GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

The Root of all Evil : The God Delusion

POSTED BY: CALHOUN
UPDATED: Saturday, June 2, 2007 02:35
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:19 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
But that's just it, most of those either were not fought for atheism or it was only a side issue. You are saying that Stalin was an atheist thus the millions of people he killed were killed in the name of atheism which simply isn't true, it's a non sequitur. The argument you were making sounded like you were saying that every conflict between groups that were not explicitly religious was somehow caused by atheism which is absurd.

Yes, that is absurd, but that’s not what I said. What I was pointing out is that the “religion is the root of all violence” theory isn’t even internally consistent. It ignores casualties as a result of wars fought for which there is no religious motivation ascribed, and these are casualties that are the largest in history.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:37 PM

MEG1448


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Hundreds of millions isn't that big of a number when you consider the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Protestant Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, etc....not to mention human sacrifices and the like.

All of the casualties of all of the Crusades are probably not more then 10 million. The Thirty Years War is probably not more then a million. The Inquisitions: a few thousand a piece.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero



Actually, the Thirty Years War had a death toll of about 7 million. I only named a few of the well known ones. Also, think about all the religious martyrs. I'm not only talking about christianity, I'm talking all religions. Think about the constant terrorist attacks in the middle east....it's really not that hard, counting all religions since the beginning of time, for the death toll to rise into the hundred millions. I'm done now, this conversation will just raise my blood pressure.

"Give me religion and a lobotomy."
Beulah Land-Tori Amos

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:48 PM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
But that's just it, most of those either were not fought for atheism or it was only a side issue. You are saying that Stalin was an atheist thus the millions of people he killed were killed in the name of atheism which simply isn't true, it's a non sequitur. The argument you were making sounded like you were saying that every conflict between groups that were not explicitly religious was somehow caused by atheism which is absurd.

Yes, that is absurd, but that’s not what I said. What I was pointing out is that the “religion is the root of all violence” theory isn’t even internally consistent. It ignores casualties as a result of wars fought for which there is no religious motivation ascribed, and these are casualties that are the largest in history.



Ah, ok. It's just that this quote:
Quote:

Furthermore, it ignores the violence perpetrated in the name of atheistic philosophies, such as Communism and Fascism, which far exceeds the violence perpetrated in the name of religion.
Sounds as if you are saying that atheism is to blame for those deaths.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:55 PM

JEDIJAYNE


Well, I must say that I am TIRED after reading everything before me.

Religiosity to the fuzzy-wuzzies and all of their nougaty goodness and what-not.

Y'all wake me up when the shouting is over. I'll be in my bunk.



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
"This is why we lost, you know. Superior numbers." "Thanks for the re-enactment, sir."

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:06 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
Sounds as if you are saying that atheism is to blame for those deaths.

I am. But only insofar as theism is to blame for all the rest. Like I said, it’s not an internally consistent argument. You can’t claim that religion, as Dawkins defines it, is to blame for the world’s violence, because it necessarily ignores Communism and Fascism.


And evidently, I'm shouting, although it didn’t seem that way to me.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:16 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
How can anyone claim to be "free thinking" if they deny all the evidence of evolution?

How does being constrained to the evidence of evolution make one a free thinker? Granted I typically accept the theory of evolution to a large degree; there are parts of it that I accept more then others, but I do so because I choose to, and that is what makes me a free thinker, not that I accept a theory because someone else says I have to.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:12 PM

CALHOUN


Quote:

Finn mac Cumhal wrote:
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 15:16
Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Calhoun:
How can anyone claim to be "free thinking" if they deny all the evidence of evolution?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How does being constrained to the evidence of evolution make one a free thinker? Granted I typically accept the theory of evolution to a large degree; there are parts of it that I accept more then others, but I do so because I choose to, and that is what makes me a free thinker, not that I accept a theory because someone else says I have to.




I prefer to accept theories or information in general based on scientific evidence or factual data.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:23 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
How can anyone claim to be "free thinking" if they deny all the evidence of evolution?



What if they don't? I'll say this much: if you look at the history of life on earth, it's been increasing in complexity and diversity. But I don't have to then say, "So therefore there's no God." What if I think random chance is totally implausible?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:28 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
All of the casualties of all of the Crusades are probably not more then 10 million. The Thirty Years War is probably not more then a million. The Inquisitions: a few thousand a piece.



Also, don't forget that while the Thirty Years' War may have started over religion, it ended being about political power.

