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8th grade atheist vs adult Christian

8th grade atheist vs adult Christian

(6:38) In a debate on morality, an atheist kid called Chad asks an interesting question - why does God bother to do anything if he already knows what will happen?

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Guest: SimpleSimon1 (139 days ago)

To all the atheists: What is the life force or living or spirit? Is it made of atoms? particles, electrons or anything else? Why don't you create a human, without using any part of an existing human cell? Can you start with NO LIVING CELL and then CREATE a single living cell? THIS IS THE JOB OF THE CREATOR - you believe in him or not, you do not effect him. You are living because he has given you life

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To all the atheists: What is the life force or living or spirit? Is it made of atoms? particles, electrons or anything else? Why don't you create a human, without using any part of an existing human cell? Can you start with NO LIVING CELL and then CREATE a single living cell? THIS IS THE JOB OF THE CREATOR - you believe in him or not, you do not effect him. You are living because he has given you life

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (138 days ago)

Which creator are you talking about? There are thousands of them.

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Which creator are you talking about? There are thousands of them.

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Guest: SimpleSimon2 (138 days ago)

The creator is the one who creates this thing you call life - in all living things. There is no other!

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The creator is the one who creates this thing you call life - in all living things. There is no other!

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (138 days ago)

You're talking in riddles. What is a believer in this creator you speak of, called? And can you recommend a holy book for me to read?

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You're talking in riddles. What is a believer in this creator you speak of, called? And can you recommend a holy book for me to read?

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Guest: SimpleSimon3 (134 days ago)

Sorry, WalterEgo - I have been bed-ridden for a few days and could not reply. There are no riddles! The question is simply; who can create life? People refer to this action as from a "God". It is true that no one has been able to explain this "God" and therefore is expressed as it is beyond human understanding. If science cannot explain this, maybe we should leave it to the ones who believe in a "God" and let them carry on with their belief.

With regards to a Holy Book; I think you have no desire to read one. Please be true to your self and others and let us know how many have you read, from cover to cover? I think you will find that you have heard/read of excerpts and used them against the books. In that case, you would have missed the context it was written in and the true message that was being delivered.

Original comment

Sorry, WalterEgo - I have been bed-ridden for a few days and could not reply. There are no riddles! The question is simply; who can create life? People refer to this action as from a "God". It is true that no one has been able to explain this "God" and therefore is expressed as it is beyond human understanding. If science cannot explain this, maybe we should leave it to the ones who believe in a "God" and let them carry on with their belief.

With regards to a Holy Book; I think you have no desire to read one. Please be true to your self and others and let us know how many have you read, from cover to cover? I think you will find that you have heard/read of excerpts and used them against the books. In that case, you would have missed the context it was written in and the true message that was being delivered.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (134 days ago)

Glad you are feeling better. I hope I don't ruin your day. You ask "who can create life?" But why "who"? Why not "what" or "how"? I suspect the god you imagine looks like a human. What if god is more like sludge? Or what if god is not necessary at all to create life?

You say "People refer to this action as from a 'God'." Some people maybe, but not me. I think it's much more likely that life is the result of nature acting out according to the laws that govern the universe, like gravity, quantum theory etc. And when scientists look around, that's exactly how the universe looks. And within the universe, god is man made, a figment of our imagination. After all, god only seems to appear within human existence. Let me ask you this, do you think that if we discovered intelligent life in another part of the universe, they would believe in the same god that you do?

You say "If science cannot explain this, maybe we should leave it to the ones who believe in a "God" and let them carry on with their belief." Really? What if their belief is to kill all who don't agree? Like ISIS think. Should we let them carry out their beliefs just because science can't yet explain the precise way life started on earth? There are plenty of theories, but trying to prove which if any are correct is difficult, largely because it happened 4 billion years ago. Unfortunately, there are no holy books from that time. We have to figure it out all by ourselves.

Also, I'm surprised you are happy to resort to god when we don't know the answer to something. Isn't it better to be honest and just say we don't know. Surely it makes sense to start following a god only when one actually pops up.

It's not hard to imagine how life could have started without god. Say there is a crystal that grows when it gets wet. Then breaks in half. Each half then grows when they get wet, and then they break in half. And so we have a cycle. Since the crystal halves are not identical, at some point, a crystal "imperfection" will be advantageous to its survival. Maybe its particular structure is lighter than the other crystals around, so it blows in the wind and lands in an area with more water. So these crystals (with the lighter structure) now multiply faster because of the wetter conditions. And they spread to places further afield because they get carried in the wind. And that is evolution in action. I'm not saying life started this way, I'm pointing out that god is not necessary for the process of life to begin. After life has started, evolution takes over and we can see that as clear as daylight in the fossil record and our DNA.

About your holy book - are you so embarrassed with your faith you don't want to tell me? If not, you should be. Whatever your holy book tells you, it's just a book. Anyone can write a book and claim whatever they want. In fact, science fiction writer Ron Hubbard did exactly that and started Scientology. How do you know your holy book is the correct one?

Original comment

Glad you are feeling better. I hope I don't ruin your day. You ask "who can create life?" But why "who"? Why not "what" or "how"? I suspect the god you imagine looks like a human. What if god is more like sludge? Or what if god is not necessary at all to create life?

You say "People refer to this action as from a 'God'." Some people maybe, but not me. I think it's much more likely that life is the result of nature acting out according to the laws that govern the universe, like gravity, quantum theory etc. And when scientists look around, that's exactly how the universe looks. And within the universe, god is man made, a figment of our imagination. After all, god only seems to appear within human existence. Let me ask you this, do you think that if we discovered intelligent life in another part of the universe, they would believe in the same god that you do?

You say "If science cannot explain this, maybe we should leave it to the ones who believe in a "God" and let them carry on with their belief." Really? What if their belief is to kill all who don't agree? Like ISIS think. Should we let them carry out their beliefs just because science can't yet explain the precise way life started on earth? There are plenty of theories, but trying to prove which if any are correct is difficult, largely because it happened 4 billion years ago. Unfortunately, there are no holy books from that time. We have to figure it out all by ourselves.

Also, I'm surprised you are happy to resort to god when we don't know the answer to something. Isn't it better to be honest and just say we don't know. Surely it makes sense to start following a god only when one actually pops up.

It's not hard to imagine how life could have started without god. Say there is a crystal that grows when it gets wet. Then breaks in half. Each half then grows when they get wet, and then they break in half. And so we have a cycle. Since the crystal halves are not identical, at some point, a crystal "imperfection" will be advantageous to its survival. Maybe its particular structure is lighter than the other crystals around, so it blows in the wind and lands in an area with more water. So these crystals (with the lighter structure) now multiply faster because of the wetter conditions. And they spread to places further afield because they get carried in the wind. And that is evolution in action. I'm not saying life started this way, I'm pointing out that god is not necessary for the process of life to begin. After life has started, evolution takes over and we can see that as clear as daylight in the fossil record and our DNA.

About your holy book - are you so embarrassed with your faith you don't want to tell me? If not, you should be. Whatever your holy book tells you, it's just a book. Anyone can write a book and claim whatever they want. In fact, science fiction writer Ron Hubbard did exactly that and started Scientology. How do you know your holy book is the correct one?

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Guest: SimpleSimon4 (134 days ago)

Thank you, I am feeling a little better. Please do not think that you have (in some way) ruined my day! I had a slipped disc injury that was playing up again and was stuck in bed for several days.


You still did not answer a simple question of who created life? You have rambled on about god being a figment of imagination, when clearly he is beyond explanation. Even if we met aliens from another planet, they probably do not communicate with sight or sound, and we could consider them living beings. How can we understand a god?


You also jumped to crazies like ISIS - what has that got to do with this? Are you trying to point out that religion has killed people? Is not science also responsible for the wholesale massacre tools, with nuclear bombs, DU bombs, and all the hight tech stuff to kill people? ISIS can only dream of causing the planetary decimation of the Earth population that science has facilitated. (This not say that science has not done anything good.)


Your crystal analogy does not provide for the creation of LIFE. Science cannot give life to an undead thing. It can only use existing (life) live cells and make them recreate. NOT CREATE.


I did not talk about my holy book - because it would only make you ramble on about different religions. You have no idea of a spirit, or soul, or a god. If you ever fell in love, to you it is just chemicals in the brain and that is all that matters. The same goes for all other intangible things that you cannot touch or see. You just want to call them non-existent until you see them. Your opinion does not effect them, you are the one who loses out. If you want to believe in no god and the next man does - then leave both to their own opinions. I did not ask you to believe in god.

