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What is an atheist fundamentalist?
Posted: 25 November 2008 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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An atheist fundamentalist is someone who is absolutely convinced this all is simply a result of a natural process with no outside interference(which is a possibility), who is 100% certain that everything about themselves will cease to exist when they die(also a possibility).  Another atheist fundamentalist position is an absolute confidence that consciousness is simply a byproduct of human life, despite the lack of scientific evidence to confirm this.  The term atheist fundamentalist is useful in differentiating between atheists who are open to some of these ideas, such as Sam Harris expresses in his book The End of Faith, and those who are close-minded on these areas where scientific certainty has yet to emerge.

And as with religious fundamentalism, another trend of atheist fundamentalism is an intolerance for differing views.  I am not referring to conversational intolerance, where personal convictions are weighed against evidence, and where intellectual honesty is demanded of all.  That is healthy.  What is unhealthy, and is also bad for the image of atheism is when it becomes belligerently offensive to the point where personal insults are directed towards those with differing opinions.

Examples of fundamentalist statements made by atheist fundamentalists and others can be seen on this thread.  You are welcome to participate in the Treason Project if you also think that atheist fundamentalism is a unhealthy trend, and want to aid in confronting it. 

I use the word atheist fundamentalist to differentiate them from the significant portion of atheists, probably the majority actually, who realize and admit that we still have a lot to learn about consciousness, who realize we don’t know exactly what happens after we die.  It is also effective in differentiating between between atheists who practice conversational intolerance in a civil manner, and those who consistently do not. 

Some atheist’s only hold fundamentalist views on one issue, just as some Christian fundamentalists only hold fundamentalist views on one or two issues. 

Is atheist fundamentalism a bad thing?  Probably not in comparison to religious fundamentalism. But atheist fundamentalists do have the potential to inhibit scientific progress because of their absolute certainty on some issues where science is clearly not certain, which is essentially scientific close-mindedness.  Absolute certainty in areas where science is not absolutely certain inhibits scientific progress rather than encouraging it.  And the atheist fundamentalists who engage in belligerently offensive rhetoric certainly give atheism a bad image, one that other atheists would like to improve.

I am not the first person to attach fundamentalism to atheism, though up until now it seems to only have been applied erroneously by opponents of religious critics, for the most part.  Atheists fundamentalism isn’t defined as strictly following a doctrine, since atheism has no set doctrine.  However, having absolute certainty in something is dogmatic in nature, so atheist fundamentalist are dogmatic in nature.  Its definition is applied to atheists who express absolutely certainty about something without the support of scientific evidence, which is also a trait of fundamentalism, and to those who engage in conversational intolerance in a belligerent, uncivil manner.

[ Edited: 04 January 2009 09:35 PM by Immediate Suppression]
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Posted: 26 November 2008 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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BY DEFINITION, an atheist is someone who DOES NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GOD.

And this did not happen by chance any more than apples always randomly fall down, out of all other possible directions. It is guided by natural processes.

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Posted: 26 November 2008 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

An atheist fundamentalist is someone who is absolutely convinced this all happened by chance(which is a possibility), and who is 100% certain that everything about themselves will cease to exist when they die(also a possibility).  Another atheist fundamentalist position is an absolute confidence that consciousness is simply a byproduct of human life, despite the lack of scientific evidence to confirm this.

We should stay away from words like “chance” and “random,” which amount to an anti-causality straw man used by creationists. They mistakenly treat physical events as either directed by their god or happening for no cause at all, probably because they want events to have inherent meaning.

I’ve never encountered any atheist with that absolute certainty. All the ones I’ve encountered acknowledge the possibility that they may be wrong.

Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

Sam Harris says that atheists who believe in God aren’t really atheists.  Whether you like it or not, there are many atheists who believe in some type of God, higher power, etc… Of course you don’t consider them atheists, nor would many of the atheists in here.  But they consider themselves atheists, and they call themselves atheists.

Sam is right. My theory is that those “atheists” mistakenly see atheism as the rejection of organized religion but not of beliefs in higher powers. (Belief in a higher power is still a religious belief, even though it’s not strictly part of an organized religion.) A better term for that may be deism. Part of the problem is that many Christians have twisted the debate, treating rejection of Christian doctrine as the equivalent of atheism.

