[quote author=“HappyHeathen”]VicM seems to have left the forum. He might come back if you private message him, but it’s probably not worth it; VicM is his own best friend, and his own best god.
I’ve been away from the forum for a while, too, which is why I am responding to a weeks-old post. Like most true-believers, VicM still hasn’t answered a number of questions. Maybe he also will return to answer them. Or just return.
What is this evidence he says he has for the existence of God? He presupposes that we reject it out of hand without giving us the opportunity of examining it.
How can the fact that some atheists, like you, HappyHeathen, are homosexual, be proof that atheism leads to immorality, if the very standard of morality he believes in may be wrong if there is no God? How does he know that morality can only come from God?
Whats wrong with accepting life and its enjoyment as the standard of morality, instead of God’s will? Especially if you can’t prove there is a God?
Let me put it another way. I don’t do any of the immoral things VicM has claimed atheists do, but I probably do other things that I believe to be perfectly moral, but he would condemn. I have used reason to the best of my abilities to figure out what it right and what is wrong. I accept the possibility that I have made mistakes, but I am doing the best I can. Can VicM give me reason to believe that I actually AM being immoral, proving my actions wrong by some standard that I can test? If my supposed immoral behavior is proof that we need to believe in God to be moral, then there must be some way, ASIDE from (or in addition to) God’s law, to prove why my behavior is wrong.
The whole problem with people like VicM is that the arguments they present, if they can be called that, are just a lot of words, with little if any reference to reality. They provide no evidence, no premises which can be derived from experience of reality, nothing. Its all floating abstractions.
[quote author=“SkepticX”]I do get the sense the attention she’s garnered has developed into a very adversarial thing (THERE’S a surprise!), and she feels cornered ... which is understandable when you have 14 dozen people all assaulting you with questions and ideological challenges that raise difficult questions (if you’re honest about it) about how you understand reality to work on the most fundamental level—
Yes, I do think Mommy was taken aback by the response and has battled back quite gamely. I was myself somewhat surprised at the bandwidth directed at her, after posting what I did.
What struck me, however, were some compliments given to Mommy for no discernable reason. She’s persistent, for sure. Has she complied with basic Internet group politeness, by at least skimming some major threads to see what people have already discussed? No. Has she drawn conclusions with no basis? Yes. Has she assumed for no reason? Yes. Has she made everything about herself? Yes. (Sinister: “I’ve noticed that no one has responded…”) Has she shown herself to be unthoughtful and silly? Yes. (“Jesus was and always will be offensive to most people.”)
Have people been quite rude to her? Yes. If you’re a kind person, go ahead and give her a breather, as some people did. Doesn’t call for respect and flattery, though.
[quote author=“unsmoked”][quote author=“blessedmommyx5”] I am sorry, but if I started as a primordial ooze, then life is meaningless and worthless.
There isn’t a scientist in the world who would say you started out as primordial ooze. Most scientists would say that you started out as a Big Bang - an explosion that created the Universe - the exact same Big Bang that created Jesus. Surely you cannot complain about such a spectacular and glorious beginning? The creation described in Genesis is a timid little bedtime story compared to the creation described by today’s scientists.
You imagine that science undermines, or contradicts the Bible stories, when, in fact, science provides images of ‘glory’ beyond your wildest dreams. I recently saw a series of photographs that I would like to share with you (images of Creation in the far reaches of the Cosmos) and I will try to figure out how to post them here. No, no, Blessed Mommy, atheists are daily showered with staggering visions of our origin, and mysteries far beyond the scope of human understanding. We couldn’t bear it if we had to get our inspiration from a little paper book of ancient wisdom and prophecy - a book filled with our ancestors’ quest for truth and understanding - filled with their fears and longings - reaching for the stars as they tried to imagine, “How did it all begin? Who are we? Why does this action fill me with joy, and this action fill me with dread and misgiving?”
