Atheism Is a Religion

Or at least it requires a God for you not to believe in.

(Page 2 of 2)

For a group of ultra-rationalists, the atheists sound downright emotional. I may sound that way too: When I called some of my Twitter/Facebook pen pals "Palins," they became particularly rankled, accused me of circular logic, and called me a Palin, to which I say, "I know you are, but what am I?"

No matter what I said to counter their statements or clarify my thoughts, by and large they refused to give me a fitting definition of religion. Nobody on my Facebook thread could tell me why it was so problematic and offensive to categorize a system of thought adhered to by a group of people about the nonexistence of a supernatural entity as a religion.

I have yet to hear a cogent response to this question: Why is it a problem if someone considers atheism a religion? How does that hurt the atheists’ claim? It's not saying you can't believe God does not exist. Knock yourself out! Some of my idols are atheists—false idols, mind you, but certainly shapers of my outlook and worldview. I do thank God for the godless.

Maybe the best treatment on Earth of the question as to whether or not atheism is a religion came from music god Frank Zappa, founder of the Church of American Secular Humanism (CASH). Secular humanism is defined as reason rejecting dogma and supernaturalism, which is a fancy way of saying it’s atheists who believe in people and not God. I am down with reason, and although I think I have psychic powers that allow my friends' dead parents to take over my emotions, I respect those who don’t believe in the supernatural. It is a lot easier to believe in fewer things than to accept a host of others on faith alone, and humanists are intellectual minimalists. They are the Design Within Reach to Christianity's Shabby Chic, and no one was more ready to clean house than Frank Zappa.

CASH began with an Alabama school textbook court case, where a judge ruled atheism was a religion that was overwhelming the school system and that Christian families deserved equal time in the classroom. Frank called their bluff. If secular humanism is a court-recognized religion, he figured, then be prepared to dole out the tax-exempt rewards along with the after-life punishments! The tenets of the faith were laid out by the judge and Frank jumped on them with devotion. He created CASH and incorporated it in the Yellowhammer State, ready to convert the faithful out of their delusions and handing out T-shirts instead of communion wafers.

Zappa's widow Gail, who has renewed vigor to restart CASH and make a go of it in California, is simply giddy when she defines atheism as "technically a system of disbelief.” CASH is not only a corporation but now, thanks to the Supreme Court, officially a person as well, and, as she puts it, "free to marry other religions' non-taxable businesses and enjoy another level of tax freedom." This seems like the best-case scenario. If humanism is a religion, and secular humanists are atheists, then why not create more formal instructional dwellings, label them churches, and lap up the tax-free nectar your peers in Scientology, Mormonism, and Catholicism have been enjoying for years?

As Gail Zappa summed it up to me in a poignant, thoughtful email, "I think it is central to true freedom of expression and true democracy that there be absolute separation of Church and State. Especially in politics, which [Frank] said is the Entertainment Branch of government." My Orthodox priest would probably give me a stern penance for saying this, but I do not have a problem with church-owned businesses paying taxes. I don't know that you have to tax every dime that hits the collection basket, but a blanket exemption seems a little clumsy.

Atheists should embrace their religiosity, recognize the biological component that drives them to make sense of the world like the rest of us, and church it up. As the Man from Galilee once put it, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. If you don’t believe in God, then you don’t owe him anything. And if my Facebook friends are any indication, you lost your sense of humor ages ago. Which means you atheists may have nothing left to lose but your taxable status.

Kennedy is host of 98.7 FM’s Music in the Morning in Los Angeles.

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  • ||

    That's a weirdly specific definition of religion. It's also a bad one. Some religions have nothing to do with the idea of God. Buddhism, one of the world's major religions, has no concept of a divine creator or prime mover. It's neither atheistic nor theistic, so by your definition, Buddhism is not a religion.

    Dictionary.com lists five definitions of religion. The first mentions superhuman agency, but not as a requirement to be a religion.

    I agree with this definition. Religion is about beliefs and faith.

  • ||

    The first question we need to answer: Is believing that God does not exist the same thing as not believing that God exists? My opinion is that they are not equivalent, but overlapping. One could employ faith in believing that there is no God (despite having no evidence to disprove God's existence). In that case, both statements would apply. Or one could simply refuse to believe that God does or does not exist, in which case only the latter statement would apply, which is agnosticism, a subset of atheism.

  • wareagle||

    yes...believing or not is EXACTLY the same thing. It is called faith and neither side can either prove itself correct or the other side wrong.

    I think the uproar is based in semantics. Atheists have no use for organized religion and whatever deity it supports, so calling them another form of religion sets them off. We often call environmentalism a religion. There are better things to get wrapped around the axle about.

  • Joe R.||

    It is called faith and neither side can either prove itself correct or the other side wrong.

    Well...not practically, but atheism could be proven wrong. It's simple: show me god. Theism could never be proven wrong, because if I took a believer through the entire universe and couldn't find god, the theist would claim god exists outside the universe.

    That's why theism is religious, and atheism is not.

  • wareagle||

    but, that's the beauty(?) of faith - no one has to actually prove anything. And I suspect a serious believer would "find god" in many things as you two combed the universe.

    This just seems like an exercise in semantics. Believe, don't believe, whatever. I am content to let adults make their own decisions on this one.

  • GroundTruth||

    The problem is, Santorum and bin Laden are not content to let adults make their own decision on this one.

  • GroundTruth||

    Of couse, bin Laden is now fish food, whereas Santorum getting the nomination and then winning the general election against Oh-bumma would probably take an act of God.

  • N8||

    "Santorum getting the nomination and then winning the general election"

    That might get me to believe. Also solves the problem of evil.

  • Maxxx||

    The problem is, Santorum and bin Laden are not content to let adults make their own decision on this one.

    Neither were Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Mao etc.

    All athiests.

  • ||

    There atheism inspired them to do evil things, just like Santorum and Bin Laden!

    Oh wait... no it didn't.

  • ||

    "There(sic) atheism inspired them to do evil things....Oh wait... no it didn't."

    Really? how would you know that? Idiots like you are fond of saying that religion has caused more wars and murder than anything. That is true only if you add the 20th century religion of Atheism.

  • Trig||

    Yup, people will find a way to suck regardless of their belief system.

  • Royalist||

    "That is true only if you add the 20th century religion of Atheism Democracy"

    Fixed for you. If it weren't for the silly idea that the average IQ person should get to decide the rulers and that this is the best system of government, to be exported all around the world, there wouldn't be any socialism today. Democracy inevitably devolves into socialism (esp. after granting women voting rights; women are by nature more emotional than logical).

    We should all thank American democracy for bringing us Hitler and Stalin. Without America to spread democracy to Europe, the German 2nd Reich and Austria-Hungary would have won WWI and we wouldn't have had nightmares such as the socialism (Stalin) and nazism (Hitler) which came into existence as perversions of democracy, of the idea that average IQ nobodys rather than the educated nobles should decide who is ruler.

  • ||

    Poe, surely?

  • ||

    You're a fucking retard. Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and Mao murdered people because they believed doing so was justified by communism. Saying their deeds were caused by atheism is like saying they were caused by being male, or enjoying tea.

    Every religious war and genocide has been perpetrated in the name of God. Never the lack of God.

  • ||

    So are -or were- Douglas Adams, Mickey Dolenz, Isaac Asimov, Lance Armstrong, Penn Jilette, Hugh Laurie, Bruce Lee, Bob Geldof, Gene Roddenberry, Bill Gates, Jamie Hyneman, John Lennon, Gary Numan, Harlan Ellison, Barry Manilow, Dave Barry, Billy Joel and thousands of other potential destroyers of mank--

    --no, wait, those are just people you've heard of.

  • ||

    Bin Laden I get, but Santorum? Hate him if you will, but don't be absurd comparing him to B.L. You make yourself look stupid, and convince no one. Whom, pray tell (oops) did Santorum ever kill or have killed for not believing as he does? Think before you post.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Many atheists with scientific training are unable to refute God within the boundaries of the universe, because the "anthropic principle" makes the universe look as if it had been designed. These atheists, in order to eliminate the possibility of God, go outside the universe and posit infinite parallel universes.

  • Anton Sherwood||

    The weak anthropic principle replies to "Why is the universe so finely adjusted to allow us to exist?" with "If it weren't, you wouldn't be asking." That doesn't require parallel universes.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Reminds me of a joke:

    Guy comes home early, finds a naked man in his wife's bedroom. He asks, "what are you doing here?" and the naked man replies, "everybody has to be someplace!"

    So the guy's suspicions are put to rest.

  • ||

    And the rest of us simply say its completely expected that we would end up fine-tuned FOR THE UNIVERSE.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Your way of thinking completely destroys the fun of the movie
    "The Hangover."

    "I don't know *why* I woke up missing a tooth and with a tiger in the bathroom, but it makes no difference how it happened, since the universe was clearly fine-tuned to produce precisely that result!

    "So what's for dinner?"

  • ||

    Eduard that's fucking retarded.

    The atheist would say "Due to the chaotic nature of the universe, a series of natural events led to you being here and in the state that you are in, which are currently unknown to me."

    The intelligent designer would say "A super-powered alien conspired to bring you here in the state that you are in because that is His Plan."

    Which one makes more sense?

  • ||

    And the anthropic principle negates the idea that the universe was designed, it doesn't "make the universe look as if it had been designed."

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    As I admit below, I confused the anthropic principle with fine-tuning. Mea culpa.

    But some atheists find fine-tuning threatening, and the multiple-dimension guys don't think the anthropic principle is a good enough escape hatch for them, so they have to build their escape hatch into other universes.

  • ||

    The idea of parallel universes makes at least as much sense as the fine tuning-argument. The anthropic principle makes much more sense than both.

  • Miku||

    The theory of parallel universes was not theorized to disprove god. It had to do with finding an explanation for strange observations in quantum physics.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "so calling them another form of religion sets them off"

    If so many of them weren't so "devoutly" atheist and didn't blame every negative aspect of human nature on religion than they would have a right to be peeved. I'm an atheist. Not devoutly so. However, I do see many atheist who practice atheism with a religous ferver.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Also, I have no hatred towards Christians at all. We just disagree

  • ||

    I think that is about right. Some atheists are almost religious in their atheism. The absence of God is a central part of their world view. But for me, it's just absence of belief, not a positive belief about the nature of things.

  • shrike||

    Fuck you, Christ-fag.

  • ||

    shrike, is there such a thing as a "Christ-dyke"?

  • Xenocles||

    No, since Christ was a man they would have to just be "Christ-sluts" or something like that.

  • Moogle||

    The Christ-ettes?

  • ||

  • ||

    Zeb, I think you're conflating atheism with antitheism. Not being religious doesn't necessarily mean that you are against religions.

  • Maxxx||

    Right,

    Some atheist share the following traits with the devoutly religious:

    1) Proselytizing zeal - they have a compulsion to convert people to their belief system.

    2) Blaming problems __________, ________ & ________ on the belief system of those people with different beliefs.

    3) An insufferable surety of their beliefs, which no amount of evidence will change.

    4)Feelings of superiority over those with different beliefs.

    All of those traits are emotional, not rational.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    I am an atheist but I don't preach it to others -- I really keep my opinions on the subject to myself unless directly asked. I don't really think that other people's religious beliefs cause much direct harm though they do sometimes impact public policy in ways I disagree. I am certain there is no God, but am open to actual evidence to the contrary. I suppose I think disbelief is better than belief but I am not sure the feeling is one of being "superior" .. I get why people have faith .... But I do not think that atheism is a religion.

  • ||

    So your saying, some atheists are assholes, some religious people are assholes, therefore atheism is a religion?

  • Maxxx||

    So your saying, some atheists are assholes, some religious people are assholes, therefore atheism is a religion?

    Where did I say that?

    I said there are parallels in behavior between some theists and some anti theists. That may lead sloppy thinkers to conclude that both are religious, instead of concluding that both are over emotional pathetic jackasses.

    Not sure why you're so defensive on the subject.

  • Dylan Walker||

    1. Sure I would like to convicne people to abandon their religion, I think the world would be a better (but not perfect) place without it. Why is it considered wrong to put ones beliefs forward to be considered, in general athiests are trying to co-opt the legal system or force our ideas down anyones throats. Just telling you what we think. There is nothing wrong with zeal or emotion.

    2. We don't blame everthing on religion, at least I don't, I blame it for the things there are good reasons to blame it for. When people in Uganda have litral witch hunts that result in people being killed why would I not say religion is to blame, these witch hunters certainly credit their religious beliefs and they quote "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" Ex 22:18.

  • Maxxx||

    Sure I would like to convicne people to abandon their religion, I think the world would be a better (but not perfect) place without it.

    This is the problem right here.

    Why would "the world" be a better place if John Doe lost his religious faith? He obviously benefits from it in some way, in providing solace from life's problems, for example. But his losing that faith will not positively impact you in the slightest. That is unless your own position is week and needs to be buttressed by numbers of fellow travelers.

  • Maxxx||

    Sure I would like to convicne people to abandon their religion, I think the world would be a better (but not perfect) place without it.

    This is the problem right here.

    Why would "the world" be a better place if John Doe lost his religious faith? He obviously benefits from it in some way, in providing solace from life's problems, for example. But his losing that faith will not positively impact you in the slightest. That is unless your own position is week and needs to be buttressed by numbers of fellow travelers.

  • Maxxx||

    Why is it considered wrong to put ones beliefs forward to be considered, in general athiests are trying to co-opt the legal system or force our ideas down anyones throats.

    Did you mean that athiests are not trying to co-opt the legal system or force our ideas down anyone's throat?

    If so, that isn't true of the proselytizing atheists that sue to stop the display of christmas trees or remove crosses from cemeteries and seals, at great expense.

  • ||

    Atheists sue to stop religion from co-opting government.

    They are not suing to remove religion from the public sphere-- no one is suing to remove churches from the town square, to prevent religions from hiring billboards, or prevent churches from holding services.

    Atheists, have, should, and will continue to sue to get religion out of government.

  • Maxxx||

    When people in Uganda have litral witch hunts that result in people being killed why would I not say religion is to blame, these witch hunters certainly credit their religious beliefs and they quote "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" Ex 22:18.

    Central Africa is fucked up and that has nothing to do with religion.

    Remember Idi Amin and his atrocities, including cannibalizing his political opponents? Not religious at all.

    Or the Tutsi and Hutus slaughtering each other in the 100,000s? Again, not religious.

  • Royalist||

    Yeah, it rather has to do with the inconvenient and politically incorrect fact that there are differences in average intelligence between the human races.

  • Used to Like Reason Comments||

    "I think the world would be a better (but not perfect) place without it. "

    Yah, 20 million dead Russians ans Ukrainians are a rounding error, yes?
    The funny thing about atheistic fundamentalists is they can't even acknowledge their own blind spots.

  • Royalist||

    The republican, democratic, liberal, anti-royalist world-view espoused by America (and its leaders W.Wilson and F.D.Roosevelt) are the root causes of communism and nazism. The Czars and the Kaisers would never engage in genocide against their own peoples. But America wanted to make Europe more like herself. America despises monarchy, and its removal of monarchies in Europe allowed the 20th century to be the most murderous in human history.

  • ||

    Without religion, there is no good or evil, there is only what I think is best for me. For you to say you think the world is would be a better place, you really mean better for you. If there are no consequence past death, then whatever I can get away with during my life is what's best for me, and I temper my actions based on my world view.

    It's called moral relativism, and it leads to anarchy.

  • Dylan Walker||

    3. Well on this point you are just flat out wrong, I would happily believe in a god if there were evidence, but which evidence are you talkign about? Just because I don't find the evidence theists present convincing doesn't mean I am "insufferably sure" of my beliefs. I was a fundamentalist Christian for years and I changed my mind, but the only arguements in favor of god's existance seem really bad to me, so why would I be convinced based on bad arguements.

    4. I don't personally think I am better than theists, remember I was a fundamenalits for years, and many vocal athiets were once christians, I didn't become smarter when I became an athiest, I simply changed my conclusion on one subject based upon an examination of the evidence.

  • ||

    Yes , and the same applies to democrats , republicans , vegans , commies , libertarians , and just about anyone who identifies with a certain set of ideas which btw makes kennedy s argument of only atheists being religiously defensive absurd.

  • Royalist||

    It may also be noted that some free marketeers also share the above traits with the devoutly religious.

  • Alan||

    I agree. I don't think atheists can be easily lumped into one bunch, no more than Christians, Muslims, or Buddhists can - but certainly there are some atheists who have a religious-like fervor for their belief system and take many of its tenets on faith - and it can be useful to compare these atheists to religious believers.

    See:
    http://www.southparkstudios.co.....-go-god-go
    http://www.southparkstudios.co.....god-go-xii

  • Alan||

    Wikipedia articles on the previously mentioned episodes:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_God_Go
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_God_Go_XII

  • Zeb||

    I think that there is a big difference. I don't have faith that there is no God. I just don't see any reason to believe that there is. If I saw convincing evidence for it, I would believe. There is a big difference there. Especially for someone who has never believed. As far as I am concerned, gods are characters from stories, like any other. Not believing in a particular god (or gods in general) is no different to me than not believing that Edmund Dantes was a real person. It just isn't part of how I conceive the world. I think that to call a belief religious, it must be a central part of one's worldview.

  • ||

    I agree! It was emotional knee jerking at its worse!

  • ||

    I think you miss the point on the non-believing part.

    Non-belief (with no evidence for belief) is a base state, requires no action on your part. Simply not believing in invisible pink unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster does not make a religion any more than not believing in someone else's god makes one.

    Belief, in the absence of evidence, requires action - you believe.

    Saying that there's no evidence that God exists and therefore non-belief is qualitatively the same as belief ignores basic rules of logic which require you to provide evidence to support a *positive* assertion (There is evidence God exists) not a negative one (There is no evidence God exists).

  • ||

    You brought up that agnosticism is a subset of atheism. But this is actually false. Agnosticism, in it's strict greek meaning is someone who doesn't know (which is knowledge). But agnosticism is also a subset of theism. One who doesn't know if God exists or not, but believes that a God exists. That's why there are agnostic theists.

  • ||

    Agnosticism isn't a subset of atheism; it's a separate quality.

    Theism = you can answers yes to the question "do you believe that at least one god exists?"

    Atheism = you cannot answer yes to that question, either because you actively disbelieve it, or you've never heard of the concept, or the question doesn't make sense to you, or you're unwilling to decide on the current evidence, etc.

    Gnosticism = you believe it's possible to prove whether or not deities exist. Both theists and atheists can be gnostic.

    Agnosticism = you do not believe it is possible to prove whether or not deities exist. Both theists and atheists can be agnostic. Most atheists are also agnostic, since we recognize that it isn't really possible to devise any tests to falsify the god hypothesis.

  • ||

    However the idea that people faithfully believe that God does not exist is somewhat silly and unrealistic. The actual mindset of atheism does not work this way. The typical atheist does not pompously proclaim his rock-hard "knowledge" of God's nonexistence as theists proclaim their "knowledge" that God exists. The typical atheist attacks the idea of God as ill-defined, illogical, farcical, magical, and unsupported. In the scientific community this would be more than enough to reject such a theory. Yet we don't go around calling science a religion for assuming unsupported claims are false. Science is partially "agnostic" and partially assigning the false value, and so are most atheists.

    So no, attacking a highly extraordinary and unprovable belief is not a religion. Postulating the null of that belief is not a religion.

  • Matt||

    Absolutely correct. I'm very surprised at the sloppy reasoning of the author and, quite frankly, the stubborn nature of this article. It seems like she's grasping at straws just so she doesn't have to admit she made a stupid slip of the tongue. Admit it, move on. Atheism is not a religion and the post above mine explained why perfectly.

  • wareagle||

    Science is partially "agnostic" and partially assigning the false value, and so are most atheists.
    ----------------
    right...that explains the global warming cultists.

    Science works to rule things in as much as to rule things out. Thus far, no one has been able to definitively prove the existence or lack thereof of any god from any faith. Ah, there's that word again, "faith".

  • Zeb||

    Science works to rule things in

    Well, not exactly. Science, strictly speaking, only rules things out. Science can convince us that some things are extremely likely with the practical effect or convincing people that they are true. But all science itself can do is to rule things out or not.

  • Well...||

    Science doesn't really even do that much. We can posit an infinite number of scenarios to explain what we see in the world around us, all perfectly valid. It's possible (though completely unprovable) that the universe changes each time we make a scientific discovery. That act of "discovery" could be one of creation.

