Tyler D finds the following exercise persuasive: 1.Name a
scientific explanation that was later supplanted by a religious explanation. 2.Name a religious explanation that was later supplanted by a
scientific one. See which one has more. How about
this... 3.Name a scientific explanation that was later supplanted
by another scientific explanation.
@ Tyler DI didn't intend for my comment to indicate that Harris
only makes essentially one argument, but Harris certainly begins his Manifesto
with a nuanced version of the argument I describe, writing that "the
entirety of atheism" is contained in in our response to the questions of
whether it is "right" or "good" for us to believe in a God who
is all-powerful and all-loving, yet allows a young girl to be brutalized and
killed by an abductor.Harris wants us to assume that if God is
all-powerful, he COULD intervene (to protect the little girl) if he were so
inclined, and that if God is all-loving, he WOULD intervene if he could. But
the logic fails in that we must first rely on the notions we have of how God
@Fred Vader – “If God doesn't exist, then it looks like science
and scientists are the real cause of all the wars and suffering in the world,
no?”[Awesome last name by the way, or is it just your
“dark side” moniker?]Hmmm… no, I would say the
answer is “people in general” - evolving, big-brained primates with
overly large adrenal glands and a penchant for tribalism, but…What
does that have to do with anything I said? The only assertion I made
was one way of knowing (science) providing better explanations about the
objective world than another way of knowing (religious or spiritual).Is there really any argument on that count?But to your point, yes
science has given us the tools to destroy ourselves and we may yet suffer that
fate, but I am far more afraid of religious fanatics (with their lust for an
apocalypse) bringing that about than anyone else. For example, as bad as
communism was at least it wasn’t suicidal and sure of eternal paradise
after it let the missiles fly.Reached my comment limit…
Ah, the old reliable "science is better than God" theory...Assuming for argument that God does not exist, and therefore science and
scientists are therefore the winners, please answer the following:For all those who start wars, whether religious or otherwise, who is it that
supplies them with their weapons of mass destruction? Did the Pope, or a
preacher invent the atom bomb? Looks like the scientists win in that category
too...so why aren't you villifying, shunnning, and name calling the
scientists and those who place their "faith" in science, with all the
destruction they actually cause to man?If God doesn't exist,
then it looks like science and scientists are the real cause of all the wars and
suffering in the world, no?
@Central Texan – “Just as Sam Harris has done in the Atheist
Manifesto, the reasoning rests on an assumption about how God would act or
respond to certain circumstances.”Harris actually makes a slew
of arguments for why he is an atheist – the logical argument in your
comment (which, by the way cannot be shown to be true or false) is only one of
his arguments, and a relatively minor one at that.And his reasoning
is more nuanced than you suggest. He has said on occasion that no one can be
100% sure (of God’s existence) either way. But what he is sure of is that
religious people, who have claimed for centuries to “speak for God,”
have an incredibly poor track record when it comes to explaining things about
the world.I find the following more persuasive than what noted:1.Name a scientific explanation that was later supplanted by a religious
explanation?2.Name a religious explanation that was later supplanted
by a scientific one?If we’re keeping score on this account,
science is ahead by about a million to zero.
Be careful not to be caught by the false logic ofA) If God exists,
he would not allow such and such to exist in the world.B) Such and
such exists in the world,C) Therefore, God does not exist.Just as Sam Harris has done in the Atheist Manifesto, the reasoning rests on
an assumption about how God would act or respond to certain circumstances.
@ CETCollectiveGood call. Taoism, as well, is a great alternative to
the religious status quo.
"What good is teaching there is no God besides allowing someone all the
excitement they want since if there is no God there is no law and no sin and you
can do whatever you want."This is an old, false notion believed
more by the religious than the nonbelievers. I have never heard it nor read it
from a non-believer. Instead, it is just another way for believers to falsely
demonize non-believers and make them out to be immoral, unworthy creatures. What
a shameful thing to do."please do not categorize those of us who
profess religion as charlatans. Doing so indicates that we do not really believe
what we profess but that we do so for reasons of self-interest."Children taught to be good because “Santa Claus is coming to town”
are very sincere, and their belief in Santa Claus influences them to be nice,
kind, and to do good. But that doesn't make Santa real or the story of his
coming down chimneys true. One who deceives is a charlatan; those who continue
the deception are also charlatans.
