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San Diego Coalition of Reason

Ah, swine flu. Or, maybe not. Maybe just regular flu. Either way, I’m not going to church today. It’s as good a time as any to spend some time with the Other Side, the crowd that doesn’t do church because they don’t believe in God. Or rather, they don’t do the part of church that involves worshipping a personal deity. The rest of it, I found, they might be okay with.

“Organizing atheists is like herding cats,” goes the old saying. Like cats, the thinking runs, atheists tend to be independent sorts, resistant to group mentalities. Further, it’s tricky to organize people around a denial — once you’ve agreed that there’s no God, what is left to do? And what’s the point of doing it?

Well, for starters, what about providing refuge and support for an ostracized minority? Jeff Archer is the president of the Atheist Coalition of San Diego, and in 2006 he wrote, “In the U.S., every day is a struggle for atheists. Despite 93 percent of the membership of the National Academy of Science being atheist and numerous great actors, philosophers, artists, and writers also, we are looked down upon by most U.S. citizens, many of whom are minuscule compared to us in the area of intellect.” Apparently, intellectual excellence is cold comfort. There is still that basic human desire to belong. That explains the billboard.

The billboard faces the 8 West, just before the Lake Murray exit. Passing motorists see blue sky, fluffy clouds, and the words, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone. SanDiegoCoR.org.” Maybe it’s because I spend so much time attending various churches, but my first thought was that this was a clever religious outreach. A gentle assurance to the unbeliever that he or she was not alone in an unfeeling universe, that “bidden or not bidden, God is present.” San Diego CoR — Church of Recovery?

The truth was more earnest: “Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community out there for them,” says Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “We hope this will serve as a beacon.” Adds San Diego coordinator Debbie Skomer, “We’re choosing to be as open about our values as you are.” It’s the billboard as secular steeple.

An essay by coalition member Howard Jones stresses, “We aren’t proselytizing; we don’t expect to ‘convert’ any believers.” But the coalition is made up of nine member organizations, including the aforementioned Atheist Coalition of San Diego, which seeks, among other things, “to promote atheism...presenting it as a worth-while, life-affirming, and wholesome point of view.” And Skomer grants that one of the goals of the billboard is to help member organizations grow their memberships. Even if you’re not seeking converts, when you’ve found the truth, you want to share it.

Another coalition member group, the Humanist Association of San Diego, retains the services of “San Diego’s only American Humanist certified Humanist Celebrant for Weddings, Memorials, and other rites of passage rituals.” Someone to preside over significant moments, the way a priest is there to baptize and bury. Not the same way, of course, but it’s hard to miss the quasi-religious connotation of “celebrant.”

There are regular gatherings. On Sunday, November 22, the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego will be attending a lecture at the San Diego Central Library given by USD professor Dennis Rohatyn on Voltaire and the Revolt Against Reason. And the day before, Voltaire gets his own holiday. (The gatherings, says Skomer, are part of the reason behind the coalition. “Recently, the members welcomed Sean Faircloth, executive director for the Secular Coalition for America, the national lobby representing the interests of nontheistic Americans. Typically, a visit like this would have been hosted by only one organization and advertised only to its members. By networking, the groups can have a more meaningful impact in the community.”)

The coalition’s local event calendar also includes birthday memorials for great atheists who have gone before us: ex-Catholic and Nobel Prize–winner Marie Curie, Mr. Cosmos Carl Sagan. The tribute to Sagan includes this, which reads like the photo-negative account of a saint’s final perseverance in the face of death: “Ann Druyan, in the epilogue to Sagan’s last book, Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (published posthumously in 1997), gives a moving account of Carl’s last days: ‘Contrary to the fantasies of the fundamentalists, there was no deathbed conversion, no last-minute refuge taken in a comforting vision of a heaven or an afterlife. For Carl, what mattered most was what was true, not merely what would make us feel better. Even at this moment when anyone would be forgiven for turning away from the reality of our situation, Carl was unflinching. As we looked deeply into each other’s eyes, it was with a shared conviction that our wondrous life together was ending forever.’”

The billboard went up November 11 and will stay up for a month. There has already been positive response. “To finally enjoy a community of like-minded people!” writes new member Wendy at the website for the San Diego New Atheists. New member Raul joins in, “I’ve been skeptical of the ‘Invisible Man’ in the sky who I had better do what he says or there’s a special place in Hell for me that he will send me (...but he loves me!). I saw the SanDiegoCoR.org sign the day it came out and want to make friends.” Skomer says she has received 58 positive comments so far through the CoR website, including this one: “I am an educated, generous, and compassionate non-theist who has ‘led a good life and contributed my share to society.’ I am often frustrated by the dominance of religious dogma in our everyday lives and by the lack of outlets for people like me to express their love and compassion for others without having to pretend to believe in something they don’t.... Please keep up the good work.”

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Comments
252

LOL Duhbya!!!

Nov. 19, 2009

Anyone who thinks Atheists somehow don't appreciate the amazing miracle of life and the universe without attributing it to a creator never listened to Carl Sagan.

Nov. 18, 2009

Ah, atheists. Finally organized, seeking new membership, and enjoying fellowship like all other religions. Soon, they'll be passing the plate, singing non-hymns, and bowing their heads in non-prayer. Ayn Rand would be proud.

Nov. 19, 2009

More on Faircloth: (He did not win the election, obviously)

http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3475/ItemId/5182/Default.aspx

Nov. 19, 2009

Ironic that a religious leader is a "man of the cloth" and the Atheist leader is a "Faircloth".

Nov. 19, 2009

Ok. So what about people like me who believe in God, don't feel that Hell is entirely a place you go for everyday indescretions,doesn't believe in Church, the Bible or organized religion?

To me, the biggest religious joke are people who claim they're Born Again or just simply say they're Christians. They judge my beliefs but I don't judge their beliefs per se. What I mean by that is, I may make fun of them for laiming to be Christian but I don't neccessarily doubt their intentions. Doing and saying are two different things. I say I'm going to give up alcohol every year but so far, with the exception of 4 years in prison, I haven't done it yet. Can I call myself an ex-drinker if my intentions are good even though I still consume?

Nov. 19, 2009

Nice line, rickey.

I consider myself an agnostic, but one thing I've always found interesting about hardcore atheists. They are SO SURE that there is no God, and they think it's crazy that religious people believe in a God. They go on about science not proving it and this and that. Yet, they are SO POSITIVE there is no God, yet there's no proof of that. I think it's just as arrogant, to be SURE that you know there's no God, as someone that insists there is (and that their God/religion is the one to follow).

Nov. 19, 2009

re #4: I thought about that one, too. Wonder where "loincloth" fits in?

re #5: "Can I call myself an ex-drinker if my intentions are good even though I still consume?" Sure, as long as you consider every drink consumed an ex-drink. Works for me!!! (Hic)

Nov. 19, 2009

On the evolution of religion:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/weekinreview/12wade.html?scp=1&sq=Nicholas+Wade+religion&st=nyt

Josh, my debating pal, I think you'll agree that there are many theories about this world.

Here are two of those theories:

  1. The world was created by an invisible entity. He created us in his image. Dismayed by our disobedience, he punished us by removing us from eden, and introducing plagues, war, and work into our lives. Some versions of this theory go on to claim that the invisible entity manifested itself as a human, shared a new message of love and peace, died in atonement for our sins, and allows us eternal life if we believe in this message.

  2. The world we live in is like many others in the universe. They are all subject to the same physical processes and laws. These well understood processes include photosynthesis, chemical reactions, and natural selection, where traits that aid survival tend to survive and propagate over time. These simple processes lead to complex results, and in the case of homo-sapiens we are able to observe great complexity and ability.

These theories are not mutually compatible. So we have to weigh the evidence supporting them.

Centuries ago, our ability to observe was not as advanced as today. When we didn't know about photosynthesis, leaves and flowers were simply attributed to that invisible entity. Now we know better.

Sulphur, mercury and phosphorus, with their unusual qualities, used to be explained with magic, satan, or God. Now we understand through chemestry how these things work.

The intellect, spiritual abilities, and morality of man used to be attributed to the divine. We were uniquely created in "His" image. Yet every year, for over a century now, we find more and more evidence not only of our evolution from earlier forms, but for how this process worked.

So in light of this, which theory has better evidence?

Josh, I could present a dozen other theories of the world from other cultures around the world. They're all as plausible as the biblical theory.

None of them stack up with what we've discovered in the last century. When a theory no longer matches the evidence, what do you do? Cling to it in respect for "tradition"? Go along because it's comfortable? Tell the people who are willing to change their minds and accept the evidence to shut up?

Religion is explainable through evolutionary theory. The opposite is not true.

It comes down to how gullible people are, and whether or not they're strong enough to look at the world as it is. Rejecting magical thinking is what adults do.

Religion, simply put, is a theory so easily disproven that it's childish to believe in it. It's time for the world to put away childish things and grow up.

Nov. 19, 2009

Josh, to now directly address your comment:

I'm sure I belong to the group you label "hardcare atheist":

"They are SO SURE that there is no God, and they think it's crazy that religious people believe in a God. They go on about science not proving it and this and that. Yet, they are SO POSITIVE there is no God, yet there's no proof of that."

Josh, you cannot disprove a negative. Have you ever studied logic? They offer the introductory class at Mesa, Miramar, and City College. It could change your life.

Here's a good summary of the logical fallacy:

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

A funny version that results in some great parties (one of which you should crash some day, my friend) is the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Josh, you cannot disprove that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Try it. Show me that there is no such thing as a Flying Spaghetti Monster...on an Invisible Pink Unicorn...or leprechauns...or this thing some people call "God".

So I hope that answers your question. The reason we're as certain as it's humanly possible to be is because we took that college class a long time ago and learned about those impediments to understanding the world around us known as logical fallacies.

Take the time to take the course. Mesa College offers the clas here:

http://www.sdmesa.edu/academic-programs/course-details.cfm?DegreeID=151&DeptID=58&CourseID=800

Nov. 19, 2009

And Fred throws the deep ball.....

The only question is....Will Josh catch it and win the game? If he's a Chargeless fan, he'll catch it, run, and fumble it.

Nov. 19, 2009

Well, Fred, my good friend, I've taken Logic (Philosophy 101, a requirement when I went so many years ago), and while Josh might not have presented his point in equation form, I think it deserves better examination than to simply be dismissed based on fallacy.

Your argument is simple, an easy logic equation.

"Some people believe in God. There is no proof of God. God does not exist without proof."

I'm making an assumption, but let's pretend that this simplification is what you're after. Correct me at your whim.

Josh's argument is slightly more complex, especially in its conclusion, but it is similar enough.

"Some people believe there is no God. There is no proof that there is no God. God may or may not exist."

I don't see the fallacy. The first two statements are true, so far as I know, so the conclusion cannot be false because it relies on the premise statements. Let's take that argument out of the God context, and examine it differently:

"Some people claim to have seen flying saucers and aliens from other planets. There is no concrete proof of flying saucers or aliens from other planets. Flying saucers or aliens from other planets may or may not exist."

For the record, I have no inclination to believe that flying saucers or aliens from other planets have ever visited this planet. But I cannot escape the logic equation that I pointed out above. My personal conclusion is that while I doubt it, I can't negate it. If someone tells me that they believe in such things, who am I to tell them they are wrong? I certainly can't do so logically.

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried intercepts before Josh can reach the ball....

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried, you are correct. The evidence for God is just as strong as the evidence for flying saucers, vampires, and invisible unicorns.

The reasonable answer is, "I don't know".

Yet that must be followed with, "But the evidence against the existence of such a fantastical notion is so weak, while the evidence for it not existing is so strong, that it's unreasonable and childish to believe in them."

This is the essense. Just because something cannot be disproved (For example, I am convinced that there is a microscopic invisible undetectable lizard eating your brain, and you can NEVER prove that I'm wrong) doesn't mean it has to be believed.

On the contrary, believing in things so wildly improbable is irresponsible. Building a life around these ridiculous beliefs is even more foolish and worthy of society's contempt.

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred throws the challenge flag!!!

Nov. 19, 2009

Again, just to be sure that Josh, Refried and all the children at home can follow along:

A premise is NOT true if its only proof is that it cannot be proven false.

Otherwise you would have to believe me when I tell you that there is a tiny invisible and absolutely undetectable lizard eating your brains and that's why you are reading this article online right this moment.

Since I've stipulated that it's "undetectable", just like this "God" entity some people believe in, then by definition it cannot be disproven...

...which proves NOTHING.

Thereby any claim to respect is forfeit. If you cannot back up your "theory" with any kind of proof except a well known logical fallacy...well, you don't deserve much respect.

Otherwise, again, I could demand your respect for my theory of invisible brain lizards. But we all know that you'd only laugh and tell me it's a stupid idea, even if it's something that could never be formally "disproved".

Nov. 19, 2009

And here's Ed Hochuli with the call:

"After further review, the defender's left foot was out of bounds as the catch was made. The ruling on the field is overturned. Fred's ball."

Nov. 19, 2009

Still my ball? Okay then...

Josh, it comes down to burden of proof.

The theory of a God has NO proof whatsoever. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The theory of evolution has a LOT of proof. Tons. Gobs. Indisputable evidence, case closed.

If proof doesn't sway a person, that person is rightfully labeled "crazy".

People who believe in "God" are crazy and deserve no respect.

Nov. 19, 2009

Well, Fred, I guess I'm crazy but at least you're honest enough to say what you believe in and the truth be damned! You're ok in my book even if I'm crazy ;-D

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred, let's exchange the word "God" for the word "Science". And let's change the argument from rhetoric into dialog. Dialog is easier on the mind, and often more persuasive.

Do you believe in science?

Nov. 19, 2009

Lickona, didn't your invisible friend in the sky preordain that swine flu would come into existence at this time in his devine plan?

Didn't He create this new deadly threat to His "beloved" creations?

It's because he loves us, right?

If I understand you correctly, swine flu is your God's way of telling you that believing in the supernatural is really, really, stupid.

Because if you actually did believe in the supernatural, you would get some hands laid on you to make you all better. Or you should run out and find someone with symptoms, embrace them, and hope you'll be rushed directly to a meeting with your maker.

You certainly wouldn't avoid church.

Lickona, you better watch out. You've revealed your lack of faith.

Now that you've been exposed as a non-believer, someone who is ungrateful for God's divine gift of swine flu, so unfaithful that you abandon church attendance out of fear of mere worldly tribulations, will the true believers ever welcome you again?

You cannot simultaneously believe in microbes, viruses, and other microscopic phenomenon and also believe in the literal truth of the bible or any other religion that includes an all-powerful deity.

Lickona, by your acts you are known. Your swine flu fear shows you as unworthy in the sight of God. O ye of little faith...

Or it proves you're actually an atheist who doesn't believe in God's divine plan, has accepted the theories of the biologists, and follows scientific understanding in living his life rather than the path of the deity.

Either way, you're trapped...unless you agree that the whole religion business is really rather stupid.

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried, you don't understand the term "science" or you'd know that it's NOT interchangeable with "religion".

Science is a process. A tedius but fruitful way of arriving at knowledge.

Religion is about believing, a lazy "short cut" to false knowledge.

I can see you're trying for the "science is a religion too" angle.

Won't work. Sorry. Try again.

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried, read again. If you want to say there is some deity, the burden of proof is on YOU.

Go ahead. Try it. You'll fail.

Are you honest enough to admit that you cannot ever prove the existence of God? The best minds throughout the ages have all tried and failed. The best Pascal could come up with was a "wager" that concluded he didn't have much to lose from believing in nonsense.

Nothing better has yet emerged.

So what proof do you offer? None?

You cannot prove the non-existence of invisible brain lizards.

I cannot prove the non-existence of "God".

But both of them are so wildly improbable that they don't deserve respect.

...unless you have some proof of brain lizards or God, there's no point depending on the existence of either.

Nov. 19, 2009

Or, refried, you could substitute the word "objectivity" for science, aaaaand type at Fred from now until Armabloodyeffingeddon. Or 2012. Whichever comes first.

Wait, are they the same thing?

;)

Nov. 19, 2009

Heehee. Or we could ask Fred to prove he has a brain.

Or that there are such things as brains.

:)

Nov. 19, 2009

Anti, we know that there is no such thing as a brain...there is only the holy lizard spirit that animates us all and gives us life.

Amen.

:-)

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred, science is a process every bit as much as religion is a process. Keep in mind that I'm not tring to change your religion, really I'm not. I simply asked you if you belive in science. I'll take your response as a resounding yes.

Well, science has been incorrect. The world really isn't flat after all. The Sun doesn't revolve around the Earth. Letting blood to cure disease is not recommended after all. I could go on and on.

Someday, we may learn that the big bang never happened and that our universe might not be expanding.

My point is, if you have believed in science all of this time, you have believed in something that has not been correct, and is bound to not be correct in the future. Feel free to tell me how religion and science do not share this truth.

Nov. 19, 2009

Re #27:

http://internationalreporter.com/News-973/universe-not-expanding-galaxies-moving-to-other-circuits.html

http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=65

My favorite part: "The International Flat Earth Society was formally founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Geographic Society."

:)

Nov. 19, 2009

I have seen Satan. She looks like this:

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/?p=6714#comments

Nov. 19, 2009

Re #29:

Irrelevant, yet bizarrely fascinating.

I'd get nipples tattooed on them.

:)

Nov. 19, 2009

LMAO! I was thinking the same thing. Only one problem:How would you explain that tat if you lost weight?

Nov. 19, 2009

Again, Refried swings and misses the point...

Science is not something you "believe". You insist on equating science and religion. They're not remotely the same, my friend, no matter how you stretch.

It's never necessary to "believe" in science. That's not what it's about at all. Don't you get that?

On the contrary, the scientific method is all about doubt. Looking for contradictions. Updating and debating to improve the state of knowledge.

Religion is the opposite. You're taught to close your mind, never update the old, never question or debate, only believe.

Get it now?

The last ten years have been explosive in terms of advancement of knowledge. We've come to understand so much more about the brain, biology, evolution, and the universe in such a short time...

Science allows and encourages this. It doesn't require me to ever believe in any theories...only test them to see if they are supported by evidence, rejecting those that don't pass the test. It's a tool, a process, an evidence-based approach to reality rather than a faith-based approach.

Claiming that if I "believe" in the scientific method then I must also "believe" in bloodletting and a flat earth just makes you look desperate.

So please find a line of reasoning that actually makes sense in THIS universe we inhabit. Equating science and religion is a tired debator's ploy, not evidence for your position but evidence of its weakness.

Your position is something you still haven't articulated. What do you "believe"? Do you really honestly think that science and religion are equal?

Really?

Honestly?

If not, then drop it. If so, then again the burden of proof is on you.

Prove God exists. Don't expect me to prove non-existence unless you can simultaneously prove there's no invisible lizard in your brain.

Get it?

However you may wish to distract us from the main point, the truth is quite obvious to anyone with the maturity and courage to accept it.

There is probably no God just as there's probably no invisible brain lizard. In fact, it's such a remote possibility that wasting your time worrying about whether or not "He" supports your football team or if the invisible lizard is somehow responsible for your compulsive masturbation is worthy of everyone's ridicule.

On the other hand, we've got a marvelous very REAL universe around us and a way of learning more and more about it...this process is called science and requires no belief in anything.

Only intelligence and honesty is required to use the tools of science.

Honesty and intelligence are absolutely foreign to the childish believers in religion.

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred, don't jump to conclusions. After all, a lot of honest and intelligent people believed in God. Einstein was one. My point isn't that religion and science are the same, but that they do share common attributes. And I do have to disagree with you about one aspect of science and religion: They both force you to close your mind.

Science dictates that only proven theories are accepted, and religion dictates that only unproven facts are important (faith). There is an undeniable similarity in that difference. In other words, E does not necessarily equal MC squared. In fact, it doesn't, not always. It's never been proven, although much of science is based on this theory. And the theory was written by someone who believed in God!

THIS universe that we inhabit, Fred, has yet to be explained. I can't explain it and neither can you and neither can religion and neither can science. We, and that includes both of us, simply don't know. I can't say for you, but I'm fine with that.

I don't worry about God, and I don't worry about brain lizards (although the very idea of brain lizards is exciting!). I simply don't know. Neither do you, neither do the Christians, neither does Pete, neither does Josh. Neither does science. Neither does God.

I think that courage and maturity come to light when we simply become unafraid to say, "I don't know." It's only when we admit that to ourselves, whether from science of from religion, that we truly have a shot to discover the real truth. Whatever that truth is.

Nov. 20, 2009

THIS universe is BEING explained every day. Don't you read the newspapers?

What a crock of crap to claim otherwise.

Einstein was NOT a believer. Who told you that? There's so much evidence in his journals, letters, correspondence...everywhere. Yes, he made some off-hand references to "God" but also made it very clear he did NOT mean anything close to what anyone would consider a religious notion of a deity...rather he was talking of the wonders of nature and our universe.

So do a bit of research before you claim "facts" like that to somehow bolster your arguments.

Really, your gaps of logic are embarrassing. Re-read what you wrote.

"Science dictates that only proven theories are accepted, and religion dictates that only unproven facts are important (faith). There is an undeniable similarity in that difference."

Does that make any sense whatsoever to anyone here?

