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Author Topic: Atheism Redux [READ THE FIRST POST]  (Read 190192 times)

Bauglir

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Atheism Redux [READ THE FIRST POST]
« on: December 04, 2010, 03:23:34 pm »

Ok, so we've got a greenlight on a new thread for this. However, considering the way the last one went, here are a few ground rules.

This thread is not about just stating your own viewpoint. This thread is about making cogent arguments to convince others. You're entitled to your own beliefs, and you don't have to defend them to us. However, if you post in this thread expect to have your beliefs challenged by one group or another. "I can believe whatever I want, and you're all fascist Nazi douchebags for trying to change me" is not an acceptable defense, whether you're an atheist or a theist.

This thread is not about Evolution vs. Creationism. While these are interesting topics which might be a subset of this topic, they lead to way too much derailing. And it's a peeve of mine. If you want to discuss it, start another thread; it's certainly a sufficiently volatile topic. Likewise, this isn't about the Big Bang vs. Creationism, or any other Scientific Theory Involving History vs. any other Religious Account Of History.

Fuck it, go ahead and talk about these, but be exceptionally careful to stay civil. It's very likely you'll come to a point where you have to debate what are appropriate fundamental assumptions about how to define truth, and while that's sure to be interesting, I don't want that to be here unless everyone seems to be on board with it because it gets very tangential indeed. Otherwise, be willing to accept the disagreement for now, or start a new thread.

No vague references to the other thread. If you want to refer back to an argument that's already been made, you need to go find the post it appeared in, and quote it.

I'm going to reserve a post below this one. As arguments start to get made repeatedly, I'd appreciate if whoever calls it out as such makes a note of the post where it was made first and PMs me the quote. I'll then add it to that post in a list of Arguments That Are Not Original. I'm asking for your help here, because I doubt if I'll have time to keep track of everything myself. If I ever find that I no longer have the stomach to deal with this anymore, somebody else can step up: make a post cataloging new ones, and I'll link to it in the Arguments That Are Not Original post.

EDIT: Oh, yeah, and just to make it clear, stay civil. I don't care if you're insulting another poster directly or implicitly, or even if you're insulting a random group of people who have no presence here, this type of thread gets out of control quickly. So basically as soon as I see the word "idiot" or really anything along those lines getting bandied about, this thing gets a lock. You know, barring the inevitable jackass who starts posting "idiot idiot idiot idiot" over and over again in an attempt to make me lock it.

CLARIFICATION: This is my thread-moderator voice. It is necessary for this thread to make a distinction between when I'm participating in the discussion, and when I'm telling people to behave themselves. I don't want people thinking I'm making ad hominem attacks because I can't think of any other way to argue; when I use it, this red text isn't a rebuttal. It's only meant to be a warning that people need to adjust their attitudes or start a new thread for bashing people who don't agree with them, because I don't want it here.

ADDITIONAL EDIT: So there was an argument about terminology around page 160-something. To resolve it, we're going to use a fixed set of definitions.
*An Atheist is a person with no belief in a deity. This is a very broad category.
*An Implicit Atheist is a person who has no position of any kind, typically through being unaware of the concept of belief in a deity.
*An Explicit Atheist is a person whose beliefs include no belief in a deity; they are aware that this belief is absent.
*A Weak Atheist is an Explicit Atheist who does not believe a rational belief about a deity can exist.
*An Agnostic is a Weak Atheist who explicitly believes a rational belief about a deity is impossible. The distinction is the same as that between "I believe there is no God" and "I do not belief there is a God", a typical distinction made in discussions of Atheism.
*A Strong Atheist is an Explicit Atheist who actively believes that there are no deities.

DIAGRAM OF INCLUSIVENESS. This diagram shows the relationships between the above groups in a handy, graphical manner. Posters are welcome, even encouraged, to refer to it whenever a terminology debate erupts because somebody didn't read the OP.

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES: Okay, I'm stealing some conflict-handling rules.

If the rules in this OP are violated, or I decide a conversation has become too serious a derail, I'll first post a warning. In the case of derails, I'll try to post two; one an unofficial "hey, guys, let's bring this to a close, okay", the second an official "We're not going to be talking about this anymore" message. Only the official warning will use red text.

If the problem continues, I will then lock the thread for 3 days. I will explicitly state that this is the case in the warning.

