Watch This Video and You’ll Totally Find God October 30, 2010

Watch This Video and You’ll Totally Find God

Be careful watching this video by June Hunt of Hope for the Heart. It’s gonna change your mind about that whole “atheism” thing:

Yep. Convinced me. I’d never ever ever ever heard that argument before.

Time to burn this website and turn my life around.

I appreciate how Jason Boyett, a Christian, is *facepalming* this whole thing:

… it occurs to me that, using the same logic, the same isn’t-your-knowledge-pretty-limited? circle-drawing approach would be just as effective in forcing a Christian to consider that Allah could be the true god and Islam the one true religion. Because couldn’t some form of truth exist outside that which think we know?

It could also force us to admit that Norse mythology could an accurate worldview. Or that Joseph Smith and his Mormon faith were true. Or that Mictlantecuhtli, the skeletal Aztec god of death who wears a necklace of human eyeballs, could possible exist in a horrible afterlife somewhere outside our limited range of knowledge.

Know any Christians who are just a few quick questions away from making those leaps? Me neither. Then why do we expect atheists to be ready to do the same?

We’ve heard it all before. Evangelists don’t have any new tactics and the scripts they follow are cringe-worthy. Someone actually thought that would work!

How weak to you have to be to fall for such awful logic…?

Side note: As she held up that paper with a giant circle on it, I wanted to be right there next to her, so I could draw some noodly appendages on it.

(via O Me of Little Faith)

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  • “No, really… just think about this….”

    (draws circles and more circles)

    Wow… AMWAY is totally the way to go.

  • Kristian Gore

    She doesn’t know what an atheist is. I’m an atheist because I see no evidence of the existence of 1 or more gods. The only thing I am certain of is that the god as described in the bible, torah, or quran makes no sense. Also that no holy book has described 1 or more gods in any way that would make me believe that 1 or more gods exist. I don’t rule out the possibility of one or more gods, I only rule out the possibility of any that have been described thus far. Does god exist? Not likely. Do I need to impose a supernatural force onto the universe to explain it? I have no need to do so. As an atheist I don’t know is an acceptable answer to things I don’t know.

  • NewEnglandBob

    Just have a theist draw a circle of all the knowledge that is shown by evidence or logic or reason that comes from all religions and not from fantasy or books written by ignorant bronze age or iron age humans.

    Oh wait; there is no circle that can be drawn because there is no knowledge to be contained within.

  • Matt

    Wait a second, lets zoom in on the circle of the atheist so it fills the page. Now within that circle of everything the atheist knows of the universe currently, make a pin prick. This pin prick represents the total knowledge of the men who wrote the bible. Why would any intelligent modern day person take the rants from that pin prick seriously?

  • The kicker is that she really just wants to sell you the book she held up at the end. Her argument has nothing to do with truth, it has to do with her cash flow.

  • hipopotamo

    In order to avoid this “gotcha” moments from theists, I usually describe myself as “technically” an agnosthic but an atheist in practice.
    I then explain that since I cannot prove there is no god, and that I should acknowledge the possibility that some paranormal entity of sorts can exist, I am technically an agnosthic.
    Then I proceed to tell them that since, so far, and consistently, the evidence I have strongly suggest the non-existance of gods, I take it as “fact” and thus, I am an atheist in practice.

    Hopte his makes sense =)

    Cheers from the Hippo

  • jose

    Shorter:
    You don’t know everything. Therefore, God exists.

  • Atheism isn’t the position that there is no god. It is the position that we have no belief in gods. When are these Christians going to get that?

    Is it possible that God exists outside your circle of knowledge? Yes. I just don’t believe that there is a god. I might be wrong but I do not believe that I am…obviously.

    Are you a seeker of truth? Sure, I just don’t believe in one truth for all questions. Nor do I believe that claims to the truth should be respected. We’re always finding that what we once assumed was the truth is now out of date. I find such an assumption as a claim to ultimate truth to be narrow minded and rather silly.

  • Carlos Marrero

    She starts with a classical mistake:

    Not believing god exists =/= Believe god does not exist

    By the way, is it even logical to believe a negative? (To believe that god does not exist.)

    >>NewEnglandBob
    Of course you can draw that circle! It will look an awful lot like a dot, tho…

  • hipopotamo

    I double-checked my post and still a typo went unnoticed. Oh well…

    Cheers

  • jay

    I would have drawn a circle that would have almost eclipsed the total knowledge circle. Not because I am arrogant, but because the knowledge in question is not one of pure content (such that we could simply find the answer sitting in a book that we haven’t yet read) but one of critical reason. Critical reason has never failed to completely demolish any argument for God i’ve ever heard. And wouldn’t the best arguments be ubiquitous, such that someone concerned about these issues simply be unable to avoid hearing them (hence, my very large circle in her circle)? What kills me though is that she calls Joe Christian’s circle a truth that is somehow more valid than Nephew Atheists truth circle. Finally, all knowledge is probabilistic, and (very) low probability of truth does not (should not) lend itself to belief. That is atheism. Agnosticism is truly a 50-50 proposition, where the answer is viewed as unknowable and the question irrelevant. And another thing – the jump from “A god” to “The Christian God” is so ridiculous. From the prospect of omnipotent creator to…this particular creator dude with all the fairy tale stories.

    Its funny how smug she is with her own perceived cleverness. Unfortunately, I bet this logic works on many many people.

  • EnricoS

    Reverse her argument:
    Draw a circle that represents your knowledge of all the known knowledge available. (She draws a little tiny circle)

    Then ask, you believe that God exists inside your tiny circle of known knowledge and experience correct? (She answers yes.)

    Is it possible that he does NOT exist outside of your little circle? (She answers yes, I suppose its possible.)

    Aha! You’re not really a theist, your an agnostic!

    Tadaaaaah

  • sailor

    I would like to hear HIS description of this same discussion.

  • Positing an actual god in the first place is nothing more than leftovers from ancient, superstitious and ignorant humans. That a god has been posited in the past, does not mean that the idea still has merit. As far as I can see, there is literally no reason to posit a god. Would a god be the most logical conclusion at a time when humans know so much more about the universe, and our own planet and origins? Does the lack of perfect knowledge of these origins require a filler named God? I don’t see why.

    Humans continue to carry the god memes around as though they hold value. Obviously, they don’t, as we see little difference in the actions of average humans within their societies. It’s those on the tails of the distribution that cause all of the chaos!

    Gods are an excuse, not an answer.

  • Grimalkin

    I like how she uses the phrase “God doesn’t live in this circle, God lives over here.” Okay, so if we draw the big circle of all knowledge, and the Christian draws their little circle, the God X will obviously be inside their circle, right?

    Where does their knowledge live? Their knowledge lives in their mind. Since the God X is in their knowledge circle, that means that God lives in their minds…

    In any case, I have yet to encounter a single argument in favour of God that couldn’t be so broadly applied that it becomes meaningless.

    PS: If she’s found this method to be so successful, couldn’t she have found one of her newly-converted ex-Atheist friends to be on the show with her? Why are all her successes suspiciously absent?

  • Ken McKnight

    According to the standard definition, God is omnipresent. So, if He is not inside the little circle He cannot be present anywhere else. Therefore, God does not exist. QED

  • JD

    Same tired arguments. Reminds me of thordaddy that we had making flailing arguments about something that they can’t prove and can’t make a good argument about why their religion is the one to chose. Even the ability to string together fancy words doesn’t make a worthwhile argument. What do we expect from a philosophically illiterate populace?

  • HamsterWheel

    Hipopotamo, there is no need to put a disclaimer of agnosticism on one’s status as an atheist. To concede that you cannot disprove the existence of a god is to grant legitimacy to the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof. No one has ever shown any reasonable, compelling evidence for the existence of gods, just as no one has ever shown any reasonable compelling evidence for the existence of leprechauns. It would be absurd to say that you are agnostic with regard to the existence of leprechauns, and calling oneself agnostic is just conceding to theistic sophistry.

  • jose

    Atheism isn’t the position that there is no god. It is the position that we have no belief in gods. When are these Christians going to get that?

    Actually I as an atheist don’t get it either.

  • G

    I understand the difference between “I have no belief in gods” versus “there are nod gods”, but I don’t speak the difference to people. When someone “discovers” that I am an atheist, I tell them the latter. From experience, any conversation where I explain how I have found no evidence or logical argument for the existence of a god ends with the person telling me an argument or anecdote they are convinced I have never heard before.
    It has been over a decade since I’ve heard an original one. Even this straw man demonstration is action-packed with the same smug assertions I’ve heard countless times.

  • Gavin

    You have to wonder if the guy had immediately turned the argument around on her, would she have admitted to being close-minded or that she is not a seeker of truth, because chances are very good that she would not find her own argument convincing and run off to study atheism and alternative religions.

  • Someone help, I’m converting!

    Oh my god.

  • I always enjoy watching arguments like this. They’re the main reason why I’m an atheist today!

    Christian evangelists, keep on making more atheists!

  • Brian-sama

    I despise this woman’s use of the same old tired talking points that we have all heard before, particularly when the “arguments” can just as easily be applied to any religion or other bit of “knowledge.” As an English teacher, I make sure that my students understand not to present their arguments as though they’re saying something revolutionary, something that nobody in history has ever thought of before. Why don’t these people realize that they aren’t contributing to the conversation?

    Even worse, though, is that she’s terribly insulting in this video, as shown in what she claims to have said to her nephew: “I’m very interested in your conclusion – why you think you’re an atheist.” First, she isn’t interested in his conclusion. If she were, she would actually be open to his arguments, rather than bringing out tired old rhetoric and laughable “diagrams” to shut him down. She wants him to be open-minded, but she has no desire to hear his actual views. Second, she treats atheism as though it is a childish phase, something that people pass through because they aren’t certain of themselves.

    Lady, I know I’m an atheist, and I know precisely why I’ve taken that label. Your religion – any religion – is absurd. Even if we took away all of the horrible things done in the name of religion, even if we took away the fact that it was a method for controlling people in early illiterate societies, and only left it with all of the good things it has done, I would say hate the fact that its very existence perpetuates lies, bigotry, and fear. Religion of any sort is the very antithesis of a logical and rational mind, and is ultimately one of the biggest barriers towards progress of any sort in this world.

  • Claudia

    I want that book. It must be laugh out loud funny. Hemant, could you get it and post some bits out of it?

    Hell, I might get it myself just for fun. It would cost me 24 bucks; 6 for the book, and 12 for the FFRF donation I’d have to give in penance for giving money to these folks.

  • I love how often that Psalms verse is brought up. The first thing I would do if I was propping myself up as the only God would be to tell the ones I’d already conned that those who didn’t believe in me were fools. DUH.

  • Why do we keep letting these people twist basic definitions? Agnostic is not something “in between” theist and atheist. There isn’t anything in between theist and atheist. Either you believe that crap or you don’t. Any atheist as well as any honest theist is also agnostic. Those are not exclusive…

  • Serenity

    it’d be funny if she wasn’t so sincere…(kinda like jesus camp… *shudder*) and since I know there are people in my family that would totally give me that if they were more articulate than saying “that its just so” and trying to quote random stuff from the bible… -_-

  • noen

    “Atheism isn’t the position that there is no god. It is the position that we have no belief in gods. When are these Christians going to get that?”