What? Power? There's that word again...

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:30 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Actually, the Thirty Years War had a death toll of about 7 million. I only named a few of the well known ones. Also, think about all the religious martyrs. I'm not only talking about christianity, I'm talking all religions. Think about the constant terrorist attacks in the middle east....it's really not that hard, counting all religions since the beginning of time, for the death toll to rise into the hundred millions. I'm done now, this conversation will just raise my blood pressure.



So the "hundreds of millions" figure was just pulled out of thin air, then?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:50 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
I prefer to accept theories or information in general based on scientific evidence or factual data.



And therein lies your own set of unprovable beliefs.

Who says scientific data is the only kind of data that has evidentiary quality? Surely this is nothing more than epistemological imperialism. Much stock is given to the idea that only things that are empirically verifiable count as knowledge. But curiously, there's no way to empirically verify that idea!

Furthermore, the idea that only material things exist is also an unprovable hypothesis. Universal statements like that reduce to the form, "Given any X, X is physical." But that sort of universal is impossible to prove because to prove it, you'd have to have access to every X that currently exists, and ever did exist and ever will exist, and then you'd have to have a way to test all those Xs to see if they really were purely physical. And of course, it's ludicrous to think that we could ever gather all Xs for examination, and it's doubtful whether we're equipped to examine them all.

I guess the main point is that a purely scientific worldview rests on unprovable hypothesis, just like religion does. Its foundations rest on certain metaphysical and epistemological commitments which, though they be so widely repeated and so widely accepted as to appear to be beyond doubt, are really nothing more than the fruits of philosophical inquiry. To quote John Stuart Mill, "The truths which are ultimately accepted as the first principles of a science are really the last results of a metaphysical analysis."

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:15 PM

MEG1448


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Actually, the Thirty Years War had a death toll of about 7 million. I only named a few of the well known ones. Also, think about all the religious martyrs. I'm not only talking about christianity, I'm talking all religions. Think about the constant terrorist attacks in the middle east....it's really not that hard, counting all religions since the beginning of time, for the death toll to rise into the hundred millions. I'm done now, this conversation will just raise my blood pressure.



So the "hundreds of millions" figure was just pulled out of thin air, then?

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*sigh*

"Give me religion and a lobotomy."
Beulah Land-Tori Amos

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:16 PM

TRUEBLUE


Religion is easily used as a tool of violence.

When you remove the need for logic and take it on "faith" you can justify to yourself/others illogical and obscene actions.

"Because God wants you to" sentiment has caused much pain and grief. God, him/her/itself is not the root of it, but it is an efficient and easy vehicle. Sadly one that has often been employed.

Without organised religion there may have been drastically less problems (it certainly would have made the destruction/death/pain more difficult), but maybe not. It is all hypothetical.


---------
I will think of a signature later. It will be so stunningly brilliant your entire life will pale into insignificance when compared to the few words that will be written here.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:51 PM

CALHOUN


Quote:

Causal wrote:
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 16:50
Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Calhoun:
I prefer to accept theories or information in general based on scientific evidence or factual data.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



And therein lies your own set of unprovable beliefs.

Who says scientific data is the only kind of data that has evidentiary quality? Surely this is nothing more than epistemological imperialism. Much stock is given to the idea that only things that are empirically verifiable count as knowledge. But curiously, there's no way to empirically verify that idea!

Furthermore, the idea that only material things exist is also an unprovable hypothesis. Universal statements like that reduce to the form, "Given any X, X is physical." But that sort of universal is impossible to prove because to prove it, you'd have to have access to every X that currently exists, and ever did exist and ever will exist, and then you'd have to have a way to test all those Xs to see if they really were purely physical. And of course, it's ludicrous to think that we could ever gather all Xs for examination, and it's doubtful whether we're equipped to examine them all.

I guess the main point is that a purely scientific worldview rests on unprovable hypothesis, just like religion does. Its foundations rest on certain metaphysical and epistemological commitments which, though they be so widely repeated and so widely accepted as to appear to be beyond doubt, are really nothing more than the fruits of philosophical inquiry. To quote John Stuart Mill, "The truths which are ultimately accepted as the first principles of a science are really the last results of a metaphysical analysis."



Judging from the frequency and verbosity of your posts i'm starting to think that you're either a religious fanatic yourself or that you just like the sight of your own text.



