How the Annual Atheist Convention Proves that Atheism is a Religion or at the VERY LEAST Resembles a Religion
Oh, just go read it yourself.
How the Annual Atheist Convention Proves that Atheism is a Religion or at the VERY LEAST Resembles a Religion
Immediate abolition was realistically impossible in New Testament times: The Romans would have treated it as insurrection, and the inevitable bloodshed to follow it would have produced greater evil than would have been alleviated by abolition. The injunction to “obey” was thus temporary and contextual.A retreat into moral relativism is perhaps inevitable, because whether from conviction or cowardice, the Bible does in fact support slavery. That Christianity eventually contributed to the near-eradication of slavery, a brief millennium after the fall of the Roman Empire, does not change what the Bible actually says. It is impossible to locate any actual offenses against reason in this example.
have chosen to appeal to improper authorities, resist peer review, and encourage an atmosphere of personal attacks- all pointing toward a deliberate rejection of reason and possibly even an intentional redefinition of the word "reason". ...
[T]he organizers of the Reason Rally are using people not trained scientifically to provide conclusions about scientific data. They are also using people not trained in philosophy or metaphysics to support metaphysical claims (that God does not exist). ... Instead, the organizers give us a few scientists (covering biochemistry, astrophysics, and psychology- okay coverage), yet a large number of singers, comedians, a TV show host, activists, and...politicians? ...
[The organizers] deride the Christian apologetics community for saying that they will be present to engage in reasonable dialog, and they have invited the known-to-be-highly-unreasonable group Westboro Baptist church in lieu of true peers. ...
No matter how "nice" the exchanges may appear to be, each side will be either explicitly or implicitly calling the other "evil", "dumb", "stupid", and "naive" and concluding that the other's worldview is wrong because of that. These are nothing short of the ad-hominem fallacy. ...
It baffles my mind to think that certain adherents to a worldview that claims to promote "reason" are actively doing things at their "biggest gathering of atheists in history" that are diametrically opposed to their own claims.
To say the obvious: we’re now in the fourth year of a truly nightmarish economic crisis. I like to think that I was more prepared than most for the possibility that such a thing might happen; developments in Asia in the late 1990s badly shook my faith in the widely accepted proposition that events like those of the 1930s could never happen again. But even pessimists like me, even those who realized that the age of bank runs and liquidity traps was not yet over, failed to realize how bad a crisis was waiting to happen – and how grossly inadequate the policy response would be when it did happen.
And the inadequacy of policy is something that should bother economists greatly – indeed, it should make them ashamed of their profession, which is certainly how I feel. For times of crisis are when economists are most needed. If they cannot get their advice accepted in the clinch – or, worse yet, if they have no useful advice to offer – the whole enterprise of economic scholarship has failed in its most essential duty.
And that is, of course, what has just happened.
"Well, $500,000 a Year Might Sound Like a Lot, but I'm Hardly Rich."
"Hey, I Worked Hard to Get What I Have!"
"If I Can Do It, So Can You!"
"You're Just Jealous Because I Made It and You Didn't!"
"You Shouldn't Be Punishing the Very People Who Make This Country Work!"
"Stop Asking for Handouts! I Never Got Help from Anybody!"
I am so incredibly ashamed and infuriated by some of our most respected leaders: ashamed of their laziness; ashamed of their cowardice; ashamed of their closed-mindedness; ashamed of their inability and unwillingness to reason.
I am disappointed in my fellow community members: that we have the cojones to refer to theists as "sheeple" while, apparently, following along our own leaders equally blindly.
Why? Because one man suggested that Atheism and secularism has the potential to succeed to the same degree that religion has. How terrible of him! How dare he not conform! [emphasis omitted]
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.
My big idea is a big question. Every cooperative system contains parasites. How do we ensure that society's parasites don't destroy society's systems?
It's all about trust, really. Not the intimate trust we have in our close friends and relatives, but the more impersonal trust we have in the various people and systems we interact with in society. ... [But] systems contain parasites. Most people are naturally trustworthy, but some are not. ...
My central metaphor is the Prisoner's Dilemma, which nicely exposes the tension between group interest and self-interest. And the dilemma even gives us a terminology to use: cooperators act in the group interest, and defectors act in their own selfish interest, to the detriment of the group. Too many defectors, and everyone suffers -- often catastrophically. ...
Also -- and this is the final kicker -- not all defectors are bad. If you think about the notions of cooperating and defecting, they're defined in terms of the societal norm. Cooperators are people who follow the formal or informal rules of society. Defectors are people who, for whatever reason, break the rules. That definition says nothing about the absolute morality of the society or its rules. When society is in the wrong, it's defectors who are in the vanguard for change. So it was defectors who helped escaped slaves in the antebellum American South. It's defectors who are agitating to overthrow repressive regimes in the Middle East. And it's defectors who are fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement. Without defectors, society stagnates.
We simultaneously need more societal pressure to deal with the effects of technology, and less societal pressure to ensure an open, free, and evolving society. This is our big challenge for the coming decade.
First, many of the atheists I encounter are *not* atheists - they are merely anti-christians, which is at best like having training wheels for atheism.A stunning display of stupidity and arrogance. Where to begin? At the beginning, I suppose.
But this should be offensive to any atheist who has actually considered their opinion and approach beyond its "I just wanna stick it to the man" mentality. If you want to hate on Xtians then go ahead but don't act like its anything beyond a reaction to the populist mentality.