I haven’t used “atheist” to describe myself because I see little difference between beliefs in gods or other supernatural beings and beliefs in astrology or Atlantis or UFOs or conspiracy theories. From an empirical standpoint, all these are equal regarding the lack of evidence. From a philosophical standpoint, they’re more or less equal in offering false senses of meaning and control. “Atheist” may be falsely taken to mean skepticism only of religious beliefs and not of similar beliefs outside of religion. Would “skepticist” be a better word?

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Posted: 26 November 2008 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Nulono - 26 November 2008 11:07 AM

BY DEFINITION, an atheist is someone who DOES NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GOD.

While that is what most atheists agree upon, it is not that simple.  The term atheism originated as a pejorative epithet applied to any person or belief in conflict with established religion(wikipedia).  The term later became associated with not believing in a God, but is still associated with those who reject theism. 

There needs to be a designation between different types of atheists, just like are for different types of Christians.  Other examples for designating different types of atheists are the terms militant atheists, passive atheists, and atheist evangelicals, to name just a few.

Carstonio - 26 November 2008 11:22 AM
Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

An atheist fundamentalist is someone who is absolutely convinced this all happened by chance(which is a possibility), and who is 100% certain that everything about themselves will cease to exist when they die(also a possibility).  Another atheist fundamentalist position is an absolute confidence that consciousness is simply a byproduct of human life, despite the lack of scientific evidence to confirm this.

We should stay away from words like “chance” and “random,” which amount to an anti-causality straw man used by creationists. They mistakenly treat physical events as either directed by their god or happening for no cause at all, probably because they want events to have inherent meaning.

Thanks for the good response, Carstonio.  You are correct on this point, and I shouldn’t have used those words, and have corrected my post.

Carstonio - 26 November 2008 11:22 AM

I’ve never encountered any atheist with that absolute certainty. All the ones I’ve encountered acknowledge the possibility that they may be wrong.

There are several people on this board that express atheist fundamentalist views.  GAD, McReason, and Salt Creek are examples, to name a few.  Look at their comments on my recent thread about alternative ideas about consciousness for the evidence.  They are just as confident in their atheist fundamentalist views about death and consciousness as Christian fundamentalists are in their belief that people literally will go to heaven or hell when they die.

Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

Sam Harris says that atheists who believe in God aren’t really atheists.  Whether you like it or not, there are many atheists who believe in some type of God, higher power, etc… Of course you don’t consider them atheists, nor would many of the atheists in here.  But they consider themselves atheists, and they call themselves atheists.

 

Carstonio - 26 November 2008 11:22 AM

Sam is right. My theory is that those “atheists” mistakenly see atheism as the rejection of organized religion but not of beliefs in higher powers. (Belief in a higher power is still a religious belief, even though it’s not strictly part of an organized religion.) A better term for that may be deism. Part of the problem is that many Christians have twisted the debate, treating rejection of Christian doctrine as the equivalent of atheism.

Many of them likely do simply reject religion, and that is why they call themselves atheists.  Remember that the definition of an atheist doesn’t only apply to those who reject Gods, it also applies to those who reject religion.  Some Christians feel that other Christians are also confused since they don’t actually follow Christianity, yet they call themselves Christians.  The atheists who believe in a higher power are deist atheists, labeled as such to differentiate them from the atheists who aren’t.

[ Edited: 28 November 2008 10:18 PM by Immediate Suppression]
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Posted: 26 November 2008 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

Other than possibly inhibiting scientific progress because of their close-mindedness, there seems to be no threat whatsoever to society from atheist fundamentalism.

You mean the investigation of your “heebie jeebies” in Something Must be Intervening?

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Posted: 26 November 2008 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Now come on you guys. Lets join hands and stop being mean and closed minded.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 26 November 2008 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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An atheist fundamentalist is someone who is absolutely convinced this all happened by chance(which is a possibility),

ROTFL

Thanks for clarifying that chance is a possibility! We would have never guessed.

