Monicks: Unleashed

Thinking Critically

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Andy Rooney on atheism

120 Responses to Andy Rooney on atheism

  1. James says:

    If that is a real quote from Mr. Rooney then it is the most cogent thing he’s ever said. Least cranky, too.

  2. Phil E. Drifter says:

    Similar to what I say, which is “Everyone is born atheist until they’re converted, usually against their will long before they have the mental let alone physical ability to resist. Some people never reach the mental enlightenment that comes with accepting atheism as your worldview.”

  3. anon says:

    having blind faith in the absence of a god or gods is not much different than having blind faith in the presence of a god or gods. people aren’t born atheist. they’re born agnostic, not knowing for sure.

  4. Rel says:

    @Anon: Not true. They’re born atheist, because they have no concept of a “god”. They don’t wonder, they have to be told.

  5. Law says:

    DEFINITIONS OF ATHEIST.
    One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods. (www.thefreedictionary.com)
    Disbelief in the existence of God or gods. (www.oxforddictionaries.com)
    ————————————————————————————————————
    This, I think, is where the confusion lies. Depending on which definition you choose to accept, you can come to two seperate conclusions.
    First, thefreedictionary.com. (The following definitions are also from thefreedictionary.com)
    Disbelief – Refusal or reluctance to believe.
    Deny – 1. To declare untrue; contradict.

    2. To refuse to believe; reject.
    3. To refuse to recognize or acknowledge; disavow.

    So we see from these definitions that an atheist is someone who has a concept of God but refuses to accept it as true.

    Now, oxforddictionaries.com. (The following definition is also from oxforddictionaries.com)

    Disbelief – inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real.

    With this definition, it is the refusal or the INABILITY to accept it.

    Obviously, within the context of this page, differentiating between “refusal” and “inability” is paramount when deciding whether a baby could be considered an atheist from birth.

    If a baby is born with no concept of God, then it does not have anything to accept or deny and (if we subscribe to the first definition) the terms ‘theist’, ‘atheist’ etc. cannot apply. However, if we subscribe to the second definition, then its inability to accept or deny the notion of God makes it an atheist.

    In conclusion, I would say that the English language is extremely complex (I was born and raised in England and still take issue with many aspects of my language) and definitions, while crucial in understanding what a word truly means, can vary to the extent that it is probably not worth arguing over. Instead, we should all just agree that the concept of God, while certainly having many beneficial aspects, also has many detremental results and is on the whole, obsolete. Science has filled the void now so can we all just get on with our lives please.

  6. Voice of Reason says:

    That was just dumb. It doesn’t take blind faith to NOT believe in something. You likely don’t believe in the tooth fairy or Zeus or leprechauns. Is it a blind faith that you know there is no tooth fairy?
    Infants are not agnostic. They are indeed atheists. They do not even have a concept of a god to be on the fence about.

  7. Greycard says:

    The eternal religious monologue:
    We are devout. You are superstitious. They are demonic.

  8. anti_supernaturalist says:

    Notice to “true believers” in the Big-3 monster-theisms

    You may have your own beliefs, not your own truths.
    You may have your own faiths, not your own knowledge.
    You may have your own interpretations, not your own reality.
    Truth, knowledge, and reality require openly verifiable evidence, not gibberish from some god proxy: not priest, not pastor, not rabbi, nor imam.

    You may not impose your beliefs, faiths, or interpretations — your stinking fables — on anyone.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  9. Sangha says:

    The reason babies do not question God is not because they do not have a concept for it, but because they are not interested yet. They are busy trying to learn about their immediate world and living. I remember reaching a certain age and I would stay up late alone in bed thinking about consciousness and life and death and time and God. I eventually figured out in my meditations by the time I was 12 that there is no fairy-tale God and that organized religion is bullshit. Yet I still saw the mystery of consciousness and the Universe. I saw that consciousness pervades the Universe like Radio waves and that they brain is an antennae that receives consciousness like a radio. This makes an illusion that consciousness comes from our brains and that we all have individual consciousnesses. I saw that at death, when the brain dies, consciousness does not die. Just like if you smash a radio you can still pick up the same station on another radio. There is no individual you and me, but we are both dream characters that we are dreaming. Who is dreaming? For a long time I called the Dreamer “God” not having a clearer understanding. But this God was not like any God in the Bible, or the Koran, but an impersonal infinite field of light and infinite possibility that exists at every moment everywhere. In fact all moments meet and all places meet in this field. Therefore it is eternal and beyond time. It is never born and it never dies. It is the Alpha and the Omega. So by twelve years of age I nobody had indoctrinated me. My family was pretty much agnostic and didn’t care about such things. I had investigated my experience by constantly refining my attention on subtler states of my own consciousness, until, at twelve, something happened which changed forever how I was looking at the mystery. The whole time before I had been looking at the mystery from the viewpoint of a brain in a body observing from where this radio wave of consciousness enters the human. I had thought that I was a human that was plugging into the source which was God. But a profound shift of cognition happened one night, and I was no longer my brain. I was no longer myself. I was floating everywhere. I could share minds with other people. I found out that people would be angry at me if I did that without their permission, even if they didn’t know that I did it. Since that night I can enter others’ dreams. I also saw the past and likely futures of people when I met them. I realized that there is no God, that there is just Universal Consciousness that has dreamed this whole Universe and we are characters in this dream. I realized that as long as I thought of myself as a real being, the dream went on. But if I was able to “wake up” from the dream, then I was the whole field of consciousness. It was funny being awake in the dream, seeing everyone believing what they are experiencing is real. This happened when I was twelve and without any indoctrination. 

    So, every night I as I lay down to go to bed, I would “wake up” from the dream and spend the night in various states of consciousness. Eventually I learned to distill it down to a shimmering quasar kind of star thing. Then I would enter it and disappear. But there was still consciousness, but I couldn’t say it was mine, but I couldn’t say that it wasn’t mine either. How could I recognize something else as being conscious unless I was also conscious? No, I did not exist and consciousness was free! I would meet in my nightly travels various beings. I made friends many beings who I later found out were famous. I will tell more about that in a bit.

    So, I thought I was the only one who knew what was really going on and everyone else either believed in God or didn’t believe in God but they were all living like zombies. I began to research religions in my teens to try to find out if there was a religion that knew what I knew. I thought that certain people in a religion knew, or each religion had a little piece of knowledge, but with a bunch of bullshit piled up all around it. I think Jesus knew, if he really existed. If he didn’t exist, then the people who wrote the story of Jesus knew. I think Saint Francis knew.

    But I really liked the ancient European and Celtic Pagan view of pantheism. I saw that either everything is Divine and holy and alive, or nothing is. Consciousness is everywhere, so the rocks and the trees and the hills all are consciousness. But the Pagans I met didn’t know that all that really exists is a field of consciousness where all energy and matter come from. They thought that sounded too much like a patriarchal creator God. They would relax a little when I said that there is no God, the power is in you!!! But they clung to the easily conceivable world of nature as the ultimate reality. They were pantheists. I realized that each one of us is nature, and we have consciousness, and it is the same as the consciousness of nature. I saw that this consciousness comes from beyond nature, that it dreams nature, it is not nature that dreams it. I realized that I was a PanENtheist. It is subtly different than pantheism. Look it up.

    So I was meeting with these teachers during conscious dreamtime every night. And they told me to go to the library and they gave me a dewey decimal number. This was before computers. I went and it was a book called the 6 yogas of Naropa. I realized that in Tibet they knew what I know! Every single experience I had was in that book! I even practiced the same yogas! The people that had been teaching me in dreams were in the book! It blew my mind. This was in my late teens.

    So I spent ten years living as a hermit in the woods and exploring consciousness. I would come into town just to buy beans, rice, and tea. I had my camp in the middle of a huge patch of poison oak because I wanted to be left alone and I wasn’t allergic to it. I made friends with some animals. I had a friend that was a small owl that would hang out and watch me every night and I would fly with it at night in my dreams. I had a blue heron land on me. Anyway…

    There is no God, but there is consciousness. You are conscious! Consciousness is the flat line that all waves of energy flow through. This Universe, which is an infinite spectrum of energies and frequencies all exists in the matrix of pure consciousness. All matter is condensed crystallized energy. What WE call REALITY, whether or not you believe in God or are an atheist, is just a very tiny microscopic band of energies in this infinite spectrum. Now science knows that the Earth itself is so virtually microscopic that it might as well not exist as far as the whole known Universe is concerned. Just like that, so are your beliefs and nonbeliefs. Your beliefs and non-beliefs are utterly insignificant. These opinions and beliefs are part of the unawareness that the dream is a dream, these world-views exist in your mind because you are not awake. You are dreaming them.

    But one day you will wake up and laugh. And you will never stop laughing.

  10. Sangha says:

    By the way, The place that the radio waves of consciousness enter the human brain is in the center of the head, in between the front of the two ears and behind the eyes, in the very center of the head, there is a hollow space about the size of a walnut filled with fluid. This is the part of the brain that receives the signal. It is the last part of the brain to die, after someone is legally dead. The heart though as well is conscious, but it is like a different radio station. In some ways it is more conscious than the brain is, but conscious of pure emotions rather than knowledge. It does have a powerful electromagnetic field. The brain not so much. But the brain can conduct and direct radio waves very well. The eyes actually can project the radio waves that the brain receives. I used to experiment with this when a tv was getting bad reception. I could tune into the channel and look at the rabbit ear antennaes on the tv and the signal would come in loud and clear. Then I could look away and hear static, look back and it would get clear, over and over again on any tv or radio where there was a channel or station that was only coming in partially. Try it.

  11. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The definition of an atheist as one who REFUSES to believe in a god or REJECTS a god is a recent concoction of evangelical theists.  It suits the tenets of their theology but this definition rarely  describes the person who uses the term “atheist” to describe themselves.  In other words, it is a straw man definition.
    This is at the basis of the hatred conservative theists express towards non-theists.

  12. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The human brain is a master of illusion and delusion.  It is one of the side-effects of the gerry-rigging that is part of natural evolution.
    If this idea makes you happy and does not harm you or others then I have no problem with it.  But don’t expect to convince me that it is actually reality.

  13. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Sanga, now you are describing a characteristic of a delusional psychotic state.
    As a neuropsychologist who has dissected human brains and seen multiple MRI brain scans, I can assure you that there is no walnut-sized fluid-filled emotion-orientated, electromagnet space in anyone’s brain.  If there were such a thing then human heads would be attracted to the top of MRI scanners the moment the power was turned on.   They are not.    If you believe that there is such a thing in your head then you are suffering from a delusion caused by a brain that is not functioning correctly.
    The problem can be caused by a developmental defect that usually manifests in late adolescence or it can be caused by a brain tumor.  The first can be medicated, the second can be excised.
    It is time to get some medical help.

  14. Sarah says:

    The funny thing is that a lot of you commenters are just as close-minded as some theists are. Atheists bitch all the time about how eeeevil the concept of God is and how evvvvvilll theists are for believing in god.
    MY Question as a person who is not just comprised of whether i do or do not believe in god and thusly should not be discounted because of this one belief is What do you/we gain from calling the idea of God “obsolete” and what do we gain from CARING about what other people believe. It’s none of my business what you think about god or not and it’s none of yours what I think about god but  so many of you act like if I were to believe in a god that I would automatically be LESS than or not as smart as you chosen atheists.
    All I’m sayin’ is that it’s coming off as highly hypocritical.

  15. Sangha says:

    Rosemary:
    I didn’t say that the space in the brain is electromagnetic. The heart is electromagnetic and emotion oriented, not the brain. This is an example of people seeing their own beliefs instead of the actual words of others. People dreaming instead of being awake.

    It is the space where the pituitary, pineal glands are, and the hypothalamus are. Look it up. It is hollow and the size of a walnut above the optic chiasma.

    I think that it is funny that you call me delusional and psychotic and that you suggest that I get help. I know that I am fine, healthy, and happy, and I help other people for a living become healthy and happy. I have been doing this work for over 70 years. Even if I had a brain tumor or chemical imbalance this whole time, it has lead me to live a long, happy, healthy life and to be able to help others to also. I am still youthful for my age, I appear like a young man near the age of 30 to 35.

    My point is that whether you believe in God or not, if you take one side or the other, you are narrow minded. It is not the belief in God that is the problem, it is belief itself, and non-belief is the other side of the same coin. If you think that someone is delusional because they have a different experience than you then that is a delusion of self-importance.

    True knowledge is knowing, it is not knowing about. I can know all about John F Kennedy but not know him. With knowledge there is no question of believing or not believing. Do you believe that snow is white? No, you know snow is white. If someone believes in God, or if someone doesn’t believe in God, that is because they don’t know. Out of this lack of knowledge they form an opinion one way or the other based on lack of evidence or faith and identify with it as if it is truth and not just an opinion.

    While I don’t call it God, because there is no reason to, just like there is no reason to call light or gravity God, I don’t have a problem with people who do, as long as they are talking about their true experience of the whole spectrum of consciousness. If they are talking about an old guy with a long beard sitting on a cloud judging us then I reject that. But that didn’t happen until DaVinci anyway and the Sistine Chapel.

    It is ironic that people who are well adjusted to this sick society and who are aging prematurely and only living to be around 70 or 80 because of stress are telling other people what “healthy” is and what “normal” is and to “get help”. That would be like taking financial advice from a hobo.

