The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CLXXV (Atheist/Theist Relations)

July 9, 2006 | 49 Comments

A “happy, well-adjusted atheist” advises the Squad that he would be “interested in your comments about atheism’s claim that there is no god.” The reader also expresses his fear that America is “becoming a nation of ‘Talibaptists,’ so to speak; increasingly, we pass judgment on those who disagree with us, particularly on the topic of religious belief (or lack thereof).”

The Squad doesn’t address the God question, so I won’t either (and can’t). The problem with second question is that it reduces the dispute to one involving just speech and civility. But what bothers people isn’t that someone is “passing judgment” because they disagree. That is the very nature of disagreement — each side “passes judgment” that the other side is wrong. The important issue is which side is right, and the consequences, if any, of translating one set of judgments into action through law or social pressure. The Squad’s focus on school prayer and other public invocations of God similarly ignores much of what the debate is about, although it’s true that those symbolic issues consume a disproportionate amount of atheist attention as well.

The Squad concludes with a prayer that religious Americans will “come to see the atheism of some of their neighbors as neither betrayal nor blindness but rather just another way to stand on the purple mountain majesties.” I am warmed by the generosity behind the thought, but the relativism of it makes me want to jump off of the mountain. Which side I won’t say.

Comments

49 Responses to “God Squad Review CLXXV (Atheist/Theist Relations)”

  1. ako
    July 10th, 2006 @ 1:13 am

    So you’re saying that it’s more important to deal with the truth of whether or not their is a god than to avoid the potential incivility of disagreement? Is this one of those rules that applies to everyone but you?

  2. Choobus
    July 10th, 2006 @ 2:53 am

    Wank.

    Wank.

    Wank.

    I hope you will give my analysis of this post serious consideration repentant atheist, because you are in danger of drowning in your own spooge, and that means you will swallow millions of potential fetus-snacks.

    By the way, do you still maintain that “relogious devotion trivializes American law and politics”? If you do I assume you have no problem saying so. If you don’t, why is it still on your masthead?

    Either way, you are coming off as a bit of a shitlord mate. Sort it out guv’nor.

  3. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 10th, 2006 @ 6:46 am

    SO I spent a few hours this weekend watching the bullshit on Trinity Broadcasting — the fake healings by Benny Hinn and Gloria Copeland et al … the crowds of delusional freaks … (not to mention the Chris Treborns, Lucy Muffs, and the like who visit this site with the ridiculous twisted logic they use to acknowledge their Dada in the Sky) ….

    Those people are lunatics. Their irrational thinking and groveling to a father figure who doesn’t exist should be challenged lest the world just continue to grow more insane every day.

    If RA wants to support that kind of madness then let him —- his blogs have become an utter waste of time.

    What a fucking joke this has become !!!!!

  4. Graham
    July 10th, 2006 @ 7:53 am

    Jesus people, give RA a break……..

  5. Holopupenko
    July 10th, 2006 @ 7:55 am

    Primate:
         How do you know (and how can you convince the studio audience) that healings did not occur? Could you please provide some empirical scientific data to back up your claim? Do you have access to a “before” and then “after” health condition of the person allegedly healed?
         More likely given your categorical and unreasoned approach, reality MUST adhere to your a priori personal misinterpretation of it, and everyone that disagrees with both your worldview and hatred is consigned to irrationality.
         You make categorical assertions, and you can’t back them up. Sounds pretty “scientific” to me.
         Please, let us all e-hear some more foul language from you as an alleged means to prove a point… PLEASE continue to undermine atheism.

  6. disappointed
    July 10th, 2006 @ 8:16 am

    “The Squad doesn’t address the God question, so I won’t either (and —>can’t

  7. reconciled
    July 10th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    Holopupenko,

    Do you deny the work of James Randi’s The Faith Healers? If so please detail, if you haven’t read please do.

    Has any “faith healer” ever had a client examined by a doctor before and after healing is administered? Or compiled any kind of data.

    The only data I can find is where people have died from not seeking out a doctor.

    Well?