Original comment

Thank you, I am feeling a little better. Please do not think that you have (in some way) ruined my day! I had a slipped disc injury that was playing up again and was stuck in bed for several days.


You still did not answer a simple question of who created life? You have rambled on about god being a figment of imagination, when clearly he is beyond explanation. Even if we met aliens from another planet, they probably do not communicate with sight or sound, and we could consider them living beings. How can we understand a god?


You also jumped to crazies like ISIS - what has that got to do with this? Are you trying to point out that religion has killed people? Is not science also responsible for the wholesale massacre tools, with nuclear bombs, DU bombs, and all the hight tech stuff to kill people? ISIS can only dream of causing the planetary decimation of the Earth population that science has facilitated. (This not say that science has not done anything good.)


Your crystal analogy does not provide for the creation of LIFE. Science cannot give life to an undead thing. It can only use existing (life) live cells and make them recreate. NOT CREATE.


I did not talk about my holy book - because it would only make you ramble on about different religions. You have no idea of a spirit, or soul, or a god. If you ever fell in love, to you it is just chemicals in the brain and that is all that matters. The same goes for all other intangible things that you cannot touch or see. You just want to call them non-existent until you see them. Your opinion does not effect them, you are the one who loses out. If you want to believe in no god and the next man does - then leave both to their own opinions. I did not ask you to believe in god.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (127 days ago)

I did answer your simple question of who created life. I said "I think li fe is the result of nature acting out according to the laws that govern the universe, like gravity, quantum theory etc ." You are stuck on the idea that life could only be created by a god. Why? What if life is just what happens when conditions are right. That's why scientists are looking for life on planets with conditions similar to Earth, because if conditions were right here, then maybe they could also be right on a similar planet. I gave you a perfectly plausible explanation of how life could have started without god's help. Once life has started, it evolves over time becoming more sophisticated, complicated, and adapted for survival in its environment. Consiousness and self-awareness evolved in some species to varying degrees, humans being the most evolved in this area.

You talked about love - have you ever taken ecstacy? It makes you feel all lovey-dovey. How do you think that works? Is it god spreading a little magic, or is it the chemicals in the pills?

My turn to ask you a simple question - who created god?

Original comment

I did answer your simple question of who created life. I said "I think li fe is the result of nature acting out according to the laws that govern the universe, like gravity, quantum theory etc ." You are stuck on the idea that life could only be created by a god. Why? What if life is just what happens when conditions are right. That's why scientists are looking for life on planets with conditions similar to Earth, because if conditions were right here, then maybe they could also be right on a similar planet. I gave you a perfectly plausible explanation of how life could have started without god's help. Once life has started, it evolves over time becoming more sophisticated, complicated, and adapted for survival in its environment. Consiousness and self-awareness evolved in some species to varying degrees, humans being the most evolved in this area.

You talked about love - have you ever taken ecstacy? It makes you feel all lovey-dovey. How do you think that works? Is it god spreading a little magic, or is it the chemicals in the pills?

My turn to ask you a simple question - who created god?

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Guest: Adam1 (133 days ago)

The problem with all you atheists is that you only have the Christian/Jewish books to rely upon. It is clear that Jesus or Moses DID NOT bring any book. (Ten commandments is not a book) Currently, all Jesus' disciples had ROMAN names, who were the enemies of the Christians. And you think they can be trusted! YOU FOOLS! Your enemies wrote your book for you!


Furthermore, The Bible was written many centuries after Jesus and it was forbidden for anyone to read for over a millennium. What did they have to hide? The truth STANDS, it does not need to hide! It will be open to any challenge! It is lies that need to be protected by excuses and forbidding deep analysis!


Later, when the Muslims came, they paid (in weight of GOLD) for every book to be brought in from around the globe, creating something akin to GOOGLE and had it all translated into ARABIC. This allowed scientists from all over the World, only having to learn one language, to obtain benefit from other scientists all around the globe. Guess what the GOOD CHRISTIANS did? They carried out the (12) CRUSADES that lasted about 200 years that wiped out most of the people and all the books in the holy lands! How dare they use science!


Allah says, The Quran will be protected - they never managed to destroy it. Everywhere you go, you will find thousands of Muslims who have memorised it by heart. That is not to say, there are not illiterate (or stupid) Muslims!

Allah, also challenges all to find fault in the Quran. People better than the visitors of this site, people, who were academics and spent a lifetime - could not find fault in the Quran.

Allah, asks all to acquire knowledge, therefore, Muslims will study the Bible, Torah or any other religious book. But to find a single Atheist amongst the Muslims is about one in several millions. (Idiots, you will find plenty, as in any people!)

If you really want to debate the existence of God, then read the ENTIRE Quran, see if you can find fault with it. If you can prove one single fault, the Muslims will stop believing in the Quran. All (atheist) scholars have managed to do, is to take things out of context and say this is wrong or conflicts with some other area of the book. This can fool simpletons and those who have never read the Quran.

On the other hand, you can remain ignorant, nag on about something you do not know about and think that it makes you look intelligent, when you are actually illiterate. You will not find any religion that allows (and promotes) you to question any aspect of the book.

I am sure most of you (here) will admit to reading lots of books, in your life. Why are you afraid of reading one more? In a week or more, you can then get all the answers. REMEMBER! that an all knowing God, CANNOT MAKE A MISTAKE! If the Quran is a true book - it will not have any mistake. Trust me - even Muslims read the Quran to find mistakes within it - it is not a sin, as Allah orders us (all) to do so!

Original comment

The problem with all you atheists is that you only have the Christian/Jewish books to rely upon. It is clear that Jesus or Moses DID NOT bring any book. (Ten commandments is not a book) Currently, all Jesus' disciples had ROMAN names, who were the enemies of the Christians. And you think they can be trusted! YOU FOOLS! Your enemies wrote your book for you!


Furthermore, The Bible was written many centuries after Jesus and it was forbidden for anyone to read for over a millennium. What did they have to hide? The truth STANDS, it does not need to hide! It will be open to any challenge! It is lies that need to be protected by excuses and forbidding deep analysis!


Later, when the Muslims came, they paid (in weight of GOLD) for every book to be brought in from around the globe, creating something akin to GOOGLE and had it all translated into ARABIC. This allowed scientists from all over the World, only having to learn one language, to obtain benefit from other scientists all around the globe. Guess what the GOOD CHRISTIANS did? They carried out the (12) CRUSADES that lasted about 200 years that wiped out most of the people and all the books in the holy lands! How dare they use science!


Allah says, The Quran will be protected - they never managed to destroy it. Everywhere you go, you will find thousands of Muslims who have memorised it by heart. That is not to say, there are not illiterate (or stupid) Muslims!

Allah, also challenges all to find fault in the Quran. People better than the visitors of this site, people, who were academics and spent a lifetime - could not find fault in the Quran.

Allah, asks all to acquire knowledge, therefore, Muslims will study the Bible, Torah or any other religious book. But to find a single Atheist amongst the Muslims is about one in several millions. (Idiots, you will find plenty, as in any people!)

If you really want to debate the existence of God, then read the ENTIRE Quran, see if you can find fault with it. If you can prove one single fault, the Muslims will stop believing in the Quran. All (atheist) scholars have managed to do, is to take things out of context and say this is wrong or conflicts with some other area of the book. This can fool simpletons and those who have never read the Quran.

On the other hand, you can remain ignorant, nag on about something you do not know about and think that it makes you look intelligent, when you are actually illiterate. You will not find any religion that allows (and promotes) you to question any aspect of the book.

I am sure most of you (here) will admit to reading lots of books, in your life. Why are you afraid of reading one more? In a week or more, you can then get all the answers. REMEMBER! that an all knowing God, CANNOT MAKE A MISTAKE! If the Quran is a true book - it will not have any mistake. Trust me - even Muslims read the Quran to find mistakes within it - it is not a sin, as Allah orders us (all) to do so!

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Mesmerelda Mesmerelda (136 days ago)

Let's be honest, that Christian sound really dumb.

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Let's be honest, that Christian sound really dumb.

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Guest: (136 days ago)

Let's be honest, you are a boring bigoted moron.

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Let's be honest, you are a boring bigoted moron.

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (139 days ago)

God only knows the future for those people that believe in predestination. Some religious people believe that God gave them free will and so even God doesn't know what they will do in the future.