    Never, because your definition of atheism is false. Not even professional philosophers accept the internet atheist meme that they merely “lack belief”.

    The video is idiotic but then elderly evangelical women are pretty low hanging fruit aren’t they?

  • captsam

    Ken McKnight, very well put.

  • Logician

    Her knowledge set evidently doesn’t include Venn diagrams. Even most theologians now admit that the existence of god is outside the realm of knowledge and is purely a matter of belief. Both the beliefs of the existence and non-existence of god are outside the circle of knowledge or even of the larger set of what is knowable. Hence, her argument is merely demonstrative of her ignorance.

  • jose

    Psalms 14:1: “If you don’t agree with me, you’re dumb!

    Psalms 14:2 should say: “And you’re ugly too!!”

  • noen

    Brian-sama Says:
    Why don’t these people realize that they aren’t contributing to the conversation?

    Why do you choose to present these people as if they were part of the conversation? Where on this blog do atheists fully and honestly engage the philosophical history of metaphysics instead of singling out semi-literate fundamentalists and propping them up as it they represented all Christians let alone all religious people?

    Religion of any sort is the very antithesis of a logical and rational mind, and is ultimately one of the biggest barriers towards progress of any sort in this world.

    Typical atheist religious strawman. You are no different than she is. Just like her you spout your received script as if you are saying something profound. You are every bit as ignorant as she is. You are a True Believer, just like she is. The only real difference is the content of your beliefs.

  • Steve

    Thats not a very round circle!

  • jose

    Atheism isn’t the position that there is no god. It is the position that we have no belief in gods. When are these Christians going to get that?

    Actually I as an atheist don’t get it either.

    Really? Fair enough but I’ve always considered it self evident. We atheists aren’t making a claim. We aren’t asserting that there definitely isn’t any sort of deity anywhere in the universe because we don’t know that this is the case. We may be pretty sure but the claim to knowledge is not being made. Rather it is the theists assertions that their particular deity exists that we are skeptical of. They are the ones making the claim, they are the ones who fail over and over again to support their assertions with evidence or reason.

    Of course in every day usage there really isn’t a practical difference between saying that no gods exist (as a statement of belief) and saying that you don’t believe in gods. For me though I’m just so sick of having some smart arse asking me to prove that there isn’t a god that I don’t even bother saying that there isn’t one. I just say that I don’t believe them. That way I can be the irritating smart arse and twirl my villainous (and imaginary) moustache at them.

  • Eliza

    OMG, how totally precious that she constrains her god to a little circle completely contained within the bigger circle of all of human knowledge

    …leaving plenty of room for many other little circles representing other religious constructs developed over the history of humankind

    …and implying that her god is completely effable and has nothing to do with the rest of human knowledge, and faith is not required for belief…not much of a theologian, is she?

    (which god among the many was she talking about, anyway??)

  • ATL-Apostate

    Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure there are many on here who can and will):

    Agnostic refers to knowledge. When one is agnostic, he or she simply does not have the knowledge about whatever subject is in question. Being agnostic with regards to god’s existence, simply means you have no knowledge of said existence.

    Atheism refers to one’s position with regard to “belief” in a god. You either have belief, theism, or you lack it, atheism. You can have theism or atheism without “gnosis” (knowledge). A rational person tends to form his or her beliefs based on his or her knowledge.

    Most theists won’t accept the label agnostic because they confuse it with a statement about belief.

    Dan Barker does a pretty job laying this distinction out in his book “Godless.”

    Me personally, I’m an atheist with regard to belief in god, but agnostic with regard to knowledge of god’s existence. In other words, I don’t have any knowledge that a god or god’s exist (agnostic), therefore I don’t believe in one (atheist).

  • noen

    Why do you choose to present these people as if they were part of the conversation? Where on this blog do atheists fully and honestly engage the philosophical history of metaphysics instead of singling out semi-literate fundamentalists and propping them up as it they represented all Christians let alone all religious people?

    Greta Christina wrote a wonderful article about this very topic. To save you the time of reading it though I’ll sum up: arguments that stink aren’t any better because they some from experts. All the expert has is a greater depth and breadth of knowledge of the subject. That doesn’t make a bad argument good. At best it might make it look a bit prettier.

  • noen

    hoverfrog Says:
    We atheists aren’t making a claim.

    Yes you are. You are making the claim that theism should be rejected for X reasons.

    We aren’t asserting that there definitely isn’t any sort of deity anywhere in the universe because we don’t know that this is the case.

    That is agnosticism, not atheism. Atheism is the denial of the existence of god. I’ve never met any atheist anywhere who actually believed that it might in fact be the case that god exists. They have a real positive belief that god does not exist because theists have failed to prove he/she does exist.

    Definition:
    “Atheism proceeds on the assumption that god does not exist on the basis that theists have failed to prove their claim.”

    The above definition has a propositional content. Namely that god does not exist.

    On second thought, maybe you all should stick with ignorant evangelical housewives. That way you can debate with your equals.

  • noen

    We atheists aren’t making a claim.

    Yes you are. You are making the claim that theism should be rejected for X reasons.

    No, we’re really not. That is anti-theism and that is very different from atheism. Personally I also hold to the position that organised religion is about the stupidest idea ever to have been accepted by humanity but that really isn’t want atheism means. If you can’t see the difference then I can explain with examples and maybe even some pictures.

    That is agnosticism, not atheism.

    Read ATL-Apostate comment above my previous one for clarification on this point.

    Atheism is the denial of the existence of god.

    No, it really isn’t. I do not deny the existence of gods. I merely have no belief in gods. Actually I cannot deny the existence on gods because I am yet to hear a definition of “god” that has any kind of meaning to it. I would require such a definition in order to reject “god”. As I do not have one I can neither accept nor deny any claims to knowledge regarding gods. I still don’t believe in them though.

    I’ve never met any atheist anywhere who actually believed that it might in fact be the case that god exists.

    Have you bothered to ask?

    Definition:
    “Atheism proceeds on the assumption that god does not exist on the basis that theists have failed to prove their claim.”

    [citation required]. My dictionary (I love my dictionary, it is full of such clever definitions) is a bit more thorough. I won’t post the whole thing but I will point you to a discussion on the topic here.

  • I wish I could meet theists like this when I’m feeling peevish.

    My answer:
    1. Draw an ‘x’ in the big circle and draw a small circle around it saying “here is someone and the knowledge they have interpreted so that it convinces them that Allah (or Vishnu take your pick) really exists.”

    2. Draw a slightly larger circle inside the big circle and place 1 ‘x’ in it saying “here is you and the sum of your knowledge including the knowledge that you’ve interpreted to prove that allah doesn’t exist.”

    3. Draw a second’x’ in the circle “and here is the knowledge that you’ve interpretated to convince yourself that the god of christianity really exists”

    4. “Do you know the entire sum total of human knowledge?” (after no) then how do you know that the knowledge that proves that the christian god doesn’t exist isn’t out here in the rest of human knowledge? Isn’t that possible?

    5. a) (She agrees) So if the muslim can’t be sure with ‘facts’ that allah exists and you can’t be sure with your ‘facts’ that the god of christianity exists then aren’t you an agnostic as well? And since you agree that a search for truth is noble, shouldn’t you consider the evidence of atheism to see if it can help you answer the question of god’s existance-you can’t arbitrarily reject any aspect of human knowledge if you are unsure, can you?

    5. b) (She disagrees) So you disagree with the idea that one can’t come to a definite conclusion about the existence of god without considering all human knowledge?

    So just as you claim it is valid for you to reject allah on the basis of the subset of facts you possess, wouldn’t you have to grant that it is also valid for me to make the claim to reject both allah and christ on the basis of the subset of facts that I have?

    6. Keep using the circle to address claims to special revelation, personal experience, etc. until she gives up or talks herself hoarse.

    The image of Captain Kirk making the computer smoke and sputter as it tries to calculate pi to the last digit comes to mind. 🙂

  • noen

    hoverfrog Says:
    Greta Christina wrote a wonderful article about this very topic.

    Greta Christina is an ideological thug who does little more than spout atheist dogma as if it were the word of god. She is the quintessential atheist fundamentalist. Her god is the great god of Science in which she has an unshakable faith in it’s absolute truth.

    She is incapable of thinking for herself. What she can do however is preach to the faithful community of true believers that cite her trash opinions as if they were the gilded truth.

    To save you the time of reading it though I’ll sum up: arguments that stink aren’t any better because they some from experts.

    Linking to a porn writer with a… wait for it… degree in journalism… is hardly impressive. Sarah Palin has a degree too. I go to the time and effort of presenting a real argument and all you do is link to a journalist who writes for trashy publications.

    WHY do those arguments stink? Can you possibly formulate a response? One of your very own based on your own thoughts and extensive reading of the relevant literature? How about it? Or are you just another internet atheist who doesn’t really know what he’s talking about but can link to others.

  • Guys, can we please not feed the troll?

  • Hazor

    Jetson wrote:

    Positing an actual god in the first place is nothing more than leftovers from ancient, superstitious and ignorant humans. That a god has been posited in the past, does not mean that the idea still has merit. As far as I can see, there is literally no reason to posit a god. Would a god be the most logical conclusion at a time when humans know so much more about the universe, and our own planet and origins? Does the lack of perfect knowledge of these origins require a filler named God? I don’t see why.

    The issue is that people are still that ignorant – yeah, our collective knowledge is vast, but the majority of the population have little knowledge of it, much less understanding. And I don’t know about elsewhere, but, as you’re surely aware, the education system in the US isn’t exactly a shining example of how to create an informed populace – a significant portion of our science teachers still think evolution is unfounded, for example. And beyond compulsory education, my cell biology professor last year lamented that even her graduate students couldn’t explain the scientific method.

  • noen, aw did Greta annoy you with her arguments? Diddums.

    I go to the time and effort of presenting a real argument

    Where? Where are your real arguments for the existence of a deity? Present them, I bet we’ve all heard them before and found them wanting.

    This is why I lack belief in gods:
    1) the evidence does not lead to god
    2) god isn’t necessary to living
    3) the common arguments for god are not convincing
    4) the Problem of Evil remains unresolved
    5) science as a better way of explaining things
    6) there is a lack of meaning in the term “god”
    7) god belief exists as a function of the mind
    8) god belief exists as a function of society
    9) god is not apparent

    What arguments do you have for god existing? Or are you the troll that WMDKitty accuses you of being?

  • noen

    hoverfrog Says:
    No, we’re really not. That is anti-theism and that is very different from atheism.

    Anti-theism = atheism. That is what the word has always meant: “Those who reject the claims of religion.” To reject a thing is to take a stance in opposition with respect to that thing. Since theism is the assertion that god exists, atheism simply must be the assertion that god does not exist. There can be additional reasons and qualifications of that from “god does not exist” to “I reject he claim that god exists for the following reasons…” But when you get down to it they are pretty much the same.

    No, it really isn’t. I do not deny the existence of gods. I merely have no belief in gods.

    If what you are trying to say is that you have no opinion on the existence of god then you are not an atheist, you’re agnostic. But I suspect that like all atheists you really do have an opinion about god. You are not neutral because if you were you would… well… actually BE neutral, which you have not been.

    I think that you and most atheists in general, are just playing a little game. You want to be able to mock and ridicule others so you can feel superior but you don’t want to actually take a stand and have a real opinion about anything because then you might actually lose an argument.