Of course science does NOT "dictate" that only "proven" theories are acepted...science welcomes new theories always. It only requires that theories have some evidence and be testable so they can be duplicated.

The notion that because religion is the opposite of this that somehow there is an "undeniable similarity" is...well..."A is not B and C is not B, therefore C is the same as A".

Dumb, huh?

You're right there is a lot left to be explained about the universe. Science is continuing to aid us in explaining these things that were mysterious not long ago.

Religion cannot do this. It claims to already have all the answers. Religion says God causes earthquakes, famines, floods, and plagues. Science has allowed us to find out the actual causes of all these things.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers, and neither does anyone else who uses science to guide their thinking. Only the religious morons do that, openly, loudly, repeatedly, with tax-exemptions and public approval. They still sell faith healing, threats of magical storms and tremblors, worldwide floods...

All of that, I'm sure you'll agree, is ignorant.

Yet you claim that ignorance is equal to knowledge.

I disagree.

I won't ever agree that people who are willfully ignorant are the same as people who are open to evidence.

Nov. 20, 2009

Fred, you are far too emotionally invested in this argument. Have you read Einstein? I mean, about his life? I'm very surprised by your response about it. Einstein very much defended God in his quest for scientific understanding. My guess is that even Wiki would support this. And the other extremely intelligent people that believed in God? Fred, believeing in God is not the equivalent of stupidity or ignorance, it's simply a spiritual choice that some people prefer.

You sort of put me on this plank of defending religion, when really, that's not my intention. I would either defend both or neither side. Let's step back, I need to sleep anyway, and take this on little by little. The argument isn't so simple as boolean algebra, and one person's ignorance is another person's enlightenment.

More tomorrow, my friend.

Nov. 20, 2009

Refried, when you get up in the morning, peruse this:

http://einsteinandreligion.com/

"To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world."

— Letter to an Iowa student who asked, What is God? July, 1953; Einstein Archive 59-085

"I don't try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it."

— Letter to S. Flesch, April 16, 1954; Einstein Archive 30-1154

Pretty clear, huh?

By the way, in about a half hour I'm going to walk by the house on Prague's old town square where Einstein used to play his violin and flirt with the local beauties.

Sleep well. Try not to think about those undetectable brain eating lizards, okay?

Fred

Nov. 20, 2009

I am the brain lizard king/I can do anything.

Fred, how are you not realizing how well refried made points?

I lean towards NOT believing in God, as an agnostic. But, like people dying that like the thought of possibly being reunited with family members that have passed on, on the rare occasion I think about a "God" it's a nice thought. And I don't know FOR FACT that there isn't a God.

And as refried stated, so much about sciences turns out to be wrong. He brings up blood letting and stuff like that. Let's just talk about global warming. A few years back, most scientists agreed it was happening and Al Gore was a genius. Now, gore has made $200 million off the cause, and more scientists are thinking that global warming would've been happening anyway, even without all the SUVs and whatnot.

Believe me, Fred...I've had these same types of arguments with religious folks. But instead of your wacky brain lizard analogy, I stick with your more interesting swine flu points. A god that would let little kids get murdered, molested, or kidnapped, all because "God works in mysterious ways," or whatever logic they follow.

But, at least you gave me an excuse for the next time I miss a deadline. Instead of something like "the dog ate my homework," I'm going with "The brain lizards weren't letting me concentrate. One caused me to shoot blood out of my eye. Another lost his tail, and it almost choked going down my throat."

Nov. 20, 2009

On a side note: Petes football commentary was hysterical. The only thing that would've made it funnier, was if he said it in a John Madden voice (oh wait...we can't hear voices on this thing, can we? Damn. I'm blaming the brain lizards for that one, too)

Nov. 20, 2009

Oops. Before I go, a few more cut/paste quotes from Einstein:

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. (Albert Einstein)

I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

http://www.spaceandmotion.com/albert-einstein-god-religion-theology.htm

"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/12/peopleinscience.religion

Now it's true that Einstein had no time for atheists, and he didn't like either side quoting him for backing up any theological views...one way or the other.

So please don't use him to advance your contention that religion inspired Einstein. He very clearly denied that and doesn't really want to be involved in this discussion, though he explicitly did NOT believe in what you and I would call "God".

Nov. 20, 2009

Hi Josh, gotta go, but will get back to you...

Nov. 20, 2009

re: #10: My eternal admiration. Check.

Nov. 20, 2009

Have to love those "People of Wal Mart" pics.....

Nov. 20, 2009

Yeah....yeah you do. I HATE Wal-Mart. I stay away from there like a hemophiliactic leper in an AIDS ward but there's something so assbackwards about their brand of Americana.

Nov. 20, 2009

Josh,

You wrote: "I don't know FOR FACT that there isn't a God."

That's "....a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false..."

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

Josh, neither of us can definitively disprove the existence of a number of things:

  1. Apollo and Zeus
  2. Vishnu and Shiva
  3. Leprecauns and Unicorns

We all agree that those things are not real, believing in them is not reasonable, and that intelligent sane folks don't take them seriously.

Why do you expect an exception when it comes to the mythical creature you call "God"?

I suspect it's just tradition and cowardice. You've been brought up not to question the emperor's non-existent wardrobe, and are obediently quiet. You're reasonably afraid of the consequences of coming right out and saying that you don't believe in any kind of magic...whether it's tradition or not.

Josh, was it magic that made your traffic ticket go away? God? Jesus? The flying Spaghetti Monster? Thor? Isis?

No, you know exactly what led up to it being dismissed and would think anyone claiming it's some kind of victory for the lord is nuts.

You also know how plants and animals have evolved, how earth quakes happen, where babies come from.

So why insist on giving credit and respect to a notion that is really quite ridiculous? You think it's wise and prudent to nod your head when someone says that a rib woman met a talking snake that convinced her to eat an apple therefore condemning all children to original sin?

You agree that the notion of a "Just God" is quite insupportable, and I appreciate that. With all the evidence of how children are treated in this quite unjust world, it's hard to understand how anyone could think it's true.

I'm sure you're not a creationist.

Do you believe in resurection? Salvation from your sins in the blood of the son of the lord (who's actually a copy of the father who was sent down to commit suicide...oh you know the story)?

Do you believe in miracles, faith healing, an invisible omniscient being that picks sides in football games?

No? I thought not.

Why not go all the way?

What do you have to lose?

Josh, not only do you think that God, as "He" is commonly conceived, is highly unlikely to exist, but also that you have no obligation to respect those who think that such myths are true.

Go ahead and say it. Don't be afraid.

Nov. 20, 2009

Re #29: Gives new life to the term "reach around".

Nov. 20, 2009

LMAO! Sorry AG, fumber just got a safety. :-D On the otherhand, how long did it take you to think that one up? I thought of it right away the first time me and her got into a heated discussion. Even I thought it was too immature. You DID score a safety on that one though. I have a cookie, a Bozo button and a trophy. Which would you like? The trophy? Great choice.

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii316/Nicksloane/special_olympics_001.jpg

Nov. 20, 2009

Pete, fumber's doing an instant replay. He thunk that one up a few months back. Daniels rightly observed that it "smacks of the Egyptian," and I changed the spelling to Antigeekasstoophat, and considered making it my user ID.

:)

Nov. 20, 2009

Should I? Should I, really?

First, unless I misread something, I agree with everything by refried thus far. Which, by extension, means that I must agree somewhat with Board. You have no idea how this pains me.

Second.....I wrote a paper in a class called "Science and Religion," ABOUT Einstein, FOR an Einstein expert back in 2001, while I was at ASU. When I Google his name and Einstein together, it yields 668 hits. This appears to be his most recent book:

http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Faith-Modern-Science-Philosophy/dp/0742558924/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s;=books&qid;=1258773990&sr;=8-1

Dr. Norbert Samuelson is an impeccable scholar and a publishing machine. He's da bomb. And I made an A on that paper, and in his course.

Anyway...

Nov. 20, 2009

I'm underslept, or would try to contribute something more intelligible to the philosophical side of this convo. So far, I am mainly with Fred, excepting the social implications; it is best to live and let live--if folks want to believe in talking snakes and rib women, fine. When it becomes a problem for me? When religion is used to regulate a standardized one-size-fits-all morality, thus obfuscating needed boundaries between church and state. Brief and obvious example would be the moral majority's ability to keep gays from marrying. I'm tired of living with many of the moralized judgements pressed on us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways by our national religion, though many Christians moan that they feel forced to apologize for being themselves (apparently they are apologizing while trying to witness to me in ways I am presumably not going to recognize, and just eat up the 'message' like a good girl).

...and let's not forget that fumbler's interspecies dating rights have also been denied him (which makes him raawhther grumpy). ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

PS: Let's also not equate atheists with Ayn Rand a-holes. Thanks ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

More Einstein quotes, first expanding on one mentioned by Fred. The preceding sentences that he's omitted are very telling, and very beautiful:

1. "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery - even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitve forms are accessible to our minds -- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a very religious man."

-- Einstein, "The World as I See It," and "Ideas and Opinions."


2. "I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist."

-- 1926, in response to George Sylvester Viereck when asked if he believed in Spinoza's God. Quoted by Denis Brian in "Einstein: A Life."


3. "...a belief bound up with deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as 'pantheistic' (Spinoza)."

-- 1929, in Einstein's own "Ideas and Opinions."


4. "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."

-- as quoted by Ian Barbour in "Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues."


5. "Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there reamins something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion."

-- as quoted by Max Jammer in "Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology."


4. "...serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people."

-- "Ideas and Opinions."


5. "Something deeply hidden had to be behind things."

-- Einstein, "Autobiographical Notes."

Yup, somethin' sure is. But it ain't exactly what he expected.

:)

There are more, and I'm sure I could find many more on the internet now than at the time I wrote this paper.

Nov. 20, 2009

Verdict: By 1929, Einstein was a pantheist, in the tradition of Baruch Spinoza. He said so himself. (See quote #3 above, from "Ideas and Opinions.")

http://pantheism.net/

Nov. 20, 2009

"Antigeekasstoophat"

LMAO! I hereby take away Fumber's safety. Bad Fumber!!! Bad!!!

Nov. 20, 2009

I made that spelling up, so do I get a "safety?" (Or do I want a "safety?")

AG, it would help if there were dates attached to these quotations, so we could follow the progression of Einstein's thoughts and beliefs. It is a bit confusing; first he says a sense of "mystery" defines the parameters of his religious feeling, but then later denies both mystery and mysticism. He denies being a pantheist, but then you say he is a pantheist by 1929.

Would also like to see the sentences preceding and following this one:

4. "...serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people."

Thanks to AG and Fred for making this an interesting thread ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

LOL! If you spelled it, you should get a touchdown!

Nov. 20, 2009

Ah, it's a football thing. I geeetttt it. ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

There are more, and I'm sure I could find many more on the internet now than at the time I wrote this paper.

By antigeekess

Please...get your OWN blog is you fill another need to post full novels in the thread.

Nov. 20, 2009

LOL! If you spelled it, you should get a touchdown!

By PistolPete

SDaniels has a way with her words......I am hoping she sends me some more private hidden code communications.

Nov. 20, 2009

Re #56:

The paper was 22 pages long (not including the bib), 7 over what it was supposed to be. Quotes were edited for brevity, and some of the ones I didn't he said I should have. I have only the edited version of quote #4. It's within a group chosen from pages 41-43 of "Ideas and Opinions," translated by Sonja Bargmann. New York: Crown Publishers, 1954.

http://www.amazon.com/Ideas-Opinions-Albert-Einstein/dp/B000HHO5IE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s;=books&qid;=1258783108&sr;=1-2

I was trying to avoid publishing the 'entire' bibliography. And the dates of the works quoted won't match the dates that Einstein said them, which aren't always given.

Section 1 of the paper is entitled, "Einstein the Pantheist?" The first sentence in it is, "Even Einstein himself seemed not to know." This is due to his contradictory statements, which you see above. He fist stated that he didn't "think" he could call himself a pantheist in 1926. He seemed unsure. By 1929, however, he stated that he had a pantheistic conception of God. It seems that in that span, he became familiar with Spinoza.

None of this conflicted in the least with his Judaism, in his view.

Nov. 20, 2009

re: #59: Puppy, this is a thread debating the existence of a god. Don't you think it appropriate the exchanges should be a tad less superficial than usual, hmmm? Never mind, have a Scooby snack and sit quietly while the people speak.

re: #60: "more" private hidden code communications? [grimace] Please, Puppy, we've already had one nutjob lately ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

re: #61: I can see if I can get the book online through the online archive. Thx.

Nov. 20, 2009

I stand corrected, Daniels. It WAS you:

antigeekasstoophat, so you smack lightly of ancient Egypt. SurfP is a tweaker, no doubt, as is fumbler. PP, we do not care if you cheat on us. Please philander away, wayyyy away.

By SDaniels 10:45 p.m., Aug 25, 2009 > Report it

I owe you a drink for that one when I get down to SD.

:)

Nov. 20, 2009

HEH! Now I remember that original comment.

Nov. 20, 2009

Touch down! ;)

I'll have a Campari.

Nov. 20, 2009

As Scientific understanding of the universe grows, the frontier at which we attribute things to God gets further and further away. God once inhabited the trees and the river. Now He's been pushed out to the edge of the known universe, and the end of life. The use for Him remains the same. To explain the unexplainable, and comfort us monkeys who get scared looking into that starry night.

Nov. 21, 2009

SurfP is a tweaker, no doubt, as is fumbler. PP, we do not care if you cheat on us. Please philander away, wayyyy away.

By SDaniels

How DARE you compare me with the infamous Fumbler!

And calling me a "tweaker", that is it-this is WAR!

Nov. 21, 2009

<< How DARE you compare me with the infamous Fumbler!

And calling me a "tweaker", that is it-this is WAR! >>

Don't have a meltdown now, SurfPussy.

Nov. 21, 2009

So...back to the billboard that led to the article, that started the flow of comments above. The purpose of the billboard was to 1) reach out to people who don't believe in god(s), and 2) increase awareness of several groups in the San Diego area that nonbelievers might be interested in joining - for education, discussion, debate, socializing, etc. You know, the stuff that people do!

I'm hoping that you too will be inspired to check out the various organizations that have joined together in this outreach effort. While I appreciate the article, the author did most of his research at home suffering with the flu, perusing previously published articles and the contents of the San Diego Coalition of Reason website. While that is enough for an engaging article, it does very little to communicate the missions, opinions, activities, worldviews, etc., of the coalition's many organizations.

There is a great deal to be discovered: www.sandiegocor.org

Nov. 21, 2009

The tallest spires cast the longest shadows. Shadows block out the light.

whywontgodhealamputees.com whywontgodhealamputees.com

Nov. 21, 2009

"While that is enough for an engaging article, it does very little to communicate the missions, opinions, activities, worldviews, etc., of the coalition's many organizations."

Translation: We are disappointed that we did not have a better opportunity to attract people to our religion.

Skeptical, just as I would say to my friend Fred Williams, I'm somewhat put off by having your non-God thrown in my lap as something I should have to consider accepting, lest I be branded as a believer. While you certainly have every right to practice your non-religion and believe in your non-God, so what if I choose not to accept non-Jesus as my personal savior? Just as I would say to any non-homosexual, what you choose to not practice in your own home is fine by me.

But the public display of your non-God goes too far. Soon, you'll be advocating a moment of non-prayer in out achools, our currency will be branded with, "In non-God We Trust", and our Government will be overrun with representative making decisions based on the wishes of your religion and the belief in the non-God.

I would love to invite you to a meeting at our church, "Our Lady Of No One Really Knows", but unfortunately, we have yet to figure out where to start. Should we find a shred of evidence to support the existence or the non-existence of a God or a non-God, I shall certainly let you know.

Nov. 21, 2009

For thousands of years non-believers have been under a death sentence. Executions for apostasy, heresy, or non-belief have been common though the ages.

Now, finally, we are able to at last speak our minds without fear.

And all Refried can come up with is "Shut Up!"

No. We won't shut up.

We're not only forced to see your religious symbols and propaganda every day, but we're mostly forced to keep quiet for fear of being attacked for our beliefs.

And you yell, "Shut Up!"

No.

You cannot even get through your head that religion and no-religion are fundamentally different things...you say they're identical.

Why are you being deliberately obtuse? Is it because your emotional attachment to your invisible friend overpowers your reason?

You demand respect for this? You command US to shut up?

No.

Refried, I'll be clear and simple for you. God is so highly unlikely to exist that it's simply stupid to believe in it.

If you cannot take this truth, then your reasoning is highly suspect...what other crazy things do you believe?

Unicorns?

No?

Then let us speak without you trying to impose censorship upon our ideas. We've been quiet for thousands of years. Time for you to actually learn some truth, rather than respecting goat herder fairy tales.

Best,

Fred

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, you are so emotionally involved in this discussion, I fear that you'll attempt a crusade.

Kill the believers! They are ignorant and stupid! Eliminate them from the human race!

Gather your swords, your shields, hang the non-head of the non-God from the flag and charge!

God is dead! Heil Nietzsche! Heil Nietzsche! Heil Nietzsche!

The truth is this: YOU DON'T KNOW! Get used to it. Pretending you know, my friend (and I respect you very much it spite of your insisting that anyone who isn't an athiest is somehow stupid and ignorant), is making you look like the very people that you detest. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and so on.

They don't know either.

Best,

Dave

Nov. 21, 2009

Refried, actually, I'm not emotional at all my friend. It's just the way I write. Since a lot of my paid writing is technical, I tend to use direct language, second person, active voice, present tense.

I avoid circumlocutions, the subjunctive, euphemism, and other "polite" forms.

So it may appear that I'm "emotional" when I'm just writing vigorously.

So, to return to the subject:

  1. Curious how your war-cries are all adapted from religious armies out to kill the non-believers.

  2. Not knowing, if that were the position of the majority, would be acceptable. But non-believers in the USA are constantly confronted by BELIEVERS who are CERTAIN and are commanded to spread the word.

Atheists are villified. You tell us to shut up. You claim we have no morality. You claim that because we openly refuse to believe in fairy tales and magic that we are rude.

You demand respect for ridiculous beliefs while scorning, deliberately misinterpreting, and maligning actual hard-won knowledge about our world.

Religious fanatics have a strong role in our government today. Atheists are excluded at all levels. There's only one openly atheist member of the congress. Every president has to at least pay lip service to magical wishes with a mandatory "God bless America".

Yet you're insisting that just putting up a billboard questioning the existence of your "God" is somehow a dirty rotten rude thing to do.

Next time you're in San Diego, have a look around at the number of religious ads. You probably don't even notice them since they're so ubiquitous.

Atheists put up one billboard. Just one, after millenia of silence...

Who is intolerant? Who is demanding death for "wrong" beliefs?

Only the religious, my friend. The "holy" books all have commandments to kill me.

That's right. If you or anyone else really truly believes in the bible, it's your DUTY to hunt me down and murder me.

The religious have a long history of this violent behavior.

Yet you want us to "shut up"?

No.

Nov. 21, 2009

Re: Einstien and religion. See post #36.

Those letters (no question of time of authorship) are dated late in his life.

The pantheistic quotes are gathered from decades earlier, long before the bomb and other events that updated his world view.

I take the time to read your posts before I bother to contradict them. Please do me the same courtesy.

I cited three different sources, all of them within the first ten results when you type "einstein religion" into Google. There are dozens of quotes there, all properly identified and dated. I think quoting some undergraduate paper, where the thesis is almost always chosen before the research is begun, and the scramble is typically to find evidence for a position rather than to evaluate the evidence fairly, is not very convincing.

Look again. Einstein's own words, near the end of his life.

The same trick was tried with free thinkers like Voltaire and Paine, claiming they were secretly religious. It's slander on these men to claim they needed the sad crutch of religion to inspire their great thoughts.

Best,

Fred

Nov. 21, 2009

"I think quoting some undergraduate paper, where the thesis is almost always chosen before the research is begun, and the scramble is typically to find evidence for a position rather than to evaluate the evidence fairly, is not very convincing."

Fred,

a.) It was a graduate course.

b.) You really don't have any idea what the eventual "thesis" for that paper was, and would not be able to guess it.

c.) I never write a thesis first. It's not the way I work.

The following quotes are from the same page http://einsteinandreligion.com/godcomments.html where you pulled the two quotes referenced in #36.


I want to know how God created this world. I'm not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.

— From E. Salaman, "A Talk With Einstein," The Listener 54 (1955), pp. 370-371, quoted in Jammer, p. 123.


What I am really interested in, is knowing whether God could have created the world in a different way; in other words, whether the requirement of logical simplicity admits a margin of freedom.

— C. Seelig, Helle Zeit—Dunkle Zeit (Europa Verlag, Zuürich, 1956), p.72, quoted in Jammer, p. 124.


Einstein wasn't particularly consistent in his statements concerning religion in general, and God in particular. However, most of what I've read from him on these subjects sounds distinctly pantheistic.

Nov. 21, 2009

Whenever I get rich and famous, I am hiring AG as my press agent. Ma'am, you are the definition of awesome. Just pointing out the obvious ;)

Nov. 21, 2009

"For thousands of years non-believers have been under a death sentence. Executions for apostasy, heresy, or non-belief have been common though the ages."

