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Old 12-14-2006, 08:43 PM   #41
Anthony
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I honestly couldn't care for believing in any religion. To me its a time wasting preoccupation which in my mind would make life less enjoyable and by far less interesting.

To me, religion is wishful thinking for people who aren't truly satisfied with life and hope for something better. Not good. Every single minute of my life has been good no matter how miserable/depressed/angry I've been in the past. Why? Because I'm alive and I can think. I'm not treating my life as some path to good or evil. Its both, all the time, and its good. I wouldn't like it any other way.

Going to a catholic school my entire life I can honestly say I would not at any point want to be a part of christianity, and I'm not going to say that I know every teaching of every other religion but I know that the general idea is the same, and I don't care for it. I see no benefit.

Arguments, comments, concerns, etc accepted.


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Old 12-14-2006, 09:42 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
Numbers are a human invention, the universe doesn't give a damn how we measure it or its contents - humans caused two plus two to equal four and pi to equal ~3.14.
You know, Jmac most mathematicians, I bet
believe the mathematics we discover here is the same everywhere else in our universe, at lease.
The same mathematics for every civilization in our universe.
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:22 AM   #43
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As Richard Dawkins said, it's better to see this world as something to be enjoyed, rather than as something to be endured before eternal bliss.

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Old 12-15-2006, 01:51 AM   #44
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FWIW, I don't consider life something to be endured; I think it's fascinating. Besides, I need to play videogames and I doubt they will be available in anyone's version of the afterlife.


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Old 12-15-2006, 03:07 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Personally I don't think "jokes" or other innocuous mentions about bombs or hijackings should be illegal anywhere. I don't think jokes will ever cause panic anywhere, so they're never an abuse of free speech. I DO think that someone who tries to stir up a panic on a plane by actually CLAIMING that there are bombs or hijackers on a plane should be charged with something, because trying to cause a physically dangerous situation or actively, directly inciting people to commit violence IS the ONLY abuse of free speech.
That is why there are rules on freedom of speech, why there are limits on the right to bear arms. Should it extend to something like Atheists shouldn't try and destroy the hopes those who practice religion have? To answer that question think whether or not you want religious people bashing at your door because of your views, saying that you'll burn in hell for attacking, upsetting and tormenting religious people because of their belief. Do you want that? Can you wear that? If not then the answer of whether or not attacking others because they follow religion should be clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
But as regards the free speech of atheists... Atheists have the absolute inviolable moral right to puncture any illogical delusion that they come across, no matter who the religious person might be, or what erroneous beliefs they hold.
Without having any respect to their right to follow religion, even if it's not your belief or something you disagree with? Okay, if someone went after you because they felt your views are illogical would you say it's their inviolable moral right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
"Some others"? What others? The people I've seen holding a double standard on this matter are uniformly religious. I've never seen an atheist try to restrict the free speech of religious people. I HAVE seen religious people try to restrict the free speech of atheists.
Some Atheists believe they are a law onto themselves, they can do it but others can't, there may be examples even here on this forum but I really cannot be bothered to look even in some bid to muddy their name. The Muslim religion demands that people in their countries assimilate into their culture: women have to wear the full abayas, they cannot go anywhere unescorted, they cannot drive or ride in the front seat, ect, yet Muslims in other countries demand they act in accordance with their homeland rather than the culture of the country they are in. However in this case I'm speaking generally, religion is not the issue here but how some people regardless of religious, racial, sexual, whatever excuse you want to come up with, think they can act any way they like and no one else can.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:13 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
But as regards the free speech of atheists... Atheists have the absolute inviolable moral right to puncture any illogical delusion that they come across, no matter who the religious person might be, or what erroneous beliefs they hold.

"Some others"? What others? The people I've seen holding a double standard on this matter are uniformly religious. I've never seen an atheist try to restrict the free speech of religious people. I HAVE seen religious people try to restrict the free speech of atheists.
Your wording shows that you have as little respect for religious beliefs as some of the religious do for atheism. Those you might consider "religious zealots" have the same moral right and duty to "educate" atheists as atheists do to "puncture delusions".

Some atheists do try to restrict the rights of religion. Both sides need to step back, and offer a little understanding of the other.

a final note: we aren't Vulcans - Logic aint everything.


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Old 12-15-2006, 03:29 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Why is mathematics and logic true? What caused 2+2=4? What caused pi to be 3.141596... ? Are these nonsensical questions? Are they nonsensical because we can't step outside our own logical/mathematical set of rules to answer them?
What caused God to be there? Why is he a single deity? Or are there more? Is he alife?

Quote:
Another question for atheists: Do you dismiss then all accounts of near-death experiences, ghosts, possessions, electronic voice phenomena, auras, ESP, and, I guess, The Force? (last one was a joke ) I mean, you almost have to dismiss them outright, don't you?
What does this have to do with the possible existence of a god? I could have like a ton of explanation why ghosts exist without that there must be a god. If would be a god, then he surely has better things to do than creating auras. Do non-atheists dismiss possible rational explanations for those "phenomenas"?


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Old 12-15-2006, 04:05 AM   #48
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Sigh, I was hoping for something a little more positive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiderAL
(with some snippage) Now, the terms of that question imply several things. First, they imply that the (religious) questioner formulates his or her beliefs based on whether they "like" those beliefs, or because those beliefs are "more attractive" to them. Their beliefs are not based on logic or evidence, in other words, but on the arbitrary emotional gratification that those beliefs provide.

