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@blamer i'd recommend "selfish selflessness" in that we should ideally participate in behavior that helps others but also helps ourselves at the same time. Not making choices where we pick one over the other. If I can't swim, jumping into the water to save someone drowning will just get us both killed, but if I throw a flotation device, i stay warm and dry and the drowning man now has a chance. However, at no time should we give in to the illusion that this changes anything. Mankind is doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs, the dodo, and every other species in this universe. At best we are only postponing the inevitable. We can try to save every species on this planet, but that doesn't change the fact a species of bug or bat or fish probably died while you were reading this and you didn't even notice.
6 months ago on Is It Too Late To Start Again?
Doesn't anyone else find it curious that Earth is the only planet in the solar system currently able to support carbon based life forms? This does not suggest to me that we are the normal state of being for a planet. Venus and Jupiter have constant storms in their atmosphere that are probably changing whatever's inside constantly. Mars looks like it might have had changes occurring on it at one time. I observe that while we humans have the power to change our environment, the predominant way we do this is by destruction. When we do 'create' something, like say a pier or a dam or a canal, it is for selfish purposes of commerce or convenience, and tends to destroy habitats for other species, which we then render extinct by manipulating the land to serve our own selfish needs. We have not learned how to properly preserve the Earth. In fact, it doesn't look like that's our job. We're not supposed to sustain the environment. Our job is to help change it, and when our job is done, Earth will no longer have any need of us. Just like over 99% of other species that have ever existed on this planet. We're not the final result. Mankind is just another cog in the wheel; another step along the way. We won't see the destination just like we weren't present when the journey started. Ecology is another selfish idea in a long line of selfish ideas. We want to perpetuate our own existence, and the universe is simply not interested in what we want. We're just another storm.
6 months, 1 week ago on Is It Too Late To Start Again?
Voltaire was half right. Absolute certainty is absurd. As an absurdist, I know this all too well. What Voltaire got wrong was doubt. It's a very pleasant condition to be in, and I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in. (hic)
I am 100% certain that the god i used to believe in never existed. I know this, because I could not scientifically prove the god I believed in to myself or anyone else. If something that resembles my god shows up in the future, it still won't be my god cuz i couldn't prove he existed before he showed up. Belief without proof that happens to be right later does not mean you were ever correct. That's like saying after you win the lottery that you always knew those numbers would show up. No you didn't. You guessed. Or you just used a quickpick and let someone else guess for you. That's cheating. And by the way, the Torah, New Testament, or Quran are like quickpicks. It's letting someone else guess for you.
I am also 100% certain that anyone else's god also does not exist, cuz they cannot prove their god exists now. If something that happens to resemble their god happens to show up later, that's coincidence or luck. That's not certainty. It's still not their god, even if it claims to be their god. They couldn't prove their god now, so winning the lottery later doesn't mean they were ever right.
Maybe you call that 99.9% repeating certainty. As Vi Hart once explained in her YouTube videos, as far as mathematicians are concerned, that's the same as 100%. Check out her stuff about infinities. Can I be certain something that might resemble someone's god might exist now? No. Of course not. THAT would be absurd. I CAN say I am 100% if something YOU might call a god shows up later, I WON'T call it a god. I AM 100% certain of that. Except for SubGenius gods CUZ THEY ARE ALL FREAKIN ABSOLUTELY 100% REAL I'M SRS AS A HART ATTACK!
Saying we can't be 100% certain based on what we currently know is like saying no one can ever know who murdered someone by observing the crime scene and following the evidence where it leads. Cuz you weren't there. You didn't see it happen. How can you be 100% absolutely certain?
Our law system has put people in jail for committing crimes and then 25 years later DNA shows up and proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they were wrong before when they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they were right. You can be 100% absolutely certain now, and still be proven wrong later.
I am 100% certain that the god i used to believe in never existed. I look forward to the day when He shows up and proves me wrong. Not gonna lose sleep over it or hold my breath cuz I couldn't prove he exists scientifically. Besides, i got some sinnin' to do.
8 months, 3 weeks ago on 100% Absolute Certainty
What started this for me was my snarky comment to the first part of this. I think I said something like, "call me when we get to the day where we celebrate how every day is stop hitting each other day" or whatever. I'm too lazy to go back and fact check myself.
"Yes there should, only it shouldn’t be a campaign, it should just be the way people are. Unfortunately, this is not how people are, and our animalistic tendencies surface all to quickly."