If, after the thread is opened, the problem still persists, I will repeat locks until it either stops or I get tired of opening the thread. If there's a specific person I believe is responsible, I will instead simply report the poster in question and post a warning telling people not to respond; any responses will result in a lock for 3 days, with no warnings. I recommend you use the ignore functionality if you have to (we have that, right?). If moderator action of any kind is taken, you're not to discuss it in this thread - we're not a thread for celebrating or lamenting bans or mutes. Violation of this rule will result in lock for 3 days, with no warnings.

When a derail occurs, I'll add it to the second post and note it as such. Posters are not to bring up the topic again without first PMing me - if you can convince me that you have a rational argument that's new to the discussion, which you think we can discuss civilly, then you can make the actual post. I'm sorry to make this necessary. I'll follow the same procedure for derails above (starting with an informal warning, then an official one, then moving on to locks) if an old derail crops up again; I understand that new posters won't be familiar with the thread's history with these topics, so I don't want to be too draconian about it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 11:34:30 am by Bauglir »
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In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
“What are you doing?”, asked Minsky. “I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe” Sussman replied. “Why is the net wired randomly?”, asked Minsky. “I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play”, Sussman said.
Minsky then shut his eyes. “Why do you close your eyes?”, Sussman asked his teacher.
“So that the room will be empty.”
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

Bauglir

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 03:24:14 pm »

Arguments That Are Not Original

"Your Argument Is Not Original" (Without Reference To An Earlier Occurrence Which Was Resolved)

"You're Stupid For Posting Here, This Thread Will Never Get Anywhere"

"You're Misclassifying My Beliefs"

Topics That Are Off-Limits

Agnosticism is not a subdivision of Atheism. The consensus in the thread has been that the difference is semantic, and while important to some, it allows greater precision to define Atheism as any lack of belief in deities, and to classify the typical assumption of an Atheist denial of deities as "Strong Atheism". This topic has led to some extremely long derails, which is why it is currently off-limits, but, as always, you can PM me if you think you have something new and valuable to say on the matter.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 11:38:16 am by Bauglir »
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In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
“What are you doing?”, asked Minsky. “I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe” Sussman replied. “Why is the net wired randomly?”, asked Minsky. “I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play”, Sussman said.
Minsky then shut his eyes. “Why do you close your eyes?”, Sussman asked his teacher.
“So that the room will be empty.”
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

Leafsnail

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2010, 03:30:07 pm »

Can we add "You're argument isn't original" to "Arguments that are not original"?
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Tsarwash

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 03:30:13 pm »

This is the last thing that I said in the other thread, and I'm going to repeat it here, as I think it is a worthy thought about religion/belief.
Quote
Almost all societies have formed a ritual belief system, often very independant of each other. Some might say it was a necessary moral evolution stemming from our own mortality. The reasons that we have religion and the animals do not, (as far as we know) could be derived from our knowledge of our own future demise, perhaps evolving as a defense mechanism to combat this. Just one idea about it. Possibly if we discovered immortality, then religious beliefs would wither away.
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fqllve

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2010, 03:33:11 pm »

Can we add "You're argument isn't original" to "Arguments that are not original"?

Seconded.


This thread is not about Evolution vs. Creationism. While these are interesting topics which might be a subset of this topic, they lead to way too much derailing. And it's a peeve of mine. If you want to discuss it, start another thread; it's certainly a sufficiently volatile topic. Likewise, this isn't about the Big Bang vs. Creationism, or any other Scientific Theory Involving History vs. any other Religious Account Of History.

Brilliant. If we can avoid the whole Fundamentalism/Creationism mess maybe we can actually say sensible things about the topic.

Hahahaha! Sorry.
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Mephisto

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2010, 03:58:25 pm »

I'm also going to reiterate my last (only) post in the other thread, because I find these matters to be interesting. In other words, my sole purpose posting is to tag this thread.  8)

"Belief" is a western bias. If you're a member of a western religion, that "belief" may not exist in eastern religions.

Nontheists (or atheists, if you insist on using a word with so many negative connotations) do not believe in a deity, a suprahuman being, etc. That does not mean that they're areligious. There are plenty of atheistic religions - Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism (can go either way), and, believe it or not, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam can be atheistic depending on what the one interpreting them believes (there's that nasty "belief" word again).

