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Nachtengel
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:57 PM
From The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2011/oct/24/richard-dawkins-video-interview):

In the latest in John Harris's National Conversations series of interviews, Richard Dawkins is invited to defend his atheism. What about the comfort, community, and moral education offered by religion?

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Hersir
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 07:02 PM
Always so arrogant this Dawkins

Gruno
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 07:06 PM
Always so arrogant this Dawkins

That's really killing their arguments if you ask me. The arrogance of atheists. They hate the attitude of religious people while often displaying exactly the same arrogant attitude, in combination with a sense of entitlement and intellectualism. I am smart, so I cannot believe in God. Or: aren't you too intelligent to be religious? I myself cannot stand it.

Eccardus Teutonicus
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 07:50 PM
That's really killing their arguments if you ask me. The arrogance of atheists. They hate the attitude of religious people while often displaying exactly the same arrogant attitude, in combination with a sense of entitlement and intellectualism. I am smart, so I cannot believe in God. Or: aren't you too intelligent to be religious? I myself cannot stand it.

The funny thing is that most atheists are more religious in their methods and attitudes than many so-called believers. The fanaticism of the godless is rarely matched by believers because the godless have something to believe in that they can feel, touch, and admire: themselves. Atheists are mostly just egotists who have replaced God (or gods) with themselves.

GroeneWolf
Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 07:15 AM
I am not even willing to watch the video considering the treat title. Like others said it comes across as highly arrogant and presumptuous. Also he is an anti-racist (http://cairnarvon.rotahall.org/2009/01/26/dawkins-on-race/) :


We can happily agree that human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. That is one reason why I object to ticking boxes in forms and why I object to positive discrimination in job selection.

CruxClaire
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011, 01:58 AM
I think one of atheism's biggest problems these days can be found in its spokespeople. While I admire Dawkins' outspokenness and confidence, I find him way too intolerant. History has shown us that there is such thing as an intelligent theist. There are more factors contributing to one's religious beliefs than intelligence, and I say this as an open atheist.

I like many of Dawkins' arguments against Christianity; however, people like him are giving atheists a bad name by making the whole lot of us come across as pompous and intolerant, and I know plenty of atheists who are more tolerant than the majority of active Christians I know (not all - one can't really generalize about the arrogance or intolerance of either religion as a whole).

Hamar Fox
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011, 11:32 AM
and I know plenty of atheists who are more tolerant than the majority of active Christians I know

Sadly, this is true. Most atheists can't shed themselves of Christian tolerance even though they free themselves easily from its overt dogma. In fact, in many cases I suspect an atheist rejects Christianity's dogma, not because he's repulsed by the essence of the religion, but because the Christianisation of his spirit (and I suppose with how the word's thrown around by some members, I should stress I'm using 'spirit' figuratively) is so thorough that he no longer requires its explicit moral guidance, and so can shed himself of the religion's dogmatic skin for which he has no more use but continue to live and breathe its fundaments.

CruxClaire
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 01:54 AM
Actually, my loss of faith came at least somewhat, as you suggested, as a result of the Christianity I was raised with. My dad is strongly Irish Catholic, and I was very strongly dogmatized from a young age.

What initially turned me towards atheism was the apparent lack of regard for Jesus' teachings shown by many of the most ardent "Jesus Freaks" I regularly saw at the time. I read the Gospels and saw that Jesus taught tolerance, and I noticed that the people always winning the school's "Best Christian Example" awards (I went to a Lutheran middle school) were some of the most intolerant of them all. They treated my atheist friend horribly, and I noticed that this atheist friend was considerably more intelligent than the lot of them. This initial interest was what made me research other religions more, as well as atheism, and I gradually abandoned all the dogma I had previously held close to my heart, until I finally read Sam Harris' Letter to A Christian Nation and realized that I didn't even believe in a deity anymore, thus making my final spiritual break from Christianity. Since then, I've called myself an atheist.

Hamar Fox
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 10:30 AM
Actually, my loss of faith came at least somewhat, as you suggested, as a result of the Christianity I was raised with. My dad is strongly Irish Catholic, and I was very strongly dogmatized from a young age.

What initially turned me towards atheism was the apparent lack of regard for Jesus' teachings shown by many of the most ardent "Jesus Freaks" I regularly saw at the time. I read the Gospels and saw that Jesus taught tolerance, and I noticed that the people always winning the school's "Best Christian Example" awards (I went to a Lutheran middle school) were some of the most intolerant of them all. They treated my atheist friend horribly, and I noticed that this atheist friend was considerably more intelligent than the lot of them. This initial interest was what made me research other religions more, as well as atheism, and I gradually abandoned all the dogma I had previously held close to my heart, until I finally read Sam Harris' Letter to A Christian Nation and realized that I didn't even believe in a deity anymore, thus making my final spiritual break from Christianity. Since then, I've called myself an atheist.

Exactly. Liberal atheists are much more Christian in spirit than most Christians, which is why they place so high a premium on tolerance and equality. I don't agree that you've made a 'spiritual break' from Christianity at all. Your defence of the Negro in a recent thread was very Christian. The Christian instinct in you was outraged. Someone like me, who is completely detached from Christian morality, couldn't care less about intolerance or unequal treatment.

CruxClaire
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 12:57 PM
I don't agree that you've made a 'spiritual break' from Christianity at all. Your defence of the Negro in a recent thread was very Christian. The Christian instinct in you was outraged. Someone like me, who is completely detached from Christian morality, couldn't care less about intolerance or unequal treatment.

I don't think "Christian" morality is exclusive to Christianity and those who have been raised with it. I'm spiritually disconnected with Christianity because I don't believe in God. I think what you're talking about is a moral disconnect from Christianity.

My morals aren't defined by the rewards or punishments from some invisible deity that they'd inspire. I try to base them on an empathy/Golden Rule principle. If I would be upset if someone did it to me, I try not to do it to others.

Hamar Fox
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 01:54 PM
I don't think "Christian" morality is exclusive to Christianity and those who have been raised with it.

It's exclusive to people who've been influenced by it, second hand or not. Of course, there are comparable sentiments in Buddhism, but as concerns Europeans, the origin of universal tolerance is Christian.


I'm spiritually disconnected with Christianity because I don't believe in God. I think what you're talking about is a moral disconnect from Christianity.

Disbelief in God would be an intellectual disconnect from Christianity. I don't use spiritual in a literal sense, since I don't belief in such things. A spiritual connection with Christianity means a continued implicit acceptance of its assumptions and moral code, such as the


empathy/Golden Rule principle.

Primus
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 02:20 PM
Socrates wasn't an atheist.
Plato wasn't an atheist.
Aristotle wasn't an atheist.
Posidonius wasn't an atheist.
Isaac Newton wasn't an atheist.
Einstein wasn't an atheist.

Etc.

Why not pick actual geniuses from history rather than someone like Jesus who, outside of the Christian scribblings, has very little evidence to support his existence?

CruxClaire
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 10:03 PM
Of course, there are comparable sentiments in Buddhism

Actually, I can readily admit to being influenced by Buddhism. I wouldn't call myself a Buddhist, but I admire some of their beliefs. I embrace some of the philosophical beliefs of Buddhism, but you wouldn't catch me worshiping Buddha. I find Taoism interesting as well.