Pagans could say exactly the same thing.

Quit whining. Atheists aren't all that special.

Nov. 21, 2009

Okay, anti.

Glad to hear you don't do the typical thing with the thesis coming before the research. Whenever I had a professor say this was the proper way to write I would cringe...

I still think it's very clear from the totality of his comments and writings that when he used the term "God" it was refering to nature and its mysteries rather than an active deity that interferes in the world. I'd consider that a more deist than pantheist view, but won't quibble.

We can agree he did NOT believe in what most people in America mean when they say "God".

We can further agree that the famous scientist cannot be cited as a "religious person" who was inspired by "God" to come up with his insights.

That's what Refried claimed as part of his attempt to show that scientists believe in "God".

Actually, the members of the Academy of Sciences are overwhelmingly (+/-97%?) non-believers.

I think we can conclude his use of Einstein to support his position is in error.

Further, as I've repeated many times, Refried commits a basic logical fallacy when he contends that an inability to conclusively disprove a fiction somehow proves the fiction.

Since Refried cannot prove that Hobbits don't exist, he must admit that believers in Hobbits deserve as much respect as staunch Mormons or Catholics.

Best,

Fred

Nov. 21, 2009

Anti, the definition of "Pagan" is someone who disagrees with the dominant religion.

It's true. Most religions demand the extermination of rivals.

Atheism does not.

It sure gives us a better reputation than theists or their silent collaborators, the wishy-washy agnostic who says "I don't know".

Nov. 21, 2009

Re #79:

I'll take that gig.

:)

Refried, your mouth must be bigger than this guy's,

http://weirdseamonsters.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/grenadier-fish.jpg

based on all the words people seem to be able to shove into it.

:)

Ironic, considering you're a pretty wordy guy to begin with, what with being a writer and all.

(That's probably what galls 'em the most.)

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, you are missing (on purpose?) a link in your logic equation. That which connot be proved nor disproved are equal. You refuse to debate this without some link, a link that has nothing to do with the logic equation.

State the equation here and now so we can debate it without some emotional rant about how Christians or whatever religion has somehow screwed up the world. Just comment with the equation. Disprove my logic. Let's discuss this rationally.

Nov. 21, 2009

Back to Einstein,

His most famous quote about religion was "God doesn't play dice".

This was in reaction to quantum theory.

Interestingly, with more evidence now supporting quantum theories than Einstein's theories, the concept of the "multiverse" and alternative realities has gained a lot of ground.

So according to Einstein's reasoning, only if "God" DID "play dice" could there exist an infinite number of parrallel universes where Gods may live.

Interesting, huh?

Nov. 21, 2009

Actually, AG, I'm not much outside of cyber space. I'm sort of outgoing, but I'm not inclined to be the center of attention. I try to get along with everyone. And I love to observe people. I'm guessing that most writers like to observe. But I love to participate. I really enjoy the interaction, but I don't want to be the center of it.

Nov. 21, 2009

Refried:

"That which connot be proved nor disproved are equal."

It's a different formulation than you proposed earlier, but I'll still bite...

Evolution can be proved. It's been so conclusively proven with evidence that it's universally accepted by well educated people world wide.

Religion, by it's nature, cannot be disproven. But it also cannot be proved.

In fact, when proof for its "truth" are offered, they're easily dismissed as fake. Miracles? Floods? Virgin births? Raising people from the dead? Didn't happen.

Evolution would be similarly easy to disprove. Show the fossilized bones of a rabbit in the pleistocene layer. Done. Simple.

But that's never happened, and it almost certainly never will.

We can disprove religion with numerous facts, including simply tracing the genesis of the contents of the scriptures themselves as they were written over time by various authors and edited over the centuries. It doesn't even prove the most basic claim...that it's the "word of God" when we can tell you who the authors are.

So no, there are some things that are provable with evidence. Science is all about proof, (which comes from the Latin for "test").

Religion, on the other hand, has NO proof one way or the other.

So with your new and improved formulation, I'll agree whole heartedly. Science and Religion are not equal, my friend. You're right.

That's why I say that giving religion a pass precisely because it's incontrovertable nonsense is dishonest.

Fred

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, it's all interesting. And Einstein didn't know, either. The interesting thing to me is why someone as smart as you are has some sort of an axe to grind about all of this. So many brilliant people were believers. It certainly doesn't mean that you have to be, but to negate them simply because they chose to believe? This surprises me, coming from you.

Buckley, Lewis, Descartes, and so on.

AG has done enough good research on Einstein, I think we can agree that on the whole that while he certainly wound up believing something was up that wasn't so much definable by standards of the time, we can also agree that he didn't start out that way, and that in the end he wasn't an athiest, so to speak.

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, you are arguing evolution with me, and I haven't even posit'd on it. And I have not here, to my knowledge, offered any opinion on any scripture. You would be quite surprised to discover which side of those arguments I choose to take. I believe (or better, I know that it exists!) in evolution, and I know, without a doubt, that all scripture from every bible or tome was written by a human and not by a diety.

Nov. 21, 2009

I struggled with the theory that there was a "God" for a few years during my early life. This was before I was raped and I started doing drugs so those weren't influences on my thoughts. I started having dreams that were presented in parts.

Part 1: I'm walking down a medium sized hallway. The walls and celing are brick and mortar. The floor is dirt. I'm stacked. I look like Conan the Barbarian. My hair is long and flowing. There is a quest in my eye. I stumble upon a velvet curtain. The dream ends.

Part 2: I open the curtain to reveal a very large room. It too has walls and a celing made of brick and mortar. I'm hesitant but I step inside. The dream ends.

Part 3: I turn to my side and look. There's a large wood table with people seated around it. Not just mere mortals, these were Gods. Every God known to the free thinking world sat around it. In the dead center of the table was a slow spinning globe. They are in a heated discussion but I can't understand the words. The dream ends.

Part 4: I walk cautiously to the table. Nobody notices me. There is an empty seat. I approach and there is a voice. It tells me to sit so I obey. As I sit, I understand their conversation even though they speak in native tongues. They are discussing the world at large and the history thus far. They are speaking of a man named Hitler. They don't call him evil even though they are wary of his motives. The dream ends.

Part 5: They end their discussion of Hitler and start discussing me. I don't want to be rude and interupt. They talk about the future and how evil I am but that I have a golden heart. They laugh and say that I am a product of my environment. Then it hits me...I am my own God. I and I alone control my destiny. The dream ends.

I believe in A God. Not THE God but A God. I believe that we have a creator. Who or what that creator is, I don't know but I believe he exists even if I am that creator. I don't believe in a book written upteen thousands of years ago by a human that had no current grasp of the scientific world. I don't believe in a church that says it's ok to stone a man for adultery and that says it hates gays. I don't believe in organized religion. I pray everyday even when I don't realize it. I don't need a house of the Holy to seek when there's A God inside my very soul that I can communicate with. I don't believe in hocus pocus. I don't believe in the Ten Commandments.

I do believe that when I die, my God will welcome me back where ever it was that I came from. He'll talk shop with me over a cold bottle of Leinenkugel's. He may even have another mission for me in another universe. I believe in A God. A loving God. A patient God. A hero God.

Nov. 21, 2009

Maybe I believe there is an invisble lizard eating your brain...even if there's no evidence for it.

So what?

We can believe any number of crazy things.

But when there's strong evidence for an alternative point of view (there's probably no God) and weak or no evidence for the crazy point of view (an invisible divine being) a smart person changes his mind.

What your all contending is that religious thoughts deserve as much respect as logical thoughts.

Right?

I disagree. I think it's counter productive. Please open your minds. Have a look at the original evolutionary reasons for the development of religion. Did any of you read the article from the Times?

We don't need this albatros around our necks any more. Encouraging people to keep believing in childish stories does nothing good for the world, and often promotes evil.

Time to grow up, and expect those around us to grow up too.

I understand. All of you agree that what's considered conventional religion in the USA is bogus. You all know how evolution works and agree that's the rational explanation for how we came to be on this planet.

So why do you defend those who insist on clinging to superstitious notions of rib women and talking snakes?

Why do you insist that they're worthy of respect for believing what you agree is utter nonsense?

Nov. 21, 2009

Re #81

"I still think it's very clear from the totality of his comments and writings that when he used the term "God" it was refering to nature and its mysteries rather than an active deity that interferes in the world."

Absolutely. He stated as much outright.

"I'd consider that a more deist than pantheist view, but won't quibble."

A focus on nature and its mysteries would be characteristic of pantheism. However, he also made statements with a definite deistic tone, concerning natural laws being set up so that a deity was not required, blah, blah. (No more quotes. I'm tired of it. I think some of those are cited above already.)

"We can agree he did NOT believe in what most people in America mean when they say "God"."

I'd say that's correct. But be careful not to assume any particular individual falls into the category of "most people."

"We can further agree that the famous scientist cannot be cited as a "religious person" who was inspired by "God" to come up with his insights."

Well now, we do have that quote about being a "deeply religious man" regarding the experience of mystery. Clearly, he was inspired by this mystery, saying that the experience of it "stands at the cradle of all true art and all true science." What anyone wishes to call it is up to them, AFAIC. But no, he wasn't talking about the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible.

"That's what Refried claimed as part of his attempt to show that scientists believe in "God".

Actually, the members of the Academy of Sciences are overwhelmingly (+/-97%?) non-believers."

But non-believers in "what," exactly? That would be the question. I despise surveys and polls with prefabricated, boxed-in answers for this very reason. I always have LOTS more to say than checking a little box will allow.

:)

As for your contention that refried stated that failure to disprove a fiction makes it a fact, I didn't see him say that at all. I saw him say that it means we can't know for certain, with which I agree.

I'm not even going to go into how all of "scientific" method hinges on blind faith in things like the illusion of objectivity and the infallibility of empirical verification.

I'm tired, and my eyeballs are dry.

:)

Nov. 21, 2009

"I'm tired, and my eyeballs are dry."

Ooh! I could fun with this comment. ;-D

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, my friend, my mind is so completely wide open that I'm even willing to accept your lizard theory. It is your mind that I'm concerned about. How open is it? You aren't willing to accept that there is a chance that you really don't know?

I admit this: I REALLY DON'T KNOW!

That felt great. I openly admitted that I have no idea how the universe is wired. Fred, do you really know how the universe is wired? Really? Seriously? Do you know for sure?

Not all who claim religion, or like me a complete lack of knowledge, really believe in the flood or the rib of Adam or the walls of Jericho, or the parting of the Red Sea or whatever. Some do. History actually records a great flood, by the way, about the time that God supposedly tapped Noah's shoulder and told him to build an ark. Could be a coincidence.

But aside from that, Fred, I give atheists the same amount of respect that I give any other religion. Honest. They knock on my door and I tell them I'm not interested. I tell them that they don't know the truth. I tell them that the proof of thier non-knowledge is in their insistence that they know the truth. I shut the door. I cook dinner.

Nov. 21, 2009

"Have a look at the original evolutionary reasons for the development of religion."

BTW, my other graduate level course was "Classical Theories of Religion."

;)

Nov. 21, 2009

"I tell them that they don't know the truth."

http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Buddha-Pilgrimage-Psychotherapy-Patients/dp/0553278320/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258870875&sr=8-1

Nice Buddha-killin', pilgrim.

:)

"I tell them that the proof of thier non-knowledge is in their insistence that they know the truth."

He who thinks he knows, does not know. He who knows that he does not know, knows. Who said that?

Nov. 21, 2009

I don't know. :-)

Nov. 21, 2009

LOL.

Excellent. Now we're making progress.

:)

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred Williams, I love you. In a heterosexual sort of way, but I love you ;)

I don't know either.

Nov. 21, 2009

Wait, I'm just saying I don't know who said "He who thinks he knows, does not know. He who knows that he does not know, knows."

And while I don't know who said that, I do know that it's basically bullshyte.

Love you too, but only in a pan-sexual way. (Hey, Refried, get your hands away from there...)

Gotta go make breakfast for my lovely still sleeping girlfriend.

God bless, y'all.

Rev. Brother Deacon Williams

Nov. 21, 2009

I love everyone in this debate--for the space of it, at least. Even you, Pete ;)

Nov. 21, 2009

Awwwwww. Thanks SD. Contrary to popular belief, I don't hate anyone on here. I may say outrageous things and mean them but there's enough hate in the world already to bring it here. Love me or hate me, I'm a very outspoken individual. I thank MY God for that everytime I wake up.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Author unknown but widely attributed by Martin Niemoller

Nov. 21, 2009

What was that great Shakespeare work... "As You Like It"...

Yeah. Every discussion should end this way.

Nov. 21, 2009

re: #103: Only ideally. That's when you close the second cover. This never ends...

re: #102: Then they came for African Americans, but I was off lynching them, with my comrades.

Nov. 21, 2009

96 and # 100:

1 Corinthians 8:2

Gotta love Google!

Nov. 21, 2009

"Would I watch someone else do it? You betcha."

No, you wouldn't. You know you wouldn't. Get off of it, Pete. You wouldn't. Neither would I. None of us would, not one of us that values life.

Nov. 22, 2009

I believe I would. It would depend on what the lynching is for though. I value life but it's a different value than what we're taught. Like said, I feel that at the end of my life, I wouldn't be judged for witnessing an act that took someone's life. I've spoken with plenty of people that say that they wouldn't be able to watch someone executed. Not to get into the whole death penalty debate, I think I could sit there and watch someone die. I don't know if you've ever seen someone die, refried. I have. It's not pretty but it's certainly not the ugly thing we're brainwashed to believe.

Life IS death. Death IS life. You cannot fully appreciate one or the other without fully appreciating them both. Ever watch Faces of Death? Or this guy?

Budd Dwyer Suicide Video-WATCH AT YOUR OWN DISTRECTION! http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=860c9b9f3b

Remember this refried, we're BRAINWASHED as human globs of Play-do to do the right thing. The right thing sometimes isn't the right thing. I'm a strong believer in fate. F with fate and it WILL f with you back. Humans haven't learned this yet. But in time, they will.

If you want to view me as an evil human being for allowing the execution of someone, by all means go for it. Judge not, lest ye be judged...

This isn't a simple black & white issue either. No pun intended.

Nov. 22, 2009

That isn't who you are, Pete. You wouldn't want to look. Neither would I. We are who we are, we can't pretend otherwise. We look the other way. Admit it.

Nov. 22, 2009

Do you watch old Westerns, refried?

Nov. 22, 2009

I am a great fan of all of Eastwood's work. Yes, I have watched many of them. Loved them completley.

Nov. 22, 2009

Can you watch the scenes where they lynch the horse theives?

Nov. 22, 2009

Pete's going down that crazy road again, so let me get back to the crazy stylings of Fred.

Fred...you know what the main flaw with your argument here is?

You keep talking about rib women, and things like that. NOT ONCE, did I see Geek, Fried, or myself, say that WE BELIEVE in things written in the bible.

What I said (and I believe Friend sort of touched upon, and Fred...can't remember what Geek was saying, other than the Einstein stuff, which was interesting) -- we're not saying we believe the Bible. In fact, I laugh when I hear about whales swallowing people and all people deriving from Adam & Eve, animals on an ark, with a lion not saying to his mate "Hey cool...there is a lot of great food to choose from on this cruise."

What I am saying is...THE POSSIBILITY EXISTS, that there is a God up there. That doesn't mean I then subscribe to theories in the bible, koran (sp?) or anything of that nature.

So, now that we got that cleared up, on to the next thing.

I believe in evolution. In fact, just saying "believe" is probably the wrong word. It's not Santa. There's nothing to believe. There's basically proof.

But, as an agnostic, I can easily say that God created the world..NOT with an Adam and an Eve, but a world that would evolve and change and grow. And that would explain the big bang theory, evolution, extinction, flowers and plants, advancement in medicine, etc etc etc.

(logs off while singing the America hit Ventura Highway):

....brain eating lizards flying in the air....

Nov. 22, 2009

Or better yet, read "The Oxbbow Incident", or else watch the film. I get the reference, I simply state that we don't need to see what we suposedly need to see. I'd rather not. I'd rather turn my head.

Nov. 22, 2009

So you'd rather turn your head from a lynching ala Hollywood? Ok. Fair enough. Not the answer I expected. I'll let this conversation die for now but remember this refried, you're more human than human, if you understand that. Rob Zombie was merely singing about something known to man since the beginning of time. Humans are weaklings.

Nov. 22, 2009

Goddamned, Josh. That's really good.

Nov. 22, 2009

Pistol, I've seen people murdered. It isn't pretty. I don't fear it, but I want for others to fear it and not want it. For me, a dead body is a dead body, but I certainly want different for others.

Nov. 22, 2009

Pete, I used to say that I would love to watch losers executived. But when I saw the movie Dead Man Walking (a fine film, and probably good book, if you have the time)...I found myself feeling sad for the Sean Penn character. They showed him rape a woman and kill her and her boyfriend. Yet I'm feeling horrible that he's scared and about to be executed. This was just a character on the big screen.

So yes, I'm all for capital punishment. I'd love OJ to be executed tomorrow. And let Fred Goldmans family do it. But count me out on watching.

Nov. 22, 2009

Oh, refried...two things.

First, I often time your name as "friend" when I mean to say "fried". So, if you ever see that typo, you'll understand (one slip that has never been more appropriate, I'd say).

Second, thanks for the kind words. But in the future, please...refrain from using the Brain Eating Lizards name in vein.

Nov. 22, 2009

Josh, no worries. The idea of brain-eating lizards is kind of fun!

Nov. 22, 2009

I'm not sure why he didn't say "brain eating worms"...like that Pink Floyd song. But he went lizard. So, I won't change the animal of his choosing.

Nov. 22, 2009

Dammit. I lost everything I wrote. Ah, f*** it. Refried? Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Recess is OVA till tomorrow. I gotta be up by 9 for football.

Nov. 22, 2009

Josh, you and Refried both seem to think that tolerance of stupidity is a virtue that you deserve credit for.

Really, you're just cowards.

All your fine words come out to the same thing...

"Shut up, atheists. Don't call into question our treasured myths."

I am not the one advocating or defending stupidity. You are. You are equating stupidity with knowledge and thinking you're clever for doing so.

That's wrong. Don't pat yourselves on the back for your "tolerance" when all you're doing is refusing to be adults and state clearly what you know to be the truth.

There's probably no "God", so it's time to grow up and stop pretending there is or giving any special respect to those who are stuck in the delusion that they've got a special invisible friend.

Nov. 22, 2009

"Josh, you and Refried both seem to think that tolerance of stupidity is a virtue that you deserve credit for."

Actually, Fred, Josh believes that his own ignorance deserves credit as a virtue. In a pristine, mind-clearing, Zen kind of way.

Nov. 22, 2009

I would never murder someone, SD. No matter how strongly I felt towards them. Would I watch someone else do it? You betcha. The law and society may see me as being just as culpable as the person doing the lynching but we're both smart enough to know that that's a load of horses***. I will be judged when expire not for what I witness but for what I do. And I don't hate blacks.

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, if you go back and read my response to Skeptical in #73, you'll note that it's more of a tongue-in-cheek response meant to accuse atheism of being a religion. I couldn't care less if atheists want to form their own club.

Nov. 22, 2009

Likewsie, SDaniels.

Go have another cigarette and donut. Leave the conversation to the folks engaging in it.

Fred, it's not that I "fear" there could be no God, therefore I'm a coward that refuses to admit something. I'm simply stating, there could be.

It's just like UFO sightings. I used to think lots of people saw UFOs. Because, well, they claimed to see them. And that was in the day when I gave people the benefit of the doubt. I have a hard time giving people that benefit anymore, because so many of them are idiots (see SDaniels, above...who is book smart, but uses very little common sense).

But, using science (which you're fond of doing), it would virtually be impossible for UFOs to just fly a spaceship over here. It would take thousands and thousands of years, traveling at light speed; because they aren't living in houses on the moon, or on Mars.

Now, Geek (if memory serves) thinks UFOs could get here with the help of worm holes, or black holes, or whatever it is. I don't believe in the worm hole theories.

But back to God. Maybe it's just my wishful thinking...that a guy like George Burns in Oh God, will hand me one of his trademark El Productors, when I go up to that big cloud in the sky, visiting with old relatives and friends.

There's just a tiny, tiny part of me that thinks it's possible. Not sure why you see this as cowardace.

Nov. 22, 2009

Josh, I will enter any discussion I choose, just as you do--and just as you did when you harrassed me on both the threads and private email--AFTER we supposedly had an agreement to stay out of each other's way. It is also interesting how often you accuse me of having little common sense; I'm sure you have heard the complex theory of the pot and kettle. This theory applies to your frequent accusations of "idiot" as well.

"Go have another cigarette and donut."

Excuse me? I have never liked doughnuts, and I am basically on a liquid diet, due to serious illness.

Are you perhaps referring to the steroidal weight I had when you last saw me, due to anti-inflammatory medications, necessary to sustaining life? Despite the social stigma of weight, I chose life. Imagine that. Perhaps you wouldn't recognize me now--as I've lost yet more weight--and hair, not that you ever did recognize me, so do me a favor and don't act like you know me.

And if you descend to further ungentlemanly levels of the sewer, and begin to critique my physical appearance here as that comment suggests, things might get pretty ugly for yourself. So let's consider that script contraindicated, and stick to the white gloves, shall we?

