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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:40 pm 
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Interesting.
Specifically, which parts did you take issue with?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:53 pm 
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Meta

I think that my biggest problem with it, is that its an effort to get people NOT to belive.

Which I see as "preachy" if you will forgive the pun.

If folks want not to belive--thats fine by me, but they should give other folks the same right.
Its not just the Christains that seem to get all forceful and pushy with their beliefs.

There is to my mind a very real difference between someone that is comfortable and "ok" with their philosophical outlook and those that can't rest until YOU think the same way THEY do.

To quote: (spelling errors mine :) )

"Only the atheist recognize the boundless narcissim and self deceit of the saved."

Really, you mean the of kind narcissim like self-proclaiming that your group and your group ALONE have the answer?

I see no effective or substantive difference between a Christain making such claims and an atheist doing so.

Another problem I have is that it reduce's highly complex, extremely different Christain thought into a pithy:

"Why would a good god allow bad things to happen?"

(my paraphrase)

Which is a question that people of almost ALL faiths have struggled with for many thosands of years.

And various Christians doctrines answer that questions in a number of ways--all of which are ignored by the article.

They present none of the possible answers so they can spin it into NO answer--or at least none the article is prepared to deal with.

I can get deeper into the article--but is this what your asking??


Last edited by cxt on Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:28 pm 
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cxt wrote:
And various Christians doctrines answer that questions in a number of ways--all of which are ignored by the article.


Actually the article did address that briefly. But otherwise I pretty much agree that atheist prostelytizing is the same as theist prostelyting. Basically they take as an apriori truth that pure reason is the only legitimate way to conduct one's life and try to tell others to live the same way.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:50 pm 
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I see how being preachy can be irritating, CXT, but isn't it also sort of laudable, or at least expected?

Christians may think they're going to save your eternal soul. If that's what they believe, wouldn't they be unchristian NOT trying?

And atheists and secular humanists see the most powerful nation on earth being run by being who reject established science and embrace thousands-of-years-old superstitions. We can expect them to speak up for a rational government too, they'd be crazy not to.

On a personal level, however, I try not to mess with politics or faith at the office. A few close friends and I swap interesting viewpoints now and then.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:03 pm 
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IJ

I see what your saying.

Its just that the quote I mentioned above could be by either party--and that would freak BOTH of them out.

They pretty much sound the same to me--efffectively so.

Also the atheists (and the Christain as well--different issue) embrace an outlook no less flawed.

As you mention they like to paint themselves as being bastions of logic and reason---but I know alot of atheists that smoke, drive while talking on cell phones--some of them even have even cheated on their significant others-

(I pause for the usual "gasp" of surprise here :) )

-they make bad business decisions, lie, cheat and steal as well.

What I am getting at is that they are human--and a cross-section of the atheist movement would show a group pretty much like any other---certianly no worse--but not really any better either.

Which is a round about way of saying that I have trust issues with folks that claim to run on sweet, sweet reason, and clear logic--but "really" don't.

In that sense I see them as little different from the relgious groups they claim to oppose.

They also tend to paint their oppts as you mention as being folks whom "reject established science" when that is clearly not the case with most Christians.

Its a "straw man" that the atheists should know better than building.

(of course they are SCARY correct on some christains groups)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:16 pm 
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I would argue that logic and reason stand apart from a persons adherence to it's truths.
Physical laws are called laws for a reason, and they do not require belief in order for them to:

A. Be physically observable either directly or indirectly
B. Be repeatable

In the event one would like to brush up on these,
http://www.alcyone.com/max/physics/laws/index.html

This isn't an issue of two valid schools of thought in competition with one another.
It's an issue with something that is faith based, and something that is based in empirical truths.

Would you argue that the sun is roughly a large ball of hydrogen gas?,
~or a that then sun is actually a god in a chariot who flies across the sky each day?

More on what Atheism is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism


An atheist being or acting immoral, has absolutely no bearing on the method of logical or critical analysis.
So you are correct in that there is a Straw Man argument going on here, but unfortunately it is yours.

If, as you elude, some atheists paint themselves as morally superior, (as some no doubt do,) I would surmise that it is in the basis that since their morality and ethics do not come from any divine inspiration, adherence or requirement, and as such they in their minds see no eternal reward or even an afterlife, then any acts committed which are deemed "moral" are done so from a pure desire of human goodness and are not tainted by the selfishness which comes from a promised reward for such behavior in heaven after death. Committing an act of "good" therefore from a mindset of absolutely no reward EVER from the action, is as some would argue, an act more true of morality than any pious person could ever commit.

