrocities were in actuality just political happenings.

    Western Europe was bound by treaties and alliances to respond to invading forces from the east – hence the engagement in Greece, Turkey and Israel against the Turks. There was nothing about religion involved – there was no discussion between the parties about the Bible or the Koran – just pure political conflict.

    Come on – admit it – you guys have had some bad ones representing your position.
    So, let’s see – Dawkins doesn’t hate god and atheists do no wrong! Good one

  150. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Your incredulity has no bearing on what I teach or believe. Are you saying that I compromise my teaching when I lay out how chemistry works or any of it’s complexities?

    No. Please go back and read what I wrote.

    BTW, I watched the OJ Simpson trial – I’ve seen how the “evidence” works. I remember seeing as you said “Rules of evidence, which are based on pure logic and reason,…” ;)

    Then, you must be the only person in America that believes that justice was done in that trial too. What happened there had nothing to do with what the evidence was, how it was presented, or how it “worked”.

    The same evidence was used to obtain a 33 million dollar judgment against him.

  151. evanescent Says:

    I can make a case that all of the so called religious atrocities were in actuality just political happenings.

    Nonsense. Total and utter nonsense. It would be easy but time-consuming to provide hundreds of examples, so I’ll provide just two:

    1. The Crusades
    2. 9/11

    Game Over.

    How can Dawkins hate “god”, or whatever you call him? That’d be like hating Gandalf.

    Come on – admit it Geno – you don’t really have a case to make, which is why every discussion you get involved with meanders about from Dawkins to evolution etc etc because you keep throwing up red herrings to hide the fact there is no logic or evidence behind any claim you make.

  152. Joe Says:

    “No I do not hate Zeus – but Richard Dawkins does!”
    Can you back that up?

    I doubt he is any more likely to harbor hatred for fictional entities than you are.

  153. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Forget it Joe. He’ll just say he was kidding, and accuse you of not understanding his humor. It’s a lose/lose game with him.

  154. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    The crusades were my example above of a Western European treaty defense against the invading Turks. It is the same as “disowning” Joe Stalin.

    I can accept the crusades and say that in the name of religion people have done bad things. It does not bother me in the least if you wish to continually stick your head in the sand and not hold atheists accountable for their actions.

  155. Geno Says:

    Joe,
    Not only Zesus, but now I see that R.D. is running scared of poor little old ladies who read palms and tarot cards. He really feels threatened and feels that only his worldview can conquer all and save the world.

    I loved it the other day when R.D. was on the BBC radio2 with Steve Wright and they put him on right before they did their astrology report. Classic stuff :-) – The man can’t even be taken seriously in his homeland.

    enough said for now

  156. evanescent Says:

    A Western European treaty defence against the invading Turks?!

    Lol. Ok I give up, where did you pull that from?

    People have always done bad things in the name of religion, because religion actively encourages them!

    You can’t give me one example of bad things in the name of atheism, because we’ve had this argument before and you tried to mention Hitler and Stalin. But myself, Tobe, and others showed that you that you were totally wrong. And here you are again, repeating the same old junk, as if the original argument never happened. What a surprise.

    Go back and re-read the original discussion, I’m not getting into it here.

  157. Geno Says:

    Joe,
    Since Zeus worship is still around today (causing terrible evil as religion does) I would think R.D. does hate Zeus.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6283907.stm

  158. evanescent Says:

    Dawkins hates religion. He doesn’t hate non-existent imaginary beings.

    Keep reading that until it sinks in.

  159. Joe Says:

    Wow you guys sure have a wonderful view into the inner workings of Richard Dawkins’ psyche.

    And here I was just thinking that the guy was an atheist. I guess he has me fooled.

  160. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    I can accept the crusades and say that in the name of religion people have done bad things. It does not bother me in the least if you wish to continually stick your head in the sand and not hold atheists accountable for their actions.

    In these two sentences, Gene, you do the same thing all other theists do, when you try to connect atheism to genocide. You conflate two different concepts, as if they are the same. Let me show you:

    1. “in the name of religion people have done bad things”

    2. “hold atheists accountable for their actions”

    Both of these statements, standing alone, I agree with. I have no problem holding atheists accountable for their actions. Stalin, who may or may not have been an atheist, was a brutal dictator, who was responsible for the murder of millions. I say “may or may not have”, because he may have been using atheism for his own purposes of maintaining a stranglehold on Russian society, and state atheism was a handy way of doing away with a source of unity and community – the peasants’ religion – primarily Orthodox Christianity and Islam. He knew that if he broke the grip of religion he could ensure a population directly dependent on the state, without interference from natural rebels.