Nov. 22, 2009

SDaniels, I am, and always will be, your K-9 buddy!

If you ever want to take me out for a walk, I am game :)

(doggie treats are mandatory!)

Nov. 22, 2009

You got it, Puppy! Kibbles & Bits? Whole Foods organic toro? ;)

Nov. 22, 2009

I am partial to "Beggin Strips"!!!

Bacon, bacon....who has the bacon!

Nov. 22, 2009

SDaniels: steroidal weight? Do you eat steroids as one of many pizza toppings?

Listen...in this thread, like in many others since our big fight, I didn't attack you. I've been discussing God, with refried and fred. And, a few posts ago, you had a negative comment about me.

Now, if Fred wants to throw a negative comment out at me, fine. No biggie. But I find it odd that you are doing that, when it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

So, I attack back. And then you find out it's not so fun to poke the line.

Probably the only thing you're poking these days.

So, again...if we're in Pikes entertaining threads, instead of fighting, let's talk about the topic Pike brings to the table.

In this thread, let's talk about God.

This reminds me of something I read in another thread where Pete brought up the very good point about you always bringing up him being "racist" or a "sexist". It's like your goal is to "remind" all your little friends what big, bad jerks Pete and I are. And really, you just end up making yourself look silly.

Listen, I'm sorry you're sick and not in the best health. And I really do wish you a healthy recovery. But if you're going to constantly want to fight me, then the gloves are off (but I'll refrain from slapping you with one)

Good day.

I SAID GOOD DAY!!!!!!

Nov. 23, 2009

If you think you've 'punished' me, you've got another think coming yet. Hmm, what sixth-grade debate fare is on the table this eve?

Ah yes, a pathetic, thinly sauced attempt to rally at least two other people to your cause--FAIL. Limp attempts at further weight-related putdowns--FAIL. Careful, Josh. I'm pretty sick. If they were suing types, my family could probably sue you for libel based on all you've said just over the last two months alone about me. ;)

The only thing I'm "poking?" Is that meant to be a... joke? It sounds like a third-grader's attempt at some kind of sexual putdown. Should have expected descent to this level from someone who wishes death on folks in the hospital, such as the two Critical Mass cyclists who were in an accident.

Like steroidal weight, it builds up, Josh. You have made several negative, unwarranted comments about me in the past couple of months. A flaccid "poke" here and a shrunken "poke" there. Care to review?

Clearly, also, the one time you attempt to portray yourself as "nice," in the column about a very ill man, your usual 'Bushisms' lead you to--incredulous, here--

...falsely announce the date of his death.

Nope, I don't need to "remind" anyone what a big jerk you are--ya do it on your own, babe--every single time you take up (poke at?) your keyboard. Pardon me if I don't take your wishes for recovery for what they are truly worth.

Nov. 23, 2009

Josh has a point, SD. You DID post something negative about each of us without either one of us saying anything disparaging first. I do believe Josh is corret in his assumption that you like to point out both of our idiosyncrasies and character flaws to make yourself feel good.

re: #102: Then they came for African Americans, but I was off lynching them, with my comrades.

By SDaniels 11:36 p.m., Nov 21, 2009 > Report it

Not once did I bring race into this debate until you brought it up first.

"Josh, you and Refried both seem to think that tolerance of stupidity is a virtue that you deserve credit for."

Actually, Fred, Josh believes that his own ignorance deserves credit as a virtue. In a pristine, mind-clearing, Zen kind of way.

By SDaniels 1:30 a.m., Nov 22, 2009 > Report it

Again, Josh spit fire back because not once did I see him bring your name up.

It's REALL hard, SD, to claim VICTIM when you're the aggressor.

I can't speak for Josh but, I'm kind of a sleeping giant. I know that when I first came on here in July, I was the aggressor when it came to race. You guys didn't like that and showed me the error of my ways. I stopped bringing race into it until guys like arinoman(whoever he really is) and goatttfish started in with their black supremacy crap. In other words, I've stopped showing myself as a racist because nobody wants to hear that.

Nov. 23, 2009

Let's start with you, Pete:

Thanks for actually admitting that you were the aggressor re: race, when you first came on the site. I don't think we have shown you the "error of your ways," --have we, really? Your comments to arinoman seem to suggest otherwise; as you told him--there are "blacks," and then there are "ni&&ers." Just so you know, that belief is classically, and hardcore racist.

As for your situation, and my commenting on your racism--that is the ONLY topic I'll call you on without you mentioning me. It is something I do--I protest racist expression--lately, only the most overt cases of it, since I don't have the energy or time to pursue it further, and it would necessitate returning to Josh's threads.

Just as you claimed to arinoman that you would be there to denounce and treat him as a "ni&&er" whenever you felt he was acting like whatever you feel that to be, I will also comment on, and protest your racist views. You'll notice I leave most of your sexist comments alone, but can't guarantee I won't ever comment on those, either. Shouldn't be a surprise that someone will do this, but just so you know.

As for Josh:

Yeah, I can totally relate to being in the position of the "sleeping giant," Pete. You have NO idea what you are talking about in regards to anything between myself and Josh, and would need to do a search to show how many times he wrote things to provoke me and I was silent, over the last few months. I have been completely silent while Josh has referred to me--in arguments I have had no part in--suddenly, as "stupid," an "idiot," or someone "book smart but lacking common sense." (He's not very creative, so it is easy to cite them accurately).

More seriously, he has attributed various socio-political opinions to me, concerning race relations, individuals in the news, and relations with the police. He is 100% inaccurate about my true beliefs or current positions on any of these topics, yet continues to misquote and misrespresent.

Nov. 23, 2009

Dear Reader:

You owe me many bags of popcorn for all these lolz.

Signed,

Ponzi

Nov. 23, 2009

Dear Ponzi,

You have worked out a scheme whereby you are paid to laugh? Do share the particulars of this latest racket with your non-retired compatriots.

Signed,

SD

Nov. 23, 2009

GOD HATES CRITICAL MASS!!!

Nov. 23, 2009

But God does love "mass".

SDaniels...I will not bring up your name anymore in any topics.

And, hopefully, you won't bring me up in any of yours (or Pikes, or whatever).

We'll just agree to disagree (I've always wanted to say that). And we'll leave each other alone.

Nov. 23, 2009

Hey, Daniels -

Good luck with RobertScorpio, arinoman, DaniLauder and whoeverelse.

;)

Nov. 23, 2009

Josh likes to argue, but he sometimes doesn't understand how to debate. I've spent a lot of time and effort answering what he wrote at the beginning of this converstion:

"They are SO SURE that there is no God, and they think it's crazy that religious people believe in a God. They go on about science not proving it and this and that. Yet, they are SO POSITIVE there is no God, yet there's no proof of that."

I showed how a logical fallacy, known as the argument from ignorance, leads him to this dumb conclusion.

Back when I was competing (and winning) in Oxford Debate that would have ended it, the judges would have scored the point, and we'd move on.

But Josh, along with Refried, just keep repeating their assertion that since a fiction cannot be disproved, it therefore might be true.

They don't get the simple point of "burden of proof". They've shown no evidence for the existence of a deity -- on the contrary they both AGREE it's a preposterous fantasy.

And still they assert myths deserve respect even from those of us who can see that it's all bullshyte.

Simply repeating, ad naseum, tired (and commonplace) opinions rather than any supporting evidence is lazy and dishonest.

When I label them cowards it's not because they're afraid to say there's probably no "God". Instead it's their fear of what theists might say about them.

We atheists have lived in fear for far too long. Now we're finally coming out and telling the world the truth as we see it. They have no problem with religious zealots doing this, but claim I'm somehow offensive and illogical.

We're told that atheism is "just like religion"...a rather stupid argument for so many reasons.

We're told that we should just shut up...like we've ever been allowed to speak before.

We're told we're immoral and un-American...by people who engage in religious wars and subvert our constitution.

I'm serious, Josh and Refried. Take that logic course at the community college. It will help you immensely, focusing your debating skills, and allowing you to discern between fallacy and truth.

As to the personal crap:

SD, you've posted more than a few personal allegations against me, concluding from comments I've made (sometimes purely in jest) that I'm this or that horrible thing.

I don't really much care, you know. I can engage in overheated rhetoric too.

Josh can be annoying online, but I quite enjoyed meeting him in person.

I've not met Refried yet, but most of the time I happen to agree with his sentiments.

They can call me names. So can you. So can Fumber, Puppy or Pistol or anyone else. I've been doing this online debate thing since the early nineties, and I'm used to it.

Please, let's use logic when debating a point and try to answer the evidence presented by the other side rather than resorting solely to name calling.

Best,

Fred "Humongous Tub of Lard" Williams

Nov. 23, 2009

Fair enough, SD. I was wrong. I shouldn't have opined about Josh and your fights without knowing the details. I'm not trying to take sides. We may bicker alot, SD, but I do respect your opinion even if it doesn't match mine. I also like Josh as well and also respect his opinions even if they don't match mine.

Nov. 23, 2009

Fred, now what gives you the idea that I give a rat's behind what an atheist thinks about me? What gives you the idea that I give a rat's behind what ANYONE thinks about me? I never called you a coward. I never claimed you to be illogical, in fact I find you the opposite most of the time. The only observation that I made concerning you, in this particular discussion, is that you seem very emotional about it.

First, let's back off of the issue as simply black or white, because it isn't. In most religions, the element of faith precludes the element of belief. While faith might imply belief it doesn't guarantee it. I'm not sure that there is any way to disprove faith. If I've told you this story, forgive my bad memory, but it serves a great purpose in the discussion.

My wife was raised Catholic, as were most Mexicans, and quite a few years ago we had a devistating argument. The argument revolved around my wife choosing her mother's wishes over my own, and so I left the house and lived elsewhere for a time. My wife is a good woman with good intentions and she wanted to reconcile, and so did I but she would not budge on her position. So I recommended that, should she choose, I would meet with her priest and allow him to decided who was right and who was wrong.

She agreed and a week later we met with the priest, a very nice man. We explained the situation and after very brief consideration he took my side. He explained to my wife that when she married me she started a new family and the new family was the priority. While I felt this way instinctively, my wife apparently needed to hear it from someone she had faith in, above and beyond herself.

The priest then asked me why I don't go to his church and invited me to participate. I politely invited him to answer a question, and if it agreed with my answer then I would show up at his church on Sunday.

"Did God create man or did man create God?" I said.

Without hesitation he said, "Of course, God created man."

"Then that is why I cannot attend your church," I said. "The correct answer is that it doesn't matter. If someone truly has faith, then only that faith is important; God exists in either case."

True story. The priest was quite dissapointed in my response. I'm not into it but I do visit church on occasion, for baptisms and so on, and I credit the Catholic church for keeping my marriage together, even if I can't wrap my head around their dogmatic beliefs. There are things about religion that have nothing to do with logic or zealotry or any of the things you find repulsive. And faith is entirely different than belief sometimes.

Nov. 23, 2009

Re #140

From Wiki's article entitled "Argument from Ignorance:"

"The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam ("appeal to ignorance" [1]), argument by lack of imagination, or negative evidence, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or is false only because it has not been proven true."

I don't believe that there was a claim by anyone here that something called "God" absolutely exists, just because you can't prove S/He doesn't. What's been said is that S/He MAY or MAY NOT exist, and that there's not conclusive evidence either way. This is the basic agnostic position, which lays no claim to knowledge of "truth" (whatever you want to decide THAT word means).

"The argument from personal incredulity, also known as argument from personal belief or argument from personal conviction, refers to an assertion that because one personally finds a premise unlikely or unbelievable, the premise can be assumed to be false, or alternatively that another preferred but unproven premise is true instead."

On the other hand, THIS is PRECISELY what YOU are doing, Fred.

"Both arguments commonly share this structure[citation needed]: a person regards the lack of evidence for one view as constituting proof that another view is true."

You really should read these links all the way through before you post them, Fred. Are you really so entirely narcissistic that you can't see that these descriptions apply to YOU, and not Josh and refried?

Your argument has nothing to do with logic (convinced though you remain of your supposed intellectual superiority). It's just pure emotional, reactionary, atheistic zealotry. You're coming off as downright silly. What a hissy fit!

And as for anyone in this thread stating a position of agnosticism due to being afraid what theists OR atheists think?

Additional reality check: Refried doesn't give a crap what anybody else thinks because he's a grownup, Josh doesn't give a crap about what anybody else thinks because he's an a-hole, and I don't give a crap what anybody else thinks for whatever reason you want to think.

Nov. 23, 2009

Anti, good try, but kinda missed me again.

See what you copy/pasted? It's not me "personallY" who discovered all this evidence against the existence of "Gods", and I'm far from the only person who thinks this way. I'm not believing in an alternative "unproven" premise.

I'm believing in all the evidence that points conclusively to the non-existence of any "Gods". I'm promoting independently PROVABLE theories about our origins, morality, and our place in the universe that involve no magic (or "faith") whatsoever.

In addition, I point out that trying to make someone prove a negative is a well-known distraction, a petty debator's trick. In honest discourse, you point it out and it gets dropped...not repeated.

Refried is getting better at this stuff. He gives an interesting argument through personal experience.

He says that the social benefits of religion make faith in myths a price worth paying. Tolerance of those poor fools who believe in nonsense is a small thing to him, and more than compensated for by the benefits of maintaining the peace.

Good enough. He refuted my assertion that he's being meek because he's cowardly, afraid of public and private condemnation for his views. He even gave an example of when he got the priest's goat.

It's interesting that he respects the emotional involvement of those who have "faith".

It's also interesting that he implies that I'm somehow overly emotional about my own lack of the same simply because I strongly defend rationality.

This is a dirty double standard. Josh and Refried claim they'd never tell people to shut up about their beliefs, no matter how foolish, but they're comfortable telling non-believers like me to shut up.

Even though they agree with me.

Weird, huh?

Then they keep repeating the fallacy that I have to accept as true anything that cannot be 100% proven wrong. This in spite of my best efforts, including the invisible brain eating lizards that crawl around the inside of both their heads.

Oh well. I try to set a good example.

:-)

Nov. 23, 2009

Anti: One more thing...

You seem to imply that not caring what other people think is a good thing.

Actually, it's not.

We evolved a social creatures, and guessing what others are thinking is one of our preoccupations in life.

Those who genuinely do NOT care what other people think are known as sociopaths, and the rest of us lock them up in prison.

It's clear that you care very much what I think, since you've read and responded to what I've written.

Thank you. I'm flattered. Maybe, next election, we'll finally meet at Golden Hall to spend a romantic evening together watching the precinct counts roll in...

Nov. 23, 2009

Re #144

"See what you copy/pasted? It's not me "personallY" who discovered all this evidence against the existence of "Gods","

I'm not aware of any evidence that 'is' specifically against the existence (whatever that means) of "Gods" (whatever you understand those to be).

"...and I'm far from the only person who thinks this way. I'm not believing in an alternative "unproven" premise."

Of course you're not the only atheist in the world. They're all over the place. But you 'are' "believing" in the non-existence of something you call God. And you're quite insistent that this belief is correct.

"I'm believing in all the evidence that points conclusively to the non-existence of any "Gods"."

So you're believing in the proof of a negative?

"I'm promoting independently PROVABLE theories about our origins, morality, and our place in the universe that involve no magic (or "faith") whatsoever."

I'm sure they meet your burden of "proof." They don't necessarily meet mine. Nor do they disprove other theories that may also be correct.

"In addition, I point out that trying to make someone prove a negative is a well-known distraction, a petty debator's trick."

But you just said you believe that the non-existence of any Gods can be proved. That's proving a negative.

Stunning.

I'm also quite aware of what a sociopath is. We've got at least one here on the site, and possibly more. Sociopaths specifically lack 'empathy.' Not caring what others 'think' is something else altogether.

And as for caring what 'you' think, I genuinely don't. I just got tired of seeing comments on the same damn thread going on ad nauseum, and had hoped that MAYBE the penny would drop if someone other than your 2 existing imaginary adversaries pointed out that you're doing nothing more than projecting zealotry onto others, when you're clearly the only zealot in the room.

So you've got nothing to be flattered about.

Nov. 23, 2009

Fred, AG posted a paper that she wrote while attending college, it's really good and very objective...

I don't think any of us can possibly be right about this, and perhaps we are all wrong about this, but examining religion - or even better, examining spirituality - can be approached every bit as scientifically as something like quantum physics. The problem is that it isn't so easy to arrive at a hard conclusion because there isn't a laboratory in which to test the concept of faith.

I guess my point, and perhaps the endgame of the discussion, isn't whether or not God exists, but the acknowledgement that some people have some sort of faith that God exists. And obviously, that other people have no faith that God exists. It is foolish, if one has faith in a Jesus, to tout the shroud of Turin, it defeats the purpose. And it might be equally as foolish, if one insists that Jesus was not the son of God, to tout the lack of proof as evidence.

If humankind invented Christianity then it did a damned good job; using faith as the vehicle to drive the religion was genius. That alone makes me wonder if humankind is really capable of such genius. Thus, I am proud to say that I have absolutely no idea.

Nov. 23, 2009

Anti, it's not absolute "proof" of the negative, but evidence so conclusive, so overwhelming, that any reasonable person who honestly looks at all the facts cannot avoid the conclusion that there is probably no "God".

On the other hand, what proof is offered for the existence?

None. Ever. Just faith.

Why you'd call me a "zealot" for pointing out the obvious is surreal.

What do YOU believe, Anit? Anything? Nothing? Everything?

Do you believe in an angry sky daddy who punishes you for masturbation and helps his favorite team win football games?

Or do you just have such an emotional attachment to the religious culture you were brought up in that you cannot open your eyes to the truth.

There's probably no "God". I'm certain of it. Don't ask me to believe it unless you offer proof.

On the other hand, there's so much evidence for one alternative explanation. It's called the theory of evolution. I'm sure you've heard of it. If you believe it, you cannot also believe in myths, ghosts, fairy tales, and creator stories. They' are mutually exclusive, no matter what tangles religious apologists attempt.

It's ignorant to say they're both equally true.

It's cowardly not to choose a side.

I choose the side with evidence, proof we can all see for ourselves, no magic.

If you're advocating the other side, go ahead.

But pretending to have virtue by choosing not to make an adult choice is actually far more zealous than anything I've ever written.

(And have a sense of humor. Jeez, Anti. Get over yourself. This is just an online discussion. I also hate having to repeat myself, but neither you, nor Josh or Refried are willing to accept the basic rules of logic in our discourse...which is indicative of why you all blindly flail away at me for rejecting your favorite mythologies.)

Nov. 23, 2009

No, Refried...

We have a VERY clear understanding of how Christianity was invented and the bible was cobbled together.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/scriptures.html

Frontline has the whole story free online. It's several hours long, but worth it if you want to know what you're talking about when it comes to the bible.

Nov. 23, 2009

re: #138: Thanks, Josh. I hope you can keep your end of the bargain this time--it's best for both of us.

Fred wrote in #140:

"SD, you've posted more than a few personal allegations against me, concluding from comments I've made (sometimes purely in jest) that I'm this or that horrible thing"

Fred, since you value clarity in discussion, let's be clear about this "horrible thing" and the phrase "more than a few." I have written exactly one post in regards to your sexist comments about women, and alleged that your comments were sexist. You were free to respond, but chose not to respond to that single allegation.

I have no beef with you otherwise, and quite enjoy your posts.

I do not see how your meeting either Josh or refried has anything to do with the price of China--I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with them both, myself. I have objected to certain rhetoric of one of these people online, and will not go into anything not mentioned here, as it shall remain personal and nameless, and Josh and I have renewed our agreement to leave one another alone online.

You finish with an appeal to logical argumentation. If you take the time to read my posts, you'll agree that I use it often--feel free to respond to it when you like. Just as you go off topic now and then, it happens with others. I won't be writing off topic here any longer--bon soir everyone.

Nov. 23, 2009

Heh. Fred, I've seen the Frontline story, and I've read several complete versions of the Bible (the best, and I recommend this for believers and athiests alike is "The Jerusalem Bible", translated straight from ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and ancient Greek right into French and then English), and the Qur'an and the Book of Mormon (I actually keep a handy version of the Qur'an right here on my desktop on the PC). I am also somewhat well read concerning books of the Bible never included, except for those kept in the vaults underneath Vatican City (although someday I would love to break into that fortress and make off with their dirty little secrets).

I probably would have minored in religious studies in college, but it didn't interest me until I became older and less attached to some of the religious experiences from my youth. Don't worry, I'm well-versed, I won't deny any sort of jabs you poke on how the books were constructed, not who actually wrote them, nor in their truths or partial truths.

Nov. 23, 2009

Refried, you know the "eternal truths" and moral teachings were mostly adapted from Epictetus and the other Stoics.

A lot of the mythology is adopted from the Zoroastrians.

What are considered universal "religious truths" are usually just human truths. Elsewhere we've discussed the "golden rule".

These various rules have far better evolutionary explanations than religious explanations.

So, again, you freely and openly admit that you think the bible is more fiction than fact.

Why not go all the way and just say it? You don't believe in this crap. You don't really respect those who do.

Nov. 23, 2009

Fred, did you inspire this?

http://xkcd.com/666/

Nov. 23, 2009

"A lot of the mythology is adopted from the Zoroastrians."

