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Old 08-27-2011, 01:10 PM
 
4,487 posts, read 4,372,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nivalis View Post
I'd vote for Huntsman or Paul, but since neither will be getting the nomination, I won't be voting Republican.

My thoughts exactly!!

 
Old 08-27-2011, 01:14 PM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
1,513 posts, read 1,434,542 times
Reputation: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzly Friddle View Post
I don't recall where some of us loath to admit that atheism is a world view.
...primarily those trying to pass themselves off as the eternal skeptic. While they live their lives as though there is no God they claim to be "moderates" or take the moderated approach in all topics - to include theism and atheism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzly Friddle View Post
Of course all world views are subject to dogmatism. Religion doesn't have much to do with that. I do not define religion the same way you do.
Right. The text book definition is different than the way I presented it in my post. That's why I threw in the qualifier: "If we define religion as..."

But I'm curious as to what you think would be the primary differences between the so called religious view and the secular view? What, in your view, makes the atheistic view superior to the theistic view?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzly Friddle View Post
I do know we loath to admit that atheism is a religion, because it isn't. Is that what you are talking about?
Again, it depends upon how one is going to define "religion." My basic point here is that atheism and theism are simply competing world views. However, if for some reason we are to believe that theism is undeserving of such a qualification, I would be delighted to hear your explanation as to why this should be so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzly Friddle View Post
I don't see much dogma in this thread, and I am very proud of my fellow atheists for their rational ideas and the thoughts they have shared.
Then, in all candor, you're not paying much attention. There are many on this forum in the atheist camp whom I've been forced to ignore because they are so dogmatically entrenched. It would be completely useless for me to even attempt to have further discussion.

I won't deny that there is at least one dogmatic Christian on the board to off-set each dogmatic atheist. However, if one is going to try and have a REAL discussion and REALLY attempt to understand and communicate, they must be willing to check their dogma at the doorma.
 
Old 08-27-2011, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
1,374 posts, read 1,356,980 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Joined Feb. 2009...you tell me.




Credit nep321 for starting the thread. I've consistently put forward the point that our political views are ultimately driven by our world view. A world view is something that we all have - even though some of us are apparently loath to admit it. Threads such as this are a great help in illustrating this.

I suspect that there isn't much that either of us would agree upon either politically of philosophically. However, would you be willing to concede that all world views, whether they are inclined towards theism or atheism, are subject to dogmatism? In essence, we are all 'religious' in some form or another - that is, if we're willing to define 'religion' as simply a deeper philosophical approach (individual belief) towards God's existence/non-existence, morality (objective/relative) , spirituality (natural/supernatural) and such.
Even the dimmest among us have a world view. If City Data has taught me anything it is this. The problem is that world views are largely shaped by belief systems which are often arbitrary and irrational leading to corresponding pathologies in the respective world view and even greater diseases in the body politic as well as the world at large. The evidence is all around us. Although it is part and parcel to the egalitarian spirit of American ideals to hear people say things like "my beliefs are just as good as your beliefs" this peculiar sentiment leads to the cliche' fallacy that all opinions are equal. The truth is that some opinions are grounded in fact and sound principles giving them measurable utility while other opinions are nonsensical and essentially worthless.

The difference (and I mean all the difference in the world) between the atheistic/agnostic world view and its religious counterpart is that the former bases its conclusions and convictions on the empiricism of science which is the best and most reliable tool mankind has ever developed for understanding the true nature of reality. It has proven its utility and superiority beyond the shadow of doubt by delivering us from stone age toil and misery and elevating our standard of living and quality of life beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. Religion pales in comparison.

I have often encountered the baseless and laughable theistic charge that science itself is just another belief system (all opinions are equal remember). This errant argument, kindred to the creationists claim that evolution is also a religion, betrays in its adherent a lack of even the most rudimentary conception of the way science operates. Not only is science and the scientific world view not a belief system it is the antidote to belief systems and all the problems they create. Although dogmatic ideas do crop up even in the scientific realm the self correcting nature of the scientific method requiring that all observations be repeatable as well as the peer review process ensure that they don't last long whereas ideology not only resists change it elevates this regrettable human proclivity to a virtue.