    You’re implying in your first statement that Stalin did what he did (murder people) in the name of atheism. That he clearly did not do. He may have been an atheist (and for the sake of argument, let’s assume he was) but he didn’t murder people because he was an atheist, or because he thought, because of his belief in atheism (an oxymoron, as I’ve already shown you), that he was actually doing a good thing that atheism demanded he do. He did it to consolidate his power over the people, which again, was not because he was an atheist. He knew what he was doing was wrong for the people he murdered, but right for him.

    So he should be held accountable for his actions, actions which were motivated by anything but atheism. Put another way, if he was not an atheist, he would have done the same thing, his religion be damned.

    On the other hand, the horrible things that were done in the name of religion, the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc., were justified by the very religion the people believed in. They would not have occurred but for their religion. Their religion told them that what they were doing was actually good for the people they harmed. The same mindset is what drives Islamic extremists. They are actually acting on the directives of their holy book.

    Theists loves to blame atheism for Stalin, but when they do, they just look stupid.

    Why don’t you try to blame atheism for the Holocaust too? Most theists love to do that. While you’re at it, throw in Pol Pot.

  161. Geno Says:

    Spanish, you can try to weeny out of it all you want.
    Look at it this way – Jesus said “Love your enemies.” Well, anyone who did harm to his enemy must not be a Christian – therefore, real christians could not have committed the atrocities you bring up. Does that sound acceptable to you?

    That is what you are saying “my atheist guy wasn’t a real atheist.”
    Was not the battle cry of the atheist/communists “religion is the opiate of the people”? Doesn’t that imply that they need to be destroyed? And your guys did a fine job – 100 million people in 80 years. Why do you have such difficulty in the area? It is a blind spot that just invalidates your whole position.
    They were atheists who set out to create their own “kingdom on earth” but they needed to eliminate the religious people or it wouldn’t work.
    It’s a sad tale but you have to own it, just like I have to own the bad things done in the name of Christianity. Be a big boy!

  162. Joe Says:

    His point was that it wasn’t done in the “name of atheism”. But this whole argument is a waste of time.

    I am no more have to “own” the actions of a fellow atheist than I have to “own” the actions of someone else who happens to also believe the sky is blue.

  163. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    No, Geno, it’s a stretch, and a really, really distant one.

    Christianity has nothing to offer humanity any more, so it has to resort to a rear guard defense, as it slowly (very slowly) fades into the sunset. All it can do is sputter and bluster about how the big bad atheists did nasty things. It has nothing to offer for the truth of it’s own dogma.

    So what? Even if Stalin killed millions in the name of Atheism (which sill makes no sense – “let’s kill everybody because we don’t umm…erm…believe in god” – yea, right), does that make Christianity true? Does that mean god exists? Does that mean all those little stories in the bible are true?

    A big fat NO. A billion nasty atheists doesn’t make god exist.

  164. Joe Says:

    Well I think religion in general certainly does give people things that atheism doesn’t and will continue to and continue to exist as long as humans do. There is no reason to believe Christianity won’t be here in some form or another as long as humans are.

    I think the whole “religious people do bad things” line of argument should be dropped. It is unfortunate that Richard Dawkins and other popular atheists continue to flog it. People do bad things; religions and philosophies don’t.

  165. evanescent Says:

    To be honest Joe, I think you’re being pretty naive.

    It’s true that people do good and bad things regardless of their beliefs, but religion actively encourages people to do bad things. It has a proven track record of doing so in every part of the world, in every era. It is intolerant and ignorant to the core. It is founded on superstition and control. It respects imaginary beings over humans beings.

    These things are not, and cannot, be right.

    To put it simply, if religious people kept to themselves, I would totally agree with you.

    But they don’t, and religion is a very real threat in the world today. It’s a threat to progress and education, and it’s a threat to life. And it simply offers nothing in return for this very high price.

    So pointing out the wickedness that religion inspires is not “unfortunate”, but rather, necessary!

  166. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    The gun metaphor Geno used is apt, in a perverse way.

    “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, is something I suspect he agrees with.

    Actually, it’s more accurate to say “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people”

    Similarly, it’s “Religion doesn’t kill people, people with religion kill people.”

  167. Joe Says:

    evanescent: I think there is no way to ever know that those people who have done bad things would have done them whether religious or not. I don’t think we can say with much certainty.