Most of the early "truths" certainly were. And much, as I say, is still buried underneath the Vatican. The book of Judas is actually a part of the Zorastrian faith. I am writing a novel about that. A man does what he is asked to do, what is expected of him to save humanity, and he is cast aside as a traitor. Interesting.

You and I both know and understand that religion takes history and sinks its fangs into it. Noah and the ark? Silly. But there was certainly evidence of a great flood during that time. Joshua's battle at Jericho? It is quite unlikely that his marching band brought those walls down. But archaeologists have proof that Jericho indeed fell. Did religion hijack history? Of course it did!

Campbell posited that religion and history were intertwined, and I think that is mostly true. They depended on each other for centuries. Greek mythology WAS Greek history, it's how the Greeks learned. It's how the Hebrews learned, before most could read or write, they memorized Genesis and Deuteronomy and Numbers, passing it down verbally from generation to generation.

The World went from whatever to theism to monotheism, but that took thousands of years. The road from theism to monotheism was no picnic. It took hudreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire for it to actually take hold. But think about this: Once Christianity, or Islamism, or any other monotheist religion took over, there was no looking back, right? They were all, "Of course there is only one God/Allah/Whatever, what are you, nuts?"

And they killed each other over the very idea that another religion existed, and they still do. Now, along comes atheism. The non-God. Let's pretend for a moment that everyone comes to their senses and decided that the non-God is the new God. Looking back at our history lesson, you can presume three things. First, the non-God will re-write the history books. Secondly, the non-God will attempt to conquer monotheism, and supposing this happens it leads us to this: Thirdly, something else will come along to make atheism obsolete, a new religion.

Looking at it historically, this is the best that an atheist can hope for. So, forgive me, my friend, if I still respect people like W.F. Buckley Jr. and Lincoln and Descartes and a host of others that had some sort of religious faith or belief, but I'm not buying into atheism as being anyplace where it all ends. It goes on and on and on for as long as humanity survives.

Nov. 23, 2009

Rickey, that's funny. I do like xkcd.

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred, you keep saying everyone wants you to shut up, but I haven't seen anyone on here trying to silence you. They merely say, you can't prove I'm wrong, so I'll continue to believe what I choose to believe. While I am also an Atheist, and it bothers me that many people would look down on me distrustingly for that (You don't believe in God!!!), I recognize the universal human need they are trying to fulfill. It takes a coldly rational mind, like you and I apparently possess, to choose to deny ourselves the comfort of an afterlife and a "purpose", because we can't bring ourselves to buy into something that is so obviously nonsense. While I think there is definitely an inverse correlation between intelligence and religiosity, as an Atheist, I recognize that the "meaning" of life is to live it and try to enjoy it to the best of our ability, for this truly is all there is. We are just monkeys that got a little too smart for our own good. So if believing in Flying Spaghetti Monsters gives one comfort in the dark of night, who am I to try to talk them out of it? This is what I think you should take to heart.

Nov. 24, 2009

"the non-God is the new God"

AAAAARGH!

Again.

  • Lack of a car is NOT the same as having a car.
  • Lack of intelligence is NOT the same thing as having intelligence.
  • Lack of a God is NOT the same thing as having a God.

You get the religious progression right, but mess up the conclusion.

We start with a lot of gods. It gets whittled down to a parthenon of gods. Then just one god (or actually three according to the trinity theory).

The next step isn't replacing a single god with another god.

The next step is getting rid of these gods altogether. No more using mythology to prop up government authority. The divine right of kings was discarded a long time ago, lets stamp it out for good.

If scientific reasoning, filled with doubts, questions and debate manages to replace "God" as the standard for making decisions, I'd be thrilled.

Look what relying on personal talks with Jesus got us into over the last eight years.

No, my friend. You're getting closer, but you're not there yet.

(BTW: What's this Vatican cache you've mentioned twice now. Any evidence for this?)

Nov. 24, 2009

Rickey, all I can say to your comment is "Ramen". You have truly been touched by his noodly appendage.

But wasn't the main point of the FSM that if we're to "respect" all religions, then we must therefore respect even transparently made up religions too?

Isn't the discussion really about how atheists in San Diego, by putting up a single billboard, are generating controversy? At the same time, you and I both know there are countless religious advertisements around us.

So I do think we have to speak up boldly, shut down the jerks who seem to think that their mythical wish-thinking is superior to our firm grasp of reality, and not pander to the unfortunate dupes of the religion racket.

No, I don't go around burning churches. I'm a writer. I happen to have the time (between contracts) to participate in this discussion and propose the "hardcare atheist" viewpoint, which was dismissed by the author of the article and many commentors here.

I understand your point. For better social cohesion and peace in the short term, all us atheists should just let it be, keep our mouths shut, and not make waves.

But I happen to believe this is an issue so important to the future of humanity...literally, religion could lead to our extermination as a species...that I want to do my little bit.

By refusing to give into peer pressure and fit in by hiding my views, I'm considered all kinds of things...emotional, extreme, anti-social. But I'm being true to what I sincerely believe to be true.

Religious myths drive too much human behavior in negative directions. The good it does in the world is outweighed by the extreme risk of human extermination at the hands of religious zealots.

A more rational and scientific course might, maybe, possibly, save us from doom.

Religion cannot, althought paradoxically that's just what it falsely promises.

So while I get where you're coming from, and all my friends agree with you, I have to be firm. Myth believers do NOT deserve the benefit of the doubt. They need to be told they're wrong...very wrong and dangerously wrong.

Best,

Fred

Nov. 24, 2009

One more from xkcd:

http://xkcd.com/54/

"Science. It works, bitches."

:-)

Nov. 24, 2009

"BTW: What's this Vatican cache you've mentioned twice now. Any evidence for this?"

Well, some of it is well known. There are writings that the Catholic church did not find to be "inspired", and were therefore excluded from the Catholic Bible. Some are accessable (the gospel according to Thomas, for example, and a partial work supposedly but not proven to have been written by Mary of Magdalene), others are not. It is said by many who have seen it that the "restricted" area of the library at the Vatican is larger than the entirety of most libraries in the largest cities in the World.

Underneath the Vatican, it is widely reported that there is a large area used for storage by the Catholic Church (once the most powerful organization in the World). In it, it is rumored that many scrolls, including the final and prophecy from Our Lady of Fátima (not revealed until the year 2000) is/was stored there. It has been proposed that there are more religious writings underneath the Vatican than exist in the official Catholic Bible.

The problem at getting to the truth about all of this? Obvious. Money and power. You will find that while I will hapily argue with you about atheism being the answer, I'll not argue with you about religion being the answer. Religion does not always seek truth, and in fact, often avoids it.

Nov. 24, 2009

Let's respect and celebrate all religions, hmmm? -- pulled from today's headlines:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8375591.stm

"If anyone has a problem, then I will cut the throat of an animal in the temple and that person's problem will be solved."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8375605.stm

"The real impact of the (swine flu prevention) efforts may not be known until after the Hajj."

Nov. 24, 2009

Gringo, I don't buy it about the "secret Vatican library"...it doesn't seem at all secret:

"In 1881, thanks to the generosity of Leo XIII, scholars were allowed free access to the Vatican Secret Archives, thus becoming one of the most important historical research centres in the world."

Maybe this is all a cover up, but here's the Vatican's own explanation which seems reasonable to me:

http://asv.vatican.va/en/arch/1_past.htm

Seems like since 2000 the access has been further liberalized. Send me a few hundred bucks for a plane ticket and hotel, I'll pop over to Rome and have a look personally.

:-)

Nov. 24, 2009

Let's all respect atheism, shall we?

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

Oh, and on your way out, please buy a souvenir...

http://www.atheists-online.com/store.asp?shop=03000

And by all means, a history lesson to read and fall asleep to (cuddle up beside the fire and learn from where your roots came from sort if thing):

http://www.uq.edu.au/~laacassi/OrthodoxChristianityandMilitantAtheism.html

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred, you're talking about a church that still mandates that humans not use birth control. I don't think they've liberalized to that extent. No way they're giving away the farm ;)

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred, let me explain something regarding your assumption that as an agnostic, I'm a "coward" or don't want the religious folk to hate me. First of all, by being an agnostic, just the opposite happens. I get it from both sides. The religious people chalk up my beliefs as atheist. And the atheists, like you, HATE, absolutely hate, the fact that I can't just commit to the idea that there is no God. End of story.

The slight bit of me that thinks there might be a God, doesn't necessarily believe it's a dude with a long white beard, that created Adam and Eve. Just as I tell people that believe in UFOs and aliens...that if aliens exist, what makes them think they look like us, but with green skin, bulbous heads and eyes like E.T. The aliens might look like jelly fish. But, they've seen a lot of movies, and probably just go with that look.

But back to the cowardice thing. A lot of my beliefs seem to be out there (just ask Geek, who hates most of mine...or who assumes I have no empathy, when in fact, I do; I just don't tolerate criminals, and wish them all to be wiped from the planet; another debate for another time).

When people ask me how I feel about the cross on Mount Solidad, ya know what I say, Fred? I say the exact opposite of what the person wants that is talking to me.

If it's a religious person, I lay into them. I ask them why in the world other people should be forced to look at a cross, THEIR religious symbol. If it's for soldiers, well...explain that to Muslim, Mormon, atheist, or Jewish soldiers that died for this country.

If it's an atheist that is asking me what I think of that cross, I lay into them. Because, I hate their BS argument that the cross is "offensive" to them. It certainly is not "offensive." They just don't like the fact that the religious people are "getting one over on them."

Just as those same atheists probably don't mind when stores decorate with Christmas lights and ornaments. I certainly don't mind that. In fact, I enjoy being out at night in December, and seeing houses with Christmas lights. I also enjoying knowing that kids enjoy seeing that stuff, too. And I think it's a shame that hardcore atheists want to destroy that, and boycott stores that have trees, etc.

So my answer to the cross on Mount Soledad is this. In the future, no public land should have religious symbols of any kind. But, the ones that are there, I have no problem with them being grandfathered in. And if it offends someone...oh well. They can look away when they drive by it. I hardly find those responses to be that of a "coward".

Nov. 24, 2009

Rhetorical cowardice only, Josh my friend. Unwillingness to face up to and own the conclusion. Instead, you back away from the crucial step.

But I'm sorry for going overboard. When you visit me in Prague, a city that has not only an unbelievable number of church buildings but also one of the world's highest rates of outright proud atheism, I'll buy you a coffee to make up for it.

Same for you Gringo. If you like Mexico, well you'd probably love it here...though it doesn't sound like you travel much nowadays.

Josh, it comes as no surprise that you like taking contrarian positions, switching views depending on your conversational partner. I do this myself.

Why? Because we're argumentative.

So it's with great regret that I agree with you. Grandfather in the historic monuments, just don't build new ones on public property. That's exactly how they do it in here. School children learn that the plethora of Catholic churches were built in reaction to the Bohemian revolts fueled by the hussites...a sort of Habsburg era propaganda machine.

Christmas lights? Fine. Except for the waste of electricity (yeah, you're a climate change skeptic, but we'll save that for another debate, okay?) I don't mind them.

Annoying Christmas music. Those ubiquitous shopping mall seasonal songs...well, they make my ears bleed. Wouldn't have any problem with that if they'd occassionally play some Frank Zappa at the mall too. I'd love to see people's faces if they'd dare play XTC's Dear God...

As long as I'm not asked to pay for it, well fine. Unfortunately, we do spend public money on this stuff. Just wish they'd sing something new:

Did you make disease And the diamond blue? Did you make mankind After we made you? And the devil too?

Nov. 24, 2009

On your links Refried:

  1. Yes, as noted, it's a perjorative term. But I guarantee your your priest is more militant for his mythical beliefs than any atheist you'll find.

  2. Thanks. I really like the one that says, "Jesus Loves Me. But I make him use a condom."

  3. Having lived and worked in formerly communist and currently communist places in the world, I can assure you that communism has all the hallmarks of religion in that it required blind faith in historical cycles and the progression described in its holy books. It built personality cults of Lenin and Stalin. It used atheism as a lure to engage the university professor's support, sure. But by using theories like Lykoshenko's eugenics...well, they weren't what I think you're trying to assert. We can go into details if you like, I've got a background in this too.

Bolsheviks killed plenty of priests, but also coopted plenty to serve the new soviet approved churches.

Claiming that atheism leads to genocide, a frequent attack of the theists, misunderstands and misplaces the evolution of human morality. Religion takes on the garb of morals, but morals pre-existed religion and will survive religions demise.

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred, you are a unique and perceptive human being. I no longer wish to travel, although if I somehow found myself in Praha matka měst, I would no doubt be speaking Czech in no time. I tend to fall in love with wherever I am at, I seem to want to find beauty in all things. An aside, Prague was, as I am sure you are well aware, once the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Small World.

Nov. 24, 2009

Maš pravda pán Gringo, život tady je docela krasna, a ženy jsou upravda pěkne taky. Jak to je že umiš psat matka měst?

Cau vole. Jdu na obědu...mam hlad. Jsem napsal už dost dnes.

Nov. 24, 2009

Život je krásný všude, Fred. Mají skvělý oběd a budeme brzy mluvit... Iss Je čas pro mě spát.

Nov. 24, 2009

Oh, all the rest of you are DEEP trouble now. Ha, ha, ha...me and Refried gonna have us some language fun, že jo kamo?

y tambien hablas espanol, senor gringosrefritos...ay caramba das ist nicht moglich...

Nebydliš v Punta Banda? Trebe mi jsme znamy. Mluvil se jaky moravak tam, ale před decet let...je to zajimavy. Malý svět.

Nov. 24, 2009

AKA Czechout time.

Nov. 24, 2009

Oh boy! Someone is having fun with http://www.freetranslation.com/

Nov. 24, 2009

Yes, the XTC song is great. But hey...they play that McCartney and Lennon song, and even that wonderful Kinks and Greg Lake track, so I ain't complaining about the Christmas tunes (on a side note: have you heard that bizarre Bob Dylan Christmas album? Talk about "sell out"...he's a Jew!)

A few things that I'd like to clarify, Fred.

First, I do NOT take the opposite position because I love arguing. Contrary to popular belief, arguing annoys me to know end. Ya wanna know why? I've found most people will not admit when they are wrong. Therefore, arguing just becomes frustrating. If you presented facts to people, and they could own up to being wrong, and say "Oh...I hadn't realized that," well, then I'd love arguing.

With the Mount Soledad cross, again, it's not my love or arguing. But it's the fact that I find the person stubborn that feels so strongly about THEIR reason for the crosses removal (or staying). It baffles me that they can't see the other side, which is a very valid point.

Regarding my skepticism about the environment, I didn't think we ever had a conversation on the matter. But...I believe most of the garbage Al Gore spews out of his mouth on the subject. I've just expressed some dismay in his refusal to debate the issue. He just likes to come in, win awards and make money. It all seems a bit bizarre to me, especially when he takes these small planes to fly to a dinner in Phoenix, and then back to New York, and with his electricity bill that was off the charts. Things that leave a bigger footprint then my neighbor who has two SUVs.

It's one of the many reasons I'm a Democrat. I think that party cares more about the environment, and people in general, than Republicans do.

But that doesn't mean the politicians that are Democrats aren't just as bad as Republicans, when it comes to bribes and all those other bad things politicians do -- all the while claiming they have our best interest at heart.

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred,

You're insistence on science over religion is a little funny given the state of science these days. Scientists these days are FAR from objective. They're essentially whores. Take the global warming scare, the scientists pushing this have been shown -- by their own leaked communications -- to be fudging the data to support their pet conclusions. What's more, they actively silence and slander those scientists who beg to differ from the sky-is-falling (or warming) theory. Why? Because they don't want a single dime of their precious gov't research money going to competing theories. They've got the whole world abuzz with their doomsday predictions and that keeps the money coming. Like Mafiosi, they'll ruthlessly eliminate any threat to that money stream. These people, Fred, are the "Science" you so blindly throw your faith behind.

In my experience, the average atheist usually exhibits a sense of superiority. Like lame conspiracy theorists, atheists cherish a childish I-know-something-you-don't-know kind of pride or arrogance. You see in it Archer's words above, when he describes believers in God as "minuscule compared to us in the area of intellect." Wrong archer (and Fred), we're miniscule (note the spelling) compared to you in the area of arrogance.

Nov. 24, 2009

Another thing, Fred. You write: " The theory of a God has NO proof whatsoever. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada."

That's horsecrap, Fred, and I think you're smart enough to know that.

The existence of God can be arrived at by examining the EXACT SAME EVIDENCE as your pet evolutionary theory. The splendor, the intricacy, the processes of nature all point to a Designer, a Creator of far greater intellect and power than man's. It's every bit as plausible a theory as evolution, probably more so. Because the theory of evolution has never come anywhere close to explaining how life came from non-life, or even where the raw material came from.

But instead of acknowledging this, Fred, you resort to typical arrogant atheist insults involving Imaginary Friends and unicorns.

Not very intellectually honest, Fred.

Nov. 24, 2009

Altus the Creationist, please go back to whatever hole you've crawled out of.

  1. You're ignorant, but a good speller.
  2. You cherry pick your scientists and then claim that ALL of them are the same. Shall I reciprocate and equate you with Al Queda? After all, you're both religious idiots...
  3. "Intellectually honest"? You're a Creationist, dude. Need I say more?

Go play with your imaginary friends. Leave the discussion to the adults who know better than to believe in myths made up by nomadic goat herders while rejecting the evidence all around them for both climate change and evolution.

It's people like yourself who force me to conclude the religous are all mental defects, and really oughtn't vote or be allowed access to computers.

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred, when you went into that other language, I thought you guys were speaking in tongues. I covered my eyes, and made my fingers crosses and held them up against the computer monitor, hoping the evil would go away.

I finally just scrolled down and it did.

Also, I had a delicious spaghetti lunch today. And ya know what I did? Well, I don't normal say grace before a meal. But I did today...and I thanked that big spaghetti monster in the sky. So, thanks for allerting me to his presence (I say "his" because I don't think the spaghetti monster in the sky is a woman; she'd be saying "did those extra meatballs make my butt look fat in these clouds?")

Nov. 24, 2009

Josh, you are correct that devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster seem to be mostly male.

That's why I've recently converted to worshiping the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

"Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them."

Nov. 24, 2009

Josh, I've never understood what people see in Bob Dylan. A few songs are kinda okay, but people lionize the guy. Have any of them noticed that (ahem) he can't sing?

As for a Jewish man putting out an Christmas album, well it's in the spirit of the holiday, which is all about using a pretense of religiousity to make money.

At my home we celebrate the original Christmas, better known as Saturnalia, by donning our festive Pelei and enjoying the traditional drinking, gambling, and orgies. I'll be wishing a festive "Io Saturnalia" to one and all.

Our musical program will include such classics as:

"Rudolf the Red Gunned Cowboy"

"I Shot Santa Claus"

"Jingle Bells, Batman Smells"

"Silent Fart, Holy S***!"

Josh, I'd invite you to crash the party, but I know you'd never leave...

As to you being argumentative...Dude!

You're ARGUING with me about whether or not you're ARGUMENTATIVE.

Hilarious. Thank you. You've made my day!

Nov. 24, 2009

About speaking in tongues...

Josh, as you know, I actually have studied a few languages. I'd say I'm truly fluent in only English, but have pretty good conversational ability in some slavic, germanic, and romance languages. I even learned a bit of Korean and Lao/Thai, but both those were just a bit too much.

This doesn't make me particularly special, just a guy with special practice in learning languages.

It DOES make me pretty well qualified to tell gibberish from language. When I see the "speakers in tongues" at Pentecostal revivals (that's NOT Satanic, Josh, it's CHRISTIAN -- get your deities straight!) I cannot help laughing out loud. A bunch of fools and charlatans.

Like creationists, these people so desperately WANT to believe in their freaky mythology that they'll be convinced that even the lies they knowingly tell themselves (and everyone knows its a lie) are the truth.

Years ago I knew a Pentecostal preacher, and driving his car he would actually command red lights to turn green. Every time the light eventually changed, he thanked Jesus for his divine intervention and cited this as proof of HIS divine power.

Really. Seriously.

The religious are sometimes scary stupid.

Nov. 24, 2009

Hi Fumber!

Golly, I've missed you. What took you so long to find me, buddy?

Hugs and kisses,

Fred "THE HUMONGOUS BAG OF DIRT" Williams

Nov. 24, 2009

The great thing about the Romance languages, is that once you learn how to speak one, the other four open up nicely. Well, except for Romanian, I've never been exposed to it so I wouldn't know, but I understand Italian and Portugese (from Portugal, not what they speak in Barzil which is amazingly confusing) pretty well, and I understand enough French to not need subtitles when watching a film.

Also, if you're ever in a bar with some intellectual type, challenge him or her to name the five Romance languages, bet them a beer. Unless they've majored in Classics or Comparative Literature, they're likely to rattle off Spanish, French, Italian and Portugese, but not so likely to name the obvious one, from where the word Romance gets it's roots: Romanian!

Nov. 24, 2009

Where is Barzil?

Nov. 24, 2009

It's near Preu. Close to Agrentina, in South Amreica.