When the kid asked about people that never had a chance to know Jesus, the Christian's answer ignored the John 3:16 scripture that says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. " Christians interpret this as meaning that you must believe that Jesus is the son of God so those people that were still born or in remote villages of Africa, born into a Muslim religion, or born into the prison camps of North Korea will not have known him and will not be saved.

Original comment

God only knows the future for those people that believe in predestination. Some religious people believe that God gave them free will and so even God doesn't know what they will do in the future.

When the kid asked about people that never had a chance to know Jesus, the Christian's answer ignored the John 3:16 scripture that says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. " Christians interpret this as meaning that you must believe that Jesus is the son of God so those people that were still born or in remote villages of Africa, born into a Muslim religion, or born into the prison camps of North Korea will not have known him and will not be saved.

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Guest: praisethelorddog (139 days ago)

Stop wasting yourtime on this nonsense!

There is no god, only stupid needy people keeping the skyfairy myth alive!

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Stop wasting yourtime on this nonsense!

There is no god, only stupid needy people keeping the skyfairy myth alive!

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Guest: (139 days ago)

Thank you for your thoughts, they're really interesting.

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Thank you for your thoughts, they're really interesting.

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (139 days ago)

That's what you say but you offer absolutely no proof that there is no God. Besides, people that don't believe God exists is in the minority so why should the vast majority of the people listen to a small group that doesn't believe?

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That's what you say but you offer absolutely no proof that there is no God. Besides, people that don't believe God exists is in the minority so why should the vast majority of the people listen to a small group that doesn't believe?

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Guest: The Missing O (139 days ago)

I don`t know if god exists. But why did he plant so much convincing evidence that the earth is millions of years old, and for evolution etc, then give humans the capacity to find the evidence and interpret it.

Why has he tried so hard to hide himself? One possibility is he`s as bothered by god botherers as atheists are. He gace us an amazing home and the skills to understand it for what it is. Then most of us turn around and tell him it`s not enough, we`re not satisfied, we what something even better.

If god is all knowing, why should we second guess him and want an 'after'-life better than the 'now'-life he gave us. And if he is all seeing, he could have saved himself the hassle and stopped at dolphins.

We don`t need him any more than he needs us.

Original comment

I don`t know if god exists. But why did he plant so much convincing evidence that the earth is millions of years old, and for evolution etc, then give humans the capacity to find the evidence and interpret it.

Why has he tried so hard to hide himself? One possibility is he`s as bothered by god botherers as atheists are. He gace us an amazing home and the skills to understand it for what it is. Then most of us turn around and tell him it`s not enough, we`re not satisfied, we what something even better.

If god is all knowing, why should we second guess him and want an 'after'-life better than the 'now'-life he gave us. And if he is all seeing, he could have saved himself the hassle and stopped at dolphins.

We don`t need him any more than he needs us.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (139 days ago)

Excellent questions. He's all knowing, we're not, end of story. That's "faith" a nutshell. And IMO, teaching it to children should be classed as child abuse.

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Excellent questions. He's all knowing, we're not, end of story. That's "faith" a nutshell. And IMO, teaching it to children should be classed as child abuse.

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Guest: (139 days ago)

I wonder how many atheists are atheists because that's what their parents and peers taught them. I know several including myself originally.

We could treat the passing on any unprovable assumptions as abusive, or accept that people are likely to teach the next generation whatever they happen to think is best, even when they might be wrong.

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I wonder how many atheists are atheists because that's what their parents and peers taught them. I know several including myself originally.

We could treat the passing on any unprovable assumptions as abusive, or accept that people are likely to teach the next generation whatever they happen to think is best, even when they might be wrong.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (139 days ago)

I can't speak for other atheists, but if I had children, when they're old enough to string 2 ideas together, I would say that there are many religions out there that have different world views to mine, check them out and if any take your fancy, go for it. I might disagree, but hey, let's debate it.

But if I was a Muslim parent, could I NOT involve my kids in Islam from birth until they are of thinking age? I think not, but any Muslims out there - correct me if I'm wrong.

The thing is, everyone is born an atheist. I don't think it is right to force your religion on your child before their brains have developed enough to think for themselves.

Everyone should be allowed to choose which religion they find most convincing, and if they come to the conclusion that all religions are BS, that's OK too.

Original comment

I can't speak for other atheists, but if I had children, when they're old enough to string 2 ideas together, I would say that there are many religions out there that have different world views to mine, check them out and if any take your fancy, go for it. I might disagree, but hey, let's debate it.

But if I was a Muslim parent, could I NOT involve my kids in Islam from birth until they are of thinking age? I think not, but any Muslims out there - correct me if I'm wrong.

The thing is, everyone is born an atheist. I don't think it is right to force your religion on your child before their brains have developed enough to think for themselves.

Everyone should be allowed to choose which religion they find most convincing, and if they come to the conclusion that all religions are BS, that's OK too.

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Guest: P (136 days ago)

I suspect, like most other vocal atheists, you would probably end up enforcing your worldview onto the next generation, possibly without even knowing you were doing it. Children ultimately imitate their care-givers, and whether that's you saying how religions are for idiots, or a Muslim saying Mohammed was the last prophet, they will pick that up. It's very unlikely you could shield your children from your active atheism.

I'm also sure there are religious fundamentalist parents who are quite happy to 'debate' with their children when they get other ideas, just like you would. The compulsion to do that - to convert, convince and ultimately divide - is exactly the problem we're discussing.

I don't think everyone is born an atheist - agnostic maybe. In fact, you yourself have cited research that suggests humans are pre-programmed to believe in god. At the time, you implied that because human brains are born to believe in god, god was a product of humankind. Now you seem to be saying that because humans are not born to believe in god, it's all brainwashing.

No one is born with religion, but that's different of course. Meanwhile, never in history has atheism paralleled religion so precisely - some even attend 'Sunday Assembly'!

Ideally, no worldviews would be forced on young people, but to me that has to includes atheism. Being pragmatic, I accept that the next generation is likely to be forced into the views of its parents, be that militant atheism, buddhism, conservatism or vegetarianism. If the alternative ideas are persuasive enough, there shouldn't be a problem.

Original comment

I suspect, like most other vocal atheists, you would probably end up enforcing your worldview onto the next generation, possibly without even knowing you were doing it. Children ultimately imitate their care-givers, and whether that's you saying how religions are for idiots, or a Muslim saying Mohammed was the last prophet, they will pick that up. It's very unlikely you could shield your children from your active atheism.

I'm also sure there are religious fundamentalist parents who are quite happy to 'debate' with their children when they get other ideas, just like you would. The compulsion to do that - to convert, convince and ultimately divide - is exactly the problem we're discussing.

I don't think everyone is born an atheist - agnostic maybe. In fact, you yourself have cited research that suggests humans are pre-programmed to believe in god. At the time, you implied that because human brains are born to believe in god, god was a product of humankind. Now you seem to be saying that because humans are not born to believe in god, it's all brainwashing.

No one is born with religion, but that's different of course. Meanwhile, never in history has atheism paralleled religion so precisely - some even attend 'Sunday Assembly'!

Ideally, no worldviews would be forced on young people, but to me that has to includes atheism. Being pragmatic, I accept that the next generation is likely to be forced into the views of its parents, be that militant atheism, buddhism, conservatism or vegetarianism. If the alternative ideas are persuasive enough, there shouldn't be a problem.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (135 days ago)

I'm also sure there are religious fundamentalist parents who are quite happy to 'debate' with their children when they get other ideas - but they are very few. Religious fundamentalist parents are more likely to disown their children if their ideas get out of control.

As for being born agnostic, that is funny. To be agnostic, you first have to be able to question things. I'm pretty sure a baby's first questions are not about whether or not god exists.

I don't think humans are pre-programmed to believe in god. I think it's a combination of factors that together result in the propensity for humans to believe in a god.

We have the ability to question things; other animals don't. And so we are look for answers to the big questions - the meaning of life, what happens after death etc.

At a young age, we don't question our parents. We have evolved to accept whatever our parents teach us, just like how ducklings take lessons from mama duck. Ducklings who ignore mama, tend to have less babies when they grow up.

And these things our parents teach us are at an age when our brains are still developing, and so our parent's worldview becomes "hard wired" into our brain. I'll remind you of the Jesuit quote: "Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man."

And of course there's teamwork. Get the motivation right and men can move mountains. And what could be more motivating than serving a superbeing. An army that follows orders without question is a more effective fighting force than an army of conscripts continually doubting authority.

There are a host of other factors as well. Maybe you can name a few.