    And science requires faith. Faith in a rational, orderly universe. Faith in cause and effect. We don't, and can't ever, know that just because the universe seems orderly on certain scales today that it will be the same way tomorrow.

    Science is a practical tool to tell us what we can probably expect given our basic assumptions (i.e. our "articles of faith"). That's it.

  • Mark||

    It is not 'faith' to make assumptions about how things are based on observable phenomenon.

    You are correct that we can't be 100% sure the laws of the known universe won't change from one second to the next. I'll even let you slide for suggesting it's 'faith' to believe they won't. But you must admit there is a difference between faith based on centuries of recorded observation and faith as the term is used by the religious.

  • ||

    Yes, it is faith to make assumption based on observable things. For if the thing itself was observable, then you wouldn't make an assumption. Oxford dictionary defines assumption as "a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof". Even Teller defined faith as "Believing something without proof". But if you accepted something as true, you believed it was true. So basically assumption and faith are identical under the definition of Oxford dictionary and the definition of faith of Teller.

  • ||

    You're partially right, science tries not to deal in "absolute truth." It always has a practical framework behind it, which says "assuming this law is true, then that is also true."

    But this is not faith, it is simply practicality. If evidence came along that negated that law, that law would be struck down. The same could not be said for a tenet based on faith.

  • Used to Like Reason Comments||

    Heller,
    horseshit.
    The biggest diehards I know in the religion/non-religion sphere are the people who are CERTAIN there is no god.
    They can be no more certain than the fundamentalist can be sure there IS a god.
    Both are deluded.

  • Amakudari||

    The biggest diehards are the ones who are, um, most diehard?

    Seriously, how many people do you think are going to vocally fight for agnostic theism/atheism? "Religion is perhaps bullshit but I'm not really sure!" "There might be a God!"

    Typical atheists and theists, in my experience, aren't diehard. I've certainly had more religious people rub it in my face growing up in the South, but most people keep views on religion to themselves.

  • ||

    Why do you call them die hards? Because your arguments fail to persuade them that there is a God? Maybe you should look at your arguments.

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  • Eduard van Haalen||

    bireligious dating? Sounds kinky!

  • np||

    Yeah, Buddhism is what is called "nontheistic" -- neither atheistic (rejection of gods) nor theistic (dependence on gods)

    Some people have called this indifferentism, since the belief itself doesn't depend on an affirmation or denial of various theistic viewpoints. In fact its perspective treats all of the physical/supernatural/divine/cosmos/god/angels/demons/heaven/hell the same and subject to the same metaphysical principles.

    Essentially for nontheism: god(s)? angels? demons? *shrug* what's that got to do with me? Kinda like if you met an advanced alien who's got some crazy abilties, or even some entity like Q.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    What about asuras & devas? Aren't they gods? Maybe you mean to say that Buddhism is not monotheistic?

  • Nope||

    "What about asuras & devas? Aren't they gods? "

    Nope.

    "Maybe you mean to say that Buddhism is not monotheistic?"

    Nope.

  • Fatty Bolger||

  • Yup||

    Nothing there in any way disagrees with me.

  • A Bhuddist||

    Gods and deities in Bhuddism aren't worshiped like you seem to be implying.

    Honestly, if you spent two minutes reading about it you'd know why you're wrong.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Where did I say anything about worship?

  • Nope||

    In your first post, whether you realize it on not.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Nowhere does Kennedy say religion is the worship of God (or Gods).

    I like what you said below about atheism being the null hypotheses. That's pretty much how I look at it myself. However, the null hypotheses can never be proven, so anybody insisting that atheism is absolutely correct is behaving... religiously.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Make that "hypothesis".

  • GroundTruth||

    They are *behaving* religiously, but that is different from being religious in the common sense of the word.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Fair enough. Like I said below, I don't really agree with her. There is no question that some people treat their atheism like it was a religion, though, so in that sense her point does have some validity.

  • ||

    But the null hypothesis is "accepted" not "proven." That is what atheists are doing.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Gods and deities in Bhuddism aren't worshiped"

    That may well be corrct for the majority of Buddist and in Buddist doctrine, but in practice there are many who do pray to those deities. Just like with any religion, doctrine does not universally dictate practice.

  • Zeb||

    Well, some Buddhists might worship them, but that doesn't mean that the worship is necessarily part of Buddhism. I don't know a whole lot about it, so I'm just idly speculating. But is seems like Buddhism doesn't necessarily have to be exclusive of other beliefs.

  • Dylan Walker||

    I've spoken with Zen Buddhists who were unabashidly athiest.

    Some forms of Buddhism are theistic, some are not, there are as many varaities of it as there are Christians sects.

  • nono||

    You really should know how to spell Buddhism if you are one

  • np||

    No, it has all of those in the mythology but none of that matters. They're treated the same as "people" who might help or hurt you even, but still subject to suffering, death, impermanence according to its tenets. Your fate and salvation can only be determined by yourself

  • Father Jack||

    Feck off Kennedy! But I'd jizz on that big forehead any day. Drink! Arse! Girls!

  • ||

    Wait, the dictionary lists five definitions and you only agree with the first? Do you disagree with the other four (some of which would incorporate atheism)? Why not just admit this entire non-issue comes down to which dictionary definition of "religion" you prefer?

  • ||

    As to the neurobiological stuff, my brain is hardwired to tell me to have sex with random women I pass by on the street. That doesn't mean I have to or that I should just accept it and embrace my inner STEVE SMITH. That would be stupid, just like accepting the urge to blindly believe something because it's easy to is stupid.

  • wareagle||

    so basically you confirm the gist of Kennedy's discovery: "blindly believe", "stupid", blah blah.

    Atheism centers around the belief - seems that word cuts both ways - there is no deity. No one can prove that, however, so one could say that blind belief is just as applicable here. You do make her point, though; the non-belief side is often characterized by snark, sarcasm, and utter disdain. Is it not enough to simply have your belief, or non-belief, system?

  • Nope||

    "Atheism centers around the belief - seems that word cuts both ways - there is no deity."

    No, it doesn't.

  • wareagle||

    then what does it do, Obi Wan?

  • Nope||

    It's the null hypothesis.

  • wareagle||

    the null hypothesis seeks to reject or nullify something. If the hypothesis was, "god exists", the null would be "god does not exist". Neither is empirically provable, making each a matter of belief. Atheists believe there is no deity; can't prove it, but neither can the religious prove that existence is fact.

  • Father Jack||

    Atheism is based on the FACT there is NO Gawd in Hebbin! (or anyplace else). Feck belief.

  • Father Jack||

    I can prove this by calling Gawd a flaming jackwad bastard mother raper, and not a damn thing will happen to me. See?

  • cavalier973||

    It wouldn't prove anything even if something DID happen to you...

  • ||

    The null hypothesis is always unprovable. That doesn't mean you have to use faith to accept it.

  • Dylan Walker||

    No, sorry you are wrong on this, the person making the claim has the burden of proof, that is how logic works.

    Most athiests, at least the ones I know, don't say "there is no god," they say, "I have seen no evidnece to convince me god exists."

    Now you can offer evidence of his existance or not as you wish, I care not, but if you think I should believe in god then you have to pony up on the empirically testible evidence.

  • ||

    The Atheist position would be "there is no good evidence to suggest that God does, in fact, exist. In the absence of such evidence there is no defensible reason to believe he exists."
    Atheists cannot prove that unicorns don't exist, but most people would laugh at someone who maintained stubbornly that there were unicorns, but produced no evidence to support that claim. Nobody would accuse a person who was skeptical about the existence of unicorns of "blindly disbelieving" in unicorns, or that not believing in unicorns was somehow an act of faith equivalent to believing them.
    The existence of god is, or should be, empirically proveable IF THERE IS A GOD. Just like the existence of unicorns would be empirically provable if unicorns actually existed - find one and show it to me, and let me examine it, and I might believe in unicorns. Noone has been able to do that, with unicorns or God.

  • ||

    Snark, smugness and disdain are qualities that atheists and the faithful alike have in abundance. It's fair to say that some Atheists come off snarky. Being snarky doesn't mean that atheism is a religion. IMO "atheism is a religion to, Bill!" was a pretty snarky statement. And a very silly one.

  • ||

    Atheism doesn't center around anything, least of all a belief. Atheism is the lack of belief. The "null hypthesis" if you like. It's amusing that in the face of this very simple concept the author and so many commenters here resort to: "but they're so mean about it!" Being confident in unbelief doesn't make you religious.

  • lurker||

    Atheism is the lack of belief

    Actually, agnosticism is the lack of belief - atheists on the other hand actively believe that there is no god.

  • ||

    You can believe that, but it's simply not true. Gnostic pertains to knowledge, Agnostic = w/o knowledge. Atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. You can be an agnostic theist or a gnostic atheist or any combination thereof.

  • lurker||

    An agnostic as commonly understood, and as defined in Webster's dictionary, is:

    "one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god"

    An atheist, as commonly understood (and as defined by Webster's), is:

    "one who believes that there is no deity"

    So, according to the common understanding and to Webster's, I would say that atheists and agnostics are disjoint sets of people.

    True, some agnostics have atheistic leanings and others have theistic leanings, but that in no way invalidates my original statement.

  • ||

    It is not a spectrum with agnosticism in the middle. If you lack a belief in a God you are, by definition, an a-theist.

    Even using the limited definitions you provided, agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

  • lurker||

    Even using the limited definitions you provided, agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive

    The "limited definitions" that I provided are mutually exclusive: an agnostic is "not committed to believing in either the existence or non-existence of God or a god", whereas an atheist "believes that there is no deity". One actively believes there is no god and the other does not.

    You are correct that it is not a continuum with agnosticism as the middle ground, it is three distinct sets - atheists, theists and agnostics.

  • Herp||

    When people talking about religious atheists, they're talking about the non-agnostic variety. There are those who believe there is no God and they are usually rabid antitheists. Their beliefs are irrational.

    Why agnostic atheists who hold to the null hypothesis claim those other folks don't exist is a puzzle.

  • ||

    So the rabid disbelief of something is now a religion? If I rabidly believe that Santa does not exist, am I religious?

    The word religion loses all meaning this way.

  • Herp||

    If you come by that belief irrationally, then yes, you are religious.

  • ||

    All beliefs of a negative are unprovable. By the standards set here, unprovable means they are irrational. Therefore all beliefs of a negative are religious.

  • ||

    /derp

  • ||

    Heller, I do not believe that there is an invisible fairy that leaves money under my pillow in exchange for teeth. I do not believe that I am Napoleon. I do not believe that the earth is made of camembert or that the TV is sending telepathic signals to my poodle. These are all "negative beliefs." Am I irrational to not believe such things, or would I be irrational to positively believe them?

  • Father Jack||

    No, turdbrain, we KNOW there is NO Gawd!

  • ||

    How can you be confident in something that is empty? If atheism doesn't center around anything, then how can you be confident in it when it doesn't center around anything? Sounds really non-nonsensical. I don't believe in unicorns, I'm really confident in this nothing.

  • Mark||

    You use the term 'belief' as if it means the same thing when applied to atheists (or agnostics) as it does to those who believe in a God. I'm 99.99999% convinced--some would call that a belief--there are no gods because no one has ever offered solid, observable, testable evidence proving their existence.

    Similarly, I'm 99.99999% convinced there is no such thing as Leprechauns, but no rational person would suggest my 'belief' in this presumption is the same as the 'belief' of those who DO believe in Leprechauns.

  • Observer||

    "no rational person"

    Nice verbal mine.

  • ||

    wareagle I know you read my first posts above, so obviously you didn't understand what they were saying, since they answer all the points you just made. Atheists do not "believe" that God does not exist, they accept the null hypothesis of God's existence due to lack of evidence. Logical assumption =! belief.

  • ||

    Atheism is most commonly not the center of a belief system, but simply one conclusion of belief systems at least claiming to be centered around the use of reason. Reason is at the centerl. Lack of belief in God is at the periphery.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I would say that Atheism is a faith. There are tenets - well, one tenet. Without proof, atheists believe there is no divine being. Many feel it just as strongly as the devout feel there is a supreme entity. Non-non-believers are often held in as much contempt as the two characters in the classic Emo Philips joke feel toward each other in the punchline. Agnosticism is what I would call a true non-religion.

    Of course, this all comes down to how each of us defines religion.

  • ||

    Problem with this definition is then that a strong belief that something does not exist is then a "religion". I don't believe aliens exist. Is that my "religion"? I strongly believe that there is no evidence to substantiate their existence, just like athiests believe there is a lack of proof of a "supreme being".

  • shamalamadingdong||

    You make a good point.

    I, however, do believe that space aliens do exist purely based on probabilities, Sagan's "billions and billions" thing. The problem is they are so far away that we will never meet them, and we may never intercept any of their radio communications for the same reason.

    I suppose my belief is "faith-based": an improbable event distributed across a nearly infinite possibility-space becomes a near certainty.

  • ||

    Do you believe in Zeus, or Apolo, or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    What about fairies, leprechauns, or Santa Clause.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    No, I don't. Show me some proof or even a plausible mechanism for their existance and I am willing to change my mind, though.

  • ||

  • ||

    Auto spellchecking is an instrument of Satan.

  • ||

    You misspelled Santa.

  • ||

  • ||

    "I suppose my belief is "faith-based": an improbable event distributed across a nearly infinite possibility-space becomes a near certainty."

    It's not faith based, precisely for the reasons you just gave. Life on other planets is a near certainty based on the EVIDENCE.

  • Explain||

    Why is "no God" the default position? Who chose that position and why? Why does THAT position make more sense than (say) a pantheistic position?

  • ||

    It is not the default position, it is the null hypothesis to an unsupported claim, which should therefore be accepted.

    Life on other planets also has a null hypothesis, but we do not so readily accept it because we already have evidence of life on one planet, us.

  • ||

    You're making a normative claim, what one should hold. You need to offer some reasons to accept it, not just state that's how people should believe. In fact, many religious people make the normative claim that you should believe in it, even if they offer no reasons to support it. Sounds like you're doing the same thing. And you're involved with a logical fallacy of moving from one, and only one case, to state that there are more that match that case.

  • ||

    I didn't make a normative claim. When one makes a claim, there is always a null hypothesis to the claim. If the claim is unsupported, the null hypothesis is accepted. If the claim is supported, we fail to reject the claim. So this really has nothing to do with normative statements. It's how you test a hypothesis.

  • Dylan Walker||

    Believing that something probably exists is very different than claiming it certainly exists.

  • Sevo||

    Fist of Etiquette|3.10.12 @ 5:58AM|#
    "I would say that Atheism is a faith."

    Sorta like the 'faith' that there's no Santa? That sort of 'faith'?

  • anon||

    More like "faith" that the sky is blue.

  • ||

    What if it's nighttime?

  • anon||

    See? It changes color. Proof there's a god, and magic is real.

  • ||

    +1. I'm religious and I know day and night are caused by the earth rotating. Or magnets, maybe.

    Science plays a big part in my religion. And vice versa.

  • ||

    But seriously, atheists centuries ago were still sure the sun rotated around the earth. It wasn't just the religious.

    Bigger point: atheism doesn't help the scientific method any more than belief in God does.

  • ||

    Bigger point: atheism doesn't help the scientific method any more than belief in God does.

    Sure, neither "help," but belief in the supernatural sure as hell hurts. How can we perform any reliable experiments if God can intervene and perform miracles whenever he damn well pleases? What would be the purpose of studying tsumani damage if the reason certain structures stayed standing was because of teh Jeebus?

  • anon||

    Bigger point: atheism doesn't help the scientific method any more than belief in God does.

    Perhaps not a belief in god; however, atheism is far better for human liberty and hence advancement than organized religion can ever be. Religion is oppressive on the thought process.

  • ||

    Perhaps not a belief in god; however, atheism is far better for human liberty and hence advancement than organized religion can ever be. Religion is oppressive on the thought process.

    Do you realize how much man evolved based solely on religious societies? From basic building principles (Pyramids, Domes, Columns, etc) used to create houses of worship or ceremonial burial, to the reason for creating the printing press, religion has played a major role in the development of mankind.

    All I could find for what atheism itself has been directly responsible for was to give the atheist Bolsheviks a reason to murder millions of people. And the atheist Red Chinese to do the same in the name of eradicating God from lives so people will worship the state and humanity.

  • ||

    Atheism is directly responsible for Stalin and Mao the same way Pope's hat is responsible for child rape, i.e. not at all. Statism and sexual repression, respectively.

  • No||

    Organized religion is about exploiting the religious and non-religious alike. It's about power. It is just another form of government. It is orthogonal to religion itself.

  • ||

    And, religion built churches, painted pictures and printed books because religion had the $$$$$$. The existence of the sphynx does not validate the truth claims of ancient egyptian religions. It's simply testifies to the organizational prowess of the government (eek!).

  • anon||

    Do you realize how much man evolved based solely on religious societies? From basic building principles (Pyramids, Domes, Columns, etc) used to create houses of worship or ceremonial burial, to the reason for creating the printing press, religion has played a major role in the development of mankind.

    I dispute all of these assertions, and offer that man developed such technology in spite of organized religion rather than because of it.

  • ||

    I dispute all of these assertions, and offer that man developed such technology in spite of organized religion rather than because of it.

    In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, you believe this? Sounds somewhat...irrational.

  • anon||

    I don't see evidence that the pyramids were built to worship gods; more that the kings of Egypt believed themselves gods and had them built to honor themselves.

    I don't see the printing press as developed to print bibles, but as a way to print shit cheaper to make the inventor's life better.

    So yes, Capitalism has had its successes in spite of religion.

  • ||

    Umm religion doesn't get to take credit just because it told builders and scientists we need this thing. I think, you know, the builders and scientists get credit for the engineering and science. Religion gets credit for a big useless pyramid.

  • ||

    The rate at which technology is evolving is proportional to the decline in religious belief.

    If anything, religion has held us back.

  • cavalier973||

    Miracles would be categorized as such. Miracles don't "just happen", they usually have a spiritual truth to impart, and those who experience it usually wind up not believing the spiritual truth, anyway.

    For example, one would think that raising someone from the dead would be a persuasive argument to accept the teachings of the one who performed the miracle. In the case of Jesus, raising Lazarus from the dead actually sealed Jesus' fate, as far as the Jewish leaders were concerned.
    Western science was made possible by the Christian teaching that God is a God of order, not chaos. The first scientists were Christians, who were merely trying to understand how God made things. The underlying belief that the universe has order, and that it can be observed, propelled the Christian West past the rest of the world in terms of scientific knowledge.

  • cavalier973||

    I should say the "first scientists", in the modern sense of the term: one who gathers evidence, proposes a hypothesis, performs experiments to test the hypothesis, and repeats the process until he is reasonably sure the the hypothesis has not been falsified.

  • ||

    Modern science owes its existence to...Christianity? Now I've heard it all.

  • Nope||

    "Without proof, atheists believe there is no divine being. "

    Are you trolling?

  • BakedPenguin||

    The burden of proof is on those who would posit that something exists. Faith, as mentioned above, is belief in the absence of evidence. Atheism is the null hypothesis of religion.

    The 'brain effects' mentioned in the article can also be achieved by meditation or drugs. Perhaps opium is a God? (Now there's a sacrament)

    Having said that, any atheist who gets seriously offended by the statement really needs to calm down. If you're that scared when someone challenges your worldview, you'd do better to examine your insecurities than attack them.

  • BakedPenguin||

    *sigh* ...than attack the person challenging your worldview.

  • Fuck you||

    "Having said that, any atheist who gets seriously offended by the statement really needs to calm down."

    Having read that, any asshole who tells me what I need to do in the face of religious intolerance can fuck off.

    "If you're that scared when someone challenges your worldview,"

    Who said anything about SCARED asshole?

    "you'd do better to examine your insecurities than attack them."

    And YOU would do better to examine the insecurities that require you to tell other people how to behave in the face of religious intolerance.

  • Almanian||

    u mad, bro?

  • anon||

    he mad

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Who "told" anyone how to behave, you prick?

    As for religious intolerance... you showed that in spades "Fuck You".

  • Amakudari||

    I'm not offended by the assertion that atheism is a religion because I don't want to be associated with religion. I'm more annoyed by the juvenile logic behind such a claim.

