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Daniel Dennett - Religion's gold-plated excuse to stop thinking

Daniel Dennett - Religion's gold-plated excuse to stop thinking

(6:29) American philosopher and author Daniel Dennett discusses why the "faith card" should be off the table. Daniel Dennett is the least known of the "New Atheists", the others being Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (658 days ago)

But it wasn't Lucille that told me, it was God. God is always right.

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But it wasn't Lucille that told me, it was God. God is always right.

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Guest: nonereligiousnut (658 days ago)

which God?

They all can't be right.

If your's is prove it.

Can't ,? then shut the **** up.

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which God?

They all can't be right.

If your's is prove it.

Can't ,? then shut the **** up.

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Guest: (657 days ago)

Beautiful. A great demonstration of the dwindling standards of academia within aggressive neo-atheism, that most rational and intelligent of all self-righteous world views (hm-hm).

You mean there"s no god whatsoEver? then prove it., Can't , ?! -

then shut up. /{}

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Beautiful. A great demonstration of the dwindling standards of academia within aggressive neo-atheism, that most rational and intelligent of all self-righteous world views (hm-hm).

You mean there"s no god whatsoEver? then prove it., Can't , ?! -

then shut up. /{}

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (658 days ago)

Same God, just goes by different names. Now the name of the Son of God or the Messiah, that's a different story. They all have different beliefs who that is.

Jews are still waiting for the Messiah.

Christians believe it is Messiah.

Islam teaches that Jesus is a prophet and a Messiah and will return along with Mahdi

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Same God, just goes by different names. Now the name of the Son of God or the Messiah, that's a different story. They all have different beliefs who that is.

Jews are still waiting for the Messiah.

Christians believe it is Messiah.

Islam teaches that Jesus is a prophet and a Messiah and will return along with Mahdi

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Guest: DeIgrunt (657 days ago)

Islam teaches that Mohammed is the last prophet. There will be no more prophets, got it.

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Islam teaches that Mohammed is the last prophet. There will be no more prophets, got it.

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Tsuki Tsuki (657 days ago)

Who cares about profits, what does Islam teach about Sheba? Can some stupid human please tell me. I'm getting very confused with all this god stuff.

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Who cares about profits, what does Islam teach about Sheba? Can some stupid human please tell me. I'm getting very confused with all this god stuff.

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (657 days ago)

Mohammad is just a prophet. Jesus is the Messiah in Islam and that is the same for Christianity too.

Technically, anyone can become a prophet. All you have to do is claim that you have been contacted by God and you have been given the authority to speak for God. That's all.

David Koresh is one of those individuals that claimed to be the final prophet.

Joseph Smith considered himself to be a prophet too. Not just any, but as the only prophet allowed to issue commandments as Moses.

Herbert W. Armstrong was a prophet (end time Elijah) and even an apostle.

Jim Jones was a prophet of the People's Temple.

As you can see, you can have many prophets in the world. Mohammed does not have a exclusive trademark or copyright on that.

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Mohammad is just a prophet. Jesus is the Messiah in Islam and that is the same for Christianity too.

Technically, anyone can become a prophet. All you have to do is claim that you have been contacted by God and you have been given the authority to speak for God. That's all.

David Koresh is one of those individuals that claimed to be the final prophet.

Joseph Smith considered himself to be a prophet too. Not just any, but as the only prophet allowed to issue commandments as Moses.

Herbert W. Armstrong was a prophet (end time Elijah) and even an apostle.

Jim Jones was a prophet of the People's Temple.

As you can see, you can have many prophets in the world. Mohammed does not have a exclusive trademark or copyright on that.

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Guest: hmmmmm (656 days ago)

No person however religious or atheist jumps off a tall building to get to the bottom instead of using the stairs, or walks into fast traffic to cross the road. The fact is we all live by a basic acceptance of reality. This understanding is based on logic, knowledge and experience - through experiment or observation. That is simply what science is.

Scientific thinking has lead a lot of people to the conclusion that there is no God - To become Atheists. We don't play the faith card when it comes to crossing the road or using the stairs, then we are all scientists. . .

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No person however religious or atheist jumps off a tall building to get to the bottom instead of using the stairs, or walks into fast traffic to cross the road. The fact is we all live by a basic acceptance of reality. This understanding is based on logic, knowledge and experience - through experiment or observation. That is simply what science is.

Scientific thinking has lead a lot of people to the conclusion that there is no God - To become Atheists. We don't play the faith card when it comes to crossing the road or using the stairs, then we are all scientists. . .

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (656 days ago)

I take it you haven't seen the russian dashcam videos of people randomly crossing the streets without any concerns for traffic. Also, there are many people that end up with medical issues like cancer and would prefer to pray than to seek medical help.

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I take it you haven't seen the russian dashcam videos of people randomly crossing the streets without any concerns for traffic. Also, there are many people that end up with medical issues like cancer and would prefer to pray than to seek medical help.

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Guest: hmmmmm (656 days ago)

Then, perhaps you should follow their 'divine' example and try wondering into traffic yourself? No?

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Then, perhaps you should follow their 'divine' example and try wondering into traffic yourself? No?

