Sunday, March 6, 2016

Atheist Quotes Misunderstood


When I was at the Atheism Analyzed blog discussing my previous post, one of the commenters there, named Phoenix, was chiding me for suggesting that creationists should read and learn about science, in lieu of spoon-feeding them a full college curriculum right there in the combox.  I decided to check out his blog to see if he had anything of substance to say.  He has mad two posts there.  The first is about ten common atheist lies, and the second is about ten atheist quotes.  Both of these posts were made in 2014.  In both cases, Phoenix believes he has thoroughly debunked the atheists.  The first one received a number of comments, but the second one has remained unchallenged all this time.  So without further ado, here is my response to Phoenix on his post 10 Atheist Quotes Demolished .

1. Sam Harris: "There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable"

Phoenix: This quote is used in response to the connection between Communism and Atheism  in a futile attempt to disjoin the two.  In other words, Communists were not true Atheists because they were not reasonable enough.  Besides the No true Scotsman logical fallacy at play, Harris is forgetting that Communism did not magically appear out of nowhere.  It is a deliberate, purposive and systematic Atheist invention, and its ramifications proved without a doubt that Atheists can be as unreasonable as they can be brutal.

Discussion: Harris is not attempting to "disjoin" communism and atheism.  He does not deny that communists are atheists, nor does he attempt to make the No True Scotsman fallacy.  He is trying to identify the common ground among systems of belief that inspire atrocities.  It is dogmatic belief that they have in common.  Certainly, not all atheists are communists, and not all atheists are associated with those behaviors, except in the minds of those who would have us believe that there is an equivalence between communism and atheism.  Neither Harris nor Phoenix would agree that adopting communism is equivalent to becoming reasonable.


2. Christopher Hitchens: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"

Phoenix: Also known as Hitchen's Razor. It is not one of the recognized principles of logic, it's only an Atheist principle which fails prima facie because it violates its own condition by failing to present evidence for its supposed truth yet demands evidence from others. Besides failing to meet its own criteria and being a paradox, Hitchen's Razor is also a tu quoque fallacy. "I don't need evidence because you also don't have evidence" is what Hitchen's Razor is protesting.

Discussion: This quote does not demand evidence, nor it is a tu quoque fallacy.  It simply states that if there is no evidence for a claim, there is no reason to believe that claim.  This is fully in keeping with the broadly accepted principle of skepticism expressed by Hume.  It is regarded as a foundational principle of empiricism.  As such, it does not involve any self-contradiction.  Epistemic justification is reason to believe a claim, and without epistemic justification, the claim can be dismissed.  The wording is cute, but it's not an issue of needing evidence to dismiss the claim.  It's an issue of whether or not the claim is justified.


3. Patton Oswald: "...Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: “That is fucking stupid..."

Phoenix: Not only has Oswald exposed his inability to use logic but also his poor grasp of the English language. To acknowledge someone's belief and then to disparage it, is a contradiction. Both cannot be true simultaneously. The dictionary defines acknowledgement as accepting something as valid. Yet this Atheist insults and rejects something he has already recognized as truth. Where is the logic in that?

Discussion: This objection hinges on the definition of  'acknowledge'.  One definition is to recognize the truth or validity of something.  If taken in that sense, Phoenix would be correct.  But another definition is to recognize the existence of something.  Obviously, this quote used the word in the latter sense.  You can recognize that people have beliefs, but you don't have to accept that those beliefs are coherent.


4. Richard Dawkins: “There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. ... you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?”

Phoenix: There are a number of similar gambits on the web by other Atheists such as Russell's teapot, Sagan's dragon, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bigfoot, etc. They all serve the same purpose and that is to make the theist's position seem as ridiculous as possible, and by contrast the Atheist's position will appear to be the more reasonable one. Instead of using rational argumentation, the Atheist resorts to Weak Analogies, False Comparisons and Straw Men to reach his objective.
Here's why Analogies and Comparisons are not substitutes for evidence and good reasoning:
(i) Analogies can only help to make one's point easier to understand, beyond that they hold no explanatory power nor evidence.
(ii)Comparisons are supposed to highlight the similarities between subjects. In the case of God and Russell's Teapot, it is only that both are not proven under laboratory conditions, beyond that they have no similarities. Comparisons and analogies are always false, some fail sooner than others. To insist that God (a non-physical being) must be proven to be physical using instrumentation that are meant for material purposes only, is committing a
Category Error Fallacy
(iii) By using ridiculous analogies and comparisons, the Atheist is attempting to make the opposition's argument easier to attack and is therefore guilty of attacking a ^Straw Man, since there are more plausible arguments available to defend the belief in God.


Discussion: The point of this analogy is not to compare religion to something laughably ridiculous.  It is to compare religion to something for which we don't have good reason to believe it's true, and we can't prove one way or the other.  The spaghetti monster happens to be something ridiculous.  The teapot is just an ordinary object.  The point is, it really doesn't matter what kind of object it is - ridiculous or ordinary.  If it's anything other than your God, you would be agnostic about it.  Dawkins is saying that God belief should not be exempt from skepticism any more than any other thing would be.


5. Sam Harris: "Atheism is a religion just like not collecting stamps is a hobby"

Phoenix: Atheists are not without beliefs, in fact they are dogmatic about their fasle beliefs and erect monuments to commemorate them. They prosyletize, write anti-religious books, hold conferences across the globe and even hold award ceremonies. The same can't be said for non-stamp collecting. Are there any non-stamp collecting monuments, award ceremonies or summer camps? And do non-stamp collectors try to rid the world of stamp collecting? Like all analogies this one is false too and fails right at the get go.

Discussion: Phoenix commits the fallacy of Argumentum ad Exemplum here.  Yes, some atheists do the things he describes, but none of those things are common to atheists in general.  Atheists may or may not have certain beliefs such as humanism.  They may or may not belong to interest organizations.  They may or may not proselytize.  The one thing that is common to all atheists is they don't have a belief in God.  So the analogy to stamp collecting is actually quite good, because the one thing that all non-stamp collectors have in common is that they don't collect stamps.