Something then did intervene! Chance intervened!!!

IS you are simply brilliant. With your help we all have it now figured out.

And by the way, what you describe is an atheist, not a fundamental atheist.

Now run along and think about that for a minute.

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Posted: 26 November 2008 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Does this mean that no one wants to have a séance?

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 26 November 2008 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Jefe - 26 November 2008 04:47 PM
Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 PM

The (people) who believe (something IS is defining), (are) labeled..to differentiate them…(from other groups - in conversation)

I question both the need and value for such segregational labeling.

Other than as a sloppy tool used as part of a conceptual sorting process, these sorts of divisive “labels” are nearly meaningless and hold little actual value in descriptive or evaluative conversation.

It is necessary in order to differentiate between different parts, or sects, of a group in an evaluative conversation or analysis. 

If we didn’t have the term Christian fundamentalist, how would we differentiate between the harmful extreme Christian fundamentalists who take much of the Bible literally and the relatively harmless ones who don’t?

I understand that atheists don’t want to be labeled with or associated with such a term.  Many Christians didn’t like being labeled fundamentalists when the term first came about so atheist fundamentalists aren’t the first group to ever resent being labeled because of their fundamentalist outlook.

And I’m certainly not the first to segregate atheists into different groups.  There is also axiological, or constructive atheism, deistic atheism(btw Sam Harris, Albert Einstein may have been one of these people you essentially call nonsensical),practical or pragmatic atheism, theoretical, or contemplative atheism, affective atheism, logical atheism, theodicean atheism, metaphysical atheism, and epistemological atheism.

Maybe these types of topics and labels are worthless to you, Jefe, but they are obviously not to many people who actually analyze atheism.

[ Edited: 27 November 2008 09:39 AM by Immediate Suppression]
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Posted: 26 November 2008 11:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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These categories should be quite helpful in eradicating that pesky “bacme” problem. God made me a fundamentalist atheist. Who are you to question his wisdom?

[ Edited: 26 November 2008 11:17 PM by Beam]
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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 27 November 2008 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Jefe - 27 November 2008 11:48 AM

Are you familiar with the etiology of the term fundamentalist?

It usually involves certainty in one’s beliefs, a rigid adherence to the fundamentalists principles, and often expresses intolerance for opposing views.  Atheist fundamentalists fit this description in from the standpoint of their absolute certainty about their beliefs, and their expressions of intolerance for those who do not agree with them. 

Fundamentalism usually involves religions, but in this case it involves atheists.

Jefe - 27 November 2008 11:48 AM

Do you realize that by pairing that term with the term atheist you are creating a descriptor that invites misunderstanding?

Only for those who are incapable of understanding it.

Jefe - 27 November 2008 11:48 AM

I’ve analyzed your post.  My advice to you is to be more careful with your use of language structures.  You probably won’t as you seem to have formed some sort of negative personal opinion about my contributions to your posts, but I can still offer the advice.

I’ve analyzed you posts.  So far they have been void of detailed criticism of my ideas, and you haven’t backed up any of your assertions very well.  I appreciate your contributions to this thread, and will remain open-minded to them, though so far I do disagree with them.

Have a nice Thanksgiving,

Immediate

[ Edited: 29 November 2008 08:23 AM by Immediate Suppression]
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Posted: 27 November 2008 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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What is an atheist fundamentalist?  Is it possible that an atheist fundamentalist is a person who can’t laugh at their ideas, opinions, knowledge, views of the universe, understanding of life?  I’ve never met a Christian fundamentalist who was able to laugh at themselves, at their beliefs, convictions.

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Posted: 27 November 2008 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Here is your problem:

Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

These atheists who believe in God, or who are open to an afterlife don’t believe the same things as many other atheists, but they still call themselves atheists, just like the Christians whom not everyone agrees are Christians call themselves Christians.  Question them if you want, make fun of them if you want, but you have no other option but to take them at their word when they say they are an atheist.

If you know I am an atheist, you know nothing about what I believe; you only know something that I do not believe. You know that I do not believe in any supernatural beings that can do me favors when I’m alive or punish me when I’m dead.