Quote: "I suspect that there isn't much that either of us would agree upon either politically or philosophically." Why do you suspect this? I wasn't kidding or being disingenuous when I said that I was essentially conservative in nature: I'm pro capitalism (because it is the most scientific economic system yet developed and closely approximates the way that nature does things), I'm pro military -in fact I'm an Army veteran (not because I'm brutish or warlike, but because even the most enlightened and humanistic society no matter how superior would simply be conquered by its cultural inferiors in the absence of a competent military to defend it), I'm pro law and order and believe that criminals should be punished (how can you have a peaceful, productive society without the rule of law?), and I believe in personal responsibility and keeping government out of personal affairs (which is one reason why I will always oppose those who seek to legislate their theistic brands of morality and impose their religious beliefs on others).

The fact is that most atheists/agnostics are largely misunderstood by their theistic brethren whereas we understand you better than you understand yourselves because having grown up in your world we've been studying you all of our lives.
 
Old 08-27-2011, 03:31 PM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
1,513 posts, read 1,434,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
Even the dimmest among us have a world view. If City Data has taught me anything it is this. The problem is that world views are largely shaped by belief systems which are often arbitrary and irrational leading to corresponding pathologies in the respective world view and even greater diseases in the body politic as well as the world at large. The evidence is all around us. Although it is part and parcel to the egalitarian spirit of American ideals to hear people say things like "my beliefs are just as good as your beliefs" this peculiar sentiment leads to the cliche' fallacy that all opinions are equal. The truth is that some opinions are grounded in fact and sound principles giving them measurable utility while other opinions are nonsensical and essentially worthless.
I basically agree. My intention was to make the point that basically, everyone has a world view (philosophical outlook) with respect to life's ultimate questions - questions that transcend what we are able to get at through scientific investigation.

I'm definitely not trying to infer that all world views are equally true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
The difference (and I mean all the difference in the world) between the atheistic/agnostic world view and its religious counterpart is that the former bases its conclusions and convictions on the empiricism of science which is the best and most reliable tool mankind has ever developed for understanding the true nature of reality. It has proven its utility and superiority beyond the shadow of doubt by delivering us from stone age toil and misery and elevating our standard of living and quality of life beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. Religion pales in comparison.
Please provide the empirical scientific answer to the following question:

Why does anything exist, rather than nothing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
I have often encountered the baseless and laughable theistic charge that science itself is just another belief system (all opinions are equal remember). This errant argument, kindred to the creationists claim that evolution is also a religion, betrays in its adherent a lack of even the most rudimentary conception of the way science operates. Not only is science and the scientific world view not a belief system it is the antidote to belief systems and all the problems they create. Although dogmatic ideas do crop up even in the scientific realm the self correcting nature of the scientific method requiring that all observations be repeatable as well as the peer review process ensure that they don't last long whereas ideology not only resists change it elevates this regrettable human proclivity to a virtue.
I actually love and am fascinated by science and technology. I'm open to hear your case, but I'm convinced that science works hand-in-hand with properly understood Biblical hermeneutics. Science is not the enemy of Christianity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
Quote: "I suspect that there isn't much that either of us would agree upon either politically or philosophically." Why do you suspect this? I wasn't kidding or being disingenuous when I said that I was essentially conservative in nature: I'm pro capitalism (because it is the most scientific economic system yet developed and closely approximates the way that nature does things), I'm pro military -in fact I'm an Army veteran (not because I'm brutish or warlike, but because even the most enlightened and humanistic society no matter how superior would simply be conquered by its cultural inferiors in the absence of a competent military to defend it), I'm pro law and order and believe that criminals should be punished (how can you have a peaceful, productive society without the rule of law?), and I believe in personal responsibility and keeping government out of personal affairs (which is one reason why I will always oppose those who seek to legislate their theistic brands of morality and impose their religious beliefs on others).
I didn't mean to offend. I'm sure there are political and philosophical views that we do in fact have in common. It was not my intention to mischaracterise your stance with respect to these issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
The fact is that most atheists/agnostics are largely misunderstood by their theistic brethren whereas we understand you better than you understand yourselves because having grown up in your world we've been studying you all of our lives.
It seems to me that there exists a fair amount of misunderstanding on both sides of the fence. I'm here - I'm trying to understand.
 