6. Carl Sagan: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

Phoenix: First of all, there's no scientific evidence nor principle of logic that supports this claim. So it is self-refuting. Secondly,the term "extraordinary" is subjective. What seems ordinary to one may seem extraordinary to the next. Lastly,this is also a tool for Atheists to freely raise the bar at anytime their standards have been met and state; "well that evidence was not extraordinary enough for me" or "I'm not convinced yet". So it is merely a shady tactic where the exact standard of evidence has not been stated

Discussion: Actually, this is just an extension of the principle Humean skepticism, discussed in quote #2, above.  And it is fully supported by probability theory, so there's nothing self-refuting about it.  Consider a person who claims that he can predict a coin toss.  What evidence do you need to believe him?  Toss a coin and see if he's correct.  But what if he claims he can predict a thousand tosses in a row?  This is an extraordinary claim because the probability of it is quite small.  Would you be satisfied by watching a single coin toss?  Would you be satisfied by ten?  I wouldn't.  The chances of predicting ten coin tosses in a row is one in 1024.  That isn't improbable enough to convince me.  If I saw him predict a hundred in a row, I might be convinced.  The point is that the more improbable a claim is, the more evidence we need to believe it.  The word 'extraordinary' is imprecise.  There is no sharp dividing line between 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary'.  That's a judgment call.  I might be satisfied by seeing 100 tosses, and someone else might be satisfied after 50.  But very few people would be convinced of the truth of the claim after seeing only one or two.  And those who are convinced by that would be fools.


7. Delos B McKown: “The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”

Phoenix: This quote is not very specific, the assertion is broad so I have little choice but to interpret it literally and I'm justified in doing so, since Atheists tend to interpret Theist terminologies literally.
According to the literal interpretation of this quote gravity, electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear forces do not exist because they're invisible. Now the Atheist will object and say they're still detectable. Sure, but the quote should have specified that only both invisible and detectable forces are excluded. Let's go another step further. Then there are other invisible particles such as axions, squarks and photinos at the subatomic level which are neither detectable nor visible. As well as the "very special" type of Dark Matter, known as Cold Dark Matter, it's invisible, undetected, unknown and its prediction of hundreds of tiny satellite galaxies surrounding big galaxies are inaccurate. Yet physicists believe they exist because they have good reason to.
Likewise, people believe in God, soul, afterlife, etc. because they have very good personal reasons to believe them, despite being invisible and not physically demonstrable.


Discussion: Of course Phoenix is free to interpret these words any way he likes.  But he's not really debunking anything unless he chooses to take the issue head-on.  So what is McKown really saying?  It is the naturalist's position that the world looks exactly as we would expect if there were no god.  There is no phenomenon we observe that can't in principle be explained by natural means.  Furthermore, there are many observable phenomena that appear to be inconsistent with the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent perpetrator.  So if God does exist and he keeps himself hidden from us, we don't see anything that is obviously different from what we would expect to see if that God didn't exist at all.  The world looks just the same, either way.


8. Gustaf Lindborg: "The sailor does not pray for wind, he learns to sail."

Phoenix: There are a number of variations implying the same thing - Theists waste their time praying instead of performing action. It's of course based on a caricture of prayer, which Atheists deliberately misconstrue.
To an Atheist prayer is a substitute for action. To the Theist, prayer is aligning one's thoughts and will with the Highest Good. Prayer and meditation is helpful for distinguishing moral action from impulsive action.
Atheists would have us believe that prayer incapacitates people, when in fact it motivates and inspires right moral action that may otherwise have been action based on mere instinct or emotion.


Discussion: This is a pragmatic statement, not a caricature.  The sailor understands that prayer is not what gets his ship to its destination.  Sailing does that, and there is no substitute for it.  Without sailing the ship, it won't get there.  It's that simple.  He can pray if he wants, and this statement doesn't denigrate that, but he still has to sail the ship.


9. Ernest Hemingway: "All thinking men are atheists"

Phoenix: (All P's are Q's)  It's a categorical assertion and the first premise of an Universal Syllogism or Predicate Instantiation, of which the second premise and conclusion are missing. The presupposition is ; No Theists are thinking men. Hemingway asserts that all members of subset P are members of set Q, but failed to demonstrate that with a complete deductive argument, so it is both invalid and unsound.
In Math and Logic, to disprove a universal statement it's enough to find one counter example. One particular case contradicting the statement falsifies it. So here's about twenty counter examples of thinking Theists:

[list of Christian scientists and mathematicians]

Discussion: Phoenix is overreacting.  Obviously, if taken as a statement of fact, this quote fails.  But it was not intended as such.  It was a rhetorical statement made by a fictional character in the novel A Farewell to Arms.  In the story, a group of military men was trying to antagonize a young priest.  One of them made that statement to the priest, and succeeded in getting him flustered.  Evidently, it worked on Phoenix, too.  But despite the fact that it is not literally true, it provides food for thought.  It is true that many have converted to atheism as a result of deliberate analysis of their faith.


10. Victor Stenger: "Science flies men to the moon, religion flies men into buildings.”

Phoenix: Stenger's lumping of all religions on equal footing is dishonest, false and an attempt to smear other religions with the crimes perpetrated by muslims. Islam's conjunction with terrorism is endemic only to that particular religion. No other Theist group in the history of aviation has ever flown an aircraft into a building as an act of religious extremism, except muslims. The Apollo 11 crew of 1969 that saw the first men on the moon consisted of three believers in God (two Christian Theists and one Deist). Buzz Aldrin performed a communion prayer from the New Testament with his crew prior to stepping out of the lunar module. Yet the intention to use the spacecraft as a weapon of mass destruction never crossed any of the astronauts minds. The same applies to the inventors of the first successful airplane. The Wright Brothers were sons of a Bishop and were nominal Protestants themselves, often involved in religious activities but were never inspired to fly their inventions into buildings.

Discussion: Phoenix has yet again missed the point.  It isn't about whether Christians can make scientific achievements.  Of course they can.  It isn't a question of whether one religion is worse than another.  Christians have committed their share of atrocities, too.  The point is that it is not by means of religion, but by science, that we make those great achievements.  And it is not for the sake of scientism, but for religion (as well as other ideologies) that people commit those atrocities. 

49 comments:

  1. I have been banned again.

    Are you seeing a pattern here?

    Remember, one definition of insanity is believing you're the only sane one, and everyone else is crazy.

    Maybe, just maybe, it's time for you to reconsider your core beliefs. Unless, that is, you prefer being the weirdo forever going on about the Moon Landing Hoax, or the Second Shooter behind the Grassy Knoll. Because that's exactly who you're starting to sound like.

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    1. Did you read that thread? Do you really think my behavior was anywhere near as bad as theirs?

      Delete
    2. Yes. Much worse, in fact. To all appearances, you were like the drowning man who flails out against his would-be rescuer, and would rather see you both drown rather than be yourself saved.

      Just curious, why are you so rabidly opposed to reason and sanity?

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    3. You read that thread? So what did I say?

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    4. Stinger is an idiot. Totally irresponsible to equat4e Al-Qaida with religion. That's like saying Trump is a Christian.

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    5. tell that to the tea party idiots Einstein.

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    6. planks,

      Just curious, why are you so rabidly opposed to reason and sanity?