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (656 days ago)

Sorry but not all religiousnuts are stupid.

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Sorry but not all religiousnuts are stupid.

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Guest: hmmmmm (656 days ago)

I think intelligence is about asking questions.

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I think intelligence is about asking questions.

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Guest: (655 days ago)

Yeah. Like "what is the precise and universally accepted nature of scientific evidence?" Like "how does a lack of evidence necessarily show a lack of existence?" Like "precisely how can you prove or disprove a metaphysical concept using empirical physical evidence?" Like "how can a mathematical form of probability be applied to something that is untestable?" Etc etc.

Oh what? Those weren't the kinds of questions you like?

Atheism isn't about asking questions. Like religion, it's only about asking a certain kind of question, and then conveniently glossing over the others.

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Yeah. Like "what is the precise and universally accepted nature of scientific evidence?" Like "how does a lack of evidence necessarily show a lack of existence?" Like "precisely how can you prove or disprove a metaphysical concept using empirical physical evidence?" Like "how can a mathematical form of probability be applied to something that is untestable?" Etc etc.

Oh what? Those weren't the kinds of questions you like?

Atheism isn't about asking questions. Like religion, it's only about asking a certain kind of question, and then conveniently glossing over the others.

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Guest: hmmmm (654 days ago)

"what is the precise and universally accepted nature of scientific evidence" -

I suppose ultimately if something works or acts as predicted, or if it doesn't.

"precisely how can you prove or disprove a metaphysical concept using empirical physical evidence" -

Metaphysics isn't a physical thing - in fact and sadly it may be just an illusion. (Like the aether or the miasma).

Your comment kind of reminds me of the saying "what do you call 'Alternative Medicine' that actually works? - 'Medicine'.

"Atheism isn't about asking questions. Like religion, it's only about asking a certain kind of question, and then conveniently glossing over the others".

I think religion provides an answer to every question and that answer is 'God' ? Why are we here? God. Who made physical laws? God. etc That is not asking questions. I think it stops people asking questions (or stop thinking in fact) - when they are told that any and every answer is 'God'.

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"what is the precise and universally accepted nature of scientific evidence" -

I suppose ultimately if something works or acts as predicted, or if it doesn't.

"precisely how can you prove or disprove a metaphysical concept using empirical physical evidence" -

Metaphysics isn't a physical thing - in fact and sadly it may be just an illusion. (Like the aether or the miasma).

Your comment kind of reminds me of the saying "what do you call 'Alternative Medicine' that actually works? - 'Medicine'.

"Atheism isn't about asking questions. Like religion, it's only about asking a certain kind of question, and then conveniently glossing over the others".

I think religion provides an answer to every question and that answer is 'God' ? Why are we here? God. Who made physical laws? God. etc That is not asking questions. I think it stops people asking questions (or stop thinking in fact) - when they are told that any and every answer is 'God'.

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Guest: Podger (656 days ago)

Oh good grief the 'Science' card is even worse than the 'Faith' card!! ie. when smug atheists pretend their views have the official backing of science. Trust us, there is no god... because of... um... sciencey stuff. Experiments and things, some test tubes maybe. Perhaps you should have a chat with Peter Higgs about why his scientific thinking is deficient ("that is simply what science is" LOL!), or any number of the other world-leading scientists who also happen to believe in a god of some kind. The fact is, scientific principles suggest agnosticism, not atheism. And as for crossing the road of course no religious follower ignores the rules of physics etc. What they would dispute is where those physics came from. That to them is their basic acceptance of reality.

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Oh good grief the 'Science' card is even worse than the 'Faith' card!! ie. when smug atheists pretend their views have the official backing of science. Trust us, there is no god... because of... um... sciencey stuff. Experiments and things, some test tubes maybe. Perhaps you should have a chat with Peter Higgs about why his scientific thinking is deficient ("that is simply what science is" LOL!), or any number of the other world-leading scientists who also happen to believe in a god of some kind. The fact is, scientific principles suggest agnosticism, not atheism. And as for crossing the road of course no religious follower ignores the rules of physics etc. What they would dispute is where those physics came from. That to them is their basic acceptance of reality.

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Guest: hmmmm (656 days ago)

I suppose strictly speaking you are right I should label myself personally as an agnostic based on the scientific principle that if evidence were to present itself I would have to change my mind. But can you say the same? or would you make ad homiem attacks, belittle and find outlying examples that you will then use as over-welming evidence - I wonder?

"no religious follower ignores the rules of physics" - except when it suits them - like mircles perhaps?

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I suppose strictly speaking you are right I should label myself personally as an agnostic based on the scientific principle that if evidence were to present itself I would have to change my mind. But can you say the same? or would you make ad homiem attacks, belittle and find outlying examples that you will then use as over-welming evidence - I wonder?

"no religious follower ignores the rules of physics" - except when it suits them - like mircles perhaps?

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Guest: Podger (655 days ago)

You are failing to distinguish using a person's attitudes and beliefs in order to judge their character (personal attacks), with using their character to judge their attitudes and beliefs ('ad hominem').