  • ||

    Opiates is the religion of the masses? I can live with that.

  • ||

    Actually, the burden of proof is based on anyone who makes a claim. It can be a positive claim or a negative claim. Makes no difference.

  • Joe R.||

    Copied from my earlier comment: atheism could be proven wrong. It's simple: show me god. Theism could never be proven wrong, because if I took a believer through the entire universe and couldn't find god, the theist would claim god exists outside the universe.

    That's why theism is religious (or faith-based), and atheism is not.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    ^^^this

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "show me god"

    Not being able to show does not prove anything at all. The atheist does not prove that the theist is wrong, and the theist certainly does not prove the atheist wrong.

  • ||

    Are you retarded? Go back and read the Joe R. comment above again. Read it slowly.

    Get it now?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    If God shows up, will atheists be proven wrong? Will atheists or people of religions that conflict with the form of what people say is the god take it as proof?

    Atheism is not proven wrong until it is.

  • ||

    If God shows up, will atheists be proven wrong?

    By definition, yes.

    And the point of the post you are replying to is not wrong or right but what separates faith and atheism.

  • ||

    And how would we know He is God? Would people just accept it?

  • ||

    The hypothetical states "God" shows up. I don't know why you are talking about things that are not the same as the hypothetical.

  • ||

    God shows up. How do people know He is God?

  • ||

    Don't know, don't care. It was hypothetical.

  • Amakudari||

    I'm pretty sure this is the exact kind of argument the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Russell's teapot are meant to address.

  • Maxxx||

    Copied from my earlier comment: atheism could be proven wrong. It's simple: show me god. Theism could never be proven wrong, because if I took a believer through the entire universe and couldn't find god, the theist would claim god exists outside the universe.

    That's why theism is religious (or faith-based), and atheism is not.

    Buy that logic the federal government (or any number of intangible concepts) does not exist because no one has seen or met it.

    All you have seen or interacted with are it's agents, which are analogous to the clergy of a religion.

  • ||

    LOL. You're not serious, are you?

  • ||

    Seeing and interacting with the clergy of a religion is enough to prove to me that the religion exists, as a belief system and as an organization. Meetign with agents of the government is enough to prove to me that the gvoernment exists. It takes some intellectual work to understand what government is, but once you do, the evidence for it is abundant. Not so with God.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "if I took a believer through the entire universe and couldn't find god, the theist would claim god exists outside the universe."

    Many atheists have gone through the universe, found the anthropic principle, and claim that non-God exists outside the universe (in an infinite group of parallel universes).

  • ||

    The anthropic principle is quite possibly the weakest argument for God, but believers keep trotting it out like it hasn't been refutted. The universe most certainly does not appear designed. And even if we grant that it does, it is most certainly not designed for human life, intelligent life or any kind of life, period. Even if we grant you that the Earth is designed for life, bacteria is clearly God's chosen domain.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I am simply pointing out that many atheists reply to the anthropic principle by talking about parallel universes. These people think (rightly or wrongly) that they need to trot out the parallel universes to rebut the anthropic principle. The fact that they're often highly educated indicates that there's something about the anthropic principle that bothers them, otherwise they wouldn't be trying to escape from this universe to avoid it.

  • ||

    I think you're getting your names confused. The anthropic principle is the atheists' an answer to the fine tuning argument. The fine tuning argument is says that the universe is designed, not the anthropic principle.

  • ||

    Infinite parallel universe is not necessary to argue against the fine tuning argument, the anthropic principle is sufficient.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You got me - I meant fine-tuning, which (as I mentioned) some atheists explain with their infinite universes.

  • No||

    Atheism can't be proven wrong. Just think about what you, personally, would say if I showed you God tomorrow. You wouldn't believe it. And you'd require greater and greater proofs. And even then you might believe that it is simply a powerful, but natural being, not God.

  • Juice||

    Doubt can never and should never be eliminated.

  • Tired Scientist||

    If by "god" you mean a supernatural being, then atheism cannot be proven wrong by showing you god.

    Your senses only perceive natural things.

    If a theist showed you something that he calls god he would only be showing you a natural entity.

    How would that in any way prove that such an entity is supernatural?

  • ||

    Part of the idea of God is a supernatural being that can affect the natural world. So showing God would necessitate you perceiving something supernatural. Assuming that you can't is begging the question. If God presented himself to you through magic or whatever it would disprove atheism.

  • Tired Scientist||

    It's not an assumption that you can't perceive the supernatural. It's a fact that our senses only perceive natural things.

    So, if a god presented himself to me through "magic", the best I could reasonably conclude was that I encountered a natural being with technology beyond my comprehension.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    "Without proof, atheists believe there is no divine being.

    There are an infinite number of things without proof. Most of them don't exist.

  • ||

    I agree with that, because there's no other minds or an external world. There's no proof for them, or evidence.

  • Zeb||

    So, do all Christians, for example, also participate in the religions of a-Buddhism and a-Islamism and a-Kali-cultism? Saying that lack of a particular belief is a religion is absurd on its face. If you have never believed in God, there is no more religion in non-belief in God than there is in non belief in any other thing that you can think of that you have no evidence of the existence for. Just because lot of other people believe in God doesn't make disbelief in God a special form of disbelief. The existence of God only has a special status for people who believe in God.

    I am just speculating here, but I would guess that most people who think that atheism is always a religion have believed in god at some point in their lives.

  • Abdul Alhazred||

    Typical Christian slander.

  • ||

    I was a former atheist myself, and have to say that at that point in my life I would never (ever) have construed my lack of a belief in a supreme being a "religion". I just honestly believed there was no evidence of this "God". Seemed more to me like the easter bunny and Santa Claus. Is not believing in the easter bunny and Santa Claus a religion too?

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    I was a former atheist myself,...



    So that means you're an atheist again, right?

    I think you might mean :

    I *AM* a former atheist myself,...



  • ||

    Technically, he could have been a former atheist and still be a former atheist.

  • Nipplemancer||

    How does that work, being a former athiest? Do you one day realize that hey, maybe there is a skygod and I should worship him/her/it?
    Did you find jesus hiding under a rock or something? What is it that made you an ex-atheist?

  • ||

    There are plenty of people who are atheists because they haven't been converted to a belief. There are others who are atheists after examining the arguments and coming to that conclusion.

  • Nipplemancer||

    Atheists who haven't converted to a belief aren't really atheists if they're looking for a new god, are they?

  • ||

    Have to agree with Nipplemancer on this one. Yes, an athiest can become a believer in God, via a religious experience. However, Nipplemancer is right in the sense it is not true that "atheists have yet to be converted to a belief". Atheists simple do not believe in any form of deity. Agnostic is the term for folks who have no opinion either way.

  • ||

    No true atheist would be converted...

  • True Scotsman||

    No true Scotsman would say such things.

  • Sevo||

    So I guess Santa and the Easter Bunny must exist, since I don't 'believe' in them?

  • ||

    Don't get your point. Why would anything exist if you don't believe in it?

  • Sevo||

    Read the headline: Atheism requires a god for me not to believe in.
    So, by that 'reasoning', not believing in Santa requires a Santa for me not to believe in.

  • ||

    I think you hit on an excellent point, which is often argued about by athiests themselves. Some will say that atheism is the belief in science. Since science has not "proved" or "given evidence" of a supreme being, it doesn't exist. However, you are right in the sense that there are now people who state that atheism is the disbelief in the existence of God. I was an athiest in the first camp, and wonder at those in the second camp because you are right. In order to not believe in God, there does have to be a God to not believe in.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    No, there only has to be the idea of a God. The idea of a God clearly exists.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Right. I don't believe in phlogiston, either.

  • Realist||

    And I suppose you don't believe Pb can be turned into Au either?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Hell, hydrogen gets turned into gold. WTF does that have to do with God?

  • Realist||

    Lighten up dickwad, my reply was to BakedPenguin and was tongue in cheek.

  • ||

    Yet, we are back at the conundrum that atheism, if it is a "religion", is the disbelief in an "idea" (idea that God exsists). If this is the definition, then the disbelief in any idea is a religion, which doesn't seem to fit right.

  • ||

    So does the idea of a giant turtle who carries the world on his back, the idea of Zeus, Alla and Thor, the idea of - oh, hell, I give up.

  • Tulip||

    Gentleman, I have a "Dear Warty" question.
    I have a friend with benefits that has been going on for about 8 months. Lately he is acting very boyfriendy - Valentine's day gifts, wanting to make plans for dinner, wanting to go away for a weekend. At the same time, he calls less frequently.
    I am puzzled. Any thoughts?

  • ||

    He's seeing someone else. Said other relationship is off and on, and problematic? Maybe?

    Alternatively, he's really busy at work, doesn't have time to chat, but wants some "quality" time alone.

  • Tulip||

    It would be fine with me if he were seeing someone else. I am more concerned that he is starting to think of himself as a boyfriend, in which case I should end it.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Wait a minute here. It sounds like you locked him in the friend zone. You are a terrible person. If you have functioning ovaries, can I get your number?

  • shamalamadingdong||

    Buy him an organ for Valentine's day, then put tulips on his organ. It shows you care and you have the proper perspective on your relationship.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    Tulip, if it doesn't work out for you just let me know. I am much more realistic about FWB relationships, I promise to just keep it fun.

  • Realist||

    Maybe she wants something more than a dingdong.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    I offer much more than that.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Some guys just hate calling or emailing. Get closer in person. If he resists that, move on.

  • Tulip||

    I don't want to get closer - I like things as they are

  • ||

    Sounds like the poor boy's in wuv with you. 8 months is an awful long time to bang someone without the W-word rearing its adorable head. I say dump him or marry him.

  • Tulip||

    I guess, but we both agreed to FWB. Dump him it is, then.

  • ||

    I just broke some poor bastard's heart. Excellent.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Your weekend is complete.

  • Tulip||

    He is teh sexay. He'll be fine

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oh, sure, sure.

    Here is what comes next.

  • Tulip||

    I always loved that movie, so it could actually work (at least temporarily)

  • ||

    You heartless SOB!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Sooooo.....what are you doing tomorrow Tulip:)

  • Colonel_Angus||

    In the future, I recommend the fuck buddy arrangement. You can have several fuck buddies. Someone who you only bang a couple times a month, and never talk to otherwise. You don't want to find out if you have anything in common, or develop any loyalty, you just want to fuck. Also, avoid people with kids. Those people are screwing up their kids' lives. If you have kids, stop fucking around.

    Don't mess with your friends, or don't have friends at all. I would kill people for my friends.

  • Tulip||

    That's what is was - which is why the "let's make plans" was confusing. Prior to this call were "let's have a drink" or "come over". Hence - puzzled.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I recommend conjugal visits with a lifer. Just make sure he's not eligible for parole.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And not a trusty in the Mississippi governor's mansion.

  • Tulip||

    And yes, someone with no kids is a rule of mine.

  • Tulip||

    Thank you all.

  • Rob||

    Tulpa, why do you keep spelling your name wrong?

  • shamalamadingdong||

    +1

  • Tulip||

    That's not nice Rob. :)

  • Reality||

    Then you're doing it wrong...

  • ||

    I would say, stop over-thinking it, continue as you were, and try to see what's up. It sounds like you're making a big deal out of nothing.

  • Tulip||

    I don't think so. Sex only relationships are tricky. It's fine if one person changes their mind about what they want, they just can't assume the other is now on board with the change. If he has changed his mind (I haven't) then I don't think it is fair to continue. I think it is cruel to encourage false hope that you will change your mind and want the relationship they want.
    We clearly need to talk about this.

  • Leroy||

    "We clearly need to talk about this."

    He's officially a boyfriend.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So is my refusal to believe in pink unicorns as supreme beings also a religion?

  • Realist||

    Just what color do you think Unicorns are?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    White, duh.

  • shrike||

    Why is it a problem if someone considers atheism a religion?

    Words have meaning, you lightweight VeeJay. Is stamp collecting a religion? drinking beer? laughing? walking to your car? sweating? sneezing?

    Those who call atheism a religion do so in order to diffuse it for partisan purposes.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Too close for comfort, Shriek?

  • Realist||

    "Those who call atheism a religion do so in order to diffuse it for partisan purposes."
    Yes, they have an agenda.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'd say worshiping George Soros and Warren Buffett, qualifies as a religion.

  • Realist||

    Perhaps, but I don't worship either of those two ass clowns. Actually I don't worship anyone or thing.

  • God of the Reefer Stick||

    Pound your Bible. Thump your Quran. Light up another GodStick (how can you tax religion?).

  • Terr||

    I wouldn't call atheism a religion but there are some atheists that do act religious about their beliefs.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    In that case, intolerance of others' beliefs becomes the defining characteristic of "religion".

  • ||

    Intolerance of others' beliefs is a common characteristic of humans. But I don't see it defining much of anything. Tolerant atheists as well as believers are not hard to come by if you look for them.

  • cavalier973||

    I'm intolerant of statist philosophy. Can my free-market orientation be classified as a religion?

    If so, I think it's time to sing a hymn and take up the offering.

  • wareagle||

    I was surprised at the bitterness that poured from so many disbelievers.
    ---------------------
    First, why would you be surprised? The venom that comes from so many atheists toward believers is astounding. Malicious truths tend to inspire the worst in human behavior.

    Second, why not call it a religion? It is a belief system, a belief that no great spiritual entity(ies) exists. I have no issue with that. This is exactly why it is called faith.

  • Nipplemancer||

    The thing is, most of us don't give a fuck about your skygods. When we are lumped into 'religion' we get pissed because we don't want to be a part of any of it. I don't care what you believe in, don't try to assume you know what goes through my head when I deny your skygod has any power/effect over me. There is no belief system - its an unbelief unsystem. It's quite simple. I have faith that what goes up must come down (as long as whatever is going up never exceeds escape velocity).

  • Zeb||

    Atheism is not a belief system. It is the lack of a single belief. It says absolutely nothing positive about the world. Belief systems are about what one believe's to exist or to be the case. You don't state what you believe by listing all of the things that don't exist. Atheism is no more of a religion than not believing in magic flying carpets is a religion.

  • wareagle||

    bullshit. Of course, it's a belief system - a belief that there is no divine being. And, the notion of no single belief is double bullshit. Atheists believe there is no deity; there is no maybe, or coulda-woulda to it.

    Good grief; what is this hangup with semantics with some of you. Believe what you want, but all either side is doing is believing.

  • ||

    Believing in something is not a religion. You said it better when you said the words "belief system"; a system is "an assemblege or combination of things or parts that form a complex or unitary whole". A single belief is not a "system". However, I do think that atheists true belief system is based on the scientific method. I think a more accurate statement would be that an atheists belief system follows the same beliefs inherent in the scientific method. That makes much more sense.

  • colson||

    So, Christians who do not believe in the Hindu gods are guilty of practicing two religions? Christianity and Atheism?!

  • Sevo||

    "Second, why not call it a religion? It is a belief system, a belief that no great spiritual entity(ies) exists."

    Bullshit.

  • ||

    Sevo, from the same link you so generously provided in the Adam Smith thread:

    "Subsidies of large grants of land and cash had helped build earlier lines to the Pacific coast. Mr Hill's venture was unique in that land grants were neither sought nor given. [The] only government lands ever received by Mr. Hill's company were those attached to 600 miles of railway in Minnesota constructed by predecessor companies and acquired by purchase."

    Mr. Hill did not own the Minnesota & Pacific Railway Company at the time the latter received the charters in 1853 and 1857. At any rate, Hill did not rent seek, unlike Chrysler.

    Jeeeezzz, in the same link, no less - all you had to do was scroll down a few paragraphs.

    All in good fun.

  • ||

    So, now we know you like to pick cherries, too.

  • ||

    I think that what this article really points out is that some athiests feel threatened by religion. I agree with the author that in a sense atheists have embraced the very thing they "hate" about people of faith and that is shoving your beliefs down people's throats. They have embraced intolerance in order to make their beliefs "more mainstream". I have never understood this need in either athiests or Christians. If asked about my beliefs, I share them. That others don't share them affects me not one bit. That was true when I was an atheist, an agnostic, and even now when I am a practicing Christian.

  • wareagle||

    Yuuuup. I don't get the animus, either.

  • shrike||

    Its because religious zealots want to rule us based on their scripture despite the fact our Constitution demands secularism. We are still fighting a battle we won in 1789.

    See Santorum, Rick.

  • Nipplemancer||

    this is where I sadly agree with shriek. As soon as you're attempting to control what others do based upon your belief in a supernatural being, you are forcing others to accept that the supernatural being exists and that belief is correct based upon your interpretations of said supernatural being.

  • Almanian||

    Yep, shriek's right on this one.

    Also, fuck Santorum

  • Realist||

    Yes.

  • Maxxx||

    Most attempts at control are derived from an emotional belief in "humanity" or "the animals" or "the environment" and not an emotional belief in god.

  • ||

    Yet, not all Christian want to control what you do. I can't stand Rick Santorum either and would not support him (or anyone like him) in office. As a Christian on of the basic facts of the Bible is that God himself gave every human free will. Who am I to take that from you? Yet your complaint cuts both ways. We now have the icky Rick Santorums or the extreme secularists who don't allow for the free practice of one's faith (and yes forcing me to pay for an abortion is against my religious beliefs and my belief in liberty). What we need is to go back to the founding principles. For those who wish to convert another (atheists, Religious folk, etc) need to do it interpersonally - not via the government.

  • Obama Groupie||

    But of course, if Obama's Black Liberation Theology background motivates him to support affirmative action, that is TOTALLY acceptable!

    And don't forget groups like the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. They're fine, too.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And those who want to rule us based on collectivist scripture, are somehow better for us?

  • ||

    lightning = how it should be

    shrike = how it is...and why the venomous animosity from the atheists.

    Of course if both sides would just embrace the libertarian philosophy of living their own lives without trying to control the lives of others, the conflict would become meaningless, and EVERYONE could be happy.

  • anon||

    I think that what this article really points out is that some athiests feel threatened by religion

    You mean the past 2000 years didn't clue you in that religion is violent and oppressive?

    Yeah, I do feel threatened by it.

  • lurker||

    I think the past 4000 years or so have shown that people are often violent and oppressive. Some of those violent and oppressive people are religious. However, some are not (recent examples include Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.).

    It seems silly to suggest that religion is inherently violent or oppressive.

  • anon||

    However, some are not (recent examples include Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.).

    They were religious; their religion was the State.

    Religion is inherently oppressive and frequently violent. Religion stymies freedom of thought. Always.

  • wareagle||

    whom the did buddhists oppress?

  • anon||

    derp, thought. Same shit, different method.

  • warego||

    Practitioners of Bön were oppressed when Buddhism moved into their region of Tibet.

    Zen Buddhism accepted Japanese militarism which oppressed people.

    Religious groups, even if they claim to be nonviolent, has violence and oppression somewhere in their history.

  • lurker||

    They were religious; their religion was the State.

    Now that really stretches the definition of religion.

  • warego||

    Followers of Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, and others were religious in a sense, it's called cult of personality. If I'm not mistaken, Kim Jong-il was even considered supernatural by his people.

  • lurker||

    Followers of Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, and others were religious in a sense

    You and anon are really stretching what most people mean by "religion" (more so by a long shot than Kennedy did in her original article). Anon made the claim that religion is "inherently oppressive and frequently violent", and then to support this dubious claim, you and he/she make the equally dubious claim that any group that is violent or oppressive is actually religious.

    Using this type of circular logic, I have no doubt that you and anon can convince yourselves of just about anything!

  • warego||

    I never claimed violence or oppression is what made those people and their followers somewhat religious. I said that "cult of personality" is very similar to religion; unquestionable worship, rituals and ceremonies, etc. They are political religions; e.g. North Korea.

  • Zeb||

    It is ridiculous to make any blanket statement about the beliefs or motivations of atheists. I'm sure you are right about some atheists. Personally, I love discussing theology with religious people, as long as they are interested in a real discussion and not proselytizing. I am slightly puzzled by it, but have no animosity toward religion per se.

  • Almanian||

    WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW, KENNEDY??!

  • Gary Chartier||

    I suspect a gently undogmatic skepticism need not count as a religion. But it certainly makes sense to think that doctrinaire atheism does. That need only be offensive if one has already decided that "religion" is a bad word.

    I'd suggest that we might define religion this way: "a comprehensive interpretation of and response to reality as a whole." Religions don't have to be theistic. Many varieties of Buddhism aren't, and conventional Marxism isn't, but I'd suggest that both can qualify without much difficulty as religions.