      Just to put this in a little perspective, Stan denies the science of evolution. The front page of his blog links to a YEC site that gives "scientific" arguments for a 6000 year-old earth. Stan denies climate science. He thinks the government is conspiring to cover up the data that shows there is no global warming.

      The particular discussion going on at the time I got banned was on the question of whether evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Aside from the fact that this has been debunked over and over again, Stan's argument for it conflates thermodynamic entropy with information entropy, which is pure bullshit. In short, despite his pretenses, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

      Now you may think that I'm "armed with only a popularized general overview "knowledge" of actual science", but I actually know much more about it than you and Stan combined will ever know.

      Delete
  2. " Sam Harris: "There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable"

    Most atheists in the vain of Dawkins and Harris are not reasonable. read my site atheist watch to see what I mean.

    IM I wou8ld like to invite you to post on my blcg. you are welcome there. I will post here. Help each other build readership.

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    1. This Harris quote seems perfectly reasonable to me. It isn't reason that causes human suffering.

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    2. no one is against reason man. atheists don't really m,ean reason they means their ideology. I use reason all the time and zi use it better than you do. Unfortunately a lot off Christians don't. That's just thye bell curve.

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  3. Stinger is an idiot. Totally irresponsible to equat4e Al-Qaida with religion. That's like saying Trump is a Christian.

    That's why they don't shout "Allahu akbar!" as the aircraft strikes the building, I suppose. You may believe that the ideology espoused by these men is not the "True Islam". But that's not the point Stenger was making. They are still motivated by religious ideology, and it is not a fake religious fervor, like Trump has expressed.

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    1. they use religion as a tool they don't understand it, most Muslims thin isis is not even Muslim for example.

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    2. quote their opinions on theology so we can the depth of heir understanding.

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    3. Joe, you don't get the point of what Stenger said or what I said. It's not a question of whether their understanding of their own religion agrees with yours. It's their own ideology, and they do what they do in the name of and for the sake of their religious ideology.

      Delete
  4. tell that to the tea party idiots Einstein.

    I have no idea what you mean by "that".

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    1. I was talking to PL. I just had a big thing on Reppert's blog where he called me a liar because I', politically liberal.he said trying he same thing over and over and expecting a change is insane I said tell it to the tea part because that;'swhat they are doing, running idiots for president,

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    2. Joe,

      You're quite confused. I never called you a liar. Ilion did.

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  5. you helped them in attacking me

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    1. Joe,

      If you don't put your comment in a reply or give me a reference, I have no idea what you're talking about.

      Delete
  6. My apologies for the late reply but you have commented on a very old post which I only noticed on sunday. Anyway, let's take on your "debunking".

    says IMS:
    Discussion: Harris is not attempting to "disjoin" communism and atheism. He does not deny that communists are atheists, nor does he attempt to make the No True Scotsman fallacy. He is trying to identify the common ground among systems of belief that inspire atrocities. It is dogmatic belief that they have in common. Certainly, not all atheists are communists, and not all atheists are associated with those behaviors, except in the minds of those who would have us believe that there is an equivalence between communism and atheism. Neither Harris nor Phoenix would agree that adopting communism is equivalent to becoming reasonable."

    This quote and like all the others are extremely vague, ambiguous and broad, allowing the proponent way too much wiggle room. Here Harris has implicitly redefined "reasonable" as being anything which agrees with materialsm and dogmatic as anything which supports theism. But did it ever occur to Harris that to theists his position may seem as dogmatic as the evangelical theists' which he so despises? It's a no true scotsman fallacy because every Atheist who causes embarrassment to other Atheists (Like the communists and fascists) are dismissed as not being true Atheists who are tautologically reasonable by way of redefining the terms mentioned.
    ====
    Discussion: This quote does not demand evidence, nor it is a tu quoque fallacy. It simply states that if there is no evidence for a claim, there is no reason to believe that claim. This is fully in keeping with the broadly accepted principle of skepticism expressed by Hume. It is regarded as a foundational principle of empiricism. As such, it does not involve any self-contradiction. Epistemic justification is reason to believe a claim, and without epistemic justification, the claim can be dismissed. The wording is cute, but it's not an issue of needing evidence to dismiss the claim. It's an issue of whether or not the claim is justified."

    The demand is of course implicit not explicitly stated. The purpose of the quote is to justify dismissing claims which are not accompanied with any evidence because evidence (scientific evidence) is the only evidence that could pass the Atheist's standard for acquiring knowledge. Every claim must be grounded in the principle of empricism, which is that all knowledge begins with the senses and validated via the scientific method as you've admitted. Yet Hitchen's Razor has no accompanying scientific data for its claim therefore it qualifies as a bare assertion which paradoxically refutes its own claim.
    ===
    Discussion: This objection hinges on the definition of 'acknowledge'. One definition is to recognize the truth or validity of something. If taken in that sense, Phoenix would be correct. But another definition is to recognize the existence of something. Obviously, this quote used the word in the latter sense. You can recognize that people have beliefs, but you don't have to accept that those beliefs are coherent//


    Your definition of "recognize" in this context is quite redundant. Of course you must first accept the existence of a belief before attacking it, it seems quite obvious. What is the alternative? To attack a belief which one does not recognize to exist? Makes little sense. That's because Oswald's senseless statement serves one purpose and that is to justify profanity for laughs.

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    1. Phoenix,

      I'll reply to all your comments, but it might take some time. My intention is to make a serious attempt to address the issues you raise in a respectful manner. And I would appreciate your making an effort to do the same. If you simply ignore my discussion and just repeat your original statements, that's not very responsive, and it's probably not worth my time.

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    2. This quote and like all the others are extremely vague, ambiguous and broad, allowing the proponent way too much wiggle room. Here Harris has implicitly redefined "reasonable" as being anything which agrees with materialsm and dogmatic as anything which supports theism. But did it ever occur to Harris that to theists his position may seem as dogmatic as the evangelical theists' which he so despises? It's a no true scotsman fallacy because every Atheist who causes embarrassment to other Atheists (Like the communists and fascists) are dismissed as not being true Atheists who are tautologically reasonable by way of redefining the terms mentioned.
      - Did you read the interview that quote came from? Harris didn't say anything like "Communists are not atheists". Nor did he redefine 'reasonable'. I think you're reading a lot into his statement that he didn't actually say. Atheists have no reason to be embarrassed by communists, any more than you have to be embarrassed by fascists. Oh, you didn't know? Hitler was a Christian, and Nazi Germany was very much a Christian nation. Read this.