    Also I believe that harping on this line is self defeating for atheists. It falls in to the “you are not an atheist you just hate god” trap all the time. Avoiding this annoying red herring is easy if you don’t pursue this line.

    Also it does not advance much public acceptance of atheism to have atheists blaming religion and the religious for war and violence. If the goal of atheists going public is more acceptance by mainstream culture than this rhetoric needs to be downplayed or avoided not trumpeted in every atheism book and blog.

  168. evanescent Says:

    Joe said:

    I think there is no way to ever know that those people who have done bad things would have done them whether religious or not. I don’t think we can say with much certainty.

    I don’t think that makes much sense for several reasons:

    1. Religion has caused war and atrocities between millions and millions of people. It is illogical to suppose that all these millions of people were evil psychopaths who would have killed anyway.

    2. Your statement above supposes, for example, that instead of a Holy Crusade to the Middle East to forcibly convert millions of Arabs to Christianity, the armies of England would have Crusaded for another non-religious reason. This is, of course, nonsense.

    3. The direct cause of many atrocities and war, and indeed the reason for much oppression to progress etc, is directly religious. To say that if religion wasn’t around then people would find something else to repress and fight over is totally unjustified.

    It is like saying to someone who is bereaving the death of a loved one: “oh get over it, if you weren’t crying over their death you’d be crying over something else!”

    Well, no, actually. If the other person hadn’t died they’d have no reason to cry! Simple as.

    Note, I am not saying that no harm would be done if religion didn’t exist. What I’m saying is that no religiously-motivated damage would be done, and since religion is the motivation for a lot of problems in the past and present, at least that (rather large) portion would be removed.

    I’m not blaming religion for ALL war and violence, but it is perfectly reasonable to point out the war and violence that religion IS responsible for. It’s important to do so, because this is human life we’re talking about, and to waste it on fairy tales is a tragedy that too many people have suffered and died for. It’s not about blame and anger, it’s about saying what needs to be said, in the hope that we can stop it happening again.

  169. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    You show you ignorance in the area of history with this comment.
    “2. Your statement above supposes, for example, that instead of a Holy Crusade to the Middle East to forcibly convert millions of Arabs to Christianity, the armies of England would have Crusaded for another non-religious reason. This is, of course, nonsense.”

    Do you really think that the purpose was to go convert people – like a missionary trip? Read a history book. For 300 years before the first crusade, the Turks had forcibly taken over the lands in Turkey, Greece and Israel. The Eastern Church put out a call to the Church in the west to help take back the territories and free the people.

    Do you know that there were 8 crusades over a 200 -300 year period and only on the first one were the Christians successful. However, the fact that the English committed atrocities cannot be denied.

  170. Geno Says:

    forgot my ;) at the end of the last statement.

  171. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    You said, “Similarly, it’s “Religion doesn’t kill people, people with religion kill people.”

    So, the position that you keep defending is this? “atheists don’t kill people – just religious people.”

    Since you are an attorney, is that you defense? “Members of the jury, you must find my client not guilty of these murder charges. As we all know (and evolution has proved beyond a doubt) atheists do not kill people – I rest my case!!!

  172. evanescent Says:

    I think when you said “English” you meant to say “theists” ;)

    Here is what Wiki has to say on the Crusades:

    The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by Christians during 1095–1291, most of which were sanctioned by the Pope in the name of Christendom.

    The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the sacred “Holy Land” from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia.

    The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted through to the 16th century in territories outside the Levant, usually against pagans, those considered by the Catholic Church to be heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons.

    Rivalries among both Christian and Muslim powers led also to alliances between religious factions against their opponents, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rum during the Fifth Crusade.

    The traditional numbering scheme for the Crusades includes the nine major expeditions to the Holy Land during the 11th to 13th centuries. Other unnumbered “crusades” continued into the 16th century, lasting until the political and religious climate of Europe was significantly changed during the Renaissance and Reformation.

    Instead of getting into all the motives for the Crusades and going off track, and whether heathens and heretics were given the choice between conversion or death (sounds like forcible conversion to me!), etc etc, the point I was making is this:

    If it wasn’t for religion, would the Crusades have occurred? (For that matter, we could mention the Spanish Inquisition.)

    The answer is, of course, no.

  173. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:

    Spanish,
    You said, “Similarly, it’s “Religion doesn’t kill people, people with religion kill people.”

    So, the position that you keep defending is this? “atheists don’t kill people – just religious people.”