Old 08-27-2011, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
1,374 posts, read 1,356,980 times
Reputation: 1097
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Quote:
I basically agree. My intention was to make the point that basically, everyone has a world view (philosophical outlook) with respect to life's ultimate questions - questions that transcend what we are able to get at through scientific investigation.

I'm definitely not trying to infer that all world views are equally true.
I understood your intention, but you also seemed to be implying that atheists/agnostics don't believe that they themselves have a world view. Although I've come across the occasional exception most atheists/agnostics are fairly thoughtful people and the idea that they don't have a world view would strike them as counter-intuitive and even silly.

And although you may not believe that all world views are equally true there are many (and I've argued in vain with many of them) who subscribe to this ideological relativism.

Quote:
Please provide the empirical scientific answer to the following question:

Why does anything exist, rather than nothing?
For all of its leaps and bounds science is still in its infancy. Your question is not yet answerable. Perhaps it will never be explained which leaves room for philosophical and religious speculations. I don't believe that religion has no utility at all, only that it should always defer to what can be demonstrated to be true and never trump observation.



Quote:
I actually love and am fascinated by science and technology. I'm open to hear your case, but I'm convinced that science works hand-in-hand with properly understood Biblical hermeneutics. Science is not the enemy of Christianity.
It was not my intention to paint you as an anti-technology Luddite. Throughout your many posts you posed the question "What are the differences between the atheistic/agnostic worldview and the religious/theistic worldview?" and by extension "What are the merits thereof?" Its impossible to understand the atheistic/agnostic world view outside of the context of science so I had no choice but to go there. Besides, like I said, many theists (especially here on CD) seem to have a poor grasp on the way that science operates.

To address your last sentence "Science is not the enemy of Christianity." I agree. I don't understand why so many Christians feel threatened by it. Here it is worth noting that many if not most early scientists like Isaac Newton and even Darwin himself were Christian creationists who were simply trying to figure out how God did things.


Quote:
I didn't mean to offend. I'm sure there are political and philosophical views that we do in fact have in common. It was not my intention to mischaracterise your stance with respect to these issues.
You didn't offend me. I often come across the accusation by those on the religious right that we could never have anything in common. Again, I think that this attitude is born of basic misconceptions about atheists in general . I get the impression from my experiences with theists that many of them believe that atheists are atheists because they don't want to be bound by morality. In other words, because we are hedonistic heathens. Although there are probably exceptions as there are in all walks of life, for the most part this is not true. Most atheists are as moral as anybody else out there and I think that a good argument could be made that they exhibit greater moral and altruistic tendencies than average based on their willingness to stand up for people that have been traditionally demonized and marginalized i.e. homosexuals.


Quote:
It seems to me that there exists a fair amount of misunderstanding on both sides of the fence. I'm here - I'm trying to understand.
You're right, it does go both ways, but we atheists have born the brunt of it for ages now. It has only been safe for maybe about a generation or so to "out" yourself as an atheist. For the longest time it was a dirty little secret that you kept to yourself if you knew what was best for you. I commend you on trying to understand. Believe it or not, I was actually raised in a Christian household so I have a pretty good grasp on the theistic point of view. In fact, my parents were missionaries. No kidding!
.

Last edited by Zekester; 08-27-2011 at 04:46 PM..
 
Old 08-27-2011, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Earth. For now.
1,227 posts, read 1,777,809 times
Reputation: 1264
I have voted Republican in the past here in Minnesota, when the candidate has a reasonable point of view regarding politics and how government should be structured. I've also voted Democrat when the issue was the same. And to tell you the truth, Minnesota has been better run under Democratic administrations than it has Republican ones.

I generally side with the Republican ideal of less government, but cannot reconcile this with the existing crop of Republican Loons who so loudly - and proudly - complain about government interference in one breath, but then laud government for stepping in to "keep moral order" and telling people who they can and cannot love or marry, for example. Just what the hell are you thinking???

WTF? Whose business is it of yours to tell me that my choice of mate is somehow immoral or unacceptable or invalid??? To the current crop of Tea-Party wackos, I say, Mind Your Own Effin' Business. Just like you claim you want government to do in your own lives. Keep government out of people's private lives. DON'T TURN AROUND and use government power to dictate your personal morality to everyone else.

If I am a Republican, then I am a Goldwater Republican. If I am a Democrat, then I am a Humphrey Democrat. Label me as you will.