    Atheists are cowards.

  • noen

    Anti-theism = atheism. That is what the word has always meant

    No. You are wrong. I’ve explained why. If you have a counter argument please present it. Repeating the same refuted point over and over again is tiresome and rather easy to refute with the same response.

    If what you are trying to say is that you have no opinion on the existence of god then you are not an atheist, you’re agnostic.

    I refer you to the answer I gave some moments ago when I referred you to ATL-Apostate comment. At least have the decency to try to understand the terms you are arguing against.

    I think that you and most atheists in general, are just playing a little game. You want to be able to mock and ridicule others so you can feel superior but you don’t want to actually take a stand and have a real opinion about anything because then you might actually lose an argument.

    Atheists are cowards.

    Sigh. Name calling? Really, so soon? You haven’t even presented a single coherent argument and you’ve already resorted to name calling.

  • noen

    hoverfrog Says:
    Where? Where are your real arguments for the existence of a deity?

    I’m agnostic so I have no desire to argue for god’s existence. My argument is that the internet meme that atheism is a “lack of belief” is deeply flawed.

    A second thesis of mine is that internet atheists and the so-called “New Atheists”, are ideological dogmatists who hold a fundamentalist view of truth and science.

    This is why I lack belief in gods:
    1) the evidence does not lead to god

    What evidence would you accept? If you are like most atheists then I would guess there is no evidence you could ever have that would point to a transcendental being who exists beyond space/time.

    2) god isn’t necessary to living

    Many theists would say that god is the very ground of Being without which our world could not exist.

    3) the common arguments for god are not convincing

    Neither are their refutations.

    4) the Problem of Evil remains unresolved

    I have to wonder how any atheist could even believe in some “thing” called Evil. All you can believe is that there are accidents (like floods) or else bad behavior (like murder) by humans.

    5) science as a better way of explaining things

    Oh please, prove to me that rape is morally wrong.

    6) there is a lack of meaning in the term “god”

    God is the ground of all Being.

    7) god belief exists as a function of the mind

    I doubt many theists would disagree with that.

    8. god belief exists as a function of society

    If belief in god is due to evolution then it must be adaptive. It must serve a valuable function in the survival of the human species or else it would have died out by now. Therefore, regardless of it’s truth, belief in god is necessary to our continued survival.

    9) god is not apparent

    Others claim god is apparent in their lives. At best all you can say is that god is not apparent to you.

  • Ste Rowley

    Rather than a seeker of truth a better response could be.

    “I’m a seeker of models that’s best fit our current scientific observations”

    But I spose that also open to foul play, maybe even more so.

  • jose

    “We atheists aren’t making a claim.”

    But I do make one.

    “We aren’t asserting that there definitely isn’t any sort of deity anywhere in the universe because we don’t know that this is the case.”

    But that’s not what I claim. I claim that with the information we’ve got, my conclusion is that God a human invention that serves to:
    – Make up for stuff we don’t know/understand.
    – Provide comfort when bad things happen to us.
    – Control people.

    Because that’s the one I find more reasonable and convincing. Of course I can be proven wrong. I’m not definitely and absolutely sure of anything, all knowledge (including this sentence) is susceptible to revision/improvement/demolition.

    “We may be pretty sure but the claim to knowledge is not being made.”

    Again, all I’m saying is “there is no God” is the most reasonable conclusion I’ve arrived at after looking at what we know. So I’m sticking to it until I find further info pointing elsewhere. I’m pretty sure by now, that’s true.

    “Rather it is the theists assertions that their particular deity exists that we are skeptical of.”

    Yes, but the reason I’m skeptical isn’t that God is unprovable, but rather that my explanations for what we see in the world are better.

  • noen

    hoverfroggy said:
    No. You are wrong. I’ve explained why. If you have a counter argument please present it. Repeating the same refuted point over and over again is tiresome and rather easy to refute with the same response.

    You are confused about the nature of argument. All you have done is to point to others and make statements. That is not argument. I have given arguments above.

    “Atheism refers to one’s position with regard to “belief” in a god. You either have belief, theism, or you lack it, atheism.”

    Belief is not a thing that someone can “have”. Belief is simply our acceptance of the truth value of a proposition. Theists hold that the proposition “god exists” is true. An atheist therefore must hold the contrary position (belief) that “god exists” is false.

    One cannot “lack” belief because belief is not a property of minds. It is a state in a true/false truth table. If you accept that the statement god exists is true then you said to believe in god but it isn’t something that you can “have”.

    If I am in love I don’t “have” love. I am in the state that we call love. Belief is a propositional attitude. It is not a thing.

  • Did anyone else notice when she said, “We have a God of intelligent design…”

    Even though She misspoke, it was the smartest thing she said.

    Neon – Do you believe in a god or gods?

    If your answer is no, then you are an atheist. Stop fighting with people you actually agree with.

  • Ste Rowley

    What evidence would you accept? If you are like most atheists then I would guess there is no evidence you could ever have that would point to a transcendental being who exists beyond space/time.

    Scientific proof. its really as simple as that give me scientific evidence that been verified independently and I’ll believe in your god. Its not a huge amount to ask for.

    Many theists would say that god is the very ground of Being without which our world could not exist.

    Why? because they don’t have any other answer. I don’t know who stole my bike should I say it was aliens?

    Neither are their refutations.

    Non of us refute there not god we miry say there no physical evidence so why believe in such a thing.

    Do you believe in Unicorns? I think your refutations are unconvincing.

    I have to wonder how any atheist could even believe in some “thing” called Evil. All you can believe is that there are accidents (like floods) or else bad behaviour (like murder) by humans.

    sound like a fair comment. Bad behaviour is a simplistic explanation with depth.

    Oh please, prove to me that rape is morally wrong.

    Human emotions are not logical. Nor are morals they can not proven. Just debated and a common agreement come to. Many religions include parts that justify rape.

    God is the ground of all Being.

    Why? Because you say so or someone thought you think so? Where your logic.

    I doubt many theists would disagree with that.

    Your agreeing with you then.

    If belief in god is due to evolution then it must be adaptive. It must serve a valuable function in the survival of the human species or else it would have died out by now. Therefore, regardless of it’s truth, belief in god is necessary to our continued survival.

    The rise of atheisms and agnosticism proved that the need for the need for a belief in god is necessary to survive in wrong.

    Others claim god is apparent in their lives. At best all you can say is that god is not apparent to you.

    The voices that someone who got schizophrenia are apparent to them does that make them exist.

    Some of answer are a bit simplistic and childish but so are yours.

    But to honest I know there not much point in replying to you because nothing we say is going to convince you of your beliefs.

    Sorry guys for feeding the troll

  • Sean

    God is the ground of all Being.

    Hahahahahaha.

    Ha.

    *snrk*

    ahehe

    OK, if someone could demonstrate that that concept (from Tillich, right? or someone still alive, like Haught?) is actually meaningful or useful to describe the world, to predict or explain anything I can experience, I’d be perfectly willing to call myself a believer in that.

    But to call that God is the most gross equivocation fallacy. I mean, God is already a pretty fuzzy idea. But to limit God to this abstract concept, which is different from what most believers think “God” is, is absurd. Religious people don’t usually believe in some vague abstraction with no anthropomorphic features. The vast majority of people out there (including most Muslims, Catholics, and Christian evangelicals) think God is a conscious person who writes books and controls people’s fates both before and after they die, and sometimes talks to believers if they listen the right way.

    I’m fine with you wanting to call yourself an agnostic, but do you live your life as if a polygamist in the Middle East was visited by an angel of God 1400 years ago? No? How about that a man who temporarily died 2000 years ago is watching you and preparing an afterlife? No? Are you trying to realize that your ego is an illusion, dissolving the self in order to attain Nirvana? If not, whatever we call ourselves, neither of us takes traditional religion all that seriously in our daily lives. The difference is that I’d like to be forthright and simply acknowledge that many believers do things that look really, really silly.

  • Matt

    Pathetic.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    hipopotamo:

    In order to avoid this “gotcha” moments from theists, I usually describe myself as “technically” an agnosthic but an atheist in practice.

    Bertrand Russell did a similar thing, and made the point that he could no more disprove the existence of the Homeric gods than he could the capital-G “God,” which made him technically an agnostic, but to an ordinary man on the street, he tended to describe himself as an atheist, since he obviously did not believe in any gods, Homeric, Abrahamic, or otherwise.

    One thing I’d say to that woman is that while my knowledge is limited, it does include knowledge of the Bible and its flaws, and those flaws make the existence of her God improbable. She also makes the mistake of assuming that agnostics are wishy-washy or on the fence, neglecting the tongue-in-cheekily named “militant agnostics,” who would say to that woman, “I don’t know and neither do you.”

  • Edmond

    Arrgh!! Videos like this are so frustrating! I just wanted to jump through the screen and say “Your nephew was the WRONG person to talk to. Ask ME your questions!”. Then I wanted to find the NEPHEW and say “You gave her TERRIBLE answers!”. Then I wondered if he even really exists, and if she just invented the whole misguided conversation. Then I realized that I wanted that stupid BOOK! Oh well, maybe someone will make a rebuttal video, and I can just laugh at that. I sure laughed at THIS, so it wasn’t a TOTAL loss.

  • I believe Neon may be a little too reliant on Boolean logic. Things are not just one way or their opposite.

  • KF

    Her argument is flawed because her “circle of knowledge” seems to apparently contain only definitive factual knowledge, not myth and misinformation. She thinks her faith in God is a piece of factual knowledge that she’s hit upon that all the atheists haven’t. If there’s really something outrageously and undeniably compelling, by all means enlighten me. But this woman doesn’t have it, no one does. For all that people cherish it, religious faith is really a crutch to get by when you don’t have facts.

    Like others on this site have said, this argument could so easily be turned on its head. Just draw a circle containing all knowledge (reality AND myth). When the believer draws their small circle representing their limited experiences and knowledge ask if its possible some of it is total crap, and why is their religious belief different from all the other wacky religions that came before?

    The fact that the case for the existence of a God (supposedly the most omnipresent, intelligent, and powerful thing in the universe) is so weak that you need to convince people with simple line drawings is pathetic. Why isn’t the proof for this supposedly omnipresent force so overwhelming that no one could deny it in the first place? Anyone can tell you that the sky is blue and that water is wet, but for some reason the nature of God (supposedly the most powerful and essential thing in the universe) is elusive. That says a lot.

    p.s.: At least she was nice and reached out with a bit of kindness. That’s more than we can say of some Christians.

  • I love the way the woman in the video goes through the whole Deist argument and then jumps right to a “personal God” at the end as if there was any way to jump right from deism to that particular version of theism.

    Bottom line: she is not a sincere seeker of truth.

  • Another rebuttal to this (along with the one based on the false starting point of atheists believing something) is that you can’t draw just one circle for all knowledge as a valid start of an analogy. You need to draw an amazing number of overlapping circles (spheres would be more accurate), each of which would be knowledge in a specific area. The one for religion and/or gods would be the same size as the one for an atheist’s knowledge of it. There would be no room for an “unknown” god to fit outside of an atheist’s knowledge of the subject.

  • @noen

    If you accept that the statement god exists is true then you said to believe in god but it isn’t something that you can “have”.