A ScientistNo problem for me to say (without qualification) that
many atheists (and agnostics too) are fine folks - patriotic, good citizens and
neighbors, etc. (I would have thought the human part was obvious).But please do not categorize those of us who profess religion as charlatans.
Doing so indicates that we do not really believe what we profess but that we do
so for reasons of self-interest.Whether you think we are wrong or
not, surely you know religious folks who truly believe what they say. I know
many folks of other religions (and of none). Most are quite sincere.
Occasionally there are those who are not (in many religions and without). But
they are widely dispersed and cannot be pegged to any one religion.
How do people know there is no God? You can look at negativity in any religion
to reject it. Does any religion teach you to be a bad person? Gods eternal
truth is independent of what people choose to beleive. What good will beleif
against gravity do? Since the days of Adam satan said beleive it
not and people chose not to beleive it. Book of Mormon full of people that
thought beleif in God frenzied mind. Joe I am not an agnostic I know for a fact
God does live. Just because you don't know he lives I do know for a fact
he lives.Good if people find truth and choose to beleive it. Even
though churches disagree on fall of Adam and baptism most teach good things.
What good is teaching there is no God besides allowing someone all the
excitement they want since if there is no God there is no law and no sin and you
can do whatever you want. Truth is independent of human beleif.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not
care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you
have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to
worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a
noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” ― Marcus Aurelius
I have enjoyed reading the comments here and in other places. I like the chance
to see different views, feelings,etc. I am not atheistic, but reading all the
different arguments and feelings, I think I begin to understand others life
experience a little more, much of which I think we share, and I learn from it.
I am grateful for it since we all still have a lot to learn. Probably no one of
goodwill wants to go back to the days when only one religious view was allowed,
"OR ELSE..." (which still happens in a few places, sadly). I like to
see where I can learn from others, of the same opinion or not. It isn't
always easy to do, since we are emotional beings. Jesus said "Agree with
thine adversary quickly..." I don't think he meant pretend to believe
the same, but maybe rather to come to a mutual understanding... That takes
time, effort, trying to see from the other persons point of view, maybe not
judging others, but giving them the benefit of the doubt... Thanks for all the
TylerD, I suggest you look up the meaning of the "a" in atheist. It
means "without," which isn't much different than your recommended
"non." It doesn't suggest an antagonism, though that's often
the resulting interpretation for those who believe differently than ourselves.
Those that are sure that there is no higher being are kidding themselves.Same goes for those that ARE sure.Deep down we are all agnostic.
We just won't or can't admit it.
How painfully pitiful to waste all this time arguing over whether there is a God
or not. I for one am a believer and I'm quite content to raise my children
in a home where God is real and prayer is our line of communication to him.
We're all free to worship who/what we want or choose. "...choose ye
this day..." the scripture declares, "whom ye will serve, but as for me
and my house, we will serve the Lord."(Joshua 24:15) We waste all this time
arguing and hating when we could all learn to be kind and get along. Besides,
"it will all call come out in the wash" in the end so to speak. If in
the end we find out there's a God, then so much the better for us who
believed. If there's not, well then, it wouldn't matter, would it?
My life would not have been wasted because I can look back and know that I was
happy and contented to live the way I chose. Likewise with the godless if they
were content and happy with theirs.
Her main argument is that because war and murder and other bad things happen,
God isn't real. Herein lies the problem: life was not meant to be easy, and
humans have the capacity to choose. We often choose wrong, and this leads to
pain, hatred, war, and destruction. Sometimes others reap the reward of our own
choices as collateral damage spreads. But that is not God's fault; that is
mans, and if God removed those things, life would be easy. If life was easy,
why are we here at all?If God exists and if He deserves my worship
and attention, He has to be perfect, better than anyone I know. He wouldn't
use force except in cases when doing so leaves the individual's right to
choose intact. In the end, he would have to set everything right, after all has
been said and done. Otherwise, He deserves nothing from me. I believe He is
perfect because the variables lead to no other conclusion. It took years of
study to figure it out. If you want to know, you had better get started, and
when you know, fix yourself accordingly.