  8. June
    July 10th, 2006 @ 8:26 am

    Holo: You may remember that several TV evangelists have been convicted of fraud. One simple technique they use is to have shills interview people with illnesses in the audience, radio the information to the performer on stage, then let him “divine” that “there is someone in the audience who has cancer in their left leg”.

    Incidentally, the burden of proof is on the healer, not on the skeptic.

  9. Holopupenko
    July 10th, 2006 @ 9:02 am

    Reconciled & June:
         You both missed my point: I’m not arguing for or against whether miraculous healings have ever occurred. All I did was to point out the blatant unscientific assertions and underlying metaphysical assumptions made by Primate. All I want is for him to back up his assertions with empirical scientific evidence.
         Apart from that and as a start, you may be intrigued by some of the unexplained cases of healing at Lourdes. An honest enquirer would check out both sides of the argument as they interpret the data. But, to announce a priori that miracles or healing do not occur is not a scientific assertion. (Pardon the double negative.) If science can not explain what occurred, is it “meaningless” or a “trick” or “eventually explainable” by the modern empirical sciences? Isn’t the latter a matter of faith that assumes the natural sciences arbitrate whether any knowledge is considered valid? If so, well… that’s not an example of intellectual integrity, is it?

  10. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 10th, 2006 @ 9:17 am

    HOLO:

    I was merely stating what I observered this weekend … Bennie Hinn and Gloria Copeland ranting and raving about how they are curing cancer, deafness, blindness —- “healing from the people’s head to the soles of their feet”.

    Thre was an expose on Bennie Hinn I saw once —- the guy is just laughing his way to the bank.

    If you want to believe all that mumbo-jumob then good for you — when you get cancer you can seek them out … when I get cancer I will seek out a good physician.

    And my point in the original post is that RA was at one time willing to challenge the likes of these jokers …. now his blogs are just plain LAME!

  11. June
    July 10th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    Holo, I think you know very well what Primate meant about televangelists defrauding the gullible under the guise of religion. And if you were really interested in carrying on a conversation, you could have replied by (for example) admitting that there are some who use religion as a front for fraud — so what? Then he would have replied with something intelligent, and we would have an interesting conversation going.

    Instead, your tactic is to ask for “empirical evidence” that TBN is bullshit. Sounds oh so very reasonable; how can anyone argue against having scientific data? But it’s a classic red herring technique used to kill any point. It’s used by creationists, for example, who will pompously ask for “scientific data to prove carbon dating” in the middle of some casual discussion about young versus old earth views.

    Coming from defenders of bizarre religious views, asking for empirical proof of well-known facts is particularly ironic.

  12. Holopupenko
    July 10th, 2006 @ 11:09 am

    June:
         Of course there are people of faith (if that term can be appropriately used in such cases) that defraud others. Could you please indicate where I stated—implicitly or explicitly—the contrary? Moreover, isn’t your claim also true of atheists who make sweeping metaphysical claims (the universe is “meaningless”) because they twist the findings of the modern empirical sciences to fit their preconceived notions of what reality should be… they write books, and make money off the philosophically inept. Azimov, Sagan and Dawkins come immediately to mind. The ancient Greeks called such people sophists.
         You are also guilty of the “genetic fallacy” (see here) with a bit of ad hominem thrown in for good measure when you condescendingly assert, “Coming from defenders of bizarre religious views, asking for empirical proof of well-known facts is particularly ironic.” In other words, instead of focusing on the merits of an argument or claim, you focus on the originator of that argument in the hopes that the evidence won’t be followed to where it leads. Pray tell, how does it logically follow from the fact that there is documented evidence of fraud on the part of some religious fanatics, that then by definition there can be no miraculous healing? That’s a fallacy, and you know it.
         If we applied such logic to atheists, they’d be up in arms whining like the intellectually-stunted playground punk, Choobs. (Come on, Choobs, give me your best foul-mouthed shot: provide me more evidence for which I can point to inquiring minds what atheism is all about.) Am I baiting the both you? You betcha! (Can you take it as well as you can dish it out?) What’s my point in baiting you? To show you and the other whiners—who malign RA for trying to introduce civility in these discussions—that he’s correct. There’s no need for the foul-mouthed and hateful comments here just because certain atheists need to feel a rush, while rushing in for the “moral” kill if heaven forbid someone does the same thing to them. If they can’t live without such, what better advertisement (again) for what atheism is all about?
         Finally, you do a nice job of twisting epistemological expectations (requirements for evidence) into something that merely serves to buttress your personal antecedent views. Look at ANY atheist site and how its sine qua non is nothing but demands for empirical evidence for the existence of God or of miracles or what have you. Yet, when a clear assertion is made by Primate, and it is wholly correctly asked that he back up his claim, we get…squat. Moreover (as noted above), there’s the underlying agenda of, “See! There’s a huckster! Therefore, miraculous healing is impossible.” Your position, my dear, is the herring of a strange and odious odor in this discussion.
         It never fails to surprise me how atheists confuse epistemological limitations with ontological ones… and do so with such disdain, bigotry, and intellectual ineptness, and hate. We don’t need a logical argument for the existence of God or miracles; we need a psychological explanation of what drives atheists.

