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Top 10 Myths and Fallacies about Atheism

1. Atheism is the same as Marxism, Communism, Socialism and Liberalism

Atheism is the lack of belief in God. It is a metaphysical position or statement (or more precisely, the lack of one). By contrast, Marxism, socialism, communism and liberalism are political, social and economic theories. Not only do they each differ in important ways, but none of them has anything to do with God.

The confusion here stems from the fact that Marx was an avowed atheist and 20th century communists have been officially atheist, and often hostile to religion. However, violent revolutionary communists have been hostile to many groups: aristocrats, capitalists, kings, non-Marxist peasants, various ethnic groups, etc.

The actual non-belief in God has been a far less important theme in communist history than anti-capitalism or state totalitarianism. Ayn Rand is a prominent example of a staunch capitalist and anti-socialist who was also vehemently atheist. You cannot logically deduce any political theory from a simple lack of belief in God.

2. Atheists don't Believe in Anything

Ironically, while some claim atheism equals socialism, others claim that atheists don't believe anything at all. Atheism is simply disbelief in God. This no more prevents a person from believing other things than a disbelief in Santa Claus.

Most theists’ overall worldview is based on the existence of God. So when God is subtracted out of the equation, they surmise, everything else collapses leaving us with nothing meaningful to actually believe in. Atheists, of course, have a totally different view of reality that has been developed in the absence of God.

3. Atheists Believe the Universe was Created out of Nothing

Many theists oddly claim that atheists believe “something came from nothing.” In fact, many (if not most) atheists and agnostics believe reality is eternal and uncreated. There is nobody serious who literally thinks that something can arise from nothing.

This fallacy once again stems from the theistic viewpoint. Christians, Muslims and others believe reality has a beginning, and was created by God. So when they learn that atheists do not believe in God, they imagine substituting "nothing" for "God." In the absence of God there is nothing, so they mistakenly assume atheists believe something (reality) came from nothing.

This hidden theistic assumption produces leading questions like “if you don’t believe in God, then where did everything come from?” This question assumes that things "came from" somewhere.

4. Atheism is Connected to the Theory of Evolution

Atheism is the lack of belief in God (and therefore a metaphysical position), while evolution is a scientific theory about the development of different life forms. There is simply no logical connection between these two. One does not automatically follow from the other. Atheism existed millennia before Darwinism and the theory of evolution.

This misunderstanding has many sources, but mostly stems from the general incompatibility of evolution with the creation account in the Bible (almost all critics of evolution are fundamentalist Christians). Creationists assume that because evolution rejects "creation," it must therefore reject God. This is like saying that because Shakespeare did not write the US Constitution, therefore Shakespeare did not exist.

There are many believers in God who also strongly believe in evolution. There are not many, but some atheists do not accept evolution.

5. Atheism Means Moral Relativism

Similar to the "something from nothing" fallacy, this misunderstanding stems from the theistic worldview. Theists believe that God is the source of moral rules. Therefore, with no God, there are no morals. But in fact morality does not logically or theoretically require God. There are millions of atheists and agnostics who have a strong sense of morals, and millions of theists who do not. Secular thinking can and does lead to moral absolutes, as with humanism. By contrast, theistic thinking can easily lead to moral relativism.

Source

6. Atheism is a Religion

Atheism is the lack of belief in God. It is therefore equivalent to theism, the belief in God. But theism is not a religion, it is a metaphysical idea or position. There are many religions that fall under the theist umbrella (Christianity, Islam and Judaism being the most prominent).

In the same way, there are many worldviews, ideologies and philosophies that can fall under the atheist umbrella. But all will be secular. That is, they cannot include a supernatural component. That is the key difference between a religion and another system of knowledge or school of thought: only religions incorporate the idea of the supernatural. Therefore atheism cannot produce or support a religion. And again, atheism is itself no more a religion than theism.

Some atheists’ excited and passionate advocacy for their beliefs may resemble that of religious followers. But excitement, devotion, passion and regular social functions do not make atheism a religion, any more than they make the Republican party a religion, or a football team a religion. Calling atheism a "religion" is also a deceptive tactic used by many theists to try to bring atheism down to their level, and allow them to argue that atheists' claims of being above religion are false.

Source

7. Atheists Hate Religion

Paradoxically, as often as atheism is called a religion, it is just as often equated with the hatred of religion by its opponents. Atheism is just disbelief in God. There is no emotional content, positive or negative, implicit in that position.

Many atheists hate religion for a number of other reasons—awful childhood experiences, resentment at the failings and evils of religious institutions, etc. But this is a separate matter from atheism itself. In fact, nowadays many theists claim to "hate religion" too.

8. Atheists are Hubristic and Self-Centered

This misunderstanding stems directly from abundant Biblical references to nonbelievers as “prideful” and selfish. This happens to be the characterization that the writers of the Bible developed, for some reason. A major idea in the Old and New Testaments is that unless one devotes one’s life entirely to God, one becomes obsessed with hedonistic, superficial and base pursuits.

This is obviously fallacious and illogical. There are and have been countless nonbelievers who were not pleasure-seeking degenerates, but rather great thinkers, innovators, creators and leaders, such as Einstein, Edison, Mark Twain, Stephen Hawking, Plato, Aristotle, Lao Tzu (founder of Daoism), Kant, David Hume, Bill Gates, and others.

The Bible is obviously an unreliable source of information on atheism because of its bias. But aside from that, there are countless examples of atheists who are not hubristic or self-centered at all, but pursue charity and the cause of helping others in this life.

Not believing that God is the center of the universe is no more inherently selfish or hubristic than not believing Big Foot is the center of the universe, or that the sun is the center of the universe.

9. Atheists don't want to Believe in God

Some atheists are more emotional than rational, just like any group of people. To suggest that this characterizes all atheists is straightforwardly fallacious. It is possible for a person to believe in something not because they want to, but because they are swayed by the evidence or arguments in favor of it, or because there is no reason to doubt it.

This fallacy is related to the idea that atheists are “prideful” and various dehumanizing characterizations found in holy books. The idea here is that everyone “really knows that God exists.” It’s just that some accept it, and some don’t want to accept it. But in their heart, they know it’s true. Obviously it is impossible to read the true intentions or the true heart of another person, much less millions of people. To say nothing of the compelling arguments against God.

10. Atheism Entails Nihilism, Nothingness and Emptiness

Perhaps the most popular and most pernicious myth of all. Because many theists hang their entire lives on God, when God leaves the scene, they imagine total absence of purpose or beauty. If someone had been thoroughly taught to worship Santa Claus since birth, they would surely be shocked, disturbed and perplexed upon discovering disbelievers in Mr. Claus. How could one possibly live any kind of meaningful life without him?