Nov. 24, 2009

I traveled in Romania a few years back. I was there for about a month. Tips: Avoid Bucharest, Constantia is okay, Sigesoara was best.

First thing I bought a basic Romanian grammar and Ro/En dictionary. By the third week I was having conversations. Not deep conversations, but enough to talk about people's families, homes, jobs and such.

I think Romanian, especially if you have some Slavic to get the grammar, is easier than Portuguese or French.

Spanish, however, remains the easiest language for English speakers to learn and use, in my opinion. Swedish or Danish are close in second place, since the grammar is nearly identical to English and the vocabulary is often familiar...the only hard thing is learning to "sing" like the Swedish chef while you speak Swedish, or making that low glottal stop in Danish..."Rod grod med flode" is the language's shiboleth.

Romanians are quite religious. When they walk by an Orthodox church they cross themselves.

This goes along with their superstitions. I was in a train comparment in August, unbearably hot, but nobody would allow me to open the window because "blowing air causes disease".

Weird place. Watch out for the packs of wild dogs in the capital...seriously.

Nov. 24, 2009

I think someone doesn't like me. See the fourth letter from the moron in Santee.

Too bad he withheld his name by request...the coward. Typical religious retard.

Question for the editors? Why did you publish this? The author does nothing but repeat tired old bible quotes for children. He also makes a stupid equivication I've discussed before...he says that not believing in God is a religion just like believing in God.

This is the same as claiming that not having any car and walking everywhere is the EXACT same as insisting on driving your Hummer even if you just have to go to the corner store for milk.

What morons. To the author of that letter, a sincere and heartfelt "f*** you!"

Nov. 24, 2009

Josh, you are correct that devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster seem to be mostly male.

Duh... it's Spaghetti and the meatballs.......

Nov. 24, 2009

Fumber was in the woods with a friend, when he realized he had to urgently take a dump.

"I don't have any toilet paper", Fumber wailed.

"Fumber, don't you have any money? Just use a dollar to wipe yourself," his friend said.

Twenty minutes later, Fumber emerged from the brush with feces smeared everywhere.

"Why didn't you use a dollar?" his friend asked, disgusted by Fumber's smell and appearance.

"I did," Fumber said. "I used three quarters, a dime, two nickles, and five pennies."

Nov. 24, 2009

Fumber made a funny:

:-D

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred Williams wrote:

"I happen to have the time (between contracts) to participate in this discussion and propose the 'hardcare atheist' viewpoint, which was dismissed by the author of the article and many commentors here."

Mr. Williams, I'm not sure why you say that I dismissed the hardcare atheist viewpoint. I did point out the various ways in which the CoR resembled a church, but I was careful to note that it did differ when it came to the actual worshipping of gods. I don't think that is necessarily dismissive. In particular, I thought the Sagan story and the comments from grateful atheists at the end of the piece gave the story a rather sympathetic tone.

Nov. 24, 2009

Fred, The folks that flash their headlights at the red light, and think it turned green because of this, are just as stupid as a person thinking Jesus helped him out.

Also, I didn't say I WASN'T argumentative. My point was that you said "I like arguing." I don't. I just do, because, well...people are always wrong about things.

Nov. 24, 2009

re: the letter from Anon. in Santee:

"In the function of worship, Atheism is polytheistic. Atheists worship many gods. Self, the dignity of man, relativism, and hedonism are among the many objects of Atheist veneration. The religious system of Atheism boils down to humanity worshipping humanity and human ideas."

This is the problem with religious zealots--they simply can't imagine that atheists don't actually worship--ideals or entities. It is so S/M...

re: #158:

"Isn't the discussion really about how atheists in San Diego, by putting up a single billboard, are generating controversy? At the same time, you and I both know there are countless religious advertisements around us."

I am surprised that neither Fred nor gringo (especially gringo the anarchist!) have invoked the problem of religion and nationalism, or how the religious right has managed to infect our legislative discourses on morality. We are talking about far more than a billboard here. I'm all for "live and let live" until I am presented with a set of moral codes I must live by that derive from organized religion. I want my stem cells and my right to choose, and my gay marriage. If we did not have a virulent muddling of church and state, these would be approved without question.

Gringo does come close here in #160:

"The problem at getting to the truth about all of this? Obvious. Money and power. You will find that while I will hapily argue with you about atheism being the answer, I'll not argue with you about religion being the answer. Religion does not always seek truth, and in fact, often avoids it."

Exactly. And the confusion of religious values with matters of state have led us to choke on issues concerning some basic social rights and the right to advanced healthcare, as well as the right to govern the natural processes of one's own body.

Name Withheld in Santee summons that old chestnut about arrogance. Nothing could be more arrogant than the blatant "witnessing" at the end of his/her letter, and this kind of witnessing has crept into the very letter of bills before Congress, whether our legislators are truly believers or just believers-for-$$...

Nov. 25, 2009

"I am surprised that neither Fred nor gringo (especially gringo the anarchist!) have invoked the problem of religion and nationalism, or how the religious right has managed to infect our legislative discourses on morality."

Well, I would have brought that up, but I thought that Nietzsche pretty much covered that much better than we could way back in the late 1800's. I can't imagine anyone on any side of the theistic scale that would argue that religion and nationalism weren't great lovers when it came to shaping whatever moral attitudes that would elect politicians. It happens even now. And although I admit that I do not watch television, I do sometimes engage in Youtube and happened upon this just before I clicked the Reader website. Too bad there isn't a Presidential candidate with the guts to say this. Enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSWE-PHnj-s

Nov. 25, 2009

Re: #194, call me Fred.

You started off with Swine Flu being the "reason" to finally investigate those weird atheists.

That was funny. A good attention getting opening. But it also showed where you were going...

"once you’ve agreed that there’s no God, what is left to do? And what’s the point of doing it?"

Uh, isn't that a walloping big assumption? Only God gives us purpose? Without God there's no point to life?

Maybe we can have rich and fulfulling lives, free from the distractions of weekly group-hypocracy sessions where we're charged 10% of our incomes to engage in "worship" of an imaginary invisible friend who helps football teams and punishes you, Matthew Lickona, for your guilty masturbation.

But I digress. Back to the article...

We can sum up your main points with "It’s the billboard as secular steeple."

Perhaps because you write about churches you simply cannot conceive that the overwhelming majority of non-believers neither need nor want to herd together into an organization.

So what do you do? After giving lip service to the "herding cats" metaphore, you interview...wait for it...organizations that claim to represent atheists.

Uh huh.

As you say, "it’s hard to miss the quasi-religious connotation of 'celebrant'."

Exactly. First you mention that atheists don't typically join groups, then you find such groups as do exist, and point out that they're a lot like churches.

THEREFORE those who read your article came away with your absolutely bullshyte message...non-believers have to have church, so atheism is just like believing in God...hee, hee, hee.

It was a misleading article, but it's understandable since your profession, writing about churches, almost demands such an approach.

Perhaps if you'd pay a bit of attention, you'd notice that these actions such as putting up billboards have been spread through the media, particularly online social media.

Atheists don't have to congregate in person because we can exchange ideas online. Had you gone to any of those places, even a Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn site, you'd have found some genuine atheists who have no time or interest for what you described as modern atheism...equating us to frustrated wanna be church goers who are desperately lacking a God to give us guidance in life.

In the end though, you should thank me deeply. Have you ever had this much interest in any of your articles?

Best,

Fred

Nov. 25, 2009

Thanks, refried. What is elided in this scene, though, in favor of a feel-good speech on values invoking Lincoln, is the fact that the appearance of churchgoing or piety among politicians is really less important than the pressured lobbying that goes on behind the scenes to effect decisionmaking at the highest levels.

Bush Jr. used to talk to Pastor Ted Haggard (former head of the New Life Mega-church in Colorado Springs) every single day.

Every day.

Meanwhile, Haggard was snorting meth and cavorting with his gay lover. Finding that out, I didn't know whether to be simply relieved at his fall, or disappointed that his influence might have taken a subtle turn for the better--either way, he himself, like the president--ended up being more figurehead than anything else, and was easily replaced.

Oh, and thanks for managing to include ice cream in this, even red-herring flavored.

"Let be be finale of seem The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream."

;)

Nov. 25, 2009

200, early-morning snarf.

BOO-YAH!!!

:)

(Praise Jesus!!)

Nov. 25, 2009

You started off with Swine Flu being the "reason" to finally investigate those weird atheists.

[I never called them weird. Swine Flu was not the reason, but the occasion. I couldn't go to church, which is what I do for this column, so there was a certain logic in spending some time with the people who don't go to church at all.]

That was funny. A good attention getting opening. But it also showed where you were going...

[Really?]

"once you’ve agreed that there’s no God, what is left to do? And what’s the point of doing it?"

Uh, isn't that a walloping big assumption? Only God gives us purpose? Without God there's no point to life?

[No, that's not what I was saying. I was expressing sympathy for the bit about organizing atheists being like herding cats. The question, "What is left to do?" here does not ask, "What is left to do with one's life?" but rather "What is left for an organization of atheists to do?" Because that's what the column is about - an organization of atheists. I didn't seek 'em out - they put up a billboard to attract attention, and they got mine. And there is no assumption about it - the question is not rhetorical. Rather, it is answered by the Coalition for Reason.]

Maybe we can have rich and fulfulling lives, free from the distractions of weekly group-hypocracy sessions where we're charged 10% of our incomes to engage in "worship" of an imaginary invisible friend who helps football teams and punishes you, Matthew Lickona, for your guilty masturbation.

[Wow, Fred.]

But I digress. Back to the article...

We can sum up your main points with "It’s the billboard as secular steeple."

Perhaps because you write about churches you simply cannot conceive that the overwhelming majority of non-believers neither need nor want to herd together into an organization.

[Or perhaps because I write about churches I find it appropriate to cover an organization of non-believers who behave in many of the same ways as a church - providing support and community, spreading the message, etc. - while being careful to note that they do not actually worship any gods.]

So what do you do? After giving lip service to the "herding cats" metaphore, you interview...wait for it...organizations that claim to represent atheists.

Uh huh.

As you say, "it’s hard to miss the quasi-religious connotation of 'celebrant'."

Exactly. First you mention that atheists don't typically join groups, then you find such groups as do exist, and point out that they're a lot like churches.

[I didn't find them! They found me! By advertising themselves on a billboard! You keep suggesting that I went hunting for organized atheists in an attempt to prove something. This is not the case. Rather, I saw a billboard and went to check it out. As I mentioned, my first thought was that the billboard was for a church of believers.]

continued...

Nov. 25, 2009

continued...

THEREFORE those who read your article came away with your absolutely bullshyte message...non-believers have to have church, so atheism is just like believing in God...hee, hee, hee.

[Wow, really? Could anyone read that story about Sagan and come away thinking that atheism is just like believing in God? Your line of reasoning contains a number of assumptions, it seems to me. If anything, I would argue that non-believers, being human, have a need for many of the things that a church can provide - community, support, affirmation of significant moments, etc. But that is hardly the same as claiming that atheists have to have church. And even if I believed that everybody has a need to worship something, that would be a long way from arguing that atheism is just like believing in God.]

It was a misleading article, but it's understandable since your profession, writing about churches, almost demands such an approach.

Perhaps if you'd pay a bit of attention, you'd notice that these actions such as putting up billboards have been spread through the media, particularly online social media.

[What indications do you have that I have not paid attention? That I chose one particular local instance and interviewed the people involved with it?]

Atheists don't have to congregate in person because we can exchange ideas online. Had you gone to any of those places, even a Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn site, you'd have found some genuine atheists who have no time or interest for what you described as modern atheism...equating us to frustrated wanna be church goers who are desperately lacking a God to give us guidance in life.

[Trust me, I've spent plenty of time with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I didn't describe modern atheism as anything. I described one group of people who advertised themselves to the local community. I made no larger claims.]

In the end though, you should thank me deeply. Have you ever had this much interest in any of your articles?

[Oh, Fred, you're too modest. This extraordinarily long comment thread has very little to do with my article, and nearly everything to do with you.]

Best,

Fred

Nov. 25, 2009

ok. well, i haven't read most of this...too long. but to put in my .02, i am an atheist. i don't believe in god. i do not feel the need to congregate with anyone on or offline (with the exception of discussions like this) to prove or disprove my beliefs. i don't push mine on other people and expect the same in return. aaaaaaand...if masturbation is sinful, i am going straight to hell.

Nov. 25, 2009

Disproving the existence of God is a trivial undertaking. To do so let me first prove the existence of God. Here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh

Now, I bet you're saying, "That's not God!" Well, you'd be wrong.

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

Of course, you're probably saying that's ridiculous and primitive. You'd be correct.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clark

It's a problem of definition. You say your God is God. They say Prince Philip is God. You're both correct. The only difference between you and they is that they can point at their God and say, "See, there he is."

So you worship YHWH or Jesus, or whatever. That's the entity you have chosen to worship. That's what makes your God your God.

Now I ask you, what's the difference between worship and admiration? I'll tell you: submitting. I might admire someone like Jesus but you submit to him as a God. I have still held my right, actually my responsibility, to my own decisions. If Jesus says something that I consider absurd or evil, like say, "But those mine enemies who would not that I should rule over them, bring hither and slay them before me," I can say, "Hey Jesus! Stop being an ass!"

I'm not on my knees.

Sure, all Christians claim that they are free to question God all they want. You even believe that you are, but you are not. In the end you must, invariably, find that God is correct or he is not God...no? Since you've already chosen to call him God then you've already chosen who to believe...his judgment and not your own. You actually don't have the right to do this.

Every human being is responsible for, and in charge of, their moral choices. You don't get to just put that off on some super-entity and wipe your hands of it. That's the sin of Pilate. It is your responsibility, always. Thus disproving God is quite trivial:

  1. To be called a God a being must be worthy of worship.
  2. Nothing is worthy of worship for worship requires the abdication of moral autonomy.
  3. Thus no being may be called a God.

Even where your God to be proven to exist, and it would be trivial to do so if he did (prayer would be effective, violations of the laws of physics would occur, etc...) I would still not call him God. Hopefully I would still have the spine to not cower in fear, facing the impending reality of certain doom for disobedience...and be me. Certainly nobody knows how they will react until the gun is put to their temple...but we all hope we'll be strong enough to hold our values. But just because an entity has control over my continued existence or can send me to places I'd rather not go...does not make them worthy of such a lofty title as "God". Nothing is.

God is not God...and that's all the proving that need be done.

Nov. 25, 2009

"aaaaaaand...if masturbation is sinful, i am going straight to hell."

Magics?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8aHsDGnF_8

Nov. 25, 2009

OMG..ROTFFLMMFAO....

you are too funny....i just spent the last 5 mins choking on a drink of water after i clicked that link...LOLOL!!!!!!!!!!

Nov. 25, 2009

RE #203: "aaaaaaand...if masturbation is sinful, i am going straight to hell." Would that be in a "hand"basket?

Nov. 25, 2009

sure, i imagine one hand would be free...

Nov. 25, 2009

RE #'s:

208: "imagine" = fantasize?

and 205: Pete, I don't know what's creepier; that video, or you knowing about it?

Nov. 25, 2009

LMAO! C'mon Duhbya!!! Who DIDN'T love the Partridge Family? ;-P

Nov. 25, 2009

209: ok duhbya... you caught me :D 210: i loved the partridge family, guilty as charged. on ALL counts ;)

Nov. 25, 2009

Ok, my age is showing. Give me "Pete" and Gladys anyday.

BTW, Kellogg's and beer go great together! (in the morning)

Nov. 25, 2009

Funny, Fred, that you call yourself an adult and me a child... then proceed to call me names and tell poopie jokes.

Sad, Fred. Very sad.

Nov. 25, 2009

omg duhbya...was that a real show? i LOVE all the old B/W shows. i never saw this, but i love it already. remember 'love that bob' and 'i married joan' and patty duke...remember when TV land first came out (or was it nick or tbs?) and all it was was those old shows. totally feel-good stuff. i want to see full episodes of this.

Nov. 25, 2009

poopie jokes???

Nov. 25, 2009

Cool show, Duhbya. Like magics, I too have never seen that before. I loved Harry Morgan in MASH.

Nov. 25, 2009

Well, allrighty, then. You'll love this one. My hazy recollection is that this one lasted but one season, darn it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCwRI6W9nJA

Nov. 25, 2009

Wow! Never seen that show before either. Something tells me Duhbya farts dust....

;-P

Nov. 25, 2009

Yes, magics5, I remember them, but from the perspective of a 4 or 5 year old, so perhaps even more fondly. (Or not).

My Little Margie was a fave. http://www.wikio.com/video/1327384

The Life of Riley (with Willaim Bendix) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1B0IP...

December Bride (That Harry Morgan got around) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjQRcy...

Nov. 25, 2009

RE #218: Correctomundo, Pete. 59 year old dust, in fact. Takes a thumping but keeps on pumping!

Nov. 25, 2009

Speaking of poopie jokes, btw.

Fred might/should be proud, considering the path this thread has traveled.

Nov. 25, 2009

LOL!!! I was thinking along similar lines, Duhbya!!!

Nov. 25, 2009

lol me too :D

59, huh? well i'm almost 45 so we're practically the same..i desperately want to catch those shows somewhere other than you tube. i wonder where? i love the peppy music that plays in the beginning :)

Nov. 25, 2009

Best line of the last 25 posts: going to hell in a "hand" basket.

Nov. 25, 2009

i was just flipping aimlessly through the channels and happened upon one i never saw before - here or in san diego. it's the retro telivision network. i just watched adam-12 and dragnet. cheeee-sy but i loved it. i know they aren't that old but still takes me back. there are a few others, like alfred hitchcock and i spy and night gallery. i hope they start showing the old b/w sitcoms!!

Nov. 25, 2009

When we move, we'll have Cox. Is that what you have? And if so, what channel? Keep in mind that my roommate is refusing the box because we are getting the cheapest cable. No channels above 90.

Nov. 25, 2009

lol aww..well, remember i live in washington now. but we don't have cox here, we have comcast. and the channel i get it on is 117. but of course it would be different for you. where are you moving to? did you say escondido? i never heard of this channel but i'm psyched! (remember, i am easily amused ;)

Nov. 25, 2009

Sorry. Forgot you were in Warshington. For clips and POSSIBLY full shows(may be in parts) of old TV shows, check this site out....

http://www.fuzzymemories.tv/

Nov. 25, 2009

awesome, pete!! thank you...i'm on it right now! :)

Nov. 25, 2009

For the 'oldsters' getting nostalgic about the 50s and 60s. Ever seen this film?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120789/

Nov. 25, 2009

Oh yeah, Daniels. I like that film a lot. Stellar cast!

Nov. 26, 2009

That was a good movie, but did you notice that, according to the metaphor in play, what gives life color is sex. Married people cheating on their husbands. Teenagers getting busy. That's when things get colorful. I'm as much a fan of sex as the next guy, but there is more to life. Kind of a flaw.

Nov. 26, 2009

Sexual awakening is just one kind of developmental or 'progressive' step portrayed in the film, rickey. Watch the film again. Reese Witherspoon's character, for example, enters 'color' through reading/studying. The sexual theme represents release from repression especially for the young'uns in that fertile rain, and as a natural first impulse, but it occurs alongside and is succeeded by changes in perception that are socio-political, religious, artistic and intellectual--of all creative aspects of humanity. I pity anyone who can only read adultery to be all that is going on with Joan Allen's character, especially in that scene in the diner, when Jeff Daniels's character paints her portrait.

Nov. 26, 2009

Yes, SD, but then again you are a huge fan of Nabokov. There is no accounting for taste ;)

Nov. 26, 2009

RE #225: Magics, your mention of cop shows and San Diego triggered another memory. Somebody stop me! From 1959 - 1961 there was a show set in SD (couldn't find a clip) called Manhunt. It starred Victor Jory, who garbled his words, often rendering the story line hard to follow. He played SDPD Lieutenant Philip Finucane, pronounced like Finookian. Had to be some sort of inside joke, sticking him with that moniker.

RE #230: Thanks, SD! Next one on our list.

Happy long weekend to all who qualify.

Nov. 26, 2009

lol 'oldsters'...well i do qualify just about ;) i have seen pleasantville. i just adore reese. good flick!! duhbya i think when i come back to SD we should have a B/W movie marathon. i'll bring the popcorn :)

Nov. 26, 2009

I agree with SDaniels about WHY the film moves into color.

I thought the movie was okay (great cast). But it could've been better. It just seemed there wasn't enough to consider it a great film. An amazing concept for a film, that's for sure.

Nov. 26, 2009

magicsfive: Sounds like fun, but would require an element of chance to pull it off. I currently reside about 3,000 miles due east of you, and have not been "home" since showing my then eight year old her birthplace four years ago.

Nov. 27, 2009

where are you duhbya?

Nov. 27, 2009

re: #234: Non-sequitur, anyone? Gringo still asking to have his hide tanned in a Nabokov-off? ;)

Nov. 27, 2009

Just trying to keep you focused, dear ;)

Nov. 27, 2009

Hmmph, well. Try to keep some of that focus for yourself, dear--lawd knows you're gonna need it! ;)

Nov. 27, 2009

Tell you what, dearest, rather than spar over Nabokov's inglorious past, once "The Original Of Laura" goes paperback, why not have a battle of book reviews?