  16. Sangha says:

    Sarah, it is hypocritical. It just goes to show that whatever opinion one haves, if they believe in their opinion as if they know what the truth is… if they confuse belief or nonbelief with knowledge…. if they confuse their opinion with reality… then they suffer the affliction of self-importance. Hence the hypocrisy of atheists who are against theists, or theists who are against atheists. If people would be humble and admit that they don’t know, or if people were pure like a baby and did not have a concept of belief or nonbelief, but just experiencing reality, then there would be more peace in the world. If everyone converted to atheism or some religion there would not be more peace in the world. because self-importance would still reign.

  17. Proffer says:

    Sangha, you are making a bold attempt at describing what you perceive as transcendence. Granted, your wording is a bit unconventional and trudges along very specific details. Those details may be very crisp and clear for you, but it doesn’t work the same way for the rest of us. You are speaking like a Vietnam vet turned New Age yoga instructor — it’s just not helping your cause.
    The very idea of a god is, most unfortunately, crucial to our species. Or at least it was to our ancestors. The very traits of God, the visions of heaven and hell, the prophecies, and the roots of organization/hierarchy within the churches … they all reek of having been man-made. As Hitchens says, “our frontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands are too large, and our thumb to finger opposition isn’t all that it could be.” It’s in our nature to concoct these ideas of a god, of a devil, and of an afterlife. As long as death remains an inevitable part of life, we will always have those willing to dedicate their lives to a lie.
     
     

  18. Sangha says:

    Hmmm. I don’t know how to respond. I don’t believe in all that heaven and hell, God, and churches. That is all very Christian to me and primitive… and yes, man-made. I am too old to be in Vietnam. And New Age? new Age is all pseudo scientific about awakening DNA and ascending to spiritual levels etc… That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about something that has been around forever: consciousness – nothing more nothing less. The New Agers aren’t the only ones that have been mystified by consciousness. Consciousness has always been a mystery, and it still is. Scientists don’t know what consciousness is still, they only know the effects. I only seem like a New Ager to you because that is the only experience you have of what I am talking about. But consciousness is something we all share, no matter who you are, no matter what you believe. An atheist can still explore consciousness like I do. But the sad fact is that they don’t, because they don’t see the mystery in it. A Christian, a theist, can explore consciousness like I do, but they don’t, because they believe that they already know the answer. Consciousness is what we are… Who are you? You are consciousness! Explore it! Refine your attention to subtler and subtler levels of your consciousness. Spend the whole night with your body asleep but your mind awake. Come up with your own conclusions.

  19. pacotaco says:

    baptizing a baby should be illegal. i mean, isn’t it really abuse/attempted murder? they are essentially drowning a child briefly. I am by no means religious.

  20. Sangha says:

    People should have the choice to be baptized or not. But no, it is not attempted murder. They don’t drown the baby briefly. But still, it is wrong to do to someone without their permission, especially in the name of religion. In the old days it was different, but now it is immoral. Better to be baptized by your own free will and choice when you are old enough to choose to.

  21. Proffer says:

    Sangha, you seem to be trolling. Baptism for children is dangerous and immoral in every way, as is circumcision and most every other Bronze Age tradition that people can’t let go of.

  22. Marissa says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever met an atheist who said theists were evil for believing in a god.
     
    The only complaints I hear from atheists regarding religion, are complaints about the religious nuts who think they have the right or the responsibility to press that belief on others. Not everyone who chooses to have a religion or a belief in something higher than themselves, just the fanatical ones who want to shove it down everyone’s throats.

  23. Jeff says:

    I have a question. I was raised in a Methodist home. I grew up learning all the Bible stories, perhaps much like some of you who read this.
    My problem was, upon hearing a story, I would have to ask questions. I mean so many stories, even as a boy, didn’t make sense to me. And I actually wanted to believe in this thing they call God.
    I haven’t changed much as an adult. I have given up on “traditional religion” and teachings. Simply, because, well, it’s illogical. I disrespect no ones beliefs. But, I can’t say I’m an atheist either.
    Here’s my question, and if you’re a close minded person or a card carrying member of either or any sect, don’t respond, please.
    Let’s say you come across some one that needs help of some kind. Let’s say for the sake of argument, money for food. Just enough to survive one more day and after that they’ll be fine, without, they will die. Now, this person in need is somehow unaware you can help or that you even exist. No one on the planet will ever be aware you gave something to help this person. And you do, and then move on to……….. whatever.
    There is a universal feeling you get from doing this. A very good feeling. Logically, you can’t receive any kind of recognition because no one knows. Logically, you should have a feeling of loss having just given away something of value, the money. It wasn’t instinct that drove you, like a mother lion defending her young. It wasn’t a sense of family, preserving the human species, or the love of this person. Logically, all that took place was a loss of something of value that you would have used, that you earned, you needed. And yet, you feel good inside about this act.
    My question is, where does that feeling come from?
    I think if someone can answer that for me, I will finally have no more questions.
     
    Very Sincerely,
    Jeff Shaffer
     
     

  24. Law says:

    Interesting. Thanks for your response, Rosemary.
    If it’s not too presumptuous of me, I’d like to ask you two questions in response to your comment.

    You say that these definitions of atheist are a recent concoction of evangelical theists, so how was the word defined before this? 

    You also say that these definitions rarely accurately describe someone who would call themself an atheist. Assuming that you are an atheist (but even if you’re not), how would you define it?

    Thanks.

  25. Law says:

    Hi Sarah.

    You have asked what I would consider to be two relatively important questions and I feel obliged to answer them since the first one (“What do you/we gain from calling the idea of God “obsolete””) probably occured to you after reading my comment above (” the concept of God … is on the whole, obsolete.”).

    So here goes.

    1.What do you/we gain from calling the idea of God “obsolete”?

    This question is actually significantly more difficult to answer than you might imagine but I think the short answer would have to be: a semi-humorous penultimate sentence to a largely pointless piece of writing. That and recognition.
    When I voice an opinion openly in a public arena such as this, there is a small part (well, maybe a large part) of me that thinks “I hope people agree with me on this”. I’ve never met anyone who has posted here and in all probability never will, but for some reason I want them to agree with what I’ve said. I’m sure you can relate to that. I guess as humans we just want to fit in, and if that means writing on internet comment sections to recieve favorable responses so that we can justify our own beliefs purely through the number of people that concur then apparently that’s what some of us are prepared to do. Perhaps it’s just one of those rather troublesome evolutionary traits that we all share.

    2. What do we gain from caring about what other people believe?

    This is a great question. What do we gain from caring about what other people believe. Just read that back once more. Incredible. I think someone could (and should) write volumes of books on that question alone. Honestly and sincerely, I would have thought the answers to this question to be unbelievably, awe inspiringly, soul shatteringly obvious.
    In fact, it is so obvious that I think I may just leave it. Instead, let me ask you the reverse question.
    What do we stand to lose by neglecting what other people believe?
    A few words to help you along: Freedom, knowledge, culture, respect, our lives.

  26. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Wiki has done a reasonable job on the history of the term.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
    Christians were once called atheists because they “disrespected” the local Greek gods.
    A salient point is that the term has only relatively recently been something that people applied to describe themselves.
     
     

  27. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Having read the Wiki article thoroughly, it appears that my assertion was wrong.  Prior to the 18th Century, it was generally believed that belief in god was innate and atheism was only possible by wilful rejection of this innate belief.
    In other words, evangelicals haven’t coined this interpretation of the word “atheist”, they simply haven’t moved past the 18th Century yet :-)

  28. Proffer says:

    You’re speaking of human solidarity, and how it applies to our society. Without solidarity, we would have gone extinct ages ago. The reason we survive to this day is because we can discern between what is right and what is wrong — we always have been able to. That feeling that you get after you’ve helped someone, in display or anonymously, is the instinctual trigger that has been within us from day one. The other species of hominid may have eschewed this vital trait, which may account for the reason they are now extinct.
     
    The Bible would have you believe that we didn’t know right from wrong until God told us so, and if you are to believe that we have been on this planet for 100,000+ years, you must accept the fact that for 95,000 of those years (give or take a millennium) we were lost, confused and no better than common beasts. No, it’s been with us from the start and firmly betrays why it is that the “creator of the universe” carries so many human-like traits: vengeance, envy, impatience, the list goes on and on. Man made god – it’s obvious.

  29. Proffer says:

    Thankfully, they have moved past the 18th century! Otherwise, you’d be on a flaming stake right about now — and I would be getting my lashings, right next to you. :)
     
    I don’t think they’ve “moved past” anything, really. I think they have just been hindered. Give them the power over state once more and we will most definitely see that behavior, again.

  30. Jeff says:

    Thanks for your response. I don’t think animals feel compassion and have survived longer than man. Actually the law of the jungle would dictate the needy, weaker one be eliminated for the good of the herd.
    And the God you speak of. No kidding, I even knew this as a child. The Bible, even traditional Christians realize it was written by men long ago and flawed. Because, some can point to the evangelist on the street corner and believe there is no opinion/belief between that and an atheist is the close mindedness I spoke of. We aren’t even speaking of the same thing. You and I can’t. The world used to be flat, because people believed that and for them, it was. The woman you call Mom, is the woman that gave birth to you, because you believe her.
    “Man made God-it’s obvious” for you, there is no God. For the multitude that will fill the churches on Sunday, there is. Simply because you both believe and are incapable of learning, asking questions.

  31. Proffer says:

    Animals have been around for a long time, and some of them obviously show no signs of compassion towards one another (see Reptiles — aka dinosaurs.) However, there are many species that do exhibit this sort of behavior; most notably our closest relatives: the ape and bonobo. They do have a social structure somewhat similar to our own, albeit it is a simple one. The destructive nature of humans is rarely found in any other species. We harbor so many distinctive traits, exclusive to us I would even say, that could altogether lead to our extinction. There is a balance in the rest of the natural world — some groups of primates will go on a genocidal warpath with another group, over territory, females and food. However, they can never actually expand to the degree that we did, when we first migrated from Central Africa. I am not 100% sure what it is that makes us more dangerous than every other animal on the planet, but I am certain it would manifest into a long, long list.
     
    I wasn’t trying to apply a label to you. If it seemed like I was trying to do that, I do apologize, as that wasn’t my intent. I agree that the closed-mindedness of atheists can carry the same ill-will and recklessness as that of fundamental evangelists. I try to remain open-minded about that which we do not yet know, for sure. It’s just so difficult to subscribe to the theories that we have been presented with, thus far (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) Deists will, at times, catch me unaware with their logic: there is actually a possibility that a powerful, sentient being gave form to our universe. Is God the collective consciousness of an advanced alien species, powerful enough to create a black hole in their own universe to give birth to our own? Are they also powerful enough to keep maintenance over everything that has transpired in this universe since day one? Maybe God is the universe itself, and we are as cells in the body of a great being. Anything is possible — and that is the problem I have with remaining open-minded on such things.
     
    If we are open-minded about EVERYTHING that could be possible in existence, then what is left to argue for? What do we have left for debate? I understand that we only perceive this universe with 5 very flawed senses, but surely we can establish amongst each other what is “real” and what is not. Our uncertainty is just a base instinct we have always had, it belongs to all introspective creatures and it leads to the greatest human trait of all: wonder and curiosity. I would not sacrifice that by just opening the doors to all theories and embracing them all, equally. They are not all equal… most are just bat-shit insane, and that is the end of it. I may be closed-minded, but at least I don’t rely on faith (which is another word for, “I give up and I don’t care.”)

  32. Jeff says:

    Thank you for sharing…..

  33. Ganapati says:

    “No one is born with a belief anything”

    One of the silliest arguments anyone can advance in defence of anything. No one is born with ability to speak until they are “indoctrinated” into associating meanings with random sounds. The truth/falsehood of anything has little to do with whether a person was born that way or not.

    “I do not push my beliefs or lack of certain beliefs on to others” is a statement that can be made only by those that actually do not care how the rest of those around them behave, which is no one. Is there anyone around who finds it acceptable that a neighbour may kill them and loot their possessions because the neighbours’ beliefs place them in a special relationship to the rest of the world? Even if the neighbours “believed” that it would be OK to kill and loot neighbours, as long as they behaved in conformity with the norms/laws of the society that prohibits such behaviour, it is really irrelevant to others what their “beliefs” are except of course when they want to propogate their own brand of beliefs or lack there of.

    Not sure who this guy Andy Roony is, but anyone who is using this guy’s statements to promote atheism/rational thinking doesn’t know the first thing about making a rational argument.

  34. zwenkwiel says:

    than how did religion even get started in the first place?
    some1 had to have come up with the idea without being told by some1 else
    maybe babies are atheists and not agnostic, who gives a shit really
    babies are dumb, they can’t even talk let alone understand complex abstract concepts like god
     
    so what the whole baby argument is irrelevant, they simply can’t be either because they lack the mental capacity to do so
    when they do develop this capacity they do start to wonder
    pretty much each and every1 of us has pondered about gods, the meaning of life or the existence of the universe on some level
    and a lot claim to have come to conclusion
     
    so I think it’s pretty safe to say every1 is agnostic by default
    whether you actively leave open the possibility of a god or are already convinced one way or the other
    every1 at point or other considers the possibilities (and sometimes comes up with new ones)

  35. powerwench says:

    You go, dude!