Last edited by Astron1000; 08-27-2011 at 07:38 PM..
 
Old 08-27-2011, 07:37 PM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
1,513 posts, read 1,434,542 times
Reputation: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
I understood your intention, but you also seemed to be implying that atheists/agnostics don't believe that they themselves have a world view. Although I've come across the occasional exception most atheists/agnostics are fairly thoughtful people and the idea that they don't have a world view would strike them as counter-intuitive and even silly.
My intention was to imply that some atheists/agnostics don't want to be nailed down to a particular world view. As I remarked to Sizzly, these, for the most part, are the eternal skeptic types. They try to portray themselves as the middle of the road high minded moderates on everything.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
And although you may not believe that all world views are equally true there are many (and I've argued in vain with many of them) who subscribe to this ideological relativism.
I don't doubt it. I suspect most of these types are over in the Christianity sub-forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
For all of its leaps and bounds science is still in its infancy. Your question is not yet answerable. Perhaps it will never be explained which leaves room for philosophical and religious speculations. I don't believe that religion has no utility at all, only that it should always defer to what can be demonstrated to be true and never trump observation.
I suppose so. However, I see it as vitally important for us to seek answers to these ultimate questions. While they may often be viewed as being beyond that which can be empirically verified the answers can still fall well within the guidelines of logic. I prefer my faith to be reasonable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
It was not my intention to paint you as an anti-technology Luddite. Throughout your many posts you posed the question "What are the differences between the atheistic/agnostic worldview and the religious/theistic worldview?" and by extension "What are the merits thereof?" Its impossible to understand the atheistic/agnostic world view outside of the context of science so I had no choice but to go there. Besides, like I said, many theists (especially here on CD) seem to have a poor grasp on the way that science operates.
Again, you seem to be juxtaposing faith with scientific empiricism. You freely admit that there are many deeply philosophical questions that science is unable to satisfactorily answer. Wouldn't this reasonably lead us to conclude that there is a fair amount of faith involved in the atheist world view? Specifically, with respect to a determined choice to move forward in life under the conviction that there is no God?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
To address your last sentence "Science is not the enemy of Christianity." I agree. I don't understand why so many Christians feel threatened by it. Here it is worth noting that many if not most early scientists like Isaac Newton and even Darwin himself were Christian creationists who were simply trying to figure out how God did things.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
You didn't offend me. I often come across the accusation by those on the religious right that we could never have anything in common. Again, I think that this attitude is born of basic misconceptions about atheists in general . I get the impression from my experiences with theists that many of them believe that atheists are atheists because they don't want to be bound by morality. In other words, because we are hedonistic heathens. Although there are probably exceptions as there are in all walks of life, for the most part this is not true. Most atheists are as moral as anybody else out there and I think that a good argument could be made that they exhibit greater moral and altruistic tendencies than average based on their willingness to stand up for people that have been traditionally demonized and marginalized i.e. homosexuals.
As a veteran of many discussions on the moral issue I've stated as much myself on several occasions. My discussions of morality are mostly centered around the way morality is based i.e., relative concepts vs. objective concepts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
You're right, it does go both ways, but we atheists have born the brunt of it for ages now. It has only been safe for maybe about a generation or so to "out" yourself as an atheist. For the longest time it was a dirty little secret that you kept to yourself if you knew what was best for you. I commend you on trying to understand. Believe it or not, I was actually raised in a Christian household so I have a pretty good grasp on the theistic point of view. In fact, my parents were missionaries. No kidding!
Understood. Not too long ago, openly professing atheists were as rare as hens teeth.
 
Old 08-27-2011, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
1,374 posts, read 1,356,980 times
Reputation: 1097
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astron1000 View Post
I have voted Republican in the past here in Minnesota, when the candidate has a reasonable point of view regarding politics and how government should be structured. I've also voted Democrat when the issue was the same. And to tell you the truth, Minnesota has been better run under Democratic administrations than it has Republican ones.

I generally side with the Republican ideal of less government, but cannot reconcile this with the existing crop of Republican Loons who so loudly - and proudly - complain about government interference in one breath, but then laud government for stepping in to "keep moral order" and telling people who they can and cannot love or marry, for example. Just what the hell are you thinking???