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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:53 PM

CALHOUN


I was kinda hoping Citizen would weigh in a little more than he has.. I always enjoy his perspective.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:57 PM

CALHOUN


For anyone interested in downloading the torrent and checking it out here are some links http://isohunt.com/torrents/root+of+evil?ihs1=12&iho1=d&iht=1

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 2:31 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by TrueBlue:
Religion is easily used as a tool of violence.

When you remove the need for logic and take it on "faith" you can justify to yourself/others illogical and obscene actions.

"Because God wants you to" sentiment has caused much pain and grief. God, him/her/itself is not the root of it, but it is an efficient and easy vehicle. Sadly one that has often been employed.

Without organised religion there may have been drastically less problems (it certainly would have made the destruction/death/pain more difficult), but maybe not. It is all hypothetical.



I think that maybe if there were no institutional religion, people would just find other things to justify their wars with. My basic assertion is that while it is true that religion has been the direct cause of much violence, it's probably less than is commonly suspected. Take the Thirty Years' War. It definitely started over religion. But by mid-way through the war, France (a Catholic country) was allied with Sweden (a Protestant country) because France felt threatened by the Hapsburg-dominated Spanish and Germans and Sweden wanted to face off with the Spanish. So it wasn't religiously motivated at that point--it was about shifting the European balance of power.

You're right that religion is easily used as a justification for violence, but so was Hitler's pseudo-scientific eugenics program. I think that one thing that's common to all the various instances of violence is that people perpetrate them. It's not that if we just removed the source of strife (be it religion for Dawkins or private property for Marx) the natural goodness of humanity would burst forth and we'd all march hand-in-hand into utopia. It's that we're hopelessly wretched creatures who always have and always will find excuses to brutalize one another.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 2:36 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
Judging from the frequency and verbosity of your posts i'm starting to think that you're either a religious fanatic yourself or that you just like the sight of your own text.



Judging from your response to my post, I'm starting to think that you're an anti-religious bigot or that you can't stand to listen to people who disagree with you.

I'm trying to discuss the questions at hand. I actually really enjoy talking about this stuff, hence the "frequency and verbosity" of my posts. And yes, I am a religious believer, but I'm also a philosopher, and as such I take exception to people who claim that I'm inherently irrational. If you'd bothered to read my last post, you'd see that that was the issue that I was trying to address. Science is founded on certain unprovable assertions no less than religion is. I suppose you can't be bothered to read, understand and respond to that though. Much easier to insult me. Plus if you can conveniently label me a "fanatic" it gives you a good reason to not have to listen to what I have to contribute to the conversation. In which case, you're being every bit as close-minded as the religious people you hold in such contempt.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 3:22 AM

KHYRON


Causal, just to let you know, I'm not ignoring your question, I'll respond to it on the weekend. Only got time to post unfunny wisecracking one-liners at the moment.



Questions are a burden to others. Answers are prison for oneself.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 6:48 AM

KANEMAN


"It was quoted that surveys show around 45% of all americans believe the universe to be only 10,000 yrs old.."

I have a hard time believing that number, surely this can't be true. I know so many people and none of them would agree with that. That question must have been posed in a crazy religious area of the country........Well, I hope so.........

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:08 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
What if I think random chance is totally implausible?



If it were based on random chance then evolution would be implausible, thankfully, it's not based on random chance so thats not an issue.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:09 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by kaneman:
"It was quoted that surveys show around 45% of all americans believe the universe to be only 10,000 yrs old.."

I have a hard time believing that number, surely this can't be true. I know so many people and none of them would agree with that. That question must have been posed in a crazy religious area of the country........Well, I hope so.........



Like I said, I'm pretty sure it's high, but it's not THAT high, there's a lot of people who've received more "education" about the world from their preachers then their teachers.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:18 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
What if I think random chance is totally implausible?



If it were based on random chance then evolution would be implausible, thankfully, it's not based on random chance so thats not an issue.



Huh. I didn't know that. Can you explain it? I must confess my ignorance on the issue. I'm a philosopher, not a scientist, so I really don't understand it as well as maybe I ought. I'd always just thought chance was the mechanism. If that's not the case, can you help me understand what is?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:33 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Huh. I didn't know that. Can you explain it? I must confess my ignorance on the issue. I'm a philosopher, not a scientist, so I really don't understand it as well as maybe I ought. I'd always just thought chance was the mechanism. If that's not the case, can you help me understand what is?