I doubt however, if an atheist would state that they somehow imbue a level of higher morality simply from looking at the world through logic and critical thinking, but simply put, rather that when they decide do something nice, it's because they feel like being nice, not because some invisible man in the sky is keeping score.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:47 pm 
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I see what you're saying about the reward motive for the afterlife, but I do believe there are other rewards worth considering. Most donations aren't anonymous afterall--we recognize each other's generosity and in even a pure atheist society there would be an incentive to have admirable traits. Your name in the paper. A date. Whatever.

And on the other hand, Christians experience love for others well beyond the afterlife incentive and do good just because they know its right to do so. Not all and not always but that can be said of any group. EG, the parents of my partner's sister in law (married ministers) offered to marry my partner and I, knowing that they'd probably lose their jobs and livelihood in the church doing so. I never got the sense they were being selfish in doing so. In fact we were quite touched and had to immediately refuse their taking that chance, of course.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:34 pm 
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This is a rather touchy subject, as it deals with the matter of faith and people's core beliefs, so I'd prefer not to offend anyone perhaps more than I have already have.

However I do have a response if you'd care to have a dialogue off line from these forums via email.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:00 pm 
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-Metablade- wrote:
I would argue that logic and reason stand apart from a persons adherence to it's truths.
Physical laws are called laws for a reason, and they do not require belief in order for them to:


You cannot use logic as a system for determining absolute truth. You can only use it to determine the truth value of statement within a logical framework. What bothers me about atheist proselytizing is that it is ultimately hypocritical. You can't accept Godel's Incompleteness Theorem and in the same breath condemn others for adopting a system on faith.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:36 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
You cannot use logic as a system for determining absolute truth.


Meta: So, I gather that your position for determining absolute truth is to instead of using critical thinking and logic, to use, perhaps *illogic*, faith, belief, good intentions and perhaps a little fairy dust thrown in for good measure?

I would submit to you, that logic and critical thinking are all that we truly have in this world to aid in determining the *absolute truth*.

Valkenar wrote:
You can only use it to determine the truth value of statement within a logical framework.


Meta: Right, and the logical framework is the world we live in.
The world of reality.
Show me evidence of anything other than the reality of the world we live in, and I'll change my paradigm.

Valkenar wrote:
What bothers me about atheist proselytizing is that it is ultimately hypocritical.


Meta:
1. Who said I was an atheist?
2. Interesting that you continue to use the word "proselytizing", which is normally associated with religion, and often with negative connotation attached.
Is that what you think "atheism" is?
Another religion which is contrary to yours?
If so, you might want to read up on it little more.
It may not be what you think it is.

But I digress.
"Proselytizing" is defined as:
1. To induce someone to convert to one's own religious faith.

Since I am not advocating any specific religion, I hardly see that this definition applies.

2. To induce someone to join one's own political party or to espouse one's doctrine.

I am not guilty of the latter, unless there has been a post of mine I am not aware of. I suppose if I am "Proselytizing" my "doctrine" of anything, it is the "doctrine" of being as logical and critical as possible.
My what a horrendous act!
I suppose that under your logic, the public schools, colleges, and all places of true learning are just a bunch of no-good "proselytizers!!"
Heretics! Burn them!
They are "proselytizing" that we use common sense, sound judgment, logic and reasoning skills! Obviously these concepts have no place in our learning systems!
Get them, I say!

..If anything, I'd say that the American religious right does nothing BUT proselytize to the American people. Hence this thread even exists.

Valkenar wrote:
You can't accept Godel's Incompleteness Theorem and in the same breath condemn others for adopting a system on faith.


Meta:
1. You assume way to much about me sir.
I never claimed to accept Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, nor do I see where I've condemned anyone for their faith. If someone wants to believe that the sun is actually a cream-filled Twinkie and cabbages are god, that's really ok with me.
And I'll support your cabbage-given right to live that way in America if that floats your boat. I have only again, advocated rational though, logic, and critical thinking.

....Think I'll now go "proselytize" to my ISP as to why I think their bill was in error this month.
:roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:02 pm 
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First, let me say that I wasn't attacking you. I should probably never use the second-person plural on a forum. I just find that saying "one" all the time sounds very pompous. But my comments weren't meant to refer to "you", MetaBlade, they were meant to refer to "you" the aggregate other. Hope that makes sense.

Quote:
Meta: So, I gather that your position for determining absolute truth is to instead of using critical thinking and logic, to use, perhaps *illogic*, faith, belief, good intentions and perhaps a little fairy dust thrown in for good measure?


Not at all, I use logical and critical thinking, I just accept that I have no basis but faith for doing so. And I have to take accept this, because I have to either discover a way to refute Godel, or only selectively apply logic. I'm not smart enough to refute godel, and selectively applying logic undermines the whole point of champining logic and rationality as a desirable process.

Quote:
I would submit to you, that logic and critical thinking are all that we truly have in this world to aid in determining the *absolute truth*.
...
Meta: Right, and the logical framework is the world we live in.
The world of reality.