  13. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 10th, 2006 @ 11:34 am

    HOLO said: Yet, when a clear assertion is made by Primate, and it is wholly correctly asked that he back up his claim, we get…squat.
    ———————————————————————————
    What I posted was an OPINION numb nuts — not a scientific dissertation on the inefficacy of faith healing.

    I suspect I am correct and I am not going to even begin to attempt to find evidence otherwise.

    If you do not like my opinion that the ranting TBN faith healers are a bunch of opportunistic charlatans … then you can provide evidence to the contrary ….

    all I can say is GOOD LUCK !!!!

    it ain’t gonna happen! :)

  14. Thorngod
    July 10th, 2006 @ 11:38 am

    HOLOPUPENKO, “what drives atheists,” is no doubt a number of motives, but there is a sizable percentage that is driven by the search for truth.

    In reference to “miracle” cures, are you aware that the Vatican concedes that the percentage of “cures” at Lourdes is no greater than the incidence of spontaneous remission of serious maladies in the general population?

    The real miracle in “miracle cures” is how so much money is spirited from the pockets of millions of dupes into the personal coffers of such charlatans as Benny Hinn.

  15. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 10th, 2006 @ 11:48 am

    HOLO:

    I apoligize in advance for calling you numbnuts … but purveyors of false cures religious or new age (like John Edwards) ….

    REALLY make me angry !

  16. IvyLeagr
    July 10th, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

    Primate, Holo, and others:
    In response to the miracles at Lourdes and the bullshit by Benny Hinn. Its ridicolous to accept the notion that these people have been miracoulosuly healed. As someone mentioned, the “miracle” Lourdes recoveries are due to pure statistics. Take a random sample of 80 million cancer patients and see that probably more than 66 have been magically healed. Onto Benny Hinn, clearly this man is fucking insane and that goes for that miracle spring water guy too, who was successfully debunked by James Randi in the 80’s. I was watching The 700 Club one day and Pat “Protein Shake” Robertson and Hinn were going back and forth “healing” people through the TV and the power of the holy spirit, by God!!! To me it was quite comical.
    Finally, these faith healers work because of a number of ideals. Religious people are pyschotic and believe anythging. Also, the temporary placebo effect these nutcase audience members experience momentarily dispels them of pain. And isn’t it coincidental that not one amputee has had a limb grow back? Surely, Big Daddy Omnipotence can do that. Wonder why he never does? Oh yea, he works in mysterious ways!

  17. IvyLeagr
    July 10th, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

    In addition to my last post (comment #16), I apologize if I repeated anything. I didn’t read too carefully over the previous resposnes.

  18. Holopupenko
    July 10th, 2006 @ 12:39 pm

    Gentlepersons:
         Trust me, I’ve got a thick skin… so I almost want to say you don’t need to apologize to me… but maybe to yourselves or to others may be a different issue.
    ;-)
         I’m pushing the envelope with you folks because it takes two to tango. I don’t believe what I presented was out of line, and certainly not without merit. My points still stand, because even in these few responses since my last comment there was not much of substance. My only request is that you address the merits of my arguments, not the fact that I’m a Christian. If, on the other hand, you can show how a Christian worldview influences my position, that’s fine as well (I do not make it a secret)… but you have to be prepared for two things: (1) the same approach applies equally to atheists, (2) just because someone is influenced by particular ideas or worldview doesn’t mean the argument itself is therefore invalid. To think otherwise would be to (analogously) invalidate the physics of Newton because he was a devote Deist.