Therefore there is also an inherent implication that the concept of "right" or "truth" is taking a serious back-seat in the mind of the religious person.

Secondly, they imply that the questioner has not taken the usual statements of atheists on board at all.

In my opinion, this limiting factor has already been described in this very post, namely that religious people believe what is palatable for them to believe, that which bolsters their self-image, gives them a sense of superiority over the rest of humanity, and a sense of belonging to an elite group. Whatever is emotionally/psychopathologically attractive to a religious person, they will believe. And in general terms, this mindset is unlikely to be limited to purely theological areas of thought.

This chain of reasoning would suggest that being religious is to be self-serving in an extremely obstinate way. It also explains why religious people will NOT see reason in the matter: Their level of self-investment in their delusion is simply too great to allow them to stray from the path.
That's quite a lot of assumptions for something I never intended in the least. You've taken a series of questions, made assumptions about them that are incorrect, and proceeded to make some unpleasant comments based on those erroneous assumptions. I never implied anything remotely related to what you are commenting on here. Next time, please consider confirming my intent before you make assumptions like that.

All I wanted to do was ask for people's personal experiences with atheism. My goal was not to attack atheism or defend theism. I just wanted to know how people individually resolve some of the difficulties inherent in atheism and how they've come to embrace this worldview so that I might have a better perspective and understanding of those views on an individual basis. I have some lovely, dear friends who happen to embrace atheism/agnosticism, but when we get together we catch up on each others' lives and are busy with the activities in our history group, so I don't get the opportunity to discuss philosophy/theology with them to any great degree. Further, the forum here is an international community, and I wanted to get opinions with an international flavor. I did not ask for, nor did I want, an indictment of faith or those who hold faith. Your response is very telling about the attitudes of some atheists and how far your empathy apparently extends. Would you want to be on the receiving end of the attitude you take in this post or many of the others? Since you know that the way you word your posts to me is upsetting when you have the option to say the same thing in a more considerate manner even when your opinion is diametrically opposed to mine, why do you choose to continue to cause distress? Is this a moral way to deal with your peers or express your views?

Now if you'd like to share your experiences vis-a-vis your own decision to follow the atheist view and how you resolve some of the inherent difficulties (which all worldviews have), I'd be happy to listen to what you have to say because I'm genuinely interested in hearing those. If you want to debate the merits of or disdain for theism/atheism itself, however, this is not the thread for it and you should move the discussion to one of the (many) threads that handle that debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Throughout the times you've discussed religion, you've seemed to imply Christians are more moral, to put it bluntly.
Sorry, that was bad writing then. I certainly don't consider you immoral, since I've not seen you engage in immoral behavior. I know plenty of very moral atheists/agnostics (my aunt and uncle, my friends Tim and Sean, and my college soulmate/best bud 'Ubu' being wonderful examples). I unfortunately know plenty of immoral Christians/name-your-faith. I'm talking about subjective vs. objective morality. With Christianity, a, b, and c are always 'right', and x, y, and z are always wrong. There is a set standard created by God that humans should follow for maximum benefit both to themselves and to society. It doesn't matter where or when I am in the world. With humanism, the standard can and does change--what's wrong today was right 50 years ago (e.g. segregation) and vice versa. What's right in one part of the world is wrong here. Borrowing a line from Zacharias, in some cultures we're taught to love our neighbors. In other cultures we're taught to eat them. If we know some things are objectively 'good' and other things are objectively 'evil', then there has to be a set standard. I'm trying to be careful not to say atheists are immoral--I don't believe that. What I think I want to know is how atheists address the changes in morality that occur over time in that case--what if you disagree with the change, and what if no change happens on something you feel needs to be in the moral code?
Heh, I know atheists have friends/families. And I'm honored to have my friends/family of whatever religions/non-religious flavor, too. Probably a better way of asking that was 'what, if anything, do atheists use in place of the tools like prayer/times of worship/other supports unique to religion?' Is knowing a friend is thinking of you before you, say, go into surgery an equivalent to having a friend pray for you?

@Sam--which of the Natural Laws would you like to follow? What if I don't agree with the laws you like? What if mine conflict? Who's right at that point? How do those types of questions get resolved without creating inconsistencies?

@DE--when the admins were prowling around for victi-er, volunteers in the Kotor forum, I didn't duck fast enough.

I don't necessarily choose to do good because God said 'Do good or I'll smite you into the ground so fast you'll be smoking.' I just happen to think Christ is a very cool example to follow. And yeah, I have and will still mess up. I get frustrated, angry, sad, depressed, annoyed just like anyone else, and sometimes even at God. Religion doesn't impart an immunity to committing bad deeds--we still have free will, for good or ill.

I'm of the general opinion of 'suck the marrow out of life', though that may be as much due to seeing lots of people pass on at work as anything else. I don't think we should be hedonists, but I don't believe religious life was meant to be austere, cold, and devoid of pleasure, either. If it was, I don't think Song of Solomon would be in the Bible.

And I am seriously past my bed time so I'm going to set this down for a bit and come back to it after I get some kind of sleep....