The whole idea with Christian morals is that one must act in a certain way to appease or mimic a deity. While many of my moral principles are similar to those preached in the Bible (although there are many moral contradictions within the Bible, especially between the Old and New Testaments), I consider my moral compass independent of Christianity because it's not rooted in the belief that God will punish me if I don't follow the rules. I value justice as well as empathy, and justice certainly isn't exclusive to Christianity either. Sikhism and Hinduism, to name a couple, seem to advocate empathy and tolerance.

I think moral codes are more cultural than religious. Take the morals of slavery - plenty of Christians have used the Bible to justify slavery, and others to condemn it. And one can see the same phenomenon today with the defense/condemnation of homosexual marriage.


Why not pick actual geniuses from history rather than someone like Jesus who, outside of the Christian scribblings, has very little evidence to support his existence?

The individuals you named weren't atheists, but weren't necessarily Christians either. You've selected some people that seemed more into deism. They certainly weren't Christian apologetic. Anyhow, I don't think the intelligence of a body of people can be determined by a few select people from that body. If someone gave me the names of a few politicians who honestly helped their countries, I wouldn't be persuaded that politicians are, as a whole, an honest and well-meaning group of people.

renownedwolf
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 10:14 PM
Somebody as supposedly intelligent and obviously pompous as Richard Dawkins would surely have to concede that he can prove neither so shouldn't espouse his contradictory anti-faith theories that are based upon a faith of their own.

RoyBatty
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011, 10:26 PM
Somebody as supposedly intelligent and obviously pompous as Richard Dawkins would surely have to concede that he can prove neither so shouldn't espouse his contradictory anti-faith theories that are based upon a faith of their own.

Yes, one would have thought that this would have been self-explanatory to a man of his "caliber".

As you mention, the ironic thing about it is that him & his pals from the ''British Humanist Society'' are on such an active and vocal anti-religion crusade (not even missing a beat to ask for donations as many a church would) that one can't help but suspect that they are operating their own Cult of Atheism, a church in itself.

:D

One can only but wonder why those bastions of Liberalism and Progressive reporting such as The Guardian and Auntie Beeb (the BBC for those of you who aren't familiar with the term) consider him important enough to grant him endless precious airtime and column space in order to enlighten the rest of us with his sage and wisdom.......

CruxClaire
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 12:21 AM
I don't like that agnostics are supposedly an exclusive group - I think one can be an agnostic theist, an agnostic atheist, or a pure agnostic (undecided/don't care). I think anyone who refuses to acknowledge the possibility that he/she isn't certain of God's existence/nonexistence is either a)lying, b)close-minded, or c)a complete lunatic.

Where are you on the "Dawkins Scale"?

1..Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2..De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3..Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4..Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5..Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6..De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7..Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

I'm a six most of the time. Some days I'll drop to a five, or somewhere between five and six.

renownedwolf
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 01:26 AM
None of them as I have more than one God! Lol!

GeistFaust
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 01:40 AM
I don't see Richard Dawkins as an ideal atheist, just as much as I don't find some fundamental Christians to not be ideal Christians. He should know that intelligence is not a thing strictly limited to atheism anymore then stupidity can be associated with it at times.

The one sided egotism of Dawkins shows a kink in his armour which exposes a weak ego. I think that reality and nature have tendencies towards atheism, but on this grounds we should be so egotistical to use these tendencies to justify our own false appeals to authority.

I think at the same time we run into a narcissitic egotism in religion which tries to give off the illusion that it has detached itself from self-interests when this is completely contradictory with the designs of nature.

GeistFaust
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 01:52 AM
The funny thing is that most atheists are more religious in their methods and attitudes than many so-called believers. The fanaticism of the godless is rarely matched by believers because the godless have something to believe in that they can feel, touch, and admire: themselves. Atheists are mostly just egotists who have replaced God (or gods) with themselves.

This is the problem with a lot of atheists and even religious people is that they find themselves in a pandora's box. This pandora's box puts them in a position where they become hypocrites by assuming the same degree of narcissism and sublime selfishness to counter the other side's deficiences.

I think its all a game of emotive projection where each side projects the faults and mistakes of the other side onto each other. I think few are exempt and that we are all to some degree or another narcissitic regarding matters which are suspended beyond our ego.

This is just the common nature of mankind and I don't think its a malady which can be rid from us, at best we can only mitigate it into intellectual or productive activity within the confines of cultural or social ambitions and pursuits.

CruxClaire
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 02:54 AM
Atheists are mostly just egotists who have replaced God (or gods) with themselves.

This is true of some of them, indeed, but I wouldn't say it's the majority. I personally flirt with pantheism in my beliefs a bit: my deity is the universe itself. It's so beautiful and vast and beyond all understanding and comprehension. Atheists have something more tangible to believe in, yes, but it's something that extends beyond themselves. I've read all or parts of books from some of the most prominent atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris), and they've all mentioned the vastness of the universe and expressed awe at it like a theist might express awe at a deity.

http://hubble.nasa.gov/Hubble_20th.jpg
A picture of a star birth region in the galaxy from the Hubble telescope

http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/volcanoupi_800x531.jpg
Lightning in volcanic ash clouds

These scenes reveal a power and complexity that I can't understand, one too great to have ever been devised by the mind of a deity, in my opinion. My own mind is feeble and insignificant, and I think my consciousness will be lost forever when I die.

I don't really think my beliefs, or lack thereof, are more egotistical than those of any Christian. I don't believe God loves me or pays attention to me personally, or answers my prayers while ignoring most of the bleeding world. I don't think there is a special place in eternal paradise for me, or that people are less worthy than I am and are therefore destined for eternal torture.

I can see how it makes sense to think that atheists value their own perceptions above all else, but I think that's an oversimplification

Also, for the Dawkins scale, that should read God or gods rather than just captial-G God.

Hamar Fox
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 11:13 AM
Actually, I can readily admit to being influenced by Buddhism. I wouldn't call myself a Buddhist, but I admire some of their beliefs. I embrace some of the philosophical beliefs of Buddhism, but you wouldn't catch me worshiping Buddha. I find Taoism interesting as well.

You find these effete ideologies appealing because they're compatible with your Christianity-conditioned nature, but conveniently aren't the Christianity you reject for failing to meet its own ideals.


The whole idea with Christian morals is that one must act in a certain way to appease or mimic a deity. While many of my moral principles are similar to those preached in the Bible (although there are many moral contradictions within the Bible, especially between the Old and New Testaments), I consider my moral compass independent of Christianity because it's not rooted in the belief that God will punish me if I don't follow the rules.

Yes, you find the intellectual commitment to Christianity redundant. Its moral core is what's latched itself to you.


I value justice as well as empathy, and justice certainly isn't exclusive to Christianity either. Sikhism and Hinduism, to name a couple, seem to advocate empathy and tolerance.

All worthless non-European belief systems.


I think moral codes are more cultural than religious. Take the morals of slavery - plenty of Christians have used the Bible to justify slavery, and others to condemn it. And one can see the same phenomenon today with the defense/condemnation of homosexual marriage.