    Since you are an attorney, is that you defense? “Members of the jury, you must find my client not guilty of these murder charges. As we all know (and evolution has proved beyond a doubt) atheists do not kill people – I rest my case!!!

    Perhaps you should re-read what Spanish said, Geno, instead of re-writing his words to what you want them to mean. Reading something properly in the first place might prevent you from making embarrassing mistakes in the future. ;)

  174. Geno Says:

    Evanescent,
    First you stated the motive. “that instead of a Holy Crusade to the Middle East to forcibly convert millions of Arabs to Christianity” – You were the one who brought it up. I just tried to correct your error.

    Then you quote Wikipedia and it says the EXACT same thing I said!
    “The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the sacred “Holy Land” from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia.”

    So why am I wrong? The fact that people did evil and cruel things along the way is just incidental to the motives. I suppose that after D Day allied soldiers committed terrible evils on innocent individuals, but that in no way was caused by the initial motives of the invasion.

    I just wanted to correct your original misstatement – not get into a history lesson.

  175. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    OK, since I don’t have your interpretive powers, explain to me what Spanish meant here ““Similarly, it’s “Religion doesn’t kill people, people with religion kill people.”

    Remember, this is his response to my challenge that atheist do similar bad things.

  176. evanescent Says:

    It’s really quite simple: atheists have done bad things, just like religious people have.

    But show me the repression, suffering, torture, lies, violence, murders, and war in the NAME of atheism.

    I’ll save you the trouble: you can’t. You’ve tried before remember and failed and I don’t want to go over it again in this article.

    Whether religion is right or wrong, it’s hardly a controversial statement that religion has the blood of millions on its hands. I’m sure you agree. But whereas atheisTS might also have blood on their hands, just like football fans or English people do, atheiSM itself doesn’t have that blood on its hands.

  177. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Spanish,
    You said, “Similarly, it’s “Religion doesn’t kill people, people with religion kill people.”

    So, the position that you keep defending is this? “atheists don’t kill people – just religious people.”

    Since you are an attorney, is that you defense? “Members of the jury, you must find my client not guilty of these murder charges. As we all know (and evolution has proved beyond a doubt) atheists do not kill people – I rest my case!!!

    Huh? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and let you rephrase that. Nothing you said follows from what I said.

  178. Geno Says:

    evanescent and Spanish,
    I am sorry that you guys feel backed into a corner and have to redifine everything from your perspective alone. The rest of society (except those whose ox is gored) can plainly see that what the atheist/communist did was an attempt to rid the world of religion and to create a society that was religion free. (do you even doubt this?) – now they may have wanted to accomplish something down the road, but it could not be brought to completion until they had forced everyone to “have no belief in God.”
    So, there claim was “disbelieve or die!” and 100 million died in the name of “no God.”

    To say otherwise is to rewrite history.

  179. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Remember, this is his response to my challenge that atheist do similar bad things.

    Ummm, no. It was in response to Joe’s statement preceding mine:

    I think the whole “religious people do bad things” line of argument should be dropped. It is unfortunate that Richard Dawkins and other popular atheists continue to flog it. People do bad things; religions and philosophies don’t.

  180. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    So, there claim was “disbelieve or die!” and 100 million died in the name of “no God.”

    To say otherwise is to rewrite history.

    So you’re saying that everyone killed in the Russian pogroms, all the people sent to Siberia, all the peasants who died from famine and starvation caused by Stalin’s agrarian policies, all the people who died in his purges, was because these people refused to denounce their religion, and embrace atheism?

    Who’s re-writing history here?

  181. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    Sorry, the line of conversation started with my claims that Joe was half way agreeing with me.

    But I saw my name and was wondering where you got this “The gun metaphor Geno used is apt, in a perverse way.” I made so such gun metaphor.

  182. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    You are probably correct! I will only credit your guys for 50 million deaths instead of 100 million. You sure are one hell of a negotiator for your side!

  183. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Sorry Geno, you’re right. You didn’t use a gun metaphor. It came to me after reading your post that said

    I am fully accepting of the fact that people over the ages have done horrible things in the name of religion. That does not necessarily put the blame on the religion. I prefer to blame the people.

    I was going to respond by using that metaphor, then didn’t, but it was still in my head and my head connected it to you and voila’, when it did come out, it became yours. Sorry. :(

    You are probably correct! I will only credit your guys for 50 million deaths instead of 100 million. You sure are one hell of a negotiator for your side!