Old Testament Authors Shocked and Disheartened
Blessed Mommy, these photos will give you some idea how you started out. I am sure that Jesus would have greatly appreciated seeing these, so that he could better describe the ‘Power and the Glory’. Adhering to old myths, fables, and deliberate fictions designed to awe the pagans, fundmentalist Christians are blind to the beauty and adventure of scientific discovery and investigation. The Old Testament stories that you adhere to were the best that people could do in Judea at that time. I’m sure those authors would be SHOCKED AND DISHEARTENED if they found out people today were rejecting new discoveries and clinging to those old fables. Truly, your religion is a travesty of human intelligence.
[quote author=“Namaste”]Care to share the list of books that have helped you “research the other side”?
I read The Bible, the whole convoluted thing, when I was in 10th grade. It was by far the most boring book I ever read, also the most nonsensical. There are some horrible stories in there. One is about a God-believing city-state warrior king who traded his daughter to the enemy in exchange for his captured son, and when the son was returned, there was great feasting and rejoicing. That’s supposed to be a morality tale, a lesson about how God helps you.
I also read a bunch of Carl Sagen. He’s much more readable. Star stuff!
[quote author=“g.wood”]I read The Bible, the whole convoluted thing, when I was in 10th grade. It was by far the most boring book I ever read, also the most nonsensical. There are some horrible stories in there. One is about a God-believing city-state warrior king who traded his daughter to the enemy in exchange for his captured son, and when the son was returned, there was great feasting and rejoicing.
Where is this story located, so I can read it for myself?
[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”][quote author=“g.wood”]I read The Bible, the whole convoluted thing, when I was in 10th grade. It was by far the most boring book I ever read, also the most nonsensical. There are some horrible stories in there. One is about a God-believing city-state warrior king who traded his daughter to the enemy in exchange for his captured son, and when the son was returned, there was great feasting and rejoicing.
Where is this story located, so I can read it for myself?
Bruce, if you consider the story carefully, you will see that it is very plausible, especially in Biblical times. It is SO plausible, that it probably happened a number of times - a daughter being traded for a hostage son.
It is SO plausible that it has probably happened repeatedly throughout human history, right up until today. If you can’t find it, try the one about Moses’ war against the people who lived on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba - how he was infuriated when his commanders brought home the thousands of prisoners and ordered all of them to be slaughtered in cold blood. All, that is, except for the hundreds, or thousands of virgin girls - who were to be divided among God’s chosen soldiers.
[quote author=“M is for Malapert”]Have people been quite rude to her? Yes. If you’re a kind person, go ahead and give her a breather, as some people did. Doesn’t call for respect and flattery, though.
Absolutely right ... very important distinction! I see that a lot as well. People bend over backward to try and find something nice to say and end up saying something misleading instead. Good skeptics should have a very strong aversion saying something so inaccurate. Sometimes you may have to put your head down and take some flak in order to avoid falling into the emotion trap, but if you accommodate in an attempt to be nice you haven’t avoided the trap, you’ve just fallen into it backwards.
[quote author=“blessedmommyx5”]If I am wrong I have nothing to lose, but if you are wrong, you have everything to lose.
One of the stranger aspects of Pascal’s Wager to me is this very “what’s in it for me” mentality, as if we can choose the reality we prefer and reality is somehow obliged to comply with our wishes and actually be as we’ve chosen. Where the hell does that level of egocentrism come from?! We learn better in the process of developing beyond the “terrible twos,” or whenever it is we learn that others are both separate and independent of our selves.
Probably the most fatal flaw in Pascal’s Wager though, is that it requires that we can actually just choose what we genuinely believe, and that’s just not the way it works. It requires that reality work in a way that reality doesn’t. That keeps it from ever even getting out of the gate to warrant consideration.
We can decide we’d like to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but in doing so we’re obviously concerned that it’s not true (hence the doubt, and the choice of giving the person in question the benefit of that doubt by not forming the negative conclusion as long as there’s really room to avoid it).
We have to be compelled into genuine belief. If we simply decide what we “believe” we’re really just pretending, and if there’s an omniscient god we can’t fool it into believing that we believe what we really don’t by trying to fake it out ... throw a juke on him and then slip by into Heaven (which is a childishly nonsensical notion in the first place ... and another highly egocentric one too).