Meaning, purpose, beauty and happiness are not dependent on God or any other concept. The most secular countries on earth today have some of the highest rates of self-reported happiness.

Countless people are raised in cultures heavily dependent on God. If one of those people grows up to be an atheist, his lack of belief may cause discomfort, ostracism, aimlessness and even psychological distress. But this does not mean that atheism itself was the cause of these problems. Nor does it mean atheism creates a void in human life. These are simply expected challenges when any individual goes against tradition, established wisdom, or the majority.

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Comments 317 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well ordered and thought out. Love the posters! The U.S. is a country based on freedom of religion which is why most people think of atheism as a religion. We want to be able to have the same freedom of EXPRESSION as the religionists. However, we do realize that not believing in the Christian/Jewish/Muslim God makes us outcasts.

What I don't understand is why they believe that worshiping some deity is an actual religion. They do it religiously, but that is not what religion is.

Thank you for pointing that little tidbit out.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks, Austinstar. Everyone should have freedom of expression, for all kinds of speech--religious, political, entertainment, etc. But that doesn't mean that those, such as atheists, that talk philosophy or metaphysics are a religion.

We also want freedom from religion. Many people don't understand that true freedom OF religion requires freedom FROM religion.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Exactly!


Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 4 years ago from UK

I like your Santa Claus line... :)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Santa is always a popular one for analogies. Perhaps parents should think of God like Santa Claus--a useful idea for teaching children about various things, or getting them to behave, but when they grow up tell them he isn't real.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

I think the top misconception about atheism is how upset atheists get when their morality is questioned. Atheism has no moral code: it is amoral. Therefore any moral code adhered to by someone clinging to atheism must come from from some other source. It may come from within the individual or without. If it comes from within, it is subjective and by definition will vary from person to person. If it comes from without, it must be drawn from some nonreligious source and will probably be historically or culturally based.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I think atheists are more upset about the so-called "Christian Morals". Priests screwing little boys, pastors declaring homosexuality to be the most evil, vile thing on God's earth at the same time they are having affairs with other men (and committing adultery at the time), preachers that take your money with a smile and buy themselves expensive watches and clothes, etc.... ad nauseum.

Those things upset THIS atheist.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Nicomp:

Excellent point. Anybody can not believe in God. Thomas Edison did not believe in God. Joseph Stalin also did not believe in God. Which man is more representative of "atheist morality"? The answer, of course, is neither. Because atheism is simply a point on the existence of God, nothing more. Morality has nothing to do with it.

Most atheists are humanists, and thus have a humanist morality. But many theists also are humanists, and do not derive their morality from a holy book or ancient tradition.

It bears mentioning that theism, depending on how you define it, is also amoral. Simply positing the existence of a God does not in any way, shape or form allow us to deduce any kind of moral system. You have to make the additional assumption that God creates a moral system of some kind.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Hey Austinstar, tell us what you really think! Haha.

There's a Biblical passage for just about everybody, so in a way, all of these things and many more are "Christian."


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

It's an informative Hub. Voted up.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks, Jainismus, I appreciate it.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA

An excellent, comprehensive hub, secularist! I don't know how I missed this before. Voted up!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thank you, Paladin! Glad you enjoyed it.


HowToLoveOne profile image

HowToLoveOne 4 years ago from San Francisco

Very important and relevant hub! I feel like this subject will be more important in the coming years as we decrease our dependance on labeling people. Your images are hilarious! keep up the good work!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks! I appreciate it. Glad you liked it. Indeed, especially as "atheists" and such become more organized and vocal, it is more and more important to dispel myths and misconceptions that easily take root.


Georgie Lowery profile image

Georgie Lowery 4 years ago from Slaton, Texas USA

This is an amazing Hub, and I'm passing it around Face Book so my friends can see where I'm coming from. The reply I most often get when I tell someone I am an atheist is "so, you, uh, worship the devil, right?" I am usually left feeling hopelessly misunderstood. Maybe your article will clear a thing or two up for them. Thank you for writing it.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

"! I feel like this subject will be more important in the coming years as we decrease our dependence on labeling people."

But... isn't the entire article an explanation of how to label atheists?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Cool, thanks Georgie! This article was born out of many faulty assumptions/ prejudices from theists I have encountered. Here's hoping we can educate some folks.


BBW 4 years ago

Atheists` problems in Christian America is their position of oppressed minority that politicizes them sencelessly.Their turn to the left makes fools of them.

Real thinking atheists are not contra but pro: rationalism,scientific methods of thinking(not of premature results advertizing).


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

That characterizes some atheists, but not all. I do agree that a much more robust and compelling narrative is based on the support for rational thinking, critical thinking and open mindedness. That, in the long run, inevitably leads to less religious belief in any case. And those are the values we should be supporting, much more than strict lack of belief in God per se.

I would prefer a society of God believers who hold close to critical thinking and reason than a society of simple atheists who lack those habits of thought.


Rhonda D Johnson profile image

Rhonda D Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

It is human nature that people outside your group will judge your group by its worst members while judging their own group either by their best members or by how the group looks on paper. In every group you will find the good, the bad and the downright ugly. No group can say anything about another group that is not true of itself.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

"It is human nature that people outside your group will judge your group by its worst members while judging their own group either by their best members or by how the group looks on paper."

WTG Rhonda. Very nicely put. You have just explained every anti-religion hub.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Rhonda, I agree with the sentiment somewhat, but I don't agree in total with your statement. To say that we can't make a conclusion about another group that isn't true of ourselves is clearly wrong.

We in the secular west can clearly identify the sexist, prejudiced and psychotic attitudes of Islamic extremists, for example. That does not mean that we have those things ourselves.

I do agree that open-mindedness in all areas is essential, and we should not be quick to judge or conclude anything before looking at the evidence and reason.


Logos831 profile image

Logos831 4 years ago from somewhere, ca

Thanks for the hub securalist. I'm a Christian and enjoyed seeing your perspective. The statement that "Atheists lack a belief in God" though I just cannot understand. It baffles me because it seems illogical. Maybe you could flesh it out for me more? Atheists are the only group of people that I've ever encountered that claim their belief system is a "lack of a belief". Which seems just a semantic play on words to me. Every other worldview is a "belief", so how can atheism be exception to the rule? Like this example. Out of the two statements below, which is true to you?

I believe God exists.

I don't believe God exists.

Thanks!


Logos831 profile image

Logos831 4 years ago from somewhere, ca

BTW, I know you didn't make that poster, but it is not completely true. I know at least one of those people was not an atheist- Albert Einstein- in fact, he even was angered at his contemporaries who called him an atheist . He wrote this ""There are people who say there is no God." "But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1...

Claiming that Lincoln was an atheist is a stretch as well. He was at the very least a deist. His speeches and letters are full of references to the God of the Bible, treated in a reverent tone.