    If I am in love I don’t “have” love. I am in the state that we call love. Belief is a propositional attitude. It is not a thing.

    You can “have” belief, it’s just the way the English language uses the word. In Spanish, for example, if you were to literally translate what in English would be “I am hot,” it would be “I have heat” in Spanish.

    I, like may others, have no beliefs. My atheism is simply a subset of an absence of belief–in anything. I do not believe [fill in the blank]. I am not a believer.

    Believers, on the other hand, do believe. It is a different state of mind. If you make a claim that something is true or not true, you must provide the proof. If I accept it, I know or think it, not believe it.

    Belief is the acceptance of a position regardless of evidence one way or the other. I, like many others, think that is a seriously flawed state of mind and take pains to avoid it. Trying to thrust a belief on a non-believer is only a way to try and drag someone into a domain that you can try and attack. But, since the attempt is based on a falsehood, any claim made from that point is irrelevant.

  • ckitching

    I love when people quote-mine Psalm 14:1. We always get the first sentence, but never the second.

    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

    Yet, if you call someone out on this, they’ll almost inevitably become evasive. Few seem to want to associate themselves with calling an atheist utterly corrupt and accuse them of doing abominable deeds, yet they use this passage.

  • noen, you’re an incredible ass.

    Where on this blog do atheists fully and honestly engage the philosophical history of metaphysics instead of singling out semi-literate fundamentalists and propping them up as it they represented all Christians let alone all religious people?

    Guess what? There is nothing fundamentally different between them. More philosophically complicated assertions are still just assertions and have no more merit than flat assertions from thick-skulled fools like the woman in this video – and like you.

    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

    Meanwhile, I have said it with my mouth.

  • AxeGrrl

    hoverfrog, thanks for posting that link to Greta answers some theologians!

    Definitely a keeper ~ there are very few more articulate and cogent than Greta 🙂

  • jolly

    What age do you think her ‘nephew’ (who I doubt exists) would be? 6 or 7? By 8 they are probably too smart for those questions although they may be too polite or threatened to answer assertively to their aunt. If I was that nephew’s parent, that woman wouldn’t be left alone with my kid, the stupid might rub off.

  • 7fta

    That’s so funny Raytheist, Amway was the first thing that came to mind when she started drawing circles!

  • Mictlantecuhtli, the skeletal Aztec god of death who wears a necklace of human eyeballs, could possible exist in a horrible afterlife somewhere outside our limited range of knowledge.

    “damn today’s media. i never get any fucking respect.” -Pazuzu, Sumerian demon god of really awful things.

  • i knew this would be a fun thread. sucks to be a 3rd shift type; i never get to banter with any of you all real time, sigh.

    “We atheists aren’t making a claim.”

    But I do make one.

    “We aren’t asserting that there definitely isn’t any sort of deity anywhere in the universe because we don’t know that this is the case.”

    But that’s not what I claim. I claim that with the information we’ve got, my conclusion is that God a human invention that serves to:
    – Make up for stuff we don’t know/understand.
    – Provide comfort when bad things happen to us.
    – Control people.

    i think i adore you, but i must be way too old for you. you forgot:

    4. make Money, with two OOs.

  • Oh please, prove to me that rape is morally wrong.

    this is a door, forever closing on anything more you ever have to say. wow. sorry, kids. i wuz fooled and didn’t know how deep the evil ran in this one. my bad.

  • AxeGrrl

    i couldn’t have said it better, chicago dyke.

  • gsw

    Actually, her drawing proves that HER god cannot exist.
    Since HER god is omnipresent, if he existed he would fill the large circle – and therefore also be in her nephew’s small circle.
    Since he is not – he cannot be omnipresent – therefore he cannot exist.

  • @chicago dyke

    Whoa. Where did he say that?

    And, in answer: rape is morally wrong because you are removing the victim’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. And that’s without getting into the physical, emotional, and mental damage that is done.

  • noen

    My argument is that the internet meme that atheism is a “lack of belief” is deeply flawed.

    Then present your argument. I’m an agnostic atheist. I have no belief in gods but do not claim to know this for certain.

    A second thesis of mine is that internet atheists and the so-called “New Atheists”, are ideological dogmatists who hold a fundamentalist view of truth and science.

    That’s just nonsense. Good luck proving that.

    What evidence would you accept?

    I have a list actually. Essentially though I apply the same standards of evidence to “gods” as I do to anything else that isn’t apparent. Start by defining your terms, create a tentative hypothesis, devise experiments or observations to support the hypothesis, gather counter evidence and test it against the hypothesis. Reject or refine the hypothesis accordingly. Rinse and repeat.

    Many theists would say that god is the very ground of Being without which our world could not exist.

    They might make such an assertion but where is the evidence?

    I have to wonder how any atheist could even believe in some “thing” called Evil.

    The problem of evil is a theistic problem, not an atheistic one. Look it up.

    Oh please, prove to me that rape is morally wrong.

    Really? See the previous comment by WMDKitty.

    God is the ground of all Being.

    That isn’t meaningful.

  • Hitch

    I’d agree that noen has proven himself to lack all mirror neurons.

    It’s a sad thing to see believers who literally do not understand that people are people with or without superstitions.

    Violent crime incarcerations, incidentally, in the US is drastically lower for atheists than for believers. Go figure.

    But who cares about body autonomy, when God owns you anyway. Once you are over with this miserly test of existence you get to sing and praise til your vocal cords pop in His Glory. And if you happened to be working class, single and had to raise twins that you got from the rape incident and who inherited deviant personality traits from their dad, praise the Lord for His Love, Wisdom and Mercy. When they all are dead they can sing together for the wonders they were given, standing right next to their dad, who embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and was born again later in his life, while always thinking that he was fine to impose his will, fantasies and needs on others. He became an ardent “pro-lifer” forcing women to bear children under any and all circumstances so he could feel sanctimonious. After all it his and God’s will, and His Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

    (and yes this last paragraph is only for people with a working sarcasm meter)

  • jose

    WMDKitty yeah but the point he’s making is: how can you tell what’s right and what’s wrong if the big man in the sky doesn’t tell you? All we humans do is contingent and temporary, nothing we do is absolute. But isn’t morality supposed to be eternal and absolute?

    Actually no, it isn’t. Morality is temporary and contingent as everything else we do. That doesn’t mean we have doubts about what’s right and what’s wrong now, during our short span of time on this earth. Birds used to have teeth in the past, now they don’t: the teeth were temporary, and yet, we can certainly say when a bird has teeth and when it hasn’t.

    This guy picks one example that has been considered the same way throughout history and makes his case based on it, which is like saying all humans have always had hair, therefore hair is eternal and absolute and it comes from some hairy God. However everyone can think of stuff that used to be moral but no longer is. They had slaves in Athens, the home of the great philosophers!

    Also, thinking of morality as an aspect of culture, we can find different morals in other cultures. Think of how differently America and Europe see the role of government–just an example.

    PS: I’ve tried to use big, adult sounding words just to prove chicago dyke I’m not too young, or at least not as young as I used to be.

  • cat

    Shit like this makes me want to make epistemology classes mandatory. “Define knowledge, please.” and “If you definition of knowledge is so strict that to ‘know’ something is not true, you must be able to prove it logically self inconsistent, then you have virtually no knowledge either, which does not really give you the high ground, hm?” Language is generally referential. I can say, using the definition of knowledge as it is colloquially used, that I know their are no gods. Let’s talk knowledge in terms of standards of proof. I think I know there is no Christian god beyond a reasonable doubt (there is no reasonable reason to think such a thing exists). Certain other gods, such as Shinto gods, I know do not exist with clear and convincing evidence. You want to know what will convince me your god X exists? Prove it beyond a preponderance of the evidence, the lowest standard of proof used in a court room. Come on, just show me that it is more likely than not your god X exists, and I am game. I am even giving the theist a lower burden of proof than I think I have myself, so they should just suck it up and give some real damned evidence.

    To be fair though, I would have derailed the lady in the video on the ‘open minded’ question and the issue of ‘seeker of truth’ as well. What does that mean ‘seeker of truth’? And how does one seek truth (which, inevitably brings me back to the question of evidence).

  • cat

    “I am even giving the theist a lower burden of proof than I think I have myself” Oops, make that ‘think I have met myself’, because my burden is not higher.

  • noen

    Jeff P Says:
    I believe Neon may be a little too reliant on Boolean logic. Things are not just one way or their opposite.

    It is a constant source of amazement to me how atheists will change their argument to suit the outcome. As an agnostic I’ve been told many times by atheists the belief is binary. You either believe or you don’t believe, god either exists or he doesn’t exist.

    The statement “god exists” is true or false, period. But our attitude towards that statement is where there is room for nuance.

    MikeTheInfidel Says:
    noen, you’re an incredible ass.

    […]

    Guess what? There is nothing fundamentally different between them. More philosophically complicated assertions are still just assertions and have no more merit than flat assertions from thick-skulled fools like the woman in this video – and like you.

    Again, this is not an argument, this is just your claim and you have not provided anything resembling a rational defense of your claim. I, on the other hand, have given a rational logical defense for my claim. If you like I could put them into the formal language of the predicate calculus for you but then I doubt you’d understand that.

    chicago dyke Says:
    this is a door, forever closing on anything more you ever have to say. wow. sorry, kids. i wuz fooled and didn’t know how deep the evil ran in this one. my bad.

    The point here being that the atheist, that would be you, has no means of grounding their deeply felt sense of morality, that would be your outrage here, in objective reality. That is called moral realism and it has been dead ever since Nietzsche.

    If you object to my saying that the atheist has no basis for his or her believe that things like rape or murder are objectively wrong then do please show me where Nietzsche made his error.

    That intense feeling of outrage that you have at what I said… that is the Christian morality in you talking. And you should note that your outrage should be directed at that atheist Nietzsche. I just borrowed his argument to prove that you are the real Christian here, I am the atheist arguing against your Christian belief that morality is objective and absolute.

    You’re a hypocrite chicago dyke. You want to be able to criticize religion and still keep your Christian morality. You can’t have it.

    WMDKitty Says:
    Whoa. Where did he say that?

    I’m not a he, I’m a woman and yes I did say it.

    And, in answer: rape is morally wrong because you are removing the victim’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. And that’s without getting into the physical, emotional, and mental damage that is done.

    Your belief that people have a right as individuals to self-determination is a uniquely Christian idea. It was Christianity that has promoted it and it is Christianity that you have to thank for the notion you have that individuals matter, which is an integral part of our culture.

    You need to prove that “bodily autonomy and self-determination” are objective values and not merely a subjective feeling.

  • jose

    noen, you are an agnostic and at the same time you think God gives you your sense of morality?

  • muggle

    Guys, can we please not feed the troll?

    Especially this particular troll that has shown time and time again that they are not open to discussion but just yelling that we are mean bullies for not believing. Frankly, Chicago Dyke’s right on the money in saying that the rape comment was so far over the line that it closes the book on any possible discussion. I mean, gawd’s the only reason for rape to be wrong? Would this be the same gawd that expects a woman to marry her rapist and become his virtual slave in a subservient role to him?