Not believing in the Christian god (or Jewish or Islamic or Shinto or Hindu or other god(s)) does not make you nontheistic. Look at the number of religions I mentioned in this paragraph alone. They each have at least one deity. If you believe in one of those beings or some other supreme entity, you are by definition not a nontheist.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 04:00:35 pm by Mephisto »
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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2010, 04:24:36 pm »

Personally, I cannot believe in an all-powerful, benevolent god.

I could believe in a weak benevolent god (but what's the point in worshipping him?) or a powerful apathetic or malevolent god (who probably would hate you worshipping him or bugging him), but it's impossible to believe in an all-powerful and benevolent one.

I also can't believe that most Westerners (Christians, at least) have never actually read the book they base their entire lives on. It's just... Ridiculous. Even I know more about the Bible and the Christian religion than a lot of Catholics I know.

An example: I was talking to some girl about our parents. She was a Catholic and said her parents were Catholics but her mother had divorced her father. I asked her if she'd sent a letter to the Pope asking for it and she told me no. I laughed and joked that she mustn't be a very good Catholic, then, as only the Pope can annul marriages within the Catholic faith. She flipped out at me and claimed that Catholics didn't believe that and that people could divorce whoever they liked.

I laughed my arse off. Three months later, I asked her if she was still a Catholic and if what I'd said was true. She bluntly ignored me and refused to ever talk to me again. Apparently she's still claiming she's Catholic, though. :D
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Dasleah

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 04:28:15 pm »

I don't understand what the purpose of threads like this are for other than to sit around congratulating yourselves on believing something different to what [insert other group here] believes. It seems an inordinate amount of effort being put into convincing other people that you don't believe in something.
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The Roguelike Development Megathread.

As well, all the posts i've seen you make are flame posts, barely if at all constructive.

Il Palazzo

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2010, 04:32:14 pm »

Why am I doing this?
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Leafsnail

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 04:32:28 pm »

Suggestion: politely tell people to keep off the thread if all they're gonna do is say how stupid everyone else is for posting in it.
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fqllve

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2010, 04:36:04 pm »

I also can't believe that most Westerners (Christians, at least) have never actually read the book they base their entire lives on. It's just... Ridiculous. Even I know more about the Bible and the Christian religion than a lot of Catholics I know.

An example: I was talking to some girl about our parents. She was a Catholic and said her parents were Catholics but her mother had divorced her father. I asked her if she'd sent a letter to the Pope asking for it and she told me no. I laughed and joked that she mustn't be a very good Catholic, then, as only the Pope can annul marriages within the Catholic faith. She flipped out at me and claimed that Catholics didn't believe that and that people could divorce whoever they liked.

I laughed my arse off. Three months later, I asked her if she was still a Catholic and if what I'd said was true. She bluntly ignored me and refused to ever talk to me again. Apparently she's still claiming she's Catholic, though. :D

It doesn't really matter in practice though. None of that. It sounds like you're arguing for the average religious person to be a fundamentalist, which is crazy. That's the last thing anyone wants. Catholics get divorced all the time in practice, the pope isn't really that powerful anymore. And besides, they've never read the book, but if they've gone to church they've had it read to them. That's what they do in church. It's a weekly religious lecture.

And if they don't go to church and haven't read the book, it's likely they're Catholic in name only. Which is okay because that doesn't really mean anything.
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Bauglir

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2010, 04:38:07 pm »

Suggestion: politely tell people to keep off the thread if all they're gonna do is say how stupid everyone else is for posting in it.

Added to 2nd post. You're on a roll with these things.
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In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
“What are you doing?”, asked Minsky. “I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe” Sussman replied. “Why is the net wired randomly?”, asked Minsky. “I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play”, Sussman said.
Minsky then shut his eyes. “Why do you close your eyes?”, Sussman asked his teacher.
“So that the room will be empty.”
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

Criptfeind

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2010, 04:38:42 pm »


Yeah... That's almost like saying you are not a true atheist for not boycotting churches or whatnot.
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Criptfeind

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2010, 04:39:23 pm »

Arguments That Are Not Original

"This Thread Will Never Get Anywhere"

Fuuuu you ruined my argument.
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Realmfighter

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Re: Atheism Redux
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2010, 04:40:31 pm »

Religion hurts no one, and it gives people harmless pleasure.

Don't be a dick.
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We may not be as brave as Gryffindor, as willing to get our hands dirty as Hufflepuff, or as devious as Slytherin, but there is nothing, nothing more dangerous than a little too much knowledge and a conscience that is open to debate
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