Original comment

I'm also sure there are religious fundamentalist parents who are quite happy to 'debate' with their children when they get other ideas - but they are very few. Religious fundamentalist parents are more likely to disown their children if their ideas get out of control.

As for being born agnostic, that is funny. To be agnostic, you first have to be able to question things. I'm pretty sure a baby's first questions are not about whether or not god exists.

I don't think humans are pre-programmed to believe in god. I think it's a combination of factors that together result in the propensity for humans to believe in a god.

We have the ability to question things; other animals don't. And so we are look for answers to the big questions - the meaning of life, what happens after death etc.

At a young age, we don't question our parents. We have evolved to accept whatever our parents teach us, just like how ducklings take lessons from mama duck. Ducklings who ignore mama, tend to have less babies when they grow up.

And these things our parents teach us are at an age when our brains are still developing, and so our parent's worldview becomes "hard wired" into our brain. I'll remind you of the Jesuit quote: "Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man."

And of course there's teamwork. Get the motivation right and men can move mountains. And what could be more motivating than serving a superbeing. An army that follows orders without question is a more effective fighting force than an army of conscripts continually doubting authority.

There are a host of other factors as well. Maybe you can name a few.

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Guest: P (133 days ago)

Actually, I think the parents willing to 'debate' with their children are far more numerous than those willing to disown them. Unfortunately, that's not much better, because as we're well aware sometimes 'debate' is simply a way of trying to shut down other people's opinions or beliefs by aggressively promoting a single worldview - particularly when the debate is between adult and child.

Being born agnostic isn't funny, but rather obvious... literally, a-gnosis; without knowing. It assumes not only that babies do not know about the existence of a deity (or much else), but don't expect to know either.

Interesting that you no longer feel humans are pre-programmed to believe in god. That flies in the face of the major research that you once cited, but fair enough. However, you're right about some of the other factors that make it more likely for people to fall into certain incorrigible belief-sets:

Yes, what we're taught from an early age (and observe) can become hard-wired. Of course, that is just as relevant to atheism as to any other religion (and indeed almost anything).

Yes, teamwork helps - 'Reason' rally, Sunday Assembly, National Secular Society, etc. etc; all about building a sense of community and fellowship among people who share the same worldview, and feeding them the information they require to maintain it. This 'need to belong' encourages people to remain invested in their belief-set, and reduces the risk of being confronted by alternative ideas.

And as for what could be more motivating than serving a superbeing, maybe you can tell me; perhaps the naive assumption that theirs is the only worldview supported by modern science (ignoring the huge numbers of pioneering scientists that disagree), or the vain belief that theirs is the only view supported by reason and rationality. Play to people's egos as well as their fears, and you're bound to succeed.

Original comment

Actually, I think the parents willing to 'debate' with their children are far more numerous than those willing to disown them. Unfortunately, that's not much better, because as we're well aware sometimes 'debate' is simply a way of trying to shut down other people's opinions or beliefs by aggressively promoting a single worldview - particularly when the debate is between adult and child.

Being born agnostic isn't funny, but rather obvious... literally, a-gnosis; without knowing. It assumes not only that babies do not know about the existence of a deity (or much else), but don't expect to know either.

Interesting that you no longer feel humans are pre-programmed to believe in god. That flies in the face of the major research that you once cited, but fair enough. However, you're right about some of the other factors that make it more likely for people to fall into certain incorrigible belief-sets:

Yes, what we're taught from an early age (and observe) can become hard-wired. Of course, that is just as relevant to atheism as to any other religion (and indeed almost anything).

Yes, teamwork helps - 'Reason' rally, Sunday Assembly, National Secular Society, etc. etc; all about building a sense of community and fellowship among people who share the same worldview, and feeding them the information they require to maintain it. This 'need to belong' encourages people to remain invested in their belief-set, and reduces the risk of being confronted by alternative ideas.

And as for what could be more motivating than serving a superbeing, maybe you can tell me; perhaps the naive assumption that theirs is the only worldview supported by modern science (ignoring the huge numbers of pioneering scientists that disagree), or the vain belief that theirs is the only view supported by reason and rationality. Play to people's egos as well as their fears, and you're bound to succeed.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (127 days ago)

Parents willing to debate with their children may be numerous, but we are talking about fundamentalist parents. Big difference.

About being born agnostic - of course babies don't know about the existence of a deity, that's because they are born atheist. Babies are born atheist because they have no thoughts about god, until mum tells them. Then they become religious, or agnostic, or whatever.

About whether humans are pre-programmed to believe in god - I don't remember specifically the research I once cited, but it wasn't about discovering a god gene, it was about different factors making it advantageous to believe in a higher being. I just don't remember which factors.

You said, "what we are taught early on can become hard-wired, but that applies to atheism as well". No. We are already hard-wired as atheist when we are born. Atheism isn't a belief, it's a position applied to the question of god - don't believe something exists when there is no proof. It's not much more than common sense. It's something we teach our kids in every other walk of life except religion.

"What could be more motivating than serving a superbeing?" How about NOT serving a superbeing?

Original comment

Parents willing to debate with their children may be numerous, but we are talking about fundamentalist parents. Big difference.

About being born agnostic - of course babies don't know about the existence of a deity, that's because they are born atheist. Babies are born atheist because they have no thoughts about god, until mum tells them. Then they become religious, or agnostic, or whatever.

About whether humans are pre-programmed to believe in god - I don't remember specifically the research I once cited, but it wasn't about discovering a god gene, it was about different factors making it advantageous to believe in a higher being. I just don't remember which factors.

You said, "what we are taught early on can become hard-wired, but that applies to atheism as well". No. We are already hard-wired as atheist when we are born. Atheism isn't a belief, it's a position applied to the question of god - don't believe something exists when there is no proof. It's not much more than common sense. It's something we teach our kids in every other walk of life except religion.

"What could be more motivating than serving a superbeing?" How about NOT serving a superbeing?

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Guest: P (127 days ago)

My point about parents is that people like you or Mormons may believe they are open, or may feel they are debating fairly, when in fact that they are naturally providing behaviour that their children will copy, and are also bound to try to steer them to the view they think is correct, whatever that is based on.

It seems absurd to argue that agnosticism isn't the natural state - it is literally "without knowledge", and what phrase better sums up infancy?

I'm trying not to tread over old ground, but I think we have to distinguish between soft and hard atheism. Soft atheism is simply having no belief in god, but equally having no belief in a god-less universe - a passive, nescient position that is more akin to agnosticism. This sort of atheism you could argue can be found in babies. Your type of hard atheism however, and the type favoured these days by the evangelical types, is very different and involves the active belief that the universe exists (and was created) without any form of deity anywhere within it. That is much more than a simple lack of belief - in fact, it is a whole web of beliefs that depend on assumptions. That sort of belief structure is usually only found in humans when parents, carers or peers have pressed it onto them at a susceptible time.

Correct, the research you mentioned wasn't about a god gene, but it was suggesting that humans are born predisposed to believe in god, and in fact "until mum tells them", children are more inclined to believe in god and mysterious forces than the opposite. You can claim it's based on the evolutuonary benefits of believing, but ultimately it shows that the default biological / evolutionary position is definitely not hard atheism, and possibly not even soft atheism.

Original comment

My point about parents is that people like you or Mormons may believe they are open, or may feel they are debating fairly, when in fact that they are naturally providing behaviour that their children will copy, and are also bound to try to steer them to the view they think is correct, whatever that is based on.

It seems absurd to argue that agnosticism isn't the natural state - it is literally "without knowledge", and what phrase better sums up infancy?

I'm trying not to tread over old ground, but I think we have to distinguish between soft and hard atheism. Soft atheism is simply having no belief in god, but equally having no belief in a god-less universe - a passive, nescient position that is more akin to agnosticism. This sort of atheism you could argue can be found in babies. Your type of hard atheism however, and the type favoured these days by the evangelical types, is very different and involves the active belief that the universe exists (and was created) without any form of deity anywhere within it. That is much more than a simple lack of belief - in fact, it is a whole web of beliefs that depend on assumptions. That sort of belief structure is usually only found in humans when parents, carers or peers have pressed it onto them at a susceptible time.

Correct, the research you mentioned wasn't about a god gene, but it was suggesting that humans are born predisposed to believe in god, and in fact "until mum tells them", children are more inclined to believe in god and mysterious forces than the opposite. You can claim it's based on the evolutuonary benefits of believing, but ultimately it shows that the default biological / evolutionary position is definitely not hard atheism, and possibly not even soft atheism.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (125 days ago)

I have never claimed to be more open than average. I am subject to the human condition as everyone else.