  • ||

    I don't know if I'd go as far as "reality as a whole".

    A better definition perhaps "a comprehensive intepretation of and response to mortality and the existence of consciousness".

    Some people believe there is an afterlife and a soul. Some don't. Both are beliefs about things we don't understand.

    Personally I consider myself a non-dogmatic atheist. I don't really try to change anyone's mind. I just don't believe in a diety. I toy with the idea of consciousness living on after death,or returning to some vast pool of amorphous energy, but deep down I know that when we die we cease to exist. But others are entitled to believe what they want.

    I don't really bristle at the notion that atheism is a faith. It's one possible set of responses to the world. I happen to think it's the right one.

  • ||

    If Atheism is a religion, then atheist organizations should have tax-exempt status.

  • Jeffersonian||

    They don't?

  • ||

    I have no idea whether they do or not actually.

  • wareagle||

    after watching the Catholics ramp up the call for involvement among the flock over the birth control business, I am more convinced than ever of the need to strip away tax-exempt status.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So, the federal government should take away the tax exemption of organizations which protest too vehemently against being bossed around by the federal government?

    I suppose that makes sense, if you're the federal government.

  • wareagle||

    no, the govt should take away the tax-exempt status of any organization that wants to play in the political arena, and for that matter, any other organization, too. I can't stand non-profits. Too many folks pretend that non-profit status means no income, which is bullshit. Let the Catholics protest all the want; just expect to be treated like any other citizens' group.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You mean no tax exemptions for any group, regardless of the group's political positions or lack of them?

    In that case, what does it matter what the Catholic Church does or doesn't do? They should lose their exemption even if they play nice with the feds and hand out bags of condoms every Friday!

  • lurker||

    There is a good argument from the standpoint of separation of church and state for not granting tax-exempt status to religious groups:

    Granting religious groups special tax-exempt status requires that the government decide which groups are legitimate religious groups. But, surely we don't want the government deciding which religious groups are legitimate and which are not. Therefore, religious groups should not get special tax-exempt status.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'd be shocked if there weren't multiple 501(c)(somethings) with a stated atheist bent.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

  • cavalier973||

    Atheists have tax-supported institutions. They're called "Public Schools".

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I wouldn't say I agree with her, though some atheists certainly act like their atheism is a religion. Evangelist atheists are just as annoying as evangelist Christians.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    true dat!

  • Joe R.||

    No, evangelist atheists don't crusade against booze and porn.

  • Old Salt||

    Your right but I cringe when my fellow atheists start screaming matches and law suits over a fucking Xmas tree in front of city hall!

    Our mayor was a smack addict and the IMPORTANT thing to worry about was the goddamn tree...

  • Nipplemancer||

    If you're suing because of a christmas display, you're just an asshole. Seriously, the entire concept has been so secularized that to be offended is retarded.

  • Zeb||

    Christmas was never a terribly important Christian holiday anyway. People like it because it is something cheerful to do at the darkest time of year. Or maybe that's just me. I guess people in the southern hemisphere like it too.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    What Old Salt said. That is some annoying shit.

  • Grenator Bole||

    My Apple dictionary states that atheism is "the theory or belief that God does not exist."
    Since atheism involves belief, it is therefore a religion of sorts. And according to that logic, macro evolution is a religion too. Nobody can disprove that God exists nor can anyone prove with absolute certainty that man evolved from apes or that birds evolved from fish or whatever. It's based on a belief in circumstantial evidence just like a God-believer looking at the millions and billions of living creatures on Earth, and all of the incredible biodiversity, and thinking that a higher power must have done this. The real question is why are atheists so self-righteous?

  • ||

    I think we need to distinguish between beliefs about what happens after death, and beliefs about what happened 3 million years ago in Africa. We do actually have physical evidence for one and not the other.

  • ||

    Technically, we have no evidence for the past. You would have to rely on a belief which isn't testable itself. No one has ever experienced the past, because the past by definition is beyond experience. So yeah, in a sense, they have a point. Your point would only have evidence if you already assume the thing in question, but that just begs the question.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    "It's based on a belief in circumstantial evidence just like a God-believer looking at the millions and billions of living creatures on Earth, and all of the incredible biodiversity, and thinking that a higher power must have done this."

    For me, the fault in this thinking is that it has no mechanism explanation other than,"then some magical shit happened".

  • ||

    The problem is that one doesn't need a mechanistic explanation. You're assuming that the world needs to function in a certain way, which isn't even obvious. And even current science is moving away from that type of thinking. Descartes dream died a long time, i.e. mechanistic world.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Since atheism involves belief, it is therefore a religion of sorts.

    I believe that a desk exists in my office though I can't currently see it. Is that a religion of sorts?

  • wareagle||

    no, that's called a hallucination. You may not have bought what you thought you bought.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    How is it a hallucination? I have photos of it and others who have seen the photos also see a desk. My daughter just told me she sees the desk right now.

  • Old Salt||

    If you wanna REALLY get tricky, lets bring quantum metaphysics into this:

    Your desk MAY actually exist or it MAY just be a construct of your brain BUT what if the desk actually existed in another dimension that you're able to observe? Does the desk truly exist if it's located in another dimension and does the desk cease to exist if you lost the ability to perceive it?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Quantum physics has nothing on Descartes' evil genius.

  • wareagle||

    if there are photos, the desk exists. Your belief in its existence is irrelevant. Good grief, that's like saying my car has tires even though I cannot see the car at the moment. That's not belief; that just is.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I have photos of a lot of things that no longer exist.

  • Joe R.||

    No one can prove that the earth orbits the sun, either. Is that a religious belief?

  • shamalamadingdong||

    "No one can prove that the earth orbits the sun, either."

    Actually, you pretty much can prove that.

  • ||

    Actually, you can't prove that. You have to make a reference point from which you judge other things. And you're reference point makes the sun the center and judge things from that reference point. In fact, even Hawking said that the Earth being the center is consistent with all of or observations. So no, you can't prove that the earth orbits the sun. You assume it and judge everything from that reference point.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    Nonsense.

    You can choose the center of mass of Jupiter, or any other point in the galaxy or universe as your reference point and still show that the earth travels an elliptical around the sun.

  • Joe R.||

    Call the physics department at your local university, and ask any professor if he can prove that the earth orbits the sun. Unless he's either trying to dismiss you, or he's a really bad scientist, he'll say something along the lines of "an overwhelming amount of evidence suggests that it does."

    Math has proofs. Logic has proofs. Science has evidence.

  • Grenator Bole||

    There is physical evidence which proves macro evolution to be a scientific fact? And there is no evidence that proves Earth orbits the sun?

    None of these responses address the logical fallacy I raise. Atheists tend to be vocal and argumentative about there not being a God.

    There is far more circumstantial evidence showing that our universe was created by design rather than it being a random fluke. There are Fibonacci sequences in flowers and galaxies. There is connectivity in the universe which is being proven by quantum physics. Machines don't build themselves, and human beings don't just appear without some external causality.

    You can call it Mother Nature, or Evolution, but it's always the same thing -- an external causality. Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

  • Sleeping Dog||

    Or maybe atheists hate the religious for being arrogant enough to assume that they could ever understand the "mind" of "God"?

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Wow, are you really Grenator Bole? As in Grenator Dob Bole?

    I haven't seen you since you debated Teve Torbes on Ched Choppel's show Pightline!

  • shamalamadingdong||

    "Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions."

    Rubbish. Atheists are perfectly content to be held accountable for their actions. It's the theists who rely on the crutch of relying on some existential "other" to explain their actions, and "forgive" their "transgressions".

    "human beings don't just appear without some external causality." I agree, see evolution.

  • Dekedin||

    If you use the "atheists don't want to be accountable" line, then no one can ever make the association between atheism and communism again. Because it seems like some atheists do want to be accountable, so much that they created a God-State to do it for them. Again, it's stupid to say communism and atheism are the same thing, but that disproves the idea that atheists "hate" God and just want to be unjudgeable. As for me, my atheism and libertarianism spring from the same root. It's not that I don't want to be accountable, it's that just like libertarianism, I don't want to be governed by idiotic and arbitrary laws.

  • Tired Scientist||

    I don't want to be governed by idiotic and arbitrary laws.

    All morality (read law) is arbitrary.

  • Amakudari||

    Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

    Uh, why would I waste my time hating something that doesn't exist?

  • ||

    And you're evidence that it doesn't exist is where, again?

  • shamalamadingdong||

    You are arguing that God exists. Where is your evidence? See the null hypothesis.

  • Amakudari||

    I'm not sure whether any god exists anywhere, or whether some super-powerful being capable of exerting exists in some part of the universe.

    What I am fairly sure of is that the idea of a loving God who sends people to an eternity of writhing torment if they don't believe in his son, who he had tortured to death, contains so many internal contradictions that it's absurd. Remember when, in his infinite love, he killed almost everything on earth? Remember when the Ten Commandments forbade idolatry but gave a pass to genocide? Remember when God commands the Israelites meet up with the Midianites, slaughter the males, burn the city, and keep the woman, but Moses became outraged that some soldiers were adopted pagan traditions, so he ordered them to kill all the women except the virgins?

    There might be a god or gods. But I'm only going to consider sensible hypotheses.

  • Amakudari||

    *capable of exerting dominion over the Earth

  • Cowboy||

    Oh cool, the teleological argument. Like that one's never been proven to be a weak argument before...

  • Another Phil||

    None of these responses address the logical fallacy I raise. Atheists tend to be vocal and argumentative about there not being a God.

    I think you mean that we refuse to address the logical fallacy you employ. For your edification, it's called a red herring.

    Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

    This atheist doesn't hate god, because I don't spend much time thinking about something I believe doesn't exist. As far as the accountability for one's actions quip, you know you're among libertarians here, right?

  • Realist||

    That's silly.

  • mgd||

    Everybody has to believe in something. I believe I'll have a beer.

  • Another Phil||

    Since atheism involves belief, it is therefore a religion of sorts.

    Non sequitur.

    Nobody can disprove that God exists nor can anyone prove with absolute certainty that man evolved from apes or that birds evolved from fish or whatever.

    We are not omniscient, so absolute certainty isn't possible for us. However, we can gather evidence that strongly suggests the truth of a given hypothesis. Based upon that evidence, one may choose to believe. Such a belief is qualitatively different than a belief based upon faith: belief in the absence of evidence. I think Christopher Hitchens put it perfectly: "Assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

    The real question is why are atheists so self-righteous?

    The irony...it hurts.

  • WWNGD?||

    For some people I think it is a religion, they try to force their non-belief on everyone else. Penn Jillette is one of the religious atheist, who has written his bible on atheism and preaches atheism.

    Religion is a lot like government. Both set rules you must follow. Both uses fear to enforce those rules. Both want to take part of your income.

    I just want to be left alone and leave others alone.

  • WWNGD?||

    I would like to add that I don't believe atheism is a religion, but I do believe all atheists worship something.

  • Father Jack||

    Feckin' A! I worship drink!

  • ExcuseMe||

    What do you mean by "worship?" Beyond simple value attribution, (You might say I worship Doritos.) I can't think of anything I really "worship" in a recognizable sense of the word.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    By chance human history could have developed with absolutely no concept of religion, with things still being pretty much the same. Think about it, Obama and Santorum might still be who they are. People would be atheists, there would just be no purpose to have a word describing different levels of theists.

  • shrike||

    Kennedy was getting spanked by Bill Maher while a fellow Team Red player was there on the panel so she reacted like an infant - "Atheism is a religion too, Bill! So there!".

    Certainly she knows better now.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    On the subject of religion - why don't you tell us now about how great the economy is doing, and how Obama is lowering the deficit. Preach it, brotha! Preach on!

  • shrike||

    Numerical measures are objective, you idiot.

    GDP was 3% last quarter and it was -8.9% in q4 2008. S&P 500 is 1360 vs 806 - objective measures. The deficit is $200 billion lower now.

    Not religion - observable fact.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    HALLELUJAH, AMEN!!

  • God of the Reefer Stick||

    Obama announces defense budget cuts, defense companies start hiring and shoveling more dough to the ObomBa reelection effort. Observable facts.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow! Two hundred billion! Why, we could run the government for WEEKS on that!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The thing is, if a Republican was president, shrike would be using the same "observable facts" to prove that the economy is shit and that the deficit is not being lowered.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Thus the flaw in his ointment, Fatty.

    Note, also, how rankled he gets when his Sacred Idols are thumped and mocked.

  • cavalier973||

    You believe that?

  • Realist||

    "Kennedy was getting spanked by Bill Maher while a fellow Team Red player was there on the panel so she reacted like an infant - "Atheism is a religion too, Bill! So there!"."
    Funky....I wish I had seen that!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Odd how shrike can bitch about infantile behavior with a straight face...

  • ||

    I contend that if your system is about God—or about the non-existence of God—God is still at the center of the argument's "aboutness."

    Tru dat!

  • Another Phil||

    That is only true in a very pedantic sense. For me, the only time I consider the existence or non-existence of god "central" to anything is when a discussion like this comes up. Otherwise, I don't really think about it.

  • ||

    "It's all in how you define religion—if it's faith, then atheism isn't.

    He's wrong about that.

    Another word for faith is or can be "uncertainty".

    There are two camps of "faithful" people.

    One camp acknowledges uncertainty. They're reasonable. Even the religious among them see that without any uncertainty, faith cannot exist. If you're certain about what you believe, then you're not taking anything on faith.

    The other camp sees faith as the opposite of uncertainty. These people are to be mocked and feared.

    There are atheists and religious people in both camps.

    Do atheists have faith? Of course they do! Especially if they believe that someone loves them. How can you believe someone loves you without any uncertainty? Without any faith?

    We all live on faith. We have faith in our futures--even though they're uncertain.

  • ||

    Being an atheist does not necessarily make one faith free. However, faith is not a feature of atheism. Faith is a central feature in religion. Atheism is not in any meaningful way religion.

  • GroundTruth||

    I have faith in the data I produce, and in that produced by others. I have faith that the models (or theories) that we produce to describe the universe, or biology, or a chemical reaction, that those models are better and more testable than the models of a thousand years ago. And a thousand years forward (if we survive), we will have even better models. Perhaps none of them will be perfect, or perhaps if they are, then we will be gods ourselves.

    But I don't need to run to some grampa in a nightshirt to understand the world, I simply accept that there are parts I do not yet know.

  • ||

    However, faith is not a feature of atheism.

    Depends on how you're defining faith, doesn't it?

    I see faith as a choice you make in the face of uncertainty, and what you choose to believe is certainly a choice.

    If you imagine that there's no uncertainty regarding what you believe about the existence of God, then I'm gonna put you in the second camp I was talking about with other people who should be mocked and feared.

    Believing that there isn't a God, without acknowledging any uncertainty, isn't philosophically superior to believing that there is a God without acknowledging any uncertainty.

    And if you're making a call despite the uncertainty, then I'm gonna call that "faith".

    You might argue that believing in God requires a greater magnitude of faith, but you can't argue that believing requires one to overcome uncertainty and atheism doesn't.

  • ||

    Piffle. I'll grant you all the uncertainty you want. But it belongs on the same shelf with the Tooth Fairy and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Religious belief requires a faith that is unrelated to atheism.

  • ||

    Over the centuries, there have been some pretty formidable arguments in favor of God. I haven't seen a reaction to any of them that dismisses the argument entirely.

    Even Darwin's blind watchmaker concedes that there could have been a watchmaker. And doesn't it both you that atheism has always been a reactionary stance?

    Add to that the idea that if God is merely a social adaptation--and there's no question among anthropologists that religion is adaptive--then why criticize something functional, that people still find useful for adaptive purposes, as being on the same shelf as the tooth fairy?

    If religious belief helps people keep their families together, deal with death, overcome hardship and depression, etc., etc., then why dismiss those very real socially adaptive benefits as belief in the tooth fairy?

    There's a lot more to it than that.

  • ||

    Here's a relevant article in Scientific American titled "Is Religion Adaptive?"

    http://www.scientificamerican......n-adaptive

    If you glance through it, I think you'll see that all the assembled experts agree that it is. Some of them may say the adaptation works in different ways, but the article wasn't titled that because there's any controversy about whether religion is adaptive.

    They were apparently just trying to be provocative to get people to read it.

  • ||

    Holy crap Ken. You been drinking the water again. Just about everything in this post is crap.

    There are no credible arguments in favor of God. If you want to weigh into those waters. Read Dawkins.

    It is disingenuous to claim that natural selection doesn't rule out the deity. Darwin's theory makes no concession to the watchmaker. It's just another way of saying "you can't prove there isn't a god"

    The functional and adaptive purposes that people find for religion include flying airplanes into buildings.

    But the utility of religion is a diversion. Atheism is simply not a religion. It's at best poor reasoning to suggest that it is.

  • ||

    It is disingenuous to claim that natural selection doesn't rule out the deity.

    Huh?

    I'm not sure you understand the meaning of the word "disingenuous".

    There are no credible arguments in favor of God. If you want to weigh into those waters. Read Dawkins.

    How is this different from me telling you to go read Anselm of Canterbury or Behe?

    You read somebody that persuaded you of something--so now a thousand years of argumentation with all its unanswered questions goes out the window, why?

    The functional and adaptive purposes that people find for religion include flying airplanes into buildings.

    Syrian snipers use their opposable thumbs to aim rifles at protestors, too. Does that mean our thumbs aren't also a beneficial adaptation in other ways?

    So long as individuals find adaptations useful, they're useful adaptations.

  • ||

    Oh just stop it with your "thousand years of unanswered questions". They've been answered long ago. The thinking behind them is not rigorous.

    Useful adaptations should give way to superior adaptations. Religion is a chariot in the age of jets.

  • ||

    When I called some of my Twitter/Facebook pen pals "Palins," they became particularly rankled, accused me of circular logic, and called me a Palin, to which I say, "I know you are, but what am I?"

    I love you.

    Will you marry me?

  • ...---...||

    I have a hard time taking people seriously when they make the claim that Atheism is a religion.

    Nothing personal, it just shows a deficit of critical thinking skills.

  • ||

    I have a hard time with people who call themselves "agnostic"--as if "agnostic" somehow excludes religious people who have their doubts.

    Let's face it, more than 90% of the religious people out there have their doubts. Hell, Jesus had his doubts! Like I said before, anybody who doesn't have any doubt whatsoever is suspicious regardless of whether he or she believes in God.

  • Old Salt||

    You used a bad example:

    Jesus didn't have doubts ABOUT God, Jesus had doubts IN God!

    Meaning, he KNEW that God existed but his crisis of faith was about whether accepting God's will was the right thing to do!

    Satan tempted Jesus in the desert with the idea that the two of them together could do a better job looking after creation!

  • ||

    Very well.

    It wasn't a lack of faith in God's existence; but what I was trying to say is that no one's free from uncertainty. Not knowing for sure or "agnosticism" isn't exclusive to people who are leaning towards atheism if 90% of Christianity also has doubts at any particular point in time.

  • ||

    There's only a very small minority of people who should accurately be called "agnostic". They're the ones who if someone approached them and said, "I have an envelope here containing the correct answer to the question, 'Is there a God?'. I want you to tell me your answer, and if you're wrong, I'm gonna blow your brains out" And then he puts a gun to the guy's head.

    If the victim of this pulls out a quarter and flips it? Then he's an "agnostic" because he really doesn't have an opinion one way or the other.

    Those of us who have an opinion have uncertainties, too; we just lean one way or the other. So, claiming not to know because of uncertainty in no way differentiates atheists from believers.

    Having a working theory doesn't mean a scientist forgoes his right to uncertainty. People who believe in God don't give up their right to uncertainty just because they have an opinion either.

  • mgd||

    Strictly speaking, an agnostic is not one that simply doesn't know whether God exists, but one that believes that it not possible to know.

  • ||

    Strictly speaking, an agnostic is not one that simply doesn't know whether God exists, but one that believes that it not possible to know.

    Doesn't adding additional qualifications makes the pool of possible agnostics even smaller?

    How many agnostics really hold to that? How many of them really say they don't know--and also that it will never be possible to know?

  • Fluffy||

    Right, because it makes so much sense that Jesus could be one of the three aspects of the Trinity, but could still be so tempted.

    The 40 days in the desert, and Gethsemane, are the dumbest parts of the Bible - unless Jesus was not actually God. And given how dumb many of the other parts are, that's quite an achievement.