Well it goes like this, a random mutation (or 10 or 20) will be introduced during the creation of a new creature (be it by asexual division or sexual reproduction), most of these mutations are neutral, a few are harmful and a few are beneficial. The harmful mutations reduce an organisms ability to survive and thus reduce the likelihood of successful reproduction, these will be removed from the gene pool fairly swiftly (depending on how harmful they are). The beneficial ones will improve the likelihood of reproduction and the number of offspring.

In any given environment there will be selective pressure towards certain things, for instance in the early days when predation was just beginning in earnest there would have been enormous selective pressure towards evolving tougher skin to prevent being eaten, and once tougher skin started to show up the predators would be under selective pressure to evolve better eating mechanisms (be it sharp teeth or powerful jaws or both). Another more modern example is bacteria that are under selective pressure to become resistant to antibiotics, the bacteria that through a genetic fluke are slightly more resistant to the antibiotic being used will reproduce more.

There is an element of randomness in the initial mutations but after the mutations are introduced selection (which is not random) comes into play.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 4:27 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
Like I said, I'm pretty sure it's high, but it's not THAT high, there's a lot of people who've received more "education" about the world from their preachers then their teachers.



Thankfully, not all of us religious people are that way. Personally, I think there can be harmony between science and religion. I just wish that religion would stop trying to answer scientific questions (like, "How old is the universe") and that science would stop trying to answer religous/philosophical questions (like, "What--if any--are the moral implications of abortion").

I think that Thomas Aquinas said it well: "The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false."

And Mortimer Adler, in Truth in Religion summarizes Augustine as follows:

"Augustine acknowledged the existence of the many different interpretations that were extant in his day...While upholding the possibility of multiple interpretations, he was also persuaded that these diverse interpretations might not be equally correct. He, therefore, recommended two rules that should be followed in interpreting Scared Scriptures.

"His first precept was: Hold to the truth of Scripture without wavering. Since it is the revealed truth, we must never abandon our belief in its truth.

"His second precept followed: Since Sacred Scripture can be interpreted in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular version only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it should prove to be false, lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of nonbelievers and obstacles be placed in the way of their believing."

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 4:59 PM

LEADB


I don't have anything to add to my previous comment.

However, regarding the 45% of folk think the world is less than 10,000 years old "issue", you might find this of use:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/061110.html

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 5:08 PM

CAUSAL


Nice! Good article, Lead.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:40 PM

ROLAND19


The Nazis had the German translation of "God with us." inscribed on their belts, if I remember correctly.

As far as the book goes, it's complete shit.

And I have to agree with DeepGirl187, it's people that are to blame, not religion.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:54 PM

CALHOUN


LeadB, interesting article.

Quote:

How does the U.S. compare with other countries in terms of belief in evolution? Not so hot. A study of attitudes in 34 countries published in Science in 2006 shows that the United States ranks last in popular acceptance of evolution except for Turkey. Almost 40 percent of Americans in this study flatly rejected evolution, whereas the comparable numbers in European countries and Japan ranged from 7 to 15 percent. That may partly reflect U.S. high school kids' dismal math and science scores relative to other developed countries, which to my mind underscores a home truth: the more you know, the less you take on faith.



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Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:59 PM

CALHOUN


Quote:

Roland19 wrote:
Thursday, May 24, 2007 19:40

And I have to agree with DeepGirl187, it's people that are to blame, not religion.



I wonder exactly how many suicide bombers are atheists?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:41 PM

BIBLEFIXER


Why don't we ask them? Compile a survey of their inner personal motivations? Oh yea, because…

Just keep walking preacher man!

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Friday, May 25, 2007 12:06 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK


Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
To say that the violence perpetrated by atheists outweighs the violence perpetrated by people of faith is completely false and, well, fairly ridiculous. Atheists make up the vast minority of most cultures.



I can't say you're outright wrong here, but I have to give this one to Finn. I don't think that Athiests are as much of a minority as you think anyways. I keep hearing that USA is one of the most religious societies, but I don't see it. At least not in my generation anyhow. I don't know a single person that is under 30 that even goes to church. I know there are people under 30 who do, but I don't know any personally that have gone after their parents stopped making them go, if they ever went in the first place, and the more people I meet in life, the more I believe this to be true. Religion is dying in America. America is so secular and materialistic and greedy now it's revolting. It's a gimmie gimmie culture and nobody gives a shit about anybody but themselves. I don't see any religion here, in fact, I don't even see it in the churches. Sadly, the most religious places in this country may very well be the Mosques.