And a nice attempt to misquote me - I actually said "And as for crossing the road of course no religious follower ignores the rules of physics etc" - please point out the miracles that are believed by the majority of religious followers regarding crossing the road. Do you think that followers readily ignore physics on a trivial / daily basis in the anticipation of a miracle? Straw man time.

The 'evidence' trick. Doesn't everyone say the same? After-all, if we each decide what constitutes evidence we can believe what we like - "I'll believe in my god until you show me 'evidence' to the contrary". You may be an agnostic atheist , but ultimately if you believe there is no god you are an atheist. As a purer agnostic, I concede that there is no evidence by which I could possibly know that there is or there isn't a god. That is the more scientific, evidence based approach. I am neither theist nor atheist, I simply don't (and can't) know - I don't see the lack of evidence and assume that there isn't, which seems to be your stance.

To a true agnostic, the positions of a new atheist and a religious fundamentalist are simply the two extremes of over-confidence about a biased metaphysical speculation - both ludicrous, unscientific, and illogical. There are so many similarities between these entrenched social mindsets that are doubtless uncomfortable to you. I would say though that it seems online at least the new atheists are the more beligerant and divisive party... ironically, precisely what I hate about some forms of organised religion.

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You are failing to distinguish using a person's attitudes and beliefs in order to judge their character (personal attacks), with using their character to judge their attitudes and beliefs ('ad hominem').

And a nice attempt to misquote me - I actually said "And as for crossing the road of course no religious follower ignores the rules of physics etc" - please point out the miracles that are believed by the majority of religious followers regarding crossing the road. Do you think that followers readily ignore physics on a trivial / daily basis in the anticipation of a miracle? Straw man time.

The 'evidence' trick. Doesn't everyone say the same? After-all, if we each decide what constitutes evidence we can believe what we like - "I'll believe in my god until you show me 'evidence' to the contrary". You may be an agnostic atheist , but ultimately if you believe there is no god you are an atheist. As a purer agnostic, I concede that there is no evidence by which I could possibly know that there is or there isn't a god. That is the more scientific, evidence based approach. I am neither theist nor atheist, I simply don't (and can't) know - I don't see the lack of evidence and assume that there isn't, which seems to be your stance.

To a true agnostic, the positions of a new atheist and a religious fundamentalist are simply the two extremes of over-confidence about a biased metaphysical speculation - both ludicrous, unscientific, and illogical. There are so many similarities between these entrenched social mindsets that are doubtless uncomfortable to you. I would say though that it seems online at least the new atheists are the more beligerant and divisive party... ironically, precisely what I hate about some forms of organised religion.

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Guest: hmmmmm (654 days ago)

"a nice attempt to misquote me - I actually said etc"

In fact I was suggesting that on a day to day basis people interact with the world based on experience and knowledge (based on logic and experience) - science, But all that gets dismissed when they are faced with examples of miracles in their religion.

"I don't see the lack of evidence and assume that there isn't (a God)" -

It's funny - I don't eat food passed its 'sell by date' based on far less evidence or experience than I do when I think about the probabitity of the existance of God! I can think of my knowledge of human history and societies and the evolution of their religions. I can think of my knowledge of physical sciences etc. But even then I concede that I cannot be 100% certain of anything.

I think your last paragraph is really getting to the heart of your issue. A curse on both your houses! But really?

Dude - when an Atheist walks into a church with a suicide belt strapped to them then we'll talk. . . . .

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"a nice attempt to misquote me - I actually said etc"

In fact I was suggesting that on a day to day basis people interact with the world based on experience and knowledge (based on logic and experience) - science, But all that gets dismissed when they are faced with examples of miracles in their religion.

"I don't see the lack of evidence and assume that there isn't (a God)" -

It's funny - I don't eat food passed its 'sell by date' based on far less evidence or experience than I do when I think about the probabitity of the existance of God! I can think of my knowledge of human history and societies and the evolution of their religions. I can think of my knowledge of physical sciences etc. But even then I concede that I cannot be 100% certain of anything.

I think your last paragraph is really getting to the heart of your issue. A curse on both your houses! But really?

Dude - when an Atheist walks into a church with a suicide belt strapped to them then we'll talk. . . . .

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Guest: Podger (651 days ago)

Apologies for the delay. I'm going to reply to both your comments in one go. Despite the fact you've cherry picked the questions you'd prefer to answer, I think any scientist would find your answers wholly unsatisfactory.

""What is the precise and universally accepted nature of scientific evidence?" - "I suppose ultimately if something works or acts as predicted, or if it doesn't."
What? How is that even a definition of evidence? Do you want another shot?

"Metaphysics isn't a physical thing - in fact and sadly it may be just an illusion."
Correct, it isn't a physical thing so looking for physical evidence is a totally redundant exercise. Science is very clear aboutwhat it cannot predict or measure, so really it has nothing to say on such matters.

"I think religion provides an answer to every question and that answer is 'God'"
Really? You need to speak to more religious people. If you ask the average believer, 'what takes the water from the sea to the rivers?' they would say 'the water cycle'; if you ask them 'how does blood move around the body', they would say 'the circulatory system' - we are not living in the dark ages. It is only atheists that think science and religion are incompatible; I reckon most believers think religion answers different questions and picks up where science drops out. That is why there are so many scientists (including the very person who first described the Big Bang theory) who are / were also religious.