  • ||

    I wish more Christians paid attention to the three temptations.

    Per Dostoevsky's "The Grand Inquisitor", that scene turns Christianity into radical libertarianism.

    More radical than I am, that's for sure. If God allows people to murder each other, then who are Christians to say we should go to jail for cannabis?

  • wef||

    But WWNS?

    What would Nietzsche say?

    Is there anyone more pathetically superstitious than an Atheist who believes in Right and Wrong_

  • AlmightyJB||

    Might makes right

  • wef||

    these hard, strict, abstinent, heroic spirits who constitute the honor of our age, all these pale atheists, anti-Christians, immoralists, nihilists, these sceptics, ephectics, hectics of the spirit....these last idealists of knowledge in whom alone the intellectual conscience today dwells and has become flesh – these ‘free, very free spirits’.... – this ideal is precisely their ideal as well, they themselves represent it today, and perhaps they alone; they themselves are its most spiritualized outgrowth, the troop of warriors and scouts it deploys on the front line, its most entrapping, most tender, most incomprehensible form of seduction: – if I am a guesser of riddles in anything than let it be with this proposition!…These are by no means free spirits: for they still believe in truth…

  • Another Phil||

    Is there anyone more pathetically superstitious than an Atheist who believes in Right and Wrong.

    Yes. A religious douchebag who needs a list of "thou shalt nots" to remind him not to kill people.

  • Realist||

    "Or at least it requires a God for you not to believe in."
    Now that's funny.

  • ||

    I get the novelty of an MTV alum being libertarian. But don't we already have Kurt Loder for that?

    This is one of the most intellectually deficient articles I've ever read at Reason.

    You need to throw Kennedy back where you found her.

  • wef||

    There is nothing particularly interesting to be had from a conversation with a religious fellow nattering on about his beliefs; and of all the cultists who want to bend your ear about their convictions the Atheist is by far the most tedious.

  • ||

    I take it you've never met someone selling Amway.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You've met Tony, right? He "sells" the product of egalitarianism, which is right up there with battery-powered singing bass wall-hangings and the Popeil Pocket Fisherman in terms of quality merchandise.

  • ¢||

    I think that if there's a thing in your mind that you have a relationship with and thoughts and feelings about and you call it "God," you believe in God. And in that sense, people who call themselves atheists tend to be among the most devotedly religious.

    Fuckin' Torquemada was less defined by his relationship with God than Penn Jillete is.

    (I do love Penn. But.)

  • Grenator Bole||

    I think this is the only point I was trying to make about atheists such as Penn.

  • Another Phil||

    I think that if there's a thing in your mind that you have a relationship with and thoughts and feelings about and you call it "God," you believe in God. And in that sense, people who call themselves atheists tend to be among the most devotedly religious.

    Huh? So, you're saying that if you believe in something you call God, that you believe in God. Pretty bold. You have to do some serious mental gymnastics to claim that not believing = believing though.

  • ||

    I guess that makes me an Episcopalian, who only goes to atheist non-church on Easter and Christmas Eve.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I always figured you for a kneeler.

  • ||

    I love it when religious people try to smear athiests as being religious people.

  • Realist||

    Now that's funny too. This article has generated some funny shit!

  • non-atheist||

    I love how Atheists consider it a "smear" to call their deepest and most passionately-held non-empirical beliefs a religion because those are totally different from other people's most passionately-held non-empirical beliefs.

  • Apatheist||

    Who gives a shit? Religion can't be objectively defined so really you are all right. Except that guy who thinks there is no evidence of macroevolution, he's an idiot.

  • Grenator Bole||

    There is unequivocal evidence that some people commenting on this thread resort to ad hominem attacks to support their position.

  • Realist||

    I believe it was his opinion. He belives the guy is an idiot...therefore he is religious about idiots....he thinks they exist. Hey this is fun.

  • @AgoristDon||

    If atheism is a religion, then "off" is a TV channel.

  • You didn't...||

    ...bother to read the whole thing, did you?

  • GroundTruth||

    The distinction between theists and atheists in not the difference between one (or many) and zero, but between one (or many) and null. Religion is not the channel on the TV set, but the TV itself. Selecting Yahway, Vishnu or Thor, or even turning the silly thing off is fundamentally different from not having a set to begin with.

    The fact that our brains are apparently hardwired to join small-r religious groups was suggested to be based on a need to promote a group identity. But evolution is neither perfect, guided, final. In time, this too may pass away (I hope!).

  • Don Jose||

    I prefer the term irreligious.

  • Nipplemancer||

    I refer to myself as non-superstitious. I don't care if I walk under a ladder, or if a black cat crosses my path, nor if there was a magical hippy 2k years ago who pulled fish and bread out of his ass.

  • Amakudari||

    I prefer "Asian carpenter zombie," but that's just me.

  • Realist||

    ....who pulled fish and bread out of his ass.

    All of a sudden I'm not so hungry.

  • AlmightyJB||

    As an Atheist raised as a Christian, my moral code centers around The Golden Rule. It fit's comfertably with my Libertarian viewpoint. I do find it interesting that so many Christians viewpoint of The Golden Rule seems to be so conceptually different than that.

  • ||

    So, what is it called when the original post itself is trolling?

  • Realist||

    Original sin?

  • AblueSilkworm||

    +1

  • ||

    This does not prove God exists, but it does show humans are wired or biologically predisposed to believe in something.

    Heh, no, there's no reason to think it means anything about "belief".

    Peoples' brains also lite up like Robert Redford's suit in The Electric Horseman when people stub their toes or slip on ice. It's rilly rilly spiritual!

    My own religion is based on a disbelief in unicorns. The fact that gods don't exist is irrelevant.

  • Fluffy||

    Well...not practically, but atheism could be proven wrong. It's simple: show me god.

    Actually, you can't.

    It's the Star Trek V problem.

    Ultimately you can't "show me God" because all you could do is show me "a being of great power who does freaky shit" and if that being claims to be God he could be lying.

    You could do the full St. Peter routine and have me judged at the pearly gates and then sent to Hell, and it could still be a trick. Solve the "upload consciousness" man-machine barrier problem and any asshole can "send me to Hell".

    So unfortunately there's no way to "prove" there's a God in the Anselmian sense by experience.

  • Nipplemancer||

    Uploaded consciousness sent to 'hell' + CIA kidnapping Jesus. The crowdsourced reason sci/fi slashfic is on it's way to publication!

  • ||

    Star Trek V made Howard The Duck look Oscar-worthy.

  • ||

    Bullfarts, Kennedy.

    Sigh. Why is REASON now peddling articles based on logical fallacies?

  • Realist||

    Why do you think they call it Reason?

  • Fluffy||

    Yeah! Only we comment posters are allowed to do that!

  • Hacha Cha||

    Kennedy makes a leap by saying that because brain activity is happening in the same place with RELIGIOUS experiences that this somehow makes atheism a religion. First of all, we don't know exactly WHAT exactly is going in the brain in these areas at these times. Second, these were religious people having religious experiences being scanned, that doesn't say anything about atheism or atheists. Kennedy is just assuming way too much. Atheism is not a religion, and Kennedy is not neuroscientist.

  • fartface||

    What about the religion that says YOU don't exist? http://higgo.com/quantum/fourreasons.htm

  • Fluffy||

    There is far more circumstantial evidence showing that our universe was created by design rather than it being a random fluke. There are Fibonacci sequences in flowers and galaxies.
    Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

    The reason atheists act in such a militant fashion is because theists are so fucking stupid that they're annoying. Who can hear pap like this and not assume a posture of militancy out of nothing more than nerd rage?

    Let me clue you in, doofus: the two things you just argued here have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

    The presence of "circumstantial evidence that the universe was created by design" does absolutely nothing - zero - zilch - to make anyone "accountable for their actions."

  • Fluffy||

    For the simple reason that proving that the universe was divinely created isn't enough to do that. You'd have to prove that the creator deity gave a shit what we did, AND you'd have to prove that you somehow have magical access to the creator deity's rulebook.

    That's why it's so pathetic to see the Judeo-Christians grasp at straws like "evolution is only a theory" and "no one knows what came before the Big Bang, if there was one". Because it doesn't matter. It doesn't save Judeo-Christianity if it turns out that "an intelligence" was behind the Big Bang (if there was one). Because for all you know, for all anyone knows, that "intelligence" wants us to kill our neighbor and keep no day holy.

    But you just casually jump from Fibonaci sequences to "you will be accountable for your actions" even though you have absolutely nothing - nothing - to put in between those two steps.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm such a retard for not realizing that if "Man is the measure of all things" in the absence of supernatural influences, and Government is the most powerful entity made up of Man, then Government is God and the State is the measure of all things, and therefore the State shall determine what is moral or immoral and be in charge of holding me accountable for my actions.

    Libertarianism is such obvious bullshit since free will and the self can't even exist in a universe where everything is predetermined by chemistry and physics. Ought cannot be derived from is, and might is the only right. We biochemical machines are destined to be reprogrammed into model citizens for a totalitarian state by whichever neuro-scientist is the first to figure out how to reprogram his fellow man, if some asteroid doesn't collide with Earth and destroy all humanity first.

  • Believer||

    I think I can know secrets about the universe by getting messages from beyond.

    And I think this is somehow more respectable than going to a fortune teller, or shaking chicken bones in a gourd.

    Yay me!

  • Realist||

    Now here is an oxymoron.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfuBREMXxts
    Monkees singing about being a beliver.

  • Fluffy||

    BTW, even if you could demonstrate by argument that the existence of the Judeo-Christan god was absolutely necessary for libertarianism, and even if you could demonstrate that his existence was similarly absolutely necessary for all that bad stuff about the state you wrote here to not happen, that would still not do anything to prove that God exists.

    Nothing. Not even a little.

    It doesn't matter if God is "necessary" for something you want or like. He's either there or he's not. Our likes and dislikes have nothing to do with it.

  • Fluffy||

    It totally doesn't prove me a hypocritical fucking retard that I continue to believe in things that can only exist if God exists while trying simultaneously to deny the existence of God. That I don't try to stop believing in things that I like when it's proved to me that those things are denied to me if I insist on believing God doesn't exist shows that ultimately everything I believe is based entirely on what I want to be true rather than on anything provable, just like everyone else in the universe, including everybody else I just called fucking retards for disagreeing with me.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    because theists are so fucking stupid

    I don't think it has anything to do with intelligence. The smartest man in the world believes in God and has pretty much invented his own quasi-scientific religion. I've known too many highly intelligent religious people to believe that intelligence and religion are intimately connected.

  • Atheist Epitaph||

    Here lies a rotting sack of amino acids that used to be a lot smarter than you stupid theists who believe in the afterlife.

  • Realist||

    "I've known too many highly intelligent religious people to believe that intelligence and religion are intimately connected."
    Huh???

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Would it help if I said I've known plenty of dumb religious people, too?

  • Surrealist||

    I think he means there's neither a direct nor an inverse relationship between intelligence and religion; people of any belief and any disbelief can be intelligent or stupid. A lot of Christians (Augusting, Aquinas, Luther, etc.) have been very intelligent, but a lot of others (medieval peasants, for instance) have not. Likewise, a lot of Atheists have been intelligent (Darwin, Huxley, Marx, etc.), but a lot of others (pretty much every online Atheist evangelist ever) are not. Clearly, brain power and education do not necessarily correlate with one's choice of religion.

  • Killazontherun||

    Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

    I don't see any connection between an entity who would create the mathematical based aesthetics of this universe with the petty tyrant of the Old Testament. The nature of the universe is the best proof that that demon had nothing to do with it and to obey his commands would be like spitting into the face of the true creator.

  • Killazontherun||

    Of course, I'm not going to be going looking for the true creator, since he... or she... or it... might turn out to have some mandates for me that I won't like.

  • Killazontherun||

    You can't handle my handle anonpussy.

    Being underhanded comport well with your demonlord's values?

  • Killazontherun||

    Hey, who's keeping score?

  • anon||

    Atheists hate God because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

    I'd say I disdain the idea of God because I *want* everyone to be held accountable for his actions.

    Believing in some deity allows you to absolve yourself of your sins, allowing you to do anything as long as you ask for forgiveness. I find this attitude reprehensible.

  • anon||

    Being held accountable for my actions, of course, means taking an eternal dirt nap just like everyone from Adolph Hitler to Anne Frank did. Isn't it wonderful how fair and equitable the universe is to everyone by ensuring we won't be around to experience either the good or the bad long-term effects of our actions on other, their opinion of us, or anything else that might conceivably matter to us?

  • Killazontherun||

    eternal dirt nap

    If time is what we perceive it to be, the universe would have petered out an infinity ago. So, I don't think that is an element of existence of which we have any real understanding.

  • ||

    Believing in some deity allows you to absolve yourself of your sins, allowing you to do anything as long as you ask for forgiveness. I find this attitude reprehensible.

    This might be the most ignorant statement about Christianity (I won't speak for other faiths) I have ever read.

  • AblueSilkworm||

    It might be the most insightful statement about how my mother's family practice their Catholicism I've ever read, though I'll grant probably not all Catholics act so.

  • Zack||

    "I contend that if your system is about unicorns—or about the non-existence of unicorns—unicorns are still at the center of the argument's "aboutness."

    Uh, do you see what's wrong with this? Neither God, nor unicorns are at the "center" of any "system" of mine.

    Almost every argument in article is fallacious. Your thesis is wrong, definitively. Definitively. You might think it would be useful to you if were true, but it's simply not. Embrace literalism in your public arguments. Let the rest go. (at least in public)

  • Nipplemancer||

    I guess I'm a reactionary atheist. I don't give a shit about skygods. Yet, when I get labeled as 'religious' which implies believing in skygods I get kind of offended.
    By not believing, how can I be participating in an act that requires belief in some sort of supernatural being? I don't care what you believe in, just keep that shit to yourself. In my eyes it makes you look kind of insane. Shall we update the DSM for your condition? As long as you're not hurting anyone because of your irrationality, no.

  • ||

    Read this instead.

    The Relation of Science and Religion

    Now, since the belief in a God is a central feature of religion, this problem that I have selected points up most strongly the problem of the relation of science and religion. Why does this young man come to disbelieve?

    The first answer we might hear is very simple: You see, he is taught by scientists, and (as I have just pointed out) they are all atheists at heart, so the evil is spread from one to another. But if you can entertain this view, I think you know less of science than I know of religion.
  • Southerner||

    I have yet to hear a cogent response to this question: Why is it a problem if someone considers atheism a religion?

    It's a problem because if the courts recognized Atheism is in fact a religion, then Atheists would no longer be allowed to impose their beliefs on anyone else at public expense. Atheist teachers at public schools would have to keep their disdain for other religions to themselves because anything that could be construed as evangelizing their religion could bring on a multi-million dollar lawsuit from some Al-Sharpton-esque shakedown artist, and be banned from the public square for the same reasons crèche scenes and menorahs are.

    The tax exemptions you can get for admitting to being a religion are pretty small beer compared to the government gravy train you can ride if you pretend you're not.

  • Fluffy||

    You are so fucking retarded it's silly.

    How exactly do you propose to go about banning "atheist symbols" from the public square?

    Give me a quick list of all atheist symbols, you mouth breathing piece of shit.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm so fucking retarded that I am constantly compelled to use the term "fucking retarded" to refer to anyone who disagrees with me to whom I have no rational response.

  • Fluffy||

    Yep, you're fucking retarded all right.

    And you can't make me feel badly for using the term. I don't really have any sympathy for retards, so proving to me that using the term "retards" hurts their hypothetical feelings means nothing to me.

    Guess what, dipshit? A public park with no symbols in it whatsoever is "evangelizing atheism", by the moronic standard being promulgated by Southerner, in his usual moronic way.

    The only way to not "evangelize atheism" in public spaces, by his standard, would be to utterly eliminate the public spaces. But since I would be cool with that, I guess I'll wish you good luck.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm too fucking retarded to realize how fucking retarded I am.

  • Fluffy||

    Maybe if I say "fucking retarded" enough, people will actually listen to me instead of dismissing me for being such a fucking retard.

  • Southerner||

    Freedom From Religion Foundation, you are hereby banned from disseminating any of your religious literature in public schools from now on.

    Carl Sagan's Cosmos shall no longer be allowed to be shown in public schools since it contains Atheistic religious assertions that there is no God.

    You'd be surprised how many Atheist "symbols" there are, Fluffy.

  • Abe||

    I think I see why you assholes lost the war!

  • Andrew Jackson||

    I really wish you'd shot Calhoun and Stanton while you were purging the assholes, Abe.

  • Killazontherun||

    Sorry, but, like many irreligious libertarians and anarco-capitalist, I don't believe in the public sphere as a net social positive. Have no desire to teach kids atheism at the public's expense. Strict separation of school and state and a strict separation of economy and state. Those are my goals.

  • German Atheists||

  • Seven of Nine||

    Check out these tits!

  • Fluffy||

    The Omega Particle doesn't exist, you bitch!

  • Seven of Nine||

    ...but these tits do!

  • Paul||

    I suppose if you take atheism in its strongest form then it is an unfounded faith based statement; that is, to say "There is no God" is not a statement that can be verified or logically proven. But the slightly less strong version, "I have seen no evidence for and find no reason to accept the premise of a deity" is a completely rational and faith-free statement, and doesn't qualify as a religion in any sense, any more than a scientist observing the world could be construed as a cleric of a religion.

  • Realist||

    ^^^This^^^

  • AlmightyJB||

    You're all figments of my imagination. My very, very sick imagination.

  • Fluffy||

    If we're all figments of your imagination, you fucking retard, why don't you just make us go away?

  • ||

    I have studied Newberg's work for sometime now and what you have stated in this article is in line with Newberg's thoughts. Newberg (and others) see the brain as a "believing machince" that is required to believe affirm notions about the world in order for humanity to test things and evolve. Thus, there is not the absence of belief in god(s) but the affirmation that they do not exist.

    For proof read next post ...

  • ||

    Newberg states:

    "We have to believe to survive, so our brains are believing machines. Furthermore, it’s far easier for our brains to confirm existing beliefs than change long-held beliefs, even in the face of significant evidence.
    [...]
    Newberg had a few closing comments about atheism, which he maintains is not the absence of belief, but is a belief system in its own right. It even has its own sects: pure materialists, spiritualists, Buddhists, and various others. They all reject monotheism, but each has a complex belief system, which is strengthened through practice and action. Even science is a practiced belief system which, despite popular notions, changes slowly, or as Newberg says “one funeral at a time.”

    http://illahee.org/lectures/ar.....es/Newberg

  • ||

    Part 3 - In light of my comments above:

    For me, and many atheists as well, the New Atheists are to be considered religious zealots.

    I don't normally have the luxury of communicating on line in this type of forum; nor do I enjoy dialoguing with people on various issues on this matter; so, if I do not respond to reply's to my email then this you should know.

  • ||

    While I have no personal use for organized religion, I am not an atheist for the simple reason that I find people who say there is no god just as narrow-minded as the Jewish, Chistian or Muslim fundamentalists who say I'm going to hell for not believing what they believe.

  • Fluffy||

    If you believe I'm narrow-minded, you're a fucking retard!

    See? Atheists aren't so narrow-minded. "Fucking retard" is a term of affection. You should see what I call people I don't like!

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, spoofer, I would say that Brian from Texas is a retard because he's using "narrow-mindedness" as a measure of truth.

    There's either a god or there isn't one. Either way, atheists being dicks has no impact on the outcome. Atheists could be the biggest narrow-minded assholes in the world, and it wouldn't bring god one iota closer to existing.

    Making up your mind about whether God exists or not based on your perception of how people behave is stupid. Almost as stupid as meditating about it and waiting for a secret message from St. Theresa, or shaking chicken bones in a gourd.

  • Fluffy||

    The more I call people fucking retards, the more it disproves God's existence! See, if people can't speak over all my swearing and name-calling, they can't make the case for anything, and that makes me and my arguments the winner! Now fuck off and die in a fire, you pathetic fucking retarded imitation of me!

  • Fluffy||

    So, spoofer, you think that god can, in fact, be summoned into existence by people being dicks?

    Interesting. I'd like to hear about the method, though. How does it work? Sounds fascinating.

  • Fluffy||

    See, if people can't speak over all my swearing and name-calling

    I can swear and call names all day long and it doesn't shorten your posts one letter, bitch.