      The demand is of course implicit not explicitly stated. The purpose of the quote is to justify dismissing claims which are not accompanied with any evidence because evidence (scientific evidence) is the only evidence that could pass the Atheist's standard for acquiring knowledge. Every claim must be grounded in the principle of empricism, which is that all knowledge begins with the senses and validated via the scientific method as you've admitted. Yet Hitchen's Razor has no accompanying scientific data for its claim therefore it qualifies as a bare assertion which paradoxically refutes its own claim.
      - The statement by Hitchens is about epistemology. It is no different from Stan's First Principle 4a for Rational Thought. In epistemology, there is a concept of "properly basic beliefs", which are foundational in nature (that is, they require no further justification). We all make must assumptions about what constitutes a foundational belief. These are things that can't be proven by definition. The evidence of the senses has been regarded as justification for belief going back at least to the classical Greek philosophers.

      Your definition of "recognize" in this context is quite redundant. Of course you must first accept the existence of a belief before attacking it, it seems quite obvious. What is the alternative? To attack a belief which one does not recognize to exist? Makes little sense. That's because Oswald's senseless statement serves one purpose and that is to justify profanity for laughs.
      - Oswald's statement would indeed be laughable if he was saying what you think. But seriously, he's not as stupid as that. It's really more of a reaction to the notion that all beliefs are equally respectable. The government, for example, has to treat all religions as equal, giving them the same rights and privileges. no matter how ridiculous or frivolous they are.

      Delete
  7. Discussion: The point of this analogy is not to compare religion to something laughably ridiculous. It is to compare religion to something for which we don't have good reason to believe it's true, and we can't prove one way or the other. The spaghetti monster happens to be something ridiculous. The teapot is just an ordinary object. The point is, it really doesn't matter what kind of object it is - ridiculous or ordinary. If it's anything other than your God, you would be agnostic about it. Dawkins is saying that God belief should not be exempt from skepticism any more than any other thing would be//

    The issue regarding the flying spaghetti monster or pink unicorn analogy versus God is that millions of sane, honest and rational adults claim to have had life changing experiences because of God. Many brilliant theist philosophers from Plato to Aquinas or Socrates to William L. Craig) have provided rational argumentation for the existence of God. The same can be said for the existence of pink unicorns or santa.
    ===
    Discussion: Phoenix commits the fallacy of Argumentum ad Exemplum here. Yes, some atheists do the things he describes, but none of those things are common to atheists in general. Atheists may or may not have certain beliefs such as humanism. They may or may not belong to interest organizations. They may or may not proselytize. The one thing that is common to all atheists is they don't have a belief in God. So the analogy to stamp collecting is actually quite good, because the one thing that all non-stamp collectors have in common is that they don't collect stamps//

    You agree there are some who do the things I've described above but you fail to recognize these are your public intellectuals like Harris, Dawkins, et al. I did not say all Atheists are dogmatic. Of course you have some Atheists who are apathetic towards religious issues, just like many theists are quite moderate. And the stamp analogy still fails because:
    a) There are no aggressive forms of non-stamp collecting
    b) stamp collecting and its negation are not ideologically based systems.
    c) No non-stamp collector has ever massacred a group of people for collecting stamps. The same can't be said for Atheism.
    ===
    I'll do 6 - 10 a bit later because I have some errands to run.

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    1. The issue regarding the flying spaghetti monster or pink unicorn analogy versus God is that millions of sane, honest and rational adults claim to have had life changing experiences because of God. Many brilliant theist philosophers from Plato to Aquinas or Socrates to William L. Craig) have provided rational argumentation for the existence of God. The same [can't] be said for the existence of pink unicorns or santa.
      - You are correct about that. But it misses the point Dawkins is making. It's not that there are rational arguments for belief, but that religion is exempt from ordinary reasons for disbelief. For anything other than your own God, in the absence of evidence, the default position is non-belief. But for your God (not others'), you make all kinds of arguments to give yourself reason to believe. This is the one thing that is exempt from the ordinary rules you would use to judge whether to believe.

      You agree there are some who do the things I've described above but you fail to recognize these are your public intellectuals like Harris, Dawkins, et al. I did not say all Atheists are dogmatic. Of course you have some Atheists who are apathetic towards religious issues, just like many theists are quite moderate. And the stamp analogy still fails because:
      a) There are no aggressive forms of non-stamp collecting
      b) stamp collecting and its negation are not ideologically based systems.
      c) No non-stamp collector has ever massacred a group of people for collecting stamps. The same can't be said for Atheism.

      - a) There is no aggressive form of atheism, but SOME atheists have beliefs that are related to atheism, and can be aggressive.
      b) Theism is an ideological belief system. Its negation, atheism (in itself), is not an ideology, and not a belief. It is a lack of belief.
      c) No atheist who lacks a motivating ideology has ever massacred a group of people for any reason. Communists motivated by communist ideology have massacred people, just as religious people, motivated by religious ideology have massacred people. Read this. It is ideology that makes people do bad things. Atheists can have some ideology, but atheism is not an ideology.

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  8. Quick correction:

    Should have read. "The same CAN'T be said for the existence of pink unicorns or santa."

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  9. Discussion: Actually, this is just an extension of the principle Humean skepticism, discussed in quote #2, above. And it is fully supported by probability theory, so there's nothing self-refuting about it. Consider a person who claims that he can predict a coin toss. What evidence do you need to believe him? Toss a coin and see if he's correct. But what if he claims he can predict a thousand tosses in a row? This is an extraordinary claim because the probability of it is quite small. Would you be satisfied by watching a single coin toss? Would you be satisfied by ten? I wouldn't. The chances of predicting ten coin tosses in a row is one in 1024. That isn't improbable enough to convince me. If I saw him predict a hundred in a row, I might be convinced. The point is that the more improbable a claim is, the more evidence we need to believe it. The word 'extraordinary' is imprecise. There is no sharp dividing line between 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary'. That's a judgment call. I might be satisfied by seeing 100 tosses, and someone else might be satisfied after 50. But very few people would be convinced of the truth of the claim after seeing only one or two. And those who are convinced by that would be fools//

    The claim being made in your analogy is very specific and the evidence required would be to witness 1000 coin tosses. It's really that simple. Why should one even consider an extraordinary level/amount of evidence. Is that not a fallacious instance of raising the bar?
    ===
    Discussion: Of course Phoenix is free to interpret these words any way he likes. But he's not really debunking anything unless he chooses to take the issue head-on. So what is McKown really saying? It is the naturalist's position that the world looks exactly as we would expect if there were no god. There is no phenomenon we observe that can't in principle be explained by natural means. Furthermore, there are many observable phenomena that appear to be inconsistent with the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent perpetrator. So if God does exist and he keeps himself hidden from us, we don't see anything that is obviously different from what we would expect to see if that God didn't exist at all. The world looks just the same, either way//

    To assume the naturalist's position is the correct one is in fact question begging. The argument for naturalism is always a variant of the following: The non-material does not exist because if it did exist then we would be able to detect it materially. So here we have an ontological error as well as circular reasoning.
    Atheists/Naturalists/Materialists/Physicalists have been for centuries attempting to reduce consciousness, free will, morality and intuition to the material but with no avail or they are sometimes considered to be illusions.
    ===
    Discussion: This is a pragmatic statement, not a caricature. The sailor understands that prayer is not what gets his ship to its destination. Sailing does that, and there is no substitute for it. Without sailing the ship, it won't get there. It's that simple. He can pray if he wants, and this statement doesn't denigrate that, but he still has to sail the ship//

    Really? Pragmatic? Theists climb into a sailing vessel then start to pray? This is what theists have been doing all along until Atheists came along and showed them the ropes?
    Please...no one does this. It's a gross distortion and a straw man.