Nov. 27, 2009

That sounds perfect, and actually, potentially productive--you're on! ;)

Nov. 27, 2009

I'm fairly connected with the publishing world, so I'll let everyone know when the paperback release is on the calendar (that way, people can follow along at home, relatively inexpensively). This should be fun!

Nov. 27, 2009

"Fairly connected?" As in, 'let's get SD a job in publishing-connected'? :)

Nov. 27, 2009

Oh, hell, publishing is in terrible shape. It's almost as bad as being a writer. People in the publishing world suddenly have time to inform me when Nabokov comes out in paperback. And they do, SD. It's effing amazing. Once they were so swamped they didn't have time to answer a Goddamned email, and now they all blog and tweet. It's really bad. Everyone in the industry is afraid.

Nov. 27, 2009

Yeah, I figured you'd say as much. It is unfortunate--do you see any kind of recovery along with the economy, or is this a death knell?

Nov. 27, 2009

As much as I don't want to admit it, I think that we're headed toward e-publishing. It's awful. I can't imagine not holding a book in my hands, but I think that this is where we're headed. Sucks. Really sucks.

Nov. 27, 2009

magics: Think lobstah. And the sole monosyllabic state.

Nov. 27, 2009

I think we talked about Maine before, Duhbya. Didn't we have a convo a couple months back, in which you rhapsodized about fish tacos, and we agreed to become co-owners of a restaurant? ;)

Nov. 27, 2009

The thread that wouldn't die......

Nov. 27, 2009

I wonder what thread got the most replies...

Nov. 27, 2009

maine :)

Nov. 27, 2009

RE #251: Yes, we did, but I'm recalling that I was mentioning the dearth of sushi restaurants found here (one more opened since)and longing for anything resembling Mexican food, beyond my shrimp enchiladas and my wife's excellent tacos. There's a concept taking shape here.

RE #254: About as far as one could get from San Diego contiguously and still be in the US. Night and day, in many regards. But we love it here. Billboards are taboo, for openers.

Nov. 29, 2009

I may be an agressive atheist, but this guy puts me to shame:

http://www.youtube.com/user/patcondell#p/a/u/0/yjO4duhMRZk

Anyone care to refute this? As he says, after two thousand years of trying to explain itself, all religion offers is sophistry. Still no evidence.

And isn't "faith" an ugly little word, promising so much, delivering so little, motivating some of the worst barbarities of history.

I am not alone in being willing to condemn the religious as they so eagerly condemn those of us who are neither deluded, nor inclined to give sacharine "respect" to those who are.

Time for the world to grow up and stop believing in myths and fairy tales or "tolerating" those who do. If a man is standing on the street corner shouting that black people are inferior because of the curse of Ham, I won't excuse it because it's in some ancient book (look it up!). Nor will I stand by silently when I hear or read someone expounding on the virtues of genital mutilation, no matter how faithfully they believe they're behaving.

I'll denounce the idiocy that promotes these harmful traditions and the source of that idiocy...the bible.

Really, adults are able to take criticism. The faith based fraud known as religion, from the Adventists to the Zoroastrians, doesn't get near enough of it. If some of the effort -- and above all MONEY -- wasted on worshiping mythical creatures were spent on solving real world problems, we'd all be better off.

Best,

Fred

Dec. 1, 2009

I must say, Fred, you & Pat Condell do make damn good points. Very good video BTW.

Dec. 1, 2009

Another jaw dropper!

Religion in politics is deadly dangerous:

http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=120746516

Dec. 1, 2009

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Ah, swine flu. Or, maybe not. Maybe just regular flu. Either way, I’m not going to church today. It’s as good a time as any to spend some time with the Other Side, the crowd that doesn’t do church because they don’t believe in God. Or rather, they don’t do the part of church that involves worshipping a personal deity. The rest of it, I found, they might be okay with.

“Organizing atheists is like herding cats,” goes the old saying. Like cats, the thinking runs, atheists tend to be independent sorts, resistant to group mentalities. Further, it’s tricky to organize people around a denial — once you’ve agreed that there’s no God, what is left to do? And what’s the point of doing it?

Well, for starters, what about providing refuge and support for an ostracized minority? Jeff Archer is the president of the Atheist Coalition of San Diego, and in 2006 he wrote, “In the U.S., every day is a struggle for atheists. Despite 93 percent of the membership of the National Academy of Science being atheist and numerous great actors, philosophers, artists, and writers also, we are looked down upon by most U.S. citizens, many of whom are minuscule compared to us in the area of intellect.” Apparently, intellectual excellence is cold comfort. There is still that basic human desire to belong. That explains the billboard.

The billboard faces the 8 West, just before the Lake Murray exit. Passing motorists see blue sky, fluffy clouds, and the words, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone. SanDiegoCoR.org.” Maybe it’s because I spend so much time attending various churches, but my first thought was that this was a clever religious outreach. A gentle assurance to the unbeliever that he or she was not alone in an unfeeling universe, that “bidden or not bidden, God is present.” San Diego CoR — Church of Recovery?

The truth was more earnest: “Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community out there for them,” says Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “We hope this will serve as a beacon.” Adds San Diego coordinator Debbie Skomer, “We’re choosing to be as open about our values as you are.” It’s the billboard as secular steeple.

An essay by coalition member Howard Jones stresses, “We aren’t proselytizing; we don’t expect to ‘convert’ any believers.” But the coalition is made up of nine member organizations, including the aforementioned Atheist Coalition of San Diego, which seeks, among other things, “to promote atheism...presenting it as a worth-while, life-affirming, and wholesome point of view.” And Skomer grants that one of the goals of the billboard is to help member organizations grow their memberships. Even if you’re not seeking converts, when you’ve found the truth, you want to share it.

Another coalition member group, the Humanist Association of San Diego, retains the services of “San Diego’s only American Humanist certified Humanist Celebrant for Weddings, Memorials, and other rites of passage rituals.” Someone to preside over significant moments, the way a priest is there to baptize and bury. Not the same way, of course, but it’s hard to miss the quasi-religious connotation of “celebrant.”

There are regular gatherings. On Sunday, November 22, the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego will be attending a lecture at the San Diego Central Library given by USD professor Dennis Rohatyn on Voltaire and the Revolt Against Reason. And the day before, Voltaire gets his own holiday. (The gatherings, says Skomer, are part of the reason behind the coalition. “Recently, the members welcomed Sean Faircloth, executive director for the Secular Coalition for America, the national lobby representing the interests of nontheistic Americans. Typically, a visit like this would have been hosted by only one organization and advertised only to its members. By networking, the groups can have a more meaningful impact in the community.”)

The coalition’s local event calendar also includes birthday memorials for great atheists who have gone before us: ex-Catholic and Nobel Prize–winner Marie Curie, Mr. Cosmos Carl Sagan. The tribute to Sagan includes this, which reads like the photo-negative account of a saint’s final perseverance in the face of death: “Ann Druyan, in the epilogue to Sagan’s last book, Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (published posthumously in 1997), gives a moving account of Carl’s last days: ‘Contrary to the fantasies of the fundamentalists, there was no deathbed conversion, no last-minute refuge taken in a comforting vision of a heaven or an afterlife. For Carl, what mattered most was what was true, not merely what would make us feel better. Even at this moment when anyone would be forgiven for turning away from the reality of our situation, Carl was unflinching. As we looked deeply into each other’s eyes, it was with a shared conviction that our wondrous life together was ending forever.’”

The billboard went up November 11 and will stay up for a month. There has already been positive response. “To finally enjoy a community of like-minded people!” writes new member Wendy at the website for the San Diego New Atheists. New member Raul joins in, “I’ve been skeptical of the ‘Invisible Man’ in the sky who I had better do what he says or there’s a special place in Hell for me that he will send me (...but he loves me!). I saw the SanDiegoCoR.org sign the day it came out and want to make friends.” Skomer says she has received 58 positive comments so far through the CoR website, including this one: “I am an educated, generous, and compassionate non-theist who has ‘led a good life and contributed my share to society.’ I am often frustrated by the dominance of religious dogma in our everyday lives and by the lack of outlets for people like me to express their love and compassion for others without having to pretend to believe in something they don’t.... Please keep up the good work.”

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Comments
252

LOL Duhbya!!!

Nov. 19, 2009

Anyone who thinks Atheists somehow don't appreciate the amazing miracle of life and the universe without attributing it to a creator never listened to Carl Sagan.

Nov. 18, 2009

Ah, atheists. Finally organized, seeking new membership, and enjoying fellowship like all other religions. Soon, they'll be passing the plate, singing non-hymns, and bowing their heads in non-prayer. Ayn Rand would be proud.

Nov. 19, 2009

More on Faircloth: (He did not win the election, obviously)

http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3475/ItemId/5182/Default.aspx

Nov. 19, 2009

Ironic that a religious leader is a "man of the cloth" and the Atheist leader is a "Faircloth".

Nov. 19, 2009

Ok. So what about people like me who believe in God, don't feel that Hell is entirely a place you go for everyday indescretions,doesn't believe in Church, the Bible or organized religion?

To me, the biggest religious joke are people who claim they're Born Again or just simply say they're Christians. They judge my beliefs but I don't judge their beliefs per se. What I mean by that is, I may make fun of them for laiming to be Christian but I don't neccessarily doubt their intentions. Doing and saying are two different things. I say I'm going to give up alcohol every year but so far, with the exception of 4 years in prison, I haven't done it yet. Can I call myself an ex-drinker if my intentions are good even though I still consume?

Nov. 19, 2009

Nice line, rickey.

I consider myself an agnostic, but one thing I've always found interesting about hardcore atheists. They are SO SURE that there is no God, and they think it's crazy that religious people believe in a God. They go on about science not proving it and this and that. Yet, they are SO POSITIVE there is no God, yet there's no proof of that. I think it's just as arrogant, to be SURE that you know there's no God, as someone that insists there is (and that their God/religion is the one to follow).

Nov. 19, 2009

re #4: I thought about that one, too. Wonder where "loincloth" fits in?

re #5: "Can I call myself an ex-drinker if my intentions are good even though I still consume?" Sure, as long as you consider every drink consumed an ex-drink. Works for me!!! (Hic)

Nov. 19, 2009

On the evolution of religion:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/weekinreview/12wade.html?scp=1&sq=Nicholas+Wade+religion&st=nyt

Josh, my debating pal, I think you'll agree that there are many theories about this world.

Here are two of those theories:

  1. The world was created by an invisible entity. He created us in his image. Dismayed by our disobedience, he punished us by removing us from eden, and introducing plagues, war, and work into our lives. Some versions of this theory go on to claim that the invisible entity manifested itself as a human, shared a new message of love and peace, died in atonement for our sins, and allows us eternal life if we believe in this message.

  2. The world we live in is like many others in the universe. They are all subject to the same physical processes and laws. These well understood processes include photosynthesis, chemical reactions, and natural selection, where traits that aid survival tend to survive and propagate over time. These simple processes lead to complex results, and in the case of homo-sapiens we are able to observe great complexity and ability.

These theories are not mutually compatible. So we have to weigh the evidence supporting them.

Centuries ago, our ability to observe was not as advanced as today. When we didn't know about photosynthesis, leaves and flowers were simply attributed to that invisible entity. Now we know better.

Sulphur, mercury and phosphorus, with their unusual qualities, used to be explained with magic, satan, or God. Now we understand through chemestry how these things work.

The intellect, spiritual abilities, and morality of man used to be attributed to the divine. We were uniquely created in "His" image. Yet every year, for over a century now, we find more and more evidence not only of our evolution from earlier forms, but for how this process worked.

So in light of this, which theory has better evidence?

Josh, I could present a dozen other theories of the world from other cultures around the world. They're all as plausible as the biblical theory.

None of them stack up with what we've discovered in the last century. When a theory no longer matches the evidence, what do you do? Cling to it in respect for "tradition"? Go along because it's comfortable? Tell the people who are willing to change their minds and accept the evidence to shut up?

Religion is explainable through evolutionary theory. The opposite is not true.

It comes down to how gullible people are, and whether or not they're strong enough to look at the world as it is. Rejecting magical thinking is what adults do.

Religion, simply put, is a theory so easily disproven that it's childish to believe in it. It's time for the world to put away childish things and grow up.

Nov. 19, 2009

Josh, to now directly address your comment:

I'm sure I belong to the group you label "hardcare atheist":

"They are SO SURE that there is no God, and they think it's crazy that religious people believe in a God. They go on about science not proving it and this and that. Yet, they are SO POSITIVE there is no God, yet there's no proof of that."

Josh, you cannot disprove a negative. Have you ever studied logic? They offer the introductory class at Mesa, Miramar, and City College. It could change your life.

Here's a good summary of the logical fallacy:

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

A funny version that results in some great parties (one of which you should crash some day, my friend) is the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Josh, you cannot disprove that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Try it. Show me that there is no such thing as a Flying Spaghetti Monster...on an Invisible Pink Unicorn...or leprechauns...or this thing some people call "God".

So I hope that answers your question. The reason we're as certain as it's humanly possible to be is because we took that college class a long time ago and learned about those impediments to understanding the world around us known as logical fallacies.

Take the time to take the course. Mesa College offers the clas here:

http://www.sdmesa.edu/academic-programs/course-details.cfm?DegreeID=151&DeptID=58&CourseID=800

Nov. 19, 2009

And Fred throws the deep ball.....

The only question is....Will Josh catch it and win the game? If he's a Chargeless fan, he'll catch it, run, and fumble it.

Nov. 19, 2009

Well, Fred, my good friend, I've taken Logic (Philosophy 101, a requirement when I went so many years ago), and while Josh might not have presented his point in equation form, I think it deserves better examination than to simply be dismissed based on fallacy.

Your argument is simple, an easy logic equation.

"Some people believe in God. There is no proof of God. God does not exist without proof."

I'm making an assumption, but let's pretend that this simplification is what you're after. Correct me at your whim.

Josh's argument is slightly more complex, especially in its conclusion, but it is similar enough.

"Some people believe there is no God. There is no proof that there is no God. God may or may not exist."

I don't see the fallacy. The first two statements are true, so far as I know, so the conclusion cannot be false because it relies on the premise statements. Let's take that argument out of the God context, and examine it differently:

"Some people claim to have seen flying saucers and aliens from other planets. There is no concrete proof of flying saucers or aliens from other planets. Flying saucers or aliens from other planets may or may not exist."

For the record, I have no inclination to believe that flying saucers or aliens from other planets have ever visited this planet. But I cannot escape the logic equation that I pointed out above. My personal conclusion is that while I doubt it, I can't negate it. If someone tells me that they believe in such things, who am I to tell them they are wrong? I certainly can't do so logically.

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried intercepts before Josh can reach the ball....

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried, you are correct. The evidence for God is just as strong as the evidence for flying saucers, vampires, and invisible unicorns.

The reasonable answer is, "I don't know".

Yet that must be followed with, "But the evidence against the existence of such a fantastical notion is so weak, while the evidence for it not existing is so strong, that it's unreasonable and childish to believe in them."

This is the essense. Just because something cannot be disproved (For example, I am convinced that there is a microscopic invisible undetectable lizard eating your brain, and you can NEVER prove that I'm wrong) doesn't mean it has to be believed.

On the contrary, believing in things so wildly improbable is irresponsible. Building a life around these ridiculous beliefs is even more foolish and worthy of society's contempt.

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred throws the challenge flag!!!

Nov. 19, 2009

Again, just to be sure that Josh, Refried and all the children at home can follow along:

A premise is NOT true if its only proof is that it cannot be proven false.

Otherwise you would have to believe me when I tell you that there is a tiny invisible and absolutely undetectable lizard eating your brains and that's why you are reading this article online right this moment.

Since I've stipulated that it's "undetectable", just like this "God" entity some people believe in, then by definition it cannot be disproven...

...which proves NOTHING.

Thereby any claim to respect is forfeit. If you cannot back up your "theory" with any kind of proof except a well known logical fallacy...well, you don't deserve much respect.

Otherwise, again, I could demand your respect for my theory of invisible brain lizards. But we all know that you'd only laugh and tell me it's a stupid idea, even if it's something that could never be formally "disproved".

Nov. 19, 2009

And here's Ed Hochuli with the call:

"After further review, the defender's left foot was out of bounds as the catch was made. The ruling on the field is overturned. Fred's ball."

Nov. 19, 2009

Still my ball? Okay then...

Josh, it comes down to burden of proof.

The theory of a God has NO proof whatsoever. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The theory of evolution has a LOT of proof. Tons. Gobs. Indisputable evidence, case closed.

If proof doesn't sway a person, that person is rightfully labeled "crazy".

People who believe in "God" are crazy and deserve no respect.

Nov. 19, 2009

Well, Fred, I guess I'm crazy but at least you're honest enough to say what you believe in and the truth be damned! You're ok in my book even if I'm crazy ;-D

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred, let's exchange the word "God" for the word "Science". And let's change the argument from rhetoric into dialog. Dialog is easier on the mind, and often more persuasive.

Do you believe in science?

Nov. 19, 2009

Lickona, didn't your invisible friend in the sky preordain that swine flu would come into existence at this time in his devine plan?

Didn't He create this new deadly threat to His "beloved" creations?

It's because he loves us, right?

If I understand you correctly, swine flu is your God's way of telling you that believing in the supernatural is really, really, stupid.

Because if you actually did believe in the supernatural, you would get some hands laid on you to make you all better. Or you should run out and find someone with symptoms, embrace them, and hope you'll be rushed directly to a meeting with your maker.

You certainly wouldn't avoid church.

Lickona, you better watch out. You've revealed your lack of faith.

Now that you've been exposed as a non-believer, someone who is ungrateful for God's divine gift of swine flu, so unfaithful that you abandon church attendance out of fear of mere worldly tribulations, will the true believers ever welcome you again?

You cannot simultaneously believe in microbes, viruses, and other microscopic phenomenon and also believe in the literal truth of the bible or any other religion that includes an all-powerful deity.

Lickona, by your acts you are known. Your swine flu fear shows you as unworthy in the sight of God. O ye of little faith...

Or it proves you're actually an atheist who doesn't believe in God's divine plan, has accepted the theories of the biologists, and follows scientific understanding in living his life rather than the path of the deity.

Either way, you're trapped...unless you agree that the whole religion business is really rather stupid.

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried, you don't understand the term "science" or you'd know that it's NOT interchangeable with "religion".

Science is a process. A tedius but fruitful way of arriving at knowledge.

Religion is about believing, a lazy "short cut" to false knowledge.

I can see you're trying for the "science is a religion too" angle.

Won't work. Sorry. Try again.

Nov. 19, 2009

Refried, read again. If you want to say there is some deity, the burden of proof is on YOU.

Go ahead. Try it. You'll fail.

Are you honest enough to admit that you cannot ever prove the existence of God? The best minds throughout the ages have all tried and failed. The best Pascal could come up with was a "wager" that concluded he didn't have much to lose from believing in nonsense.

Nothing better has yet emerged.

So what proof do you offer? None?

You cannot prove the non-existence of invisible brain lizards.

I cannot prove the non-existence of "God".

But both of them are so wildly improbable that they don't deserve respect.

...unless you have some proof of brain lizards or God, there's no point depending on the existence of either.

Nov. 19, 2009

Or, refried, you could substitute the word "objectivity" for science, aaaaand type at Fred from now until Armabloodyeffingeddon. Or 2012. Whichever comes first.

Wait, are they the same thing?

;)

Nov. 19, 2009

Heehee. Or we could ask Fred to prove he has a brain.

Or that there are such things as brains.

:)

Nov. 19, 2009

Anti, we know that there is no such thing as a brain...there is only the holy lizard spirit that animates us all and gives us life.

Amen.

:-)

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred, science is a process every bit as much as religion is a process. Keep in mind that I'm not tring to change your religion, really I'm not. I simply asked you if you belive in science. I'll take your response as a resounding yes.

Well, science has been incorrect. The world really isn't flat after all. The Sun doesn't revolve around the Earth. Letting blood to cure disease is not recommended after all. I could go on and on.

Someday, we may learn that the big bang never happened and that our universe might not be expanding.

My point is, if you have believed in science all of this time, you have believed in something that has not been correct, and is bound to not be correct in the future. Feel free to tell me how religion and science do not share this truth.

Nov. 19, 2009

Re #27:

http://internationalreporter.com/News-973/universe-not-expanding-galaxies-moving-to-other-circuits.html

http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=65

My favorite part: "The International Flat Earth Society was formally founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Geographic Society."

:)

Nov. 19, 2009

I have seen Satan. She looks like this:

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/?p=6714#comments

Nov. 19, 2009

Re #29:

Irrelevant, yet bizarrely fascinating.

I'd get nipples tattooed on them.

:)

Nov. 19, 2009

LMAO! I was thinking the same thing. Only one problem:How would you explain that tat if you lost weight?

Nov. 19, 2009

Again, Refried swings and misses the point...

Science is not something you "believe". You insist on equating science and religion. They're not remotely the same, my friend, no matter how you stretch.

It's never necessary to "believe" in science. That's not what it's about at all. Don't you get that?

On the contrary, the scientific method is all about doubt. Looking for contradictions. Updating and debating to improve the state of knowledge.

Religion is the opposite. You're taught to close your mind, never update the old, never question or debate, only believe.