    You're going to have to find a better excuse for your lack of argument than "Fluffy called me a name and it kept me from speaking".

  • Fluffy||

    I think gods can be blotted out from existence by being a total dick! That's why I'm so fucking persuasive and you're not, you fucking spoofer! Now fuck off and die in a fire!

  • ||

    All I'm saying is that when someone asks me if I believe a Supreme Being created the universe I'm honest in that my answer is "I don't know. I wasn't there." And neither were you!

  • ola||

    "....Regardless of the religion, the brain function was the same..... This does not prove God exists, but it does show humans are wired or biologically predisposed to believe in something."

    Idiot, did they test the brain functions of people getting a massage, or doing yoga or relaxing on the beach or ......?

  • Fluffy||

    Once again, I'll just point out for the billionth time that framing the argument as being between "faith" and "science" is stupid. That was never the conflict.

    The conflict is between reason and revelation. It always was.

    Bringing the term "faith" in to it allows for stupid arguments like "You have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow morning" to be used. Strictly speaking, any notion you have about a future event, no matter how well grounded, is based on "faith", if only the faith that physical laws will continue to function and not spontaneously fail.

  • Fluffy||

    The conflict is between reason and revelation, and the central question is:

    Do we get information about the world by looking at the world and examining evidence, or do we get knowledge about the world by waiting for a holy man to receive a communication from a supernatural realm and write it down?

    That's the real question.

    There is a qualitative difference between having "faith" that gravity will not fail ten minutes from now and believing that David Koresh is getting direct personal messages from a deity beyond space and time. Sorry. You can't make the latter idiocy more respectable by trying to compare it to the former.

  • Fluffy||

    My fucking retardedness totally makes me smarter than the rest of you who believe in stuff that can't be empirically proven, because it allows me to believe in logical positivism, which is self-refuting because it can't be empirically proven.

  • Fluffy||

    Revelation is when you think the earth was created in seven days because a holy man got a message from God saying this was the case and he wrote it in a book.

    A religion is a belief set based on revelation.

    Any other definition is deliberately seeking to confuse the issue.

    I don't even like the term "empirically proven", because the concept of "proof" applies the wrong standard to knowledge.

    There is a box in front of me. I want to know what's in the box. Do I:

    1. Open the box and look in it

    2. Meditate and wait for God to tell me.

    If I do #2, that's religion. If I do #1, it's not religion.

    Saying, "Ah-hah! But you have to have faith to think that there's a box at all! 11!" is not really a compelling counterargument to me.

  • Fluffy||

    Stop confusing me with facts and logic, you fucking retards!

  • ||

    If atheism is a religion, than nudity is a brand of clothing.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Threadwinner.

    "Atheism requires a god not to believe in"

    Actually it requires one not to believe in any god, divine entity, toothfairy, whatever. Not even an A for effort.

  • Fluffy||

    Some fucking retard never heard of the clothing optional lifestyle, which is indeed a marketable brand not just of clothing and fashion, but of living space as well.

  • GroundTruth||

    Teaching evolution and the Copernican model are not the same as evangelizing for Allah or Zeus. I can prove through independent observation and experimentation that the the scientific models above are valid; Allah and Zeus can not be proved by independent, double blind experimentation. (But if they could be, I wish they would kindly do so soon, 'cause I'm getting mighty sick of this frakin argument.)

  • ||

    "I contend...but at least you admit there's a TV."
    No, I don't admit there's a TV. That's the point. God is not "at the center" of how Atheists explain the world. God is absent from that explanation, and irrelevant to it. The subject of God keeps coming up because religious people keep offering up God as an explanation of how the world works (creationism etc.) or invoking "the will of God" or religious maxims as reasons for passing bad legislation or furthering unsupportable prejudices (Like using Leviticus to bash gays.) The God hypothesis is continually thrown up, and atheists may choose to ignore or engage those who offer up such a hypothesis, but God needn't be in any way central to an atheist's world view. Merely absent from it.
    Atheism is not a system of belief. Rationality is, and rational inquiry leads many people to become atheists. Atheism is not a system.

  • GroundTruth||

    Chris, best one yet! Thanks! GT

  • Dekedin||

    I guess for some people it can be a substitute for religion, but I don't think it necessarily is. While yes, some people do get a little zealous, that's common in politics too. Unlike libertarianism, which acknowledges the existence of the state, we just want to reduce it's power, atheism doesn't actually acknowledge the existence of a god. I think it's more of that we wish to fight the idea of God, not God himself. While destroying an idea is impossible, you can at least fight that idea out of government power, and of course reducing power of government is always good.

  • Dekedin||

    I like Stirner's quote "Our atheists are a pious people." I don't think he was necessarily calling atheism a religion, but he realized that people like Marx had simply replaced their faith in God with a faith in central planning. So to be completely non-religious, you would have to separate yourself from every ideology completely. But that's a philosophical point, and he was using an overly-general definition of religion on purpose. As for everyday life, to kill all ideologies would be pretty difficult, so it makes sense not to apply religious labels to anything that requires belief. My opinion is that atheism falls into that definition, where it might be like a religion, but never actually is.

  • At Buchanan||

    "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good."

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    Takes just as much faith to say "There is no God" as it does to say "There is a God". Neither are scientific statements, since science never says "yes" or "no".

  • Global Warming Alarmist||

    Science does too say "yes" and "no" to things. We've got a scientific consensus that says "yes" to anthropogenic global warming, and "no" to denialism.

  • ||

    While I hate to be seen as aligning myself with Maher, I'm forced to agree: Kennedy is a moron.

  • anon||

    Must be related to the political Kennedy's.

  • ||

    "So, whether you make sense of the world as an atheist... big blob of gray Jell-O in our skulls is like a giant arrow pointing us in the same direction. I believe that is delicious. And religious."

    Nope. If the "arrow" in your skull is pointing you toward God, if the way you attempt to explain and understand the world involves supernatural explanations or a belief in a supernatural being, that is Religion. If you prefer falsifiable, testable, non-faith based ways of understanding the world - if you care about the testable truth of your hypotheses about the world and how it works - that is not Religion. The urge to understand and explain the world may be universal: that urge is not religion. Religion is a particular sort of explanation of the world, that involves God and the supernatural. There are better explanations of natural phenomena than those offered by religion.

  • anon||

    This article is fucking retarded. According to its definition, science is a religion.

    Makes the definition so broad that the word becomes absolutely useless. Pathetic.

  • skr||

    Let's say we go with Kennedy's notion of religion as a way of making sense of the universe. This would mean that neither theism nor atheism is a religion. They are starting points. Belief in the existence of a deity doesn't provide any understanding, it's the specific set of beliefs about that deity (a vengeful versus a loving god or multiple gods with human failings) that provides a framework for understanding. Conversely, disbelief in a deity doesn't provide any understanding either. For that, atheists adopt another framework such as scientism, humanism, or perhaps stoicism.

  • Fluffy||

    Or they adopt fucking retardism, as I have.

  • skr||

    Yeah, but there are plenty of theists that have adopted that framework as well.

  • ptwalker||

    We seem to blithely stand by and debate this issue with the Judeo-Christian concept of God as one end of the scale and Atheism as the other, and that is the way that it should be. If we raised children from the start without exposure to religion, never ever even mentioning it in any regard, what would happen? Would they develop a version of monotheistic religion independently? Could you honestly call the result of that a religion? The only thing that we would still struggle with in that world is the metaphysical question we all struggle with, death. Being self-aware we all have to deal with the notion that our existence is going to end, and that is terrifying, unless of course you have come up with a system that alleviates that fear and tells you that you will continue on and on. (Continued...)

  • ptwalker||

    (..continued)Religion is a construct to control the most powerful notion ever devised, that your existence is not going to end, so long as you obey the gatekeepers, who will dictate how you should behave in the here and now, for surprisingly earthly ends. What is truly amazing is that here in the 21st century any 8 year old child with an internet connection has access to a hundred times more information than any of the greatest thinkers and scientist of the past, yet instead of saying “change the world for the better my child, come up with that invention, that theory, that system that allows your fellow man to live, learn and coexist in a better fashion. Learn as much as you can, challenge every convention and make the world a better place” so many would rather have them fret over what the Invisible Sky Daddy might get upset about. That is the travesty in all of this.

  • ||

    "This also helps explain... Atheism, on the other hand, is about God and proving such an overpostulated supernatural being does not exist."

    No, Atheism is not about disproving the existence of God. It is simply a lack of belief in god. Some atheists do spend a lot of time trying to refute Religious claims, because the decisions of religious people affect our lives and our communities. The burden of proof lies with those who insist that there is a god, not on Atheists to prove a negative. Of course Hockey and Libertarianism aren't religions either - except to the extent that a hockey fan might be described as attending hockey matches 'religiously' as a metaphor to indicate fanaticism or intense devotion . Religion is a belief in a supernatural god or gods. Easy enough definition. Atheism is a lack of such belief. It isn't "about" anything.

  • ||

    "When atheists rail against theists (as many did on my Facebook page), they are using the same fervor the religious use when making their claims against a secular society. By calling atheism a religion, I am not trying to craft terms or apply them out of convenience. I just see theists and atheists behaving in the same manner, approaching from opposite ends of the runway."

    Using the term "religious" to describe a state of fervor isn't the same thing as defining something as a religion. The Hockey fan may follow his team with "religious" devotion, an Atheist may be equally fervent in promoting his worldview as a religious person. That doesn't make atheism a religion, any more than Hockey is a religion for the fervent hockey fan.

  • ||

    "The entire discourse about religion stems from those who think they know more than the other guy. But what we really know is that we don't know much. And we seem to share the same mechanisim in our brains that drives us to make claims of faith and rationalism as a way of making sense of the great unknown."

    But we do know things. We know a lot more now than we knew in years past. We'll learn more things, via rational inquiry. Rational inquiry reveals actual truths about the world. Religion does not - and it discourages people from learning actual concrete truths. The two approaches are not equal. They are not equally valid or equally effective ways of understanding the world. The claims of faith do not hold the same merit as the claims of rationalism. Thor is NOT as good an explanation of what lightning is, or how it acts, as theories about meteorology and static electricity.

  • ||

    "You can call atheism a belief system....claims."

    I wouldn't call atheism a belief system. There isn't enough to atheism to call it a belief system. It is possible to have different belief systems, that bear little resemblance to one another, that do not contain any reference to god or the supernatural. I don't know what you mean by "superhuman agency" - atheists do not invoke superhuman agents. Religious people do. Not all atheists are "devoted" to the idea that there isn't a god - they simply don't believe in him. There ARE many fervent atheist activists. They are "religious" in exactly the same way a devoted hockey fan, who is fervent in his devotion to hockey and self selects other hockey fans to hang out with, is religious. Which is to say, not religious at all - because hockey isn't a religion, no matter how 'devoted' the hockey fan may be. And neither is atheism.

  • ||

    What would you consider a "fitting" definition of religion? Here's mine: Religion is an untestable, unfalsifiable claim that a God, Gods, or other supernatural (or superhuman) agents played a role in the creation of the world, or in other natural processes, and have an interest in the moral and ethical behavior of people. If you don't believe in a god, you do not have a religion.

  • ||

    Sorry, Buddhists. I don't recognize your beliefs as a religion.

  • ||

    I didn't type the above statement about Buddhism. Someone else did, using my name. Weak. If that person wanted to challeneg or correct me about the Buddhist religion they could have done so directly.
    I don't actually know much about Buddhism, but concepts like Karma and Reincarnation sure do sound like untestable claims, and I'd describe them as belief in supernatural forces. I'd say Buddhism qualifies. This is not a compliment or endorsement of Buddhism.

  • ||

    The claim that atheism is a religion offends many atheists simply because the claim is false. I'm not personally offended by it, anymore than I'd be offended by someone calling me a fire hydrant or a cheetah. I am neither of those things, and only a very silly person would try to claim that I am. Some atheists look down on religious people, and may be insulted by the comparison because they believe their belief system is superior to that of religious people. Some atheists look upon the term "religious" as an insult. They don't like being called "religious" because they don't like religious people. Atheists are no more immune to snobbery or prejudice than other people. They just don't use "god" to justify their snobbery or prejudices.

  • ||

    I doubt that anyone at all is offended because the claim is false. After all, Chris, you just explained how little power there is in any sort of false claim simply because it is false. No one cares.

    What is insulting is when there is an investment in personal identity going on. Then it matters. Then people get mad.

    And using the rejection of god as the basis of snobbery and prejudices is just as holier-than-thou irritating as anyone who thinks they are better because they believe the right things.

    If someone gets really mad when someone else suggests they behave in a religious way about their atheism, if they've invested that much in their personal identity as *valuable* because they've rejected unreason...

    Well, the shoe sort of FITS.

    Don't it.

  • ||

    Prejudice and snobbery are lamentable whether practiced by Atheists or theists. In the example Kennedy gave about CASH, there's a two step equivocation designed to get around the separation of church and state:
    The redefinition of irreligious (ie, making no mention of religion)content as an endorsement of a specific "atheist" religion, then the insertion of Christian dogma into curricula in the name of "equal time." That's what I consider a harmful effect of the incorrect labeling of Atheism as a religion.

  • ||

    And that's why attempts to rebrand atheism as a religion need to be answered. IMO.
    Flat out prohibiting religious speech in the public square would be as egregious a violation of the first amendment as .gov endorsement or mandating a particular religion, as would 'requiring' students to practice atheism. I don't see such prohibition happening, except in the minds of religious zealots (there are atheist zealots too. Zealotry alone does not a religion make) panicky because state funds cannot be used to teach specific flavors of christianity in public schools.

  • ||

    CASH began with an Alabama school textbook court case, where a judge ruled atheism was a religion that was overwhelming the school system and that Christian families deserved equal time in the classroom.

    "OK, in that Alabama case it seems that a Christian judge was using the 'Atheism is a religion' canard to undermine separation of church and state and use taxpayer money to allow religious indoctrination in public schools. That's pretty damn offensive. Zappa wasn't acknowledging that atheism was a religion. He was, as you said, calling Alabama's bluff, not agreeing with the ruling.

  • ||

    I've noted of late the direction the religio-trons are trying to take this discussion: that atheism is a religion, just like their religion! Therefore, atheists are religious and their arguments have no merit! It's a pathetic and cowardly way for the religious to try and explain their own superstition and bullshit, and then literally say "you're just as stupid as us!" as a counterargument.

    FUCK YOU.

  • ||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT JESUS!

  • ||

    I'M TOO PISSED TO GIVE A SHIT!

  • ||

    THAT'S MY ASS!

  • ||

    WHO WRINKLED MY RANDY TRAVIS POSTER, PISSED THE SEAT, AND HID MY KEYS! SHIT!!!

  • anon||

    Therefore, atheists are religious and their arguments have no merit!

    The circle is now complete.

  • ||

    They're literally using the atheist argument against them against atheists. It's a fucking amazing headspinner that makes no sense until you understand that they're already retarded, because...they believe in voices in the sky.

  • Fluffy||

    Episiarch, STFU, you fucking retard.

  • Southerner||

    HAHAHA DISREGARD THAT I SUCK COCKS

  • Fluffy||

    That's not me spoofing Southerner, but I have to admit that I suspect that he sucks all the cock he can get.

  • Fluffy||

    I SUCK CUNTS TOP THAT YOU FUCKING RETARD

  • anon||

    ... Isn't that a good thing?

  • Tony||

    How you doin?

  • anon||

    Yeah, once someone starts talking relgio-psychobabble my brain just kind of shuts off to prevent damage. Kinda like going into shock.

  • ||

    You know you're not talking to someone who understands reason, so what do you do? Just get away as soon as you can.

  • ||

    But, Episiarch...I believe...there's this, you know, energy in the universe. You know? I'm not religious, but I'm definitely spiritual.

  • ||

    CRYSTALS HAVE ENERGY FROM GOD

  • anon||

    Dude, I need to get ahold of some of those to sell.

  • Public School||

    You are forbidden by law from getting away from us. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  • ||

    Why do atheists care? Seriously, I want to know.

    I'm a Christian. I have pretty strong beliefs. And I couldn't give a fuck what other people say or think about my faith and my beliefs. They're mine, and they're personal.

    That's why I have such a problem with douchey people like Rick Santorum trying to ram his religion down others' throats. And yes, most fundies of any religion do it, be they Christian, Muslim, Joo, Hindoo or whatever. But there are also fundie atheists. And they play the same game of ramming their disbelief down others' throats through derision and mocking condescension. Fortunately, they are not most atheists, and the same is true for most theists as well.

    Anyway, the overall point is: who fucking cares? Self-identity should be way more important to people that what others think. People need thicker skin.

  • Fluffy||

    I had an argument online once when a believer who insisted that the authors of the four gospels were the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    I was at pains to point out that the church never claimed that the gospel authors were the apostles, that these were common names, and that in the case of Luke and John the non-apostle identities of the evangelists are well known.

    But she just couldn't be budged.

    In such a situation, you can do one of two things:

    You can shrug your shoulders and walk away, or you can escalate the argument bringing in more and more evidence and piling more and more hostility on her stupidity.

    Which do you think I did?

    If theists wouldn't say such stupid things, I wouldn't be forced to employ derision and mocking condescension. If theists could admit when they're caught in an obvious historical, scientific or logical error, these arguments wouldn't escalate.

  • Fluffy||

    I called her a fucking retard and she blocked me, the cunt! How dare you fucking retards accuse me of hypocrisy for accusing others of escalating hostility!

  • ||

    I sure hope this is a spoof. Otherwise, my estimation of you was a gross miscalculation.

  • Fluffy||

    Dude, the relevant escalation here was not that she was hostile.

    It was that she refused to admit to an obvious error.

    I openly admit to being the one who escalated the hostility.

    Most Judeo-Christians have a half-ass level of knowledge about their own holy books, the history of their sects, and the philosophical and theological underpinnings of their own belief systems. They also refuse to admit that they're wrong even when it's obvious and inescapable.

    So if sloopyinca wants to know why atheists don't just go with the flow, my answer is that I'll go with the flow when people who are wrong start backing down as they ought. Until then I will be a huge dick. And proudly so.

  • ||

    I'll go with the flow when people who are wrong start backing down as they ought.

    Until their incorrect beliefs start infringing on my liberty, I will generally just not associate with people I know to be wrong, especially if they refuse to listen to reason. You choose to continue being a huge dick.

    Your faith in your belief system must be quite strong to openly mock those with a different, and equally unprovable, one.

  • Fluffy||

    Everybody on here needs to know how fucking retarded they are for disagreeing with me!

  • ||

    So you want to give Ken Shultz more evidence in support of his proposition?

  • Fluffy||

    I will be a huge dick. And proudly so. But I'm totally not compensating for anything, you fucking retard!

  • ||

    Which do you think I did?

    I'm sure you walked away. I can't remember you ever being a smug dick on here just for kicks.

    If theists wouldn't say such stupid things, I wouldn't be forced to employ derision and mocking condescension. If theists could admit when they're caught in an obvious historical, scientific or logical error, these arguments wouldn't escalate.

    That's a pretty wide net you're casting. Especially since: Historical accounts are often not based in fact, but in the opinion of the winner. Scientifically accepted theories are always changing (the earth as center of the universe was accepted by believers and non-believers for millennia. And logic is a constantly evolving thing.

    Now, that lady was factually inaccurate. That doesn't mean we all are.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I would add "statism" to that list, sloopy.

  • ||

    I care because bad laws are passed and bad policy enacted based on religious belief, because valid scientific theories are being pushed out of public school curricula in favor of religious indoctrination, and atheists face prejudice from the faithful based on our rejection of their superstitious beliefs. The debate about religious faith matters, because the American people are electing Santorums.

  • ||

    Then address the laws and policies. Until the religion itself is imposed on you, it's just coercion. And trust me, there's a lot more stupid shit that gets rammed through our legislatures based on a love of the state and humanism than on religious grounds...by far.

    Look at the least religious centers in America.* They have the heaviest hand of government on the throats of the people.

    *San Fran and NYC come immediately to mind.

  • ||

    and atheists face prejudice from the faithful based on our rejection of their superstitious beliefs.

    Prejudice? OK. Who gives a fuck? Are you saying people shouldn't be able to associate with who they want, where they want and when they want? Until this "prejudice" turns into an infringement of your rights, suck it up and deal with it.