WTF? Whose business is it of yours to tell me that my choice of mate is somehow immoral or unacceptable or invalid??? To the current crop of Tea-Party wackos, I say, Mind Your Own Effin' Business. Just like you claim you want government to do in your own lives. Keep government out of people's private lives. DON'T TURN AROUND and use government power to dictate your personal morality to everyone else.

If I am a Republican, then I am a Goldwater Republican. If I am a Democrat, then I am a Humphrey Democrat. Label me as you will.
Bingo!
 
Old 08-27-2011, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Rivendell
1,387 posts, read 2,167,713 times
Reputation: 1650
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
...primarily those trying to pass themselves off as the eternal skeptic. While they live their lives as though there is no God they claim to be "moderates" or take the moderated approach in all topics - to include theism and atheism.



Right. The text book definition is different than the way I presented it in my post. That's why I threw in the qualifier: "If we define religion as..."

But I'm curious as to what you think would be the primary differences between the so called religious view and the secular view? What, in your view, makes the atheistic view superior to the theistic view?



Again, it depends upon how one is going to define "religion." My basic point here is that atheism and theism are simply competing world views. However, if for some reason we are to believe that theism is undeserving of such a qualification, I would be delighted to hear your explanation as to why this should be so.



Then, in all candor, you're not paying much attention. There are many on this forum in the atheist camp whom I've been forced to ignore because they are so dogmatically entrenched. It would be completely useless for me to even attempt to have further discussion.

I won't deny that there is at least one dogmatic Christian on the board to off-set each dogmatic atheist. However, if one is going to try and have a REAL discussion and REALLY attempt to understand and communicate, they must be willing to check their dogma at the doorma.
The previous posts from Zekester explain my point of view precisely and elegantly. I can add nothing more without being redundant.
 
Old 08-27-2011, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
1,374 posts, read 1,356,980 times
Reputation: 1097
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Again, you seem to be juxtaposing faith with scientific empiricism. You freely admit that there are many deeply philosophical questions that science is unable to satisfactorily answer. Wouldn't this reasonably lead us to conclude that there is a fair amount of faith involved in the atheist world view? Specifically, with respect to a determined choice to move forward in life under the conviction that there is no God?
jux·ta·pose (jkst-pz)tr.v. jux·ta·posed, jux·ta·pos·ing, jux·ta·pos·es To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

Sure, that's exactly what I was doing and I think that I made a compelling case for the superior utility and reliability of science -not from a shallow attempt at ego gratification (which is what debate often is), but simply as a means to communicate the idea that the adherent of the scientific world view is basing his/her beliefs on verifiable, objective evidence and hence doesn't require faith as opposed to the beliefs of the theist who often can only offer up a sheepish "because the Bible tells me so."

Although we've agreed that there are questions that science is presently unable to answer I don't think that this fact reveals a basic limitation of science itself, but rather the limitations of the beings who wield it. I suspect that it is possible that some aspects of reality may not be compatible with human cognition in much the same way that you'll never be able to explain a DVD player to your cat. Note: I am not making an appeal to the existence of some supernatural intelligence. Perhaps an alien species who evolved on another planet somewhere has just the right mental hardware to comprehend aspects of reality not within our grasp. Perhaps human consciousness will evolve over time to the level of some new breakthrough (much like the development of language) that enables us to understand these things.

To address your last point that a strict atheistic world view may require some faith: I understand what you're driving at. The truth is that I'm technically an agnostic rather than an atheist, but I get tired of explaining the difference to so many people. The truth is that its just easier to say that I'm an atheist because most people will get the general idea. I'm sure that you understand that the agnostic believes that there is no way he can empirically demonstrate whether or not something called "God" exists therefore he is forced to admit that he simply doesn't know even if he has a strong suspicion that there is no God whereas, strictly speaking, the atheist is taking a stance and proclaiming that there is indeed no God and here he steps onto shaky ground (although this argument is subject to varying definitions/interpretations of atheism, i.e. weak atheism versus strong atheism). Even if he has very well thought out logical reasons for this belief he has still made something of a leap of faith. However, this is not the "Gotcha!" admission that so many theists believe it is. One could just as easily argue that there is no way to empirically prove that the tooth fairy doesn't exist. The argument is largely semantic not to mention that it requires one to embark on the irrational fools errand of attempting to prove a negative.

Last edited by Zekester; 08-27-2011 at 09:38 PM..
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