All of this is besides the main point here because you even admitted yourself that people who wanted power used religion to get stupid and/or poor and/or weak people do do their bidding. These people often thought what they were doing was for god, but they were merely puppets on a string. Finn's point anyhow was that many, many people have died for secular causes, which is undeniable truth, and though it is also true that many, many people have also died in the name of "god", just because you throw out huge numbers of people who have died because of religion doesn't make those numbers true, and doesn't even come close to deep analysis required of all of the many different battles mankind has endured to determine just how much of those were based on religion and how many were purely secular based. Please site some reliable sources other than Dawkins biased bile, or something that you heard that you want to believe because you blame religion for the worlds problems and it fits what you want. Dawkins, in my opinion,is disgusting human being and just cashing in on Neo-Atheism.

For the record, I'm Agnostic, I'm under 30 and I haven't been to church since my Mom made me go, probably 15 years ago when she slapped me for saying "Yummy!" and smiling real big when I ate the host. I'd also like to add that I think Atheists are a stupid and bullheaded people. You don't need to believe.... hell, I'll probably die having never believed... but you should never close your mind to the possibility. Sometimes I hope there is a god that makes them burn for a couple of weeks post mortem just for their idiocy and close mindedness. And yes.... I can say that without being a hypocrite for judging, because the one thing I have in common with any idiot Athiest is that I'm not a practicing Christian, and until such time that I am, should I ever choose to be, I'm not beholden to their rules either.

"A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned." http://www.myspace.com/6ixstringjack

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Friday, May 25, 2007 2:08 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
Quote:

Roland19 wrote:
Thursday, May 24, 2007 19:40

And I have to agree with DeepGirl187, it's people that are to blame, not religion.



I wonder exactly how many suicide bombers are atheists?



Well, Stalin certainly didn't have religious motivation for slaughtering all those people. He just wanted to solidify his power base. How do you account for that?

Also, interestingly enough, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a nationalist group in Sri Lanka, has carried out more suicide bombings than any other organization on Earth, and their beef isn't religious, it's political.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 3:03 AM

CALHOUN


Quote:

Causal wrote:
Friday, May 25, 2007 02:08
Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Calhoun:

Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Roland19 wrote:
Thursday, May 24, 2007 19:40

And I have to agree with DeepGirl187, it's people that are to blame, not religion.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I wonder exactly how many suicide bombers are atheists?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Well, Stalin certainly didn't have religious motivation for slaughtering all those people. He just wanted to solidify his power base. How do you account for that?




You just keep answer questions with questions..

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Friday, May 25, 2007 3:30 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Consider this: compare the Inquisitions with the Jewish Question. Both of them were examples of bigotry against Jews (among others) at is most despicable level, and both sought to eliminate Jewry from the population. But the Inquisitions wanted to convert the Jews to Christians, and they often used murder and torture to extort that goal, but while their goals may have included the elimination of Jewish belief among the population, it never included the elimination of people simply for being Jews. That far, far more callous and hatful goal would come from the Nazis, who were not motivated by religion, and who were far more successful and calculated then any of the Inquisitions. It is not difficult to see that the absence of religion allowed the Nazis to view traditional anti-Semitism in a much more cold and deliberate manner, in much the way, the absence of religion allows scientists to view nature in a dispassionate manner, as opposed to an emotional one.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Friday, May 25, 2007 4:00 AM

KANEMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by leadb:
I don't have anything to add to my previous comment.

However, regarding the 45% of folk think the world is less than 10,000 years old "issue", you might find this of use:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/061110.html

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The other choices are as ridiculous as the first choice..

# "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process." We'll call this the theistic view.

# "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process." I'll term this the naturalist view.


I don't know about the other Americans on this board, but this American equates 'human' with 'Homo sapiens', and was taught in school that we popped up about 250,000 years ago......I wouldn't have been able to answer this question, frankly I would have laughed at the baboon who asked it........Well, I'm correct...I think.......

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Friday, May 25, 2007 6:08 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
You just keep answer questions with questions..



And you just keep dodging mine, so don't go trying to claim the moral high ground.

But since you said something about it: I have no idea how many suicide bombers are atheists. But then again, I suspect you don't either. You're merely assuming that all suicide bombings are religiously motivated, in spite of the fact that I gave information about suicide bombers (the LTTE) who aren't.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 7:18 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
that science would stop trying to answer religous/philosophical questions (like, "What--if any--are the moral implications of abortion").