  • ||

    I do address laws and policies that I disagree with. I also try and address the spurious arguments used to bolster the passage of such laws, such as the "Atheism is just another religion" argument. Kennedy even gave an example, late in her essay, of that argument being used to justify religious proselytizing in tax funded public schools.
    Prejudice does translate into infringement of rights. Atheists are denied custody of children in divorce cases based on religious prejudice, atheism is used as a slander in elections, my state has a law on the books (yet to be challenged) forbidding atheists to hold public office - blatantly unconstitutional, but yet to be challenged in court. Atheists are subjected to crude attempts to silence them by threats, violence or ostracism when they speak out on political issues, and are denied services and speech in public venues.

  • ||

    I do address laws and policies that I disagree with. I also try and address the spurious arguments used to bolster the passage of such laws, such as the "Atheism is just another religion" argument. Kennedy even gave an example, late in her essay, of that argument being used to justify religious proselytizing in tax funded public schools.
    Prejudice does translate into infringement of rights. Atheists are denied custody of children in divorce cases based on religious prejudice, atheism is used as a slander in elections, my state has a law on the books (yet to be challenged) forbidding atheists to hold public office - blatantly unconstitutional, but yet to be challenged in court. Atheists are subjected to crude attempts to silence them by threats, violence or ostracism when they speak out on political issues, and are denied services and speech in public venues.

  • Maxxx||

    Bullshit.

    Name one law that was passed in the last fifty years because of religion belief.

  • Tired Scientist||

    All laws are based on people's arbitrary morality.

    Why get overly concerned just because some people base their morality on religion as opposed to some other random reason?

  • ||

    Morality isn't random or arbitrary. We do not decide, arbitrarily, what behaviors are good or bad. We use standards to evaluate and assign moral values to a behavior based on that behavior's consequences. We can disagree about which standards to use and what constitutes desirable or undesirable consequences, and our conclusions aren't always perfect - I would suggest that there are BETTER standards to use than "because it says so in the Bible" - but morality is NOT random or arbitrarily derived.

  • Tired Scientist||

    In your very post, you expose why all morality is arbitrary. The choice of which standards to use is arbitrarily made. Hence, everything that follows from that choice is also arbitrary.

    Moreover, your choice of criteria you use to determine which standards are "BETTER" than others is also arbitrary.

  • ||

    When intelligent design proponents try to make equivalencies between evolutionary theory and ID, they use one of two arguments - they claim ID is a scientific theory (it is not. It fails the scientific method test) or they claim that evolution is just as much a religion as ID, because it's accepted "on faith." It is not (it fails the religion test.) The claims of creationists and intelligent design proponents are religious claims. Evolution is not a religious claim, it is a scientific theory.
    I could see forbidding schools to explicitly promote atheism as a first amendment requirement. Teaching that a religion - or all religions - are false is still a violation of the separation of church and state. That doesn't mean atheism is a religion.

  • Sevo||

    Picking of nits:
    "Evolution is not a religious claim, it is a scientific theory."
    Not sure that "evolution" qualifies as theory; it's been shown about as well as any historic process can be.
    What is "theory" is specifically what drives evolution and how it does so.

  • ||

    Well, Sevo, scientists use "theory" to mean something like "a well-founded set of principles that explains a given phenomenon," so I'd say that evolution is indeed a theory (and a true one).

  • ||

    "Secular humanism is defined as reason rejecting dogma and supernaturalism, which is a fancy way of saying it’s atheists who believe in people and not God."

    Right. That "dogma and supernaturalism?" THAT'S religion.

  • anon||

    which is a fancy way of saying it’s atheists who believe in people

    Like I said, this whole article is just retarded. One does not have "faith" in something which clearly exists.

  • David Hume||

    People do not "clearly" exist. An autonomous immutable "self" cannot be proven to exist, so neither can any collective of these "selves" such as "people" be proven to exist. You do have to have faith to believe in yourself and others.

  • anon||

    Ontological arguments in a religion thread!? Say it ain't so!

  • fucking retard||

    Religion, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and ideology all deal with a lot of the same questions? No!!! THIS CANNOT BE!!! I am MELTING! MELTING!!! AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!!!!!

  • anon||

    Well, at least we can see that you use your religion relieve you of the burden of proof. Thanks cockmunch.

  • Fluffy||

    I have self and free will because I say so! Fuck you, you cockmunching fucking retard!

  • ||

    "I am down with reason, and although I think I have psychic powers that allow my friends' dead parents to take over my emotions, I respect those who don’t believe in the supernatural."

    If you believe that you have psychic powers and that dead people can exert conscious control over your emotions, you are certainly not "down with reason." If you truly respected those of us who don't believe in the supernatural, you wouldn't call us 'religious.'

  • rich||

    I think her interpretation of the TV channel analogy is fundamentally flawed, or at least fundamentally debatable. The program on the channel could be God. The channel is the pathway to the program just as religions claim to be the pathway to their God. In this interpretation we could absolutely reject God's existence just as we could reject the idea that there is a program on every given channel.

  • ||

    Let's have a video of a religious idiot.

    "The whole universal mass can be collapsed down into the size of a bowling ball. So, if you take E=mc^2, you can throw out mass!"

  • ||

    Winning comment:

    Wouldn't a homeopathic lecture involve saying a single word followed by several days of silence?
    petrie911 3 months ago 26
  • ||

    Hi Kennedy,

    I want to hit on many things but I decided to just answer your question "Why is it offensive to call atheism a religion?"

    Religion typically makes extraordinary claims about humanity and the nature of reality on bad evidence, religious belief usually requires "faith".

    Atheism is the rejection of the claim that there is a god. Saying that atheism is a religion because it has a view of god is akin to saying that god exists because people are trying to disprove him. Those people are confusing the concept of a god with the existence of a god.

    Back to the claim. The claim of god is an extraordinary claim with very little evidence. As an atheist, I don't claim absolute knowledge of whether god exists or not. I can only say that the claim "there is a god" has no good supporting evidence, empirically or logically and therefore is not to be believed.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "The universe is just a little too darn ORDERLY to be a big accident!" - Oliver Wendell Jones

  • ||

    Atheists: Please explain the beginnings of the universe. Include notes.

  • anon||

    I can't, I don't have enough evidence to make a claim.

  • ||

    If the universe had a beginning, which your beloved empiricists insist it does, then it must have a creator. It must. It is self evident. Res ipsa loquitur.

    Educate yourself and read some Descartes instead of watching Family Guy.

  • anon||

    If the universe had a beginning, which your beloved empiricists insist it does, then it must have a creator. It must.

    Not true.

    See: Quantum fluctuation.

  • ||

    So a god you make up named "Quantum fluctuation" is better than my God? Maybe so but it is still a god with all the mystery and power that only gods wield.

    You have no empirical evidence for quantum fluctuation, only a psychological need to fill God's place with Not-God (also a god)

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, as much as it pains me to admit it (I would much prefer a Newtonian universe myself) quantum phenomena are pretty well-attested by experiment.

  • Fluffy||

    Quantum Flux explains everything, you fucking retard!

  • shorter Voice of a Retard||

    I believe in God so you're wrong.

  • shorter voice of Fluffy||

    You believe in God, so you're a fucking retard!

  • ||

    He should see "begging the question" first

  • Fluffy||

    Who created the creator?

    Or, alternatively,

    Why, yes, the universe had a creator. And this guy just told me the creator wants us to kill all Christians. Can you help me out and prove that's not true?

    Thanks.

  • anon||

    I still don't get why these guys believe that "something" "MUST" have created it.

    "WAAAAHHHH! I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW IT HAPPENED SO GOD MUST HAVE DONE IT!!!111one"

  • ||

    WAAAAAAAH! I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THE UNIVERSE HAPPENED SO I INVENT UNPROVABLE REASONS TO AVOID FACING THE FACT THAT I AM NOT THE MOST POWERFUL THING IN THE UNIVERSE!!!! WAAAAAH!! WAAAAAH!!! I WANT ALL THE POWER!!!! I DON'T WANT TO BE A PATHETIC MORTAL!!!! WAAAAAH!!!

  • ||

    "WAAAAHHHH! I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW IT HAPPENED SO GOD MUST HAVE DONE IT!!!111one"

    Is this what you really think of people like me? Because we have faith in how something happened...that you can't explain either? Tell me, what beginning of the universe do you have faith in?*

    *Because you cannot prove your beliefs are true either.

  • anon||

    Is this what you really think of people like me?

    Yes.

    You take an event that you have no understanding of and substitute God as the reason and abandon all hope of ever understanding it.

    Whereas, while I'll readily admit that I don't know, I'll still attempt to understand.

    You basically get to a certain point and say "Fuck this, it's too hard."

  • ||

    Bull fucking shit. And this is the thing that pisses me off. You are equating my faith with laziness or lack of intellectual curiosity. And you're just so fucking certain that there is no God (without any supporting evidence, I might add) that you want to make sure those who disagree are disparaged.

  • anon||

    . And you're just so fucking certain that there is no God (without any supporting evidence, I might add) that you want to make sure those who disagree are disparaged.

    No, I just think you're intellectually lazy. It's evidenced by how upset you are that I've basically called you out on it.

    I don't care if there's a God. It's irrelevant. I do care if you proclaim that the universe was created by God and therefore warrants no further scrutiny. I do care when the zealots use their religion as the basis for support of certain laws. I do care that most religious organizations are basically governments.

    So, in short, I don't care what you believe in, just don't think that your belief in "God" isn't more than an excuse for laziness.

  • ||

    I don't care if there's a God. It's irrelevant. I do care if you proclaim that the universe was created by God and therefore warrants no further scrutiny. I do care when the zealots use their religion as the basis for support of certain laws. I do care that most religious organizations are basically governments.

    I care when zealots of any stripe use their beliefs as a basis for certain laws.

    And the fact that most religious orgs are like governments shouldn't mean w fucking thing to you, since they're voluntary. Mind your own fucking business.

    So, in short, I don't care what you believe in, just don't think that your belief in "God" isn't more than an excuse for laziness.

    Funny, that. I dismiss certain unprovable claims, just as you do with others, and you call me lazy but yourself curious. How do your own farts smell? Flowery, I bet.

  • Shmenge||

    My farts smell like fresh cinnamon buns.

  • ||

    No, I just think you're intellectually lazy. It's evidenced by how upset you are that I've basically called you out on it.

    I don't care if there's a God. It's irrelevant.

    I'm not upset by that at all. But it's a specious argument. Saying me being upset that you said something about me just proves your point, right? If I called you a child rapist, would you be pissed about it? If so, it just proves you are one! Idiotic argument and a weak strawman.

    I do care if you proclaim that the universe was created by God and therefore warrants no further scrutiny.

    Please point to where I said anything remotely approaching this.

  • anon||

    If I called you a child rapist, would you be pissed about it? If so, it just proves you are one! Idiotic argument and a weak strawman.

    Actually, I wouldn't care. Call me whatever you want; most seem to prefer "Asshole."

    Anyways, you expressed a bit of anger. This is a symptom of cognitive dissonance; which suggests that you know I'm right and are holding two conflicting beliefs.

    It's only a piece of evidence, but it fits.

  • ||

    Wow. Just...wow. I haven't seen such a compelling argument since Obamacare was trotted out.

  • ||

    Why do we need supporting evidence that there "isn't" a God? That's backwards. There's no supporting evidence that there ISN'T a flying spaghetti monster. If I were to claim such a monster existed, I would be expected to offer evidence of it's existence before anyone would believe me. It would not be persuasive for me to say "well, where's your supporting evidence that there ISN'T a FSM?" Evidence must be mounted to support a claim, not to prove a negative. Why should claims about the existence of God get a pass?

  • anon||

    *Because you cannot prove your beliefs are true either.

    I'm not making any assertions. You're asserting a God created the universe. I'm not. I'm simply saying I don't know. I don't have to prove anything because I'm not arrogant enough to proclaim that I know how the universe was created.

  • ||

    I don't have to prove anything because I'm not arrogant enough to proclaim that I know how the universe was created.

    I'm not arrogant enough to, either. I have faith that it happened a certain way. You, conversely, have faith that it didn't or couldn't have happened a certain way.

    In other words we are both discounting certain possibilities on how the universe came to be. And we both lack concrete evidence to support our beliefs.

  • anon||

    I'm not arrogant enough to, either. I have faith that it happened a certain way.

    In other words we are both discounting certain possibilities on how the universe came to be. And we both lack concrete evidence to support our beliefs.

    I'm not discounting any possibilities. Maybe there is a God. I don't know and that's the proclamation I make.

    By your "Belief" you limit yourself. You're arrogant enough to claim that it happened in a certain way somewhere down the chain.

  • ||

    So, you're an agnostic then? I didn't know that.

  • anon||

    No, I'm not agnostic. I don't believe in any deity, but that does not preclude the existence of one. I can be wrong. I frequently am. However, I make effort to not actively believe in shit that is 1: irrelevant and 2: unprovable in either way with our current technology.

  • ||

    shorter anon: I'm not agnostic, but I believe that I might be wrong and God may exist.

  • ||

    However, I make effort to not actively believe in shit that is 1: irrelevant and 2: unprovable in either way with our current technology.

    1: If it's irrelevant, you're spending a lot of time on it.
    2: Who's being lazy now?

  • anon||

    1: If it's irrelevant, you're spending a lot of time on it.

    Yup. Waiting for the pool hall to open, and arguing on the internet is entertaining.

  • ||

    It sure is. And it's also a wonderful intellectual exercise. Thank God I can do it with people I respect, and who will not try to impose their belief systems on me, just as I will not try to impose mine on them.

    Have a nice day, man.

  • ||

    I certainly cannot prove that is not true. And you can sure try. I think the Crusades speak for themselves, pantywaste.

  • Father Jack||

    "pantywaste." -100 sp

  • Fluffy||

    My neuro-chemical processes predetermined me to be a fucking retard and stink up every thread with my fucking retarded posts!

    That was fucking retarded of me, but arguably, I couldn't help myself.

  • Sevo||

    Voice of Raisins|3.10.12 @ 1:40PM|#
    "It is self evident."

    Shorter ignoramus: "Everybody knows..."

  • ||

    Mmmm... so close, but not true. Self evident does not mean "everybody knows." The latter is an appeal to the to the crowd (ad populum fallacy.) The former is the INDUCTIVE logic which Francis Bacon structured the scientific method around (empiricism.) DEDUCTIVE logic was defined by the Greeks and argued brilliantly by Rene Descartes.

    Who hates science now?

  • Fluffy||

    Who created the creator?

    How would anyone go about deciding what the creator wants?

  • Fluffy||

    The fucking retarded universe created itself, which is one of the most fucking retarded things that ever happened. That's why the universe is so full of fucking retards like me. Don't you fucking retards dare tell me anything is eternal, because believing in eternity is fucking retarded!

  • ||

    Oh that's an easy one. You see, there are these animals on earth where we live who speak and communicate. Some of them claim to speak for the Creator. Their claims are contradictory. Look at the works of those who claim authority with the creator. Based on their works, see who is the most creative (as in creation opposite of destruction)and listen to them. Whoever is most destructive, do not listen to them.

  • Fluffy||

    Look at the works of those who claim authority with the creator. Based on their works, see who is the most creative (as in creation opposite of destruction)and listen to them. Whoever is most destructive, do not listen to them.

    When did the creator say he liked creative creations?

    It ultimately doesn't matter whether the universe was "created" or not, unless you can demonstrate knowledge of that creator's desires, or even that he has any.

  • Sevo||

    Shorter vor:
    Listen to voices in your head!

  • ||

    Did the Creator have a beginning? If so, what created the Creator? Or is it possible that the Creator always existed? If the Creator could always exist, why couldn't the universe have always existed? If the Creator could have come into being without the aid of some other intelligent Creator, why could the universe itself not have arisen sans a conscious creator or designer? There will always be limits to what we know. Those limits aren't static: it's possible to learn and discover new things. The religious argument has always placed God right at the ,i,it of human understanding, saying "we don't know how this happened, therefore god must have done it!" Once upon a time the best explanation for why it rained was "the Rain God!" No more. Whenever actual human knowledge has advanced, we've discovered that "God di it!" was not the correct proximate explanation. I'm betting it never will be.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I just thought up a term called "The Big Thang Theory", but it needs to be fleshed out. Contributions welcome.

  • anon||

    Yeah, but the next question's gonna be "WELL WHERE DID THAT COME FROM!@?!?!?!?!!!?" which leads to "I don't know."

    Not knowing is not the same as believing in something not known.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Damn conundrumage.

  • ||

    I love collecting old books. I have a "scientific" book about the universe which is over 100 years old. In it it states that the idea of a Creator is folly because who says the universe had a beginning? It has simply always been. The poor religious minds who seek a beginning and therefore a Creator are stuck in the dark ages. A static universe proves no God!

    Fast forward a few decades and witness the wonder of Red Shift. A whole new "Creation" story is fabricated- with zero evidence- and swallowed whole cloth by the God-haters. This new Creation story features a new god with magical powers named "Infinitely-small-dust-from-nowhere-in-particular" who grows up to become "Infinitely-large-matter-and-energy." Where Infinitely comes from and how he made his transition are secret magic. But there's absolutely nothing religious here. An expanding universe proves no God!

  • Sevo||

    "A whole new "Creation" story is fabricated- with zero evidence- and swallowed whole cloth by the God-haters"

    Nope.
    It was the Easter Bunny haters.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm taking a poll:

    There is a box in front of me.

    How do I find out what's in the box?

    1. Open it and look in.

    2. Pray and wait for God to tell me.

    3. Read a book where other people who prayed a long time ago wrote down the messages God sent them about what's in the box.

    Please pick one.

    Thanks.

  • ||

    Sweet strawman, Fluffy. Especially since the answers to the big questions aren't in the box anyway.

  • Fluffy||

    It's not a strawman.

    This is actually the issue. The REAL issue.

    You only think it's a strawman because it's been centuries since the forces favoring revelation were utterly discredited. So thoroughly discredited that you no longer even realize such a battle was fought.

    The forces of religion used to assert the utility of revelation for all questions. Not just "the big ones".

    Advocates of religion used revelation to explain what made rain fall, what made seeds germinate, how women got pregnant, how people got sick, etc.

    Religion fled from those questions after getting its clock cleaned by empiricism. Religion is hiding among "the big questions" now because it's harder for revelation to get so completely disgraced there.

    But the revelation question is still the central question of religion.

  • ||

    The forces of religion used to assert the utility of revelation for all questions. Not just "the big ones".

    Citation Needed

  • ||

    Bull Fucking Shit.

    Religion has embraced empiricism. You're arguing in bad faith.

    Oh, and I don't ever remember reading where Christians have used revelation to explain what made rains fall or seeds germinate. Could you please give me a link showing where that happened?

  • ||

    If the box only existed 14 billion years ago and its entire contents and packaging eaten and shat out 100 million times in galaxies you will never reach, I think you should probably pray.

  • Fluffy||

    The overwhelming majority of claims advanced by Judeo-Christianity aren't so remote.

  • ||

    Gee, I thought this was a discussion about theism vs. atheism. Not how Christians and Jews piss you off. Sorry about the struck nerve.

  • Fluffy||

    If the box only existed 14 billion years ago and its entire contents and packaging eaten and shat out 100 million times in galaxies you will never reach, I think you should probably pray.

    Still, strictly speaking, this may mean that it will be very difficult for me to figure out what's in the box by looking.

    But of the three options, looking is the only one with any remote chance of working.

    Gee, I thought this was a discussion about theism vs. atheism.

    Actually, I've spent most of the thread trying to channel the discussion over to reason vs. revelation, in part because I think circular Prime Mover arguments disguise the real issue.

  • Fluffy||

    If I keep attacking other fucking retards' unprovable foundational premises, it keeps me from having to defend my own fucking retarded unprovable foundational premises, such as that the universe is eternal and uncreated and that one "should" (i.e. is somehow morally compelled to) follow certain rules of reasoning in the first place.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    SWEET!!!

    http://dudeism.com/

    I'm joining this one!

  • anon||

    "I am down with reason, and although I think I have psychic powers that allow my friends' dead parents to take over my emotions, I respect those who don’t believe in the supernatural."
    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH
    AHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHA

    wow, I fucking laughed. What a dumb cunt.