So, unfortunately, a white ribbon campaign doesn't change anything. Follow:
Mankind has been a violent race since before it was homo sapiens sapiens. It's ALWAYS been violent. The prevailing evidence suggests that it always will be violent. And so long as we allow ourselves to think and act the way we do, there is nothing that's gonna change that. Only we can't change that, and we simply ain't motivated. In fact, deep down I think we all like it. For all of our lofty goals and our righteous indignation at mother nature, other predatory mammals, and even each other, deep down we will continue to punish our children violently when they almost run out into the street cuz we think there's no better way. We will continue to use violence in self defense cuz we can rationalize that they started it. If they started it we'll be damn sure to finish it, so wars are completely acceptable behavior. And on and on and on ad infinitum. We rationalize our base instincts. We justify our primitive desires so we can keep doing it.
I was chastised for this view by someone who jumped to the conclusion if I abhor violence so much than I must be against people defending themselves from rapists. That's exactly the opposite of what I'm saying. Don't you think the asshole who raped that woman also rationalized his behavior? He did not do it twirling his mustache and intending to be a monster. He felt justified. Perhaps he told himself it's not really rape, or that she was asking for it, or that he deserves taking her, or that his purpose in this universe is to control others. Whatever. Doesn't matter. His self-rationalization doesn't make it right, does it? OH, but when YOU rationalize violence, THAT is TOTALLY different. Yeah. You're right. Totally different, and simultaneously, still the same damn thing.
We all rationalize that violence is acceptable behavior given certain conditions, so long as we decide what those conditions are, and so long as we all continue to do this, none of us are serious about stopping violence. From the reflex of swatting at a mosquito that just took some of your blood, to lethal injections for death row inmates. We're not at all serious about ending violence. We need to either accept unconditionally that we are a violent people, and go from there, or we need to CHANGE who we are deep down as a species and as a global society, and I don't think we can do that. Anything in between is laughably absurd hypocrisy... and you know that already, don't you?
So again. I reiterate. Call me when humanity wants to get serious. Cuz right now, it don't. And a white ribbon campaign ain't gonna change that. Not by a long shot.
1 year, 1 month ago on White Ribbon Day – Calling for an End to Violence Against Women (part 2)
Call me when we get to the day where every day is an end to violence; not just against women. I'm not sexist in my abhorrence of violence. I'm an equal opportunity "stop hitting each other" kind of person.
1 year, 1 month ago on White Ribbon Day – Calling for an End to Violence Against Women
You kinda lost me at this. "The answer should be, for every right-minded reasonable person 'No, I cannot prove or disprove the existence of God'. " I take offense to that, because it IS possible to disprove the existence of a god that is properly defined. A vague Deepak Chopra kinda god is hard to dispel, but the more vague the definition is, the less valid, and the more defined, the easier to prove impossible.
I concur that agnosticism and atheism answer different questions, but we can't just dismiss both questions. We have to answer both questions. An agnostic is someone who thinks that question cannot be answered. I've already proven it can.
The Abrahamic deity described in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings is about as likely as Harry Potter, Darth Vader, or The Gingerbread Man. It's a fictional character. It is the anthropomorphism of that which was unknown to the writers of the dogma at the time. Application of the scientific method, comparative scrutiny to other objective historical evidence, and even a fundamental understanding of how human beings think and lie and manipulate each other leads to the rational and obvious conclusion. Religion is a delusion fostered by ignorance which is perpetuated unknowingly by some and intentionally by others.
The Abrahamic god does not exist. Maybe there's something out there that created the universe. If it happened to be everything the human written dogma claimed it was, that still wouldn't prove anything. Those who made up this dogma had no way of knowing they were right. They were not magically given this information by an omniscient deity cuz an omniscient deity would not have used ignorant goat herders thousands of years ago to make his case.
The odds that is so, are so mathematically remote as to be easily dismissed. The far more likely scenario, is that people were scared and they made up a god so they would feel better about not being able to understand or control the universe in which they lived.
There is no Abrahamic god. This is not a belief. It's a conclusion after following the evidence.
If something like a god did exist, we'd have to invent a new word for it, to differentiate it from what people believe exists, just as we can't call a goat or horse with a single horn a unicorn, if we ever found one. Cuz it wouldn't be the magical creature from myth. It'd be something like that but different, and we'd have to acknowledge both the similarities and the differences.
So there can be no god. Whether you believe this or not, it is so. Whether or not you follow the evidence to its conclusion, the answer is the same. You can put your fingers in your ears and go la la la all you want. That doesn't change the truth.
Another truth is that religion will continue to exist in humanity for a very long time. It's a very powerful force in human culture and society, and it's not going to go away despite the evidence to the contrary, because there is that sliver of a chance that if you believe in a god there is one, and an even slimmer chance that the god in question just happens to fit every detail you've imagined it to be. You are far more likely to win the lottery a dozen times in your lifespan. People love to bet against the odds. That still doesn't change the truth.