[quote author=“M is for Malapert”][quote author=“sambarge”]
I’m almost a gay man myself. Well, I’m a straight woman but that’s pretty close to being a gay man, in a lot of ways.
Hah! Seriously, that’s funny.
Actually, it’s not that funny… But it’s pretty ignorant, if you ask me. I know this forum isn’t about that and I apologize for going off theme, but I really couldn’t help myself when I saw that remark.
Here’s the best argument I’ve seen for proving that belief in the God of the Bible is irrational. Written by one of the wisest guys here. He may be the only one with a self-authored tag line.
Ted Shepherd wrote:
An Omniscient and Omnipotent one cannot know first hand the fear of death, the joy of learning, the agony of despair, or the courage of facing risk. Hence Christianity’s God is logically impossible. Belief in such a God is irrational.
So simple, so concise, so right. I’ve committed it to memory and have adopted it as my ‘statement of reason.’ Puts the old ‘statement of faith’ to shame.
My interpretation of it gives me that if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, he could, at best, only play pretend when it came to fear, pain and suffering. Even if he was interested in sampling what some of his children feel on a daily basis, to extremes in war-torn countries or at the hands of pedophiles, he could never know and understand the depth of their pain because as soon as he’d had enough, he could easily turn off the pain and get back to his blissfulness.
I suppose Christians could argue that he sent Jesus to live a ‘real’ life to get to know us humans and understand real pain and suffering (nails through the hands and feet is quite painful after all), but even Jesus, since he was risen from the dead, is just his most elaborate game of pretend. If God really is all-knowing, he knew he was going to save Jesus and that his son wasn’t in any real danger after all. And if he is all-powerful and super hero like, he didn’t need an ounce of courage to intervene, roll the stone away and bring his son back to everlasting life.
So since God, even through his best attempt at trying to understand the human condition, couldn’t have succeeded at experiencing the depths of pain and despair we feel, or the tremendous courage we need to see ourselves and our loved ones through our moments of crises, that leaves at least two things that he doesn’t know. We humans, therefore, know more than God, and therefore again, he can’t exist.
Well Storm, it seems you have a lot to say. In fact, it seems you have a lot to say about things I never said. But allow me to clarify…
…Well, that is, if you’re ready to climb down off that altruistic mountain top long enough to stop waving around that self-righteous holy banner of motherhood.
“…that is not how we do things. We expand, we invent solutions. We say let’s make a more effective water treatment plant, we investigate the most energy efficient crops and focus on them, we try irrigation in dry areas, we make more efficient ways to transport energy with minimum loss, we turn the ocean’s salt water into drinkable water, we build alternative power sources, we create new propulsion systems, we find ways to move food from the fattest countires to the skinniest, we change our consumer habits, we colonize another bloody planet,
Wow, a lot of “we’s” in there. You’ve got to love the primary one: “that is not how we do things.” Is that “we,” by any chance, you and the straw man? Nevertheless, as long as we are on “we’s,” how about this one… We use our brains – not our presumptions – to realistically address a prescient emergency.
…but what we don’t do is tell people they can’t have children, because that is a basic human right.
Hmmm, I believe this one comes under Salty’s
“DEPARTMENT OF UNEXAMINED ASSUMPTIONS”
…But I’ll give it a try.
Where do people like you get off assuming that having children is a basic human right? When, why, and how, has this sophistic attitude become so axiomatic? If we have this right, doesn’t every other species? Dogs? Cats? Rats? Cock Roaches? Viruses? Is this a self-ordained right, or a God-given right? Because you’re sounding more and more like some religious zealot who scorns any blasphemous challenge to the sacred rites of reproduction.