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    1. The claim being made in your analogy is very specific and the evidence required would be to witness 1000 coin tosses. It's really that simple. Why should one even consider an extraordinary level/amount of evidence. Is that not a fallacious instance of raising the bar?
      - What I said in my example was that I might be convinced by seeing 100 correctly predicted coin tosses in a row. The reason this would make sense is that the probability of doing that is VERY low. It's not a low as getting 1000 in a row, but still, if someone can pull it off, I'd find it convincing that they have an extraordinary ability, and they could probably extend that streak beyond 100.

      To assume the naturalist's position is the correct one is in fact question begging. The argument for naturalism is always a variant of the following: The non-material does not exist because if it did exist then we would be able to detect it materially. So here we have an ontological error as well as circular reasoning.
      Atheists/Naturalists/Materialists/Physicalists have been for centuries attempting to reduce consciousness, free will, morality and intuition to the material but with no avail or they are sometimes considered to be illusions.

      - First, I did not argue that we should assume the materialist position a priori. It is rather a conclusion, based on the evidence we see. On the other hand, theists do in fact assume their position a priori. I understand that you say the evidence is not empirically observable, but your assertion that there is something more is not something that we can verify in any objective way. It is an a priori assumption on your part. And that's begging the question.

      Really? Pragmatic? Theists climb into a sailing vessel then start to pray? This is what theists have been doing all along until Atheists came along and showed them the ropes?
      Please...no one does this. It's a gross distortion and a straw man.

      - Yes, absolutely pragmatic. I didn't say that sailors don't pray. What I did say is that prayer is not what gets them to their destination. Only sailing the ship does that.

      Delete
  10. Discussion: Phoenix is overreacting. Obviously, if taken as a statement of fact, this quote fails. But it was not intended as such. It was a rhetorical statement made by a fictional character in the novel A Farewell to Arms. In the story, a group of military men was trying to antagonize a young priest. One of them made that statement to the priest, and succeeded in getting him flustered. Evidently, it worked on Phoenix, too. But despite the fact that it is not literally true, it provides food for thought. It is true that many have converted to atheism as a result of deliberate analysis of their faith//

    The writer who coined the phrase was not familiar with universal and particular terms. This is enough to dismiss the quote. The particular term you used, "many" which is translated as "some" also implies that some Atheists have become theists after analyzing theism, which of course is true and therefore making the quote superfluous.
    -----
    Discussion: Phoenix has yet again missed the point. It isn't about whether Christians can make scientific achievements. Of course they can. It isn't a question of whether one religion is worse than another. Christians have committed their share of atrocities, too. The point is that it is not by means of religion, but by science, that we make those great achievements. And it is not for the sake of scientism, but for religion (as well as other ideologies) that people commit those atrocities//

    Your argument makes two faulty impressions:
    1. You're under the false assumption that religion and science competes for achievements.
    2. And that science has never been a catalyst for atrocities.

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    1. The writer who coined the phrase was not familiar with universal and particular terms. This is enough to dismiss the quote. The particular term you used, "many" which is translated as "some" also implies that some Atheists have become theists after analyzing theism, which of course is true and therefore making the quote superfluous.
      - The quote is an example of hyperbole, which is defined as "exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally." It is rhetorical speech, and it was used as a device to taunt or provoke the priest. It worked - not only on the priest, but on you. You can accuse Hemingway of not knowing what he was saying, but I think he got the better of you.

      Your argument makes two faulty impressions:
      1. You're under the false assumption that religion and science competes for achievements.
      2. And that science has never been a catalyst for atrocities.

      - 1) I did not say that religion and science compete for achievements, and I don't think that's true. I said that religious people make scientific achievements. But when they do, it is by means of scientific method. On the other hand, ideologies can be pernicious. Not necessarily religious ideologies - any kind of ideology, like communism. This is not a competition. Science is a method of discovery. Ideologies motivate people - sometimes to do good things, and sometimes to do bad things.
      2) Science is a methodology, not an ideology. Science is how we learn things. Perhaps people who know things through science can use that knowledge to do something bad, but they do so under the motivation of some ideology.

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  11. Did you read the interview that quote came from? Harris didn't say anything like "Communists are not atheists". Nor did he redefine 'reasonable'. I think you're reading a lot into his statement that he didn't actually say. Atheists have no reason to be embarrassed by communists, any more than you have to be embarrassed by fascists. Oh, you didn't know? Hitler was a Christian, and Nazi Germany was very much a Christian nation. Read this//

    I do not understand your link between Christianity and Fascism. It is well known that Mussolinni, an ardent Atheist is credited with being the founding father of communism. Also, the allegations of Hitler being Christian has long been debunked. Nazism was an amalgamation of many beliefs which include theism (especially Hinduism), the occult and atheist philosophies such as Nietsche. Hitler's Table Talk is testament of his hatred for Christianity. The reliabilty of his book is confirmed in this link; http://www.fpp.co.uk/Hitler/Table_Talk/Irving_memoirs.html
    ===
    The statement by Hitchens is about epistemology. It is no different from Stan's First Principle 4a for Rational Thought. In epistemology, there is a concept of "properly basic beliefs", which are foundational in nature (that is, they require no further justification). We all make must assumptions about what constitutes a foundational belief. These are things that can't be proven by definition. The evidence of the senses has been regarded as justification for belief going back at least to the classical Greek philosophers.//

    I'm well aware the Atheist's epistemology is Empiricism. But claiming the Hitchen's Razor to be an axiomatic belief that cannot be reduced any further is not only an extraordinary claim which would require extraordinary evidence but it is also an instance of Special Pleading. Why should HR be exempted from proving its proclamation? Claiming axiom status is irrational when the quote is in fact circular.