I think Godwin needs a sister law that says: when an internet conversation goes on for long enough, it ends up in etymology or semantics. Agnosticism does not mean "without knowledge". That's ignorance. I can guarantee that a child's first thoughts are not triggered by the need to question god's existence. More likely it's the need to eat or shit. Babies are born without knowledge, but with a predisposition to accept whatever mum and dad tell them. At the early stages, that's where the bulk of their knowledge comes from. That "predisposition to accept whatever mum and dad say" lays the foundation for faith - accepting whatever god tells you. When a child comes to realise that mum and dad are just humans like themselves, there's a natural home for the "predisposition to accept a higher authority" to continue - that is in a religion.

I don't see atheism the way you do. It's not about god, it's about empirical evidence. God certainly exists in some form. We talk and write books about god. We have personal experiences involving god. And throughout history people have acted under god's guidance. The question is: does god exist outside of our imagination? Generally speaking, an atheist would say: there is no empirical evidence, so no. The point is, the atheist's view is dictated by the empirical evidence. In stark contrast, faith does not require empirical evidence. The words in an ancient book are evidence enough. And when there's a clash, the words are either reinterpreted to fit the evidence (that's the moderate approach), or the empirical evidence is ignored and god works in mysterious ways too advanced for us to understand. And this we teach our children, that faith is something to be respected. It makes me vomit.

You would say that one man's evidence is another man's nonsense. I would disagree with that. Not all evidence is equal. The best method we have by far of getting to the "truth" is the scientific method, and that requires empirical evidence.

Without empirical evidence, we are imagining a god outside of our imagination. Interesting in philosophy class, but of little use in the real world.

The "hard" atheist who still believes there is no god when presented with indisputable empirical evidence, has flipped into religion because he is ignoring the evidence. Similarly in politics, sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the far right and the far left because their methods merge.

I don't think babies are born with a predisposition to believe in god, but a predisposition to accept instruction from a higher authority, just like ducks do. When combined with the human ability to ask questions, like "where did we come from" or "why did that volcano blow up and kill all my family?", then it starts to look like a predisposition to believe in god.

God is what we make up to satisfy our predisposition to obey a higher authority. If ducks could think, they would also have gods.

By the way, why did you remove the A? Are you not proud of it anymore?

Original comment

I have never claimed to be more open than average. I am subject to the human condition as everyone else.

I think Godwin needs a sister law that says: when an internet conversation goes on for long enough, it ends up in etymology or semantics. Agnosticism does not mean "without knowledge". That's ignorance. I can guarantee that a child's first thoughts are not triggered by the need to question god's existence. More likely it's the need to eat or shit. Babies are born without knowledge, but with a predisposition to accept whatever mum and dad tell them. At the early stages, that's where the bulk of their knowledge comes from. That "predisposition to accept whatever mum and dad say" lays the foundation for faith - accepting whatever god tells you. When a child comes to realise that mum and dad are just humans like themselves, there's a natural home for the "predisposition to accept a higher authority" to continue - that is in a religion.

I don't see atheism the way you do. It's not about god, it's about empirical evidence. God certainly exists in some form. We talk and write books about god. We have personal experiences involving god. And throughout history people have acted under god's guidance. The question is: does god exist outside of our imagination? Generally speaking, an atheist would say: there is no empirical evidence, so no. The point is, the atheist's view is dictated by the empirical evidence. In stark contrast, faith does not require empirical evidence. The words in an ancient book are evidence enough. And when there's a clash, the words are either reinterpreted to fit the evidence (that's the moderate approach), or the empirical evidence is ignored and god works in mysterious ways too advanced for us to understand. And this we teach our children, that faith is something to be respected. It makes me vomit.

You would say that one man's evidence is another man's nonsense. I would disagree with that. Not all evidence is equal. The best method we have by far of getting to the "truth" is the scientific method, and that requires empirical evidence.

Without empirical evidence, we are imagining a god outside of our imagination. Interesting in philosophy class, but of little use in the real world.

The "hard" atheist who still believes there is no god when presented with indisputable empirical evidence, has flipped into religion because he is ignoring the evidence. Similarly in politics, sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the far right and the far left because their methods merge.

I don't think babies are born with a predisposition to believe in god, but a predisposition to accept instruction from a higher authority, just like ducks do. When combined with the human ability to ask questions, like "where did we come from" or "why did that volcano blow up and kill all my family?", then it starts to look like a predisposition to believe in god.

God is what we make up to satisfy our predisposition to obey a higher authority. If ducks could think, they would also have gods.

By the way, why did you remove the A? Are you not proud of it anymore?

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Guest: P (124 days ago)

We're definitely retreading old ground now, and most of this we've gone deeper into on other threads.

I agree, we are all subject to the human condition, which means you are just as likely to impart your belief set onto the next generation as a theist. Your issue is, like fervent theists, you're convinced that your belief set is worth imparting and promoting, and their's isn't. All we can reasonably expect, is that each of us brings up the next generation in whatever we think is the correct way.

As regards etymology, when labelling people and types of belief, it's important to know what the terms really mean. Agnosticism does literally mean a'gnosis - without knowledge - and, as I said, reflects that infants not only do not know about the existence of a deity but don't expect to know either. To an infant, theological truth is most certainly unknowable. I can also return your guarantee and say that no baby's first thoughts are of a godless universe either, so hard atheism can't be the default position. Maybe infants lack a belief in god, and also lack a belief in no-god - however, they certainly don't actively believe there's no god anywhere in the universe. Without any beliefs, it is down to instinct, and the research suggests the instinct is there to believe.

And as regards that research, I think you're misinterpreting it. It isn't about simply accepting authority; it is saying that humans "are predisposed to believe in gods and an afterlife". Simple obedience is something very different, and as we all know takes training. It even suggested (vomit alert), this theistic predisposition might have been passed on due to its benevolent effects on human society - so to that extent, on a social and evolutionary level, religious faith actually is a virtue. Go figure.

Yes, I know you think atheism is about empirical evidence. It isn't really. Neither is it about the scientific method - another flattering platitude atheists tell each other. The mere assumption we know exactly what form of empirical god-evidence we are looking for is over-confident and irrational enough, but it is overtly absurd and unscientific (in our era of pioneering theoretical physics) to use an apparent lack of such local temporal empirical evidence to infer that therefore nothing that we might call a deity has ever existed in any form in any part of the universe. Presumptious conjecture, and most definitely not based on empirical evidence or the scientific method.

For me, atheism flips into religion the moment it boils over from soft to hard which seems to be far too often these days. Unscientific (and unknowable) speculations about the universe, unquestioned mantras, divisive and condemnatory politics, evangelism, idolatry, and the rest. Whatever floats your boat, but it isn't for me.

Original comment

We're definitely retreading old ground now, and most of this we've gone deeper into on other threads.

I agree, we are all subject to the human condition, which means you are just as likely to impart your belief set onto the next generation as a theist. Your issue is, like fervent theists, you're convinced that your belief set is worth imparting and promoting, and their's isn't. All we can reasonably expect, is that each of us brings up the next generation in whatever we think is the correct way.

As regards etymology, when labelling people and types of belief, it's important to know what the terms really mean. Agnosticism does literally mean a'gnosis - without knowledge - and, as I said, reflects that infants not only do not know about the existence of a deity but don't expect to know either. To an infant, theological truth is most certainly unknowable. I can also return your guarantee and say that no baby's first thoughts are of a godless universe either, so hard atheism can't be the default position. Maybe infants lack a belief in god, and also lack a belief in no-god - however, they certainly don't actively believe there's no god anywhere in the universe. Without any beliefs, it is down to instinct, and the research suggests the instinct is there to believe.

And as regards that research, I think you're misinterpreting it. It isn't about simply accepting authority; it is saying that humans "are predisposed to believe in gods and an afterlife". Simple obedience is something very different, and as we all know takes training. It even suggested (vomit alert), this theistic predisposition might have been passed on due to its benevolent effects on human society - so to that extent, on a social and evolutionary level, religious faith actually is a virtue. Go figure.

Yes, I know you think atheism is about empirical evidence. It isn't really. Neither is it about the scientific method - another flattering platitude atheists tell each other. The mere assumption we know exactly what form of empirical god-evidence we are looking for is over-confident and irrational enough, but it is overtly absurd and unscientific (in our era of pioneering theoretical physics) to use an apparent lack of such local temporal empirical evidence to infer that therefore nothing that we might call a deity has ever existed in any form in any part of the universe. Presumptious conjecture, and most definitely not based on empirical evidence or the scientific method.