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Old 12-15-2006, 05:41 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

That is why there are rules on freedom of speech, why there are limits on the right to bear arms. Should it extend to something like Atheists shouldn't try and destroy the hopes those who practice religion have? To answer that question think whether or not you want religious people bashing at your door because of your views, saying that you'll burn in hell for attacking, upsetting and tormenting religious people because of their belief. Do you want that? Can you wear that? If not then the answer of whether or not attacking others because they follow religion should be clear.
Of course I can "wear that". We've already established this.

Secondly religious people already knock on my door and tell me I'm going to hell... just for not sharing their beliefs. I don't feel the need to prevent them from doing this. They're just delusional, after all. They're not harming anyone by threatening them with eternal damnation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Without having any respect to their right to follow religion, even if it's not your belief or something you disagree with? Okay, if someone went after you because they felt your views are illogical would you say it's their inviolable moral right?
/me bangs his head on his desk

Yes Nancy, this is what I've been saying all along... ANYONE has the right to point out logical deficiencies in ANYONE ELSE'S arguments. It's an inviolable moral right.

Of course, in reality religious people have no logical arguments to offer to support their delusional position. But if any religious person here can point out logical flaws in my atheist arguments... I'd be very grateful to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Some Atheists believe they are a law onto themselves, they can do it but others can't, there may be examples even here on this forum but I really cannot be bothered to look even in some bid to muddy their name. The Muslim religion demands that people in their countries assimilate into their culture: women have to wear the full abayas, they cannot go anywhere unescorted, they cannot drive or ride in the front seat, ect, yet Muslims in other countries demand they act in accordance with their homeland rather than the culture of the country they are in. However in this case I'm speaking generally, religion is not the issue here but how some people regardless of religious, racial, sexual, whatever excuse you want to come up with, think they can act any way they like and no one else can.
... Muslims aren't atheists Nancy, so how does this little example support your claim that atheists try to restrict the right to free speech of religious people? Answer: it doesn't.

Seriously, you haven't posted any examples yet, and we can't really discuss your assertions in any meaningful way until you do.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by narfblat:

Your wording shows that you have as little respect for religious beliefs as some of the religious do for atheism. Those you might consider "religious zealots" have the same moral right and duty to "educate" atheists as atheists do to "puncture delusions".
I don't have ANY respect for delusions like irrational beliefs that there is a god, why the heck would I have respect for that? It's wierd and unsupported by reason. I DO respect the RIGHT to delude oneself. But I also have a right- and frankly a moral duty- to point out how nonsensical such beliefs are.

As for religious people "educating" atheists, I wish they could. I really do. But they have no logical arguments to support their position, so they can't educate anyone in any meaningful way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narfblat:

Some atheists do try to restrict the rights of religion.
Got an example to go with that assertion? Besides, we were discussing the right to free speech specifically. Religious campaign groups routinely try to have free speech legally curtailed so that people can't criticise their beliefs. Can you find an atheist campaign group that has done the same? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narfblat:

Both sides need to step back, and offer a little understanding of the other.
Your post would seem to suggest that when you say you want atheists to offer "understanding" to religious people, you REALLY want them to shut up and to not point out logical deficiencies in religious concepts. Not going to happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narfblat:

a final note: we aren't Vulcans - Logic aint everything.
Neither is morality "everything", in that one can survive while simultaneously being amoral.

But both morality and rational thought (logic) are desirable. And frankly, logic is ABSOLUTELY necessary for one to be moral.

Essentially when you say "logic isn't everything" you're saying that "making sense isn't everything", and also that "being moral isn't everything".

They're everything to me. I want to be moral and rational. If you don't, that's your burden.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

That's quite a lot of assumptions for something I never intended in the least. You've taken a series of questions, made assumptions about them that are incorrect, and proceeded to make some unpleasant comments based on those erroneous assumptions. I never implied anything remotely related to what you are commenting on here. Next time, please consider confirming my intent before you make assumptions like that.
No offence, but your intent has nothing, NOTHING whatsoever to do with it. My initial post was an analysis of your text. Not your "intent".

If you can find any logical flaw in my analysis of your text, let's discuss it. But I don't care about your intent. I care about what I can actually read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Your response is very telling about the attitudes of some atheists and how far your empathy apparently extends. Would you want to be on the receiving end of the attitude you take in this post or many of the others?
Sure I would. I have no problem with logical debate and utilitarian attitudes to debate. It would make something of a change, in fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Since you know that the way you word your posts to me is upsetting when you have the option to say the same thing in a more considerate manner even when your opinion is diametrically opposed to mine, why do you choose to continue to cause distress? Is this a moral way to deal with your peers or express your views?
Listen, to be moral in a discussion forum one must debate by the rules.

But it would be quite IMMORAL for me to gloss over the truth; to bend facts out of fear that you or anyone else might be irrationally upset by them.