And as for your other comment, it's pretty meaningless to talk about 'the probability of the existence of God'. I'm wondering which model of probability you are using to make that judgement, because like science, mathematical models of probability cannot get a grip on anything untestable. And eating food before it's sell by date is something that can be based on physical evidence whereas a belief in a metaphysical concept (whether it's god, free will, good and evil) is not in the same ball park for the reasons I've already described.

But yes, you're right - it's is a curse on both your houses. I was raised as an atheist and used to be quite proud of it. I've gradually mixed with more and more people including many religious people, read a lot more (through obligation and choice), and I've come to see that for a start the version of religion atheists present is very hard to find. There are also glaring inconsistencies and examples of propaganda from an increasingly defined 'atheist' community. Furthermore, online especially there is a growing swell of hostile, bigoted and divisive new atheist rhetoric which was exactly what I originally criticised religion for, and that same insularity of opinion, cycling the same authors and commentators and the same texts (boreme is a pretty good example). You see all this with one-track religious sites as well.

As for atheists wearing suicide belts, that betrays rather blinkered knowledge of history... unfortunately, the world has seen what can happen when militant and evangelical atheism becomes the over-riding doctrine within a nation, and the results aren't prettier than with religion (try the anti-Christian killings in Mexico for a start). New atheism is one of the few contemporary world views that actually espouses intolerance and aggression.

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Original comment

Apologies for the delay. I'm going to reply to both your comments in one go. Despite the fact you've cherry picked the questions you'd prefer to answer, I think any scientist would find your answers wholly unsatisfactory.

""What is the precise and universally accepted nature of scientific evidence?" - "I suppose ultimately if something works or acts as predicted, or if it doesn't."
What? How is that even a definition of evidence? Do you want another shot?

"Metaphysics isn't a physical thing - in fact and sadly it may be just an illusion."
Correct, it isn't a physical thing so looking for physical evidence is a totally redundant exercise. Science is very clear aboutwhat it cannot predict or measure, so really it has nothing to say on such matters.

"I think religion provides an answer to every question and that answer is 'God'"
Really? You need to speak to more religious people. If you ask the average believer, 'what takes the water from the sea to the rivers?' they would say 'the water cycle'; if you ask them 'how does blood move around the body', they would say 'the circulatory system' - we are not living in the dark ages. It is only atheists that think science and religion are incompatible; I reckon most believers think religion answers different questions and picks up where science drops out. That is why there are so many scientists (including the very person who first described the Big Bang theory) who are / were also religious.

And as for your other comment, it's pretty meaningless to talk about 'the probability of the existence of God'. I'm wondering which model of probability you are using to make that judgement, because like science, mathematical models of probability cannot get a grip on anything untestable. And eating food before it's sell by date is something that can be based on physical evidence whereas a belief in a metaphysical concept (whether it's god, free will, good and evil) is not in the same ball park for the reasons I've already described.

But yes, you're right - it's is a curse on both your houses. I was raised as an atheist and used to be quite proud of it. I've gradually mixed with more and more people including many religious people, read a lot more (through obligation and choice), and I've come to see that for a start the version of religion atheists present is very hard to find. There are also glaring inconsistencies and examples of propaganda from an increasingly defined 'atheist' community. Furthermore, online especially there is a growing swell of hostile, bigoted and divisive new atheist rhetoric which was exactly what I originally criticised religion for, and that same insularity of opinion, cycling the same authors and commentators and the same texts (boreme is a pretty good example). You see all this with one-track religious sites as well.

As for atheists wearing suicide belts, that betrays rather blinkered knowledge of history... unfortunately, the world has seen what can happen when militant and evangelical atheism becomes the over-riding doctrine within a nation, and the results aren't prettier than with religion (try the anti-Christian killings in Mexico for a start). New atheism is one of the few contemporary world views that actually espouses intolerance and aggression.

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Guest: Podger (657 days ago)

What utter twaddle. One minute he's complaining that apparently all religious people care about what other people believe / don't believe. Next minute he's whining that actually they don't care enough to explain their beliefs to him. Why should religious people have to explain their beliefs any more than atheists? Sadly for atheists, the world isn't such that we have to queue up and get the seal of approval from them. Besides, it's pretty clear online at least that the majority of people who attack the beliefs of others are actually disciples of Dennett and co. Theirs is yet another way of encouraging us not to think and teaching us what we are not supposed to question. Dawkins said this, Harris said that, here's a link, here's a video, we're right because of... umm... Science and stuff. Open wide so we can spoon feed you the only world view that is acceptable... now feel smug, you're better than everyone else. It's just blinkered religious rhetoric in a fancy-dress lab coat. Boreme should do better than constantly banging this tired old drum. Nothing intelligent about force-feeding.