Therefore, your concern about what you call atheists who “are open to an afterlife don’t believe the same things as many other atheists” put you on the wrong track at the outset. It is not possible to discuss what things an atheist believes positively, when the only thing you know about him or her is one thing the atheist does not believe.

Sure, atheism is circumstantial evidence that the atheist is rational, but atheism is entirely consistent with Ayn Rand Objectivism, Free-Market Libertarianism, Goldwater Conservatism, Middle-of-the Road Independence, Liberalism, Socialism, and Marxism.

In other words, atheism is not an ideology in and of itself, any more than opposition to the war in Iraq is.  Opponents of that war include Quakers, Socialists, Muslims, pacifists, militant Palistinians, opponents of violations of international law, and people who simply feel the invasion of Iraq is wrong.

I have no idea why you are insistent on identifying “atheists who believe in god,” a group you estimated elsewhere constituted 20% of all atheists.  This is meaningless, like saying 20% of all males are females, or 20% of all Christians don’t believe in Christ.  Some things are definitional.

Therefore:

Immediate Suppression - 26 November 2008 04:40 AM

These atheists who believe in God […]you have no other option but to take them at their word when they say they are an atheist.

Yes I do; if language is to have sufficient meaning to allow any discussion at all, I have no option but to ignore them as either insufficiently learned in the English language to communicate with or as disturbed in some fashion, or as too immature to take seriously.

You’re effort to define into existence a positive atheist ideology has led to some pretty extreme positions:

Immediate Suppression - 27 November 2008 12:56 AM

And I’m certainly not the first to segregate atheists into different groups.  There is also axiological, or constructive atheism, deistic atheism(btw Sam Harris, Albert Einstein may have been one of these people you essentially call nonsensical),practical or pragmatic atheism, theoretical, or contemplative atheism, affective atheism, logical atheism, theodicean atheism, metaphysical atheism, and epistemological atheism.

Theodicean atheism,?  Is theodocity not a vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil?  Did you find this on some random oxymoron generator?.

And “contemplative atheism?”  Shouldn’t you break this branch into its constituent sects:  brooding atheism, musing atheism, pensive atheism pondering atheism, reflective atheism and ruminative atheism

Get over it.  The opposition you received to your insistence that a case of “the willies” was possible evidence that “something is intervening” was not generated on the basis that you violated some sort of atheist canon.  It arose from the fact that most people found your speculation juvenile and silly.

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Posted: 27 November 2008 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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unsmoked - 27 November 2008 03:26 PM

What is an atheist fundamentalist?  Is it possible that an atheist fundamentalist is a person who can’t laugh at their ideas, opinions, knowledge, views of the universe, understanding of life?  I’ve never met a Christian fundamentalist who was able to laugh at themselves, at their beliefs, convictions.

Right on, laughter kills the devil.  LOL

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Posted: 27 November 2008 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Imodium Suppression,

The biggest difference between you and other peddlers of woo is that the organized religions actually con people. You haven’t even figured out what you are selling but you keep throwing out addled shad and getting mad when it attracts sharks instead of flounder. At least add some saccharin and red dye to the Kool-Aid before you open your stand for business.

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Posted: 27 November 2008 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 27 November 2008 09:40 PM

Imodium Suppression,

The biggest difference between you and other peddlers of woo is that the organized religions actually con people. You haven’t even figured out what you are selling but you keep throwing out addled shad and getting mad when it attracts sharks instead of flounder. At least add some saccharin and red dye to the Kool-Aid before you open your stand for business.

That is a typical hateful response from an atheist. Satan has filled this poor soul with hate and darkness and sin. God will not beam this hardened heart anywhere except to the fiery pits of Hell. Jesus will forgive you if you will repent and accept him as your savior. Please accept him or you are doomed to eternal regret. Lord God, forgive him for he knows not whence he doeth.

Immediate Suppression-You seem like a nice person . God has revealed to you that he exists. You just don’t see him clearly yet. He is Jesus and he wants to enter your life and save you. He wants to have daily communion with you. He wants to live with you forever. You are so close. Just accept him as Lord and you will have eternal life.

I am praying for all of you. Amen.

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