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    1. I do not understand your link between Christianity and Fascism. It is well known that Mussolinni, an ardent Atheist is credited with being the founding father of communism. Also, the allegations of Hitler being Christian has long been debunked. Nazism was an amalgamation of many beliefs which include theism (especially Hinduism), the occult and atheist philosophies such as Nietsche. Hitler's Table Talk is testament of his hatred for Christianity. The reliabilty of his book is confirmed in this link; http://www.fpp.co.uk/Hitler/Table_Talk/Irving_memoirs.html
      - Ever since Hitler's time, Christians have been desperately trying to distance themselves from him. Hatred of Jews was a long-standing Christian tradition (and remains so for some). Hitler wanted to create a unified church in Germany. The Table Talk English translation has been shown to be completely unreliable, but has been used as the basis for many Christians' assertions that Hitler hated Christianity. Hitler himself said in 1941 "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." But it might be much more accurate to say that the was anti-clerical rather than anti-Christian. As for Mussolini, he was an atheist, but not the founder of communism. He was a fascist, like Hitler. Still I have no reason to be ashamed of him, since his ideology bears no resemblance to my own.

      I'm well aware the Atheist's epistemology is Empiricism. But claiming the Hitchen's Razor to be an axiomatic belief that cannot be reduced any further is not only an extraordinary claim which would require extraordinary evidence but it is also an instance of Special Pleading. Why should HR be exempted from proving its proclamation? Claiming axiom status is irrational when the quote is in fact circular.
      - There's nothing extraordinary about claiming that the evidence of the senses constitute epistemic justification for belief. This has always been a bedrock principle of epistemology. There are foundational principles, like the axioms of logic, that we just can't prove. It is by no means irrational to accept these principles, nor is it circular reasoning.

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  12. You are correct about that. But it misses the point Dawkins is making. It's not that there are rational arguments for belief, but that religion is exempt from ordinary reasons for disbelief. For anything other than your own God, in the absence of evidence, the default position is non-belief. But for your God (not others'), you make all kinds of arguments to give yourself reason to believe. This is the one thing that is exempt from the ordinary rules you would use to judge whether to believe//

    I don't follow here. What "ordinary rules" do theists exclude when it comes to God? Remember, most theists are dualists, as such they recognize distinct evidential criterias which would apply to the material and non-material.
    ====
    a) There is no aggressive form of atheism, but SOME atheists have beliefs that are related to atheism, and can be aggressive.
    b) Theism is an ideological belief system. Its negation, atheism (in itself), is not an ideology, and not a belief. It is a lack of belief.
    c) No atheist who lacks a motivating ideology has ever massacred a group of people for any reason. Communists motivated by communist ideology have massacred people, just as religious people, motivated by religious ideology have massacred people. Read this. It is ideology that makes people do bad things. Atheists can have some ideology, but atheism is not an ideology//

    a) Is anti-theism not a more aggressive form of atheism? And how about the Soviet's League of Militant Atheists whose sole purpose to propagate anti-religious propaganda?
    b) Atheism is much more than a mere lack of belief. Its core beliefs regarding the nature of reality is a monistic mettaphysical view called Philosophical Materialism (aka Physicalism) and all Atheists are Philosophical Materialists by default.
    c) Atheism is a neccessary prerequisite for Communism. I'm paraphrasing Marx and Lenin of course. It's precisely because of Atheism and its need to propogate Dialectic Materialsm that is responsible for massacreing religious folk.
    http://uk.57883.com/uk/wiki/wiki/history/201408/Persecution_of_Christians2_en.57883.com.html

    This included the Eastern European bloc countries as well as the Balkan States. Since some of these Slavic states tied their ethnic heritage to their ethnic churches, both the peoples and their church were targeted for ethnic and political genocide by the Soviets and its form of State atheism.[83][84] The Soviets' official religious stance was one of "religious freedom or tolerance", though the state established atheism as the only scientific truth (see also the Soviet or committee of the All-Union Society for the Dissemination of Scientific and Political Knowledge or Znanie which was until 1947 called The League of the Militant Godless and various Intelligentsia groups).[85][86][87] Criticism of atheism was strictly forbidden and sometimes resulted in imprisonment.

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    1. I don't follow here. What "ordinary rules" do theists exclude when it comes to God? Remember, most theists are dualists, as such they recognize distinct evidential criterias which would apply to the material and non-material.
      - You just got done calling me irrational for being an empiricist. Now you are claiming that there are "distinct evidential criterias [sic]" for believing in something that can't be objectively verified. Whatever these distinct criteria are, they only apply to your religious beliefs, and nothing else. In all other matters, your beliefs use the same kind of criteria for epistemic justification that the rest of us use.

      a) Is anti-theism not a more aggressive form of atheism? And how about the Soviet's League of Militant Atheists whose sole purpose to propagate anti-religious propaganda?
      b) Atheism is much more than a mere lack of belief. Its core beliefs regarding the nature of reality is a monistic mettaphysical view called Philosophical Materialism (aka Physicalism) and all Atheists are Philosophical Materialists by default.
      c) Atheism is a neccessary prerequisite for Communism. I'm paraphrasing Marx and Lenin of course. It's precisely because of Atheism and its need to propogate Dialectic Materialsm that is responsible for massacreing religious folk.
      http://uk.57883.com/uk/wiki/wiki/history/201408/Persecution_of_Christians2_en.57883.com.html

      - a) Anti-theism is not atheism. Atheists need not be anti-theist, and I think most aren't.
      b) Wrong again. Atheism does not imply any particular metaphysical view. There are atheists who believe in the immaterial nature of mind, for example.
      c) Wrong again. There are, and have been, many Christian communists. The main reason the leaders of state communism have pushed atheism is because they see it as a competing ideology. They want communist followers to adopt communism as the ideology that governs their lives. And of course, many religious people are more than willing to attribute the atrocities of communist dictators to atheism, when in fact it was their ideology and their lust for power that explains what they did. It might be worth noting that it was the the people in power who committed these atrocities. The ordinary people who belonged to the communist regimes and lived as atheists did not become vicious monsters because of their atheism.

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  13. First, I did not argue that we should assume the materialist position a priori. It is rather a conclusion, based on the evidence we see. On the other hand, theists do in fact assume their position a priori. I understand that you say the evidence is not empirically observable, but your assertion that there is something more is not something that we can verify in any objective way. It is an a priori assumption on your part. And that's begging the question//

    First, from a purely Physicalst perspective, there is no way of knowing if there exists any reality beyond the material because any and all knowledge must once again pass the Atheist's arbitrary standard of objective knowledge which is empirical evidence. So we are at a dead end and nothing non-physical can be known because it must be empirically observable. Surely circular.
    Second, from a theist perspective, the non-physical can be known via revelation, from experience which is primary evidence and from reason which is philosophical evidence. All these are rejected out of hand by Atheists because they do not satisfy the usual requirements for knowledge that all claims must pass laboratory tests and be replicated on demand (empirical evidence). Not even Atheists can satisfy their beliefs emprically and most are religiously held without evidence.