This is my favourite part. Almost invariably we see liberals opposing Christianity for not being Christian enough. For the longest time, Christianity was interpreted very liberally (not meant in your sense), so as to excuse the continuation of almost any naturally European, or naturally human for that matter, instinct. We wanted to enslave people. We contrived a Biblical justification for it. Relatively late did the Christian virus worm its way to the core of European consciousness and uproot all that was natural. The Christian spirit reaches its perfection, ironically, in the atheistic liberal.


Somebody as supposedly intelligent and obviously pompous as Richard Dawkins would surely have to concede that he can prove neither so shouldn't espouse his contradictory anti-faith theories that are based upon a faith of their own.

It's very easy to disprove the existence of God.

Unity Mitford
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 12:32 PM
^ Hinduism and Budhism are far from redundant to Europeans. Look at Devi and EVola.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savitri_Devi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Evola

Hamar Fox
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 12:36 PM
^ Hinduism and Buddhism are not redundant. read Devi and EVola.

Think I'll pass. They're more for

http://img.ibtimes.com/www/data/images/full/2011/10/04/168439-arline-mother-of-british-student-meredith-kercher-looks-on-as-she-atte.jpg

and

http://assets.motivationalgenerator.com/hashed_silo_content/silo_content/36058/resized/china_man.jpg

CruxClaire
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 05:28 AM
So then is Christianity for
http://www.sff.net/people/llsoares/Hillbilly%20Logan.jpg?

It's invalid to simply deny the importance of a religion if it's not deeply tied with Western civilization. While it's nice to live in a Western bubble, to get a more objective view of religion, I think one should look at it in a worldly sense, beyond Western culture.


Relatively late did the Christian virus worm its way to the core of European consciousness and uproot all that was natural. The Christian spirit reaches its perfection, ironically, in the atheistic liberal.

I also think it's invalid to argue that Christian morals are "unnatural." You agreed that people used Biblical justifications for practices like slavery. Religion influences individuals, but really, it's large bodies of people that influence religion. The sentiments you describe as "unnatural" have not come as a result of religion, but rather, as a result of the events of twentieth century Europe. People value altruism and multiculturalism because they remember the pain caused by WWII in particular (WWII was at least partially caused by nationalism and perceptions of racial/cultural superiority, as was WWI) and seek to avoid it. The impulse to avoid pain is only too natural, and with the advent of excellent recorded history and weapons of mass destruction have changed people's perspectives on society and life in general. Reactions to history have arguably brought about this "unnatural" moral system more than Christianity has.

Honestly, looking at history, I rarely see an instance of Christianity fulfilling its own supposed moral standards. Its leaders have used it as a manipulative force, to wield their power and influence. I don't think "the Christian virus" just magically became effective. I think some big world events happened, culture evolved, and people became more educated. Hence the rise of "Christlike" atheists.


It's very easy to disprove the existence of God.

Oh? Please, enlighten me: how exactly does one disprove the existence of God?

Gardisten
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 05:42 AM
What constitutes a "fundamental Christian" in your opinion?


I don't see Richard Dawkins as an ideal atheist, just as much as I don't find some fundamental Christians to not be ideal Christians. He should know that intelligence is not a thing strictly limited to atheism anymore then stupidity can be associated with it at times.

Hamar Fox
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 07:57 AM
It's invalid to simply deny the importance of a religion if it's not deeply tied with Western civilization. While it's nice to live in a Western bubble, to get a more objective view of religion, I think one should look at it in a worldly sense, beyond Western culture.

No belief system is objective. To identify with a religion is to identify with the subjectivity of its creators/followers, not to identify with truth. I have no interest in aligning my subjective perception of reality with that of the two people I posted. And I never said I didn't know what these people believed. I just said I didn't care.


Oh? Please, enlighten me: how exactly does one disprove the existence of God?

It usually helps to give one adjective along with God, such as 'absolute God' or 'conscious God'. But, regardless, there are many arguments that can be used. The absolute is unchanging by definition. The absolute therefore can't do, only be. This means, at best, that God is the universe, and didn't create it. But the universe changes, and therefore can't itself be an absolute God. Another argument: an absolute God, or a perfect God, can't be conscious, since consciousness exists only through a disconnection of something with itself. In a Sartrean sense, consciousness is something fated forever to strive for what it can never be (i.e. one with its object/with being). Very imperfect. Third argument: If God is the thing through which all we know came into existence, then God is pure otherness. If these things already existed, or were part of God, then God is redundant as an explanation of how they came to be. But if God is pure otherness, then we can say God is nothing we can conceive of, including 'absolute', 'conscious' etc. and, paradoxically, neither can we meaningfully say God is 'pure otherness', since we can understand that general concept also.

Then you need to look into the origin of consciousness. It came into being. It wasn't there from the outset. It evolved in step with evolutionary pressures, from the angle of a particular species. It's relvative; it's not absolute. It's forever in the process of becoming; it's not absolute. And the Hegelian idea that all life, all consciousness is progressing toward the 'perfect being/oneness of God', and the imperfection of consciousness is just a stage along its journey thereto, falls apart when you consider there's absolutely no unitary progression toward any singular ideal in nature (the trend is toward multiplicity, if anything), and certainly not in the world of consciousness, which, as I said, is inherently perspectival.

Primus
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 03:00 PM
Think I'll pass. They're more for

http://img.ibtimes.com/www/data/images/full/2011/10/04/168439-arline-mother-of-british-student-meredith-kercher-looks-on-as-she-atte.jpg

and

http://assets.motivationalgenerator.com/hashed_silo_content/silo_content/36058/resized/china_man.jpg

A female orc and Gollum?

CruxClaire
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 09:43 PM
No belief system is objective. To identify with a religion is to identify with the subjectivity of its creators/followers, not to identify with truth. I have no interest in aligning my subjective perception of reality with that of the two people I posted.

I think religion can be looked at objectively. Not because any of the "truths" preached in any religions are necessarily true. I don't think they are. But religion is tied into the culture and politics of regions and peoples. Since the world today is changing in that people are connected globally by the internet and communicating is so much simpler now, religion is undergoing its own sort of bizarre evolution because now, people really do have more to choose from than the religion or religions that used to be most strongly associated with their regions and cultures, which, in my case, was Christianity. Now a Lutheran might convert to Buddhism, or a Muslim might convert to Christianity.

I personally find it relevant to look at Christianity in comparison to the religions that go beyond the boundaries of Europe, because we can see the ways some very different belief systems have had similar power over their lands, and have stirred up the same tensions.

If I'm going to argue against religion, I can't simply stop with Christianity and ignore all the other religions.

And your arguments against God's existence were good, but they were intellectual disproof. I was looking for physical disproof. Most theists won't be convinced against the existence of an absolute God, except by physical or scientific proof - empirical evidence - of his existence, which is ironic because there's not even any real intellectual/philosophical evidence that God exists.