  19. IvyLeagr
    July 10th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    Holo,
    I surely wasn’t apologizing for my somewhat antagonizing remarks. I was simply apologizing for possibly repeating an arguement that had been mentioned previously. I would surely never apologize for offending you because your belief system is utterly irrational. In regards to your discussion of our lack of empirical evidence dismissing the faith healing claims, there are a number of reasons we don’t need it. First, the burden of proof is not on the skeptic. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Second, these men have been debunked before. They’re known frauds and their methods have been outed by not only skeptics but retired pyschics and the like. Third, the only claims you have are anecdotal and entirely subjective. Fourth and most of all, there are much better, naturally based explanations for this. We can’t devolve back to the dark ages and surmise “Goddidit” for everything that “seems” to be difficult to explain. There are a number of very simple answers to whats happening (a number of which have been given). Its much more reasonable to assume (and in reality, correct) that these men are frauds, that the people they claim to cure are feeling a rush of adrenaline, and no miracle is occuring.
    Alas, reason and lack of evidence have no bearing in your worldview. Since you’re a christian, you accept everything on faith and what you’re told. Thus, its almost impossible for you to deny the plausibility and strength of our arguements. We don’t a priori dismiss these people. Rather, we’ve viewed the situation, processed the evidence (or lack thereof), and come to the most reasonable, natural, objective, scientific solution. You on the other hand say, “But by God, the holy spirit done cured that woman. I better read my babble for some of that there miracles.” Godidiot.

  20. Thorngod
    July 10th, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

    HOLOPUPENKO, your skin isn’t the only thing thick about you.
    And yes, Newton was a theist–and an occultist, to boot. ‘Just goes to show you; geniuses can have diseased brains, too!
    It’s obvious from your writing that you’re pretty damned smart yourself, but religion is a damned tenacious thing!

  21. Holopupenko
    July 10th, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

    IvyLeagr & Thorngod:
         Uhh, yeah, right. Don’t you folks realize how pre-packaged your sound-bytes sound? (“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Puhleez! Doesn’t that beg the question of what counts as “evidence”? If you a priori limit evidence to that accessible to the modern empirical sciences, and only accept those cutsie but fallacious metaphysical arguments in support of that, well then I underestimated your philosophical inteptness!) Never thought of questioning that presumption, have you? Every single one of your assertions can be turned back against you–even the one on “extraordinary evidence” because from the philosophical perspective you hold some pretty irrational views yourselves. Atheistidiot.

  22. Choobus
    July 10th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    Holohead, you have proven yourself worthy of the august title Shitlord IV. You deserve, so I see no reason why you should not flaunt it, and you are. You go girl, it’s all about the shitlord.

    Faith healing indeed.

  23. Thorngod
    July 10th, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

    IVYL- Have you wondered if maybe this guy is teetering on the brink of skepticism, if not atheism? His protests remind me of the classic latent homosexual’s reaction to gays.

  24. IvyLeagr
    July 10th, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

    Holointhehead,
    Prepackaged? Yes, its true I borrowed that quote from Carl Sagan. Thus, it must have no validity at all (sarcasm). How does that make sense? Just because its a famous quote doesn’t deny the truth of it.
    I’ll admit that your response (“If you a priori limit evidence to that accessible to the modern empirical sciences…”) is more sophiticated than I’ve heard or read previously. However, it fails and here’s why. However much theists wish to seclude and insulate their belief system and their God in a metaphysical/ immaterial bubble, this can not be done. Since when have doctors lost the ability to notice a remission of a terminal illness or the spontaneous healing of a serious disease. These measures are well within the realm of modern empirical evidence. If Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, and Robertson Jr. have the abilities they profess, empirical evidence can esaily be gathered. For example, do followup examinations of the healed persons from a faith healing show. Its that simple. If the results are statistically significant, then the claims will garner more testing and possibly some veracity (definately not though I was just describing the scientific process). The claims you make, especially those regarding faith heaing, are very much testable and falsifiable by today’s science.