Are there "real" atheists ? Maybe a better way to ask this question is "are there people who have carefully considered their position as an atheist and what it actually means after having experienced the challenges that life has to deal out ?" But most atheists I encounter have yet to experience a fraction of a fraction of what life has to deal out. Its easy to be an "atheist" if you are living in your parents basement hitting the bong and watching Dawkins videos on youtube in between tokes.
So this book comes out and the "atheists" are all up in arms since it seeks to find some degree of commonality between opposing factions. The irony is that atheists are equal in their capacity to bore to any TV evangelist or jihadist. These opposing groups have more in common than not - yet they get all emo when a guy advocates that atheists could learn something from religion. Its just two sides of the same coin.
If you can define atheism as more than just anti-christian then you have a shot at getting some respect.
First, many of the atheists I encounter...Why would my readers and I find any interest at all in the supposed atheists some anonymous commenter claims to have encountered? There are at least two forms of bias operating here: selection bias and confirmation bias. No one escapes innate bias, which is why responsible scientists and scholars show the original data, so that their attempts to counter their own innate bias can be independently evaluated. The commenter does not give us any clue as to the circumstances or conditions he or she encounters atheists, and gives us no clue as to what they themselves actually say, so we can determine whether his evaluation is accurate. The commenter is merely attempting (ineptly) to dress up his personal opinion in the clothing of actual investigation and deliberation.
Many of the atheists I encounter are *not* atheists...The commenter does not explicitly state his or her own position, but the text suggests that he or she is not an atheist, in which case the pronouncement of who is or is not an atheist is entirely inappropriate.
[Many so-called atheists] are merely anti-christians, which is at best like having training wheels for atheism. If you want to hate on Xtians then go ahead but don't act like its anything beyond a reaction to the populist mentality.First of all, what's wrong with being anti-Christian? Too many people act like just the idea that Christianity might be bad is so obviously irrational that the actual arguments do not even deserve consideration.
So this book comes out and the "atheists" are all up in arms since it seeks to find some degree of commonality between opposing factions.Presumably, our commenter refers here to Alain de Botton's book, Religion for Atheists: a Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. It's unclear if the commenter uses "atheists" to refer to the undefined subset of atheists he or she has happened to meet and whose actual positions and comments he or she leaves entirely undefined. Again, if the commenter has a problem with their reaction, why talk to me? Why not talk to them directly?
Are there "real" atheists ? Maybe a better way to ask this question is "are there people who have carefully considered their position as an atheist and what it actually means after having experienced the challenges that life has to deal out ?" But most atheists I encounter have yet to experience a fraction of a fraction of what life has to deal out.This is just stupid. An atheist is just someone who doesn't believe in any god or gods. There are atheists at all stages of maturity and development. One can ask the same of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.: "Are there people who have carefully considered their position" as a Christian, Muslim, etc. "and what it actually means after having experienced the challenges that life has to deal out?" I would imagine that most Christians "have yet to experience a fraction of a fraction of what life has to deal out."
If you can define atheism as more than just anti-christian then you have a shot at getting some respect.Well, atheism is the lack of belief that there is any god. But that's not the point.
This has been enough to bring the full force of a neo-atheist fatwa crashing down on his head. The temple idea in particular made them reach for their best books of curses.
“I am rolling my eyes so hard that it hurts,” wrote the American biologist and neo-atheist blogger P Z Myers. “You may take a moment to retch. I hope you have buckets handy.”
By “neo-atheism”, I mean a tripartite belief system founded on the conviction that science provides the only road to truth and that all religions are deluded, irrational and destructive.(This first part contains two parts, but I'm not here to critique Appleyard's math.) He's close enough for rock 'n' roll on this point, so let's push on. The second part is
Secularism, the political wing of the movement, is another third. Neo-atheists often assume that the two are the same thing; in fact, atheism is a metaphysical position and secularism is a view of how society should be organised. So a Christian can easily be a secularist – indeed, even Christ was being one when he said, “Render unto Caesar” – and an atheist can be anti-secularist if he happens to believe that religious views should be taken into account. But, in some muddled way, the two ideas have been combined by the cultists.And the stupid meter begins to move into the red. Appleyard does not cite or quote anyone who says that atheism and secularism are identical, or that secularism entails that religious views cannot be "taken into account". (Secularism, of course, entails only that the actions of government should be neutral with regard to religion; per the First Amendment, Congress (and the state legislatures, per the Fourteenth Amendment) cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion nor establish a religion.)
The third leg of neo-atheism is Darwinism, the AK-47 of neo-atheist shock troops. Alone among scientists, and perhaps because of the enormous influence of Richard Dawkins, Darwin has been embraced as the final conclusive proof not only that God does not exist but also that religion as a whole is a uniquely dangerous threat to scientific rationality.And the stupid meter explodes.
Francis Crick and James Watson conceded that one of their main motivations in unravelling the molecular structure of DNA was to undermine religion.Uh, yeah. The Nobel Prize, the thrill of discovery... piffle. It's all about undermining religion! And even if they were motivated by opposition to religion, so what? DNA really is how genetics work.
[PZ] Myers the provocateur announced that he had no intention of reading [Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini's book, What Darwin Got Wrong] but spent 3,000 words trashing it anyway, a remarkably frank statement of intellectual tyranny.This is why responsible scholars cite and quote. In his article, "Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini get everything wrong," (which took me twelve seconds to find) Myers says, "I haven't read their book, What Darwin Got Wrong, and I don't plan to; they've published a brief summary in New Scientist . . . and that was enough." Apparently it's "intellectual tyranny" to accurately identify the authors' work and criticize what you've accurately identified.