For me, atheism flips into religion the moment it boils over from soft to hard which seems to be far too often these days. Unscientific (and unknowable) speculations about the universe, unquestioned mantras, divisive and condemnatory politics, evangelism, idolatry, and the rest. Whatever floats your boat, but it isn't for me.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (121 days ago)

Of course I'm as likely to pass my own beliefs on to the next generation as any person of faith. The difference is that my aim is to pass on "the how of creating a belief set" rather than any specific belief set. So if I disagree with the direction my child is taking, I'd want to debate more how they arrived at their belief, rather than the belief itself. It's a bit like showing starving people how to fish, rather than just giving them fish.

About being born agnostic - here's a dictionary definition of agnostic: "a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God". Clearly that is not in the mind of a newborn. From the same dictionary, atheist is: "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods". Clearly a newborn lacks a belief in the existence of God or gods.

You say a baby's first thoughts are not of a godless universe. An atheist doesn't think about a godless universe either. He thinks about the universe, and as he learns more, so his picture of the universe develops - just like in a baby.

Anyway, it's not really important whether babies are born atheist or agnostic, what's important is to realise that they are not born pre-installed with any particular god. Which religion gets installed depends on which family they are born into. Islam is the fastest growing religion, not because it has the most compelling arguments, but because Muslim families have the highest birth rate.

You say research shows that humans are predisposed to believe in gods and an afterlife rather than simply accepting authority. I buy that. This is how I see it. A baby's mind starts off blank, so it accepts everything it learns as truth because there's nothing to compare with. That's what I mean by "accepting authority without question". It's not about obedience. Babies learn most from their parents (authority) and they believe every word because their minds are empty and itching to be filled (accepting) - whatever their parents say however ridiculous (without question). Consider how silly the Father Christmas story is, yet children will believe it is true until the age of 7.

Because humans can think, and that death is feared, then it's follows that we would wish for an afterlife. And because we can think, it also follows that we'd be curious about where we came from and what our purpose is. Like I said before, if ducks could think, they would also have gods because they would also want to know where they came from and what happens after they die. To me, that's a predisposition to believe in god or an afterlife Otherwise we're back to Godwin's sister law.

About going over old ground - this is the point we reach where you pull out your equivalent to "god's mysterious ways". Unknown unknowns are all very interesting but not meaningful outside of philosophy class. I keep saying this but it doesn't seem to compute. It's like when Elon Musk talks about living in a simulation - it's all very interesting and definitely a possibility that shouldn't be discounted, but not meaningful in any real way. When I talk about religion or god, I'm referring to the ones we know of. Particularly the Abrahamic one because that god is the most problematic today. For whatever reason, you are too PC to criticise our known gods, so you introduce unknown gods to muddy the waters. Forget about the unknown ones, you can consider them when they make themselves known. In the meantime, evaluate the known ones, and if you don't come to the conclusion that they are all nonsense, then get off the fence and pick one. Or you could get creative and invent your own.

Original comment

Of course I'm as likely to pass my own beliefs on to the next generation as any person of faith. The difference is that my aim is to pass on "the how of creating a belief set" rather than any specific belief set. So if I disagree with the direction my child is taking, I'd want to debate more how they arrived at their belief, rather than the belief itself. It's a bit like showing starving people how to fish, rather than just giving them fish.

About being born agnostic - here's a dictionary definition of agnostic: "a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God". Clearly that is not in the mind of a newborn. From the same dictionary, atheist is: "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods". Clearly a newborn lacks a belief in the existence of God or gods.

You say a baby's first thoughts are not of a godless universe. An atheist doesn't think about a godless universe either. He thinks about the universe, and as he learns more, so his picture of the universe develops - just like in a baby.

Anyway, it's not really important whether babies are born atheist or agnostic, what's important is to realise that they are not born pre-installed with any particular god. Which religion gets installed depends on which family they are born into. Islam is the fastest growing religion, not because it has the most compelling arguments, but because Muslim families have the highest birth rate.

You say research shows that humans are predisposed to believe in gods and an afterlife rather than simply accepting authority. I buy that. This is how I see it. A baby's mind starts off blank, so it accepts everything it learns as truth because there's nothing to compare with. That's what I mean by "accepting authority without question". It's not about obedience. Babies learn most from their parents (authority) and they believe every word because their minds are empty and itching to be filled (accepting) - whatever their parents say however ridiculous (without question). Consider how silly the Father Christmas story is, yet children will believe it is true until the age of 7.

Because humans can think, and that death is feared, then it's follows that we would wish for an afterlife. And because we can think, it also follows that we'd be curious about where we came from and what our purpose is. Like I said before, if ducks could think, they would also have gods because they would also want to know where they came from and what happens after they die. To me, that's a predisposition to believe in god or an afterlife Otherwise we're back to Godwin's sister law.

About going over old ground - this is the point we reach where you pull out your equivalent to "god's mysterious ways". Unknown unknowns are all very interesting but not meaningful outside of philosophy class. I keep saying this but it doesn't seem to compute. It's like when Elon Musk talks about living in a simulation - it's all very interesting and definitely a possibility that shouldn't be discounted, but not meaningful in any real way. When I talk about religion or god, I'm referring to the ones we know of. Particularly the Abrahamic one because that god is the most problematic today. For whatever reason, you are too PC to criticise our known gods, so you introduce unknown gods to muddy the waters. Forget about the unknown ones, you can consider them when they make themselves known. In the meantime, evaluate the known ones, and if you don't come to the conclusion that they are all nonsense, then get off the fence and pick one. Or you could get creative and invent your own.

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Guest: P (120 days ago)

I'm not convinced by what you say about passing on your belief set. To extend your fishing metaphor, I suspect at best we teach the next generation the way of catching the particular type of fish we like, instead of just giving them a fish. After-all, militant religious followers could also happily proclaim that they teach "the how of creating a belief set", and their method happens to be scripture.

Urgh. My involvement here started when you said "the thing is, everyone is born an atheist." Now you say "it's not really important whether babies are born atheist or agnostic" . Great. Back to tweaking and shifting, I see.

Now who is quoting me dictionary definitions? Yet you mysteriously seem to have missed out the second part of the agnostic definition on that same page: 'a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God', whereas your atheism definition primarily includes 'a person who disbelieves'. So, would you say infants neither believe nor disbelieve, or just disbelieve? And if you're right in your amusing implication that atheism requires only for you to analyse and refute the specific gods described in modern religion, then infants are certainly not atheists.

Once again, you're conflating belief in god with religion. No one said infants are born "pre-installed with any particular god" ('sloppy reading'?). Yes, religion (and anti-religion) is definitely taught, according to which family you're brought up in; however, there is nothing in the original research to suggest the predisposition to believe is about accepting authority - that would be simpler and less interesting (a predisposition to believe in 'whatever they are told' - that you shouldn't lie, or that steaming water is hot). But those aren't the findings, this isn't 'whatever', this is specifically a very distinctive sort of belief. I was as surprised as you, but I'm open enough to accept the fundamental explicit conclusion: that core religious concepts such as a superpower or the after-life are a default part of human nature, rather than the result of 'brainwashing' or conditioning, and that therefore atheism is far from the default position. Simple as that.

Back to throwing around 'PC' - disappointing. I don't know why people on this site can't discuss like adults, without the labels and jibes. Judge less, understand more, remember? There's nothing 'PC' about not criticising interpretations of god found in mass religion, when we're actually trying to have a much bigger conversation about whether any form of deity exists, or whether atheism is the default human position. Again, I wish you were able to make that simple distinction. I know theists who hate religion, and atheists who think its a positive force.

Your actual impulsive position seems to be hard atheism, but when pressed and asked to question it, you reduce it to tepid anti-religion (even weaker, anti-Abrahamic religion), probably because it's a lot easier to argue. But try being honest with yourself: Do you believe this is a godless universe? Do you believe that nothing we would call a god had a part to play in the origins of the universe? Calling yourself an atheist because you don't believe in the god featured in 3 current religions, is like calling yourself a vegetarian because you don't like the taste of steak.