    Also, I need extraordinary evidence for my claims of atheistic materialism. What?!?! Its a negative assertion and thus does not require any evidence. This harkens to the old, “Well you can’t disprove God.” Same with Santa. What a trite arguement to be presenting.

  25. benjamin
    July 10th, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

    Last night big foot came to my house in a UFO and abducted me. Then he took me for a ride on the back of the lock ness monster, which was really fun. After that we had ambrosia with Jesus and talked politics. Jesus didn’t know what the hell we were talking about, but Biggy and me are libertarians. You can’t say it didn’t happen, because you don’t have any evidence! What’s that? No, we didn’t ride any invisible unicorns, that’s ridiculous!

  26. IvyLeagr
    July 10th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    Holointhehead,
    I forgot to make this point in my last comment (comment #24). In response to “Every single one of your assertions can be turned back against you–even the one on “extraordinary evidence”:

    I don’t think that one can have undeniable, empricial, objective evidence, pre se, of the nonexistence of God. And of course, this has been beaten dead on this forum and hilariously in comment #25. Atheism is begotten from an objective analysis of the facts that science has so far provided. We have a process by which humans have arisen (unequivocally: evolution) that does not at require a designer. We have a system to describe the basis of all matter that reeks of randomness and chaos (quantum mechanics). The universe is filled with shit happening for no reason at all. The universe is also so vast and endless that one could argue we’re simply a “mote of dust in a sunbeam”. There’s no modicum of intelligence behind the universe and “the more we find out about it the more it seems pointless” (Weinberg I believe). Origin of the universe cosmology is closing even more gaps for God’s existence. From these (and thousands more), we atheists have come to the reasonable conclusion that no governing intelligence exists. Its a claim borne of faith (as most philosophical ones are), but requiring little to substantiate the belief. Of course, the faith of nonbelief in an immaterial, invisible, sky daddy who does things completely described by natural science starkly contrasts your faith. (Specifically, the contrast is you’re schizo and we’re not.)

  27. ocmpoma
    July 10th, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

    “If you a priori limit evidence to that accessible to the modern empirical sciences, and only accept those cutsie but fallacious metaphysical arguments in support of that, well then I underestimated your philosophical inteptness!”

    Do you have any evidence of that?

  28. Choobus
    July 10th, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

    “Uhh, yeah, right. Don’t you folks realize how pre-packaged your sound-bytes sound? [(]”Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Puhleez!”

    The faeces is strong in this one. He coud no doubt turn off his guidance system and still sink a floater without touching the sides. Truly, a Shitlord has spoken.

  29. Some Guy
    July 10th, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

    Miracles aren’t real.

  30. Paul
    July 10th, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

    H, extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence is not begging the question. We can set up criteria by which we distinguish oridinary evidence from extraordinary evidence quite easily and rationally, and then we can apply that without prejudice. For instance, more evidence, everything else being equal, is better than less. So extraordinary amounts of evidence is one criterion (maybe sufficient, maybe not) for extraordinary evidence. Independence of evidence (separate experiments, observers, etc.) is another such criterion. So when we require extraordinary evidence, we apply such criterion *that is neutral with regard to the specific claim being investigated* to that claim, and if we do so objectively, we can trust our conclusion based on the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Challenging the metaphysics of what must be assumed to accept *any* evidence, not just extraordinary evidence, is a separate issue. If you agree that evidence (and logic) are needed to reach conclusions, then we can talk. If not, then all bets are off, and we can fairly characterize your position as being illogical and having no regard to evidence.

  31. maledictus
    July 10th, 2006 @ 10:06 pm

    hollowpenko

    I have no problem retiring the word “extraordinary”. So the phrase would read “your claim that god exists require evidence”

    If that is good for you, go ahead and present your evidence.

