U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-10-2012, 12:55 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,759,943 times
Reputation: 5666

Advertisements

As an admirer of James Randi and similar equal-opportunity skeptics, I am alarmed at the extent to which otherwise reasonable (and atheist) people believe in other paranormal nonsense, e.g. astrology, crystals, Tarot, and so on and so forth.

For an example, see this bit of mumbo-jumbo from one of the alt-weeklies in San Francisco:

2012: Beginning of the End or a New Beginning | SF Politics

Quote:
The earth is being flooded with energies from the galactic center,” San Francisco Astrological Society President Linea Van Horn, who has been giving presentations for eight years on the significance of a cosmic alignment that occurs once every 26,000 years, told us. “That was the alignment that the Mayans were marking on their calendars.”
I would assume -- and hope -- that any sentient human being would interpret the bolded text as just so much hokum, uttered by someone who desperately needs her meds adjusted, but apparently I'd be wrong.

One of the commenters on this post describes herself as,

Quote:
a leader in "Quantum Energetics." She has focused her mastery on bridging the gap between science, spirituality, and the healing arts. She combines her Master's in Electrical Engineering and Physics with numerous wisdom tools from Eastern and Western philosophies to offer a unique style of Being Engineering and Energy Management
To which I can only observe: Moderator cut: delete

How, I ask you, is this objectively any different than believing that a virgin gave birth to a man 2,000 years ago, who later died and was resurrected -- or that we are are all inhabited by the ghostly remains of billions of ancient dead alien creatures that were incinerated in a volcano?

Do you encounter seeming rational (and atheist) people who subscribe to these patently absurd beliefs? And what, if anything, do you do to convince them that they're just as loony as those who've swallowed the religious Kool-aid?

Last edited by Miss Blue; 12-11-2012 at 05:08 PM.. Reason: using filtered words in any shape ior form are deleted
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-10-2012, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,139 posts, read 18,604,845 times
Reputation: 18738
Well, sure, why wouldn't one be skeptical?

I lump all of that stuff in the same classification as religion....stuff someone promotes despite the utter absence of evidence to support its viability. An awful lot of it is just passing fads, the '70's was a real Golden Age for neo-nonsense. We had EST, Rolfing, Taro Card reading, aura cleansing, I-Ching tossing, mood rings, astrology was off the charts popular...

We had advocates for talking to your plants to make them grow faster and healthier, Uri Geller was in his prime, palm, tea leaf and aura readers abounded, there was astral plane projection and reincarnation enjoyed a big revival. And channeling....people were forever channeling dead relatives, friends and figures from the past.

And all of it was an immense, steaming pile of crap.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 01:18 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,759,943 times
Reputation: 5666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
And all of it was an immense, steaming pile of crap.
And yet I have friends who are aggressively atheist (indeed, anti-Christian) who get VERY offended when I diss astrology.

It's just bizarre. Maybe we humans are just hard-wired to believe in fanciful lies -- in which case I despair for the future of our species.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,139 posts, read 18,604,845 times
Reputation: 18738
Quote:
Originally Posted by pch1013 View Post
And yet I have friends who are aggressively atheist (indeed, anti-Christian) who get VERY offended when I diss astrology.

.
Are you certain that they are atheists? Sound more like Pagans to me.

But..if these folks are indeed atheists, ask them who or what is behind the forces which make astrology work. If the stars were set up with human fates in mind, that would seem to be a dynamic which requires intelligent planning to make sure that the stars are paying attention to births on Earth and imparting whatever force they impart which directs the Earthly outcomes for the humans born at specific times.

No god...then who is running this show? And if it is the stars themselves acting to drive matters as outlined by the astrology enthusiasts, wouldn't that just be a substitute belief in a greater power? God-lite or such?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Yuma, Az
344 posts, read 340,279 times
Reputation: 424
Quote:
Originally Posted by pch1013 View Post
And yet I have friends who are aggressively atheist (indeed, anti-Christian) who get VERY offended when I diss astrology.

It's just bizarre. Maybe we humans are just hard-wired to believe in fanciful lies -- in which case I despair for the future of our species.
Personally, I don't believe in any of those things like tarot cards or palm-reading, etc. This might seem kind of weird, but although I do not believe planet earth has been visited by extraterrestrials, I think it is probably more likely that planet earth has been visited by UFOs as compared to the possibilities of the traditional prayer-listening, miracle-making god. It's a little like comparing apples and oranges, but I'm just talking about the mathematical odds if I were to guess them, not the two different phenomena, per se.