I've explained before (maybe it 'didn't compute'?) that by your logic, hard atheism doesn't belong anywhere outside a philosophy class either. To a pragmatist, it makes no difference to our daily lives if there really is a god in everything, or if there's no god anywhere in the universe - both are unprovable speculations - so we can ignore the issue. It's certainly not pragmatic to guess about unfathomable reaches of the multiverse when deciding there are no gods in existence.and decide there are no deities anywhere. It is far more pragmatic to say we just don't know, can't know, so get on with your life. Agnosticism 101. To me, all gods are unknowable. And honestly, asking a staunch agnostic to "evaluate the known ones" shows how little you grasp the subject. A god that is described in a major religion is no more knowable to an agnostic than an infinite number of other gods that you have never thought of.

Original comment

I'm not convinced by what you say about passing on your belief set. To extend your fishing metaphor, I suspect at best we teach the next generation the way of catching the particular type of fish we like, instead of just giving them a fish. After-all, militant religious followers could also happily proclaim that they teach "the how of creating a belief set", and their method happens to be scripture.

Urgh. My involvement here started when you said "the thing is, everyone is born an atheist." Now you say "it's not really important whether babies are born atheist or agnostic" . Great. Back to tweaking and shifting, I see.

Now who is quoting me dictionary definitions? Yet you mysteriously seem to have missed out the second part of the agnostic definition on that same page: 'a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God', whereas your atheism definition primarily includes 'a person who disbelieves'. So, would you say infants neither believe nor disbelieve, or just disbelieve? And if you're right in your amusing implication that atheism requires only for you to analyse and refute the specific gods described in modern religion, then infants are certainly not atheists.

Once again, you're conflating belief in god with religion. No one said infants are born "pre-installed with any particular god" ('sloppy reading'?). Yes, religion (and anti-religion) is definitely taught, according to which family you're brought up in; however, there is nothing in the original research to suggest the predisposition to believe is about accepting authority - that would be simpler and less interesting (a predisposition to believe in 'whatever they are told' - that you shouldn't lie, or that steaming water is hot). But those aren't the findings, this isn't 'whatever', this is specifically a very distinctive sort of belief. I was as surprised as you, but I'm open enough to accept the fundamental explicit conclusion: that core religious concepts such as a superpower or the after-life are a default part of human nature, rather than the result of 'brainwashing' or conditioning, and that therefore atheism is far from the default position. Simple as that.

Back to throwing around 'PC' - disappointing. I don't know why people on this site can't discuss like adults, without the labels and jibes. Judge less, understand more, remember? There's nothing 'PC' about not criticising interpretations of god found in mass religion, when we're actually trying to have a much bigger conversation about whether any form of deity exists, or whether atheism is the default human position. Again, I wish you were able to make that simple distinction. I know theists who hate religion, and atheists who think its a positive force.

Your actual impulsive position seems to be hard atheism, but when pressed and asked to question it, you reduce it to tepid anti-religion (even weaker, anti-Abrahamic religion), probably because it's a lot easier to argue. But try being honest with yourself: Do you believe this is a godless universe? Do you believe that nothing we would call a god had a part to play in the origins of the universe? Calling yourself an atheist because you don't believe in the god featured in 3 current religions, is like calling yourself a vegetarian because you don't like the taste of steak.

I've explained before (maybe it 'didn't compute'?) that by your logic, hard atheism doesn't belong anywhere outside a philosophy class either. To a pragmatist, it makes no difference to our daily lives if there really is a god in everything, or if there's no god anywhere in the universe - both are unprovable speculations - so we can ignore the issue. It's certainly not pragmatic to guess about unfathomable reaches of the multiverse when deciding there are no gods in existence.and decide there are no deities anywhere. It is far more pragmatic to say we just don't know, can't know, so get on with your life. Agnosticism 101. To me, all gods are unknowable. And honestly, asking a staunch agnostic to "evaluate the known ones" shows how little you grasp the subject. A god that is described in a major religion is no more knowable to an agnostic than an infinite number of other gods that you have never thought of.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (119 days ago)

You are not convinced by what I say about passing on my belief set, but you know very little about me. You are jumping to conclusions based on insufficient evidence, just like what religious people do.

And it's not about teaching the next generation to catch a particular type of fish, but to catch fish rather than crabs. One is nutritious, the other is a disease.

For somebody who analyses text for a living, I give you a D-, and that's being generous. The 2nd part of the definition for "agnostic" (btw I did not miss it out, it's not in my Mac OS dictionary - that's another conclusion you came to with insufficient evidence) actually reenforces my point: "a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God". Babies don't claim anything, they only accept. They don't question so they can't be agnostic.

You asked: "would you say infants neither believe nor disbelieve, or just disbelieve?" Let me frame my answer in a way that even an infant can understand. Is a duck born Christian? No. Is a duck born Muslim? No. Is a duck born agnostic? No. How could it be, it doesn't even understand the question. Is a duck born atheist? Well, kinda. My dictionary says an atheist is "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods", and ducks certainly lack a belief in god. Mentally, a human baby on the cusp of self-awareness is not much different from a duck.

When I said "the thing is, everyone is born an atheist" the point I was making was that a baby is not born with any particular religion pre-installed. So whether a baby is born atheist or agnostic, doesn't change that fact. I know it's obvious, but easy for religious people to forget. There's no such thing as Muslim children, only children indoctrinated with Muslim ideology.

As I said, I don't remember the research I cited, so I can't comment on the findings. Give me a link. But from what you write, it sounds like I'm coming in at an earlier stage in the evolution of humans. I suggest that any species with the ability to ask questions will create religion. If we are driven by a survival instinct, and we can ask questions, then surely questions at the top of the list are: what happens after we die, how did we get here, and why are we here at all. That would form the foundations for a predisposition to believe in god and an afterlife.

A baby will also accept whatever as true because it has no reason to reject it, because it can't even reason. That is just the consequence of receiving information before the brain has the ability to evalute that information. That allows religion to propagate even if it makes no sense.

I am not conflating belief in god with religion. When I talk about god, I'm talking about the known ones, the ones that already exist. I've made this point many times before but it's still not computing. Did you miss the class on context? If you want to talk about unknown and unknowable ones, that's cool, just let me roll a couple of spliffs first and then we can get started.

"But try being honest with yourself: Do you believe this is a godless universe?" No. I believe the known gods are confined to this tiny spot in the universe that we call Earth. I don't know about unknown gods, maybe that's because they are unknown. As for unknowable gods, I'll ask a cat what it thinks of the stockmarket.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. All atheists are agnostic. It's just a matter of degree. Atheists who do not change their mind in the face of indisputable empirical evidence either don't exist or are very few. Agnostics are atheists who sit on the fence. Agnostics are not people of faith who sit on the fence, because faith doesn't allow you to sit on the fence. That's the point of faith, no fences, just big opaque walls. And within those walls, all your deep questions are answered. I'd better stop, I can feel the vomit coming up.

"To a pragmatist, it makes no difference to our daily lives if there really is a god in everything, or if there's no god anywhere in the universe". True, but not quite. To a pragmatist, going to church every Sunday is a chore if god doesn't actually exist. No one should care what other people believe, as long as their beliefs don't negatively affect the lives of others. The problem with faiths is that they are also designed to spread.

"A god that is described in a major religion is no more knowable to an agnostic than an infinite number of other gods that you have never thought of." Really? I don't compute. The gods of major religions are well described. What else do you want to know about them?

Original comment

You are not convinced by what I say about passing on my belief set, but you know very little about me. You are jumping to conclusions based on insufficient evidence, just like what religious people do.

And it's not about teaching the next generation to catch a particular type of fish, but to catch fish rather than crabs. One is nutritious, the other is a disease.

For somebody who analyses text for a living, I give you a D-, and that's being generous. The 2nd part of the definition for "agnostic" (btw I did not miss it out, it's not in my Mac OS dictionary - that's another conclusion you came to with insufficient evidence) actually reenforces my point: "a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God". Babies don't claim anything, they only accept. They don't question so they can't be agnostic.

You asked: "would you say infants neither believe nor disbelieve, or just disbelieve?" Let me frame my answer in a way that even an infant can understand. Is a duck born Christian? No. Is a duck born Muslim? No. Is a duck born agnostic? No. How could it be, it doesn't even understand the question. Is a duck born atheist? Well, kinda. My dictionary says an atheist is "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods", and ducks certainly lack a belief in god. Mentally, a human baby on the cusp of self-awareness is not much different from a duck.

When I said "the thing is, everyone is born an atheist" the point I was making was that a baby is not born with any particular religion pre-installed. So whether a baby is born atheist or agnostic, doesn't change that fact. I know it's obvious, but easy for religious people to forget. There's no such thing as Muslim children, only children indoctrinated with Muslim ideology.