Again I know that the hub author didn't make the poster (or at least I assume they didn't) it just bugs me when there's false facts attributed to people who are dead and can't speak for themselves.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Logos:

It's true that "atheism" is used today more in a strong sense, to refer to the positive belief that "there is no God." The true, classical definition of atheism is closer to the modern sense of agnosticism.

But that aside, here is how you can think of a lack of belief. Suppose I asked you "was there a car accident on Main Street yesterday?" Your proper answer is not yes or no. The answer is "I don't know." (Unless of course you know for a fact there was an accident.)

So you don't have a belief one way or the other on the car accident. You are an a-accidentist.

However, for all intents and purposes, nonbelief is the default state of the human mind. Accordingly, we keep an open mind on all things, but de facto, we don't believe a claim unless and until there is reason to. So if a stranger tells you that a bomb was dropped on Paris this morning, you would probably see that as possible, but you would want more information/ confirmation before you would believe it.

Same thing for God. Strictly speaking, a God is possible, anything is *possible*. But there is no reason to believe in God. So if you're asking me personally, my position on God is the same as my position on Big Foot: I don't believe it, but I also recognize that it's possible on some level.

(Of course, the existence of Big Foot is more believable than the existence of God, because the former is more logically possible, but that is another discussion.)

"Atheists are the only group of people that I've ever encountered that claim their belief system is a "lack of a belief"."

That's the point--atheism is not a belief system. In the same way that theism is not a belief system. It's a single idea. That's it. God is an idea. Without the idea of God, it's just nothing--non-God.

BTW, I know the picture is inaccurate, like all of these pictures. But it's more for fun/ thought-provoking.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Secularist10, thanks for this interesting, well thought through and well expressed Hub. I have come to it fairly late. Some of the other Hubs which I was following became boring, distasteful rancor between individuals who do not allow their minds to expand.

Earlier this evening I was looking into the Wikipedia entry for Glucose. If you have the time and inclination to read any of it, you might get some of the awe which I sensed.

The beautifully intricate processes of metabolism, the various elements like phosphorus, zinc, potassium, nitrogen, etc. which play vital roles in the transport of energy around our bodies; all of these and more give me a heightened sense of awe.

Being atheist my self, how do I visualize all the above wonder in relation to the creation our universe?

Well, primarily I cannot equate such wonders with a "god" that sits in judgment of me, watching my every move and waiting to exact cruel punishment on me for eternity.

It will always remain mysterious.

Always total wonderment and joy.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

I am a proud atheist and always laugh on stupid believers who do not use their brains. Thank you for sharing this information, re-shared with my followers,


quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

Atheism is one single topic that can be discussed at length and it is indeed one of the most interesting subjects. But ... one dares not to! Lol!

Another way of looking at it is, atheists do believe in a GOD that they believe does not exist! ... Cheers!


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

"I am a proud atheist and always laugh on stupid believers who do not use their brains. "

Thus dispels the myth that atheists are tolerant.


Motherbynature profile image

Motherbynature 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

"Stupid believers" jainismus? Really? That is hateful language and I am a believer. I'm not stupid and I do use my brain. Not cool.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Jonny, I appreciate it. The phenomena of biology are indeed amazing. Excellent sentiments. I think it was Francis Bacon that said "wonder is the seed of knowledge."


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Jain, characterizing believers in general as "stupid" is childish and inaccurate. There are and have been plenty of very intelligent and even brilliant religious believers.

Quicksand:

"Another way of looking at it is, atheists do believe in a GOD that they believe does not exist!"

You might want to think again. Just because you cannot imagine a universe without God does not mean others cannot.

Nicomp:

I don't know who says that atheists in general are "tolerant." Atheists are people like any other. Some are intelligent, some unintelligent, some tolerant, some intolerant. I indicated as much in the article.


Ryan McGill profile image

Ryan McGill 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

An excellent and accurate read, thanks!


St8teofmind profile image

St8teofmind 4 years ago

I was under the impression Albert Einstein did believe in God along with Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin. Where do they claim in the history books they are atheist?

By the way I enjoyed reading your article. I am actually a Christian but I have always wondered about atheism and why people decide to think that way. It was very insightful and made a lot of sense. Thank you for the clarity and I respect that.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Glad you liked it, Ryan. Thank you!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

It's my pleasure, St8. Glad to hear you got something out of it.

Lincoln and Franklin were probably not atheist per se, but they were at least far less strong in their belief of God than the norm. Logos above mentioned that Lincoln was probably a deist. It's always tough to say because most public people of that era had to keep a certain image. Even genuine atheists would never publicly admit to being so. As for Einstein, I'm not sure but he was also probably spiritual only in a general sense, or perhaps deist as well.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

"...Even genuine atheists would never publicly admit to being so."

Therefore we might conclude that Lincoln was an atheist and dishonest, yes?

By the way, Lincoln and Franklin were from completely different eras.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Nicomp I don't know what prompts you to put words in my mouth, especially when I specifically said "Logos above mentioned that Lincoln was probably a deist." You can't just pick and choose selective quotes willy-nilly.

I was referring to the general period of time in the past when public and open discussion of atheism or agnosticism was unacceptable.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

".... the general period of time in the past when public and open discussion of atheism or agnosticism was unacceptable."

Interesting point and it leads me to wonder what "we" do in today's world that restricts our view of things.

If it's politically incorrect to speak about something, e.g., like the masculine as opposed to the feminine point of view; or being careful we don't offend someone of a different religious persuasion; "being careful what I say in front of him, or her, because I don't want to rock the boat."

Politeness and courtesy have their place, being something of the oil which lubricates society, but there is a double-edged sword - the truth is unlikely to come out!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

That's true, Jonny. I think freedom of speech should come first. By the same token, too much freewheeling speech can often be unproductive. A debate can often devolve into an argument. It's an interesting balance.


Sypsey profile image

Sypsey 4 years ago

Awesome Hub!! Voted up.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

An argument being where each person knows all they need to know, right from the start. A discussion being where each person seeks to learn something new.

Would you agree?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Sypsey--thanks!

Jonny--Absolutely. True discussion is often hard to come by, but very rewarding.


DDS profile image

DDS 4 years ago from Toronto

A lot of the 'bright' crowd can be a bit smarmy/mocking but this keeps a fairly level head.

Being an agnostic in the mix I'd say the question is simply unanswerable and that ultimately it is a choice..


Logos831 profile image

Logos831 4 years ago from somewhere, ca

Secularist-

Thank you so much for a clear and civil response- so nice to see in topics that can get heated. I appreciate and respect you for your responses to the other hubbers as well. It seems to me that you are saying that atheism can be thought of more like agnosticism- as in, I don't know, so I won't believe it until I'm convinced otherwise? Is that correct?