And make no mistake, this recurring theme in your posts that "Your argument is invalid because it upsets me"... I don't consider it to be rational or valid in any way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Now if you'd like to share your experiences vis-a-vis your own decision to follow the atheist view and how you resolve some of the inherent difficulties (which all worldviews have), I'd be happy to listen to what you have to say because I'm genuinely interested in hearing those. If you want to debate the merits of or disdain for theism/atheism itself, however, this is not the thread for it and you should move the discussion to one of the (many) threads that handle that debate.
Sigh. The topic is "Why Atheism?" and all my posts have been firmly on-topic. It would be nice if you actually engaged me in a logical debate for once, instead of just telling me to "go away".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

What I think I want to know is how atheists address the changes in morality that occur over time in that case--what if you disagree with the change, and what if no change happens on something you feel needs to be in the moral code?
Your assertion that non-religious morality is changeable or subjective is a nonsense. Morality is (and must be) logically arrived at, is objective, universal and has nothing to do with theism. For more detailed argument go to this thread: Moral Relativism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Is knowing a friend is thinking of you before you, say, go into surgery an equivalent to having a friend pray for you?
I suppose in theory, if one is deluding oneself into believing that prayer will have ANY practical effect at all, it might actually trigger a placebo effect in oneself, speeding one's recovery by making one's attitude more positive. In this respect, the prayer-friend might actually have a more positive effect than the thinking-of-you-friend.

Sometimes delusions can be very very powerful indeed. People will die for delusions, live for delusions, go to war for delusions and change their lives for delusions.

But there are other, better ways of improving one's lot than deluding oneself. Rational positive thinking, for one. This would produce an equally positive effect, and one wouldn't have to lie to oneself in the process.


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Old 12-15-2006, 05:51 AM   #50
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No I haven't put up any examples of Atheists acting as though they can act how they like, and I really am not going to be drawn into a debate over whether or not someone had said as much here. And no Muslims are not Atheists, but they were used as a clear example of those who act their own way and demand that others allow them to. I used them as an example of people who are a law onto themselves because they demand others live by their way in their countries and yet are not prepared to live by the standereds of any country they go to.
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:08 AM   #51
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Well if you refuse to back your assertions up with evidence, we can discard your assertions as untrue.

And... you used an example of religious people (muslim fundamentalists) acting however the heck they want... to defend religion and criticise atheists?

You'll pardon me if I don't consider that very effective as an argument.


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Old 12-15-2006, 06:16 AM   #52
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Okay, you want to plahy that way, prove with a shadow of a doubt there is no God.
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:19 AM   #53
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First, you prove (without a shadow of a doubt) that we aren't really ruled by sinister, sentient, psychic slices of cheddar cheese.


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Old 12-15-2006, 06:25 AM   #54
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Don't sit there ego masterbating, answer the question. Can you really prove beyond all doubt the foolishness of following religion?
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:30 AM   #55
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I will answer your question, once you answer mine: can you prove (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that we aren't really ruled by sinister, sentient, psychic slices of cheddar cheese?

If you admit that you cannot prove this, then logically you must accept the fact that the ideas of a christian "god" or an islamic "god" (or any god) are just as unproven as the idea of sentient slices of cheddar cheese. Therefore none of them exist, rationally speaking.


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Old 12-15-2006, 06:35 AM   #56
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I think so...not one person follows that type of religion and yet hundreds of millions are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, ect.

Actually, don't try and prove the non existence of God, answer this. Why are you so determined to destory religion?
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:49 AM   #57
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I'll ask again: can you prove (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that we aren't really ruled by sinister, sentient, psychic slices of cheddar cheese?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

I think so...not one person follows that type of religion and yet hundreds of millions are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, ect.
Okay, you've just said "if millions of people believe something, it must be true".

Which is utter, utter nonsense. Totally illogical.

So is Christianity right because it's currently the biggest religion? Was it WRONG when it was only a small religion in early roman times?

Totally illogical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Why are you so determined to destory religion?
I'm determined to point out the fact that theistic beliefs are irrational and illogical. I doubt that it'll "destroy religion". But if religion WAS destroyed by my logical critique of its beliefs... that wouldn't be a bad thing. Because those beliefs are illogical.

Do you think people SHOULD delude themselves, lie to themselves and be generally irrational?


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Old 12-15-2006, 06:52 AM   #58
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Do you think people should be self apointed thought Gestapo who are self rightious and believe they have the power to destroy lives? Because that is exactly the way Atheism is portrayed to me reading about it here.
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:57 AM   #59
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"destroy lives"? Where do you get this from? How is atheism going to "destroy lives"? How is pointing out the rational and logical facts going to "destroy lives"?

If you were to accept that theistic beliefs are irrational... would that "destroy your life"? I don't think so. I think it would rather improve your life.

And finally I'll ask again. Can you prove (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that we aren't really ruled by sinister, sentient, psychic slices of cheddar cheese?

If you fail to answer this time, I'll assume that the answer is "no", and that you've proven my case.


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Old 12-15-2006, 07:06 AM   #60
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Some people base their entire lives around religion. For Atheists to keep at them about there being no God and keep at them and keep at them until they broke their will would destroy lives. Now I ask you again, do you think people should be self apointed thought Gestapo who are self rightious and believe they have the power to destroy lives? Say yes and you're saying you agree that Atheism is to be used to bully others. Say no and you go back on every portrayal of Atheism you have presented to me. If you don't answer in the next post, to use your logic, you'll prove to me that you're too afraid to answer the question on the basis of your answer proving that Atheism is exactly how I described it.

As for your question, I answered it the best I can, not being a religious expert.
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:12 AM   #61
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Some people base their entire lives around religion. For Atheists to keep at them about there being no God and keep at them and keep at them until they broke their will would destroy lives.
Lol. No it wouldn't destroy their lives. In such circumstances, It would force them to build a life- not around a delusion- but around sense, reason and rationality. That's not a bad thing. It's improving their lives, not destroying their lives.