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
-Epicurus

paraplethon
Monday, December 26th, 2011, 06:19 AM
It usually helps to give one adjective along with God, such as 'absolute God' or 'conscious God'. But, regardless, there are many arguments that can be used. The absolute is unchanging by definition. The absolute therefore can't do, only be. This means, at best, that God is the universe, and didn't create it. But the universe changes, and therefore can't itself be an absolute God. Another argument: an absolute God, or a perfect God, can't be conscious, since consciousness exists only through a disconnection of something with itself. In a Sartrean sense, consciousness is something fated forever to strive for what it can never be (i.e. one with its object/with being). Very imperfect. Third argument: If God is the thing through which all we know came into existence, then God is pure otherness. If these things already existed, or were part of God, then God is redundant as an explanation of how they came to be. But if God is pure otherness, then we can say God is nothing we can conceive of, including 'absolute', 'conscious' etc. and, paradoxically, neither can we meaningfully say God is 'pure otherness', since we can understand that general concept also.

Then you need to look into the origin of consciousness. It came into being. It wasn't there from the outset. It evolved in step with evolutionary pressures, from the angle of a particular species. It's relvative; it's not absolute. It's forever in the process of becoming; it's not absolute. And the Hegelian idea that all life, all consciousness is progressing toward the 'perfect being/oneness of God', and the imperfection of consciousness is just a stage along its journey thereto, falls apart when you consider there's absolutely no unitary progression toward any singular ideal in nature (the trend is toward multiplicity, if anything), and certainly not in the world of consciousness, which, as I said, is inherently perspectival.

Pure linguistic gymnastics.

Hamar Fox
Monday, December 26th, 2011, 11:26 AM
Pure linguistic gymnastics.

Fascinating rebuttal. I can't come back from that. I thanked your post because I've never in my life seen such a devilishly convincing disproof of my disproofs, and never will again.

Siebenbürgerin
Monday, December 26th, 2011, 04:24 PM
The thought is purely ridiculous because Jesus was the Son of God. How could he deny the existence of his own Father?

paraplethon
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011, 02:28 AM
Fascinating rebuttal. I can't come back from that. I thanked your post because I've never in my life seen such a devilishly convincing disproof of my disproofs, and never will again.

Okay - to expand then. You claim to have disproved something, yet all you have done is tie some linguistic knots that have threaded themselves through your own subjective understanding. Recall, you said: "No belief system is objective. To identify with a religion is to identify with the subjectivity of its creators/followers, not to identify with truth." Substitute 'religion' with whatever you'd prefer to name your worldview and where does that leave 'truth'? It matters not how good the instruments at hand or the evidence arrayed before you, for in the end it all comes down to that information being processed by one's mind; you might claim to deal in 'truth', but in actual fact it is just another 'belief'.

Hamar Fox
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011, 07:51 AM
Okay - to expand then. You claim to have disproved something, yet all you have done is tie some linguistic knots that have threaded themselves through your own subjective understanding. Recall, you said: "No belief system is objective. To identify with a religion is to identify with the subjectivity of its creators/followers, not to identify with truth." Substitute 'religion' with whatever you'd prefer to name your worldview and where does that leave 'truth'? It matters not how good the instruments at hand or the evidence arrayed before you, for in the end it all comes down to that information being processed by one's mind; you might claim to deal in 'truth', but in actual fact it is just another 'belief'.

I don't claim to deal in truth. I claim to deal in logic. If logic is the flawed system of understanding of a flawed species, inadequate for understanding the complexity of the universe, so be it. But it's the only system of understanding we have except for blind faith, which, if logic is flawed, then belief is doubly, triply, infinitely so.

Linguistics typically mirrors human thought process, and thus reason. Therefore a logical inconsistency can be scoffed away as a 'linguistic knot', but the fact remains that the linguistic knots in question exposed the foundations of the God-concept as internally self-refuting.

Example: The subject is other than its object. To be conscious of something is for the subject to be conscious of something other than itself (to comprehend even itself, the subject must objectify itself and evaluate itself by the same standards it would an object). Therefore, division inheres in consciousness. Division is impossible in the absolute. Consciousness is impossible in an absolute God.

Is that linguistic gymnastics? How about this:

If God is the creator of things, then God is not those things, therefore incomprehensible, and therefore the concept is redundant. If God is those things, and not their creator, then God is tautological with the universe, a natural process, and therefore the concept is redundant. If you want to argue God is the universe plus some silly notion of consciousness, and that this therefore justifies the concept of God, then just apply any of the many disproofs of the possibility of a conscious God. One such argument: Consciousness is the reduction of many things to a single point, the subject. No such single point is possible is an absolute being or an omnipresent being. Another: Thought is a process. Process is change. For example, the mind is different at the beginning of a thought than in the middle, and different at the end than either in the middle or the beginning. Change is impossible in the absolute, therefore so is thought.

I can go on and on. These aren't linguistic knots, but logical knots present in all monotheistic conceptions of God (not that polytheism escapes my criticism). I've no doubt that, having given no indication of your own views, you'll take refuge in some elusive, undisclosed 'third view', as the religious are wont to do, which you'll claim is immune to anything written above. But, to be honest, this cop-out is fine by me, since you'll be admitting, probably unintentionally, that you hold a similar position to me: that the less specific you are about things beyond that small portion of existence with which the human species is naturally concerned, the more likely you are to be correct, or rather, the less likely you are to be wrong.

I follow this train of thought to its logical end: whatever the answer to questions of origins or the nature of existence, no specific theory offered up by any human mind has ever come close, and it is a piece of dishonesty to give the label 'God' to something so mind-bendingly undefined. Since 'natural process' covers infinitely more possibilities than 'God' ('natural process' covering every possibility, conceivable or inconceivable, not historically claimed under the banner of 'God'), 'natural process' is by far the more likely explanation (or provisional explanation, if you will).

I take the humble position, as you seem to, that human knowledge has limits, inherent ones. There are likely things about the universe that we can never understand any more than a woodlouse can understand the theory of relativity or the economic forces underlying the toppling of the Soviet Union. This isn't to say we can't understand anything about the universe, as such. A woodlouse runs up against a Wellington boot and knows something is there. It doesn't and can't know the boot was made in China, but the woodlouse still knows something. It belongs to the same reality we do and understands it from its own angle. Humans are no different.

The hypocrisy in advanced religious thought, that I see, is an acceptance of this fact one minute, then the next a complete back-pedal to a dishonest 'God must be X, Y and Z' stance. If you accept the limits of human understanding, accept also that nothing you can conceive, especially some primitive anthropomorphism, comes close to describing what lies beyond it. I'm not interested in establishing the truth of existence, only in establishing the untruth of lame attempts at simplifying it. The more shoelace people give me, the easier it is to trip them up with it, which is why the wise stay reticent, but at the same time, they betray they're aware they haven't a leg to stand on.

paraplethon
Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 03:41 AM
I don't claim to deal in truth. I claim to deal in logic. If logic is the flawed system of understanding of a flawed species, inadequate for understanding the complexity of the universe, so be it. But it's the only system of understanding we have except for blind faith, which, if logic is flawed, then belief is doubly, triply, infinitely so.

Right you are regarding blind faith (or belief etc.), though is it either/or? Or is there much more on offer than only logic or only blind faith??? Can belief (of any particular direction really) lead to certainty, of experience, of knowing?