  36. powerwench says:

    I love all this mental masturbation.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I know I’m not Rosemary, but I’d like to take a crack at the questions you posed. 

    The definition Rosemary claimed was concocted presents Atheism in not only a negative light but from the vantage that God(s) are real and the Atheist is ignorant of the truth; refusal and rejection carry very negative connotations in our modern society that is founded upon open-mindedness (at least in terms of scientific advancement) and also makes the assumption that what they are refusing/rejecting is true. It smears a disrespectful, ignorant view of Atheists (in much the same way the scientific community lambastes the Young Earth creationists) in an attempt to alter perceptions within the deistic (mostly Judeo-Christian-Islamic) community. A more neutral, politically-correct definition would be a non-belief in deities.

    As for the statement on being recent, I believe this definition came about in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in the West when free speech was becoming more common place, skepticism of religion was spreading, and heresy was no longer a criminal offense. Before this time, you could be fined, jailed, or worse for anti-religious (anti-Christian) thoughts, so not many people spoke out in favor of Atheism, which is why the negative taboo and definitions associated with it are relatively recent in the broad history of religion.

  38. Andy says:

    People are really born apatheist, which is the indifference toward whether or not there’s a god.
    Also, there’s a major difference between believing there is no god and not believing there is a god.
    Believing there is no god pretty much requires a blind leap of faith, whether or not I like that. Whereas not believing there is a god requires a lack of belief, or no blind leap of faith.
    I would like to think of myself as an atheist, but really the only logical stance to be taken is agnosticism as most arguments for the belief in a religion or god could easily be retrofitted to arguing for atheism. It’s kind of a fine line.
     
    Richard Dawkins has an interesting system where he has a numbering system from 1-10, 1 being totally faith-driven for the belief in a god or religion, and 10 believing fully there is no god. Even Richie himself is a 7 I think, because you can’t know for sure, but it’s definitely probable.

  39. Actually Andy, Dawkins’ scale was a 7-point one and he places himself at 6.99999 recurring. It’s odd, because I’ve often heard this one misquoted just as you have done, and I wonder where the misquote originated from…

  40. To tell you the truth, in my mind and in my world, even the idea of a god makes absolutely no sense. Neither a theistic nor a deistic god is necessary to for the universe to come into existence.

    Without being too harsh, I think that people are way too eager to answer the questions we don’t understand with a divine entity rather than simply saying “I don’t know, but it will be fun to try and find out”.

  41. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Thanks for the expansion.  I now realize that the definition of “atheism” used by Christian apologists in the 21st century originated about 3 or 4 centuries ago.
    As you so neatly put it, it was used as a weapon to assert that the newly outspoken skeptics “really” believed in the Christian god and were simply wickedly turning their backs on him.  Now, 3 or 4 centuries later, this definition still suits the Christian apologist because it demonizes non-believers and elevates believers in relative comparison.  Essentially, it is a definition of ignorance on the part of the naive or of willful convenience on the part of the educated person who lacks intellectual integrity.  I could be kind and posit a third category to include the helplessly deluded who suffer from mind blinds that cannot comprehend or recall material that does not support their emotionally held belief system.
    In the end, using a definition of atheism that presumes a belief is god is both out of date and hopelessly out of step with reality.

  42. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The crux of the problem is that there are different kinds of atheists.
    Some (like babies) do not believe because they do not have the cognitive capacity to understand the concept.
    Some do not believe because they have never been introduced to the concept.
    Some do not believe because they were never indoctrinated into the belief and they have been taught to treat religious beliefs with the same skepticism they use to ascertain the truth of just about everything else.
    Some do not believe because they were introduced to the concept after attaining the age of reason, and they see no compelling evidence to believe and/or the concept seems inherently silly, incomprehensible or ridiculously fantastical.
    Some do not believe because the concept is incompatible with some other belief that instilled prior to the age of reason.
    Some do not believe because they have investigated their former beliefs and found the evidence to be unconvincing, contradictory, ludicrous or incompatible with reality or their socialized moral value system.
    Most “new atheists” are in the last category.

  43. /b/atman says:

    Atheism…….who cares?

  44. Stutz says:

    I think your objection about animals doesn’t take into account a broader understanding of how evolution works.  The “law of the jungle” is a very simplistic formulation of evolutionary theory.  In reality, animals can and do survive and multiply using a mind-bogglingly diverse number of different strategies.  There are really no rules except that whatever trait they possess somehow makes it more likely that they will produce successful offspring.  Exactly which traits will do that depends on the animal and its environment, and traits that work for one animal might or might not work for another.  In this case, the human animal has developed a strategy, which Proffer has called “solidarity”, that, in combination with our other unique traits, has proved immensely successful.  Other animals don’t have this trait or have it in a very limited way, but what it does for us in particular, most likely, is to enable what we call society.  And if you think about it, without society, we are essentially just a smart but slow, naked, and weak animal alone in a world full of fast, toothy predators, poisonous snakes and insects, and huge grazing herd animals.  Our survival and the survival of our offspring really does depend almost exclusively on our cooperation with one another.  So, Proffer and my point is that it essentially IS instinct that drove you to help that person.  That feeling is a manifestation of your instinct toward cooperation and solidarity.  Even though in the particular case you’ve provided, it does you no good, the trait itself is what has helped us survive, and that’s why you have it.  (In the same way, a lizard’s green camouflage does it no good when it just happens to be crawling over a particular brown rock, but being green helps it hide and survive in most other circumstances, so the species remains green.)

    The only thing I will say about atheists being closed-minded and “believing” just like theists is this: if you can point to a large group of atheists who were raised from birth to believe there’s no god and have barely studied the world’s religions, I’d be right there with you.  I’m sure there are some, but as a group I honestly don’t think anyone could describe us as closed-minded believers.  Most are ex-believers with intimate familiarity with Christianity and a strong grasp of science and philosophy.

  45. dyoung says:

    because people round numbers, jeese. relax already, 10ths of a point are hardly worth pointing out and acting as if someone is WRONG when a rounded number works quite well for arguments purposes

  46. dyoung says:

    sorry i ment rounding up 1 billionth or millionth or what ever that decimal is, unless your talking about the difference in the amount of a poison that is lethal it doesn’t matter

  47. john says:

    Actually, from the perspective of the branch of mathematics Real Analysis 6.9999… = 7.  Because for any number you select that is not seven 6.9999… is closer to it.  It can be rigorously proven, so I wonder if Mr. Dawkins was in on the joke?!?
    Secondly, the 7 scale of belief is similar to the 7 scale used for sexuality by Kinsey in the famous Kinsey Reports.  Again interesting.
     
    Lastly, Sartre gets looks at it like this.  ‘I’m agnostic but you know god never shows up.  So I might as well act as if it doesn’t exist.’  Called it rational atheism.

  48. you’re missing the point. Dawkins scale was from 1-7 (not one to 10) so being a 6.99999 is a lot higher than if it were in a 10 point scale.

  49. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    John, it’s a standard Likehart Scale.  It’s commonly used in behavioural science.  Sorry to ruin your conjecture about the possible connection of god-belief to the Kinsey Report.  It was an interesting idea :-)

  50. Blizno says:

    “baptizing a baby should be illegal. i mean, isn’t it really abuse/attempted murder”
     
    No, of course it is not attempted murder, come on.  Nobody is trying to suffocate the infant.
    That said, it is immoral to baptize an infant because one is forcing it into something that it cannot understand and cannot grant permission.

  51. Blizno says:

    It is not dangerous.  The baby isn’t held under water for minutes.  At most it is briefly dunked.  Often the priest just wets a finger and marks a cross on the baby’s forehead.

  52. Lilly says:

    I wonder what would happen if everyone stopped using the word “believe” to talk about God and religion. What if we all said “I KNOW God exists” or “I KNOW God doesn’t exist”. That’s all faith is anyways, assuming you know something without any proof.

  53. Ganapati says:

    It is certainly possible for someone to claim to KNOW God exists, if they somehow experience It/Him/Her themselves and historically some have claimed the same.

    However, how can anyone possibly claim to KNOW God doesn’t exist? One cannot even claim to KNOW that unicorns don’t exist. Perhaps they do, but there is no credible evidence of their existence.

    I wouldn’t have an issue with anyone who KNOWS about the existence of unicorns or God of a particular characteristics as long as they don’t require their knowledge to form the basis for my actions. If they do require such, I would like to see credible evidence for what they KNOW exists.

  54. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    People claim to know that a particular god exists on the basis of flawed human perception.  There are excellent neuro-scientific grounds for dismissing this as a common socially supported delusion.
    People can claim to know that a particular god does not exist on the basis of mutually exclusive characteristics attributed to that god concept.  For example, the presence of pain, suffering and evil in the world is logically incompatible with a Christian-style god who is supposed to be perfectly compassionate, all-powerful and all-knowing.  The semantic distortions that theists engage in to counter this conundrum are unconvincing to all but theists – that is, those who have an emotional reason for wishing to make this problem go away.  Ergo, such a god cannot exist.
    Similar incompatibilities are apparent upon serious study of any of the three main canons of the Christian Bible (Protestant, Catholic and Coptic).  The personality of the god described in the books differs from author to author and develops from tyrannical to conditionally “loving”.  This is incompatible with the notion of an unchanging, perfectly consistent god.  Ergo, such a god cannot exist.
    This does not exclude the possibility of some other type of god existing, but it all depends on the definition given to the term “god”. The term is extremely ambiguous.  People who use the term “god” assume that it refers to the one or ones that they believe exist, and only this/these.
    If the term is defined broadly enough to cover extremely simple things like “energy” or “gravity” then such a “god” could not be dismissed as non-existent as we have good evidence for the existence of these things.  However, we have words other than “god” to describe them, so why use a term that is generally used to describe something supernatural?
    The questions that theists and deists should be asking are:  Which god or gods do you believe exist?  How do _you_ define this “god”?  What objective evidence, if any, do you have for this?  Is your knowledge claim based on evidence that is reliable enough to be admissible in a court of law in a modern civilized country?  How do you account for the trillions of people, now and throughout the ages, who have/had personally compelling subjective personal experience for the existence of some other god, or some incompatible version of the one you claim exists?  What objective, testable, verifiable proof do you have that your subjective personal experience at any particular stage of your life is superior to the subjective personal experience of everyone else, save the small circle of people who happen to agree with your particular version and interpretation?   Since your experience of “god” has changed over time, how do you know that what you experience and interpret as “real” now will be compatible with what you believe 20 years from now?
    BTW, Christian theists can claim to know that unicorns exist on the basis that all versions of the Christian Bible say that they do.  They believe that this is credible evidence on the basis of their claim to know that the Christian Bible is infallibly correct and on the basis of their claim to know that their interpretation of it is infallibly correct because the infallible Bible claims that the their god will infallibly lead them into all truth.  [Yes, it's fallaciously circular logic, but they don't admit that. ]
     
     
     

  55. James Leighton says:

    I am a Humanist, all I care about is making sure I life my live the happiest I can, whilst ensuring other peoples life’s are not made unhappy with my actions.

    If people took the time to actually read scriptures (such as the bible) they would not believe in god/gods. I have read the bible and found it to be a terrible book, some of the story’s where fancy but the ideas and belief system that has been built on it would have Jesus (hypothetical) turning in his grave.

    I cant prove God dousen’t exist the same way any theist couldn’t prove the non existence of Horus. Zeus,Thor, the pink unicorn, Russells tea pot and the many other thousands of super beings that proceeded them, But the burden of proof lies with the person who is making the claim.

    I know when I die I will cease to exist and my atoms will go back into the earth and then eventual into space, I am no scared of death, if anything it makes me want to enjoy this life I have.

    I think religion stops people appreciating life, “who cares Im going to live in eternal paradise when I die this place is a shithole” someone I know said something along those lines, people dont understand how lucky they are to be here AND THAT PISSES ME OFF

  56. Ganapati says:

    “People claim to know that a particular god exists on the basis of flawed human perception.  There are excellent neuro-scientific grounds for dismissing this as a common socially supported delusion.”

    I am not even remotely implying that everyone else needs to accept a particular person’s unverifiable experiences. However we quite often do. When a person claims to have a headache, it is a personal experience that we cannot verify. We do so because we have no grounds to suspect the person is lying and we ourselves have had a similar experience at another time. However there are scenarios where we are exposed to the same conditions with different personal experiences. This is very evident in tastes. Merely because one person cannot experience what another does, it doesn’t make the other person’s experience a delusion. However no resonable person can expect his/her exclusively personal experiences to be a guide to another, much less enforce them.

    As for the rest of your post, I have little to respond since I am not selling any God or concept of a God. Just as I do not care whether someone believes in a particular God or not, I also do not care that someone doesn’t believe in any God or even the concept of it.

  57. Ganapati says:

    Oh! By the way, the inconsistent descriptions of a particular God doesn’t make it impossible that such a being exists. If you were to invent a God, perhaps you would invent a God with more consistent set of characteristics, but reality doesn’t necessarily conform to what we would like it to be.
    Waves and particles thought have mutually exclusive set of characteristics until later discoveries that made such descriptions meaningless. Is an electron, or any other known thing, a wave or a particle? Well the answer is nobody knows. All we know is that one description is suited to explain some phenomena and another description some other phenomena.