  • ||

    Atheism is self worship. We all serve a master, and the name of that master makes the religion. For Christians, it is Christ. For Jews it is Hashem. For Taoists it is the Tao. For Branch Davidians it was David Koresh. For atheists, it is the self. They are beholden only to their own whimsy. Today killing is "wrong" but tomorrow maybe not-so-much.

  • Sevo||

    Voice of Raisins|3.10.12 @ 1:20PM|#
    "Atheism is self worship."

    Spoof? Ignoramus?
    You decide.

  • anon||

    Wait, some asshole was claiming it was state worship. I'm confused now.

  • ||

    Sevo: Angry self loathing masterbater? You decide.

  • Sevo||

    Voice of Raisins|3.10.12 @ 1:43PM|#
    "Sevo: Angry self loathing masterbater? You decide."

    Got it.
    No spoof, just real, live ignoramus.

  • ||

    No, really, how many times have you masterbated to WATCHMEN?

  • Sevo||

    You seem to have an issue with masturbation. Did your skydadddy say "No! No!"?

  • ||

    You seem to have an issue with "ignoramuses." Did your earth-daddy say you were dumber than shit? Considering you also love to say "skydaddy" you may have an issue with fathers in general, maybe you don't have one. Did yours reject you?

  • Barack the Jaunty Future King||

    Would you like to subscribe to My newsletter?

  • ||

    Does the possibility of NOT having a master ever occur to you?

  • ||

    Just so you know; Krugabe cannot (or will not) recognize the connection between government subsidies for "higher" education and runaway inflation of tuition costs.

    (you know where to find it.)

  • ||

    Debating whether atheism is a religion is likely to confuse the real issue since the word "religion" has so many overtones, lead to red herrings like "Hey, Buddhism's a religion, so atheism is too". What matters is the underlying claim, which is something like "there is no better rational justification for atheism than for theism." It's odd, though, to equate the two. While you can't "prove a negative," it is certainly more rational in many cases to believe in the lack of X than in X. After all, it is more rational to believe that there is no squirrel in my refrigerator than that there is, but my only evidence for believing in the lack of squirrels is that I haven't seen any. If you believe that squirrels move in mysterious ways in the crisper drawer, you are less rational than I. The real question is, I guess, In what decisive way(s) does the squirrel case differ from the God case?

  • ||

    Why do atheists care?

    Excellent question. I cannot even be bothered to label myself.

    I confess to finding any proselytization, whether spiritually religious or politically religious, to be infuriating.

  • ||

    I confess to finding any proselytization, whether spiritually religious or politically religious, to be infuriating.

    So do I, Brooksie. And like I said above, religion is personal. I hate the dicks who try to impose their beliefs on me and my family, whoever they are.

  • Bullhead||

    "The enemy is not religion, the enemy is faith. Believing something without proof is a fuck you to all the other people on earth." Really! What is Penn Jillette’s measure of proof? How many times have you read where science had proven something only to find out 10, 15, 20 years later they were wrong?

    Individual proof can go only so far as our individual intelligence will allow us to understand the proof we are given by the scientific community, everything else has to be taken on faith in the scientific community itself. Is believing in scientific proof without being able to fully understand the proof you have been given and accepting it on faith a big fuck you to other people on earth?

  • anon||

    How many times have you read where science had proven something only to find out 10, 15, 20 years later they were wrong?

    I'd rather be wrong than retarded.

  • Bullhead||

    When a jury hears scientific evidence (proof) in a trial it must put its faith in the science and scientist presenting the evidence as they do not have sufficient time to learn and understand it. So the jury must have faith in the science and the people presenting it. Yes faith can be the enemy but it is not limited to faith in a deity or a god. Twelve of your peer’s beliefs in flawed but accepted science could get you killed. Proof could get you killed just as easily as faith. Faith requires just that, to have faith in something. But to have proven something carries far more weight and can be far more dangerous when it’s wrong.

  • Sevo||

    Bullhead|3.10.12 @ 2:25PM|#
    "When a jury hears scientific evidence (proof) in a trial it must put its faith in the science and scientist presenting the evidence as they do not have sufficient time to learn and understand it."

    Yes, and?
    The fact is they could take the time to understand it *on evidence*.

  • anon||

    But to have proven something carries far more weight and can be far more dangerous when it’s wrong.

    Don't most religions believe in eternal life or some bullshit?

    I'd say that the consequences of me being wrong while relying on evidence are far less severe than if you chose the wrong religion to follow blindly.

  • Sevo||

    When all you have is bullshit, why, claim that's all anyone has.
    "What is Penn Jillette’s measure of proof? How many times have you read where science had proven something only to find out 10, 15, 20 years later they were wrong?"
    You just answered your own question; the fact that science *does* accept proof that a theory is incorrect.
    Fail; 'argument from ignorance'.

  • anon||

    Fuck, it's almost like religious organizations are completely made from clones of Tony.

  • ||

    Incredible assessment, especially considering Tony is basically a worshipper of the state.

  • anon||

    It's exactly the same thought process though. Can't you see it?

    Step 1: Rely on bullshit claims.
    Step 2: Back bullshit claims with more bullshit.
    Step 3: Have bullshit claims refuted.
    Step 4: ????
    Step 5: Move on to another thread for PROFIT!!!

  • Fluffy||

    Step 4: Call everyone who disagrees with my bullshit claims a fucking retard.

  • ||

    It's not even remotely close to the same process. Religion is faith-based, whereas Tony's (or the state's for that matter) are based on actual events. The difference is, they want to perform the same actions and get a different result. Those of us with faith generally understand there are questions that cannot be answered, and we accept that. Big difference.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "basically"?

  • Global Warming Alarmist||

    Nothing can possibly prove the scientific theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming incorrect for as long as we have consensus. Therefore, unfalsifiable assertions are science.

  • ||

    There's a difference between X having been proven and it being more rational to believe that X is true than not. Just because science might turn out to be wrong about X doesn't mean it is not more rational to believe X than not. Also, just because a person doesn't understand all the scientific complexities underlying a given belief, it is reasonable to believe that the scientists do. This is actually a major difference between science and religion: while scientists know more about what they study than the rest of us do, clergymen do not know more about God or morality than the rest of us do. That's why it is rational to accept the word of scientists, but not the word of the Pope.

  • cavalier973||

    1. Scientists are human
    2. Scientists lie
    3. Scientists often have an agenda apart from "discovering truth"
    4. "Appeal to authority" is a fallacy as much loved by materialistic naturalists as by the most devout Christian Fundamentalist.
    5. Scientists aren't any less subject to group think than other humans.
    6. Religion has to do with the human experience; with human relations, motivations. Science is concerned with the study of natural processes. The scientific method cannot "prove" anything, it can only show that a particular theory has not yet been falsified.
    7. The proposition of a self-creating universe is not logically sound.

  • cavalier973||

    8. Claims concerning events and phenomena that supposedly occurred in the unobservable past do not constitute actual scientific "proof" (also, see #6).
    9. The existence of information in biological systems provides support for the "Intelligent Design" hypothesis (information being, when elsewhere encountered, the product of intelligence).
    10. You're a big 'ol, bed-wetting doody head.

  • ||

    8. Not by themselves, no. But scientists don't use only that as evidence.
    9. Nope. Not even close. Question: aren't you appealing to an authority in coming up with #9? You certainly didn't figure that out by your own research. So it's okay for you to get your opinions from fringe science, but the rest of us can't rely on science that enjoys a solid consensus? You're an idiot.
    10. Well, by your own logic, the past isn't proof of the future, so I'll believe the opposite of #10. Off with the rubber sheets tonight!

  • ||

    1. Scientists are human, true. They are also experts. I am not arguing that there is never error, but rather that it is more rational to believe in the conclusions of science than in claims that contradict them.
    2. Yes, sometimes. Mostly not, however. Peer review is designed to catch the liars.
    3. Yes, sometimes. See #2.
    4. You misunderstand the fallacy. An appeal to authority is a fallacy when the authority you appeal to is not an expert on the question at issue or when there is not a general consensus among experts with respect to the question at issue. Otherwise it's fine and we do it all the time quite rationally.

  • ||

    5. Actually, they are, since they have standards of justification and methods to see if they are being met.
    6. Actually, scientific theories can be confirmed. Can they be proven beyond all possibility of doubt? No, but nothing can. That is an unreasonable (and irrational) standard.
    7. False. There is no logical contradiction in saying that reality came from nothing.

  • ||

    "How many times have you read where science had proven something only to find out 10, 15, 20 years later they were wrong?"

    Not really. A lot of pre-scientific ideas like alchemy and phlogiston were, as I said, pre-science, so science never prooved them. And ideas which were proven scientifically, like Newton's laws of motion, were not disproved, they were simply found to not apply to all contexts, and are special instances of broader principles, like relativity.

  • AkaDad||

    If Atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  • anon||

    And not buying health insurance is economic activity.

    Oh wait.

    Well, at least we know Obama believes in God and thinks Atheism is a religion.

  • AkaDad||

    What does that even mean and why bring Obama into it?

  • anon||

    If Atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    And not buying health insurance is economic activity.

    Same concept. Try to keep up.

  • Mom||

    Well, trying to prove that stamps don't exist and that people who believe in them are idiots is a hobby.

  • AkaDad||

    Stamps actually do exist and it would be idiotic to say they didn't.

  • Stamp Atheist||

    No, it's fucking retarded of you to say they do!

  • ||

    In my religion there are no teachings and there is no worship. There are no rituals that must be performed, no funny robes or hats. No rules on what to eat and when. No need to trade a faith for a favor and best of all no church to feel guilty for not attending.

  • James Ath||

    So, dude, do you leave your basement, like, ever? And how have you managed to stay out of jail while not obeying traffic lights, not wearing clothes, and not responding to legal summons and not paying your bills because you just don't feel like performing those silly rituals?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I haven't read the entire thread, but it has some interesting commentary, along with some highly original invocations of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    I think that, when atheists hear "you're religious," it sounds like "you're irrational!" since that's their definition of religion. If we define religion as the sum of all villainies and falsehoods, then we won't want to be called religious, will we?

  • Fluffy||

    I think that, when atheists hear "you're religious," it sounds like "you're irrational!" since that's their definition of religion.

    To the extent that religion employs revelation, it is "you're irrational".

    Are you advising us to use observation and analysis to find God? Because then we could do so rationally. If we're supposed to pray, or read the Bible, or meditate and wait for an oceanic emotional experience, or listen to our hearts, or what have you, to "let God speak to us", then you are explicitly asking us to employ tools of cognition that are not reason or the senses - you are asking us to be irrational.

  • Fluffy||

    I know this because Daddy (who was also an atheist) told me so: all people who believe something just because somebody told them so are fucking retards.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Strictly, we're not here debating the truth of particular belief systems, we are discussing what to call these belief systems.

    If we're looking for a definition of religion, it would be best to
    think of a neutral not a polemical definition - this is not only important on the Internet, but in the law as well.

    We have laws protecting religious freedom? Are atheists entitled to the benefit of these laws? If so, then we need a definition of religion which includes atheists.

  • Fluffy||

    Strictly, we're not here debating the truth of particular belief systems, we are discussing what to call these belief systems.

    Talking about whether something is "irrational" doesn't address its truth. It addresses its method.

    You may get the right answer to a question on the SAT by rolling a 20-sided die. But your method would be a non-rational one.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm simply saying that my belief system is more likely to lead me to the truth than your belief system. When you reach the truth it's just a coincidence, whereas when I reach the truth I'm correctly applying my principles!"

    Don't you see a value judgment here?

  • Sevo||

    I sure do, and I value knowledge over superstition.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Suppose we had a law protecting "the free exercise" of "religion." Would you classify atheism as a religion for purposes of such a law?

  • anon||

    AND FOR THAT YOU'RE A HEATHEN BLASPHEMING FAG SEVO!!!1111one

    /sarc

  • Anton Sherwood||

    If an adherent of X can write a thick book on ethics without mentioning X, then X probably is not a religion (for that person), in my humble opinion.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It would be better to say that either (a) the adherent isn't very religious, or (b) he's not disclosing his fundamental assumptions, even though they influence his views on ethics.

  • ||

    Its definitely not the center of his belief system.

  • joe||

    Atheism is a religion just like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What about someone who tweets and posts constantly about how he hates stamp collectors and all their evil ways? Doesn't that get to hobby status eventually?

  • AkaDad||

    What about someone who tweets and posts constantly about how he hates Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians and all their evil ways? Doesn't that get to hobby status eventually?

  • ||

    This is like the worst chat room ever.

  • ||

    Somebody upthread said basically that all religious people are irrational. That's about the only correct assessment that's been made about us. Because we are irrational. There is no concrete evidence that God exists. And a part of being rational demands evidence to support beliefs.

    I'm fine with this. I don't mind being irrational when it comes to God. I don't use my irrational beliefs to infringe on anyone else's liberty, so why should you give a fuck? Do you discount all irrational peoples' opinions and work out of hand? If so, you would be discounting the opinions and work of many scientists.

  • anon||

    Oh, I'm not saying I care. It's just the equivocation of an irrational belief system with a rational belief system that I find a bit offensive.

    Personally sloopy, I don't really care what you believe one way or the other, as long as you aren't trying to rape me or something because "GOD TOLD ME TO!"

  • ||

    And that's different than someone saying they're going to rape you because "THE STATE TOLD ME TO"? or "VOICES IN MY HEAD TOLD ME TO"?

    Fuck me. It's the action you should be worried about, not the reason for the action.

    Or do you support hate crime legislation as well?

  • anon||

    And that's different than someone saying they're going to rape you because "THE STATE TOLD ME TO"? or "VOICES IN MY HEAD TOLD ME TO"?

    So the ends justify the means? I don't think so.

    I like how you're equivocating religious people with insane people though.

  • ||

    I like how you're equivocating religious people with insane people though.

    Nice deflection there to avoid the point I was making. And I'll repeat it: motivation is irrelevant. Concern yourself with the actions of others. If someone rapes you, they raped you, period. That is the crime, not that it was because you are an atheist, or because you are black, or white, or a woman, or a gimp.

    You concern yourself with what goes on between other peoples' ears when you should be more concerned with what goes on in relation to you.

    You're a busybody that hates people with belief systems other than yours.

  • anon||

    And I'll repeat it: motivation is irrelevant. Concern yourself with the actions of others. If someone rapes you, they raped you, period. That is the crime, not that it was because you are an atheist, or because you are black, or white, or a woman, or a gimp.

    Right... Religions frequently try to "rape" me via their proposed pieces of legislation running through congress, all in the name of their "lord and saviour."

    Ok, perhaps rape is too strong. But what I'm saying still stands: Don't force me to accept arbitrary regulation based purely on an irrational belief. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion, too.

  • ||

    Ok, perhaps rape is too strong. But what I'm saying still stands: Don't force me to accept arbitrary regulation based purely on an irrational belief. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion, too.

    It sure does. Now point me to this legislation that's been proposed in the name of anyone's lord and savior. Include the link as well, please.

  • anon||

    I offer Rick Santorum, Jesus-champion elite.

  • ||

    You made a direct claim, and I want to see if you can support it. Name me any legislation that has been proposed in the name of anyone's "lord and savior."*

    *Except where it is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, of course.

  • anon||

    http://www.sltrib.com/csp/cms/.....d=53341059
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_amendment

    Also, any abortion law ever proposed.

    Just google a bit and you'll come up with something like 3 million examples. Everything from Sharia law to specific state laws prohibiting whatever their religion deems is a vice.

  • ||

    Also, any abortion law ever proposed.

    I know plenty of atheists opposed to abortion. Try again.

  • ||

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

    A movement a century and a half old that never got any real traction? That's what you got?

    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_amendment

    It was subjecting a moral code, and while I find imposition of moral codes reprehensible, it is lobbying by an interest group, which was covered by the 1A, IIRC. Why do you want groups barred from petitioning the government?

  • ||

    the second was directed at your other link.

  • ||

    Just google a bit and you'll come up with something like 3 million examples. Everything from Sharia law to specific state laws prohibiting whatever their religion deems is a vice.

    Says the man whose google search turned up a 150 year old example that never got traction and what amounts to a lobbying effort by an interest group.

    What the fuck, man?

  • anon||

    Says the man whose google search turned up a 150 year old example that never got traction and what amounts to a lobbying effort by an interest group.

    You said provide an example. I'm not doing your work for you, fuck you.

    If you don't think people are motivated to act on their religious beliefs then you're retarded.

  • ||

    Has that happened to you much? The ritual rape I mean? I'm so sorry, it explains a lot.

  • anon||

    Happens in Muslim countries very frequently.

  • ||

    And there's the rub. You are so brainwashed into your phony multicultural euphoria that you cannot stand back and make an honest assessment: Islam is worse than most other religions. At least Maher has the fucking balls to say it. But, then, he's never been repeatedly raped by The Prophet. I can see why you're afraid.

  • anon||

    And there's the rub. You are so brainwashed into your phony multicultural euphoria that you cannot stand back and make an honest assessment:

    Er, what?

    How is this even a topic?

    We're talking about religion in general here. Islam is a religion; their religion permits rape.

  • ||

    Yes, and smearing all religions based on the actions of one sour one is a logical fallacy and it's dishonest.

    I postulate that any moral human being should dislike Islam more than Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity or Judaism. If one cannot bring themselves to make that obvious condemnation I think it is because their real god is the Anti-Racist Multicultural god. We could never besmirch a half of a continent of brown people, therefore we must besmirch all religious people (95% of the planet.)

  • anon||

    Yes, and smearing all religions based on the actions of one sour one is a logical fallacy and it's dishonest.

    No, it isn't. Religions have oppressed and exercised violence against and for their worshippers for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. It's Islam today, and abortion tomorrow.

  • Sevo||

    Shorter vor:
    My skydaddy can lick your skydaddy!

  • ||

    Shorter ver: I'm sorry for being white/American

  • Ayn Rand||

    sloopyinca|3.10.12 @ 2:05PM
    I don't mind being irrational when it comes to God.

    "Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking—that the mind is one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide of action—that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise—that a concession to the irrational invalidates one’s consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality—that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind—that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one’s consciousness."

  • ||

    I'm not a Randian cultist, so one woman's opinion really doesn't matter all that much to me.

  • Um||

    Reason (rationality) is not a cult, but whatever makes you feel better about your childish beliefs...

  • Aristophanes||

    Yes it is, especially over at Socrates' Pondertorium.

  • ||

    What seems cultish to me is the slavish devotion to one woman's beliefs and the constant quoting of her as if her words are truths.

    Seems like she's your prophet or messiah or something.

  • Um||

    "Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it."

    Try again.

  • ||

    Didn't she also think that the only real property is intellectual property?

    Why should I embrace the words of a nutbag like that?

  • Um||

    dn't she also think that the only real property is intellectual property?

    No.

  • Um||

    Hope this helps:

    "The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

    Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values."

  • Ayn Rand||

    "Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind."

  • ||

    The Randian Cultists sound a lot like crickets today.

  • Um||

    The real world is not a "cult."
    Hope this helps.

  • ||

    Ignoring Rand's own words, I see.

  • Um||

    Ignoring reality, I see.

    Try again.

  • ||

    Possibly because you are not listening. Your calling them cultists is more evidence of your lack of any attempt to understand.

  • Aristotle||

    Amazing she wasn't sued for plagiarizing; I believe I had read in an old issue of Liberty that Atlas Shrugged was remarkably similar to a novel written in the 1920s. Also, some of the speeches from Atlas and Fountainhead were heavily influenced by Austrian economics or the ideas of Isabel Patterson and others. Take Francsisco's money speech for example. Rand's problem is that her assumption is that ideas, of an alleged firsthander like herself, are immaculately conceived; but its obvious that everyone, including her, are highly influenced by other people and works before.

  • ||

    Did she ever deny that she learned a lot from the Austrian economists and Isabel Patterson?

  • Arf?||

    If someone has a personal experience that leads them to believe in God, who are we to say their belief is irrational? They have subjective data to which we don't have access.

    I think the best we can say is that they appear irrational to us.

  • I||

    I like how you try to "compartmentalize" your irrationalities. It can't be done--the irrationalities will always bleed into other "compartments," and the inconsistencies will be obvious to rational individuals--but it's precious that you try anyway.

  • Nick||

    If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  • ||

    I'm an atheist, and I most definitely did not rant on your Twitter feed or on your facebook. Hope you don't consider me part of the group that did, nor the millions of other atheists that also did not respond to you. Thanks.

  • ||