Example: The subject is other than its object. To be conscious of something is for the subject to be conscious of something other than itself (to comprehend even itself, the subject must objectify itself and evaluate itself by the same standards it would an object). Therefore, division inheres in consciousness. Division is impossible in the absolute. Consciousness is impossible in an absolute God.

This is interesting. Some would say division in the Absolute is exactly what engenders conciousness and by way of which, very existence as we experience it. This division - in such a view - is the first act of existence. A division that reveals self-realization. One into Two is Three - polar in nature, treble in principle.


Since 'natural process' covers infinitely more possibilities than 'God' ('natural process' covering every possibility, conceivable or inconceivable, not historically claimed under the banner of 'God'), 'natural process' is by far the more likely explanation (or provisional explanation, if you will).

'Natural process' will cover physical aspects, some that can be viewed, measured or seen to occur, though in even some of these 'natural process' can really mean: "we don't really know what's going on here - or why, let alone how, but it is evidently occuring therefore it's a 'natural process'". It's a euphemism, and like you say, for something inconceivable - who knows how far that reaches?


I take the humble position, as you seem to, that human knowledge has limits, inherent ones. There are likely things about the universe that we can never understand...

The hypocrisy in advanced religious thought, that I see, is an acceptance of this fact one minute, then the next a complete back-pedal to a dishonest 'God must be X, Y and Z' stance. If you accept the limits of human understanding, accept also that nothing you can conceive, especially some primitive anthropomorphism, comes close to describing what lies beyond it. I'm not interested in establishing the truth of existence, only in establishing the untruth of lame attempts at simplifying it.

Indeed. We are born limited - though is that how man and woman must remain - defined by their (self imposed?) limitations?

Limitations can be overcome. Sure there exists things inconceivable to the human mind, but must/will they always remain so, or will our perception and conception grow and expand, and with it our understanding? Limitations are perhaps more perceived than they are inherent.

There's the rub - the primitive anthropomorphism: as if that is religion. This is one of the areas that Dawkins himself falls into: defining his oppostion in its most base and trivial form and then demolishing it, and then thinking he has thereby demolished 'religion'. Recall his attempt regarding Astrology; he refuted 'astrological' musings as published in the newspaper etc.. Not Astrology. Religion isn't necessarily Deism, either in mono or stereo. To think so is akin to thinking Alchemy being some primitive form of Chemistry.

Hamar Fox
Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 12:07 PM
Right you are regarding blind faith (or belief etc.), though is it either/or? Or is there much more on offer than only logic or only blind faith??? Can belief (of any particular direction really) lead to certainty, of experience, of knowing?

I take it you're talking about some kind of divine revelation here -- a divine revelation that differs for Seamus Gilhooley in his confession booth, Habib Asif on his prayer floor or Israeli embassy lobby's beeping metal detector, and Ernie Szach in his prostitute's-blood-stained-and-with-the-mounted-heads-of-various-door-to-door-salesmen-decorated mother's basement. The point is that humans believe all kinds of crap, a medley of it, and I'm not given to believing crap.

I remember at my old job meeting a customer, a rambling Irishman, with 'Have a great death' tatooed on his knuckles. I remember his saying something along the lines of 'I trust the Lord to make the ATM machine work, so I do. It ate my card, but I know he's testing me, so he is. Thank you, young man. You're doing the Lord's work [by sending him a new ATM card]'. I suspected he may have a semi-automatic weapon under his belt, or dynamite strapped to his chest, so I was quite relieved when he was gone, but it did make me wonder: Do even other religious people respect the 'divinations' of others, especially of obvious serial rapists? I sincerely doubt it.

Your divinations are correct, everyone else's are wrong. But aren't they as strong in their convictions as you? Are they not also discounting your divinations in favour of their own? So what's the criterion, the standard of truth? Does it not make a little more sense to say the origin of belief is cultural, and that this may be why everyone with a bone through his nose believes in Ogdu, and everyone with a monobrow believes in Allah? These different deities (in name and essence) don't just selectively reveal themselves to different villages, in some cases, and entire continents in others.


This is interesting. Some would say division in the Absolute is exactly what engenders conciousness and by way of which, very existence as we experience it. This division - in such a view - is the first act of existence. A division that reveals self-realization. One into Two is Three - polar in nature, treble in principle.

The absolute is pure equivalence with itself -- in fact even the terms we use to describe it fall short. 'Equivalence with itself' hints at two strands perfectly matched, but the truth is there are no strands aligned (which, in our heads, nakes us think it's at least conceivable for the two to become misaligned): it merely is. The nature of the universe is multiplicity, hence consciousness and perspective are possible within it. The religious conception of a 'fundamentally one' universe is wrong.


There's the rub - the primitive anthropomorphism: as if that is religion. This is one of the areas that Dawkins himself falls into: defining his oppostion in its most base and trivial form and then demolishing it, and then thinking he has thereby demolished 'religion'. Recall his attempt regarding Astrology; he refuted 'astrological' musings as published in the newspaper etc.. Not Astrology.

No, the idea of consciousness and intention inhering in the universe is the primitive anthropomorphism I'm talking about. One little dot on an infinite landscape colours all existence and all infinity in its own image. Our consciousness emerged within a little niche of reality, incorporated what was necessary for survival, bent itself to selective pressures, and this is what defines our thought patterns. Utility defines our consciousness. The sculptures and buildings you admire, our whole sense for the aesthetic, is mere spillage from our mating and other drives, drives present but less refined in all animals, and no more divine in origin than our need to copulate and reproduce. But we don't like that. We want to believe that our consciousness is the realisation of divine will. Bacteria are marginally sentient. Are they (lesser) realisations of divine will? Why is there conflict if all sentience is a mere share in a singlular will? And so on. It's verbiage.


Religion isn't necessarily Deism, either in mono or stereo. To think so is akin to thinking Alchemy being some primitive form of Chemistry.

And this is what I predicted would happen in my previous post. A hint that you believe something utterly irrefutable, but no divulgence of anything even close to specific. You believe the universe is invested with divine will, do you not? Intention and consciousness? A spiritual template to which all sentient beings rally and strive to align themselves? Then you don't escape my arguments.

Dead Eye
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 03:24 PM
I find this quite humorous considering the fact that a man 'as intelligent as Jesus' was actually teaching religion and telling his followers not to be led astray by the non believers.

I find this remark by Dawkins to be quite Idiotic.

Hamar Fox
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 05:41 PM
I find this quite humorous considering the fact that a man 'as intelligent as Jesus' was actually teaching religion and telling his followers not to be led astray by the non believers.

I find this remark by Dawkins to be quite Idiotic.

I skipped the beginning with the Lancastrian interviewing random idiots, but I saw the full interview (I think) and didn't actually hear him say this. Maybe I zoned out or something. Regardless, I can't really comment on what he meant by this, since I don't know the context, but he likely meant something along the lines of 'Born today, with a knowledge of modern science, an enquiring mind like Jesus' would have drawn atheistic conclusions about the world around him'.