    This woman was silly and I doubt the nephew — who’ll you’ll note not only didn’t appear in this book commercial (it figures) but remained nameless, even on a first name only basis. By her logic, you could also do our trite counter arguments that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, an invisible pink unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster exist. I’d have thrown his noodly appendage at her just for fun and hit it up with a fervent ramen — that is if I could have kept a straight face. Eh, maybe even if I couldn’t.

    There is no god. God, by definition, could not exist. To be considered a god, it would have to be worthy of worship and to be worthy of worship, it would have to be all the things commonly claimed: creator of all that exists, an all-powerful protector and knowledge of everything (even outside that circle of human knowledge).

    In short, god — to be a god — would have to be perfect. Um, it’s kind of obvious that perfection does not exist. At least, if you’re sane.

    By protector, I am also implying that to be worthy of worship, it’d have to be all-good. A sadistic brute is not even worthy of respect, let alone worship. All-powerful and all-good is obviously non-existent not only with the problem of (okay, I won’t use the stupid word evil) bad shit existing. Not just with man’s inhumanity to man (and don’t give me the freaking devil; a perfect being could not have created either the devil or beings — human or otherwise — susceptible to being tempted by him) but natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornados.

    Hell, a perfect being, all-knowledgeable and all-powerful, would not have made a world in which the environment is destroyed just by living. There would be no waste product polluting it because a perfect being would not have made the mistake of creating waste.

    Shit (either literally or figuratively) exists; therefore, god doesn’t.

  • noen

    hoverfrog Says:
    Then present your argument. I’m an agnostic atheist. I have no belief in gods but do not claim to know this for certain.

    Please try to focus your attention. I’ve given it two or three times above. Scroll up.

    That’s just nonsense [the so-called “New Atheists”, are ideological dogmatists]. Good luck proving that.

    Sam Harris – pro torture, pro nuclear first strike on Iran, against freedom of speech, a neocon proto-fascist.

    Christopher Hitchens – pro torture until it was done to him. Anti-feminist, former far left Troskyite, now a right wing neocon proto-fascist.

    Richard Dawkins – The quintessential wealthy liberal elite. Glib and superficial outside of his area of expertise. Anti-freedom of religion, for the state taking children away from their parents and indoctrinating them in atheist ideology. Proponent for the “Brights” movement which is a eugenics based belief in “the natural superiority” of atheists.

    Pat Condel – right wing fascist, racist and bigot. Anti-democracy, anti-immigrant hatred. Possible early onset of senile dementia.

    “What evidence would you accept?”

    I have a list actually. Essentially though I apply the same standards of evidence to “gods” as I do to anything else that isn’t apparent.

    But since all believers would say that god is not of this world your claim that you would accept the same standards for god as for any other claim, that is an empty claim. The truth is that there could never be any real candidate for god for which you would accept any evidence because your presuppositions preclude that possibility from the start.

    The problem of evil is a theistic problem, not an atheistic one. Look it up.

    Then why did you cite it?

  • noen

    jose Says:
    WMDKitty yeah but the point he’s making is: how can you tell what’s right and what’s wrong if the big man in the sky doesn’t tell you? All we humans do is contingent and temporary, nothing we do is absolute. But isn’t morality supposed to be eternal and absolute?

    Actually no, it isn’t. Morality is temporary and contingent as everything else we do.

    Thank you for agreeing with me. Like you I also believe that morality is contingent, not absolute and that therefore rape is not an absolute moral prohibition.

    Also, thinking of morality as an aspect of culture, we can find different morals in other cultures.

    Yes we can. The Inuit practiced female infanticide and cannibalized their girl children when things got especially tough. From an evolutionary perspective it makes perfect sense. Those tribes that practiced infanticide and cannibalism survived the harsh conditions in the Arctic.

    And since their morality evolved to fit their environment infanticide and cannibalism must be morally praiseworthy right?

    RIGHT?

  • BlueRidgeLady

    I understand that for the woman in the video, going from “atheist” to “agnostic” might represent possibility (to eventually accept her god) but it’s being treated like “atheist” is a dirty word. I would like to ask her if agnostics go to hell 🙂

  • ACN

    Please stop feeding the forum troll.

  • noen

    jose Says:
    noen, you are an agnostic and at the same time you think God gives you your sense of morality?

    Try to pay attention and focus that vast intellect of yours. No, I think that Chicago Dyke’s moral sense that rape is objectively wrong is something that she, like many atheists, kept from her religious upbringing. Even those who were not raised Christian adopt the Christian morality of our dominant culture.

    Nietzschean moral nihilism is the only consistent atheist morality.

  • jose

    noen, let me repeat the question: you are an agnostic, and at the same time you think your sense of morality comes from God?

    I’m sorry, but from your messages I feel you’re attacking rather than defending your own position as agnostic.

  • noen

    muggle Says:
    Especially this particular troll that has shown time and time again that they are not open to discussion but just yelling that we are mean bullies for not believing.

    I calmly and rationally present clear arguments. You are the ones who are emoting all over the place.

    Frankly, Chicago Dyke’s right on the money in saying that the rape comment was so far over the line that it closes the book on any possible discussion. I mean, gawd’s the only reason for rape to be wrong?

    Nice to see you taking the Christian side of the debate.

    The question about whether or not rape is objectively wrong comes down to a question of moral realism. Are moral claims such as “rape is wrong” objectively true or not? It has long been the Christian view that our moral sense of right and wrong comes from god. Attempts by atheists to ground their morality in something other than a Law Giver have all failed.

    Sometimes atheists try to make evolution their law giver but this obviously fails. If morality evolves then we could have evolved with different morals and in fact many cultures have done just that.

    If you are going to be an atheist then you need to be consistent. If you reject god then you must reject moral realism.

    The fact that you and Chicago Dyke and others react in self righteous indignation simply shows me that you are not really atheists at all. You want to have your cake and eat it too. You want to deny god and still enjoy some of the things you’ve come to rely on that depend on a belief in god.

    You can’t have them. You cannot be an atheist and still believe that rape is objectively wrong.

    You must choose.

  • Jonas

    I say we non-believers need to reclaim an offensive Biblical Psalm. — “The Fool Says in his heart there is no God”

    Even a fool, has enough reason to see that there is a lack of evidence to conclude in existence of a God, such as the one described in the Bible, Torah, and Koran. — that is a Friend of the Egyptian Slaves, Father of Jesus, or other.

    A fool certainly does not have the background in Cosmology, or Astrophysics to discard the idea of a Deistic God. I could argue scientists can’t either. Though such a God is irrelevant to their profession. Such a God is not currently actively modifying laws of Physics to allow Miracles.

    Ms. Hunt shows that the definition of Atheist lies outside her circle of knowledge. An Atheist believes there is no God, or lacks a belief in gods. Agnostics do not know. One is about knowledge one is about belief. They are not mutually exclusive.

    I haven’t watched the Whole Video, got to the point where she’s saying “is it possible God lies outside your circle of knowledge…” — She’s using the Argument from Ignorance, for those who don’t recognize it.

  • Don

    Yeah, I’m gonna have to reamain an atheist for now.

    I’m still not convinced that “god” or “gods” exist. Even when I see an old bag drawing circles, or random internet trolls spouting off about their imaginary friends.

    Lots of things can be imagined, and believed by warped minds. It’s easy to pass on the insanity by teaching it to children.

    I have no reason to believe in any gods. It all seems so primitive, child-like, delusional, and pathetic.

    Why is there always some random asshat who disagrees with BOTH sides of the discussion? LMAO Gotta love the internet.

  • jose

    By the way, hasn’t this conversation happened already? I remember Richard Wade talking with noen about the scary sounding Nietzsche in some post recently.

  • noen

    jose Says:
    noen, let me repeat the question: you are an agnostic, and at the same time you think your sense of morality comes from God?

    No I don’t think it comes from god. Like anyone else I have a strong sense that my moral code is objectively true and true at all times and under almost all conditions. I think I got that from my upbringing as a liberal Christian.

    I’m sorry, but from your messages I feel you’re attacking rather than defending your own position as agnostic.

    No, I’m showing how atheists who retain a belief in moral realism still have a residual belief in god. I wish to expose your own hypocrisy. You say you don’t believe in a god but you still want to believe in things that depend on that belief.

    But if you think you can prove that “rape is wrong” is objectively true by all means go for it.

  • noen

    jose Says:
    By the way, hasn’t this conversation happened already? I remember Richard Wade talking with noen about the scary sounding Nietzsche in some post recently.

    Yes it has. I think that Nietzsche demolished moral realism for all time. It’s a powerful argument and you can’t blame me for using my best ammunition to counter your Christian morality can you?

  • Jonas

    I’m getting somewhat tired of this Morality defense of God.

    The question about whether or not rape is objectively wrong comes down to a question of moral realism. Are moral claims such as “rape is wrong” objectively true or not? It has long been the Christian view that our moral sense of right and wrong comes from god.

    I infer from it a claim that Humans with all there rationality, social structure, need for community can’t include empathy without calling on a Magical outsider.

    Attempts by atheists to ground their morality in something other than a Law Giver have all failed.

    Lets take Slavery as an example (At least for the US readers of this Blog) Is Slavery morally Wrong? Not to the Pre-Civil-War South it wasn’t. Not to the Egyptians in the Exodus story, it wasn’t.

    And if it is wrong? Why? Only because God says so? If God has a reason that Humans should not keep other Humans as Slaves, why can he not create a Human Mind capable of Reasoning that out? Are Morals Arbitrary ?

    Some religions frown on certain actions, or behaviors. But that is more about creating Guilt. Divorce, P**n or M*st*rb*t**n are examples of Sins in some religions.

    To take as a Morality/Survival Tale, the story of Lot and his Daughters after leaving Sodom. The rape/incest of Lot by his Daughters, could be read as a Humanity’s drive to rebuild and survive after natural disasters. – (Again my very liberal Jewish Interpretation)

    I once read a p**n story in alt.sex.stories with a similar theme. — Due to germ warfare gone horribly wrong, for the human race to survive required Father Daughter rape/incest, of the most painful kind. — But it was that, or die as a species. So is rape/incest in that circumstance Ok?

  • noen

    Jonas Says:
    I infer from it a claim that Humans with all there rationality, social structure, need for community can’t include empathy without calling on a Magical outsider.

    You can include it if you like but then be aware that this is just a subjective preference and not an objective truth. If you recall your Nietzsche he specifically rejected feelings of empathy as weakness and identified it as Christian morality that no atheist superman could possibly accept.

    Your discussion of slavery is confused.

    I once read a p**n story in alt.sex.stories with a similar theme. — Due to germ warfare gone horribly wrong, for the human race to survive required Father Daughter rape/incest, of the most painful kind. — But it was that, or die as a species. So is rape/incest in that circumstance Ok?

    How could any atheist NOT claim it was right under those circumstances? Evolution has no morality. If it gets you to the next generation then it is justified, period. But we don’t have to imagine a SciFi scenario. The Inuit practiced infanticide because they had to in order to survive.

    If your claim is that what evolves is what is moral then you MUST accept that rape, infanticide, slavery and even cannibalism are all moral behaviors.

  • jose

    “I got that from my upbringing as a liberal Christian.”

    Aha. And that comes from where? Where do Christians get their sense of morality from? From the Christian God? Do they just make it up? If you’re not a believer, you don’t think their values come from God, so they’re not absolute, either. They say so because they believe it, but they’re wrong.