    The God of Abraham isn’t a particularly appealing God to me, but I have no way of knowing He doesn’t exist.

    Regardless of what other characteristics are attributed to God, most theists and deists regard It/Him/Her as the SOURCE of/BASIS for morality/ethics. In that sense it is obviously not anything that you can discover through scientific method. It is not possible to go from what is (reality) to what one ought to (morality/ethics). Some may require that a God that is not omnipotent cannot serve as a source of morality and hence may attribute that quality to It/Him/Her. Some may require some other qualities of a source of morality and attribute those qualities to It/Him/Her. It is also possible to deny an external source of morality/ethics and declare that morality/ethics is simply a commonly agreed upon code meaning anything goes as long as you can convince the others that it is moral.

    I am not sure what this requirement about convincing a modern court of law in a “civilised” country from? If I experience something, why should I convince a modern court of law in a “civilised” country that my experience is real? Do “civilised” countries require that individuals may treat only those experiences as real that they can be admitted as evidence in a court of law? What exactly are the penalties for treating unique personal experiences that cannot be admmited as evidence in a court of law as real? Fortunately for me, I don’t live in any such country!

    Why should I account for others’ experiences whether they are compatible/incampatible with my own regardless of what their numbers are? Is the reality of an experience dependent solely on how many agree with it? If so, do you want to conduct a worldwide poll on how many experience God and determine whether God is real or not? If not, why not?

    Why should I provide objective, testable, verifiable proof of any subjective experiences I have? Why should I even claim them to be superior/inferior to those that others’ have? If I have a headache why should I provide you or anyone else objective, testable verifiable evidence of it? If I enjoy a particular food that others don’t, why should I claim my experience to be superior/inferior to those that don’t?

    Scientific theories change all the time to account for the discovery of new phenomena. Does that make past scientific theories any less “real”?

    If someone wants to believe unicorns exist, for whatever reasons, that is NOT an issue for me. There are many who believe in UFOs and alien abductions. I don’t have an issue with them either.

  58. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    If you accept proof that is inadmissible in a civilized court of law then your standard of proof is very low. If you are making extraordinary claims, such as the existence of an invisible supernatural being, then your standards of proof should be extraordinarily high, not extraordinarily low. This is the logical fallacy of special pleading.

    You constantly confuse personal preference (such as whether you prefer the color red to the color green) with matters of existence (such as whether the color red is a real thing that exists or whether black and white are identical colors). This is a logical fallacy.

    Whether you like it or not, square circles, married bachelors and tyrannical all-powerful perfectly loving gods are logically impossible.

    You confuse the properties of things which have been proved to exist (waves, scientific discoveries) with the purely conjectural properties of something which has not been proved to exist (a god). This is a logical fallacy.

    The subjective experience of pain has a measurable effect on the human body and can be remedied by physical substances that have identical effects on people with similar biology. Except for the way in which a person has learned to express pain, its characteristics are independent of a person’s educational level, cultural background, age or personal belief system. It can thus be shown to be a real physiological response with predictable characteristics and predictable methods of causing and ameliorating it.

    The subjective experience of the divine is another ball game entirely. It is entirely subjective and changes radically with the person’s educational level, cultural background, age and personal belief system. It is thus socially determined, not physiologically determined. It is “real” in the sense that a person experiences it, but its reality does not extend beyond that person’s body. The experience is not predictive of another’s response to similar stimuli, nor is it predictive of the same person’s response 20 years in the future.

    While the underlying brain mechanisms have repeatedly been shown to be identical across all “spiritual” or “transcendental” experiences (e.g. neurophysiological research by Ramachandran, Newberg, D’Aquili, Persinger and others), the best predictors of how a particular person will respond to these abnormal brain states are social, cultural, cognitive, educational and environmental factors. The provoked brain mechanisms cause strong electrical stimulation of areas involved with strong irrational emotion and shut down areas involved in critical analysis and the differentiation of self from one’s environment. These experiences can be extremely powerful and profound. The physiological underpinning is real but the details are supplied by an imagination educated by its current and past environment. Ergo the belief that the experiences are objectively real is illusionary. The immensely powerful feelings that are provoked during the episodes make rational assessment virtually impossible by anyone without knowledge of clinical neuroscience.  The human brain is so easily fooled that scientists and courts of law have had to devise special methods for getting at the truth, regardless of what people sincerely but mistakenly believe is the truth.  

    Theists who believe that the source of morality comes from god are in violent disagreement over what these morals are. The problem is not that science cannot discover these moral absolutes; the problem is that Christians cannot either. It can be easily shown, by scientists, that Christians throughout the ages have based their morality on the values of their time, community and most salient social group, and then interpreted their scripture and traditions to conform to this. There is no consistency of moral views across the ages, even among devout Christians. In other words, the effect of following ones religious beliefs is usually identical to the one that occurs when people assume that moral rules come from the society around them.

    It is essentially irrelevant that there might be moral absolutes that exist apart from the moral zeitgeist that communities develop in response to increasing knowledge and insight. Even if there were, it is very clear that there are no gods whose standards of information dissemination come anywhere close to rivaling the marketing of ethical ideas and values by ordinary human beings.  There is no point in having a set of divine moral absolutes if the divine author is incapable of communicating them to everyone in a clear and equal fashion, regardless of age, language, race, residence, education and innate cognitive ability. In other words, any god who has created a set of absolute morals must also have less power, knowledge, fairness and human decency than the people to whom the hidden absolutes supposedly apply.  Do you think that kind of supernatural entity is worth using as an ultimate standard, even if it were found to exist?

  59. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    “In other words, the effect of following ones religious beliefs is usually identical to the one that occurs when people assume that moral rules come from the society around them.”
     
    That statement should read:  “the effect of following ones religious beliefs is usually identical OR WORSE to the one that occurs when people assume that moral rules come from the society around them.”
     
    The problem with using a morally archaic reference book and believing yourself to be able to divinely and infallibly interpret its meaning gives an immature, poorly socialized, mentally ill, emotionally inadequate or poorly educated Believer free reign to indulge in bigotry and other atrocities in the spurious name of an imaginary higher power that appears to clearly support their own biases and anti-social distortions.
    This is the probably the worst evil that religion wreaks on humanity.

  60. Ganapati says:

    Your self-importance is amazing, but par for self-described “civilised” people.
    I am not pleading with you to accept as real either my personal experiences or those of that I trust. I care a rat’s behind whether anyone believes those experiences to be real. However, if anyone asks me about them, I mention them.
    Objectivity is simply shared subjective experiences. I won’t attempt to convince a blind man that my experiences from the sense of sight are real. I wouldn’t attempt to convince a modern court of law in a “civilised” country of blind people either. They simply don’t hold that kind of significance for me.
    If you differ with the description of a particular God, that doesn’t make Him impossible to exist. It simply means you disagree with the description even if It/He/She exists.
    You should probably take a lesson in basic logic. You claimed the God of Abraham cannot exist because the description about Him is logically inconsistent. By the same token an electron cannot exist because it is considered a particle(localised) and a wave(non-localised) a logically inconsistent description. But electrons exist. Logical consistency in description has nothing to do with the possbility of existence. It is quite possible a tyrannic all-powerful God exists but doesn’t care about good or evil as perceived by you or me and only those that engage in sycophancy and those that know Him call Him loving precisely to please Him. Much like no nation actually tells the United States of America that it is actually a nation of lying murderous bandit scum and not a civilised nation.
    So to you pain is real because you are personally capable of experiencing it and an experience of a divine is not real because you are personally incapable of experiencing it. Or pehaps your definition of reality is described by what can be experienced by a group of people selected by you are individually capable of experiencing. Fine, no issues. What makes you think you and your coterie should define what is real for everyone else in the world? Did it occur to you that perhaps you lack certain capabilities that some others might have?
    I am not a Christian nor an advocate for Christianity (though I am not an advocate against Christianity either). So there is no point targeting Christian specific arguments to me. Yes, morality in terms of specific guidelines for action is not absolute in any religion and has never been. What is constant is the SOURCE of morality, not the specific guidelines. The guidelines change as the situation changes. I love my children and don’t want to see them get hurt. But the exact advice I give them in order to achieve that vary with their age and exposure to the rest of the world and not only can they be different from those in past, sometimes they may be the exact opposite of what they were in the past. For those in constant touch with the divive inspiration or guided by those in touch, it is not an issue, since they receive constant guidance. However, those that record the inspiration of a time and treat it as valid forever are bound to see contradictions between the written word and the sense of morality they can perceive directly themselves.

    “There is no point in having a set of divine moral absolutes if the divine author is incapable of communicating them to everyone in a clear and equal fashion, regardless of age, language, race, residence, education and innate cognitive ability.”  Why not? What exactly is the basis for dismissing the possibility of a divinely inspired morality revealed to only those in touch with it?
    “Do you think that kind of supernatural entity is worth using as an ultimate standard, even if it were found to exist?” What would be the basis to accept or reject such an entity? 

  61. Skreeran says:

    Dawkins was not in on the joke because there was no joke. I’ve read Dawkins’ book. He said he was a 6, not a 6.999… Those were Martin’s words.

  62. Ganapati says:

    So what is the BASIS for describing a certain morality as superior or inferior to another? That others around agree with you?

  63. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    “Objectivity is simply shared subjective experiences.”
    No. This is “group think”. It is shared imagination, not something that has existence outside the brains of these particular people.
     
    The English word “objective” is defined as:
    1. existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions:
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc
    4. an actual phenomenon; reality

    The English word “subjective” is defined as:
    1. existing in the mind;
    2. relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.
    Subjective experience is not acceptable as evidence in a civilized court of law (as distinct from a “kangaroo court”) because there is a mountain of evidence that such experience is an extremely unreliable indication of realities that can be shown to exist outside the brain. Without external measurement and verification, there is no reason to suppose that what you or I imagine inside our heads reflects reality outside our heads.
    I have no trouble imagining things. Like most people on this earth, I have imagined the presence and voice of a god who, unsurprisingly, conformed with the images and expectations I gained from my culture and upbringing. The difference between you and me is that I no longer accept that I have any valid reason to believe that these imaginations reflected something that existed external to my brain.
     
    I can see no good reason to suppose that morality exists outside human brains, either. There is considerable neuroscientific research supporting the notion that morality stems from mirror neurons in the brain that help us imagine how others might see and feel something. The mechanism is impaired in psychopaths who could thus be described as “naturally” evil. 

    To a lesser extent, these same neurons and mechanisms occur in other primates which explains why animals show compassion and altruistic behavior towards other members of their species, and even towards members of other species. Dolphins, chimps and dogs have been known to put their lives at risk to save humans. 

    There is no need to invent a god to account for the existence of moral behavior or moral beliefs. The science is a sufficient explanation. Unlike the god hypothesis, the scientific theory also explains why moral values differ between regions and across time and why it is significantly modified by developmental age and education.
    If you want to dispute these conclusions then you have to attack the methodology of the scientific studies on which they are based.  Attacking my character or expressing your jaundiced view of civilization are examples of fallacious reasoning that you would do well to avoid if you wish your views to be respected.
    Conjecturing that there is a set of moral absolutes that only a few people are in touch with fails because there is no way of determining which group of people has the “true” vision.  Such thinking does not provide the type of cohesion and consensus essential for healthy societies.  As history has shown, it fosters dissension, hate and war.
    Whether you like it or not (and I presume you will not), the healthier and less criminal the society, the higher the percentage of non-believers.  Conversely, the more religious the society the greater incidence there is of evils such as murder, rape, teen pregnancies, poverty, poor education, abortion, short life span, and so on.  http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html  I other words, religious belief is positively correlated with high measures of things that religious people tend to classify as “immoral”  or “evil” in this day and age.  If at least some of these people have an exclusive hot line to a set of divinely inspired moral absolutes then it does not seem to do them much good.
     

  64. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    A moral precept is effective if it makes the world a better and fairer place for you as well as your neighbor.

  65. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The classic “golden rule” (Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself) is insufficient.
    Other people may not like to be treated the way you would like to be treated at all.    You have to be able to “walk in their shoes”, not assume that your shoes will fit them.  That is what healthy mirror neurons help you achieve.

  66. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The classic “golden rule” (Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself) is insufficient.
    Other people may not like to treated the way you would like to be treated at all.    You have to be able to “walk in their shoes”, not assume that your shoes will fit them.  That is what healthy mirror neurons help you achieve.