This is a new one on me. I was aware that there is a movement forming to try and come up with a science based code of ethics but I wasn't aware that they were answering specifics like that.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 7:36 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by 6ixStringJack:
Finn's point anyhow was that many, many people have died for secular causes, which is undeniable truth



Right...but those causes weren't driven by atheism. Most of the people Stalin killed were killed because of political reasons so the fact that Stalin was an atheist doesn't matter. In the meantime there has been a large number of people who have been killed specifically because of their religious beliefs.

This is like saying that anyone killed by a religious leader was killed for religious purposes which is patently false, just like the assertion that everyone killed by a culture steeped in atheism was killed because of atheism. The contention that many of us here have is that more people have died because of religiously motivated conflict then because of atheisticly motivated conflict. I would think this would be not only obvious but quite logical as atheism (at least in m experience) arouses more zeal in the theist them the atheist.


Quote:

and doesn't even come close to deep analysis required of all of the many different battles mankind has endured to determine just how much of those were based on religion and how many were purely secular based.


As I just said, conflicts that are not religious are not inherently atheistic, unless it can be demonstrated that atheism is a specific cause then the conflict is non-theistic, not atheistic.

Quote:

I'd also like to add that I think Atheists are a stupid and bullheaded people. You don't need to believe.... hell, I'll probably die having never believed... but you should never close your mind to the possibility.


I know very few atheists who wouldn't admit the possibility, but we just don't think it's true.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 8:18 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
What if they don't? I'll say this much: if you look at the history of life on earth, it's been increasing in complexity and diversity. But I don't have to then say, "So therefore there's no God." What if I think random chance is totally implausible?

Evolution doesn't preclude God, but Intelligent design Includes God. God is inherently unscientific as existance of God can neither be proven nor disproven, thus Intelligent Design is not Science, and therefore not an alternative to evolution.

The other point is that there is not a lot of 'random chance' in Evolution. Certainly no more than there is in any natural system, from Radioactivity, to whether or not the intrepid explorer gets away from the Lion alive. Evolution is an explination for speciation, not where life comes from.

There are theories for where life came from, some more credible than others. Some have fantastic possibilities. Life is, at it's basic level, just a complex chemical reaction. Since chemical reactions happen naturally all the time, one theory is that, where you have the ingrediants for life, coupled with the enviroment for life, life is certain to start, in the same way that pouring acid on your table is certain to leave a hole.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 8:31 AM

MALACHITE


Not to be too tangential, but this discussion does not take into account how many lives and and how much suffering people with religious motivations have saved/improved. Compassion International, the Salvation Army, and numerous other religious organizations have made a positive impact on many lives. I was just at a disaster preparedness seminar and was surprised to hear just how important religious organizations are to coping with disasters (like feeding and sheltering victims and rebuilding their communities).

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Friday, May 25, 2007 8:40 AM

MALACHITE


I think the assertion that life is "just" a chemical reaction tends to gloss over the complexity of it all. We humans still have not invented anything that approaches the complexity of a single cell. And we still (with all of our technology and scientific knowledge) cannot create a cell from scratch, let alone offer a viable explanation on how it could have occured. If the creation of life happened naturally (without divine intervention), it defied the odds.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 8:48 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Malachite:
We humans still have not invented anything that approaches the complexity of a single cell.



Modern cells are going to be MUCH more complex then the earliest self-replicators, we have made things more complex then the earliest self-replicators needed to be.

Quote:

And we still (with all of our technology and scientific knowledge) cannot create a cell from scratch, let alone offer a viable explanation on how it could have occured.


There are viable explanations as we have done experiments that caused the creation of amino acids ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_experiment), done in conditions that matched conditions that likely existed on pre-biotic earth. Biochemistry shows that the development of life through natural processes is quite possible.

Quote:

If the creation of life happened naturally (without divine intervention), it defied the odds.


In RWED there's a thread title "is TIME a problem? Or is this guy retarded?" where kaneman asked about the probability of life, this is the link I posted there.

http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB010.html

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Friday, May 25, 2007 8:58 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6ixStringJack:
Finn's point anyhow was that many, many people have died for secular causes, which is undeniable truth



Right...but those causes weren't driven by atheism. Most of the people Stalin killed were killed because of political reasons so the fact that Stalin was an atheist doesn't matter. In the meantime there has been a large number of people who have been killed specifically because of their religious beliefs.