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

As a lifelong Catholic who has taught Catholic religious classes at various times, I found this hub to be very interesting. I will be revisiting it at later times to refine my own thinking about Catholicism and atheism. I find the poster of Lincoln, Jefferson, Twain, et al...to be quite interesting and instructive.

I think many Christians miss the point with atheists. One cannot win an atheist over in hostility. If one takes his Christian faith seriously there is no room for hostility toward people of different faiths.

One idea I would love to see an atheist discuss is the role of hypocrisy among believers.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

umbertoobrian, is there really any need for either side to "win the other over?"

Maybe where there is "hostility" coming from a person who regards him or her self as having faith, then the hostility and the apparent need to "win a person over' to the religious point of view is a window into the soul of that person with the hostility.

If a person is firmly convinced in the chosen faith, then there is unlikely to be a need for impressing one's point of view on others. Otherwise it would be very much like in 1 Corinthians 13.


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

You mistake my meaning. If one is a faithful Christian than one feels compelled to be an example of Christ to everyone regardless of the other's belief or lack thereof. The goal is to enlarge The Kingdom of God - not through force, coercion or anything other than demonstrating what Christ taught and, having faith, that this alone is what is required.

"Winning over" is more for the believer who thinks that righteous indignation, hostility, etc...is the best reaction to atheism. I think the best thing is to be an example of what we believe. If one is faithful that is all that is necessary.

I think it is instructive to think that there is an"either side."


quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

Sure, winning over is not the target. In that case even an erudite lawyer can be selected for the purpose. The one whose side he sits on wins over the other side.

Winning over will not change anything. Belief or the absence of it comes from various factors. Indoctrination, sheer fear, personal experiences, (as in my case) disappointment over not seeing justice prevail, (as in the case of some atheists,) and so on.

Whatever the case may be, the topic is most interesting and has always been. Exchanging views would be ideal. Cheers, and peace 2 all.


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

Winning over as in a competition - no. winning over as in encouraging a change in postion - yes. Isn't that the idea of offering up our thoughts on any subject? Is it only to justify ourselves to ourselves that we talk about what we think? Or is it something more? aren't we all on a mission to be better understood, better accepted one by the others? I only offer that the hostility from some Christians toward atheists and atheism is notonly a waste of energy but counter productive.

For want of better terminology, it is a matter of spiritual growth. Agreed, there is much to discuss.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Logos:

Thank you, I try to be as respectful as possible.

"It seems to me that you are saying that atheism can be thought of more like agnosticism- as in, I don't know, so I won't believe it until I'm convinced otherwise? Is that correct?"

There are different strains of atheism, but that is the general idea. Agnosticism is a different animal altogether. There is some overlap between the two depending on the definitions one is working with.


dianetrotter profile image

dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

On your point number 3, it sounds like Christian thing the universe was created from something. God has always existed in eternity pass and he did created the universe from nothing. Man was made from dirt. Woman was made from man. The universe came into being as he spoke it.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

So is that the purpose and destiny of the man: to come between woman and dirt? Always thought we came in useful somehow!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Diane:

Christians and all theists believe the universe came from God, not from nothing. To say "he created the universe from nothing" means that there was nothing other than God in existence when the universe was created. But God is still there, God is the thing the universe came from. Christians do not believe the universe literally came from nothing, because God is something.

Jonny, it certainly seems like that sometimes, lol!


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"Christians and all theists believe the universe came from God, not from nothing."

Where in the world did you get this idea? There have been/are thousands of religions. Each with their own creation story.

All creation stories come in at least one of three forms:

Causality on something, self causality, causality on nothing.

IOW, god made the universe from something, from itself or from nothing.

How is creatio ex nihilo of Judaism's Tree of Life any different than Georges Lemaître's Big Bang Theory of creation?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"Where in the world did you get this idea? There have been/are thousands of religions. Each with their own creation story."

As indicated in the very sentence you quoted, I was not referring to all religions. I was referring to Christianity and theism specifically. It was a response to the previous commenter.

If God made the universe, by definition, the universe did not come from nothing. It came from God.

The Big Bang theory, unlike the misconception of many theists, does not in any way imply that the universe literally "came from nothing."


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

The Mauri of New Zealand's top god is IO. Before IO, nothing existed and IO lived alone in the great VOID called Tekorkore. There are plenty more, but you get the point.

Theophilus of Antioch (185 CE) first taught creation from nothing. Later came Augustine who proclaimed creation from nothing. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) pronounced “Creatio ex Nihilo” as an “official teaching”, and reaffirmed by the Vatican Council of 1870.

Later, Priest Georges Lemaitre cooked up the BBT to please the pope, and atheists were quick to adopt it.

Although persons, such as, theologian and philosopher William Lane Craig speak against creation from nothing and the BBT, there are many Christians sects that adhere to the belief that the bible teaches creation from nothing.

In fact, many atheists claim that the Big Bang Theory of creation is the best explanation for how our universe (including time and space) came into existence. In this sense, atheism is more than just a lack of belief in god. It is a positive claim for creation, and is therefore very much like a religion, just without a declared god. Atheists have argued with theists for hundreds of years about weather or not there is a creator God, when the matter could have been settled long ago. Instead of refuting the positive claim of creator God, atheists have chosen to take the stance, "God might be possible, I just don't have a reason to believe it."

Weather something exists or not has nothing to do with belief. It is the hallmark of religion to believe (or not believe) that something exists.

It's why Craig wins every debate he has with atheists.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Sorry, I posted about the same time you did.

"The Big Bang theory, unlike the misconception of many theists, does not in any way imply that the universe literally "came from nothing.""

Well, tell that to Stephen Hawking who says in his book The Unviverse in a Nutshell, he an Roger Pinrose have proven General Relativity predicts the universe and time had a beginning.

Tell it to Prentice Hall who said...

"In the realm of the universe, nothing means nothing...from this state of nothing, the universe began in a giant explosion" (Prentice Hall General Science, pg 362),

Again Hawking:

"At the big bang itself the universe is thought to have had zero size (p. 117) a star collapsing under its own gravity is trapped in a region whose surface eventually shrinks to zero size" (p. 49 A Brief History in Time – Stephen Hawking)

Tell Lawrence Krauss and Brian Greene and Michiu Kaku and the rest of the rock stars of physics that the BBT in no way implies "came from nothing."


dianetrotter profile image

dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

Hi secularist10, I don't consider God "something" but "someone". If we were to refer to each other as "something" it would be very offensive. That is my basis for saying He created "something" from "nothing." In my opinion, it is not a matter of semantics. A noun is a person (human being), place (location) or thing (inanimate object). The universe is not an extension of himself but what He "spoke" into being. "For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." Psalm 33:9


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Anyways, I find your Hub a refreshing view of atheism and just really take issue with Myth Number 3.