According to the U.S department of health & Human Services, there were over 35,000 babies abandoned in hospitals last year in the U.S. – not exactly the Third World. That’s right, abandoned by their own mothers (and fathers) – 9,000 of them here, where I live in New York City. This past Spring, at least one of them didn’t even make it to the hospital, because her mother, after giving live birth, wrapped the new-born in a garbage bag and through her out her seventh-floor window to her death, into a trash heap below. Sound like good parenting to you? There’s more…
To give you just ONE example of the massive amounts of child abuse I have directly been involve with, I spent the month of February in Cambodia on a humanitarian assistance program. While there, I treated for trauma, a nine-year-old girl, who was HIV-positive (and AIDS-symptomatic, because of a lack of proper medications). How did she get to be HIV-positive? Her PARENTS sold her into prostitution when she was six-years-old – for FIVE Dollars. ...I assure you, she was not alone either. Our mental institutions, hospitals, and prisons are full to the breaking point with the results of unwanted, neglected, abused, and discarded children that are brought into this world by the reckless, irresponsible, self-indulgent, and narcissistic temerity of adults.
…Don’t you ever tell me having children is a “basic human right.”
Because the Chinese tried it and failed. What makes you think your similar ideas will work? Humans never stop or go back. You’re saying that the only way out of a well is flapping our arms hoping we will learn to fly. Only a fascist country can stop it’s population from breeding. WHo are going to stop us? The police? The army? Stop flapping your arms and come up with a better solution.
And exactly what “similar ideas” of mine are you referring to? Where do I say, even tacitly, that the “…only way out of a well is flapping our arms…”? You’re the only one taking this issue to a fascist/police/army conclusion. Where did I ever say, infer, insinuate, or otherwise allude to the things you are accusing me of endorsing here? I am promoting nothing of the kind. Actually, sambarge made some very good and accurate points about female empowerment and decreased population growth. There are some problems with her information, but that’s another conversation. The better question at this point is…, (well, this time I’ll leave it to Salty)… “You get to have a conversation with yourself, and work out your own sh!t.”
You are reading into this issue things that are just not there. Whatever personal agenda you have in this, I assure you I will never be a part of it.
As for the: “Humans never stop or go back” statement, I’m going to assume this is another one of your assumptions. From an evolutionary standpoint, it is simply not true. There is no security whatsoever in that our evolution – biological, social or otherwise – is a progressive one. Michael Murphy, author of The Future of the Body—Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature, makes this very clear:
“If a greater life is latent in the human race, its permanent establishment is far from being guaranteed. Nuclear war, overpopulation, ecological disaster, social upheaval, or other catastrophes could so diminish life on earth that few people would have the will or resources to cultivate metanormal capacities. Such events could destroy the conditions for any kind of widespread human progress, let alone a third evolutionary transcendence. Furthermore, even favored groups do not always produce lasting moral or spiritual growth. Human cultures, like animal species, often remain static or regress. Neither human nor animal evolution is automatically progressive.” (bold type mine)
Because all I see here is the same tactics that the religous use when trying to break down a non-believer. You are basically saying “BMx5, you are an environmental sinner, you are living a wasteful life. Repent and ask us for forgiveness, so you can join us, but know that you will always be a sinner in the eyes of nature
Again, Storm, your beliefs are far more similar to religion than you are even aware. You hold this tenant: that it is our human right to squirt out as many children as we please, and then become offended when someone challenges this premise. Sure sounds like fundamentalism from here.
Storm writes: Because I’m impressed with anyone who can raise five children at once. Maybe her children will never get the options to critically view the world without “god-glasses”, maybe they will grow up and beleive that bats are a form of bird as it says in the bible, but any woman who can handle five kids deserve to be congratulated.
There is no realistic way for you to be “impressed” by either how BMx5 is raising her children or how well she is “handling five kids.” For all you know she isn’t “handling” five kids very well at all. However, your assumption (once again) is that she deserves to be congratulated. This is you default setting, and you need to take a look at that.
Today, having children, and deciding how many children to have – no matter what you say – is a choice. …That choice is a critical one, and one that involves a remarkable amount of responsibility, both individually and globally. We know, from the stories above, and the countless other similar ones, just how important this is. The repercussions of bad, neglectful, abusive parenting and unchecked population expansion are unquantifiable. The responsibility not only involves you, but every other person on this planet no matter how offensive that concept is to you. We are accountable to the generations that follow us and that means we can no longer capriciously reproduce. We must look qualitatively – not simply quantitatively – if we want even a fraction of a chance of creating a truly progressive future where social evolution will have its greatest chance.