Josef Stalin had millions of people killed because they were not perceived to believe or support Stalin’s brand of atheist communism. How is that any different then bin Laden having people killed for not supporting his brand of Islam? If we are going to use this kind of language then we should endeavor to apply it fairly. Stalin had millions killed in an effort to export his brand of atheist communism. If bin Laden murdered in the name of theism, then Stalin murdered in the name of atheism.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Friday, May 25, 2007 9:15 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Josef Stalin had millions of people killed because they were not perceived to believe or support Stalin’s brand of atheist communism. How is that any different then bin Laden having people killed for not supporting his brand of Islam? If we are going to use this kind of language then we should endeavor to apply it fairly. Stalin had millions killed in an effort to export his brand of atheist communism. If bin Laden murdered in the name of theism, then Stalin murdered in the name of atheism.

Yes and in an Atheist family the parents would let their children stay out all night having sex and taking drugs.

If Stalin's purges were Atheist, then Iraq is a Christian Crusade, after all George Bush is a Christain, and God did tell him to do it.

Actually, all though I don't think Iraq is a Christian Crusade, such a position would be much stronger than saying Stalin was killing for Atheism.

You trying to portray Stalin's purges as an Atheistic version of the obviously theistic terrorism of Al Qaeda is little more than word play, it's intellectually dishonest, frankly.

Religion is square centre in Bin Landen's thinking, belief in the non-existence of god wasn't even a side issue to the purges. The fact that you construct a sentence in such away as to shoe horn Atheism in, then throw away the communism aspect in order to put Atheism front, and centre changes that, not at all.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 9:22 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Malachite:
this discussion does not take into account how many lives and and how much suffering people with religious motivations have saved/improved.

Because that is a different issue entirely. There are many non-thesist organisations. I suspect that at the end of the day, they at least 'cancel out', making the point moot.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 9:27 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Josef Stalin had millions of people killed because they were not perceived to believe or support Stalin’s brand of atheist communism.



I just read the entire wiki entry on the Great Purge ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge) nowhere is religion mentioned. You are saying that because Stalin was an atheist that the deaths that he caused were caused by atheism, can you back up the claim that atheism was a driving force behind his purges? Or is it more likely that the fact that he was an atheist had no bearing whatsoever on his decision to execute people who he felt were disloyal or dangerous to the power he held?

Quote:

Stalin had millions killed in an effort to export his brand of atheist communism. If bin Laden murdered in the name of theism, then Stalin murdered in the name of atheism.


If you can back up the assertion that Stalin killed those because of atheism then I'll accept that assertion, but nothing I've seen indicates that atheism had a significant bearing on the purges. I'll freely admit that there was probably some religious leaders executed during the purges that would not have been if Stalin was a theist, but they are most likely in the vast minority.

EDIT: P.S. what Cit said

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Friday, May 25, 2007 9:29 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Religion is square centre in Bin Landen's thinking, belief in the non-existence of god wasn't even a side issue to the purges. The fact that you construct a sentence in such away as to shoe horn Atheism in, then throw away the communism aspect in order to put Atheism front, and centre changes that, not at all.

Atheism was the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Josef Stalin killed hundreds of thousand of people specifically for not be atheistic. He nearly destroyed the Russian Orthodox Church and he is responsible for the largest Jewish purge since Hitler. And he was no better to Moslems. How is that not killing in the name of atheism?



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Friday, May 25, 2007 9:34 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
I just read the entire wiki entry on the Great Purge ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge) nowhere is religion mentioned.

Quote:

Stalin's role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution in the 1930s resulted in its near-extinction: by 1939, active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (down from 54,000 in 1917), many churches had been leveled, and tens of thousands of priests, monks and nuns were persecuted and killed. Over 100,000 were shot during the purges of 1937-38.[25][26] During World War II, however, the Church was allowed a revival as a patriotic organization, after the NKVD had recruited the new metropolitan, the first after the revolution, as a secret agent. Thousands of parishes were reactivated, until a further round of suppression in Khrushchev's time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin#Religion



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Friday, May 25, 2007 10:10 AM

FREDGIBLET


Here's a couple things I found when I Googled "Stalin atheist"

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/hitlerstalin.html
http://www.atheistalliance.org/library/nelson-atheism_communism.php

Despite the valid arguments made on both those sites I'm willing to admit that atheism played a small part in Stalin's purges, but the vast majority of the dead were killed for purely political reasons.

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