1 year, 2 months ago on Yes, Another Post About Atheism
You lost me at point two with the jump of logic that no god means women and children have been belittled because of religion. That can be argued but even if it could be proven, it's not a direct and obvious link from being atheist. That's like saying if you like ice cream well surely strawberry's better when you can actually see strawberry chunks in it. I happen to agree with that, but not everyone who experiences ice cream is going to come to that same conclusion naturally. It's not the only possible train of thought.
As you say yourself further down, "People are complex beings, made up of a combination of our experiences and thoughts over a lifetime. To say that one way of thinking is the only way to be an atheist is absurd." However, that is precisely what Atheism Plus is doing. Atheist Activism. It's only logical and rational and kind and all kinds of rainbows and fluffy clouds why wouldn't anyone want to help?
All religions use this practice. You don't lure people into your organization by being cold and empty with just facts and stats. You appeal to a person's better nature. Who wouldn't want to come to the aid of the oppressed? Why wouldn't anyone jump at the chance to defend women and children? It's only right. Believers use a god hovering over watching your every move as a way to goad people into it. That's all well and good, but it's not atheism.
This puts ppl like me in an uncomfortable position. I now look like I'm against all these fluffy cloud things cuz I don't want to see atheism turned into a belief system. Even if on the surface the beliefs appear to be rainbows and fluffy clouds, that's never how it stays. History is a testament to that. Skepticism and atheism are not beliefs. It's doubt. Atheism Plus wants to add beliefs to the doubt. THAT is how religions start!
One can say you should want to do X regardless of what you believe, if in fact it's really the right thing to do. Being atheist has nothing to do with social justice or activism or any of that. If after one discovers the god thing is a joke, they then turn to activism as a coping mechanism or some thought process or emotional feeling, that's their choice but they have now veered away from just "whether or not there's a god" to another realm of philosophy and social behavior and even economics or politics or any number of other things that are not atheism.
Activism is not atheism. They shouldn't manipulate what atheism is to try to goad others into joining their little crusades. If they wanted to do that to people, they shoulda never left the Church.
1 year, 3 months ago on Atheism and Social Justice
@Dgsinclair You diss a dictionary? Really? And you honestly think that makes you sound more intelligent in this discussion?
I have no interest in "theological, philosophic, or other intellectual concepts" unless they can withstand rigorous repeatable testing and suffer through peer review and other crap like that. In my experience, philosophy and theology involves several stuffy men in suits arguing incessantly over nothing of substance; whereas science involves several stuffy men in suits throwing empirical data at each other until something sticks.
A dictionary is simple and elegant. It doesn't claim superiority. It simply describes how a particular word has been used recently in common parlance. It can also become wrong, which requires it to be regularly updated and improved so that it has the latest information available. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is currently in its eleventh edition, whereas there are many different translations of say, the christian bible for example, but all of them claim to be as close as they can get to the original "Book of Scriptures" which came from now dead languages and scholars can't even agree on syntax or intent, much less meaning, of any of it.
One of the many problems w/the argument of religion and science is that you guys can't even agree on what the word "theory" means. Believers think it's something vague that can be open to interpretation. Scientists use the same word in a very different way.
You can't get any two theologians to agree 100% on what they believe in regards to religious dogma. However, a scientific theory is largely agreed upon by the scientific community. When a scientist disagrees w/a theory, he puts together an experiment to challenge it. He doesn't storm off in a huff to build his own church, like Martin Luther did, or countless others since.
Again, you keep moving the goal posts dude. Doesn't matter. I scored days ago. In fact, I've already moved on.
1 year, 4 months ago on It Doesn’t Matter If God Exists
@Dgsinclair Oh ye of way too much faith.
If you do not share my definition of faith, then you are redefining the word. This may benefit you and those who believe as you do, but it isn't a fair and rational way to communicate with people, to take words and pretend they mean things which they simply don't mean, in order to shore up your argument.
I'm not making up what the word means for the purposes of my beliefs, cuz I don't have any. Simply put, dictionary.reference.com defines faith as "confidence or trust in a person or thing" as well as "belief that is not based on proof" another definition of faith is "belief in a god or a religion" and then also acknowledges that "faith" can be used to represent any particular system of dogma. So one person may say "faith" meaning Christianity. Another may say "faith" and mean ufology. Depends on what they personally believe in.
This is not a christian or hindu or secular humanist definition. This is how the word "faith" works in practice. I'm no longer a christian so i don't adhere to any christian definitions of anything. If a christian definition of something happens to mesh with actual reality, that's more coincidence than anything.