    Let’s do a little more negotiating. Actual evidence since the old USSR opened up is about 3 million actually killed. Some find that unreliable, because records are unreliable. It also doesn’t include somewhere from 6-8 million who died in the famine, which may or may not have been intentional. (I find famine to be a somewhat odd tool for genocide, but, hey, whatever works!) The most liberal estimates go no higher than about 20 million, but as I say, the only real evidence is for about 3 million.

    Now, I can find no evidence that anyone was executed, deported, or otherwise killed or missing because they refused to embrace atheism, as opposed to being deemed enemies of the communist state. Since that’s your claim, it’s your burden to show it, so let me know if you have any evidence for it, your jocular offer to split the difference notwithstanding. :)

    I got my info from Wikipedia, and I know you don’t accept that as definitive.

  184. Geno Says:

    Spanish,
    Beleive your figures if you wish. There are people out there all these years later who say that there was no holocaust – so what are we going to do?

    I’ll tell you what, let’s just go with your story that no one has ever killed in the name of atheism.

    So now we have 2 myths; macro evolution and atheists are all swell guys! :-)

  185. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    Sorry, Geno, that’s not how it works.

    Neither evolution or your atheism statement are myths. Myths are what Bronze Age goatherders who sit around a fire concoct because they have no technological or scientific ability to determine the facts that will explain their lack of understanding of the world around them. So they make up stories. These stories then get told over and over, through generations, until someone has the bright idea to put them in writing, after writing is invented. They then give these writings a name, like The Bible, or the Qu’ran, or the Bhagavad Vita.

    That’s what a myth is.

    Evolution, being far more recent, and supported by scientific research, is not a myth, unless you’re a Christian who doesn’t accept the facts because it conflicts with your written myths.

    Whether someone has killed in the name of atheism is not a myth either, unless your a Ph.D. Chemist, who refuses to accept the fact that there is no evidence for it.

    I’ll take your last post as a concession on both counts. Thanks. It’s been fun. ;)

  186. Joe Says:

    “1. Religion has caused war and atrocities between millions and millions of people. It is illogical to suppose that all these millions of people were evil psychopaths who would have killed anyway.”
    You are simply asserting the very point that I was calling in question. I’m saying that religion is NOT the cause of many atrocities and wars attributed to it.

    “2. Your statement above supposes, for example, that instead of a Holy Crusade to the Middle East to forcibly convert millions of Arabs to Christianity, the armies of England would have Crusaded for another non-religious reason. This is, of course, nonsense.”
    Religion was not necessarily the primary motivation behind any of the crusades. So much so that the Christians at times used Arab (i.e. Muslim) mercenaries to bolster their numbers. They were plundering expeditions. Most wars are for resources, land or money.

    “3. The direct cause of many atrocities and war, and indeed the reason for much oppression to progress etc, is directly religious. To say that if religion wasn’t around then people would find something else to repress and fight over is totally unjustified.”
    Again, it is religion as the cause that I am disagreeing with.

    “It is like saying to someone who is bereaving the death of a loved one: “oh get over it, if you weren’t crying over their death you’d be crying over something else!”

    Well, no, actually. If the other person hadn’t died they’d have no reason to cry! Simple as.”
    I’m not saying that. I’m saying that’s not really what they are crying about. maybe they are really crying about not getting an inheritance. ;-)

    You completely failed to respond to the part about how it is bad for the public acceptance of atheism. Does that not matter to you?

  187. evanescent Says:

    Joe, religion might not be cause of many atrocities and wars attributed to it, but it is the cause of many others.

    You’re correct that most wars are fought for resources, land, or money. But many wars if not fought directly for religious reasons are religiously motivated. I doubt any historian would claim that the Crusades were not religious wars. The French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Protestants are another example. So is the Thirty Years war. Or the Saxon Wars, were pagans were forcibly converted to Christianity or killed.

    Politics can be a broad term. Were the 9/11 terrorist attacks and fighting in Northern Ireland for many generations political or religious? Well, both. It’s impossible for politics not to come into play when discussing nations and people, but the primary divider between many wars is religion. It has been the single term of identification between rival groups. Protestants vs Catholics is a well-known example. Christianity vs Islam is a more recent example.