At least you stated the obvious... that matter is eternal.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"The universe is not an extension of himself but what He "spoke" into being."

So where do you suppose God was when He spoke the universe into existence?


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Nice hub. So many interesting points, but I'll limit my comments to two. First, I have always found it interesting that people think atheists have no moral compass. Most of the atheists I know have extremely strong moral compasses, perhaps because they are identified internally, rather than from some external force (organized religion) that may or may not be consistent with the the realities of today's world. Second, the idea that atheists hate religions is interesting. I think some do, but I think a lot just don't really care that much about religion, it's just not relevant to their lives.

Nice hub. Voted up!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

"...the universe and time had a beginning."

Just because the universe and time (as we know it) had a beginning does not mean it was created from nothing.

Speaking of prominent physicists, the major theory in the field today is that the Big Bang erupted at the quantum level. In other words, there was plenty of "stuff" at the quantum level in existence prior to the existence of this universe, and this universe erupted from that quantum soup, and we perceive that as the Big Bang. It makes sense. You should read up on it more.

I'm well aware of the idea of "creation from nothing" in Christian tradition, but this is just a shorthand way of referring to the fact that there was nothing... except God. If you think that Christians do not believe that God created everything then you desperately need to educate yourself on Christianity, because that is pretty much the most essential belief in the religion.

Oh, and on William Lane Craig, he is an excellent debater, but that does not mean he is correct. His arguments ultimately fail. Here is a major one I wrote about myself:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/God-as-Hit


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Diane:

Lol. Call it "something" or "someone" or whatever you want. Of course it is semantics.

The point is that Christians believe before reality existed, only God existed. And God created reality. Reality did not just spring forth on its own.


dianetrotter profile image

dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

Hi secularist10, That's the weird thing about us Christians. We believe he is everywhere. He is greater than His creation. He didn't have to be any specific place to speak creation into being.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Laura:

Thank you very much, and for the fan mail as well. I absolutely agree that some of the most moral people around are atheists and agnostics.

I do find it quite telling that many religious believers like to say "if there is no God, then what makes anything right or wrong?" It's kind of a scary proposition, what these people are implying--take away this extremely tenuous and shaky belief that they have, and they will become raving amoral psychopaths.

I think it's quite like a child versus an adult: a child needs his parent to tell him what to do, but an adult is mature enough to figure it out on his own and to be responsible to himself. Religious morality is still stuck with the child-morality approach.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

"In the beginning was the Word....." Isn't a word the expression of a thought?

Therefore, it was the thought of the creator which brought the finite world into existence.

If the creator is/was spirit, infinite, unmeasurable, then it is not touchable and does not respond to any of the earthly stimuli.

By comparison with our finite existence, the creator is/was no-thing.


dianetrotter profile image

dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

No jonny, it isn't that simple. John 1 states in the beginning was the Word. I know it is convenient to say He spoke the Word but that's not what happened. That's what makes us Christians. We accepted Christ by faith and then study to grow in knowledge and understanding. I know it sounds crazy to people but I'm ok with that.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

diane, I respect where you are coming from but fortunately for myself, I have been able to move beyond that narrow christian point of view. I can now look at other possibilities and have no fear that I will be in any way "punished" for my decisions.

I no longer accept the existence of a "god" that is confined by a limited human understanding. Whether you are right, or I am right, does not matter to me... it's the journey of exploration which I enjoy.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

That's right. I too believe that the concept of GOD has never ever been understood properly.

Peace!


DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

DRG Da Real Grinc 4 years ago from All over the USA

Awesome knowledge intake.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"Just because the universe and time (as we know it) had a beginning does not mean it was created from nothing."

Of course it was not. Matter is eternal. Creation is impossible. A 0D singularity is irrational, unless you can explain how L,W, and H can come from zero dimensions. Something from nothing.

"Speaking of prominent physicists, the major theory in the field today is that the Big Bang erupted at the quantum level. "

Quantum can't bail out the BB theory. QM is irrational nonsense. All the bobbleheads of physics can agree on it, and it still will be irrational nonsense. I have read up on it quite a bit. Here I kick the slats out from under QM by destroying the dbl slit and half-silver mirror experiments.

http://monkeyminds.hubpages.com/hub/HopeLESSly-WRO...

" If you think that Christians do not believe that God created everything then you desperately need to educate yourself on Christianity, because that is pretty much the most essential belief in the religion."

Of course they do. That was my counter argument to your statement

"Christians and all theists believe the universe came from God, not from nothing."

Remember? 3 modes of creation? And if you seriously think that there are Christians do not believe in ex nihilo, then you need to do some research.

"Oh, and on William Lane Craig, he is an excellent debater, but that does not mean he is correct. His arguments ultimately fail. Here is a major one I wrote about myself:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/God-as-Hit

Well, I'm happy to read your Hub, but Craig has not lost a single debate because atheists use subjectivity against his subjectivity. They simply do not understand what exist means.

It's very simple to defeat Craig, by not following his system of logic. One does not have to accept the assumption s and axioms of that system. Yet, no one has defeated Craig because they accept his premises. If you accept his premises, logic dictates that you must accept the conclusion.

However, there is one simple demonstration of how classical logic fails :

P1 = cells are invisible to the naked eye

P2 = the human body is made of cells

C = the human body is invisible to the naked eye


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

BTW, I skimmed your Hub about Craig. This is well and good, but not about the Kalam Cosmological argument.

WL Craig picked up the argument in the 70's and no one has defeated him in a debate. There is a reason the argument has been around for thousands of years.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

OK, I'll leave you with a thot from a friend of mine (he told me this just a minute ago):

"Actually, Atheism has ALL the Religious beliefs from theism except they did away with God.

These folks really hate God, but have no problem stealing all His magic and incorporating it into their own Religion. They just invent a new spirit called “0D singularity” or “quantum fluctuation of space (nothing)”; i.e. matterless motion.

The collection of writings of Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity, String Theory and M-Theory are the modern version of the Atheist’s Bible...also known as the Pentateuch.

Genesis is now called Big Bang.

Revelations is called Big Crunch or Oscillating Universe.

The Acts of the Apostles has now been replaced by the new minstrels: Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Hawking, etc.

Stories like Jonah eaten and spit out by the big fish have now been modernized. It is now an abstract concept called Black Hole which eats and spits out (i.e. white hole) astronauts and their spaceships.

And heaven is now called multiverse. Jesus doesn't ascend to heaven and materialize back on Earth after 3 days any more. That’s kid's stuff, for people with no scientific background. Now Jesus has copies of himself in multiverses.