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What utter twaddle. One minute he's complaining that apparently all religious people care about what other people believe / don't believe. Next minute he's whining that actually they don't care enough to explain their beliefs to him. Why should religious people have to explain their beliefs any more than atheists? Sadly for atheists, the world isn't such that we have to queue up and get the seal of approval from them. Besides, it's pretty clear online at least that the majority of people who attack the beliefs of others are actually disciples of Dennett and co. Theirs is yet another way of encouraging us not to think and teaching us what we are not supposed to question. Dawkins said this, Harris said that, here's a link, here's a video, we're right because of... umm... Science and stuff. Open wide so we can spoon feed you the only world view that is acceptable... now feel smug, you're better than everyone else. It's just blinkered religious rhetoric in a fancy-dress lab coat. Boreme should do better than constantly banging this tired old drum. Nothing intelligent about force-feeding.

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Guest: 3PO (650 days ago)
Latest comment:

For the record boreme users are very happy with a restricted diet of hand picked atheism. to quote the vid it saves them having to think. and if they don't want to be exposed to other opinions its not your right to inflict yours!! ;)

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Latest comment:

For the record boreme users are very happy with a restricted diet of hand picked atheism. to quote the vid it saves them having to think. and if they don't want to be exposed to other opinions its not your right to inflict yours!! ;)

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Guest: one more time (657 days ago)

Gosh, how do you do that? I mean, how can you actually write something so, well, opposed in point of view to those people who are telling you what to think? Can anyone do that? Won't the thought police get you? Isn't it ... dare I say it ... against the only world view that is acceptable?

Damn, I said "thought police," so I must be quoting from George Orwell (peace be upon him).

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Gosh, how do you do that? I mean, how can you actually write something so, well, opposed in point of view to those people who are telling you what to think? Can anyone do that? Won't the thought police get you? Isn't it ... dare I say it ... against the only world view that is acceptable?

Damn, I said "thought police," so I must be quoting from George Orwell (peace be upon him).

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Guest: Podger (657 days ago)

I'll pretend that was an actual question. How? You question everything and learn about critical thought. You don't take someone's word for something, be they a supreme ayatollah or Dickie Dawkins himself, and you stay well clear of bandwagons. You analyse the reasons why people say what they say, what their motives and interests might be, what the historical context is, what their bias might be. You also don't criticise others for having differing views, or try to divide society according to who you think is right or wrong... that's something that no new atheist has ever managed. Basically, everything I hate about organised religion is more obvious than ever in chumps like Dennett who are treated like idols (somewhat ironically) by sites like boreme and patheos.

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I'll pretend that was an actual question. How? You question everything and learn about critical thought. You don't take someone's word for something, be they a supreme ayatollah or Dickie Dawkins himself, and you stay well clear of bandwagons. You analyse the reasons why people say what they say, what their motives and interests might be, what the historical context is, what their bias might be. You also don't criticise others for having differing views, or try to divide society according to who you think is right or wrong... that's something that no new atheist has ever managed. Basically, everything I hate about organised religion is more obvious than ever in chumps like Dennett who are treated like idols (somewhat ironically) by sites like boreme and patheos.

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Guest: one more time (656 days ago)

" You analyse the reasons why people say what they say, what their motives and interests might be, what the historical context is, what their bias might be."

I guess you could do all that in the comfort of your own armchair. You sound like this quote from Isaac Asimov in the "Foundadtion" trilogy (apologies for the length):

“But wheah’s the necessity? It seems an uncommonly woundabout and hopelessly wigmawolish method of getting anywheahs. Look heah, now, I’ve got the wuhks of all the old mastahs – the gweat ahchaeologists of the past. I wigh them against each othah – balance the disagweements – analyze the conflicting statements – decide which is pwobably cowwect –and come to a conclusion. That is the scientific method. At least” – patronizingly –”as I see it. How insuffewably cwude it would be to go to Ahctuwus, oah to Sol, foah instance, and blundah about, when the old mastahs have covahed the gwound so much moah effectually than we could possibly hope to do.”

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Original comment

" You analyse the reasons why people say what they say, what their motives and interests might be, what the historical context is, what their bias might be."

I guess you could do all that in the comfort of your own armchair. You sound like this quote from Isaac Asimov in the "Foundadtion" trilogy (apologies for the length):

“But wheah’s the necessity? It seems an uncommonly woundabout and hopelessly wigmawolish method of getting anywheahs. Look heah, now, I’ve got the wuhks of all the old mastahs – the gweat ahchaeologists of the past. I wigh them against each othah – balance the disagweements – analyze the conflicting statements – decide which is pwobably cowwect –and come to a conclusion. That is the scientific method. At least” – patronizingly –”as I see it. How insuffewably cwude it would be to go to Ahctuwus, oah to Sol, foah instance, and blundah about, when the old mastahs have covahed the gwound so much moah effectually than we could possibly hope to do.”

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Guest: Podger (656 days ago)

Actually I think you'll find most open-minded people with an ounce of life experience and common sense do the same.. it's basic critical thought... but hey if it makes you feel better to think of us all as verbose pedants with speech impediments go for it.

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Actually I think you'll find most open-minded people with an ounce of life experience and common sense do the same.. it's basic critical thought... but hey if it makes you feel better to think of us all as verbose pedants with speech impediments go for it.