Get it now?

The last ten years have been explosive in terms of advancement of knowledge. We've come to understand so much more about the brain, biology, evolution, and the universe in such a short time...

Science allows and encourages this. It doesn't require me to ever believe in any theories...only test them to see if they are supported by evidence, rejecting those that don't pass the test. It's a tool, a process, an evidence-based approach to reality rather than a faith-based approach.

Claiming that if I "believe" in the scientific method then I must also "believe" in bloodletting and a flat earth just makes you look desperate.

So please find a line of reasoning that actually makes sense in THIS universe we inhabit. Equating science and religion is a tired debator's ploy, not evidence for your position but evidence of its weakness.

Your position is something you still haven't articulated. What do you "believe"? Do you really honestly think that science and religion are equal?

Really?

Honestly?

If not, then drop it. If so, then again the burden of proof is on you.

Prove God exists. Don't expect me to prove non-existence unless you can simultaneously prove there's no invisible lizard in your brain.

Get it?

However you may wish to distract us from the main point, the truth is quite obvious to anyone with the maturity and courage to accept it.

There is probably no God just as there's probably no invisible brain lizard. In fact, it's such a remote possibility that wasting your time worrying about whether or not "He" supports your football team or if the invisible lizard is somehow responsible for your compulsive masturbation is worthy of everyone's ridicule.

On the other hand, we've got a marvelous very REAL universe around us and a way of learning more and more about it...this process is called science and requires no belief in anything.

Only intelligence and honesty is required to use the tools of science.

Honesty and intelligence are absolutely foreign to the childish believers in religion.

Nov. 19, 2009

Fred, don't jump to conclusions. After all, a lot of honest and intelligent people believed in God. Einstein was one. My point isn't that religion and science are the same, but that they do share common attributes. And I do have to disagree with you about one aspect of science and religion: They both force you to close your mind.

Science dictates that only proven theories are accepted, and religion dictates that only unproven facts are important (faith). There is an undeniable similarity in that difference. In other words, E does not necessarily equal MC squared. In fact, it doesn't, not always. It's never been proven, although much of science is based on this theory. And the theory was written by someone who believed in God!

THIS universe that we inhabit, Fred, has yet to be explained. I can't explain it and neither can you and neither can religion and neither can science. We, and that includes both of us, simply don't know. I can't say for you, but I'm fine with that.

I don't worry about God, and I don't worry about brain lizards (although the very idea of brain lizards is exciting!). I simply don't know. Neither do you, neither do the Christians, neither does Pete, neither does Josh. Neither does science. Neither does God.

I think that courage and maturity come to light when we simply become unafraid to say, "I don't know." It's only when we admit that to ourselves, whether from science of from religion, that we truly have a shot to discover the real truth. Whatever that truth is.

Nov. 20, 2009

THIS universe is BEING explained every day. Don't you read the newspapers?

What a crock of crap to claim otherwise.

Einstein was NOT a believer. Who told you that? There's so much evidence in his journals, letters, correspondence...everywhere. Yes, he made some off-hand references to "God" but also made it very clear he did NOT mean anything close to what anyone would consider a religious notion of a deity...rather he was talking of the wonders of nature and our universe.

So do a bit of research before you claim "facts" like that to somehow bolster your arguments.

Really, your gaps of logic are embarrassing. Re-read what you wrote.

"Science dictates that only proven theories are accepted, and religion dictates that only unproven facts are important (faith). There is an undeniable similarity in that difference."

Does that make any sense whatsoever to anyone here?

Of course science does NOT "dictate" that only "proven" theories are acepted...science welcomes new theories always. It only requires that theories have some evidence and be testable so they can be duplicated.

The notion that because religion is the opposite of this that somehow there is an "undeniable similarity" is...well..."A is not B and C is not B, therefore C is the same as A".

Dumb, huh?

You're right there is a lot left to be explained about the universe. Science is continuing to aid us in explaining these things that were mysterious not long ago.

Religion cannot do this. It claims to already have all the answers. Religion says God causes earthquakes, famines, floods, and plagues. Science has allowed us to find out the actual causes of all these things.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers, and neither does anyone else who uses science to guide their thinking. Only the religious morons do that, openly, loudly, repeatedly, with tax-exemptions and public approval. They still sell faith healing, threats of magical storms and tremblors, worldwide floods...

All of that, I'm sure you'll agree, is ignorant.

Yet you claim that ignorance is equal to knowledge.

I disagree.

I won't ever agree that people who are willfully ignorant are the same as people who are open to evidence.

Nov. 20, 2009

Fred, you are far too emotionally invested in this argument. Have you read Einstein? I mean, about his life? I'm very surprised by your response about it. Einstein very much defended God in his quest for scientific understanding. My guess is that even Wiki would support this. And the other extremely intelligent people that believed in God? Fred, believeing in God is not the equivalent of stupidity or ignorance, it's simply a spiritual choice that some people prefer.

You sort of put me on this plank of defending religion, when really, that's not my intention. I would either defend both or neither side. Let's step back, I need to sleep anyway, and take this on little by little. The argument isn't so simple as boolean algebra, and one person's ignorance is another person's enlightenment.

More tomorrow, my friend.

Nov. 20, 2009

Refried, when you get up in the morning, peruse this:

http://einsteinandreligion.com/

"To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world."

— Letter to an Iowa student who asked, What is God? July, 1953; Einstein Archive 59-085

"I don't try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it."

— Letter to S. Flesch, April 16, 1954; Einstein Archive 30-1154

Pretty clear, huh?

By the way, in about a half hour I'm going to walk by the house on Prague's old town square where Einstein used to play his violin and flirt with the local beauties.

Sleep well. Try not to think about those undetectable brain eating lizards, okay?

Fred

Nov. 20, 2009

I am the brain lizard king/I can do anything.

Fred, how are you not realizing how well refried made points?

I lean towards NOT believing in God, as an agnostic. But, like people dying that like the thought of possibly being reunited with family members that have passed on, on the rare occasion I think about a "God" it's a nice thought. And I don't know FOR FACT that there isn't a God.

And as refried stated, so much about sciences turns out to be wrong. He brings up blood letting and stuff like that. Let's just talk about global warming. A few years back, most scientists agreed it was happening and Al Gore was a genius. Now, gore has made $200 million off the cause, and more scientists are thinking that global warming would've been happening anyway, even without all the SUVs and whatnot.

Believe me, Fred...I've had these same types of arguments with religious folks. But instead of your wacky brain lizard analogy, I stick with your more interesting swine flu points. A god that would let little kids get murdered, molested, or kidnapped, all because "God works in mysterious ways," or whatever logic they follow.

But, at least you gave me an excuse for the next time I miss a deadline. Instead of something like "the dog ate my homework," I'm going with "The brain lizards weren't letting me concentrate. One caused me to shoot blood out of my eye. Another lost his tail, and it almost choked going down my throat."

Nov. 20, 2009

On a side note: Petes football commentary was hysterical. The only thing that would've made it funnier, was if he said it in a John Madden voice (oh wait...we can't hear voices on this thing, can we? Damn. I'm blaming the brain lizards for that one, too)

Nov. 20, 2009

Oops. Before I go, a few more cut/paste quotes from Einstein:

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. (Albert Einstein)

I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

http://www.spaceandmotion.com/albert-einstein-god-religion-theology.htm

"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/12/peopleinscience.religion

Now it's true that Einstein had no time for atheists, and he didn't like either side quoting him for backing up any theological views...one way or the other.

So please don't use him to advance your contention that religion inspired Einstein. He very clearly denied that and doesn't really want to be involved in this discussion, though he explicitly did NOT believe in what you and I would call "God".

Nov. 20, 2009

Hi Josh, gotta go, but will get back to you...

Nov. 20, 2009

re: #10: My eternal admiration. Check.

Nov. 20, 2009

Have to love those "People of Wal Mart" pics.....

Nov. 20, 2009

Yeah....yeah you do. I HATE Wal-Mart. I stay away from there like a hemophiliactic leper in an AIDS ward but there's something so assbackwards about their brand of Americana.

Nov. 20, 2009

Josh,

You wrote: "I don't know FOR FACT that there isn't a God."

That's "....a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false..."

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

Josh, neither of us can definitively disprove the existence of a number of things:

  1. Apollo and Zeus
  2. Vishnu and Shiva
  3. Leprecauns and Unicorns

We all agree that those things are not real, believing in them is not reasonable, and that intelligent sane folks don't take them seriously.

Why do you expect an exception when it comes to the mythical creature you call "God"?

I suspect it's just tradition and cowardice. You've been brought up not to question the emperor's non-existent wardrobe, and are obediently quiet. You're reasonably afraid of the consequences of coming right out and saying that you don't believe in any kind of magic...whether it's tradition or not.

Josh, was it magic that made your traffic ticket go away? God? Jesus? The flying Spaghetti Monster? Thor? Isis?

No, you know exactly what led up to it being dismissed and would think anyone claiming it's some kind of victory for the lord is nuts.

You also know how plants and animals have evolved, how earth quakes happen, where babies come from.

So why insist on giving credit and respect to a notion that is really quite ridiculous? You think it's wise and prudent to nod your head when someone says that a rib woman met a talking snake that convinced her to eat an apple therefore condemning all children to original sin?

You agree that the notion of a "Just God" is quite insupportable, and I appreciate that. With all the evidence of how children are treated in this quite unjust world, it's hard to understand how anyone could think it's true.

I'm sure you're not a creationist.

Do you believe in resurection? Salvation from your sins in the blood of the son of the lord (who's actually a copy of the father who was sent down to commit suicide...oh you know the story)?

Do you believe in miracles, faith healing, an invisible omniscient being that picks sides in football games?

No? I thought not.

Why not go all the way?

What do you have to lose?

Josh, not only do you think that God, as "He" is commonly conceived, is highly unlikely to exist, but also that you have no obligation to respect those who think that such myths are true.

Go ahead and say it. Don't be afraid.

Nov. 20, 2009

Re #29: Gives new life to the term "reach around".

Nov. 20, 2009

LMAO! Sorry AG, fumber just got a safety. :-D On the otherhand, how long did it take you to think that one up? I thought of it right away the first time me and her got into a heated discussion. Even I thought it was too immature. You DID score a safety on that one though. I have a cookie, a Bozo button and a trophy. Which would you like? The trophy? Great choice.

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii316/Nicksloane/special_olympics_001.jpg

Nov. 20, 2009

Pete, fumber's doing an instant replay. He thunk that one up a few months back. Daniels rightly observed that it "smacks of the Egyptian," and I changed the spelling to Antigeekasstoophat, and considered making it my user ID.

:)

Nov. 20, 2009

Should I? Should I, really?

First, unless I misread something, I agree with everything by refried thus far. Which, by extension, means that I must agree somewhat with Board. You have no idea how this pains me.

Second.....I wrote a paper in a class called "Science and Religion," ABOUT Einstein, FOR an Einstein expert back in 2001, while I was at ASU. When I Google his name and Einstein together, it yields 668 hits. This appears to be his most recent book:

http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Faith-Modern-Science-Philosophy/dp/0742558924/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s;=books&qid;=1258773990&sr;=8-1

Dr. Norbert Samuelson is an impeccable scholar and a publishing machine. He's da bomb. And I made an A on that paper, and in his course.

Anyway...

Nov. 20, 2009

I'm underslept, or would try to contribute something more intelligible to the philosophical side of this convo. So far, I am mainly with Fred, excepting the social implications; it is best to live and let live--if folks want to believe in talking snakes and rib women, fine. When it becomes a problem for me? When religion is used to regulate a standardized one-size-fits-all morality, thus obfuscating needed boundaries between church and state. Brief and obvious example would be the moral majority's ability to keep gays from marrying. I'm tired of living with many of the moralized judgements pressed on us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways by our national religion, though many Christians moan that they feel forced to apologize for being themselves (apparently they are apologizing while trying to witness to me in ways I am presumably not going to recognize, and just eat up the 'message' like a good girl).

...and let's not forget that fumbler's interspecies dating rights have also been denied him (which makes him raawhther grumpy). ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

PS: Let's also not equate atheists with Ayn Rand a-holes. Thanks ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

More Einstein quotes, first expanding on one mentioned by Fred. The preceding sentences that he's omitted are very telling, and very beautiful:

1. "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery - even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitve forms are accessible to our minds -- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a very religious man."

-- Einstein, "The World as I See It," and "Ideas and Opinions."


2. "I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist."

-- 1926, in response to George Sylvester Viereck when asked if he believed in Spinoza's God. Quoted by Denis Brian in "Einstein: A Life."


3. "...a belief bound up with deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as 'pantheistic' (Spinoza)."

-- 1929, in Einstein's own "Ideas and Opinions."


4. "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."

-- as quoted by Ian Barbour in "Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues."


5. "Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there reamins something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion."

-- as quoted by Max Jammer in "Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology."


4. "...serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people."

-- "Ideas and Opinions."


5. "Something deeply hidden had to be behind things."

-- Einstein, "Autobiographical Notes."

Yup, somethin' sure is. But it ain't exactly what he expected.

:)

There are more, and I'm sure I could find many more on the internet now than at the time I wrote this paper.

Nov. 20, 2009

Verdict: By 1929, Einstein was a pantheist, in the tradition of Baruch Spinoza. He said so himself. (See quote #3 above, from "Ideas and Opinions.")

http://pantheism.net/

Nov. 20, 2009

"Antigeekasstoophat"

LMAO! I hereby take away Fumber's safety. Bad Fumber!!! Bad!!!

Nov. 20, 2009

I made that spelling up, so do I get a "safety?" (Or do I want a "safety?")

AG, it would help if there were dates attached to these quotations, so we could follow the progression of Einstein's thoughts and beliefs. It is a bit confusing; first he says a sense of "mystery" defines the parameters of his religious feeling, but then later denies both mystery and mysticism. He denies being a pantheist, but then you say he is a pantheist by 1929.

Would also like to see the sentences preceding and following this one:

4. "...serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people."

Thanks to AG and Fred for making this an interesting thread ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

LOL! If you spelled it, you should get a touchdown!

Nov. 20, 2009

Ah, it's a football thing. I geeetttt it. ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

There are more, and I'm sure I could find many more on the internet now than at the time I wrote this paper.

By antigeekess

Please...get your OWN blog is you fill another need to post full novels in the thread.

Nov. 20, 2009

LOL! If you spelled it, you should get a touchdown!

By PistolPete

SDaniels has a way with her words......I am hoping she sends me some more private hidden code communications.

Nov. 20, 2009

Re #56:

The paper was 22 pages long (not including the bib), 7 over what it was supposed to be. Quotes were edited for brevity, and some of the ones I didn't he said I should have. I have only the edited version of quote #4. It's within a group chosen from pages 41-43 of "Ideas and Opinions," translated by Sonja Bargmann. New York: Crown Publishers, 1954.

http://www.amazon.com/Ideas-Opinions-Albert-Einstein/dp/B000HHO5IE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s;=books&qid;=1258783108&sr;=1-2

I was trying to avoid publishing the 'entire' bibliography. And the dates of the works quoted won't match the dates that Einstein said them, which aren't always given.

Section 1 of the paper is entitled, "Einstein the Pantheist?" The first sentence in it is, "Even Einstein himself seemed not to know." This is due to his contradictory statements, which you see above. He fist stated that he didn't "think" he could call himself a pantheist in 1926. He seemed unsure. By 1929, however, he stated that he had a pantheistic conception of God. It seems that in that span, he became familiar with Spinoza.

None of this conflicted in the least with his Judaism, in his view.

Nov. 20, 2009

re: #59: Puppy, this is a thread debating the existence of a god. Don't you think it appropriate the exchanges should be a tad less superficial than usual, hmmm? Never mind, have a Scooby snack and sit quietly while the people speak.

re: #60: "more" private hidden code communications? [grimace] Please, Puppy, we've already had one nutjob lately ;)

Nov. 20, 2009

re: #61: I can see if I can get the book online through the online archive. Thx.

Nov. 20, 2009

I stand corrected, Daniels. It WAS you:

antigeekasstoophat, so you smack lightly of ancient Egypt. SurfP is a tweaker, no doubt, as is fumbler. PP, we do not care if you cheat on us. Please philander away, wayyyy away.

By SDaniels 10:45 p.m., Aug 25, 2009 > Report it

I owe you a drink for that one when I get down to SD.

:)

Nov. 20, 2009

HEH! Now I remember that original comment.

Nov. 20, 2009

Touch down! ;)

I'll have a Campari.

Nov. 20, 2009

As Scientific understanding of the universe grows, the frontier at which we attribute things to God gets further and further away. God once inhabited the trees and the river. Now He's been pushed out to the edge of the known universe, and the end of life. The use for Him remains the same. To explain the unexplainable, and comfort us monkeys who get scared looking into that starry night.

Nov. 21, 2009

SurfP is a tweaker, no doubt, as is fumbler. PP, we do not care if you cheat on us. Please philander away, wayyyy away.

By SDaniels

How DARE you compare me with the infamous Fumbler!

And calling me a "tweaker", that is it-this is WAR!

Nov. 21, 2009

<< How DARE you compare me with the infamous Fumbler!

And calling me a "tweaker", that is it-this is WAR! >>

Don't have a meltdown now, SurfPussy.

Nov. 21, 2009

So...back to the billboard that led to the article, that started the flow of comments above. The purpose of the billboard was to 1) reach out to people who don't believe in god(s), and 2) increase awareness of several groups in the San Diego area that nonbelievers might be interested in joining - for education, discussion, debate, socializing, etc. You know, the stuff that people do!

I'm hoping that you too will be inspired to check out the various organizations that have joined together in this outreach effort. While I appreciate the article, the author did most of his research at home suffering with the flu, perusing previously published articles and the contents of the San Diego Coalition of Reason website. While that is enough for an engaging article, it does very little to communicate the missions, opinions, activities, worldviews, etc., of the coalition's many organizations.

There is a great deal to be discovered: www.sandiegocor.org

Nov. 21, 2009

The tallest spires cast the longest shadows. Shadows block out the light.

whywontgodhealamputees.com whywontgodhealamputees.com

Nov. 21, 2009

"While that is enough for an engaging article, it does very little to communicate the missions, opinions, activities, worldviews, etc., of the coalition's many organizations."

Translation: We are disappointed that we did not have a better opportunity to attract people to our religion.

Skeptical, just as I would say to my friend Fred Williams, I'm somewhat put off by having your non-God thrown in my lap as something I should have to consider accepting, lest I be branded as a believer. While you certainly have every right to practice your non-religion and believe in your non-God, so what if I choose not to accept non-Jesus as my personal savior? Just as I would say to any non-homosexual, what you choose to not practice in your own home is fine by me.

But the public display of your non-God goes too far. Soon, you'll be advocating a moment of non-prayer in out achools, our currency will be branded with, "In non-God We Trust", and our Government will be overrun with representative making decisions based on the wishes of your religion and the belief in the non-God.

I would love to invite you to a meeting at our church, "Our Lady Of No One Really Knows", but unfortunately, we have yet to figure out where to start. Should we find a shred of evidence to support the existence or the non-existence of a God or a non-God, I shall certainly let you know.

Nov. 21, 2009

For thousands of years non-believers have been under a death sentence. Executions for apostasy, heresy, or non-belief have been common though the ages.

Now, finally, we are able to at last speak our minds without fear.

And all Refried can come up with is "Shut Up!"

No. We won't shut up.

We're not only forced to see your religious symbols and propaganda every day, but we're mostly forced to keep quiet for fear of being attacked for our beliefs.

And you yell, "Shut Up!"

No.

You cannot even get through your head that religion and no-religion are fundamentally different things...you say they're identical.

Why are you being deliberately obtuse? Is it because your emotional attachment to your invisible friend overpowers your reason?

You demand respect for this? You command US to shut up?

No.

Refried, I'll be clear and simple for you. God is so highly unlikely to exist that it's simply stupid to believe in it.

If you cannot take this truth, then your reasoning is highly suspect...what other crazy things do you believe?

Unicorns?

No?

Then let us speak without you trying to impose censorship upon our ideas. We've been quiet for thousands of years. Time for you to actually learn some truth, rather than respecting goat herder fairy tales.

Best,

Fred

Nov. 21, 2009

Fred, you are so emotionally involved in this discussion, I fear that you'll attempt a crusade.

Kill the believers! They are ignorant and stupid! Eliminate them from the human race!

Gather your swords, your shields, hang the non-head of the non-God from the flag and charge!

God is dead! Heil Nietzsche! Heil Nietzsche! Heil Nietzsche!

The truth is this: YOU DON'T KNOW! Get used to it. Pretending you know, my friend (and I respect you very much it spite of your insisting that anyone who isn't an athiest is somehow stupid and ignorant), is making you look like the very people that you detest. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and so on.

They don't know either.

Best,

Dave

Nov. 21, 2009

Refried, actually, I'm not emotional at all my friend. It's just the way I write. Since a lot of my paid writing is technical, I tend to use direct language, second person, active voice, present tense.

I avoid circumlocutions, the subjunctive, euphemism, and other "polite" forms.

So it may appear that I'm "emotional" when I'm just writing vigorously.

So, to return to the subject:

  1. Curious how your war-cries are all adapted from religious armies out to kill the no