  67. Ganapati says:

    I didn’t say all shared subjective experiences are objective, merely that everything you call objective is no more than shared subjective experience.
    Every experience anyone has is subjective. That some of them are a reflection of an object external to the subject is an ASSUMPTION or a MODEL created by the subject. There is absolutely no way for you to establish that you are not actually a brain in a vat going through all these experiences including this conversation. However, most of our experiences are consistent with an objective model of SOME of our experiences. When a person assumes something to be objective, he/she expects others similarly capable and similarly placed to be able to experience it. If such an expectation is not met he/she may doubt the objectivity of his/her experience or the capability of others failing to experience the same. In order for the person to be convinced of the dubious nature of his/her own experience he/she must first assume others failing to expeience the same are capable of the same experience or if that experience is in consistent with the person’s own other experiences. Everytime someone experiences something he/she believes to be an objective reality, he/she doesn’t go around trying to establish its validity by comparing it with the experiences of others. Unless the experience is inconsistent with other experiences and knowledge the person trust the reality of the experience. If a person cannot trust the reality of his/her own experiences that are not inconsistent with other experiences why should he/she trust the reality of others’ experiences?
    I am not sure what this fixation with a court and evidence is. I am not trying to convince you or anyone else my experiences are real. I don’t need to and I don’t care to. You on the other hand are claiming that what I cannot prove to YOU in a manner chosen by you doesn’t exist and I or anyone else may not believe it. No one can prove to me the planet Neptune exists if I insist on showing it to me within limitations I impose nor will anyone care to. You seem to think the only reality is that you are capable of experiencing and anything that you cannot experience and cannot be demonstrated to you is not reality. Fine. I am not interested in questioning in your sense of self-importance as the source of all possible reality. As for you imagining things and stopping doing so again the sense of self-importance is quite impressive. You may have imagined yourself to be President of the United States and stopped doing so, but if Barack Obama considers himself the President of the United States today, that is NOT imagination, merely a reality and he doesn’t have to feel he is delusional because you were so at some point of time.
    Morality is about what actions can be deemed good and what bad, not about why certain human beings act in ways considered good and some others do not. Neurons don’t tell you what is good and what is bad. I never metioned INVENTING a God to explain behaviour construed as moral. Science is sufficient to explain why certain behaviours exist i.e. they held a survival advantage to the groups/genes exhibiting that behaviour. That doesn’t explain why a particular behaviour SHOULD be consciously preferred over the others, which is precisely what morality is: SHOULD. Is morality that behaviour in others that enhances the survival prospects of your self/genes/group? Or does it have an objective basis that is outside of yourself?
    Not sure what part of my earlier post you construe as an attack on your character, but for someone who grandly declares as delusions others’ experiences (isn’t that be a personal attack) you have a
    pretty thin skin. As for my “jaundiced view of civilisation”: guilty as charged. I do not consider murderers and bandits as civilised people. And I do not consider societies that thrive on murdering and plundering other societies as civilised either. Given the standard of “evidence” needed for some of the self-proclaimed “civilised” countries to claim wrong doing by others and as an excuse to lauch another murderous campaign of plunder, I am also not interested in providing “evidence” of such “high” standards to anyone from the “civilised” world either.
    Far from conjecturing that there is an absolute set of moral standards, I have stated clearly that morality changes based on context.
    I haven’t been able to open the link posted (got a HTTP 404 error), but I am quite impressed with the “standard” of your argument. From a “logical” proof for the non-existence of God to a statistical “proof” for why not believing in God is “good”, especially if you live in a society that accumulates wealth by pillaging other societies or is part of the same “civilisation” as such plunderers and they share their plundered wealth with you!

  68. Ganapati says:

    Is there an objective basis to determine what is “better”? Is such a basis unique? If not why one basis and not another?

  69. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    “I didn’t say all shared subjective experiences are objective, merely that everything you call objective is no more than shared subjective experience.”

     
    That is exactly the statement that I was objecting to. Your definition is nonsensical.

    What is objective is measurable by anyone, and the answer will always be the same no matter who does the measuring. What is subjective is not measurable and the contents differ wildly from person to person. By definition, “shared subjective experience” does not result in objective experience.
     
    Most of the time the subjective experiences that arise through our senses are sufficiently close to measurable reality to enable us to act successfully on the environment and make reasonable predictions about it. The less our experiences rely on our senses and the more they rely on intangible imagination, feelings and memory the more unreliable our conclusions become.

    The problem with evidence about invisible gods is that it relies totally on these intangible factors – just what scientists have shown to be the most unreliable form of evidence.

    Whether uncivilized countries are more reliant on subjective evidence than societies with a better educated general populace is beside the point. The point is that evidence based on human testimony, especially that based on intangibles, has been overwhelmingly shown to be extremely unreliable. This has been demonstrated by methods which are measurable, repeatable and carefully controlled.

    You continue to rant about countries that consider themselves to be civilized.  This is a red herring.

    I can agree with some of your opinions. I don’t consider murders, bandits, plunderers, torturers, bullies and war-mongers to be worthy of respect or emulation either. Having lived in several countries during my life-time, both rich and poor, civilized and less civilized, I do not make the mistake of believing that any more than a few people conform to the stereotypic view of their national characteristics. Nor do I presume that the general population holds the same views as the governments that represent or control them.

    People in positions of authority in every country where I have resided have failed to uphold the highest standards of morality and honesty, although this has tended to be more obvious in some countries than in others. Generally speaking, the less educated the populace, as measured by internationally normed achievement tests, the more brutal and immoral the country. [In spite of the average American’s belief that they are the best educated nation in the wolrd, USA students do poorly on such academic achievement tests.]

    People in positions of power and influence also fail to adhere to the highest standards of proof as discovered and used by the international scientific community and practised by the most scrupulous members of the legal profession. This does not invalidate these high standards.

    Whether I am “self important” has no bearing on whether my argument is sound. Whether I am delusional enough to believe myself to be the President of a country of which I am not a citizen also has no bearing on whether my argument is sound (although that would certainly be grounds to question my sanity.)
     
    The bottom line is that personal “feelings” are poor indicators of “truth” that exists independently of the mind of the person. While can be perfectly true that you do not like foreigners from Western countries it is not equally true that such foreigners are as corrupt as you believe. Likewise it may be perfectly true that you believe in the existence of morals that exist external to yourself but not perfectly true that such morality actually exists external to yourself. You do not need to supply proof of the former; your say so is sufficient. You do, however, have to provide objective (external) proof of the later if you wish to persuade others that this is more than imaginary conjecture.

    That same goes for god beliefs. It may be perfectly true that you believe in the existence of a god with certain characteristics that exists external to your mind, but unless you can provide external (objective) proof of this belief then there is no valid reason why others should believe that your claims are anything more than fantasy, wishful thinking or delusion. We know that the imaginative mind is easily fooled.

  70. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Waves and particles thought have mutually exclusive set of characteristics until later discoveries that made such descriptions meaningless. Is an electron, or any other known thing, a wave or a particle? Well the answer is nobody knows. All we know is that one description is suited to explain some phenomena and another description some other phenomena.”  – - – - -
    You claimed the God of Abraham cannot exist because the description about Him is logically inconsistent. By the same token an electron cannot exist because it is considered a particle(localised) and a wave(non-localised) a logically inconsistent description. But electrons exist. Logical consistency in description has nothing to do with the possbility of existence.”
     
    This is apples and pears comparison. You can only get fruit salad this way.
     
    Electrons can be measured so we know they are real. Waves are particles are tangible characteristics that can be observed, they are not ephemeral conjectures. Moreover, waves and particles are not semantically contradictory or mutually exclusive. There is no semantic opposite of “wave” or “particle”. In the case of electrons, the phenomena of waves and particles can be shown to be compatible because their effects can be seen and measured. We can now redefine waves and particles to include their mutuality in some instances on the basis of measurable observation.
     
     
    Gods cannot be measured so we cannot be sure that they are real. We cannot directly observe any of their characteristics either because they are intangible. The characteristics imputed to these conjectured things are often semantically mutually exclusive (like all powerful and not all powerful, all-loving and punitive, knowable and unknowable, absolutely moral and murderous, all knowing and partially ignorant, consistent and inconsistent), not just potentially mechanically exclusive (like waves and particles).
     
    A god cannot be directly observed (unless it’s a totem pole or something of that nature) but stories about its existence can be scrutinized and contradictions noted. 

    The reader than has a very limited range of choices –
    * discard one of the contradictory characteristics,
    * decide that the story or event is false,
    * semantically “interpret” the events in order to make them appear to fit
    or, as a last and desperate resort,
    * ignore or direct attention away from the contradiction and pretend it doesn’t exist or is unimportant.
     
    In the case of the problem of the existence of evil a god who allows it cannot be all of the following: all powerful, all loving, all knowing, all good, all perfect, the creator of imperfection, the creator of evil, co-existent with evil. At least one of these characteristics must be false because the set is semantically incompatible. Take your pick, but you cannot chose them all and be logical.
     
    In summary, in the case of intangible things, such as spirits and gods, characteristics that are semantically mutually exclusive destroy the possibility of the existence of such a conceptualized thing. In the case of tangible things with tangible characteristics it is possible to redefine the nature of the characteristics on the basis of experimentation and observation of the tangible thing.

  71. Tim says:

    This is quite a discussion!  My education from age 11 to 18 included daily religious instruction and daily prayer.  I am a confirmed atheist.  Mr. Rooney’s comments were funny, and accurate. 

  72. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    In short, no.  We can only decide on the basis of our limited experience, knowledge and socialization.
    Our attitudes and decisions about what is moral change as we mature.  Kohlberg and others have investigated and described the various stages that make up the ladder.  Children usually outgrow the belief in the necessity of immutable and externally existing moral absolutes before their mid teens.  Unfortunately, authoritarian religions that insist that they are the sole custodians of moral values keep people from socially and cognitively maturing in this realm.  This has resulted in moral atrocities and will continue to do so.

  73. Ganapati says:

    “What is objective is measurable by anyone, and the answer will always be the same no matter who does the measuring.”
    No. Blind people cannot see. Deaf people cannot hear. And so on. What anyone believes to be objective reality (colour, sounds etc.) is not necessarily verifiable by anyone, only those possessing the same capabilities for perceiving objective reality.
    “The less our experiences rely on our senses and the more they rely on intangible imagination, feelings and memory the more unreliable our conclusions become.”
    You are assuming everyone else is limited by the same capability for sensing objective reality as you and others like you are. I don’t see any reason why that should be so. Some others may have senses that you lack and it is exactly through those senses that they experience an objective reality that you cannot.
    “The problem with evidence about invisible gods is that it relies totally on these intangible factors – just what scientists have shown to be the most unreliable form of evidence.”
    If I offered as evidence my experiences and my experiences alone in support of a claim I make and the claim is of extraordinary in nature, like the existence of a God, of course, it would be silly of anyone else to take it as evidence for the existence of the God. However, that a personal experience or that of someone in whose integrity and sanity I have no doubt  should be treated as a delusion because it is not admissible as evidence in a court of law of a “civilised” nation is, to put it mildly, delusions of great importance on the part of the one making such a recommendation.

    “You continue to rant about countries that consider themselves to be civilized.  This is a red herring.”
    This is quite amusing considering that it was you who introduced this “admissibility as evidence in a court of law of a civilised nation” as a criteria of what personal experiences anyone should treat as real. Why should “admissibility as evidence in a court of law in a civiised nation” be the criterion for the test of objectivity for everyone in the world?
    “Nor do I presume that the general population holds the same views as the governments that represent or control them.”
    That is even more amsuing because the ‘civilised” nations are supposed to be democracies where people choose their government. Even when a government of a “civilised” nation engages in a murderous looting campaign of other countries and is returned to power by the population, that somehow still doesn’t reflect on the preferences of the people?
    “Whether I am “self important” has no bearing on whether my argument is sound. Whether I am delusional enough to believe myself to be the President of a country of which I am not a citizen also has no bearing on whether my argument is sound (although that would certainly be grounds to question my sanity.)”
    Well, if your “argument” is statements like how you went through delusions in the past and don’t now, it is nothing more than declaring yourself the standard for the world. That you went through some delusions in the past doesn’t mean others are going through delusions merely because you think your delusions are similar to the others’ experiences.
    “You do, however, have to provide objective (external) proof of the later if you wish to persuade others that this is more than imaginary conjecture.”
    I would attempt to persuade only those who have the same capabilities as I do with regard to perceiving objective reality and not arrogant blind challenging those with eyesight to prove that colour is “objective” and not my imaginary conjecture. I have no reason to pretend that objective reality is restricted what everyone can perceive and deduce and will mention those parts of it, like colour, even if there are blind people around.

  74. Ganapati says:

    An electron is simultaneously localised (particle) and non-localised (wave).

    It is being described as possessing two qualities simultaneously each of which is the semantic and logical opposite of the other. Thought that should have been obvious to someone attempting to use logic, but I guess, I was wrong.

    Describing something as possessing semantically opposite qualities doesn’t mean such is existentially impossible.

  75. Ganapati says:

    Objective is not necessarily immutable. An objective basis doesn’t necessarily mean immutable basis.

    If you have no objective basis for morality,  morality means nothing more than personal preferences that a person wishes to impose on others either though persuasion, social force (strong disapproval of differing actions) or physical force (use of law).

    You can declare anything to be moral and anything to be immoral since it is a matter of personal preference anyway.

  76. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The electron is operating in the quantum realm which has different rules from ordinary physics.  In that realm the descriptor “wave” and the descriptor “particle” do not have the same meanings as they do in the macro world.   We know this because we can measure the phenomena and make predictions about it that can be falsified or confirmed.  So far they have only been confirmed.
    If the physics of “god” or the supernatural world are different from either macro or quantum physics then you have to provide rigorous predictive and falsifiable evidence of this before it can be confirmed as any more than an idle speculation.  This has not happened yet. The default position is that there is no such realm and that things like “powerless all-powerfulness”, “hateful love” and “ignorant all-knowingness” do not exist outside of the mind’s imagination.
    Ergo describing something as possessing semantically opposite qualities without any proof that these things exist in reality is equivalent to a delusion.  My psychotic patients do it all the time. It seems real to them, but they are drawing conclusions from a damaged operating system.
     