Anyway, I can see an atheist believing in astrology or fortunetelling if the person was never indoctrinated into a traditional religion. The person would be without a belief in god but yet he could have been raised in an environment where he was prone to believing in other, non-god superstitions, psychic powers, etc.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 02:22 PM
 
3,574 posts, read 4,177,198 times
Reputation: 3061
Quote:
Originally Posted by pch1013 View Post
And yet I have friends who are aggressively atheist (indeed, anti-Christian) who get VERY offended when I diss astrology.

It's just bizarre. Maybe we humans are just hard-wired to believe in fanciful lies -- in which case I despair for the future of our species.
Those friends, sorry to say, are idiots.

An atheist does not believe in god for a reason: there is no evidence for god... and using that same logic, an atheist shouldn't believe in all that other crap either. Those flaky friends are exactly the kind of people I was referring to when I started a thread about people calling themselves "spiritual but not religious." I think they really DO believe in crazy, nonsensical fairy tales, but are just turned off by organized religion, so they ride a middle ground of ignorance and false beliefs.

Truth is, they are just as much fooled by the mythological as any priest or pope (and are no different).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 03:19 PM
 
755 posts, read 632,798 times
Reputation: 439
Sure.

I'm skeptical of UFO abductions and bigfoot, for example.

However, not all atheists are atheists for logical reasons. For example, I've heard some variation of the following numerous times:
"I lost my belief when my Dad/sister/friend/etc. died of cancer"

Where's the logical connection between (for example) a man dying of small cell carcinoma, and his son Dave thereby concluding that deities do not exist? There isn't one. So I would not expect Dave to therefore be predisposed to skepticism.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 03:34 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,759,943 times
Reputation: 5666
Well, the friends in question are gay, and in most cases their rejection of religion stems from religion's rejection of them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 03:39 PM
 
3,574 posts, read 4,177,198 times
Reputation: 3061
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mictlantecuhtli View Post
Sure.

I'm skeptical of UFO abductions and bigfoot, for example.

However, not all atheists are atheists for logical reasons. For example, I've heard some variation of the following numerous times:
"I lost my belief when my Dad/sister/friend/etc. died of cancer"

Where's the logical connection between (for example) a man dying of small cell carcinoma, and his son Dave thereby concluding that deities do not exist? There isn't one. So I would not expect Dave to therefore be predisposed to skepticism.
I totally disagree. I think it's QUITE logical that the person loses their faith when a loved family member dies of cancer. It wouldn't happen if there was an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving god. Same with innocent babies who are born to only immediately die with tragic diseases and malformations.

It's logical to assume that there can be no god who would let that happen even after millions of prayers, good deeds, blessings, pious living, life-long devotion, etc.

When people lose their faith and become atheists, 100% of the time it's becaue they started to ask themselves some tough questions about the nature of the world. I totally consider that logical.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-10-2012, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mictlantecuhtli View Post
Sure.

I'm skeptical of UFO abductions and bigfoot, for example.

However, not all atheists are atheists for logical reasons. For example, I've heard some variation of the following numerous times:
"I lost my belief when my Dad/sister/friend/etc. died of cancer"

Where's the logical connection between (for example) a man dying of small cell carcinoma, and his son Dave thereby concluding that deities do not exist? There isn't one. So I would not expect Dave to therefore be predisposed to skepticism.
The connection is that they believed, likely, in some version of the Christian god and one of the teachings about this god is that it will protect you, prosper the righteous, penalize the wicked, etc. If too much happens in your life that contradicts this, then they can no longer believe (or suspend disbelief). They may not be unbelievers so much as angry at god and wishing to punish him or shame him into living up to his own standards ... in other words their theism simply takes on a negative slant. Or they may be unbelievers only in that particular god and may go seeking after some substitute.

In my experience, a disillusioned theist will set out on a quest to find some new "true religion" and either they settle on one or realize they are all illusions. Sometimes they even return to the original belief-system when they are sufficiently cowed by social pressure or loneliness. Sometimes they go through a series of affairs / disillusionments before life beats the last of their belief out of them. How quickly this process happens is, yes, probably a function of whether they are predisposed to skepticism. I've met quite a few atheists or agnostics who want to believe, but can't, and suffer as a result. And quite a few theists who want to be free of doubt, and are tortured that they aren't free of doubt.

God is an idea, and people can be in love with their ideas, even though the ideas are leaky abstractions that keep bumping up against pesky ol' reality.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top