Your assumptions about the right to squeeze out babies anytime, anyplace, anywhere is, at the very least misinformed, and based in a bias that is as ill conceived as religious dogmatism. Just try challenging this assumption and you’ll see a tempest like yours rise with the blind pomposity of an evangelical missionary. Furthermore, those that placate this kind of thinking, by agreeing that it is nobody’s business how many children one has, are no better than the religious moderates Sam admonishes. Malpert is correct when she states: “Many members of this forum are precisely like the religious moderate enablers Sam Harris describes.”
So climb back up that consecrated mountain of hallowed motherhood. Wave that blessed flag in the hope that other mindless followers march up there with you in puerile grandiosity. Keep on dreaming that parenting is an instinctively natural vocation and a God-given right. Keep shouting down any voice of reason that suggests you take a look at your sacred presuppositions. Because in the end you won’t be here to witness a socially primitive world – a depleted and regressed planet – where the remaining desperate scavengers hunt down each other in a savage attempt to postpone their own death. Don’t worry, you’ll be long gone, you’ll never her your children’s children curse your pious life.
You ideology is the worst evil there is, yours is: militant ignorance.
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]Wow, a lot of “we’s” in there. You’ve got to love the primary one: “that is not how we do things.” Is that “we,” by any chance, you and the straw man? Nevertheless, as long as we are on “we’s,” how about this one… We use our brains – not our presumptions – to realistically address a prescient emergency.
That would be you, me and history. On avarage we(humans) expand, build, travel and so forth. We don’t limit our own growth.
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]Where do people like you get off assuming that having children is a basic human right? When, why, and how, has this sophistic attitude become so axiomatic? If we have this right, doesn’t every other species? Dogs? Cats? Rats? Cock Roaches? Viruses? Is this a self-ordained right, or a God-given right?
We get it from the same place as we get the right to free speech. I think it would fall under mass-ordained. Those rights only apply to humans, because they are set by governments. Those rights can be taken away, like in China. Rights can also be added, like some people want to do with animal rights.
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]According to the U.S department of health & Human Services, there were over 35,000 babies abandoned in hospitals last year in the U.S. – not exactly the Third World. That’s right, abandoned by their own mothers (and fathers) – 9,000 of them here, where I live in New York City.
No wonder, when you see kids as liability rather than opportunity. I tired to find some statistics for my country, but couldn’t find any. Will continue the search.
Edit: Found it. Since the middle of the -80, there has been less than 10 recorded cases (7 in 10 years) Last case I could find was in 1999. Two of the kids were returned to their mother.
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]…Don’t you ever tell me having children is a “basic human right.”
Now you’re limiting the other human right I was talking about…
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]And exactly what “similar ideas” of mine are you referring to?
The idea that the solution is limits on childbirth. How? Laws?
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]Actually, sambarge made some (...) points about female empowerment and decreased population growth.
Me too. I had another post, maybe you missed it. This takes decaded. Do you have time to wait?
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]Again, Storm, your beliefs are far more similar to religion than you are even aware. You hold this tenant: that it is our human right to squirt out as many children as we please, and then become offended when someone challenges this premise. Sure sounds like fundamentalism from here.
Not offended at all. Should we make a law against this human right? Ops, I said it again. Sorry.
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]There is no realistic way for you to be “impressed” by either how BMx5 is raising her children or how well she is “handling five kids.” For all you know she isn’t “handling” five kids very well at all. However, your assumption (once again) is that she deserves to be congratulated. This is you default setting, and you need to take a look at that.
I’m starting to regret being friendly in the first place. Apparently I should have pissed on her lawn like the others.
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]Keep on dreaming that parenting is an instinctively natural vocation and a God-given right.
Who’s assuming things now?
[quote author=“JETurnbull”]BTW Storm, are you one of the X-MEN??
Strange question. The X-men are comicbook characters. They don’t really exist. Maybe you are confused by the movies? :D
Halle Berry wouldn’t be a bad trade off, actually.
(I have to go away for about nine days, so I wont answer for a while.)