     

  77. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Socially acceptable morality conforms with the group community consensus of the times which, itself, is informed by group knowledge of history, science and culture. This is group preference, not personal preference. It becomes mob rule if the morality is derived from emotional prejudice rather than educated and reasoned discourse. That is what socializing education is supposed to prevent.
     
    On the other hand, there are numerous examples of people who go against the evolved group consensus and try to impose their personal moral preferences on the community on the grounds that they are “divinely inspired”. Sacred scriptures and religious traditions are sufficiently vague to allow the derivation of just about any “moral” interpretation. This “inspiration” is never universal or eternal or absolute. The values are always restricted to individuals or groups of acolytes in a particular point in space and time. This thinking is the root of all moral atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion.
     
    The bottom line is that I will call you immoral if your personal or religious preference makes you behave in a way that is considered barbaric in modern civilized (as opposed to primitive) society. I will be unimpressed if you label my socially acceptable behavior as “immoral” merely because it does not conform to your personal religious beliefs or interpretations.

  78. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    That (you believe that) a personal experience or that of someone in whose integrity and sanity I have no doubt  should be treated as a delusion because it is not admissible as evidence in a court of law of a “civilized” nation is, to put it mildly, delusions of great importance on the part of the one making such a recommendation.
     
    As I said, your arguments against the use of the word “civilized” are red herrings. I used the word to distinguish British-European style judicial rule, where it is deemed vitally important to determine truth from fiction, from primitive and barbaric rule where truth is not deemed to be important. At no stage did I imply that modern civilization is the epitome of morality or that Western style law courts are infallabily able to determine truth in every instance. Clearly, this is not the case. Please adjust your thinking.

    If your “argument” is statements like how you went through delusions in the past and don’t now, it is nothing more than declaring yourself the standard for the world.

    Not at all. My standards are based on those which the best educated people in my society have determined to be the fairest and most reasonable. History makes it clear that future generations will improve on these, but for the time being they are the best we have.

    What anyone believes to be objective reality (colour, sounds etc.) is not necessarily verifiable by anyone, only those possessing the same capabilities for perceiving objective reality.

    While it is true that people with disabilities must use different methods to measure things than those with all their faculties the central idea still stands. Anyone who is capable of measuring something physical will get the same results as anyone else who is equally capable of measuring it, within the bounds of normal random variation – and anyone with any statistical savvy will use tools that adjust for random variation.

    Some others may have senses that you lack and it is exactly through those senses that they experience an objective reality that you cannot. – - -

    I have no reason to pretend that objective reality is restricted what everyone can perceive and deduce and will mention those parts of it, like colour, even if there are blind people around. – - -

    I would attempt to persuade only those who have the same capabilities as I do with regard to perceiving objective reality and not arrogant blind challenging those with eyesight to prove that colour is “objective” and not my imaginary conjecture.

    You commit the fallacy of privileged information. There is no objective reason why you, or any group who agrees with you, should have exceptional perception in the absence of any objective verifiable proof of such an extraordinary abnormality. People with “sight” are capable of proving to people who are “blind” that they are in possession of something that the blind person does not possess. The same goes for those who lack good hearing. You, however, expect others to accept your perceptual superiority without any objective proof.
     
    Lots of people claim that they have special powers or insights that others lack. James Randi has offered a prize to anyone who can ojectively prove this when subjected to rigorous testing. So far, no-one has won the prize.
     
    There are thousands of people in the US who sincerely believe that they have been abducted by aliens. They are very often otherwise perfectly normal people, save for this one delusion which is firmly encapsulated against reason and logical thinking. They congregate with others who have had similar experiences in an attempt to bolster these delusions against the rest of society who can find no valid reason to believe their stories. Your argument would legitimize their experience.
     
    A well-educated man in the town next to where I live is in the process of conducting a massive advertising campaign claiming that he has special knowledge and proof from his version of god that the end of the world is coming on 21 May this year. He has persuaded a lot of people that he is correct and amassed a fortune in funding. On your argument we should believe him and his followers.
     
    If you believe that you have devloped supernatural powers of perception or detection then the default position is describe you as delusional until such time as you can demonstate these powers in an objectively measurable way to those who do not possess them.

  79. Ganapati says:

    Your delusions seems to have moved from hearing voices to thinking you are making a rational argument merely by throwing latin words when your conclusions do not follow from your premises.

    You claimed semantically opposite words used to describe something make its existence an impossibility.

    Either it is true in all cases or it is not. I have logically proved that it is false by providing one counter example. As far as logic is concerned, that is enough, one counter example, to prove the fallacy of an assertion.

    So, for anyone who understands logic, an argument that a certain God cannot exist because Its/His/Her description involves semantically opposite words is false.

    It doesn’t prove such God exists either, but proves that someone who believe he/she has disproved the existsence of such a God is a deluded psychotic incapable of understanding what constitutes a rational argument.

  80. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Ganapati,
    As I have shown you at least twice now, you are comparing apples and elephants.  It is clear that you have not understood your fallacy.  For the third time:
    The terms “wave” and “particle” are not logically impossible or incompatible in the physics that govern the example that you give. You are talking about measurable material things existing in a quantum state.
    The qualities of “omniscience” and “ignorance” are mutually exclusive in any world, except in an imaginary world like Lewis Carol’s Wonderland.  The conceptions of god are conjectures from the imagination.  There is no measurable proof of a god of any sort.  Nor is there any measurable proof of a supernatural world where contradictions and opposites are equivalent and compatible.
    One world is real and measurable;  the other is imaginary and not measurable.
     
     

  81. Ganapati says:

    Again your delusions about what you have “shown” are becoming apparent.
    You are attempting to logically prove that God cannot exist. Logic doesn’t care about measurables and non-measurables. An assertion in logic is either true or false. Is your assertion that the, currently, non-measurables cannot posses semantically opposite qualities, but measurables can?
    Localised (property of particles) and non-localised (property of waves) are semantic opposites and are properties of an electron, photon and all matter-energy in the universe.

    If your assertion that semantically compatible description is a logical necessity for the existence of anything is correct no matter-energy can exist in the universe. But it does. So existence or otherwise of a thing has no relationship to how semnatically consistent the description of such is.

    Even the semnatic inconsistency in the description of God, say God of Abraham, is a construction from “logic” by not-so-clever and often dishonest atheists. Jews, Christian and Muslims don’t describe Him as omniscient and ignorant or omnipotent and powerless etc. It is the atheists who claim the inconsistency by imposing their own definitions of what is good on the top of what are supposed to be the characteristics of such God as described by those who believe in Him.

  82. Ganapati says:

    “As I said, your arguments against the use of the word “civilized” are red herrings. I used the word to distinguish British-European style judicial rule, where it is deemed vitally important to determine truth from fiction, from primitive and barbaric rule where truth is not deemed to be important. At no stage did I imply that modern civilization is the epitome of morality or that Western style law courts are infallabily able to determine truth in every instance. Clearly, this is not the case. Please adjust your thinking.”

    Amusing. So your “standards” are not infallible in determining the truth, but they are somehow the “standards” by which everyone should be judging their own experiences? Why? Because your society has declared itself to be “civilised”?

    “Not at all. My standards are based on those which the best educated people in my society have determined to be the fairest and most reasonable.”

    So a bunch of self-described/peer-described experts in your society set some “standards” for what should be considered truth, you believe them and you expect that to be “standard” for everyone in the world? Exactly what makes you think you are so special?

    “History makes it clear that future generations will improve on these, but for the time being they are the best we have.”

    Is that so? Do you have any evidence of it? Or is it so because you declared it so?

    “You commit the fallacy of privileged information.”

    That is hilarious coming from someone who believes to be privileged enough to declare “standards” for truth.

    “There is no objective reason why you, or any group who agrees with you, should have exceptional perception in the absence of any objective verifiable proof of such an extraordinary abnormality.”

    There is no objective reason why you and your group of fellow bandits (ak.a. “civilised” people) should hold an exceptional capability to determine what is “best”.

    “People with “sight” are capable of proving to people who are “blind” that they are in possession of something that the blind person does not possess. The same goes for those who lack good hearing.”

    Capability to prove is not the same as willingness to prove on the terms of the blind or the deaf.

    “You, however, expect others to accept your perceptual superiority without any objective proof.”

    I care a rat’s behind whether anyone else accepts it or not.

    “There are thousands of people in the US who sincerely believe that they have been abducted by aliens. They are very often otherwise perfectly normal people, save for this one delusion which is firmly encapsulated against reason and logical thinking. They congregate with others who have had similar experiences in an attempt to bolster these delusions against the rest of society who can find no valid reason to believe their stories. Your argument would legitimize their experience.”

    What is “illegitimate” about their experience?

    “A well-educated man in the town next to where I live is in the process of conducting a massive advertising campaign claiming that he has special knowledge and proof from his version of god that the end of the world is coming on 21 May this year. He has persuaded a lot of people that he is correct and amassed a fortune in funding. On your argument we should believe him and his followers.”

    You seem to have a serious difficulty following anything in a logical way. My argument doesn’t mean anyone should believe anyone else for whatever reason. It only means that no one needs to prove to anyone else (however important they consider themselves), in order to trust their own experiences or those of the people they trust.

    “If you believe that you have devloped supernatural powers of perception or detection then the default position is describe you as delusional until such time as you can demonstate these powers in an objectively measurable way to those who do not possess them.”

    Not sure in what way I can demonstrate to chimpazees my mathematical abilities, but am not interested in finding out either. But if a chimpanzee comes along and tells me my mathematical abilities are delusions because the chimp itself does not know mathematics nor can learn it, I can only laugh at the chimp. There is nothing “supernatural” about mathematical ability, although chimps probably cannot learn it.

  83. Ganapati says:

    “Socially acceptable morality conforms with the group community consensus of the times which, itself, is informed by group knowledge of history, science and culture. This is group preference, not personal preference. It becomes mob rule if the morality is derived from emotional prejudice rather than educated and reasoned discourse. That is what socializing education is supposed to prevent.”

    So your “morality” is your groups consensus on what it is? Do you have a way of arriving at a consensus without anyone having any preference whatsoever? Or do individuals have preferences before a consensus in the group emerges? If it is the latter, how do the different individuals arrive at their preferences? Is your “morality” akin to your society arriving at a consensus on what is the “best” tea or is it substantially different? If different, how so?

    “On the other hand, there are numerous examples of people who go against the evolved group consensus and try to impose their personal moral preferences on the community on the grounds that they are “divinely inspired”. Sacred scriptures and religious traditions are sufficiently vague to allow the derivation of just about any “moral” interpretation. This “inspiration” is never universal or eternal or absolute. The values are always restricted to individuals or groups of acolytes in a particular point in space and time. This thinking is the root of all moral atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion.”

    Are they atrocities only when they go against the “evolved group consensus”? For example  does European setllers in North America and Australia wiping out local populations in order to claim their lands count as atrocity or is it not because the “evolved group consensus” among the “civilised” people was to do so?

    “The bottom line is that I will call you immoral if your personal or religious preference makes you behave in a way that is considered barbaric in modern civilized (as opposed to primitive) society. I will be unimpressed if you label my socially acceptable behavior as “immoral” merely because it does not conform to your personal religious beliefs or interpretations.”

    Any particular reason why others should be impressed by your definitions of what is moral and what is not?

  84. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Ganapati,
    Morality, like humans, continues to evolve.  What is justified as moral in one generation is not seen to be moral in another.
    Every conquering nation has slaughtered or wronged the people it conquers.  The Romans oppressed the Jews, the British and Portuguese slaughtered Australian Aboriginals, the American Colonists and the Spanish slaughtered the local Indians, the French slaughtered Mexicans, the Indonesians slaughtered Papuans and Timorese, the Jews kill Palestinians, and so on.
    When religion gets added to the mix things get a lot worse.  Muslims kill Christians, Christians kill Muslims, one faction of Islam kills another faction, Christian heretics are burned at the stake, Christians kill their children by medical neglect, and so on.
    History condemns all these in retrospect, but at the time, the factions justify their actions, often in religious terms.  At every point, however, there are always journalists and others who stand up and protest at the immorality of the behavior.  These people are often brutally treated themselves.
    When it comes to the history of currently worshiped gods, however, criticism of the morality of their behavior is forbidden or taboo.  That is a convenient double standard for religious people.
    Belief in an absolute unchanging morality is a pipedream that is attractive to those with personalities that do not deal well with uncertainty and change.  There is, however, no evidence for any such thing, a mountain of evidence against it.
    As people mature the belief in absolutes normally declines.  Some people, for reasons of innate personality or lack of educational experience, never grow beyond this level.  To them, the reasoning of those at higher levels makes no sense.  Perhaps that is why what I am arguing make no sense to you.
    The best that people can do is try to make life as comfortable as possible for the others in their world without unreasonably harming themselves, and to teach this principle to their children.  The emotional attachment to friends and family will always override the self-protection rule, but that is essential to species survival as a whole.
    Ganapati, just wanting their to be immutable moral absolutes will not make them exist.  If you want to live in the real world then you have to do the best you can with the existing imperfections while working towards moving humanity to the next level of insight and shared kindness.
     