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    1. First, from a purely Physicalst perspective, there is no way of knowing if there exists any reality beyond the material because any and all knowledge must once again pass the Atheist's arbitrary standard of objective knowledge which is empirical evidence. So we are at a dead end and nothing non-physical can be known because it must be empirically observable. Surely circular.
      - Evidence is what fives us reason to believe. At least we have objective reason to believe what we do. Theists, on the other hand, always make theistic assumptions, without evidence, before constructing their arguments for theism. The conclusion of those arguments is entirely dependent on the assumptions, and THAT'S circular reasoning.

      Second, from a theist perspective, the non-physical can be known via revelation, from experience which is primary evidence and from reason which is philosophical evidence. All these are rejected out of hand by Atheists because they do not satisfy the usual requirements for knowledge that all claims must pass laboratory tests and be replicated on demand (empirical evidence). Not even Atheists can satisfy their beliefs emprically and most are religiously held without evidence.
      - Revelation never tells us anything we don't already believe (or want to believe). Physical evidence gives us reason to believe. That little voice inside you is nothing more than your own mind talking to you.

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  14. I'll do the rest later. Got some other stuff to attend to

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  15. Yes, absolutely pragmatic. I didn't say that sailors don't pray. What I did say is that prayer is not what gets them to their destination. Only sailing the ship does that//

    Which theist sailor says prayer gets him across the globe, instead of sailing. What exactly is the relationship between sailing and prayer? The quote is a straw man because no theist has ever used prayer as a substitute for sailing.
    ===
    The quote is an example of hyperbole, which is defined as "exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally." It is rhetorical speech, and it was used as a device to taunt or provoke the priest. It worked - not only on the priest, but on you. You can accuse Hemingway of not knowing what he was saying, but I think he got the better of you//

    Fine, I can dismiss that quote in its entirety because it has no literal meaning and its terms can be interpreted in many ways.
    ===
    2) Science is a methodology, not an ideology. Science is how we learn things. Perhaps people who know things through science can use that knowledge to do something bad, but they do so under the motivation of some ideology//

    Yes, and that ideology could be theistic or atheistic as history has proven.

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    1. The quote is an example of hyperbole, which is defined as "exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally." It is rhetorical speech, and it was used as a device to taunt or provoke the priest. It worked - not only on the priest, but on you. You can accuse Hemingway of not knowing what he was saying, but I think he got the better of you//

      Fine, I can dismiss that quote in its entirety because it has no literal meaning and its terms can be interpreted in many ways.

      - OK.

      Yes, and that ideology could be theistic or atheistic as history has proven.
      - The point I've been trying to make is that it doesn't matter whether the person with an ideology is a theist or an atheist. It is the ideology that motivates people. Lack of belief in something is not an ideology. Hatred of Jews doesn't stem from non-belief in God, for example. But it does stem from Christian ideology going all the way back to the Gospel of John.

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  16. Ever since Hitler's time, Christians have been desperately trying to distance themselves from him. Hatred of Jews was a long-standing Christian tradition (and remains so for some). Hitler wanted to create a unified church in Germany. The Table Talk English translation has been shown to be completely unreliable, but has been used as the basis for many Christians' assertions that Hitler hated Christianity. Hitler himself said in 1941 "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." But it might be much more accurate to say that the was anti-clerical rather than anti-Christian. As for Mussolini, he was an atheist, but not the founder of communism. He was a fascist, like Hitler. Still I have no reason to be ashamed of him, since his ideology bears no resemblance to my own//

    It would've more accurate to state that hatred of Jews has a long standing European tradtion, since anti-semitisim has its origin in pre-Christian Europe. Pagan Romans have massacred at least 1 million jews.
    You're correct though, Table talk is highly disputed but you're mistaken, I did not say Mussolini invented Communism, I said he's the Founding Father of Fascism. www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mussolini_benito.shtml
    ===

    There's nothing extraordinary about claiming that the evidence of the senses constitute epistemic justification for belief. This has always been a bedrock principle of epistemology. There are foundational principles, like the axioms of logic, that we just can't prove. It is by no means irrational to accept these principles, nor is it circular reasoning//

    The foundational principles of logic are known to be inutitively true. Intuition is not a desirable empirical technique and therefore rejected by empiricists, since intuition cannot be quantified. Thus, any of the empricist's axiom which relies on inutitive principles is self-refuting.

    http://www.friesian.com/arch.htm

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/empiricism.aspx

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    1. You're correct though, Table talk is highly disputed but you're mistaken, I did not say Mussolini invented Communism, I said he's the Founding Father of Fascism. www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mussolini_benito.shtml
      - You might want to re-read your comment of March 17, 2016 at 6:59 AM.

      The foundational principles of logic are known to be inutitively true. Intuition is not a desirable empirical technique and therefore rejected by empiricists, since intuition cannot be quantified. Thus, any of the empricist's axiom which relies on inutitive principles is self-refuting.

      You might want to read the article you quoted. "But, Aristotle thinks that knowledge begins with experience." That's right. Those things we regard as intuitive truths begin with empirical observation. Observation and experience are the real source of any knowledge we have, including that which we call "intuitive".


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  17. You just got done calling me irrational for being an empiricist. Now you are claiming that there are "distinct evidential criterias [sic]" for believing in something that can't be objectively verified. Whatever these distinct criteria are, they only apply to your religious beliefs, and nothing else. In all other matters, your beliefs use the same kind of criteria for epistemic justification that the rest of us use.//

    First, I did not say you are irrational, I said the defense for naturalism is irrational. I attacked the argument not the arguer.
    Second, for all material claims the evidence can be demonstrated via the rules of empirical science. For all non-material claims the concepts can be demonstrated via deductive logical analysis and tested using reductio ad absurdum. The latter is by no means restricted to "my God" as you've claimed but for all theistic propositions.
    ===

    a)Anti-theism is just a more militant version of atheism. For example, are Dawkins and Harris atheists or anti-theists? I'm sure it's safe to assume both.

    b) The type of "atheists" you're refering to are more agnostic towards belief in God than the certainty of material atheists. Buddha is such an example yet many believe he was an atheist in the material sense.

    c) You're correct there were Christian communists but none of them produced any mega mass murderers as their atheist counterparts did. Stalin, Mao, Hoxha, Lenin, Pol Pot, et al were all atheist communists. Christian communism did not last long it faded as quickly as it arrived. Atheist Communism still thrives in places like China and North Korea.