How do you know that? How do you know that logic the true nature of the universe?

Quote:
Show me evidence of anything other than the reality of the world we live in, and I'll change my paradigm.


Godel says:
Quote:
For any consistent formal theory including basic arithmetical truths, it is possible to construct an arithmetical statement that is true but not included in the theory. That is, any consistent theory of a certain expressive strength is incomplete.

For any formal theory T including basic arithmetical truths and also certain truths about formal provability, T includes a statement of its own consistency if and only if T is inconsistent.


Therefore logic proves itself to be either inconsistent or incomplete. Maybe I'm just badly misusing it, but by my understanding, this is one of the implications.

Quote:
Is that what you think "atheism" is?
Another religion which is contrary to yours?
If so, you might want to read up on it little more.
It may not be what you think it is.


Just a couple fun facts. I am an atheist and a fairly strict materialist. I do not believe in any sort of supernatural phenomena, and practice no spiritualism.

Quote:
I never claimed to accept Godel's Incompleteness Theorem


You don't? I'm honestly intrigued to know why. If you're a die-hard advocate of critical thinking and rational analysis, what options are there beyond refuting or accepting it? I wouldn't imagine you'd just dismiss it out of hand.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:04 am 
:microwave:

what if cat was spelt ... d . o . g !!!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:33 am 
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Valkenar
Not at all, I use logical and critical thinking, I just accept that I have no basis but faith for doing so.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Meta: I'm apologize, but I have no idea what you are trying to say here. It appears as if your point was "faith is the basis for which you use logical thinking?"
Is that a typo? I must be missing something.



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Valkenar
How do you know that? How do you know that logic the true nature of the universe?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Meta: I honestly don't. The Universe is a mighty big place. For all I know, there exists a sun out there that *really* IS made of Twinkie-goo and elves live along side us in a sparkling dimension made of chicken-fried sweatsocks, and where dollar bills are monkey testicles. (is that what you were driving at?) In fact, certain equations PREDICT just such wackiness exists.
But... from all the evidence that science has mustered, it sure looks like it logic itself holds some fairly serious water. Science indeed does have it's limits. (So far)
But that doesn't mean we should fill in the gaps with fairy stories and whatever else fuels our fancy. The unknown is only the unknown until science reveals it's true nature.
Example: 100 years ago (Heck even some places today) people "believed" beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sickness was caused by evil spirits. Humans are story tellers. And we hate not knowing things. So we create myths and stories to fill in the gaps of incomplete knowledge.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Show me evidence of anything other than the reality of the world we live in, and I'll change my paradigm.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Godel says:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For any consistent formal theory including basic arithmetical truths, it is possible to construct an arithmetical statement that is true but not included in the theory. That is, any consistent theory of a certain expressive strength is incomplete.
1
For any formal theory T including basic arithmetical truths and also certain truths about formal provability, T includes a statement of its own consistency if and only if T is inconsistent.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Valkenar
Therefore logic proves itself to be either inconsistent or incomplete. Maybe I'm just badly misusing it, but by my understanding, this is one of the implications.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Careful now. You almost hung yourself by your own petard.
I do that to myself often.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I never claimed to accept Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Valkenar
You don't? I'm honestly intrigued to know why. If you're a die-hard advocate of critical thinking and rational analysis, what options are there beyond refuting or accepting it? I wouldn't imagine you'd just dismiss it out of hand.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Meta: I don't refute or dismiss it, and I think I understand where you are coming from, but I just put these sorts of issues in the "weird stuff" file, because as you must know science and math are FILLED with anomalies, paradoxes, and other strangeness we have yet to understand. Math is as such that if manipulated in just the right way, you can formulate up to down, backwards to forwards, and black to white. It's interesting to say the least. but to accept it as an axiom and revel in it without the ability of practical experiments, it is just mental masturbation. Light will still act as wave and a particle, and Schrödinger's Cat is neither alive nor dead. It is akin to "knowing" on the chalkboard that we could indeed "create" a wormhole in space, but the energy needed would be on the order of the plank scale, which in itself, is also "theoretically" possible, but it seems that no one on the planet is smart enough to figure out how to observe, let alone create/harness it. But to again digress, the universe is strange enough by itself that we don't need to make things up to explain it. A prime example: Quantum Physics. It is so difficult to unravel because of it's innate strangeness. But if I have faith in anything, it's that it's just a matter of time before we do unravel it.

Lastly, I'll admit that pure logic has it's issues just like anything else, but in lieu of anything better, I still remain a healthy skeptic.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:12 pm 
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Meta

"so I would prefer not offend anyone else"

You have not offended me in the slightest.

I am throughly enjoying the discussion.

Place me firmly in the healthy skeptic group. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:57 pm 
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:D

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