     

  85. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Your electron example deals with actual material physical states.  Your god example deals with imputed non-physical qualities of a conjectured personality.  Elephants and apples.  You can’t use the analogy of one to “prove” something about the other.  They are in different semantic worlds.
    The scientific answer to the electron conundrum is that the state of the electron in the quantum realm is neither as a particle, nor a wave, but as something as yet undefined that appears to have the qualities of both.  The features of “wave” and “particle” might be polar opposites in Newtonian physics but they are meaningless in quantum physics.  We have an electron that is in a state of un-wave and un-particle.  That is a new state.
    You cannot apply this material reasoning to personality qualities that are derived from a consensual but vague semantic synthesis.  What exactly is “goodness”, “perfection”, “omniscience”, “omnipotence”?  Some philosophers have defined the superlatives as “the best we can think of”.
    On the other hand, it is relatively easy to clearly define what an electron is.  It’s measurable.
     
     

  86. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Correction:
     
    We can relatively easily define the meanings of “wave” and “particle”.  They are physical states.
     
    We cannot easily define the meanings of “goodness” and “badness”.  They are vague terms that have no absolute meaning.

  87. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    If, for the sake of argument, I concede that a god can exist with a set of personality characteristics that are polar opposites would you want to worship such a fickle and inherently unstable being?
    Would you want to worship a god who is both all-loving and paradoxically viciously cruel?
    Would you want to trust a god who is all-knowledgeable and paradoxically ignorant of matters that could save your life?
    Would you be impressed with a god who is all-powerful and paradoxically impotent against the “forces of evil”?
    Would you want to follow the example of a god who is all-wise and paradoxically behaves like a spiteful and spoilt child?
     
    If you do then I might be excused for wondering about your sanity.
     
     
     

  88. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    I am sure that you could prove to this “chimpanzee” that your mathematical ability is superior to hers.
     
    Mathematics, however, is not a reasonable basis for determining that your personal perceptions, or those of others your trust, are based on reality rather than illusion.  It has become obvious that you lack the skills necessary to determine this.  In this case it is you who is the “chimpanzee”.
    If you are at all interested in the scientific underpinnings behind my contention that human perception is extremely unreliable then you could check out these links, and learn the art of checking your perceptions before automatically assuming that what you and your trusted friends see and hear and recall is actually what is there in measurable reality.
     
    http://www.andiskaulins.com/sources.htm
    http://books.google.com/books?id=upNsGLQ6SMcC&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=testimonial+evidence+reliability&source=bl&ots=asjVQZjAso&sig=0eoUlV-G5q45L2U0l2kXu3ujn6s&hl=en&ei=drmUTcuCM4uisQPAh9nRBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=testimonial%20evidence%20reliability&f=false
    http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/on-eye-witnesses-as-evidence
     
    BTW, I am not an American, and I have lived in several countries, some of which you would probably consider less civilized than your own.  So your barbed attacks on “my” civilization” are just making you look like an ignorant jerk who jumps to unwarranted conclusions. Is this considered moral behavior in your community of socialization or are you following your perception of divine morality?
     
     

  89. Nic says:

    The actual definition is the one those of us hold with regard to the knowledge of it’s etymology.
    Atheism can be broken down like this A(Without) Theism(Belief in god or gods)
    So an atheist is anyone who doesn’t believe in a god or gods. Doesn’t meaning whether they’re unable,rejecting or just withholding until further evidence.

  90. Ganapati says:

    “Every conquering nation has slaughtered or wronged the people it conquers.”
    Thats a lie. Not every conquering nation slaughtered or wronged the conquered. However, it is not surprising that you would pick only those who are like you and claim it to be the case with everyone. Some, in fact, have never attempted to conquer people who were unlike them and only conquests attempted were to consolidate control over people who had similar culture. There are those who are bandits and there are those who are not.
    “When religion gets added to the mix things get a lot worse.”
    Hard to imagine what could be “worse” than getting slaughtered wholesale because the “civilised” people want your land or resources. But isn’t that the fun about making claims that you don’t have to prove?
    “When it comes to the history of currently worshiped gods, however, criticism of the morality of their behavior is forbidden or taboo.  That is a convenient double standard for religious people.”
    Funny how there are so many atheists who keep doing exactly what you claim is “forbidden or taboo”. If it is “forbidden” how are they able to do so? As for “taboo”, I don’t see why every self-important clown should be respected by everyone else. You can say whatever garbage you want, but don’t expect to find audience for your garbage because you think what you say is the “truth”. That applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses and atheists equally. You can pour scorn on Jehovah’s Witnesses and religious people can do the same to atheists.
    “Ganapati, just wanting their to be immutable moral absolutes will not make them exist.”
    For sometime now, I had this growing doubt that I was conversing with neurotic who imagines things. In what part of my repeated assertions that “morality is not absolute and changes with time and place” did you read “wanting there to be moral absolutes”?
    Anyway, most Westerners are neurotic to a significant degree, you are not alone. Generations of murdering bandit filth describing themselves as “civilised” requires a significant degree of neurosis.

  91. Ganapati says:

    “Your electron example deals with actual material physical states.  Your god example deals with imputed non-physical qualities of a conjectured personality.  Elephants and apples.  You can’t use the analogy of one to “prove” something about the other.  They are in different semantic worlds.”
    When you come out of your neurosis, if you ever manage to do so, you will realise, I didn’t give any “god example”, it was your “argument”. You claimed god of a certain description cannot exist because He is described using semantically opposite words. To disprove such a “logic”, I gave you an example where something is known to exist and has semantically opposite words used to describe it too. That, to anyone who has a minimum capability for logic, establishes the utter stupidity of attempting to “prove” why a certain god cannot exist because He is described using semantically inconsistent words. But I guess that’s not enough for you.
    “The scientific answer to the electron conundrum is that the state of the electron in the quantum realm is neither as a particle, nor a wave, but as something as yet undefined that appears to have the qualities of both.  The features of “wave” and “particle” might be polar opposites in Newtonian physics but they are meaningless in quantum physics.  We have an electron that is in a state of un-wave and un-particle.  That is a new state.”
    Exactly! While parroting what someone else has probably told you or what you found on the internet, you don’t even realise what you are typing. There is a level at which traditional descriptions are insufficient to describe reality and any such descriptions can only be approximations and can even sound semantically inconsistent. If you had even an iota of intellectual integrity and a minimum level of logical comprehension needed to advance any argument, you would have accepted the utter stupidity of your own “argument”. You, on the contrary, choose to pretend this somehow “proves” your “argument”!
    “You cannot apply this material reasoning to personality qualities that are derived from a consensual but vague semantic synthesis.  What exactly <strong>is</strong> “goodness”, “perfection”, “omniscience”, “omnipotence”?  Some philosophers have defined the superlatives as “the best we can think of”.
    On the other hand, it is relatively easy to clearly define what an electron is.  It’s measurable.”
    It is amazing that you actually think you are making sense here. Something described by very clearly defined and semantically opposite properties can exist, but nothing can exist when described by vaguely defined and semantically opposite properties? So you have some other kind of “reasoning” than material by which you “proved” a certain type of god doesn’t exist?
    “If, for the sake of argument, I concede that a god can exist with a set of personality characteristics that are polar opposites would you want to worship such a fickle and inherently unstable being?
    Would you want to worship a god who is both all-loving and paradoxically viciously cruel?
    Would you want to trust a god who is all-knowledgeable and paradoxically ignorant of matters that could save your life?
    Would you be impressed with a god who is all-powerful and paradoxically impotent against the “forces of evil”?
    Would you want to follow the example of a god who is all-wise and paradoxically behaves like a spiteful and spoilt child?
     
    If you do then I might be excused for wondering about your sanity.”
    Of all the self-important statements that you made, this takes the cake! Why exactly would anyone care whether a neurotic, who thinks a murdering, plundering bandit “civilisation” is the “standard” by which everything else in the world is to be judged, considers him sane or not?

  92. Ganapati says:

    “I am sure that you could prove to this “chimpanzee” that your mathematical ability is superior to hers.
     
    Mathematics, however, is not a reasonable basis for determining that your personal perceptions, or those of others your trust, are based on reality rather than illusion.  It has become obvious that you lack the skills necessary to determine this.  In this case it is you who is the “chimpanzee”.”
    That was an analogy. I guess you do not understand analogies either. Just as I need not be interested in proving my mathematical skills to a chimp I need not be interested in proving my perceptional abilities to any and every self-important person especially when they declare bandit societies as “civilised” and the “standard” by which these abilities have to be proved.
    “If you are at all interested in the scientific underpinnings behind my contention that human perception is extremely unreliable then you could check out these links, and learn the art of checking your perceptions before automatically assuming that what you and your trusted friends see and hear and recall is actually what is there in measurable reality.”
    That is amusing! I cannot trust my own perceptions, but I am supposed to trust that of a bunch of self-important “civilised” bandits? What makes you think I don’t know the art of checking my perceptions? Because a bunch of “civilised” bandits do not have the same capability? Or that I refuse treat such scum as the “standard” for humanity and don’t bother to prove anything to them?

    “BTW, I am not an American, and I have lived in several countries, some of which you would probably consider less civilized than your own.  So your barbed attacks on “my” civilization” are just making you look like an ignorant jerk who jumps to unwarranted conclusions. Is this considered moral behavior in your community of socialization or are you following your perception of divine morality?”
    I don’t think I ever said anything about your being an American. But I did assume that such disgusting bandit nations as the US, Britain and France do form part of your “civilisation”. I most certainly consider such disgusting nations as those mentioned above as being at the rock bottom of human living. Neither the moral behaviour as learnt from my community nor the morality as revealed condone murder and plunder nor treat murderers and plunderers (individuals or societies) as “standards” or “role models”. If you are touchy about being pointed, perhaps you should pick some standard other than bandit societies masquerading as “civilised” people.
    Anyway, I am more than tired of this exercise. I already know neither reason nor reality will sway any Westerner from the delusions of being in charge of the earth and dictating to anyone and everyone. Continue with your delusions of relevance right until your “civilisation” blows up right in your face.

  93. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Ganapati,
    Your irrelevant ad hominem attacks have undermined any credibility that your arguments might otherwise have had.
    You have no idea what nationality I am or what countries I have lived in.  And even if you did, assuming that I am in agreement with the governmental or popular behavior of those countries is ingenuous.
    By the way, you happen to be wrong in your belief that I have only lived in Western countries.  For your information, I did not find Muslim countries to be any more “civilized” than Western ones.  They were simply more overtly corrupt.

  94. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    I also lived in a Hindu region.  These people were usually gentle but one day a Muslim housekeeper was found stealing.  He was chased by a group of Hindus and murdered.  No-one was arrested by the authorities who turned a blind eye.  Apparently this neglect conformed to their cultural morality.
    I saw honor bashings and maimings in Muslim areas. forced marriages in Christian areas and looting and burning of Chinese homes and workplaces by everyone else.  The army tortured and killed its own citizens, particularly if they were of a different religion than their own.
    The U.S. is no picnic either,  but there is at least a greater likelihood of the horrors being publicly exposed and condemned there.
    My conclusions:  morality is expedient everywhere and religion is frequently used to justify it.
     

  95. Walter says:

    If this was repeated enough times, no doubt it would gain some believers.

  96. Phillip Z. says:

    May I qoute this? at least in part?

  97. Phillip Z. says:

    “…gerry-rigging that is part of natural evolution.” hmm… Gerry-rigging..never thought of putting it that way, I like it.

  98. Phillip Z. says:

    SARAH = “The funny thing is that a lot of you commenters are just as close-minded as some theists are. Atheists bitch all the time about how eeeevil the concept of God is and how evvvvvilll theists are for believing in god.”

    How exactly are atheists being close minded and hypocritical? Most of us have done our own research, thought long and hard about the details and what they meant to us and came to the conclusion of Atheism. So once someone has reached a conclusion it is considered Close-minded to stick to it? I think not… We call Theists close minded because they attack us with what they think is truth… then we come back at them with what we can prove is truth and it is ignored, subject is immediately changed in the conversation or you are yelled/threaten at ..Or they offer their prayers that you will one day open your eyes and call you closed minded… In my 7 years of conversing with diehard believers I have never once, I swear on the lives of all that I care for, I repeat I have never once talked with a diehard believer that took the time to look up what I had to offer…. now THAT my friend is true closed mindedness. There has never been a time when I debate that I haven’t, in turn, looked up what the diehard believer has had to say but as time goes on believers tend to repeat the same things over and over so I look up less and less because I’ve argued the same things over and over… “Evolution is just a theory”… “Carbon-dating is totally unreliable”… “There are no Transitional fossils”… “The Grand Canyon proves Noah’s Flood”… “Josephus wrote about Jesus.” Each of these I can prove false, each of these I’ve shown the evidence of why they are false again and again. It gets tiresome, it gets frustrating, and it gets old… How would you treat the 1000th person you had to explain, whilst they kick and scream that you are wrong, what the true meaning of scientific theory is? So yes sometimes we can come off as harsh… and it’s hard to view anything that spreads so much ignorance and falsehoods as anything good. If anything religion as a whole proves itself evil, but personally I think it a bit deeper… my own theory is that religions are evil because humanity is dominantly evil… Yes we are capable of good acts but a look at history and a look at today and one will see much more evil than good. That is just a fact of life sadly and is not up for debate. Moving on to your question though…

    Sarah = “MY Question as a person who is not just comprised of whether I do or do not believe in god and thusly should not be discounted because of this one belief is What do you/we gain from calling the idea of God “obsolete” and what do we gain from CARING about what other people believe. It’s none of my business what you think about god or not and it’s none of yours what I think about god…”

    This answer you will not like I will warn you now. Please believe me when I say I have nothing against you personally but as stated before, emotions can build when you debate a question that you have answered time and time again… though by no fault of your own.