As I said, I don't remember the research I cited, so I can't comment on the findings. Give me a link. But from what you write, it sounds like I'm coming in at an earlier stage in the evolution of humans. I suggest that any species with the ability to ask questions will create religion. If we are driven by a survival instinct, and we can ask questions, then surely questions at the top of the list are: what happens after we die, how did we get here, and why are we here at all. That would form the foundations for a predisposition to believe in god and an afterlife.

A baby will also accept whatever as true because it has no reason to reject it, because it can't even reason. That is just the consequence of receiving information before the brain has the ability to evalute that information. That allows religion to propagate even if it makes no sense.

I am not conflating belief in god with religion. When I talk about god, I'm talking about the known ones, the ones that already exist. I've made this point many times before but it's still not computing. Did you miss the class on context? If you want to talk about unknown and unknowable ones, that's cool, just let me roll a couple of spliffs first and then we can get started.

"But try being honest with yourself: Do you believe this is a godless universe?" No. I believe the known gods are confined to this tiny spot in the universe that we call Earth. I don't know about unknown gods, maybe that's because they are unknown. As for unknowable gods, I'll ask a cat what it thinks of the stockmarket.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. All atheists are agnostic. It's just a matter of degree. Atheists who do not change their mind in the face of indisputable empirical evidence either don't exist or are very few. Agnostics are atheists who sit on the fence. Agnostics are not people of faith who sit on the fence, because faith doesn't allow you to sit on the fence. That's the point of faith, no fences, just big opaque walls. And within those walls, all your deep questions are answered. I'd better stop, I can feel the vomit coming up.

"To a pragmatist, it makes no difference to our daily lives if there really is a god in everything, or if there's no god anywhere in the universe". True, but not quite. To a pragmatist, going to church every Sunday is a chore if god doesn't actually exist. No one should care what other people believe, as long as their beliefs don't negatively affect the lives of others. The problem with faiths is that they are also designed to spread.

"A god that is described in a major religion is no more knowable to an agnostic than an infinite number of other gods that you have never thought of." Really? I don't compute. The gods of major religions are well described. What else do you want to know about them?

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Guest: PA (117 days ago)

I didn't post my reply before the 500 character limit and ban on copy-pasting kicked in, so in short..

You've redefined pragmatism, suggesting there are no pragmatic reasons to attend church for a non-believer. Blinkered.

You've redefined agnosticism saying all atheists are agnostic, while talking about gods you know and those you don't. Confused.

You've confused theism and religion again. Typical.

Original comment

I didn't post my reply before the 500 character limit and ban on copy-pasting kicked in, so in short..

You've redefined pragmatism, suggesting there are no pragmatic reasons to attend church for a non-believer. Blinkered.

You've redefined agnosticism saying all atheists are agnostic, while talking about gods you know and those you don't. Confused.

You've confused theism and religion again. Typical.

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Guest: PA (117 days ago)

Anyway, I can't explain any of these points (or the others I'd wish to make) so this is all a little redundant. I think you'll find your new diet of registered users a little more comfy.

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Anyway, I can't explain any of these points (or the others I'd wish to make) so this is all a little redundant. I think you'll find your new diet of registered users a little more comfy.

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Guest: PA (117 days ago)
Latest comment:

It's been (mostly) interesting talking to you. I hope one day you'll understand why I see your type of atheism as being too religious and speculative to me, and why realistically you can't call yourself an agnostic.

Craters on moons, cats and the stockmarket.

Good luck, Walt.

Original comment
Latest comment:

It's been (mostly) interesting talking to you. I hope one day you'll understand why I see your type of atheism as being too religious and speculative to me, and why realistically you can't call yourself an agnostic.

Craters on moons, cats and the stockmarket.

Good luck, Walt.

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Guest: Guesting (125 days ago)

Well, in my reading, you are more open than the average.

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Well, in my reading, you are more open than the average.

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Guest: Guesting (125 days ago)

I believe the evidence is pretty strong for there being an evolutionary advantage of a group mainatining a religious belief. If not, religion would probably not have prevailed as it has over the many years of evolution.

Even at the individual level we have evidence for religion being advantagous, that is, most individuals with a religioius affiliation have better mental health than those without (I'm writing a paper on that these days). But that is no argument of religious beliefs being true.

Original comment

I believe the evidence is pretty strong for there being an evolutionary advantage of a group mainatining a religious belief. If not, religion would probably not have prevailed as it has over the many years of evolution.

Even at the individual level we have evidence for religion being advantagous, that is, most individuals with a religioius affiliation have better mental health than those without (I'm writing a paper on that these days). But that is no argument of religious beliefs being true.

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (139 days ago)

I disagree that everyone is born an atheist. Go back as far as you can in history and every single civilization believed in a god.

Egyptians had Isis, Osiris, Ptah, Hathor, Atum, Set, Nephthys, and Horus.

India and China had Brahma.

The Mayans had over 250 different gods.

Original comment

I disagree that everyone is born an atheist. Go back as far as you can in history and every single civilization believed in a god.

Egyptians had Isis, Osiris, Ptah, Hathor, Atum, Set, Nephthys, and Horus.

India and China had Brahma.

The Mayans had over 250 different gods.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (139 days ago)

No one is born believing in a god. That, they learn.

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No one is born believing in a god. That, they learn.

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Guest: (122 days ago)

A common atheistic myth, and yet research shows that humans instinctively are more inclined to believe than not.

Religion exploits the natural inclination to believe.

Atheism deliberately and forcefully opposes it.

It doesn't make it correct, but without a doubt the default human position is to believe in a higher power, and therefore it takes some brainwashing to overcome that.

Original comment

A common atheistic myth, and yet research shows that humans instinctively are more inclined to believe than not.

Religion exploits the natural inclination to believe.

Atheism deliberately and forcefully opposes it.

It doesn't make it correct, but without a doubt the default human position is to believe in a higher power, and therefore it takes some brainwashing to overcome that.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (121 days ago)

I agree that religion exploits the natural inclination to believe. In fact, that's very well put. Thanks. A natural inclination to believe is not the same as being born with god preinstalled.

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I agree that religion exploits the natural inclination to believe. In fact, that's very well put. Thanks. A natural inclination to believe is not the same as being born with god preinstalled.

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Guest: Lemonjack (139 days ago)

The need to believe is hotwired into humans. Atheists just transfer their quota of belief onto another recipient.

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The need to believe is hotwired into humans. Atheists just transfer their quota of belief onto another recipient.

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (139 days ago)

When God made the heavens and the earth, he made it with age. For example, when Adam was created, he was already an adult, not an infant. The trees were fully grown too.

He doesn't hide himself but he does want you to have faith in his existence. He reveals himself to those that believe. You cannot see him face to face but it's in the evidence that's all around you that shows his existence.

Original comment

When God made the heavens and the earth, he made it with age. For example, when Adam was created, he was already an adult, not an infant. The trees were fully grown too.

He doesn't hide himself but he does want you to have faith in his existence. He reveals himself to those that believe. You cannot see him face to face but it's in the evidence that's all around you that shows his existence.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (139 days ago)

How do you know God didn't make the heavens and the earth with age 5 minutes ago?

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How do you know God didn't make the heavens and the earth with age 5 minutes ago?

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ReligiousNut ReligiousNut (139 days ago)

Good question and you can ask yourself a similar question. How do you know if you're living in a matrix?

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Good question and you can ask yourself a similar question. How do you know if you're living in a matrix?

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (139 days ago)

You didn't answer my question - how do you know God didn't make the heavens and the earth with age 5 minutes ago?

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You didn't answer my question - how do you know God didn't make the heavens and the earth with age 5 minutes ago?

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Tsuki Tsuki (139 days ago)

Maybe you can help. Something's been bothering me for at least 6 minutes. Why did God make humans so stupid? I've seen humans stand in front of a shelf with 47 cans of Sheba, ponder for a moment, and then take 2. Sometimes 3. Then they come back a few days later and do the same thing all over again. How stupid is that!!

Original comment

Maybe you can help. Something's been bothering me for at least 6 minutes. Why did God make humans so stupid? I've seen humans stand in front of a shelf with 47 cans of Sheba, ponder for a moment, and then take 2. Sometimes 3. Then they come back a few days later and do the same thing all over again. How stupid is that!!

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Guest: Madkowski (139 days ago)

Walterego loves his straw man arguments, even when he supposed to be someone else.

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Walterego loves his straw man arguments, even when he supposed to be someone else.

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