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Guest: one more time (656 days ago)

Podger: I think of you as someone who doesn't know what they are talking about.

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Podger: I think of you as someone who doesn't know what they are talking about.

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Guest: (656 days ago)

Oh NO! Golly gosh. That's really upsetting because your opinion of my character is hugely important to me. Don't worry; I still have absolute respect for your smug sardonics and your belief that anyone who doesn't share your world view just doesn't know what they're talking about. I bow before your expertise. Perhaps you can drag another quote off the internet to help illuminate me. Cute.

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Original comment

Oh NO! Golly gosh. That's really upsetting because your opinion of my character is hugely important to me. Don't worry; I still have absolute respect for your smug sardonics and your belief that anyone who doesn't share your world view just doesn't know what they're talking about. I bow before your expertise. Perhaps you can drag another quote off the internet to help illuminate me. Cute.

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Guest: one more time (655 days ago)

You mistake confidence, based on study and experience, for smugness. That mistake comes from your ignorance. I don't know anything about your character, but ignorance can be cured, if you are willing to make the effort. Good luck with that.

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Original comment

You mistake confidence, based on study and experience, for smugness. That mistake comes from your ignorance. I don't know anything about your character, but ignorance can be cured, if you are willing to make the effort. Good luck with that.

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Guest: Podger (655 days ago)

Of course, keep telling yourself that sweetie! Everyone that doesn't share your view is ignorant and doesn't know what they're talking about, etc, whereas you on the other hand are confident, academic and experienced, despite the things you write on here. Please pull another quote out for us - I know only the most intellectual and experienced people can copy and paste. And as for all those idiotic nobel prize winners, all those stupid eminent scientists that don't share your that brilliant world-view of yours... if only you could educate them with your vast and rounded intellect. They must be trembling at the rise of such a prodigious mind.

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Original comment

Of course, keep telling yourself that sweetie! Everyone that doesn't share your view is ignorant and doesn't know what they're talking about, etc, whereas you on the other hand are confident, academic and experienced, despite the things you write on here. Please pull another quote out for us - I know only the most intellectual and experienced people can copy and paste. And as for all those idiotic nobel prize winners, all those stupid eminent scientists that don't share your that brilliant world-view of yours... if only you could educate them with your vast and rounded intellect. They must be trembling at the rise of such a prodigious mind.

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Guest: one more time (655 days ago)

I was kind of hoping you might educate yourself. But I guess you have your world view and you're not about to change it. That's certainly the easiest way.

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I was kind of hoping you might educate yourself. But I guess you have your world view and you're not about to change it. That's certainly the easiest way.

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Guest: Podger (655 days ago)

The funny thing is, my world view of agnosticism is the only position which is by definition ambivalent and uncertain; I cannot know that which you're asking about. It's only new atheists such as you, and obviously your equivalents at the religious end of the spectrum, who are so readily convinced of your self-righteousness, and so confident (read smug) of your particular speculation. In your world, educating means agreeing with you. In my world, educating means doubting and questioning... and that's questioning everything, not just what your idols tell you. I've been an atheist but frankly, grew out of it by reading and chalenging too much. Try it.

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Original comment

The funny thing is, my world view of agnosticism is the only position which is by definition ambivalent and uncertain; I cannot know that which you're asking about. It's only new atheists such as you, and obviously your equivalents at the religious end of the spectrum, who are so readily convinced of your self-righteousness, and so confident (read smug) of your particular speculation. In your world, educating means agreeing with you. In my world, educating means doubting and questioning... and that's questioning everything, not just what your idols tell you. I've been an atheist but frankly, grew out of it by reading and chalenging too much. Try it.

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Guest: one more time (655 days ago)

Your definitions of atheist and agnostic seem to be slightly unusual.

In a separate post above you say "but ultimately if you believe there is no god you are an atheist." That is true but it is not the case that if you are an atheist then you believe there is no god. An atheist lacks belief in any gods, which is slightly different. In other words, unless you can say "I believe there is a god" then you are atheist.

Again, you say "I am neither theist nor atheist, I simply don't (and can't) know [...]" but again, that makes you atheist, since you lack belief, or in your words knowledge, and cannot say "I believe there is a god." You can't be neither theist nor atheist. If you are not a theist then you are an atheist. Theist and atheist are on a different dimension than gnosticism and agnosticism.

"[...] agnosticism is the only position which is by definition ambivalent and uncertain" but it makes a very unequivocal and certain claim that knowledge is impossible. Many people would disagree - not least those who claim that knowledge has been revealed to them individually.

You grew out of atheism by reading - what did you read?

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Original comment

Your definitions of atheist and agnostic seem to be slightly unusual.

In a separate post above you say "but ultimately if you believe there is no god you are an atheist." That is true but it is not the case that if you are an atheist then you believe there is no god. An atheist lacks belief in any gods, which is slightly different. In other words, unless you can say "I believe there is a god" then you are atheist.