    Also, I’ve just read the comment about cannibals. I gave a clearer example mentioning slavery in classic Greece, with Aristotle even talking about “natural slavery”, but yours certainly sounds more scary and viscerally repulsive, in a “eww!” sort of way, to people educated in 21st Century Western world, so I guess it serves better to your argument, right?

    You thank me for agreeing with you, but in fact I don’t, and I say why in the next two sentences you chose not to quote. Could you quote those sentences in which I compare the physical reality of species and our “rules of the game” (aka moral values)?

    Using the same analogy, what you’re saying is that if species (cultures) change in time, then species (cultures) can’t really exist. However, the existence of both species and cultures is objetive, it’s real. I look around and see the culture I’m submerged in now, while I’m here, alive.

    As for Nietzsche, I’m not very fond of him. He was some not-very-nice folk, didn’t like common people. Instead, I’m a big fan of the “we’re on the same boat together in the middle of the ocean” position. I think it makes everybody’s lives better and happier, at least it does for me 🙂

  • jose

    Ohh I see where you wanted to get at. Atheists must acknowledge that rape is cool! lol that’s so stupid. There is a law that says you can’t drive on the left. But that law could be changed and we have examples of other countries where they drive on the left. Therefore, driving on the left is legal, for some reason!

    I think we can shorten the arguments. The big brother in the sky is gone. What do we do?

    a. Woohoo! Anything goes! Fuck you all!! LOL! (aka 8-year-old reaction)
    b. Now that noone’s there to tell us how to live, let’s figure it out by ourselves.

    Don’t you think it’s a little bit like choosing between anarchy and democracy once the dictator is gone? By the way, if there were indeed a dictator in the sky with an “absolute, eternal morality”, wouldn’t be morally right to rise up against its tyranny and call elections? Aw here I am stating moral values again, while I should be on the streets, raping stuff. See you folks.

  • Okay, so I tell the Christian to draw a big circle. And being an open-minded slob, the Christian complies when I ask them honestly to draw a circle which they honestly consider to encompass the limits of their knowledge within the larger circle. Then I look at that teeny circle, and I say “Okay, your little circle, which is about the same size as mine, is what you claim to be the limits of your knowledge, which includes your certainty that god exists. Problem is, because you have god in your circle, it excludes more reason, science, compassion and understanding than my circle does, though they may be the same size. God just does not seem to allow room for expanded knowledge and comprehension of objective, secular truths. Looks like you’re fucked, god boy.”

    Anyway, that’s what I would do.

  • Hitch

    “If your claim is that what evolves is what is moral”

    Well except that noone here claims that.

    It’s a standard false conflation that claims that atheism implies that people somehow believe that evolution is a moral system. It isn’t, and incidentally that’s roughly where Nietzsche got it wrong, despite that he was right about metaphysics and hence metaphysical groundings of ethics being obsolete.

    One can ground, subjectively, ethics in many different ways, from utility, to empathy to reciprocity. None of these require metahphysics, just consensus.

    “How could any atheist NOT claim it was right under those circumstances?”

    So no, atheists do not claim that right. In fact we simply just claim the right to not have superstitious story-tellers dictate what ethics supposedly is, and rather replace it with a deliberative process… something along the lines of what we already have in democratic systems that define legal code in a deliberative process.

    The problem with your arguments noen is that you simply force positions that do not follow. Being an atheist by no means even implies that one believes in Nietzschean ethics, or that violating another person becomes value free. After all the dismantling of metaphysics does not dismantle feelings, needs, emotions, pain, suffering, happiness. We can construct ethical systems that are grounded in reality, and there is plenty of secular ethics to be had. In fact some of the most prominent current-day ethicists are atheists, and I couldn’t name one that is a Nietzschean.

    Subjective morality by no means implies that one has to give up empathy. It in fact implies that if one is in a situation where a supposedly objective moral code is presented but it goes counter to empathy one can still pick the latter!

    And there simply is no objective moral truth, so no matter, we have to pick a subjective one that works and is good. That people claim they have any notion of “objective moral truth” Nietzsche (and others, take Hume) indeed did dismantle.

    Your whole spiel that atheists supposedly have to be overmensch types ala Nietzsche is just a strawman, and a trolling one at that.

  • noen, I see you have a problem with some atheists. I could discuss the ones you list, point out that they are not representative or indicate that they are human beings with their own foibles and idiosyncrasies. I’m sure that you understand this though and are simply trying to stir up a response. Also I must have missed your “reasoned argument” in all the trolling that you’ve been doing where you insult and belittle anyone whose opinion differs from your own. Feel free to restate it.

    since all believers would say that god is not of this world your claim that you would accept the same standards for god as for any other claim, that is an empty claim.

    Do all believers really claim this because I’m pretty sure that they don’t. Some do but in doing so they have removed their god from reality and created a problem for themselves in that they now need to demonstrate that there is something other than reality for god to reside in. That’s fine and the standard of evidence remains the same.

    The truth is that there could never be any real candidate for god for which you would accept any evidence because your presuppositions preclude that possibility from the start.

    No. I’ve tried to explain this but perhaps I haven’t been plain enough. I have no idea what is meant by “god”. I have no concept of “gods” myself and nobody has ever explained what they mean by “god”. Some people have provided examples from mythology but these are clearly just so stories and human inventions that they obfuscate rather than explain the concept.

    The problem of evil is a theistic problem, not an atheistic one. Look it up.

    Then why did you cite it?

    It is a theistic problem with a certain idea of of an all loving, all knowing, all powerful god. That it remains unsolved demonstrates that the definition of this idea of god is flawed.

  • Sean

    So, yeah, noen is misinformed, judgmental, and boring.

    But hey, all the rest of you should watch this video.

    I <3 QualiaSoup's videos.

  • Dymara

    DISCLAIMER: EXTREMELY LONG POST!

    Since noen keeps whining that we just won’t listen to her nuanced, persuasive arguments (e.g. “I, on the other hand, have given a rational logical defense for my claim.”), I’ve taken the liberty of reposting all those earlier comment of hers in this thread. Let’s give those poor left-out arguments a chance, eh?

    Underlined bold in blockquotes is my emphasis; other emphases presented as is.

    noen 1:

    “Atheism isn’t the position that there is no god. It is the position that we have no belief in gods. When are these Christians going to get that?”

    Never, because your definition of atheism is false. Not even professional philosophers accept the internet atheist meme that they merely “lack belief”.

    The video is idiotic but then elderly evangelical women are pretty low hanging fruit aren’t they?

    I had to laugh at ‘your definition is false.’ One yawn-inducing argument from authority; no content yet.

    noen 2:

    Brian-sama Says:
    Why don’t these people realize that they aren’t contributing to the conversation?

    Why do you choose to present these people as if they were part of the conversation? Where on this blog do atheists fully and honestly engage the philosophical history of metaphysics instead of singling out semi-literate fundamentalists and propping them up as it they represented all Christians let alone all religious people?

    Religion of any sort is the very antithesis of a logical and rational mind, and is ultimately one of the biggest barriers towards progress of any sort in this world.

    Typical atheist religious strawman. You are no different than she is. Just like her you spout your received script as if you are saying something profound. You are every bit as ignorant as she is. You are a True Believer, just like she is. The only real difference is the content of your beliefs.

    We’ve had this discussion before, many times: if you have sophisticated arguments for god that you want us to address, lay them out. Just stating that they exist is not in itself a persuasive argument for us to address. If you want us to address some real arguments, please present them.

    As for why we so frequently shine light on these buffoons – these are the arguments we actually contend with when religion comes up IRL. The ‘sophisticated arguments’ never seem to actually turn up – no matter how often boring internet trolls like to wishfully cite them. Put up or shut up.

    noen 3:

    hoverfrog Says:
    We atheists aren’t making a claim.

    Yes you are. You are making the claim that theism should be rejected for X reasons.

    We aren’t asserting that there definitely isn’t any sort of deity anywhere in the universe because we don’t know that this is the case.

    That is agnosticism, not atheism. Atheism is the denial of the existence of god. I’ve never met any atheist anywhere who actually believed that it might in fact be the case that god exists. They have a real positive belief that god does not exist because theists have failed to prove he/she does exist.

    Definition:
    “Atheism proceeds on the assumption that god does not exist on the basis that theists have failed to prove their claim.”

    The above definition has a propositional content. Namely that god does not exist.

    On second thought, maybe you all should stick with ignorant evangelical housewives. That way you can debate with your equals.

    Atheism is the null hypothesis to religious hypotheses. Yes, it is the default position. Are you agnostic with respect to Xenu? Voltron? Unicorns? Russel’s Teapot? Strictly speaking, no one can prove that any of these don’t exist. Do you act like this in defense of those constructs too? Or do you dismiss offhand the possibility that they exist?

    It’s strictly accurate, AND dishonest, to say that I ‘believe there are no deities.’ It’s accurate in that I do consider the statement ‘There are no deities’ to be true as far as I can tell. It is misleading, however, because this becomes conflated with religious belief; I do not hold that claim as an axiom or revere it with blind faith; rather, it’s a null hypothesis that seems to me most reasonable of the alternatives I’ve heard. Theoretically, evidence could change my position, but it would require a well-defined concept for a deity.

    Is your attitude towards Voltron similar to mine? Or do you oppose people who believe Voltron does not exist? If not, why the difference between your attitudes towards my disbelief in Voltron and my disbelief in deities? That’s not a rhetorical question, I damn well want an answer.

    noen 4:

    hoverfrog Says:
    Greta Christina wrote a wonderful article about this very topic.

    Greta Christina is an ideological thug who does little more than spout atheist dogma as if it were the word of god. She is the quintessential atheist fundamentalist. Her god is the great god of Science in which she has an unshakable faith in it’s absolute truth.

    She is incapable of thinking for herself. What she can do however is preach to the faithful community of true believers that cite her trash opinions as if they were the gilded truth.

    To save you the time of reading it though I’ll sum up: arguments that stink aren’t any better because they some from experts.

    Linking to a porn writer with a… wait for it… degree in journalism… is hardly impressive.
    Sarah Palin has a degree too. I go to the time and effort of presenting a real argument and all you do is link to a journalist who writes for trashy publications.

    WHY do those arguments stink? Can you possibly formulate a response? One of your very own based on your own thoughts and extensive reading of the relevant literature? How about it? Or are you just another internet atheist who doesn’t really know what he’s talking about but can link to others.

    Your shittiest post yet. Do you realize you didn’t address a jot of substance? Saying ‘Greta’s a porn writer, so I’m not going to listen to her argument’ is not a critique, it’s a picture-perfect case of an actual ad hominem argument. You completely ignored the substance of the argument offered to you, while whining longwinded insults.

    Also note: here you first claim you’ve already presented a ‘real argument.’ This is flatly false. Examining your previous arguments, we see:
    -an argument from authority, whining about definitions of atheism;
    -a post where you claim we’re failing to engage real arguments (which you do not go on to present), then allege that we’re all fundamentalists; and,
    -a post where you argue successfully that atheists ‘make truth claims,’ then go on to present a straw definition of atheism (claiming that we make an a priori assumption that there are no deities, rather than concluding this).

    So, your actual arguments thus far:
    -Atheists make truth claims.
    I’ll agree with this, you made a case for it. Everything else thus far is just angry accusations.

    noen 5:

    hoverfrog Says:
    No, we’re really not. That is anti-theism and that is very different from atheism.