In the old days, God converted Himself into a flaming bush and talked to humans. Now God converts Himself from a particle to energy, from wave to particle, from the concept mass to the Higgs God particle." - Fatfist


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"Quantum can't bail out the BB theory. QM is irrational nonsense. All the bobbleheads of physics can agree on it, and it still will be irrational nonsense."

Haha. Before Brian Greene and Michiu Kaku and the rest of them were "rockstars of physics," bolstering your position, now they are bobbleheads. Lol.

Well, when you publish your proof refuting a century of quantum theory in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, let me know.

"And if you seriously think that there are Christians do not believe in ex nihilo, then you need to do some research."

Allow me to quote myself, the sentence right next to the one you quoted:

"I'm well aware of the idea of "creation from nothing" in Christian tradition, but this is just a shorthand way of referring to the fact that there was nothing... except God."

This stuff isn't complicated.

"I skimmed your Hub about Craig. This is well and good, but not about the Kalam Cosmological argument."

Haha. Who said anything about that? You said Craig was a demigod of argumentation and I referred you to my hub showing he is not. You can't just move the goalpost randomly.

Anyway, I'm not sure what your argument is at this point. I am curious though, if you don't believe in the Big Bang (despite all the empirical evidence in favor of it), what is your explanation for the beginning of the universe?

But speaking of cosmological arguments, I address that in my hub here:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Proofs-for...

Ah, good old Fatfist. Lol! Obviously he's not understanding the definition of the various things he's referring to. Superstitions and myths from barbarians with no evidence or logic underpinning them do not belong in the same category as theories that have mountains of evidence and logic supporting them.

You can't just go to an isolated village in Tibet and say "Hey look! They have cars here too, they're just called horses!"

Also, isn't it interesting that he is only focusing on Christian doctrines and motifs? Why not, say, Hindu ones? Or Muslim ones? Isn't it interesting that there are countless religious beliefs, but only one set of scientific ones.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"Haha. Before Brian Greene and Michiu Kaku and the rest of them were "rockstars of physics," bolstering your position, now they are bobbleheads. Lol."

Nah, I mentioned them in response to your statement that no one serious believes something from nothing. They are serious, and they do. Anyway, Rock Stars are my demeaning term for them, and their followers are bobbleheads.

"Well, when you publish your proof refuting a century of quantum theory in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, let me know."

QM is self refuting. We can solve QM BS on a conceptual level right here and now, if you are up for it. As for proof. You obviously don't understand the Scientific method. Science doesn't prove anything. It offers explanations. As, for peer-reviewed journals, who needs their approval? You have got to be kidding me! Those are exactly the kind of bobbleheads I avoid. Nature could not care less who approves, or believes or proves anything. What a laugh!

"I'm well aware of the idea of "creation from nothing" in Christian tradition, but this is just a shorthand way of referring to the fact that there was nothing... except God. This stuff isn't complicated."

Obviously, it is for you. There are over 38k Christian sects, and some believe in creation from nothing, some in creation from God (as mentioned by one of your readers a few posts back) and some believe in creation from matter. Three differing views. All impossible.

"Haha. Who said anything about that? You said Craig was a demigod of argumentation and I referred you to my hub showing he is not. You can't just move the goalpost randomly."

Try to keep up! My argument is with your Myth number three about creatio ex nihilio. WLC, has never lost a debate about that which is the KALAM Cosmological Argument. Stop trying to misrepresent me. Try to have an intellectually honest conversation, please.

"Anyway, I'm not sure what your argument is at this point. I am curious though, if you don't believe in the Big Bang (despite all the empirical evidence in favor of it), what is your explanation for the beginning of the universe?"

Well, go back an re-read my posts and it will come to you what my point is.

Science has nothing to do with belief. That is religion. That's the part you don't get.

There was no beginning to the universe, that is a claim of the BBT creationists and other so-called Creation Scientists.

"But speaking of cosmological arguments, I address that in my hub here:

http://secularist10.hubpages.com/hub/Proofs-for-th"

I'll check it out. Thanx!

"Ah, good old Fatfist. Lol! Obviously he's not understanding the definition of the various things he's referring to. Superstitions and myths from barbarians with no evidence or logic underpinning them do not belong in the same category as theories that have mountains of evidence and logic supporting them."

Obviously you don't understand that nature pisses on so-called evidence or logic. And speaking of definitions, that's the biggest problem you have right now. You can't define in scientific terms, the word exist. Try it. Not a single theoretical physicist has done it in the last 100 years.

Go ahead, impress your readers:

Exist_____________

"Also, isn't it interesting that he is only focusing on Christian doctrines and motifs? Why not, say, Hindu ones? Or Muslim ones? "

No, the majority of religious folks that come to his Hub are Christian.

"Isn't it interesting that there are countless religious beliefs, but only one set of scientific ones."

Science doesn't have anything to do with beliefs. Beliefs are for religions like atheism.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"Cosmological argument

The claim: Everything has a cause, and therefore reality must have a cause. That cause is named God. God was the uncaused cause of everything, the uncreated creator.

The flaw: If everything has a cause, then God also has a cause, because God is part of everything. Therefore God cannot have been uncreated. Separately, if God is indeed uncreated, then not everything has a cause. Therefore perhaps reality itself has no cause. In other words, reality is uncreated and eternal--if it can work for God, then it can work for reality."

While that may work in your Hub, sadly, WL Craig destroys this and similar infinite regress arguments in his debates. Your readers can watch hours of his debates, if they choose. If all you have to offer them is that, you will most likely loose them to Craig.

But there is no desire on my part to beat that dead horse, because I think we agree on the something very important-eternal universe.

Besides, as I have already stated, one can not defeat the argument using the arguments that have been going around for thousand years. Spend the time watching Craig's debates, and you'll see what I mean. We circumvent his nonsense first by showing the flaw in using a system of logic (EX: Cells invisible to the naked eye). Even that is unnecessary if we get our opponent to define their key terms that their hypothesis or theory depends on.

Exist_________________

....is a good place to start. Hint. In science, a definition of a key term can not be irrational, ambiguous, self-contradictory, or circular.

I can see the walls being erected, and sense banishment coming (it always happens when challenging someone's beliefs) therefore I would like to extend to you an invitation to come to my Hubs and present your arguments there, I promise I will let you say whatever you want.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Here is his argument, if you are really interested.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/infinite-regress-an...

Still it is better to see it in action in a live debate..


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

monkeyminds, "lively debate" means you have to take a breath occasionally!


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Debate? Who said we were having a debate, lively or otherwise? Debates are for tricksters like Craig.

However, I answer all posts directed to me. Sometimes I do it in several posts, to make it easier to, ya' know, point....counterpoint.

I understand how it can be a bit overwhelming if you are the jonnycomelately to the discussion. Anything else to offer?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

You got that right, lol.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

Haha, we have another Fatfist! I would recognize that snarky, self-righteous, random, contrarian, ad hominem-laced ranting anywhere! You have a ways to go before you're at his level, though. Lol!