  32. Thorngod
    July 10th, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

    HOLOPUPENKO, dispute this:
    “Every religion has a philosophical kernal, and the philosophies inherent in the various religions share the following idealist principles: there are autonomous spiritual entities, such as souls and deities, and they satisfy no scientific laws…. some people possess cognitive abilities that fall outside the purview of experimental psychology: divine inspiration, inborn insight…. all people are subject to inscrutable and unbendable superhuman powers, and they are not obliged to justify their beliefs by means of scientific experiment.
    “All three philosophical components common to both religion and pseudoscience are at variance with the philosophy inherent in science. Hence, the thesis that science cannot conflict with religion because they address different problems in different but mutually compatible ways are false.” -Mario Bunge, Frothing Prof. of Logic & Metaphysics, Dept. of Philosophy, McGill U., Montreal, in “The Philosophy behind Pseudoscience,” published in SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, July/August 2006.

  33. Holopupenko
    July 10th, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

    Come on, guys… I thought of responding, but when presented with the Skeptical Inquirer as an authoritative, unbiased reference… well… that’s a howler. An atheist arguing for atheism?!? You’re not serious, are you? And, I’m not asking that question to be funny. Did you check out Mario’s CV? Did you notice he has NO official philosophical bona fides? Zero. Nada. Empty set. Null. Void. The ole black wrinkled gromit. Death by privation. No formal training whatsoever… which means he’s not gone through the discipline of defending his views in front of philosophical peers, but rides his “scientific” background roughshod over all else. Somehow his physics background bestows upon him a philosophical mantle of honor. Honorary degrees? No doubt from disciples of his. Couldn’t you entertain the possibility that this guy’s ideas could be wrong simply because he’s got no formal training, and hence prone to mistakes? It’s easy to publish stuff when you haven’t had to defend your views at the risk of not getting a degree. The rest of what was presented in the comments is slowly but surely being covered in my blog. I’m not given to sound-byte responses to satify the urges of the irrationality of the disciples of atheism. This really is a kindergarten-type of grasping at straws. Fare well…

  34. Thorngod
    July 11th, 2006 @ 12:06 am

    HOLOPUPENKO, if you’re still here, eat this: Bunge’s bone fides are beside the point; it is what he said that is the point. It is succinct, factual, and logically irrefutable. Your basic premise (God in his Heaven) has no verifiable support; only myth, hearsay and wishful thinking. If Satan (anyone whose philosophy or lifestyle you oppose) tells you two plus two equals four, and Jesus tells you not to believe him, think twice, Holopupenko, before you place your bet!

  35. Brooks
    July 11th, 2006 @ 1:25 am

    Plug alert!

    “The rest of what was presented in the comments is slowly but surely being covered in my blog.”

    We don’t read your blog.

  36. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 11th, 2006 @ 5:29 am

    From Hollo’s blog:

    “It is impossible without the grace of God to scrape together enough dust particle-sized parts of a mustard seed of faith to tackle our individual sins. We must participate in the Divine Will to permit the fundamental miracle to occur that permits Him to help us in our unbelief. To overcome and reorient our stubborn, disordered free wills we must permit healing take to place. Once that happens, walking on water fades into insignificance.”
    ———————————————————————————

    Ah yes – how naive I was —- that’s how simple it is to allow god to work miracles in to your life :)

    I don’t care how much philosophobabble Holos throws on the subject: Benny Hinn, Gloria Copeland, Peter Popov (the miracle spring water NUTJOB) are all charlatans opportunistically praying on weak and deluded people. It doesn’t take a philosophy degree to recognize that (and yes – many of these jokers have been debunked – if you happen to be looking for evidence).

    RA would do well to post a blog on these hoodlums. It would be interesting to see him doing it in a “kind and civil manner” …. those scavengers don’t deserve such treatment in my opinion.

  37. RJ Evans
    July 11th, 2006 @ 6:46 am

    The “God” argument has a simple answer. Some people NEED a God to live. Others do not. I am of the latter. I DO NOT need a Skydaddy to live my life. For 40 years I thought I did. Then, one day, a lightbulb turned on in my cranium and I was self-healed. No more Skydaddy, no more blind assumptions, no more DEPENDENCE on the supernatural to make me FEEL guilt, born of a fallacy. I CHOSE to take control of my life, and leave ignorance behind.