Quote:
I ask you again, do you think people should be self apointed thought Gestapo who are self rightious and believe they have the power to destroy lives? Say yes and you're saying you agree that Atheism is to be used to bully others. Say no and you go back on every portrayal of Atheism you have presented to me. If you don't answer in the next post, to use your logic, you'll prove to me that you're too afraid to answer the question on the basis of your answer proving that Atheism is exactly how I described it.
I've answered your question. Atheism isn't "thought gestapoism", it's being rational, and speaking rational truths.

Atheism won't destroy anyone's life. Rational truths CANNOT destroy anyone's life.

This directly answers your (frankly offensive) question. Onwards:

Quote:
As for your question, I answered it the best I can, not being a religious expert.
You didn't answer it at all. I'll ask again: Can you prove (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that we aren't really ruled by sinister, sentient, psychic slices of cheddar cheese?

If not, you MUST LOGICALLY ACCEPT... that the idea of a "god" is also unproven, therefore it is also effectively untrue.

If the cheese does not exist, neither do gods.


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Old 12-15-2006, 07:15 AM   #62
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No, you haven't answer my question. That shows you're too scared to, and since you are too scared to it must mean that, by golly, Atheism doesn't exist. Wow, using your chop logic really does work.
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:21 AM   #63
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Of course I've answered your question, I've said: "I've answered your question. Atheism isn't "thought gestapoism", it's being rational, and speaking rational truths. Atheism won't destroy anyone's life. Rational truths CANNOT destroy anyone's life."

And secondly, it's clear that you haven't grasped my logic if that's your best attempt at imitating it.

Answer the cheese question. So far, it's looking as though you can't answer the cheese question without invalidating your entire position. It's getting close to QED...


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Old 12-15-2006, 07:24 AM   #64
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Atheism isn't thought Gestapoism? Well you've gone back on every portrayal you've given of it. And as for answering your question, I answered it as best I can. Do I need to say it in French or German for you to get the hint?
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:27 AM   #65
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So now you're admitting that I DID answer the question, but now you're directly implying that I'm a "thought gestapo". Not very mature, but at least it's an admission of sorts.

Quote:
And as for answering your question, I answered it as best I can. Do I need to say it in French or German for you to get the hint?
What was your answer then? (In English.)


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Old 12-15-2006, 07:32 AM   #66
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You're just going around in circles now. Answer this, why is religion so offensive to you that you seek to take it from those who believe it? It's illogical? BIG ****ING DEAL! Does it hurt you or offend you so much that you just have to take it away from them?
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:40 AM   #67
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I'm going around in circles? I'm just trying to follow you.

Come now, you claim to have actually answered the cheese question. Well, what was your answer? Let's evaluate it together.

Quote:
Answer this, why is religion so offensive to you that you seek to take it from those who believe it? It's illogical? BIG ****ING DEAL! Does it hurt you or offend you so much that you just have to take it away from them?
I have actually answered this. I'm not out to "take religion away" from people, nor am I out to "destroy religion". I am merely pointing out the lack of logic in theistic beliefs.

If my logical arguments happen "take religion away" from someone, it's a tertiary effect. It's not my goal, really.

And as I said before, would it be such a bad thing if because of atheist logic, some religious person lost their delusion? A rational life is a moral life, it's a life that makes sense, it's a life with rational goals and purposes and the search for truth and right. It's a good life. And best of all, it's not a delusional life.


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Old 12-15-2006, 07:59 AM   #68
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And what gives you the right to do that?
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:36 AM   #69
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Nancy, what gives a teacher the right to point out that 4 + 4 = 9 is actually wrong and the correct result would be 8? Or, why would YOU defend your result of 3 + 5 = 8 against someone who says 3 + 5 = 7? Moreover, HOW would you defend it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Probably a better way of asking that was 'what, if anything, do atheists use in place of the tools like prayer/times of worship/other supports unique to religion?' Is knowing a friend is thinking of you before you, say, go into surgery an equivalent to having a friend pray for you?
Frankly, I wouldn't feel much better if I'd knew someone prays for me, since I do not believe it would help more than a plain "thinking of me". However, I think I would substitute "knowing that someone prays for me" with "knowing that someone thinks of me", because in my opinion that's exactly what prayers have been invented for: expressing feelings, wishes, thoughts and sorrows; to speak it out, to get to know oneself, to become aware of the own desires and stuff, or to share with others. Also, I think I'm a mentally strong person, and I don't depend on the knowledge that others might think of me. If a friend of mine were up to go to the surgery (what already happened, of course), I'd simply hope for him to be okay, if I have the opportunity to let him know, I'll do, and I'll share these thoughts with others if necessary. Not very different to a prayer, eh? Except maybe I just talk to "real" persons and actually get responses. ;~~



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Old 12-15-2006, 09:01 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
What gives a teacher the right to point out that 4 + 4 = 9 is actually wrong and the correct result would be 8?
He/she has a piece of paper hanging on their wall that says he/she is allowed to do stuff like that.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Or, why would YOU defend your result of 3 + 5 = 8 against someone who says 3 + 5 = 7?
The general consensus is that three and five equal eight, if they don't want to believe it, they won't get out of elementary school. I'd encourage them to believe it even if it was just to get them out of the 3rd grade.