"Science doesn't prove anything. It offers explanations."

Semantics. Obviously nothing can ever be "proven" in the truest sense of the word. Good old contrarian disagreement for the sake of disagreement.

"As, for peer-reviewed journals, who needs their approval? You have got to be kidding me! Those are exactly the kind of bobbleheads I avoid."

Haha. Ok, enjoy your ivory tower. Everyone's an idiot except you. Hey wait a minute, that sounds a lot like... the religious! Haha. I do love irony.

There is not a single Christian sect in existence that believes that reality literally sprang forth out of nothingness. All Christians believe God created reality. If you have an example of a Christian sect that believes God did not create reality, I would love to see it.

"Try to have an intellectually honest conversation, please."

What a joke! I could ask you the same thing.

"Science has nothing to do with belief. That is religion. That's the part you don't get."

And yet you just got through saying science doesn't "prove" anything, lol. Without proof what do we have? Beliefs. And some beliefs are stronger and more justified than others. (Unless of course they come from you. In that case, they are definitely, 100% true. LOL!)

"You can't define in scientific terms, the word exist. Try it."

Oh boy, I knew that was coming! Haha! Rather than rehash this ridiculous argument, I'll just point you to my exchange with your buddy Fatfist about 2 years ago. I'm sure you'll enjoy it:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Secular-Mo...

He came sauntering into the conversation somewhere down there in the comments. I also dealt with many of the same themes with AKA Winston, who was nevertheless more coherent and respectful.

If you have anything NEW to say that was not already covered in that discussion, then by all means, let's talk. Otherwise, I have no use for rehashing the same ridiculous self-contradicting, chaotic, self-serving literalism.

"WL Craig destroys this and similar infinite regress arguments in his debates."

No, he does not. I've watched Craig debate many times. I've already said he is an excellent debater. But that does not make him correct. His arguments fail the test of logic. If you want to discuss a specific argument, then you need to point one out. And just focus on that one thing. Then we can talk. One thing at a time.

"I can see the walls being erected, and sense banishment coming (it always happens when challenging someone's beliefs)..."

Ha! Clearly you aren't familiar with the way I operate. I welcome substantive conversations and debates. I've only ever deleted a few comments here, and those were either (1) spam, (2) utter vulgarity and offensiveness, or (3) a commenter who ranted endlessly, surpassing 1000 words.

I would only ever delete a comment from you, or any other legitimate commenter, if you surpassed the 1000 word limit (which you just came close to, BTW). The purpose of that is to prevent one person from monopolizing the discussion. Other than that, I don't delete comments. So if you're looking for somebody to get hot under the collar and intimidated from your superior wit and "logic," look elsewhere.

Don't you find it interesting that you use logic to argue that logic doesn't work?

What is amazing about you and Fatfist and your ilk, is that you have all the tendencies of the religious--absolute, unchanging truth; everyone else is totally wrong and useless; logic is useless (yet to argue this point you have to use logic); single-minded obsession with the most inane and insignificant minutiae (just as the religious are obsessed with such insignificant things as virginity, the specificities of prayer or ceremony, etc); a penchant for using rhetoric and semantics to problematize unnecessarily; selective criticism; transparent self-contradiction; and the occasional ad hominem for good measure (which always indicates a dearth of intellectual heft)--yet you claim to stand far apart from religion!


dianetrotter profile image

dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

It is amazing that so many people spend time trying to discredit Christianity. Why not Buddhism? Judaism? Islam? Jehovah's Witness?


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

I'm an equal opportunity debunker. They are all silly and they all discredit themselves. However, Christianity is the dominant religion in the US, so it gets it the most. That and atheism.


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

I think that it is fair to ask if an atheist is really an atheist who accepts the existence of some spiritual reality. If so than Lincoln and Twain belong on your poster if not they do not. Both had spiritualist beliefs. In fact, it just demonstrates that there is little purity in human belief or thought. Each develops his own notions about human nature.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

You asked for one. Here is two. Very easy to find, just google creatio ex nihilo and this comes up first.

Protestant

One may perhaps argue justly that there is nothing in the Bible that indicates a belief in creation ex nihilo, but one will assuredly not find the teaching that matter is eternal. Where the Bible is silent or ambiguous, there is no fault in applying universal principles and logic, and these principles -- which are not merely the province of Hellenism -- lead to the conclusion of ex nihilo creation.

http://tektonics.org/af/exnihilo.html

Catholic doctrine on creatio ex nihilo

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04470a.htm

Both articles discuss the origin in Judaism. From the Catholic link this:

The extra-canonical books of the Jews, notably the Book of Henoch and the Fourth Book of Esdras, repeat and expand the teaching of the Old Testament on creation; the Fathers and Doctors of the early Church in the East and West everywhere proclaim the same doctrine, confirming it by philosophical arguments in their controversies with Paganism, Gnosticism and Manichæism; while the early Roman symbols, that of Nicæa and those of Constantinople repeat, in practically unvarying phrase, the universal Christian belief "in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible".

Of course, weather Protestant, Catholic or Jew, no two sects are exactly the same. Many, do not believe in creation from nothing.

It is the same situation with Big Bangers. Not all think that this teaches something from nothing. Of course, the priest, Georges Lemaitre came up with this (1927) because of the church doctrine of creatio ex nihilo.

Singularity is zero dimensional. In order to be something, an object needs three dimensions. That's the least of Big Bang's problems, however, as the BBT fails on so many other levels. That is another story altogether.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

OK, I had a little time to skim through your other Hub with FF.

The problem lies in communication, I think. You just got irritated by his style, and tuned out what he was saying in some places. Most importantly is a misunderstanding (I think) with which terms to define and the dif between having a chat with a bud, or making a scientific presentation.

Of course, if you don't buy into the model of SM as presented, then there is no sense in going any further with a discussion about what exists. Just like, one understanding that the Kalam Cosmo Argument is not defeated by adhering to the system of logic in which it is presented, yet gets into it anyway.

So, unless you are interested in looking at a new and improved model of scientific inquiry, there is no sense explaining it to you again (FF did already) or going any further on the issue of existence.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

B4 I leave town in a few minutes, I pulled up the following. Hopefully, we can put this behind us:

"There is not a single Christian sect in existence that believes that reality literally sprang forth out of nothingness. All Christians believe God created reality. If you have an example of a Christian sect that believes God did not create reality, I would love to see it."