Again, you say "I am neither theist nor atheist, I simply don't (and can't) know [...]" but again, that makes you atheist, since you lack belief, or in your words knowledge, and cannot say "I believe there is a god." You can't be neither theist nor atheist. If you are not a theist then you are an atheist. Theist and atheist are on a different dimension than gnosticism and agnosticism.

"[...] agnosticism is the only position which is by definition ambivalent and uncertain" but it makes a very unequivocal and certain claim that knowledge is impossible. Many people would disagree - not least those who claim that knowledge has been revealed to them individually.

You grew out of atheism by reading - what did you read?

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Guest: Podger (651 days ago)

Apologies for resurrecting a thread. When I am talking about atheism, I am talking about those who believe there is no god, not just people who don't happen to believe. I agree this isn't every atheist in the most literal sense, but describes the majority of atheists (and you?) - and furthermore, the 'new atheist' generation takes it a step further to make divisive and condemning judgements about the majority of humans on the planet. I don't have any belief in a god, but I don't describe myself as an atheist for the same reasons that DeGrasse Tyson avoids that term - because it would associate me with a defined body of people with stronger controversial and unscientific views. Added to that, I don't describe myself as an atheist because I think it's just as possible that the universe has a supreme being of some kind as it doesn't. I would also certainly say I have more in common with moderate Christians and agnostic theists than with new atheists.

The unequivocal claim of agnosticism - that certain knowledge is unknowable - is not a religious claim but an epistemological one. I suppose technically I shouldn't call it a world-view per se, which is why it can go hand-in-hand with some forms of theism and atheism. It doesn't condemn or promote any particular religious belief or lack of religious belief, so as far as religion goes it is still the ambivalent and uncertain position - especially when compared with the alternatives.

As for what I read... how long have you got? In my lifetime I have studied philosophy and theology (the latter from what was my atheist viewpoint at the time)... my other half is a pharmaceutical chemist... and I have an active interest in academic reading. I admit that originally I read most of the literature because I had to, but they sparked an interest that has continued. Honestly, I can't possibly list each and every book and essay that may have influenced my growing agnosticism, or lead me away from atheism - but if you're genuinely interested, here are a few, most of which are still on my bookshelf:
Obviously, the most seminal and definitive volume is 'Agnosticism & Christianity', by Thomas Huxley; but then also 'The God Delusion', Dawkins showed me the sharper end of new atheism; and then 'Why I am not a Christian', Bertrand Russell; 'Rock of Ages', Gould; 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery', or 'Realism & The Aim of Science', by Karl Popper; 'Faith in the Public Square', Williams. As well as these, Kierkegaard, Sagan and Kant had a lot to say on these matters, and early Wittgenstein is important too. If I had to pick a couple, I'd go for pretty much anything by Popper, and the Gould book for a more modern take. But my agnosticism is not purely academic, and I feel I've reached this point through meeting and speaking to a great many people with opposing views... and I stand by my observation that as yet, still by far the most evangelical, beligerant and divisive group I have encountered are the new atheists.

ReplyVote up (101)down (84)
Original comment

Apologies for resurrecting a thread. When I am talking about atheism, I am talking about those who believe there is no god, not just people who don't happen to believe. I agree this isn't every atheist in the most literal sense, but describes the majority of atheists (and you?) - and furthermore, the 'new atheist' generation takes it a step further to make divisive and condemning judgements about the majority of humans on the planet. I don't have any belief in a god, but I don't describe myself as an atheist for the same reasons that DeGrasse Tyson avoids that term - because it would associate me with a defined body of people with stronger controversial and unscientific views. Added to that, I don't describe myself as an atheist because I think it's just as possible that the universe has a supreme being of some kind as it doesn't. I would also certainly say I have more in common with moderate Christians and agnostic theists than with new atheists.

The unequivocal claim of agnosticism - that certain knowledge is unknowable - is not a religious claim but an epistemological one. I suppose technically I shouldn't call it a world-view per se, which is why it can go hand-in-hand with some forms of theism and atheism. It doesn't condemn or promote any particular religious belief or lack of religious belief, so as far as religion goes it is still the ambivalent and uncertain position - especially when compared with the alternatives.

As for what I read... how long have you got? In my lifetime I have studied philosophy and theology (the latter from what was my atheist viewpoint at the time)... my other half is a pharmaceutical chemist... and I have an active interest in academic reading. I admit that originally I read most of the literature because I had to, but they sparked an interest that has continued. Honestly, I can't possibly list each and every book and essay that may have influenced my growing agnosticism, or lead me away from atheism - but if you're genuinely interested, here are a few, most of which are still on my bookshelf:
Obviously, the most seminal and definitive volume is 'Agnosticism & Christianity', by Thomas Huxley; but then also 'The God Delusion', Dawkins showed me the sharper end of new atheism; and then 'Why I am not a Christian', Bertrand Russell; 'Rock of Ages', Gould; 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery', or 'Realism & The Aim of Science', by Karl Popper; 'Faith in the Public Square', Williams. As well as these, Kierkegaard, Sagan and Kant had a lot to say on these matters, and early Wittgenstein is important too. If I had to pick a couple, I'd go for pretty much anything by Popper, and the Gould book for a more modern take. But my agnosticism is not purely academic, and I feel I've reached this point through meeting and speaking to a great many people with opposing views... and I stand by my observation that as yet, still by far the most evangelical, beligerant and divisive group I have encountered are the new atheists.