@ pmccombs – “I think you've misrepresents atheists and
atheism!”I think you did a fairly good job (although somewhat
confused atheist with agnostic) of expanding on what I said, but I’m not
sure how my basic description was a misrepresentation.Separating
atheist from agnostic is helpful. And again, I think atheist is a troubling word
because it doesn’t positively describe anything. Do we have a word for a
non-Santa Claus believer? Also, by your very loose definition (e.g., Jewish
friend) we are all atheists with respect to someone’s conception of God -
for example, with respect to Zeus or Ganesh (except Hindus) or the sun god Ra or
Allah (except Muslims)?@ Physics27Since atheists have
been marginalized for centuries (many of those included being burned at the
stake), I think they are simply asking for some long overdue mutual respect. And
we have a long way to go given the fact that being an atheist is still the #1
impediment to run for political office, more than race, religion or even sexual
preference. Perhaps we should take Jesus’ advice and judge
people by their fruits (and not their roots).
TylerD,I think you've misrepresents atheists and atheism! The
category is quite diverse. In the first place, "atheist/agnostic" is
misleading. The word "agnostic" can be applied to people who are
religiously inclined and to those who are not. The agnostic is simply one who
does not "know." There are plenty of thoughtful atheists who think it
probable that there is no God, but admit that they lack sufficient knowledge to
make a definite claim about it. On the other hand, there are those who seek God
and lead pious lifestyles, yet similarly admit that they have a lack of
knowledge that would allow them to commit to a specific faith.Among
atheists, there are plenty who accept the supernatural and who have their own
stories. One Jewish atheist friend of mine believes in the "Universe"
and has been visited by his deceased ancestors. Yet he adamantly denies the
existence of an intelligent and personal "God." Biblical Sadducees were
this way.I know Mormon Atheists and Agnostics as well (I'm
agnostic), and there is an entire Underground full of them, many of who attend
meetings faithfully and live their religion (which they don't take
literally) quite diligently.
As a fellow scientist I understand your reasoning. If there is no God none of
this matters and there is no reason to even comment on this board. Right? Just
because you have not seen Him does not mean that He does not exist. There is a
difference between not knowing whether there is a god and claiming there is no
god. In claiming there is no God you offend those who believe in God. You are
saying that what they have learned is foolish and they inpart are foolish. You
have your right to believe what you want but it is no wonder why it is met with
criticism. We all have a lot to learn.
The feeling of isolation, condemnation, and frustration this woman felt is the
experience imposed on people by those charlatan weavers in "The
Emperor's New Clothes".Religion is the epitome of the
weavers' fraud. It says that those who cannot "see" the fictional
"god" are "unworthy and unfit for their office" - unworthy of
acceptance and full participation in society.It is time those of us
who do not "see" any mystical god open our mouths and let the world know
we are NOT bad people; we are NOT "fools" (Psalm 14:1); we are HERE, and
we are worthy, patriotic, good citizens, neighbors, business owners, family
people, and human beings!
I have just one suggestion for the godless mom lady. Check out Buddhism~ You
want presence? In Buddhism the self is known as the Buddha therefore if you are
present then so is the Buddha. Logic? No system of understanding life is more
logical then the teachings of the Buddha, who said,"My path is not a
religion, its a way of life. Want fairness? Karma is infinitely fair although we
do not always know the true causes of things. Look into Buddhism, you will not
Carl Olsen also wrote…“My experience, time and again, is that more
than a few atheists want to have it both ways…”When I
read this guy’s entire comment my first thought was, “I have never
heard one atheist/agnostic say anything like this, but I’ve heard
countless religious people describe them this way.” The
atheists I know don’t believe in God because 1) there is no objective,
repeatable evidence for God, and 2) we now have better explanations for almost
everything religion has ever tried to answer throughout history. And
it’s worth noting that atheism is simply a word to describe people who
don’t believe in religious myths and stories. It has no positive content
and does not denote any set of alternative beliefs. A better word would perhaps
be non-theist, since we don’t have words for our disbelief in most things.
Is being a non-astrologer (note that we don’t have a word for this) mean
that you have a competing set of beliefs related to astrology? Of course
not… you simply don’t believe in astrology.
The kickback to this story, which I read, is indicative of how far we have to go
before it's considered OK to not not raise kids in the atmosphere of fear
and oppression religion can impose. The freedom of each one of us is
inextricably bound to that of every other person.