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    1. Second, for all material claims the evidence can be demonstrated via the rules of empirical science. For all non-material claims the concepts can be demonstrated via deductive logical analysis and tested using reductio ad absurdum. The latter is by no means restricted to "my God" as you've claimed but for all theistic propositions.
      - Again, this goes against the notion of first principles, as spelled out in the articles you cited. Any deductive argument is based on premises, and those premises must me justified somehow. You ultimately come down to observation or first principles (which themselves are derived from observation). Any intuitive knowledge you claim is either a genuine first principle, or it is unfounded. Theists, claim to have intuitive knowledge of some kind of godly presence, or of immaterial being, but that is nothing more than an emotional attachment to the system of beliefs they were raised with.

      a)Anti-theism is just a more militant version of atheism. For example, are Dawkins and Harris atheists or anti-theists? I'm sure it's safe to assume both.
      - You admit what I was saying. They are atheists, and they also have some additional ideology that is not common to all atheists.

      b) The type of "atheists" you're refering to are more agnostic towards belief in God than the certainty of material atheists. Buddha is such an example yet many believe he was an atheist in the material sense.
      - Why the scare quotes. Anyone who doesn't believe in God is an atheist. But that tell you little about what the person actually does believe. For that, you need to look at the ideologies of the person.

      c) You're correct there were Christian communists but none of them produced any mega mass murderers as their atheist counterparts did. Stalin, Mao, Hoxha, Lenin, Pol Pot, et al were all atheist communists. Christian communism did not last long it faded as quickly as it arrived. Atheist Communism still thrives in places like China and North Korea.
      - This is interesting. You absolve Christian communists of responsibility for atrocities, but you want to pin those crimes on atheists, whether they are communist or not.

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  18. Evidence is what fives us reason to believe. At least we have objective reason to believe what we do. Theists, on the other hand, always make theistic assumptions, without evidence, before constructing their arguments for theism. The conclusion of those arguments is entirely dependent on the assumptions, and THAT'S circular reasoning//

    Evidence in atheist terms always refer to scientific evidence. That which can be quantified, tested under laboratory conditions, repeated, replicated independently and falsifiable is the only path to knowledge. There is no circular reasoning in accepting more than one path to knowledge. The atheist cannot prove that science is the only reliable path to knowledge, thus he's belief is religiously held without evidence. In fact, most of his beliefs are not even scientifically proven.
    ===
    Revelation never tells us anything we don't already believe (or want to believe). Physical evidence gives us reason to believe. That little voice inside you is nothing more than your own mind talking to you//

    I'm using the word revelation here as in transcendental knowledge which is intuitively received. Not neccessarily refering to religious scripture and it certainly does not entail any audible voice.

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    1. Evidence in atheist terms always refer to scientific evidence. That which can be quantified, tested under laboratory conditions, repeated, replicated independently and falsifiable is the only path to knowledge. There is no circular reasoning in accepting more than one path to knowledge. The atheist cannot prove that science is the only reliable path to knowledge, thus he's belief is religiously held without evidence. In fact, most of his beliefs are not even scientifically proven.
      - This is a straw man. Forget about "scientific proof". Scientists know that there is no such thing.

      I'm using the word revelation here as in transcendental knowledge which is intuitively received. Not neccessarily refering to religious scripture and it certainly does not entail any audible voice.
      - This so-called "transcendental knowledge", as I said earlier, is nothing more than an emotional attachment to the system of beliefs they were raised with. It is based on feelings you have, not on any kind of objective experience or knowledge. And those feelings are very much influenced by your childhood indoctrination.

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  19. The point I've been trying to make is that it doesn't matter whether the person with an ideology is a theist or an atheist. It is the ideology that motivates people. Lack of belief in something is not an ideology. Hatred of Jews doesn't stem from non-belief in God, for example. But it does stem from Christian ideology going all the way back to the Gospel of John//

    The "lack of belief" mantra is only a ploy for atheists not to have to provide evidence for their beliefs. The reason why anyone lacks belief in one thing is because it contradicts his own cherished beliefs or he has simply never heard of the proposition and is therefore unable to establish any opinion on the matter. You and most atheists have heard of theist propositions and you reject it because it contradicts your own views regarding the nature of reality. An ideology is merely a set of opinions or beliefs which can be formal or informal. Very few to zero adults have no set of opinions or beliefs.
    As I've said before, hatred of jews can be traced back to antiquity, prior to Christianity and I suspect a subtle ploy to have me defend the bible. I will defend the bible this one time, even though refuting the bible does not refute the existence of God. There are no instructions in the bible for christians to murder jews, in fact jesus and most of his followers were jews themselves. There is not one instance of a christian murdering a jew in the bible. Therefore the bible could not have inspired the holocaust.
    For the origins of anti-semitism, I suggest you read: The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity
    http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7737.html

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    1. The "lack of belief" mantra is only a ploy for atheists not to have to provide evidence for their beliefs. The reason why anyone lacks belief in one thing is because it contradicts his own cherished beliefs or he has simply never heard of the proposition and is therefore unable to establish any opinion on the matter.
      - I don't believe in Santa, either. It is not my responsibility to prove that Santa doesn't exist, but if you think he does, you should prove it.

      You and most atheists have heard of theist propositions and you reject it because it contradicts your own views regarding the nature of reality.
      - My views regarding what constitutes reality are simple: belief requires justification. You claim something without justification, and I don't believe it.

      An ideology is merely a set of opinions or beliefs which can be formal or informal. Very few to zero adults have no set of opinions or beliefs.
      - An ideology is more than just an opinion. It is what motivates people to take some kind of action. We have opinions about all kinds of things, but we don't take them up as causes for action.

      As I've said before, hatred of jews can be traced back to antiquity, prior to Christianity and I suspect a subtle ploy to have me defend the bible. I will defend the bible this one time, even though refuting the bible does not refute the existence of God. There are no instructions in the bible for christians to murder jews, in fact jesus and most of his followers were jews themselves. There is not one instance of a christian murdering a jew in the bible. Therefore the bible could not have inspired the holocaust.
      - The Romans were generally quite tolerant of many different cultures. That doesn't preclude political differences, or mean they didn't kill or brutally suppress insurgents and rebels. But their pagan culture was typically open to all kinds of religions. The big rift came from the gentrification of Christianity, when many began to question whether Christians should be subject to Jewish law. The writings of Paul and John contain many of the seeds of Christian antisemitism. See this, for example.

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    2. IMS

      I'm going to leave at that. Thanks for keeping the discussion civil and perhaps we could continue on another thread soon.

      Cheers

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    3. I thank you, too. This is more the kind of conversation I had hoped be able to have with Stan. But It seems to me that he's not much interested in that.

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