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Guest: Podger (651 days ago)

Apologies for resurrecting a thread. When I am talking about atheism, I am talking about those who believe there is no god, not just people who don't happen to believe. I agree this isn't every atheist in the most literal sense, but describes the majority of atheists (and you?) - and furthermore, the 'new atheist' generation takes it a step further to make divisive and condemning judgements about the majority of humans on the planet. I don't have any belief in a god, but I don't describe myself as an atheist for the same reasons that DeGrasse Tyson avoids that term - because it would associate me with a defined body of people with stronger controversial and unscientific views. Added to that, I don't describe myself as an atheist because I think it's just as possible that the universe has a supreme being of some kind as it doesn't. I would also certainly say I have more in common with moderate Christians and agnostic theists than with new atheists.

The unequivocal claim of agnosticism - that certain knowledge is unknowable - is not a religious claim but an epistemological one. I suppose technically I shouldn't call it a world-view per se, which is why it can go hand-in-hand with some forms of theism and atheism. It doesn't condemn or promote any particular religious belief or lack of religious belief, so as far as religion goes it is still the ambivalent and uncertain position - especially when compared with the alternatives.

As for what I read... how long have you got? In my lifetime I have studied philosophy and theology (the latter from what was my atheist viewpoint at the time)... my other half is a pharmaceutical chemist... and I have an active interest in academic reading. I admit that originally I read most of the literature because I had to, but they sparked an interest that has continued. Honestly, I can't possibly list each and every book and essay that may have influenced my growing agnosticism, or lead me away from atheism - but if you're genuinely interested, here are a few, most of which are still on my bookshelf:
Obviously, the most seminal and definitive volume is 'Agnosticism & Christianity', by Thomas Huxley; but then also 'The God Delusion', Dawkins showed me the sharper end of new atheism; and then 'Why I am not a Christian', Bertrand Russell; 'Rock of Ages', Gould; 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery', or 'Realism & The Aim of Science', by Karl Popper; 'Faith in the Public Square', Williams. As well as these, Kierkegaard, Sagan and Kant had a lot to say on these matters, and early Wittgenstein is important too. If I had to pick a couple, I'd go for pretty much anything by Popper, and the Gould book for a more modern take. But my agnosticism is not purely academic, and I feel I've reached this point through meeting and speaking to a great many people with opposing views... and I stand by my observation that as yet, still by far the most evangelical, beligerant and divisive group I have encountered are the new atheists.

ReplyVote up (101)down (97)
Original comment

Apologies for resurrecting a thread. When I am talking about atheism, I am talking about those who believe there is no god, not just people who don't happen to believe. I agree this isn't every atheist in the most literal sense, but describes the majority of atheists (and you?) - and furthermore, the 'new atheist' generation takes it a step further to make divisive and condemning judgements about the majority of humans on the planet. I don't have any belief in a god, but I don't describe myself as an atheist for the same reasons that DeGrasse Tyson avoids that term - because it would associate me with a defined body of people with stronger controversial and unscientific views. Added to that, I don't describe myself as an atheist because I think it's just as possible that the universe has a supreme being of some kind as it doesn't. I would also certainly say I have more in common with moderate Christians and agnostic theists than with new atheists.

The unequivocal claim of agnosticism - that certain knowledge is unknowable - is not a religious claim but an epistemological one. I suppose technically I shouldn't call it a world-view per se, which is why it can go hand-in-hand with some forms of theism and atheism. It doesn't condemn or promote any particular religious belief or lack of religious belief, so as far as religion goes it is still the ambivalent and uncertain position - especially when compared with the alternatives.

As for what I read... how long have you got? In my lifetime I have studied philosophy and theology (the latter from what was my atheist viewpoint at the time)... my other half is a pharmaceutical chemist... and I have an active interest in academic reading. I admit that originally I read most of the literature because I had to, but they sparked an interest that has continued. Honestly, I can't possibly list each and every book and essay that may have influenced my growing agnosticism, or lead me away from atheism - but if you're genuinely interested, here are a few, most of which are still on my bookshelf:
Obviously, the most seminal and definitive volume is 'Agnosticism & Christianity', by Thomas Huxley; but then also 'The God Delusion', Dawkins showed me the sharper end of new atheism; and then 'Why I am not a Christian', Bertrand Russell; 'Rock of Ages', Gould; 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery', or 'Realism & The Aim of Science', by Karl Popper; 'Faith in the Public Square', Williams. As well as these, Kierkegaard, Sagan and Kant had a lot to say on these matters, and early Wittgenstein is important too. If I had to pick a couple, I'd go for pretty much anything by Popper, and the Gould book for a more modern take. But my agnosticism is not purely academic, and I feel I've reached this point through meeting and speaking to a great many people with opposing views... and I stand by my observation that as yet, still by far the most evangelical, beligerant and divisive group I have encountered are the new atheists.

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