    Anti-theism = atheism. That is what the word has always meant: “Those who reject the claims of religion.” To reject a thing is to take a stance in opposition with respect to that thing. Since theism is the assertion that god exists, atheism simply must be the assertion that god does not exist. There can be additional reasons and qualifications of that from “god does not exist” to “I reject he claim that god exists for the following reasons…” But when you get down to it they are pretty much the same.

    No, it really isn’t. I do not deny the existence of gods. I merely have no belief in gods.

    If what you are trying to say is that you have no opinion on the existence of god then you are not an atheist, you’re agnostic. But I suspect that like all atheists you really do have an opinion about god. You are not neutral because if you were you would… well… actually BE neutral, which you have not been.

    I think that you and most atheists in general, are just playing a little game. You want to be able to mock and ridicule others so you can feel superior but you don’t want to actually take a stand and have a real opinion about anything because then you might actually lose an argument.

    Atheists are cowards.

    HAHAHAHAHA! Hypocritical much?

    Again, I do agree with your argument that atheism involves truth claims and at least provisionally accepting the statement ‘there are no deities’ as true*. In your previous posts, we’ve seen you immediately turn around and conflate this with religious belief / faith that a statement is true.

    Sadly for you, repeatedly insisting that we have devout faith in the statement ‘there are no deities’ is just a strawman argument.

    *technically, this isn’t a statement in logical terms until we have a consistent definition of ‘deity.’

    noen 6:

    hoverfrog Says:
    Where? Where are your real arguments for the existence of a deity?

    I’m agnostic so I have no desire to argue for god’s existence. My argument is that the internet meme that atheism is a “lack of belief” is deeply flawed.

    A second thesis of mine is that internet atheists and the so-called “New Atheists”, are ideological dogmatists who hold a fundamentalist view of truth and science.

    This is why I lack belief in gods:
    1) the evidence does not lead to god

    What evidence would you accept? If you are like most atheists then I would guess there is no evidence you could ever have that would point to a transcendental being who exists beyond space/time.

    1 – Take some Greek myths, for example. If we saw gods going around pulling shit like that, and could empirically verify their actions, that would be great evidence.

    You’ll note that this isn’t evidence for a being “who exists beyond space/time.” Naturally, I can’t think of evidence that would support an entity predefined to not leave evidence. Claiming an entity does not act in our universe and has no measurable effects upon our universe is identical to saying that such an entity does not exist in our universe and cannot communicate with our universe.

    2) god isn’t necessary to living

    Many theists would say that god is the very ground of Being without which our world could not exist.

    3) the common arguments for god are not convincing

    Neither are their refutations.

    Glib non-arguments…

    4) the Problem of Evil remains unresolved

    I have to wonder how any atheist could even believe in some “thing” called Evil. All you can believe is that there are accidents (like floods) or else bad behavior (like murder) by humans.

    Um, exactly. The “problem of evil” is: ‘if there is a just omnipotent god, why is there evil?’ Obviously, if there ISN’T a just omnipotent god, what you said applies perfectly well. Hey, what do you know, an atheistic worldview providing more predictive power over the world (things will happen, no magic sky daddy is looking out for you) than does a theistic one (magic sky daddy loves you and cares for you).

    5) science as a better way of explaining things

    Oh please, prove to me that rape is morally wrong.

    He is obviously talking about explaining facts about the world – ‘is’ statements, not ‘ought’ statements. Are you completely unfamiliar with the distinction between positive and normative claims? If not, the only other conclusion I can see is that you are one malicious troll.

    Keep this in mind for my dissection of your posts to come. This is why you brought up rape. You are suggesting religion is a superior method of explaining moral matters than… anything secular, apparently.

    6) there is a lack of meaning in the term “god”

    God is the ground of all Being.

    How vapid. Define ‘ground of all being.’ Excuse me, Being.

    7) god belief exists as a function of the mind

    I doubt many theists would disagree with that.

    8. god belief exists as a function of society

    If belief in god is due to evolution then it must be adaptive. It must serve a valuable function in the survival of the human species or else it would have died out by now. Therefore, regardless of it’s truth, belief in god is necessary to our continued survival.

    Wrong on many, many counts, so many I must address them individually.
    “If belief in god is due to evolution…”
    Why do you bring up this premise at all? Nothing he said entails ‘belief in god is due to evolution.’ In fact, saying that it’s a cultural construct is very different than saying it’s biological.
    “If belief in god is due to evolution then it must be adaptive.”
    False. Many genes that are not necessary to our survival nevertheless propagate. See junk DNA – though there is no mechanism through which its contents affect survival, a new mutation in the junk DNA may nevertheless become widespread through chance. In fact, this does happen, it’s called ‘going to fixation.’
    “It must serve a valuable function in the survival of the human species or else it would have died out by now.”
    False. Biological example: the blind spot in the human eye. It does not serve a valuable function in the survival of the human species. Far from it, it’s an impediment compared to, e.g., squid eyes. But we still have blind spots. Hasn’t died out, and won’t; evolution can’t ‘go back to the drawing board’ and rework the eye from scratch. Any mutation that would change the eye can only result in incremental change to the way it currently works.
    “Therefore, regardless of it’s truth, belief in god is necessary to our continued survival.”
    Fallacy 1: ‘Valuable’ does not entail ‘necessary.’
    Fallacy 2: Something being necessary to the survival of prehistoric humans does NOT entail that it is also necessary to modern humans.
    Fallacy 3: This is a little deeper. ‘Adaptive’ does not even translate to ‘valuable to humanity as a whole.’ Consider the prisoner’s dilemma: once one prisoner chooses to testify against the other, then choosing to testify is the only ‘adaptive’ choice for each prisoner. However, they’d both be better off if neither had confessed.

    9) god is not apparent

    Others claim god is apparent in their lives. At best all you can say is that god is not apparent to you.

    -Many people claim to have had religious experiences.
    -We have no reason to consider any of these religious experiences more or less valid than any other.
    =>We must consider all religious experiences equally valid.
    =>Considering one religious experience as valid entails considering all religious experiences as valid.
    -Many people’s religious experiences contradict all other religious experiences.
    *=>Considering one religious experience as valid entails contradictions.
    =>We must consider all religious experiences as invalid.

    * does not appear to follow from the premises, but it does. Can’t we grant some validity to certain portions of religious experience? No, not qua religious experience, without begging the question.

    noen 7:

    hoverfroggy said:
    No. You are wrong. I’ve explained why. If you have a counter argument please present it. Repeating the same refuted point over and over again is tiresome and rather easy to refute with the same response.

    You are confused about the nature of argument. All you have done is to point to others and make statements. That is not argument. I have given arguments above. [HAHAHAHAHA!]

    “Atheism refers to one’s position with regard to “belief” in a god. You either have belief, theism, or you lack it, atheism.”

    Belief is not a thing that someone can “have”. Belief is simply our acceptance of the truth value of a proposition. Theists hold that the proposition “god exists” is true. An atheist therefore must hold the contrary position (belief) that “god exists” is false.

    One cannot “lack” belief because belief is not a property of minds. It is a state in a true/false truth table. If you accept that the statement god exists is true then you said to believe in god but it isn’t something that you can “have”.

    If I am in love I don’t “have” love. I am in the state that we call love. Belief is a propositional attitude. It is not a thing.

    And again: us having accepted a certain claim as true DOES NOT mean that our position is that of a fundamentalist. You accept the claim ‘atheists are cowards;’ does this mean you have assumed a priori that atheists are cowards? No, you conclude that with shitty arguments.

    noen 8:

    Jeff P Says:
    I believe Neon may be a little too reliant on Boolean logic. Things are not just one way or their opposite.

    It is a constant source of amazement to me how atheists will change their argument to suit the outcome. As an agnostic I’ve been told many times by atheists the belief is binary. You either believe or you don’t believe, god either exists or he doesn’t exist.

    The statement “god exists” is true or false, period. But our attitude towards that statement is where there is room for nuance.

    Technically speaking, that’s not a statement until you put forth an internally consistent definition for ‘god.’ People tend to disagree on that, dont’cha know.

    In any case, let’s overlook that and assume we’ve settled on some consistent definition for ‘god’ resembling how it’s colloquially used. Based on our observations of our universe, I’d say the statement ‘god exists’ is as ludicrously implausible as ‘voltron exists,’ ‘xenu exists,’ or ‘unicorns exist.’ I go through my life on the operational assumption that all these statements are false. If Voltron shows up and starts smashing buildings, and reports of its existence are well-confirmed, sure, I’ll change my conclusion and admit I was wrong.

    But unless something like that happens, I see no reason to act as though the statement ‘voltron exists’ is remotely plausible. My attitude towards deities is similar, though they tend to be notoriously poorly defined.

    MikeTheInfidel Says:
    noen, you’re an incredible ass.

    […]

    Guess what? There is nothing fundamentally different between them. More philosophically complicated assertions are still just assertions and have no more merit than flat assertions from thick-skulled fools like the woman in this video – and like you.

    Again, this is not an argument, this is just your claim and you have not provided anything resembling a rational defense of your claim. I, on the other hand, have given a rational logical defense for my claim. If you like I could put them into the formal language of the predicate calculus for you but then I doubt you’d understand that.

    Just like all but one claim you’ve made thus far. Yawn. Actually going through all this bullshit really puts the lie to your claim about having given rational defenses.

    chicago dyke Says:
    this is a door, forever closing on anything more you ever have to say. wow. sorry, kids. i wuz fooled and didn’t know how deep the evil ran in this one. my bad.

    The point here being that the atheist, that would be you, has no means of grounding their deeply felt sense of morality, that would be your outrage here, in objective reality. That is called moral realism and it has been dead ever since Nietzsche.

    If you object to my saying that the atheist has no basis for his or her believe that things like rape or murder are objectively wrong then do please show me where Nietzsche made his error.

    That intense feeling of outrage that you have at what I said… that is the Christian morality in you talking. And you should note that your outrage should be directed at that atheist Nietzsche. I just borrowed his argument to prove that you are the real Christian here, I am the atheist arguing against your Christian belief that morality is objective and absolute.

    You’re a hypocrite chicago dyke. You want to be able to criticize religion and still keep your Christian morality. You can’t have it.

    Yawn and ugh. There are plenty of established secular moral systems, e.g. utilitarianism. Yes, they require a priori assumptions about what is ‘good.’ So do divine command theories, except that they rest on the assumption that ‘good’ is ‘obeying God,’ as opposed to something else like Mill’s utility principle.

    Remember why you brought up rape? You were claiming that religion makes a better argument for morality than do secular worldviews. Pointing out how EVERYONE has questionable bases for their moral systems does not validate theistic morality.

    So. You seem to oppose Nietzsche. And divine command moral theory. And you claim there are no alternatives? I’m not really sure what you’re arguing for here.* The only thing you don’t viciously and ineffectively attack is rape.

    *That’s not really true. I know exactly what you’re doing, which is being an insufferable troll.

    WMDKitty Says:
    Whoa. Where did he say that?

    I’m not a he, I’m a woman and yes I did say it.

    And, in answer: rape is morally wrong because you are removing the victim’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. And that’s without getting into the physical, emotional, and mental damage that is done.