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Old 12-15-2006, 09:07 AM   #71
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:30 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
And what gives you the right to do that?
That's the same right you have to tell him he's got it wrong. The same right Jehovah's Witnesses have to knock on my door and wave copies of The Watchtower in my face. The same right the Catholic brothers who ran the school up the street from me where I grew up to announce I'm going to hell because I wasn't Catholic. The same right that Hindus have to preach that karma determines your next life after reincarnation. It's the right to state your religious beliefs and stand behind them. The fact they don't coincide with yours does not make it an attack on your faith any more than pointing out flaws in US foreign policy means a person hates the US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Can you prove (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that we aren't really ruled by sinister, sentient, psychic slices of cheddar cheese?

If not, you MUST LOGICALLY ACCEPT... that the idea of a "god" is also unproven, therefore it is also effectively untrue.

If the cheese does not exist, neither do gods.
Now, here's the problem I have with that. It's the supposition that god or gods being unproven relegating them to effective nonexistence. It doesn't leave open the possibility that we as small, tiny limited little creatures who are only just beginning to realize how little we really know about the universe and its contents might not have the ability to find a god or godlike entities with our present scientific and mental level of development. For all we know, the universe could be chock-a-block crammed with gods of all descriptions, some even taking the form of telepathic hunks of camembert. There may be levels of existence and awareness that our tiny little biological brains are ill-equipped to perceive and comprehend, so therefore our perceptions and logical constructs might not be the ultimate arbiter of what exists and what doesn't.


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Old 12-15-2006, 09:32 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

And what gives you the right to do that?
What gives me the moral right to speak rational truths? Why, that would be... the inviolable moral right (and responsibility) to speak rational truths.

Everyone has this right (and responsibility). And I've stated this already.

Now answer the cheese question.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142:

He/she has a piece of paper hanging on their wall that says he/she is allowed to do stuff like that.
Nope. Moral rights and responsibilities supercede legalistic/professional rights and responsibilities. Even if the teacher had no certificates, even if certificates weren't required to be an accredited teacher, the teacher would still have a moral right to speak rational truths, and a moral responsibility to teach rational truths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142:

The general consensus is that three and five equal eight
There is (as you are aware) a leeeeetle more to determining what is rationally correct, than relying on the "general consensus".


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Old 12-15-2006, 09:50 AM   #74
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Like take three items, put another five next to them, and count them altogether? -- To obvious.

I wonder if the cheese monster is ever afraid of getting possibly eaten by a starving worshipper.


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Old 12-15-2006, 12:05 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Okay, you want to plahy that way, prove with a shadow of a doubt there is no God.
Except that's not the way it's played either. Those with religious superstitions make a positive claim that there *is* a god or gods, therefore it is their burden to prove. Those who don't accept their claims shouldn't have to disprove the existence of the supernatural, something you're fully aware cannot be done since there is no physical manifestation in reality.

If the superstitious are going to make positive claims about magical beings, claims that have a direct impact on the lives of me and my family due to the attempts to codify their superstitions in government and force my family to endure them (i.e. teaching their superstitions as facts in public schools, etc.), then I should have full right, as an atheist to criticize these superstitions at every chance.

The O.P. question is why atheism and it looks like Jae is upset at Spider's reasoning, but I have to agree with him. The reason for "why" is reason. The claims of theology aren't tenable and therefore should be criticized or, at the very least, discarded by the reasoned mind.

Most atheists never interact with theists regarding belief and disbelief. They go on about their daily lives, many quietly nodding their heads or even pretending to believe so as not to 'make waves' in society. Personally, I find this to be a an intolerable expectation. It should be the other way around. Theists should have to practice their superstitions in private and be ashamed of their beliefs. It shouldn't be acceptable to be in the middle of a very serious business discussion and have one of the stakeholders make a comment regarding his superstitious beliefs that quotes scripture or mentions an appeal to a supernatural deity. And such mentions are often actually appeals to the beliefs of others to influence them rather than a deity. As if closing a deal with you is akin to closing a deal with a god.

Atheists/agnostics don't "believe in atheism/agnosticism." These aren't religions, they're lack of them. If someone were to ask if I believe in Bigfoot, I'd offer the same argument I offer the theists: I'm an "agnostic atheist" regarding Bigfoot; I don't believe he exists because I have an understanding of science that doesn't follow an expectation for Bigfoot and there is sufficient evidence to show that humans have concocted the story -but I can't, obviously, say conclusively that there is no Bigfoot since I'm not able to examine every square foot of northwestern North America.

That there is a god or gods is a positive claim. And one without evidence. This is why atheism.

There is no need for theism to explain altruism or community. Religion didn't invent these concepts, these concepts invented religion, which is very evident in the human and animal record. Altruism exists in other primate species besides people. Moreover, it exists in all human cultures regardless of their diverse, and very often contradictory, religious superstitions. As does community and social support. As an atheist, I participate in many social support and community settings that are without any religious significance. These community functions offer support for a variety of charitable that range from academic to clothing and feeding the poor.

I truly feel sorry for those that think they need to rely on delusion to provide the basis for their moral fiber and community support. It simply isn't needed.