    So, like I said above, I’m not pinning ALL murder and war on religion, but I am pinning a lot of it on there. I recommended reading Sam Harris or “God is not Great” by Chris Hitchens. I also wrote about religious massacres recently here:
    http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/why-do-i-bother-tue-24th-jul-07/. To quote myself:

    What if you were one of the 90,000 Christians slaughtered by Persians in 614 AD? How does the Qurayza massacre of 900 Jews at the hands of Muslims back in 627 sound? What about the 4,500 non-Christians killed by Charlemagne in 782? Still bored? Ok: the first crusade in Germany where 10,000 Jews were killed? The 20,000 Muslims butchered in 1098 at the Siege of Antioch by the Christian Crusaders? The 70,000 Muslims slaughtered a year later in Jerusalem (guess by whom?) The 2750 Jewish and Muslim prisoners murdered by Christian King Richard in 1191? The 40,000 Christians killed by Sultan Baibar in 1268? The 10,000 Christians in Tripoli exterminated in 1289 by Muslims? How “boring” was being a Huguenot I wonder when Catholic mobs wiped out 70,000 of them in 1572? Ulster, Ireland, and the year 1641: 12,000 Protestants are murdered by Irish Catholics? Skip forward to 1933, in Simele, where 3000 Christians are targeted by Iraqis.

    1947, India: about one million are killed in religious warfare between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims.

    Rwanda, 1994: the religion-inspired conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis reaches a zenith when 937,000 Tutsis are extirpated by Hutus.

    2005, Turbi in Kenya: sixty people are shot dead (twenty-two were children) near a primary school.[1]

    Joe said:

    You completely failed to respond to the part about how it is bad for the public acceptance of atheism. Does that not matter to you?

    I assume you’re referring to your original statement here:

    Also it does not advance much public acceptance of atheism to have atheists blaming religion and the religious for war and violence. If the goal of atheists going public is more acceptance by mainstream culture than this rhetoric needs to be downplayed or avoided not trumpeted in every atheism book and blog.

    That’s like saying we shouldn’t blame Nazis for the murder of 6 million Jews, in case it offends people.

    My goal isn’t to make atheism necessarily more popular, like some pyramid scheme or football club. It’s not about winning votes like a politician and saying whatever keeps the masses happy.

    Sometimes speaking out is unpopular, but you still have to do it. Of course the public view of atheism matters to me, and if atheists were generally lying about religion and blaming it for things it hadn’t done, then fair enough. But we’re not doing that. We’re pointing out what IS wrong with religion and the violence that HAS been done in its name.

    To make excuses for religion or be politically correct about what we say is mealy-mouthed pandering, in my opinion.

    However, if you’re saying that it’s more important for atheists to clarify themselves and promote the benefits of free-thought and rationality, instead of just picking at religion’s faults all the time, I’d agree with you.

  188. Joe Says:

    “That’s like saying we shouldn’t blame Nazis for the murder of 6 million Jews, in case it offends people.”
    If I lived in a coutry controlled by neo-Nazi’s I certainly wouldn’t.

    “However, if you’re saying that it’s more important for atheists to clarify themselves and promote the benefits of free-thought and rationality, instead of just picking at religion’s faults all the time, I’d agree with you.”
    That is indeed what I am trying to say. This kind of stuff alienates the very audience that I am trying to get to understand atheism. Why would they care to understand if all they see is an attack on religion? Since THEY aren’t violent, they shouldn’t.

  189. evanescent Says:

    If I lived in a coutry controlled by neo-Nazi’s I certainly wouldn’t.

    Perhaps. Perhaps not. Many people have bravely spoken out in parts of the world when their lives were at risk. There is discretion, and there is putting your head in the sand.

    We don’t live in a country completed governed by religious zealots…yet, so I am relatively free to say what I want without fear of attack. Of course, even if that fear was real, I’d still like to think I’d speak my mind.

    That is indeed what I am trying to say. This kind of stuff alienates the very audience that I am trying to get to understand atheism. Why would they care to understand if all they see is an attack on religion? Since THEY aren’t violent, they shouldn’t.

    I agree with you. That is why what I write about varies between exposing the lies and horrors of religion, and also promoting the beauty of life, science, rationality, free-thought, and atheism.

  190. Joe Says:

    I suppose we mostly agree, I just don’t find the evidence for religions contribution to war convincing.

  191. Spanish Inquisitor Says:

    How about religion’s contribution to Islamic terrorism?

  192. Joe Says:

    I don’t believe it is the sole cause, but I do believe that suicide bombers would be much rarer without it.

  193. The Obsession With Non-Belief « evanescent Says:

    [...] crimes, but that is not my concern in this article. My concern is about the “crime” of non-belief. Needless to say, the position that non-belief is a crime is exclusively held by the religious. And [...]


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