    There is MUCH to gain by calling God Obsolete and everyone accepting it. Let me put things in perspective…Christianity teaches that what you do on earth does not matter as long as in the end you repent and accept Jesus as your savior. I immediately see the “evil” in this, while believers look at this as a good thing. This is the source of much aggression from atheists on this matter because to us, this is saying that you could kill rape and torture all your life but if you say on your death bed “oh my bad, I’m really sorry I did those things, you are my savior Jesus and I accept you truly in my heart” … BAM he goes to heaven… WTF!?… By calling God Obsolete we get rid of this nonsense. For an Atheist there is no fear of punishment in the afterlife for bad deeds, nor is there any belief in reward for good deeds… in fact many atheists believe there is no afterlife at all! I am one of those atheists… I believe that after death there is nothing. Death is exactly like pre-conception… Oblivion, nothingness, no consciousness to even note the nothingness. Life on earth will continue as it always has…as George Harrison once sang…”Life flows on within you, and without you.” Yet Atheists such as me continue to do good things. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do! Nothing more and nothing less… for us the importance of an act of kindness or goodness is in fact even more meaningful because for us that person, or ourselves, is doing a good thing just to do it! For us it also makes acts of evil all the more evil. We believe, most of us anyway, that this life on earth. This instantly makes life all the more precious and fragile for us. Preserving and protecting it becomes all the more important, destruction and murder becomes all the more terrible….which brings to mind a quote from a devout believer…”so you think that if no one believed in any religion there would be no wars or fighting? I think it’d be worse, I think it would be way worse. I know if I didn’t have God’s Judgment to fear, I would have killed many many times.” Anonymous …… and you wonder why we label some believers as evil? Please know that allot of people, believers and nonbelievers alike, have a tendency to over generalize and it may come across as us calling all Christians as evil, stupid, ignorant, etc… But please know that the majority of the time we are only referring to fundamentalists and do not mean to generalize every single Christian… this is an important note to bear in mind…
     
    Another teaching is God and/or Jesus  is all loving… but there is hell. A woman called in on a radio show once in my area. A religious talk show. This woman stumped the host with a few simple questions. She asked first the biblical stance on homosexuality, since they believe the bible to be the true word of god there was only one answer… her response was wonderful…she said, and I will paraphrase because it happened so long ago I cannot remember word for word… If God is supposed to be ultimate love, then how can my love be greater than that of God? the host said simply “uh… care to explain?”.. she replied by saying that God would have her son sent to hell for being gay, just as my husband would kick him out of the house for being gay, but I love my son so much that I couldn’t bear the thought of turning my child out and not knowing if he was safe or not. So I left my husband and live alone with my son. So how can God’s love for my son be stronger than mine if he is willing to hurt him for what he is and I am not?…he gave her the “god works in mysterious ways” mumbo..Which is no answer at all…again this isn’t word for word but I promise I didn’t add anything or change anything for emotional impact, I admit I was a bit tear-eyed after listening to that story and I share it openly…. With religion being obsolete things like this would be non-existent, homosexuality would be a non-issue because homosexuality is 100% natural…. so not only is religion teaching a lesser, twisted version of what love is, it promotes hate toward people whom are different. It is anti-diversification. It is anti-compassion; it is calling itself unconditional love with conditions… that’s what I call hypocritical.

    I could go on and on but those are a couple of great things we could gain from labeling religion as obsolete…your next questions was what would we gain from caring about what others believe? Sarah… you don’t really mean to ask that do you? Not knowing what the “other side” believes in is not only a silly thing to not care about but highly dangerous! Cults and Charles Manson’s of the world aside, religious belief is very much a major factor in some nation’s political on-goings. Surly you wouldn’t suggest that the U.S.A as a nation not care what other nations are doing? Same can be said for believers of one religion to another, or between believers and non-believers… If I just accepted being an Atheist without knowing what I was atheistic about that would go against everything I stand for, it would go against the reason why I am an Atheist to begin with…. Caring about what the “other side” is doing is not only important but a major key in knowing the world around you and what is going on in it.

    Is it my business to know what you believe; is it your business to know what I believe? You say no but that is not the real answer. Major Christian groups are constantly pushing themselves into our politics… politics that not only affect other Christians but every single U.S.A Citizen, non-believers and believers alike. It is VERY important to us to fight against this because 1. Separation of Church and State… 2. 9/10 Christian groups are trying to push things through that are so idiotic… creationism as a science course for example… Creationism isn’t science and has been proven false in so many ways over and over and over again yet it still keeps coming back because …well.. They won’t listen to reason and are closed-minded…This undermines the truth… biology, evolution, etc… To make way for lies and falsehoods. This, in my eyes, is an evil act.

    .. You finished with the following…

    Sarah = “… but so many of you act like if I were to believe in a god that I would automatically be LESS than or not as smart as you chosen atheists.
    All I’m sayin’ is that it’s coming off as highly hypocritical.”

    No true atheist thinks that anyone is less than another person *outside of rapists, murders and that ilk*… if they do that is a mark on them as a person, and has nothing to do with atheism… in short… some people are just assholes and think they are better than you because.. Well… they are assholes… but feeling you arn’t as smart? Well… please believe me when I say that I am not trying to insult you, or offend you or anything like that… I am merely trying to give you the facts as they are known and/or reasons that I have come to understand for why people do what they do…that being stated… The average Atheist IS smarter than the average Believer… this is not smugness, this is not personal observation, this is scientific fact.

    You can look up a number of studies on the matter, and one will find that people of higher intelligence are prone to Liberalism and Atheism… This does NOT mean that every liberal/Atheist is smart and that every Rep/Dem/Believer is stupid, nor does it mean that being a believer or republican or democrat is a choice for the stupid and choosing to be liberal or atheist is because you are making a smart decision… this simply means that The higher the intelligence.. The less likely you are to believe in a religion… and the more likely you are to sympathize with liberal ideals. Nothing more… nothing less.

    So I repeat I am in no way calling you unintelligent, stupid or less than me… All I know of you is this one comment you posted and the picture you have… in short I know absolutly nothing about you and for all I know you could be smarter than me by leaps and bounds… or you could be dumb and as a door knob. Either way this changes nothing about the above statement. But it is also very important to keep in mind the real golden rule…. There are exceptions to everything…

  99. Phillip Z. says:

    I wouldn’t call baptism for children dangerous.. i’ve never once in my life seen any child or baby dunked in water and I have been to many a baptisms being in a Catholic family.. the most i’ve seen is, like another poster here stated, a wetting of the priests fingers to put a cross on the baby’s forehead.. i’ve also seen the priest take a cup of holy water and let is spill across over the babies head, as a mother would to rinse shampoo from a babies hair. Never once have I seen them put water on their face or mouth *outside of a sprinkling, like finger flicking water on them*.. the only people i’ve ever seen get dunked were adults, and that is rather rare…but I do agree that it is outdated…

    Now on circumcision… You are correct that it is dangerous but outdated? As barbaric as circumcision is, there are definit benefits to being circumsized…althought unnecessary benefits, they are benefits none-the-less. For example a circumsized penis is less prone to infection from sexual uncleanliness, as well as some major STD’s..though both of these can be avoided completely by the use of condoms…. A circumsized penis is also less prone to infection from physical uncleanlyness, as well as being easier to wash.

    now it is true that becoming circumsized does make a man’s penis smaller than it would have been otherwise, but its rarly the case that one more inch would make all the difference sexually speaking :) Size matters but no size will protect you from not knowing what the hell you are doing :P

  100. Phillip Z. says:

    Wow.. and he tried to say YOU had a problem with self importance? LOL Rosemary where do you find the patience for these types of people?

  101. Jeeem says:

    “…it is the most cogent thing he’s ever said.  Least cranky, too.”
    With that singular statement, it is more than obvious to me James, that you have no clue about anything that Andy Rooney – the man – is about.  This troubles me, that idiots like you can belch out some pseudo-intellectual comment about something or someone, not having the slightest clue about that thing or that person, and as above, receive a five star rating.  This belies the intellect of the vast amount of individuals surfing the Internet nowadays.
    I have followed Andy Rooney from his career at CBS in the 40′s through the 70′s, his bit pieces on 60 minutes, his writing’s for Harry Reasoner, who would have been nothing if not for Andy…his Point/Counterpoint success, and this list just goes on and on and on…
    This man, this legend, has stood up against some of the largest, most powerful adversaries of all time and not only stated his mind…but stood behind his comments to his dying day.  He’s been fired, suspended, hated, loved, criticized….BUT…
    …For some useless moron like yourself to make a comment like that about him?  Only makes you look like the total blithering idiot you obviously are.
    Right on Andy!
    -Jeeem-

  102. Jostedalsosten says:

    He pointed out that it wasn’t a 10-point scale, rather a 7-point one. In that case, rounding up would be wrong. Dawkins’ point is that if 7 is that you know there is no God, then he’s a 6,999… . He doen’t know to an absolute certainty that god doesn’t exist, he just believs it to the highest degree possible.

    Before going on a rant, make sure you understood what the person you are ranting agianst actually said.

  103. Taylor says:

    can’t we all just agree that Andy Roony has awesome eyebrows?

  104. jim says:

    Man, and I thought Andy Rooney was cranky.

  105. Tray says:

    Jeeem you f***tard Look up the definition of cogent.  You and James are agreeing on the same thing he just injected a little humor with the cranky part.  Bet you spent 30 mins on your miss-understood reply.  Seriously go look up the definition and read your tirade again.  Especially the part where you call someone else an idiot while your ignorance embarrasses in front of the world.  Pro Tip:  Don’t ever type again until you have had a 5th grader check over your work.

  106. rtaylortitle7 says:

    Very, very well stated. Some have to reach dead bottom before they ‘see the light’, and once they see it, it’s the most mind-opening, free-spirited feeling in the world….or maybe the 2nd most.

  107. jake says:

    do u also suck his dick?

  108. John says:

    My Greek isn’t great, but I  lived there for 4 years and my mother’s mother tongue is Greek. The word for an atheist in modern Greek is ‘atheos’, meaning both “one without theism” and “one without god” simultaneously. But Nic’s point goes unchanged: the key is that “a” means without.

  109. Jason says:

    I think you are misunderstanding James’ comment. He’s implying that most of the things Andy Rooney says bare no relevance. That if this is an actual quote from Rooney, it’s a departure from his usual nonsense.The “least cranky” part of the comment should have also been an indication to you of James’ dislike of Mr. Rooney.
    I’m personally indifferent. Don’t really care. Just pointing out that Jeeem knew exactly what cogent meant, AND was also able to detect what James was trying to say. Something you were incapable of doing. So you decided to insult him.
     

  110. Monicks says:

    Indeed, he does. Just like Santa’s eyebrows. Ha!

  111. michael3ov says:

    Tray, you made yourself look like the “f**ktard” (an extremely intelligent verbal jest by the way) The original comment states that it is the most cogent thing Rooney has ever said, implying that the rest of his comments are impotent and presented in a cranky manner as well. Not only should you get a fifth grader to read the comments that you reply to but you may want to work on your critical thinking skills so that maybe one day you too can post a relevant and intelligent comment.

  112. michael3ov says:

    You are an agnostic atheist. Agnosticism/Gnosticism = knowledge while Atheism/Theism = belief. You see no evidence to justify a belief in a deity. It is the only intellectual honest position, if you are a gnostic atheist than you know there is no god and you take on the burden of proof. You take on the burden of having to prove a negative, something that cannot be done.

  113. michael3ov says:

    Ever heard of the etymological fallacy? You should look it up because you just committed it.

  114. Ms Atheist says:

    Rosemary: Thank you for your logic, intelligent and thoughtful responses, your wisdom, and your patience. Ganapati: You are a troll. Your logical fallacies are stupendous. Put your intellect to better use.

  115. TerranRich says:

    So is this a real quote or not? All you did was rant and babble without answering the basic question given above your incoherent nonsense. Is this a real quote or not?

  116. TerranRich says:

    “Believing there is no god pretty much requires a blind leap of faith…”
    Not true. One can come to the conclusion that there are no gods by recognizing that there is no evidence where there should be some, and realizing that theists have had aeons to prove their deities exist, but have never once done so. It is therefore a reasonable conclusion to believe that there are no gods until proven otherwise. Just like we can all pretty much agree that there is no such thing as leprechauns given the data at hand. Can you prove they’re not real? No. But you can reasonably conclude that they are not real.

  117. djheru says:

    Admitting a mistake? You MUST be an atheist!

  118. MizFurball says:

    I have always thought of Andy Rooney as a lovable curmudgeon — cranky but cute.

  119. jeff kunkelman says:

    who cares? it’s all semantics. splitting hairs.

  120. jeff kunkelman says:

    are you not imposing your beliefs on us?

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