Not that I care about defending Dawkins, though. I don't pay much attention to him. From what clips I've seen of his arguments, he seems to like to play it safe and just concentrate on the absurdity of belief without evidence. His points are sound, but a bit dull. I prefer to see people delve deep into the reasons why a (or any) conception of God is philosophically impossible. At least he seems to be a cut above people like TheAmazingAtheist, who spend 99% of their arguments attacking Biblical literalism, which is about as compelling as watching a mother discredit her mentally retarded son's belief in pixies (and has the same effect: none). Easy targets = boring targets. If your opponent holds beliefs even a comatose worm with Down's Syndrome would consider itself above, it's better to move on and not waste either party's time.

paraplethon
Friday, January 6th, 2012, 01:54 AM
I take it you're talking about some kind of divine revelation here -- a divine revelation that differs for Seamus Gilhooley etc...

I remember at my old job meeting a customer, a rambling Irishman...

Does it not make a little more sense to say the origin of belief is cultural, and that this may be why everyone with a bone through his nose believes in Ogdu, and everyone with a monobrow believes in Allah? These different deities (in name and essence) don't just selectively reveal themselves to different villages, in some cases, and entire continents in others.

No. Actually we were suggesting rather more of a grey area than just "either/or"; one or the other... invariably being not so black and white. However, revelation. You've derisively given possibly the worst example of it you could, just as we mentioned Dawkins has a particular habit of doing as well. Revelation plays as much a part in the aquisition of understanding as logic or reason, intuition, inspiration, belief or suspension of belief, analogy and symbolism; to argue otherwise is to ignore the better part of history wherein they have played a part in favour of the more recent 150 years and the ascent of reason. This is perhaps inevitable considering the widespread mis-application of 'progress' being synonymous with 'evolution': that which exists now is more evolved, hence more 'progressive', hence more 'developed' - and in the end more 'advanced'; the further along this path we tread the better the path is becoming. It put Man on the Moon and has given us expected lives longer than at least those of at least the last couple of millenia, but it has also delivered Humans the ignominy of having their identity re-evaluated as consumers - as economic cogs, and our societies being re-appraised as inter-changable engines of the global economy facilitating the largest mass-migration of peoples in human history.

Progress? Evolved? Hardly.

Though your example is of the worst variety, many could be furnished of a quite different sort: say, the numerous examples of scientists unable to see a problem through, or work through the unfathomable nuances of research try as they might for days on end only for the flash of realization to occur to them whilst walking in a forest, or drinking in a pub. That too is revelation - that which is not understood previously is revealed to the understanding in a flash of realization.


The absolute is pure equivalence with itself -- in fact even the terms we use to describe it fall short. 'Equivalence with itself' hints at two strands perfectly matched, but the truth is there are no strands aligned (which, in our heads, nakes us think it's at least conceivable for the two to become misaligned): it merely is. The nature of the universe is multiplicity, hence consciousness and perspective are possible within it. The religious conception of a 'fundamentally one' universe is wrong.

No. The Absolute isn't divided, this isn't a fault or flaw of the Absolute as you continue to ascribe to, but is a flaw in your grasp of the Absolute. Right you are to point out that for the Absolute to be concious of itself it is divided, therefore not (any longer) Absolute. However, what you are refering to in this act of self-realization isn't the Absolute (the All, the One), but One become Two - to use the terminology of a Pythagorean sense. The act known by some as the "Primordial Scission", this first division being the first act of creation. As you note, existence is tending towards multiplicity, whether we refer to that initial state as the Absolute or the "Big Bang", for that tendency towards multiplicity to occur that we witness around us, if we track it back it will have ultimately generated from a unity of being, likewise with the opposite. These are hardly new ideas though, having been within Tradition for millenia; the move towards multiplicity described as an exhalation of the cosmos, the move to unity seen as a cosmic inhalation. We find the same concepts with the theory of origins in the "Big Bang" and the posited reversal of the expanding universe to an eventual "Big Crunch" - existence closing in completely on itself - perhaps only to start over again.


No, the idea of consciousness and intention inhering in the universe is the primitive anthropomorphism I'm talking about. One little dot on an infinite landscape colours all existence and all infinity in its own image. Our consciousness emerged within a little niche of reality, incorporated what was necessary for survival, bent itself to selective pressures, and this is what defines our thought patterns. Utility defines our consciousness. The sculptures and buildings you admire, our whole sense for the aesthetic, is mere spillage from our mating and other drives, drives present but less refined in all animals, and no more divine in origin than our need to copulate and reproduce. But we don't like that. We want to believe that our consciousness is the realisation of divine will. Bacteria are marginally sentient. Are they (lesser) realisations of divine will? Why is there conflict if all sentience is a mere share in a singlular will? And so on. It's verbiage.

Utilitarianism (as an over-riding concept) is a recent and most unfortunate development. That utility wasn't the driving force through most of Human history is probably best exemplified by the utter failure of the socialist system - a system with utility at its heart. Its failure is complete in the further example of China slowly moving out of the socialist circle, with even Chinese Premiers - Zhao Ziyang and Wen Jiabao - admitting the need for China to largely dump it if it is to continue to prosper.

The claim of utility in the realm of aesthetics is probably easiest to denounce. If we take a medieval cathedral as our example an ask of it: "What is its utility?" The answer must be to provide a sheltered locale for the local congregation, nothing more, nothing less. Any old building would suffice, as long as it was large enough for the entire congregation to fit in - where is the utility in a 40 metre high nave? Or in replacing a large part of an outer wall for the florid designs of the famous Rose Windows? Or the inordinate amount of time and effort in producing the windows glass through an Alchemical process? Or indeed the harmonies used in the various proportions of the construction itself; proportions governed in such exacting amounts as the ratio of the Golden Section or of the Pythagorean Comma? All this effort and work involved is perhaps the polar opposite of 'utility'.

Utility also defines the aforementioned at the outset of this post: the re-appraisal of Human identity as the machine that is the "Global Consumer Economy". This 'utility' is what dictates the uprooting of peoples around the world and wholesale placing of them in areas the economy deems the extra bodies are needed to facilitate the continued growth of economic aims. This 'utility' defines us as interchangeable; as un-necessarily divided in our identities - be they cultural or ethnic. This is the utilitarianism that deems race to not even exist - a social construct - there is only one race, the Human race etc.. Needless to say, it's this sort of 'utility' that this board exists in stark contrast to.



Not that I care about defending Dawkins, though. I don't pay much attention to him. From what clips I've seen of his arguments, he seems to like to play it safe and just concentrate on the absurdity of belief without evidence. His points are sound, but a bit dull... which is about as compelling as watching a mother discredit her mentally retarded son's belief in pixies (and has the same effect: none). Easy targets = boring targets...

On this we fully agree.

CruxClaire
Friday, January 6th, 2012, 03:40 AM
Not that I care about defending Dawkins, though. I don't pay much attention to him. From what clips I've seen of his arguments, he seems to like to play it safe and just concentrate on the absurdity of belief without evidence. His points are sound, but a bit dull. I prefer to see people delve deep into the reasons why a (or any) conception of God is philosophically impossible. At least he seems to be a cut above people like TheAmazingAtheist, who spend 99% of their arguments attacking Biblical literalism, which is about as compelling as watching a mother discredit her mentally retarded son's belief in pixies (and has the same effect: none). Easy targets = boring targets. If your opponent holds beliefs even a comatose worm with Down's Syndrome would consider itself above, it's better to move on and not waste either party's time.