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Old 12-15-2006, 12:18 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
"Some others"? What others? The people I've seen holding a double standard on this matter are uniformly religious. I've never seen an atheist try to restrict the free speech of religious people. I HAVE seen religious people try to restrict the free speech of atheists.
Surely you've heard of Richard Dawkins of Flying-Spaghetti-Monster fame. (Not really fair perhaps to Dawkins, he's not in a position to restrict free speech, though he would happily support atheism in Congress.)

Here's an article that was published in Wired magazine a two months ago for others to acquaint themselves with him in their leisure.
http://richarddawkins.net/article,22...Wolf--Wiredcom

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Old 12-15-2006, 12:19 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
No offence, but your intent has nothing, NOTHING whatsoever to do with it. My initial post was an analysis of your text. Not your "intent".
Actually, it has everything to do with my intent. How can you possibly separate my intent from my message? You are making incorrect assumptions and reading something into my statements that I never said or meant. Or are you doing this just to make fun of me?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
If you can find any logical flaw in my analysis of your text, let's discuss it.
Your assumption that I find logic somehow 'unattractive'. Your assumption that because I, in your view, lack logic on this matter, I must therefore lack logic on all matters. Your assumption that I must be unable to grasp truth simply because I ask why atheists/agnostics choose individually to believe in this worldview. Your assumption that all atheists choose to embrace this worldview based solely on logic when there may be other factors--hatred of the Church from a very bad experience with it and thus turning away from God, embracing atheism/agnosticism because parents were atheist/agnostic, disliking religious hypocrisy, embracing the philosophy because they admired someone influential who was agnostic/atheist, and a host of other reasons that are not necessarily logic based.

Logic may be the reason for you to be atheist, but it is not necessarily everyone else's reason.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Sure I would. I have no problem with logical debate and utilitarian attitudes to debate. It would make something of a change, in fact.
Did you really have to make that last statement? That sort of dig is meant solely to cause pain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Listen, to be moral in a discussion forum one must debate by the rules.
But it would be quite IMMORAL for me to gloss over the truth; to bend facts out of fear that you or anyone else might be irrationally upset by them.
It is not the facts that bother me, nor your message of your interpretation of facts that lead you to the atheist worldview. I treasure all my atheist and agnostic friends and respect their beliefs, and they respect mine. They may consider my thoughts on religion misguided, but they still treat _me_ with respect.

I didn't ask you to gloss over the truth. However, there are ways to present 'truth' that are better/more effective than others. Your message is getting lost in your style of delivery, and your sarcastic and belittling style is what I find so upsetting. In fact, your style of delivery is detracting tremendously from your message. Has it occured to you that more people might contribute and actually take you more seriously if you didn't first browbeat them with your comments (implied and real) about how stupid they must be for not agreeing with you? Rules of debate also include respect for your opponent, even if you disagree completely. You've got the logic down pat, but you lack the respect--when you make demeaning comments about someone's level of sanity or lack of logic, or use oblique reference semantics in an attempt to be sarcastic without quite going over the official line of rude, you are not exhibiting any form of respect for them. You can argue through eternity that you have the right to treat people in that manner because they are deluding themselves on x issue and it's your duty to point out their idiocy, but you are hobbling your arguments by taking that attitude. Just because you have the right to do that doesn't mean you should. Just because I think something uncharitable doesn't mean I have to say it. If you have not read Dale Carnegie's works, I suggest you find a couple of his books, absorb the principles, and learn. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is a classic. If you've read it, review it. You may not want to win friends here, but I can tell that you do want very badly to influence people. We flies like honey, not your vinegar.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And make no mistake, this recurring theme in your posts that "Your argument is invalid because it upsets me"... I don't consider it to be rational or valid in any way.
It would be irrational if I had said that, but I have not, and this is an assumption on your part. Your arguments may or may not be valid, but that's not what distresses me. I don't want to debate (much) with you because your delivery of your message and your continued sarcastic tone is very offensive to me. We haven't even begun to reach a level together where we can address the validity of the arguments themselves. If the discussion of arguments is the finish line of a race, we haven't even made it off the start line yet.
When you choose to alter your approach, then we can begin to make headway on the issues themselves. I will try to treat you with respect, though I can't promise I'll be perfect at it, because you have managed in a few posts to irritate the hell out of me, which is quite the achievement, believe me. Humor mode way on--if that somehow amuses/pleases you, you win the 'I p!ssed off Jae' t-shirt and the cookie.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Sigh. The topic is "Why Atheism?" and all my posts have been firmly on-topic. It would be nice if you actually engaged me in a logical debate for once, instead of just telling me to "go away".
Be nice to me and quit the flame-baiting/flaming/semantic of your choice comments, even if you don't agree with my stances on certain issues. The topic is why people choose to embrace atheism on a personal level. You stated it's logic for you. That's the answer I was looking for, not a discussion of my level of intelligence/sanity/etc. for not embracing that philosophy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Your assertion that non-religious morality is changeable or subjective is a nonsense. Morality is (and must be) logically arrived at, is objective, universal and has nothing to do with theism. For more detailed argument go to this thread: Moral Relativism
I would if I had the emotional resources to deal with the highly probable likelihood that I'll get flamed/semantic of your choice because I have a couple questions and points. However, I've had a thoroughly crappy 2 months (which include the kitchen ceiling nearly falling on my head and finding a hole in our garage roof that will be expensive to fix, and that's just for starters), and I don't know that I'd have the resources at this time to be able to sift through attitude landmines to get to the heart of the issue before getting frustrated/angry and saying something unpleasant myself. I choose to defer unless you can give me an assurance of a more positive tone (which does _not_ mean agreement), or I can get past this really annoying insomnia that I've had the last few months that is taxing my physical and emotional resources. Unless you're able to make some changes in your style of presentation, I'm not able to get far into that argument at this point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
I suppose in theory, if one is deluding oneself into believing that prayer will have ANY practical effect at all, it might actually trigger a placebo effect in oneself, speeding one's recovery by making one's attitude more positive. In this respect, the prayer-friend might actually have a more positive effect than the thinking-of-you-friend.
Placebo effect works on average 35% of the time, and in some studies on the placebo effect, upwards of 70-80%. It's a fascinating phenomenon. I've had a couple middle school girls over the years who managed to convince themselves they couldn't see very much at all ("hysterical blindness"), and I determined a. they weren't lying to get glasses, b., they had no real prescription, and c. they had absolutely no other eye/neuro problems that could be causing the vision decrease. So I held up a lens with no power in it at all and told them it could really help. Suddenly, they could see again normally. The brain is a pretty amazing thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I wonder if the cheese monster is ever afraid of getting possibly eaten by a starving worshipper.
I'll let the teens make the crass remarks about cutting the cheese. Naw, if the worshipper eats the cheese monster, the worshipper is automatically relegated to Cheez Whiz Hell and is sentenced to an eternity of enduring 'processed American cheese substitute' and the Muzak version of any Paul Simon song.
Edit: sleeping in with kids--there's no such thing til she's able to get her own breakfast. Our kids are up before 7am and our youngest loves to crawl into bed with us on the weekends if we're still not up when she gets up. Since that gets us up, we may as well go to church anyway.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
The O.P. question is why atheism and it looks like Jae is upset at Spider's reasoning, but I have to agree with him. The reason for "why" is reason. The claims of theology aren't tenable and therefore should be criticized or, at the very least, discarded by the reasoned mind.
I am not upset at his reasoning in the least. I'm fine with his choice of 'reason' as his reason why he embraces this philosophy.
I'm upset at how he chooses to present that reasoning in his statements to me. He can choose a sarcastic, belittling tone or he can choose a more respectful tone to express his views. I detest disrespect and flaming, and I see no reason for it to be allowed on any of these boards. I may disagree with your or another's choice not to agree on a certain point in any argument, but I'm never going to call you or anyone else stupid, misguided, or insane, nor am I even going to make strong implications to that effect in order to dodge the strict interpretation of the flame/flame-baiting rules here. I think I deserve the same courtesy in return, even if you find my stance on the issue of religion itself untenable.
And another edit: I didn't see your post below before adding my reply to you.