    I argue against forced theism. But, isn’t that WHY we as Atheists argue to begin with? As long as religion maintains its delusion of superiority and dominance over non-believers, I WILL argue, yell, sceam and bitch about it in ALL its forms.

    RA has become vague, aloof, fickle. His method is one of theistic style manipulation. Has he now become the enemy of atheism? Or, has he simply decided to fan the fires of uncertainty?

    RJ Evans
    The “American Heathen™”
    ShockNetRadio.com & FreethoughtRadio.com

  38. HappyNat
    July 11th, 2006 @ 7:20 am

    “An atheist arguing for atheism?!? You’re not serious, are you?”

    Yup, not nearly are credible as a Christian arguing for Christianity . . . who else is going to “argue for atheism? The Mormons?

  39. Paul
    July 11th, 2006 @ 8:19 am

    H wrote:

    “I’m not given to sound-byte responses to satify the urges of the irrationality of the disciples of atheism. This really is a kindergarten-type of grasping at straws. ”

    I’d like all to note that H’s other option for his last post was to actually respond to the substance of my last post, as well as others’. Addressing these points on his blog, in some indefinite future, may well never happen, or is at least a cop-out.

    H, on another site (www.thinkingchristian.net), has shown some extreme tone in his statements, in my opinion. It’s not coincidental that those who shout the loudest, take an extreme tone, etc., tend to be the ones who fail to live up to the standards of civil discussion (respond promptly, politely, on-point, substantively, carry on no matter where ideas lead, etc.).

  40. June
    July 11th, 2006 @ 9:13 am

    One of neuroscience’s major discoveries of recent decades has been that the brain is a dynamic organ whose neural connections can be rewired. [For empirical proof of this and any other point I make, simply consult the appropriate sources such as dictionaries, journals, textbooks and professors. Unless you think consulting an expert in a field biases the evidence s/he gives. In that case, poll some some homeless winos at random for their opinion.]

    Holopupenko seems to be a perfect example of a “Dawkins Brain”, i.e. one that has been parent-wired intensely for one faith since childhood. It has been “carefully taught, before you are 6, or 7, or 8″ [from South Pacific] and is now physically incapable of following any other line of reasoning. This is really a shame, since H seems to have a brain that could have contributed new insights to our discussions.

    There are certain mantras that give this type of brain away. For example, always belittle leading scientists like Sagan and Dawkins, insist on overwhelming scientific evidence for every point, always make a debate out of every scientific fact, no matter how well understood and how obvious, always accuse experts of bias.

    One of the beginning exercises in unwiring an encrusted brain is to make debaters switch sides. So, what might be interesting [Jeeeesus HHHH Chrissssst, I am desperately trying to find something interesting on this blog, ever since TRA seems to have sucked the big one –pardon my Tourette’s syndrome] is to make Holopupenko write a comment defending some aspect of atheism, and (say) Primate defending some religious viewpoint. Or Choobus writing a serious post without sounding like George Carlin on a roll.

  41. Paul
    July 11th, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

    June, you are exactly right, that exercise is a great one. H, try it out! Choobus, make the theist argument!

  42. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 11th, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

    June said:
    and (say) Primate defending some religious viewpoint.
    ————————————————————————

    Very interesting comments on the hard wired brain June. And yes, I do feel that I have been hard wired for skepticism. I was brought up Roman Catholic but always kind of felt that their teachings were not real but rather based on fantasy. (And the day I met my first avowed atheist – well that was a revelation!)

    As far as switching sides and trying to promote theism — wow I have to say it would be difficult for me to do.

    But in my defense I must say that I listen to and watch a fair amount of christian radio and TV. And also have read a bit of the bible and a few books on theology. So I have tried to examine the other side’s arguments —- none of it just ever seems very credible though (Lewis, Strobel etc).

    Hmmmm – let’s see what aspect of christianity can I try to defend ?????

  43. June
    July 11th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    OK, I will start, in defense of the view that there is a God.

    We obviously live in a reality that nurtures us. Food grows for us. We have air to breathe. We can reproduce ourselves in our children. We barely understand any of these mechanisms, but they are there and they support us. So let’s call them God or Nature or Cosmos and pay them some respect.