I think a lot of atheist debates prefer to avoid philosophical topics because believers tend to dismiss them as "great mysteries" of God that they simply cannot understand because they lack God's greatness. For example, if you ask a Christian if an all-powerful God would be capable of making a rock too heavy for him to lift, he/she will either give you some nonsensical, convoluted answer he/she genuinely believes is true, or will insist that it's just something for God to understand and humans not to understand. That seems to be the case with most any philosophical idea that undermines theists' beliefs. If you point out that an omniscient deity would know the future and therefore know his own actions/decisions, in a sense taking away his own free will, theists will simply believe that you're the one with flawed logic.

Hamar Fox
Sunday, January 8th, 2012, 01:31 PM
I conjured a big, sprawling, elaborate response to each of the points made, but I ultimately decided that since, for the most part, I was making the same points I've already done to death (such as that 'revelation' is probably the worst argument for anything that I've ever heard), I decided to cut most of it out and instead tie up a few loose ends that maybe I wasn't clear on before.


No. The Absolute isn't divided, this isn't a fault or flaw of the Absolute as you continue to ascribe to, but is a flaw in your grasp of the Absolute. Right you are to point out that for the Absolute to be concious of itself it is divided, therefore not (any longer) Absolute. However, what you are refering to in this act of self-realization isn't the Absolute (the All, the One), but One become Two - to use the terminology of a Pythagorean sense. The act known by some as the "Primordial Scission", this first division being the first act of creation.

One doesn't become two if 'one' encompasses everything. 'Two' doesn't arise unless it was already in the nature of 'one' for it to do so. The number one can become two, because it is in the nature of the number one, which is finite, to be doubled. The absolute isn't numerically 'one', or numerically anything. 'One' is just metaphor for 'undivided'. Number is a facet of space -- and space, being the source of multiplicity, division etc., is a product of this supposed 'scission', doesn't anticipate it, and therefore isn't part of the absolute.

Second, the 'scission' is impossible without a change in the absolute, either in the instant before the scission, or in synchrony with it. Either way, such a change is impossible, since not only is change impossible in the absolute, as I've mentioned, but so is temporality (which, like space with number, is the vehicle of change). Since temporality is impossible in the absolute, then if the absolute was ever divided, it was always divided (since the absolute is undifferentiated in time, it has no befores or afters) -- which, again, is impossible.


As you note, existence is tending towards multiplicity

Just to clear up: organic existence tends toward multiplicity. Existence as a whole doesn't tend in either direction, at least not at the material level, since matter remains constant. It seems strange, though, that organic -- and specifically sentient -- life, while supposedly being the closest element of the known universe to realising the principles of the Divine, has the least God-like principles of existence inhering within it of any mode of existence we're aware of (i.e. it naturally strays from 'oneness').


Utilitarianism (as an over-riding concept) is a recent and most unfortunate development. That utility wasn't the driving force through most of Human history is probably best exemplified by the utter failure of the socialist system - a system with utility at its heart. Its failure is complete in the further example of China slowly moving out of the socialist circle, with even Chinese Premiers - Zhao Ziyang and Wen Jiabao - admitting the need for China to largely dump it if it is to continue to prosper.

The claim of utility in the realm of aesthetics is probably easiest to denounce. If we take a medieval cathedral as our example an ask of it: "What is its utility?" The answer must be to provide a sheltered locale for the local congregation, nothing more, nothing less. Any old building would suffice, as long as it was large enough for the entire congregation to fit in - where is the utility in a 40 metre high nave? Or in replacing a large part of an outer wall for the florid designs of the famous Rose Windows? Or the inordinate amount of time and effort in producing the windows glass through an Alchemical process? Or indeed the harmonies used in the various proportions of the construction itself; proportions governed in such exacting amounts as the ratio of the Golden Section or of the Pythagorean Comma? All this effort and work involved is perhaps the polar opposite of 'utility'.

The origin of everything in us is to be found in its relationship with the propagation of the species. That's what I meant by utility. Nature (or God) didn't endow us with an aesthetic sense out of charity so we could enjoy a tingling sensation while walking around the Louvre. In humans more than other animals we see a massive degree of latitude. We're a species that interprets. For the longest time our reproductive success depended on our dynamic thought processes, our reason, our lateral thinking. To have interpretive value, reason and its subsidiaries (among which is aesthetics) needed to grow above and beyond their natural calling, their pure servility to instinct, because not to have the capacity to do such would render them useless.

What we see in our art, our excess, our seeming non-utility is our indulgence in this naturally bequeathed latitude. We have the freedom to indulge highly intellectualised reward systems (almost) completely detached from their original purpose. We're the only species that can boast members considered 'successes' by their peers who never did one thing nature designed them to do beyond eat, sleep and breathe. However, the echoes of reason's, of the aesthetic's, natural, humble origin reverberate throughout our supposedly 'transcendental' aesthetic nature, which is why we see the human form take centre stage in art throughout history: the aesthetic sense exists in large part to allow us to appraise the reproductive quality of our own.

But that was never the limit of the aesthetic sense. Most creatures, and all that were recently ancestral to us, were drawn to fecundity, drawn to light, colour, vivacity, experienced an instinctive release of tension when on familiar ground etc. Our aesthetic sense is the intellectualisation of all this plethora of primal instincts, and all are incorporated into our art, subtly or not: light is more soothing than darkness, life and prosperity more beautiful than death and desolation. Paintings of beautiful women and vibrant landscapes flow from our subtle connection with our forgotten but not lost animal heritage.

This is what I meant by 'spillage' from naturally arising drives. And we're a species -- the only species -- that above all likes to waddle in that spillage. As for our fascination with complex edifices of our own creation, that's reason marvelling at itself. We're not just tangential species, but also a very egotistical one.

Hamar Fox
Sunday, January 8th, 2012, 05:24 PM
I think a lot of atheist debates prefer to avoid philosophical topics because believers tend to dismiss them as "great mysteries" of God that they simply cannot understand because they lack God's greatness. For example, if you ask a Christian if an all-powerful God would be capable of making a rock too heavy for him to lift, he/she will either give you some nonsensical, convoluted answer he/she genuinely believes is true, or will insist that it's just something for God to understand and humans not to understand. That seems to be the case with most any philosophical idea that undermines theists' beliefs. If you point out that an omniscient deity would know the future and therefore know his own actions/decisions, in a sense taking away his own free will, theists will simply believe that you're the one with flawed logic.

They always eventually smoke grenade the room in response to better arguments, regardless of their intelligence level. Getting them to admit their beliefs don't make sense is the challenge. The stupid ones you can get to quit with even the worst brand of 'atheist' argument, such as "Why does evil exist?" Those types won't even be able to think of the correct response to such questions, which is "Well, that only disproves the existence of a God who is good and also omnipotent. It doesn't disprove a God who is good but not omnipotent, nor a God who is omnipotent but not good." Those types aren't really worth bothering with, since if you refuted every stupid idea currently in their heads, they'd simply fill their stupidity tank up with different, probably worse, stupidities.