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Old 12-15-2006, 12:43 PM   #78
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Spider Al,

I agree with all of your points. But Jae's criticism of your delivery is spot on. We'll be more effective at conveying reason if more care is taken to avoid condescension, though I'm probably guilty of it too. I admit, it is very hard *not* to sound condescending to believers when you argue with them that their beliefs are deluded, however, there are some choice words here and there in your posts that could have been omitted or re-worded that would have made your point in such a way as to not bait your opposition.

I say this not just as a moderator (perhaps not as a moderator at all), but rather, as one who agrees with your points and would like to see them understood and even mulled over. I've known many who have been swayed over time by reason and logic. I've even witnessed a hard-core theist become an atheist in another forum I moderate. But regardless of whether Nancy or Jae are convinced by your arguments, there will always be those that lurk and never post who are truly undecided, and it might be your words that convince them one way or the other.


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Old 12-15-2006, 12:47 PM   #79
Samuel Dravis
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
@Sam--which of the Natural Laws would you like to follow? What if I don't agree with the laws you like? What if mine conflict? Who's right at that point? How do those types of questions get resolved without creating inconsistencies?
I'm not sure what you mean by that. I think the natural law is essentially "do good and avoid evil," which sounds pretty much the same as the atheists' beliefs here, though the particulars on a given subject may be slightly different. If your interpretation of doing good is different from mine, either I see it to cause harm or I don't. If I do, then I'll be sure to point that out, using reason, logic and whatever else is available to show you why I think that action is harmful. If it doesn't hurt anyone, then I've got no place to tell you what to think; you're a free actor capable of deciding for yourself, just as I am.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:09 PM   #80
Det. Bart Lasiter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Nope. Moral rights and responsibilities supercede legalistic/professional rights and responsibilities. Even if the teacher had no certificates, even if certificates weren't required to be an accredited teacher, the teacher would still have a moral right to speak rational truths, and a moral responsibility to teach rational truths.
Oh okay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
There is (as you are aware) a leeeeetle more to determining what is rationally correct, than relying on the "general consensus".
Yeah, but you mentioned moral responsibility before - I wouldn't call it morally responsible to just allow someone to go about thinking that three and five are seven when everyone else thinks they're equal to eight and will think he/she is an invalid for thinking otherwise.


By the way, and this has been kind of bugging me for a while, instead of quoting people by adding italicized letters inside the quote tag, you can simply use
PHP Code:
[quote=username]Something about a cheddar cheese slice?[/quote



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