    When my daughter was 2 or 3 years old, and I was giving her a bath, at the end of the bath, when I pulled the plug, we would always chant in singsong: “Thank you, water, for a nice bath.” She has grown up into a beautiful girl, a total atheist, but she understands the need to respect nature and our role in it.

    If someone wanted to take this a step further, and wanted to elevate Water into a divine entity, and build altars and churches to it, I would raise an eyebrow. If next, they wanted to put the words “Water Is Sacred” on every car bumper, or force me to recite “One Nation Under Water”, then I would draw the line and tell them they have gone “over the top”.

    So, I have shown that there is a God who makes my grass grow and my roses bloom and gives me a nice bath. But there is no need to go over the top and build a National Cathedral to Water.

  44. Thorngod
    July 11th, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

    I’ll defend the Druids. They worshipped trees, the most worthy of all possible gods. Druidism is easily defended; it’s a dead religion, which is the best type.

  45. Nokot
    July 11th, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    RJ Evans wrote “The “God” argument has a simple answer. Some people NEED a God to live. Others do not.”

    Oh what a fun statement to analyze!

    I used to say something such as that, but it’s surely not true. I know you may have just said “some people need a god to live” without much consideration. Do these people need god to live out of the womb or through social conditioning? (I imagine humans don’t even have the capability to believe in a god until a certain age.) Does “live” mean “live happily” or “live” in the biological sense? (Food, water, shelter, and … faith?) And of course, nowhere are the words “faith” or “belief” used, which is the heart of the matter really. It’s not the actual existence of the god people might need (else you’ve proven that gods exist), it’s their faith in the god.

    In your own words, “…religion maintains its delusion of superiority and dominance over non-believers….” How can a person trained in religion by parents, family, and friends abandon religion without, at the same time, feeling like they have abandoned the whole of society? I would argue the “need for god” is more accurately described as a “need for social inclusion.”

    Now I’ll digress. I don’t think it has anything to do with a sense of purpose in life either. Maybe that’s because I find no purpose in being the insignificant plaything of a creator. After all, wouldn’t it be purpose enough to devote our lives as servants to our parents if creator-worship truly gave any meaning to life?

  46. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    July 11th, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

    OK – my attempt:

    There must be a god because there must be absolute truth.

    The relativism of atheism/secularism does not have a logical end.

    Take the killing of another person. When is it correct? One human being says it is OK while another says it is not OK. Mankind can not agree on when it is acceptable to kill another human being. The only way the act can be justified to its logical end is if its legitimacy is decided by one final judge.

    And that judge needs to be God.

  47. Brian Macker
    July 11th, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

    “… they write books, and make money off the philosophically inept. Azimov, Sagan and Dawkins come immediately to mind. ”

    Yes, because everyone knows that writing pro-philosophically scientific literature is morally equivalent to intentionally defrauding cancer victims. Defrauding them via earphones and in audience spies among other methods. We know they are frauds because CSICOP sent in a man disguished as a woman with ovarian cancer and the faith healer said that god had told him about the cancer to the non-existant ovaries. Of course, the information was fed to him by a cohort working the audience. This is all documented.

    I think this exchange clearly shows that Holo does not utilize his entire brain. Well maybe he does and it is inadequate to the job of separating fact from error.

    I still haven’t gotten my pot of gold prize from him for showing him a group that was responsible for more deaths than atheists.

  48. June
    July 11th, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

    Very nice, Primate.
    Reminds me of another “proof”:

    God is perfecti.
    Perfection includes existence.
    Therefore God exists.

  49. RJ Evans
    July 12th, 2006 @ 6:59 am

    Nokot Wrote:
    “In your own words, “…religion maintains its delusion of superiority and dominance over non-believers….” How can a person trained in religion by parents, family, and friends abandon religion without, at the same time, feeling like they have abandoned the whole of society? I would argue the “need for god” is more accurately described as a “need for social inclusion.”

    ‘ll buy that. I was making a simplistic statement without over analyzing it. But, your point clarifies my position. Indeed, it IS the “need” for social acceptance.

    Thanks for pointing that out :-)

    RJ Evans
    The “American Heathen™”
    ShockNetRadio.com & FreethoughtRadio.com

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