But the smarter ones, such as the types you find here on Skadi, generally like to take refuge in arcane verbosity and jargon ripped from millennia of unsuccessful philosophical floundering. Most people shy away from debating these types, what with their roar so confident and bearing so proud. The 'advanced religious' are usually more prepared for the fight than their adversaries, and while their weaponry's made of plasticine with a few sharp pieces of polystyrene duct-taped on, from a distance they look fearsome. So it's dishearteningly common to see people quit the field when they'd have won if only they'd been a little bolder. Picking on Biblical literalists after that seems a little like what's left of the Spanish armada kicking stray dolphins on the way home.

It's just nice to get a certain type of religious mind, one that's accustomed to winning debates by default by citing unread texts and through crass equivocation and shameless obscurantism, finally admitting defeat in that familar religious way: God's ways are mysterious.

My proudest moment (well, after getting Slavic death squads dispatched after me) was in getting the most obnoxious member in the history of Skadi to do this. Here's a collection of his gems, and I'll order it such as to show his smug pretentiousness give way to utter defeat :)


It's amusing to me that your sole arguments against Christianity are based upon heretical sectarian and reformist doctrines that are only a few centuries old, if that.


If you can't tell me off the top of your head what the controversy is regarding the translation of this passage, you officially know nothing of Christianity and discredit yourself to all.


He doesn't, and that doesn't matter. The Absolute by its very nature does not and cannot exist, since we cannot attach any of the qualities of manifest existence to it without it ceasing to be the Absolute. The key is not to bring God down to our level, but to raise us to His level.

Short answer: The argument of God's existence is a red herring. Next question.


I believe that matter is manifested by will. Meaning that I don't believe God created everything, because I don't believe in everything.


You're not wrong, per se. Just, well, limited.

Anyway, his primary argument was that there's no division whatsoever between the absolute and the empirical realm, meaning that the non-absolute is exactly the same as the absolute. He then supported this self-refuting assertion through pompous references to chapters of this or that ancient manuscript and smug dismissals of better arguments as 'beneath him'. I even remember (though I can't find it without reading all his posts again...ugh, the thought) his saying, in response to one of my arguments, this: "I used to think that, but I advanced beyond that view." And left it at that :lol

Nebelwerfer
Saturday, January 21st, 2012, 03:01 AM
I haven't watched the video but if you're not the son of God(Dawkins must assume jesus wasn't) it can hardly be considered a good idea to have yourself nailed to a cross and left to die - that is not an intelligent thing to do (unless you want to end it all and enjoy pain).

Rodskarl Dubhgall
Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 08:17 AM
The thought is purely ridiculous because Jesus was the Son of God. How could he deny the existence of his own Father?

It's not evident that Jesus saw himself as an exclusive son of Yahweh, but saw that all Jews were sons of Jacob and ought to have followed his faith to Yahweh as their father did. Much of the systematic theology in Christology is based on Hellenistic ideology projected onto the Nazarene sect after the initial cosmopolitanism involved with incorporating the personages and events of the Bible as mythos within Hellenistic religion. This is reflected in the avatar and demigod theology with the God of gods in the sky impregnating a mortal woman or earth mother, as if Heracles was an avatar for Zeus. The Trinity is also undeniably Greek and has no basis in the Bible, but the Trinity is therefore that much more relevant to Indo-Germanic folks than the Bible.

In Christ's own life, the ideas that people take for granted now, weren't even a twinkle in the eyes of anyone--especially not his apostles. The Nazarenes viewed Jesus as an amateur rabbi and healer who came from a poor carpenter's family and had native talent to minister to them in such an earnest way that the official leadership would not, whether Pharisee or Sadducee. The Sanhedrin felt undermined by what they deemed seditious licence on the part of Jesus, who fit the role of Socrates, so no wonder that the Greeks ate up his story. Death by hemlock or crucifixion; neither had the intended effect. Much of the creeds from Nicaea and Constantinople onward, are tailored to suit the Roman population since at length exposed to Phoenician religion with the annexation of Carthage. It can truly be said that absorption of Levantine blood in Africa prepared the Romans for Judaism in the form of Christianity's replacement of it after Masada.

It is often forgotten that early Christianity was based in Africa and that the Donatists were key to its fermentation, but that it was underground in the Roman catacombs. The Ptolemaic dynasty as patrons of the Library of Alexandria and in possession of the Septuagint were keen to see its project added to their collection and written in Greek for their subjects, but the Greeks themselves were not worshippers of Adonai or Adonis so much as facilitated his worship on account of Semites paying them tribute. In fact, actual Persians, Greeks and Romans didn't worship any 'native' cult, just accept regional affiliations in order to maintain stable overall control--all the while holding to Aryan religion on their own. That is why the decisions of Constantine and Theodosius split the Empire and only by them building a new one on Byzantium devoid of the Olympians was Christianity able to flourish, which means that Rome really did fall with the Pantheon.

So, is Jesus a son of Jove, or Jehovah? In a multicultural world like the Mediterranean, Aryan religion fused with the Semitic and what were once separate cultures became forever lost by admixture. Pure Christianity is as Semitic as the Talmud and pure Paganism is Aryan. Anti-purists insist on muddying the waters to only allow defining accommodation as a feasible or even desirable option. Insecurity prompts weak people to dispense with simple facts, by concocting elaborate fancies to obfuscate uncomfortable realities. Neither do we have to welcome Jewish ideology for ourselves, nor deny it for others. It was not an expectation of Jesus or followers that Indo-Germanics fall at his feet, nor did any suffer for not doing so, until the Emperor converted and made disobedience punishable by death. This Emperor was an avatar of God on earth, or son of Zeus like Heracles, so how could Jesus out of a manger in Bethlehem and only from the House of David be his son? No Julio-Claudians or anything like them were Galilean.

Astragoth
Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 12:41 PM
Here we go again......

Rodskarl Dubhgall
Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 03:10 PM
Here we go again......

Feeling apoplectic about others being honest why they don't believe as you do? Can you even justify why you believe as you do? This is a discussion for rational people, even though Dawkins isn't exactly one of those. Dawkins is obviously "superior" in his own mind, but the article is old news, even if he's still seeking trollish attention. There are many irrational believers and disbelievers. A rational person sifts through the rubbish for anything of value. What do you find valuable vs worthless in the arguments presented by believers and disbelievers? I have a tendency to avoid bipolar rhetoric, as supremely unproductive banter.

Maybe you have cookie cutter, conformation or nothing hysterics, just as people like him are too dense to figure out religion? After all, that would tend to put your reply into perspective, as Dawkins likely groans each and every time he notices any obvious spirituality in another. Have you nothing important to say, or just cry when you don't have a world cushioning your biases, as he behaves? This type of interplay between people like you and Dawkins just makes you two sides of the same coin, or cut from the same cloth. Break the cycle of dysfunction and trust me, you'll be a lot happier. Neither you nor Dawkins is at peace, unfortunately.