    Your belief that people have a right as individuals to self-determination is a uniquely Christian idea. It was Christianity that has promoted it and it is Christianity that you have to thank for the notion you have that individuals matter, which is an integral part of our culture.

    What a stupid troll. Concepts largely unique to Christianity are sin, a triune god, and the pope.

    (Question: do you actually believe that we believe you’re not a Christian? Again, not rhetorical, but genuine. I understand that you won’t want to drop character to answer honestly, but really, you’re doing a terrible job.)

    You need to prove that “bodily autonomy and self-determination” are objective values and not merely a subjective feeling.

    noen 9:

    hoverfrog Says:
    Then present your argument. I’m an agnostic atheist. I have no belief in gods but do not claim to know this for certain.

    Please try to focus your attention. I’ve given it two or three times above. Scroll up.

    Patently false, as I unfortunately know from wading through all this shit… the closest you came to backing up any allegation* was the one about ‘if evolution produced religion,’ which was such an atrocious display of stupidity that I can hardly blame you for not making any others.

    *Again, except ‘atheists make truth claims,’ as I’ve addressed.

    That’s just nonsense [the so-called “New Atheists”, are ideological dogmatists]. Good luck proving that.

    Sam Harris – pro torture, pro nuclear first strike on Iran, against freedom of speech, a neocon proto-fascist.

    Christopher Hitchens – pro torture until it was done to him. Anti-feminist, former far left Troskyite, now a right wing neocon proto-fascist.

    Richard Dawkins – The quintessential wealthy liberal elite. Glib and superficial [HAHAHA!] outside of his area of expertise. Anti-freedom of religion, for the state taking children away from their parents and indoctrinating them in atheist ideology. Proponent for the “Brights” movement which is a eugenics based belief in “the natural superiority” of atheists.

    Pat Condel – right wing fascist, racist and bigot. Anti-democracy, anti-immigrant hatred. Possible early onset of senile dementia.

    Thanks for addressing a single one of their critiques of religion. Oh, wait, nevermind, you’re a lying shit relying mainly on hyperbole, outright lies, and ad hominem attacks, and you have no actual arguments.

    (Also, I find it hilarious that you threw in that scumbag Condel. I mean, you resorted to nothing but lies for Dawkins, why not Dennett too? But nah, screw accuracy, we’ll throw in someone with no influence just because he looks worse!)

    Also, ahem, “You need to prove that (your reaction to) ‘fascism,’ ‘Trotskyism,’ and ‘eugenics’ are objective values and not merely a subjective feeling.” Wow, someone would have to be a spiteful little shit to say something like that, huh?

    “What evidence would you accept?”

    I have a list actually. Essentially though I apply the same standards of evidence to “gods” as I do to anything else that isn’t apparent.

    But since all believers would say that god is not of this world your claim that you would accept the same standards for god as for any other claim, that is an empty claim. The truth is that there could never be any real candidate for god for which you would accept any evidence because your presuppositions preclude that possibility from the start.

    The problem of evil is a theistic problem, not an atheistic one. Look it up.

    Then why did you cite it?

    Yes, why would he cite a problem with theism as a reason he doesn’t accept theistic premises? Hmmmm. What a strange philosophical puzzle! Clearly it must be because he’s a neocon fascist nuke-slinging baby-eater. Clearly.

    Anyway, that was sickening. So there you go, noen, your earlier arguments were addressed. I probably could’ve stopped at 4, when you first started citing your ‘previous arguments,’ but what fun would that have been?

    TL;DR: There is no summary. Read through only if you want to read a critique of each of noen’s earlier posts, the ones she keeps citing as containing her ‘powerful arguments.’

  • Secular Stu

    I understand that for the woman in the video, going from “atheist” to “agnostic” might represent possibility (to eventually accept her god) but it’s being treated like “atheist” is a dirty word. I would like to ask her if agnostics go to hell

    It’s a way for Christians to redefine atheists out of existence. From a strictly technical sense, nearly all atheists are technically agnostic atheists. (Everyone should follow that link for the proper definiton of agnosticism). What they are doing is using the precise language, leaving out the atheist bit, and acting as if it is really using the casual definition of agnostic – someone who just isn’t sure whether or not there’s a God.

    Besides defining atheists out of existence (rather insulting), it’s an attempt to make atheism look like an unreasonable position.

  • Secular Stu

    Your belief that people have a right as individuals to self-determination is a uniquely Christian idea. It was Christianity that has promoted it and it is Christianity that you have to thank for the notion you have that individuals matter, which is an integral part of our culture.

    What a stupid troll. Concepts largely unique to Christianity are sin, a triune god, and the pope.

    No kidding. Do they even teach kids about the Enlightenment these days?

  • jose

    “Your belief that people have a right as individuals to self-determination is a uniquely Christian idea … it is Christianity that you have to thank for the notion you have that individuals matter”

    Actually, you can find the same idea in Mencius philosophy, for example. He was some guy who was born a couple centuries before Jesus. Look it up. Maybe you should be a bit more careful when asserting with such authority that something uniquely belongs to your beliefs–I mean Christian beliefs, sorry.

  • Eliza

    God is the ground of all Being
    = God is the basis of all Being
    = God is the basis of all existence
    = God is the basis of everything that exists
    = God is the basis of all matter & energy (which are interconvertible)*
    = God is another name for subatomic particles

    What a pointless bullshit definition of God.

    *and, perhaps, of all nonmaterial stuff like natural laws & ideas; we can argue whether or not those exist outside of matter & energy

  • Wow Dymara, I’m seriously impressed.

  • cat

    I tune out any time someone mentions an existentialist in anything other than a derogatory sense. Existentialists and good arguments are pretty much mutually exclusive(and, yes, my bachelors was in philosophy). Nietzsche’s fails at philosophy of ethics 101, it that he espouses a moral realist theory while pretending to be a moral antirealist. He is an ‘egoist’ which means that he is, in fact, a moral realist. Damn do existentialists suck at self consistency.

    That said, Hemant, I think you need to take a page from PZ’s book and make a dungeon. Noen would make a good first denizen.

  • noen was banned from Unreasonable Faith for pulling this shit.

  • Laura

    Belief in a personal God as a conjecture about reality, is a strange belief. It seems really weird to me to think that humans would look out to all that exists, the world and its cause – and find something somehow similar to themselves! A conscious being. But we are beings because we AREN’T omnipotent, we evolved in competition with other beings, we communicate with others, we’re trying to survive in a difficult world. Why would God have a sense of self? And we’re conscious because consciousness helped us survive, or maybe it goes along with being a complicated and self-influencing system.
    If there is a first cause or a reason for everything – why would it be conscious, or a being? That would really be strange.
    But belief in a personal God as a psychological phenomenon makes a LOT of sense. You can see why people would do it.

  • Dymara

    hoverfrog – what, for sticking with it that long, you mean? 🙂 Thanks.

    Also, ditto to Sean, I love QualiaSoup’s videos! I’d totally do his taxes.

  • ACN

    tldr of dymara, obv troll i7 obv. Do not feed. 🙂

  • jose

    Dymara:
    “I do not hold that claim as an axiom or revere it with blind faith; rather, it’s a null hypothesis that seems to me most reasonable of the alternatives I’ve heard.”

    Aw you don’t know how reassuring it is when someone say just that. Whenever I think something I never know if it’s really stupid, so reading my exact thoughts in a well written and reasoned comment is wonderful. Thank you.

    You know, this thread and especially that commment of yours reminds me of the cover of a CD I bought back in 1993. Guess who the “patient” is. lol!

  • L. Foster

    An abridged version of the above discussion, for those pressed for time:

    noen: The sky is red!
    Rest of the forum: No, it’s really blue.
    noen: That’s just like You Atheists to have faith in the sky being blue.
    Rest of the forum: The sky IS blue.
    noen: Oh yeah? PROVE the sky is blue!
    Rest of the forum: links provided to authorities on the blueness of the sky.
    noen: Your first source is a jerk. Your second source is a torturer. Your third source kicks puppies. Your fourth source probably likes Nickelback.
    Rest of the forum: You’re detracting from the fact that THE EFFING SKY IS BLUE.
    noen: I’m gonna whip out a hot button to keep the focus on me for a while. Let’s go with rape.
    Half of the forum: Goodbye. We’re done here.
    Other half of the forum: Sky. Blue.
    noen: You confuse the issue.
    Remaining half of forum: There is no confusion. The sky is blue.
    noen: You have Christianity to thank for seeing that the sky is blue.
    Another chunk of the remaining half of the forum: I have more important stuff to do.
    noen: Ha! The sky IS red!
    Rest of forum: Noper. Still blue.
    noen: I’m pointing out your own stupidity by saying that the sky is red and seeing how you’ll react.
    Forum: We’re not stupid. And the sky is blue.

    I think that brings us sufficiently up to speed. Carry on.

  • @L. Foster

    Yup, that about covers it.

  • Dan W

    So, using her logic… Christians, is it possible the Greek gods exist outside your knowledge? 🙂 I could go on with this fail logic, but I’d rather not. And, of course, you can be an agnostic and an atheist- the former is lack of knowledge of gods, the latter is lack of belief in gods. I just prefer to call myself atheist, though technically I’m an agnostic atheist.

    Oh, and somehow I doubt that she has an atheist nephew. It just sounds like Lying For Jesus(TM) to me. And Psalm 14:1 is a pathetic insult.

  • One other thing: Why do some Christians tot out Scripture as if it proves their point?

    “The fool has no pasta in their bowls” = I win.

  • Sven

    “The fool has no pasta in their bowls” = I win.

    Ramen..

  • Ben Porter

    is it possible god could live out of your circle or knowledge? yea but so could every other god that exist The kid obviously didn’t know how to answer stupid arguments.

  • Laura

    “the intelligent and educated say in their heart there is no God”
    is the reality.
    When the christians say that art, morality, science etc. come from christianity – realize that in past ages it would have meant death by torture to SAY you were an atheist. Not just socially and politically unfortunate.
    It’s not possible that many artists and scientists in the past wouldn’t have realized that the miracle-working, organizing your life God is a very dubious belief.
    Even the poet Blake, the arch-image of a religious visionary, talked of God as “Nobodaddy”. So I doubt that he was actually a believer, rather than only someone of religious passion and visions. He was a great artist, a questioner; and the other artists and scientists were necessarily people of doubt.

  • muggle

    a. Woohoo! Anything goes! Fuck you all!! LOL! (aka 8-year-old reaction)

    Jose, loved your arguments but that’s an insult to 8yo’s. My 7yo grandson is godless and still doesn’t think like that. (Even if he does think it’s okay to have three girlfriends; I’m working on that but he just smiles and ignores me. Sigh, he’ll either learn what’s wrong with that the hard way or wind up as lucky as Juliet Echo.)

    L. Foster nailed it!

  • Steve

    Or he’ll become a Mormon…

  • Silent Service

    Wow Dymara, I’m seriously impressed.

    Me too. I’ve never seen an internet troll choked to death with their own words so well.

  • L. Foster

    “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ Psalms.”
    “GTFO. Exodus.”

  • I am trying to figure out specifically what logical fallacies are at play hear. One is misplaced burden of proof, and another seems to be appeal to ignorance, what else? Those two don’t seem to fully describe what’s going on here.