One of the MANY problems w/belief is that you may adhere to one faith while the guy next to you accepts a totally different belief system. This causes subjective reality to get in the way of actual objective reality.
So you both look at the same object, and you may find it to be a holy shrine while he sees it as an abomination, when objectively speaking it's just a stone carving of an animal or something. You both look at reality and see what your beliefs imbue the object with, when it's just a stupid rock in a museum.
You can move the goal posts all you want but I already scored. I am using the dictionary definitions. Faith is the acceptance of an idea as if it were fact regardless of scientific validity; it is belief that is not based on proof. You may or may not happen to have proof, but you can still believe.
Proof is not a requirement for faith. It IS a requirement for science. Because religion doesn't need facts to legitimize itself, it immediately makes any religion illegitimate in the fact of actual reality. ANY religion is a delusion, even if in the future it turned out to just happen to be 100% correct, cuz ppl believed in it w/o proof, so they believed in it for all the wrong reasons. Cuz it felt good, or they were told by their elders to accept it, or for fear of an imaginary being tormenting them for eternity. These are NOT good reasons to accept anything as fact. The only reason to accept anything as fact IS TO HAVE FACTS!
Faith has no need for science, and dismisses science when the two disagree. Because of this, science has no need for faith. The two do not work together. If you pretend the two co-exist, you are either delusional, or a con artist. Or perhaps both.
There may be scientists who believe, but in the practical application of science, there is no room for faith. Never has been. Never will be. That's not a belief. That's a fact. That's how science works.
1 year, 5 months ago on It Doesn’t Matter If God Exists
@Dgsinclair @blamer Faith is never reasonable. Faith is choosing to accept an idea as if it had scientifically validated and repeatable proof, whether or not such proof exists. You pretend faith is enough, and it is not. This is why Pascal's Wager fails. It is NEVER okay to accept the delusion blindly.
If you cannot prove something, you have no reason to believe in it. Faith is delusional and dangerous w/o sufficient evidence to back it up.
If you can prove something, and have sufficient evidence reinforced by peer review and repeatable testing, again, you have no reason to believe. Faith becomes redundant and absurd.
And even the scientific method is not something to believe in! It too has been painstakingly challenged, updated, revised and double checked throughout its existence. People may uncover an aberration or oversight tomorrow in how the scientific method currently works, which would cause us to review not only how it is used in the future, but how it's been utilized in the past. EVERY SINGLE past fact & theory would need to be challenged again, with the new and improved scientific method, to make sure everything lives up to the new standards. In fact this should probably happen more often than it actually does. And someday I anticipate the scientific method will prove to be insufficient and we'll come up with something even better. I have no idea what that would be, and I could be completely wrong about that. We don't know.
Faith doesn't allow for "we don't know." It makes a decision and sticks to it regardless of future discovery. BELIEF IS BROKEN. I don't care how much Pascal wants to wager.
@Dgsinclair Pascal's Wager is just reiterating Martin's point. The Believer argument is redundant. To believe in a petty tyrant god as described in the ancient texts in question because you want to err on the side of caution is silly. It really doesn't matter if the god in question exists. If he were, he's not worth your worship, but deserves your disdain. A more rational explanation is that the reason the Abrahamic god appears to be filled with petty desires and tragic flaws is cuz he was made up by human beings who share those qualities. If there were an omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving god, he would not behave like a petty human tyrant as described in Abrahamic texts. He would not demand your fealty or feel the need to scare you with punishment.
1 year, 5 months ago on It Doesn't Matter If God Exists
The argument is redundant cuz we allow the Believers to set the goal posts, and they keep moving them all over the playing field. Martin's right. Even if there were a god, that's irrelevant. The god described in ancient texts is a codependent, petty, malicious god and the argument for loving him is the same I have heard from battered wives. He hurts us because he loves us. That's not love. Even if the Abrahamic creator were real, he's no god. He's a monster. I don't hate god, cuz he ain't there. However, if he were there, we got more than enough reasons to hate him. Thankfully, the bible was written by manipulative men and not an omnipotent god, cuz there'd be no reason to live in a universe run by a selfish egocentric prick with more power than brains. I wouldn't want to be an ant where a kid has a magnifying glass on a sunny day either.
Learning from wisdom of the past would mean teaching young people about Aristotle and Ptolemy and Copernicus and Galileo. We don't need churches for that. We need to invest in schools. We HAVE that infrastructure but it's being starved to death. The money's going to "private" institutions that teach the bible has all the REAL wisdom you really need and any other book is only okay if it doesn't conflict with THE WORD.
1 year, 6 months ago on Religion For Atheists – Alain de Botton