Jewish

We do not use the term " First Cause," because it is too narrow ; it only expresses part of the truth, not the whole of it. By " First Cause " some understand the cause of the gradual development of the primitive matter into the innumerable variety of things contained in the universe ; the development of the original chaos into system and order. It is true that the Creator is the cause of all this ; but He is more than this : He is the cause of the primitive matter, and of the original chaos. For He has created the world out of nothing. The first verse of the Bible teaches us creation from nothing (creatio ex nihilo) : '* In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth " (Gen. i. I ) ; that is, the whole universe.

http://www.archive.org/stream/jewishreligion00frie...

Anglican

The thinker who would expound a theology of the cosmic role of Christ does not have carte blanche from which to start. He must start from a doctrine of creatio ex nihilo in order to be faithful to the biblical witness. God through Christ created the whole cosmos from, and out of, nothing.

http://www.anglicanbooksrevitalized.us/peter_toons...

New Apostolic Church

The 28th verse of chapter 7 in 2 Maccabees alludes to the concept of creation from nothing (creatio ex nihilo), which is not clearly stated in any passage of the Old Testament. This verse highlights an important element of the Christian's faith in creation.

http://nacboard.yuku.com/topic/3079/A-New-Revelati...

Neither should one say atheists are this and atheists are that, because no two are exactly alike. If you need clarification on anything let me know.


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

A lack of belief in God also does not equate to moral living. The idea is that preists molesting young men a product of a flawed human nature not a matter of belief or unbelief. i would bet most atheists do not believe in a prefectable human nature. Christians are required to believe in an imperfect human nature.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

I see it as an "imperfect human nature" when an individual writes and writes and writes, huge posts, (one above is over 1300 words long!), seemingly with the attitude that most others' opinions are very suspect if not obviously wrong.

Another imperfection, in my eyes anyway, is when individuals have a religious persuasion and can only see the views of others in terms of that religion.

Whether you are catholic, Roman Catholic, protestant, Jewish, or anything else, your views are only applicable to you personally. To assume that your views must apply to everyone else is arrogant.

Diane, in her post above said, "It is amazing that so many people spend time trying to discredit Christianity. Why not Buddhism? Judaism? Islam? Jehovah's Witness?"

I have no need to discredit christianity or any religion, although I might not hold to it. However, I do discredit christians who make the assumption they are right and everyone else has to fall in behind and behave themselves.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"I see it as an "imperfect human nature" when an individual writes and writes and writes, huge posts, (one above is over 1300 words long!), seemingly with the attitude that most others' opinions are very suspect if not obviously wrong."

People are certainly free to have their opinions. Opinions can not be right or wrong. I never question a person's opinions. Just as long as you call them opinions, not truth, or fact.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Secularist:

Sorry to exceed your limit. Thanx to Johnny, whose only flaw seems to be counting words instead of actually reading them, I see I went over the limit!

Out of respect I respond to all statements directed to me. They can get long at times, but in the long run that saves time.

If you would like me to repost w/o your comments, the post will fall within the 1000 word guideline. I'll keep track of my word count from now on (if I post again).

Let me know if you don't want me to post at all. I'll go away. No problem. I really don't want to disrupt your Hub.


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Here I have edited my long post to conform to the word count. Delete the other or this as you chose.

You show me where you think I used a fallacy of ad hominem and I'll show you where you went wrong.

Agreement can be good, when it leads to understanding. However, it is never my intention to disagree just to disagree. We need to be precise in the use of our words at times. You used the word, I wanted clarification. You just gave me clarification. You agree with me that science does not prove. Good! See we are already getting somewhere!

"Haha. Ok, enjoy your ivory tower. Everyone's an idiot except you. Hey wait a minute, that sounds a lot like... the religious! Haha. I do love irony."

Don't put words in my mouth. I'm not calling anyone names. You say atheists don't hate religious, yet you are calling them idiots. That is irony! Of course, I am not religious, other than I will always confront preachers of theism, atheism or pseudoscience.

"There is not a single Christian sect in existence that believes that reality literally sprang forth out of nothingness. All Christians believe God created reality. If you have an example of a Christian sect that believes God did not create reality, I would love to see it."

Those are two different things you are lumping together. Creatio ex nihilo means from nothing. Anyone can google and find many references today of Christians, not just Catholics, but Protestants that adhere to this belief. I have told you twice and here it is for the record, there are three ideas about creation and they are all wrong.

"And yet you just got through saying science doesn't "prove" anything, lol. Without proof what do we have? Beliefs. And some

beliefs are stronger and more justified than others. (Unless of course they come from you. In that case, they are definitely, 100% true. LOL!)"

It was proven the earth was flat. Everyone believed the earth was flat. There was evidence that the earth was flat. Then it was proven the earth was a sphere. Then it was proven the earth was an oblate spheroid. Guess what, accurate GPS satellites reveal the earth actually buldges a bit more below the equator than above, so the earth is not a true oblate spheroid either!

Science offers possible explanations for things. Better explanations come along all the time, and that help science to be self correcting.

"If you have anything NEW to say that was not already covered in that discussion, then by all means, let's talk. Otherwise, I have no use for rehashing the same ridiculous self-contradicting, chaotic, self-serving literalism."

No one said that Craig was correct, in fact just the opposite. I also explained to you that the Kalam Cosmo Argument was what I was referring to with Craig, and that he wins every time. Not interested in talking about that at all. The point that you keep missing, or refuse to acknowledge, is that your statement about no one believes God created the U from nothing is refuted. Your statement that no one serious believes the big bang created the universe out of nothing is refuted. That's the only beef I had with your #3 beef and our conversation.

"I would only ever delete a comment from you, or any other legitimate commenter, if you surpassed the 1000 word limit (which

you just came close to, BTW). "

Very reasonable. I just wanted to be sure before continuing. No sense in wasting anyone's time. Although based upon what you have said, it s unlikely that I have anything else to offer.

"Don't you find it interesting that you use logic to argue that logic doesn't work?"

What I attempted to get across to you was that a system has it's axioms and assumptions. Reality doesn't isn't restricted to those systems. One certainly can't use base ten numbers within the binary system.

I'll not speak for anyone but myself, however. There is NO TRUTH! There are only opinions.

"everyone else is totally wrong and useless; logic is useless (yet to argue this point you have to use logic); single-minded obsession with the most inane and insignificant minutiae (just as the religious are obsessed with such insignificant things as virginity, the specificities of prayer or ceremony, etc); a penchant for using rhetoric and semantics to problematize unnecessarily; selective criticism; transparent self-contradiction; and the occasional ad hominem for good measure (which always indicates a dearth of intellectual heft)--yet you claim to stand far apart from religion!

You just described yourself, perhaps, but not me. The subject of existence belongs to science, not religion. I certainly do not think that everyone is totally wrong or useless. In fact, there is no wrong or right, when it comes to science, only possible or not possible.

Understanding the difference between objects and concepts, will help you cut through ANY nonsense weather it is from Stephen Hawking or William Lane Craig. This is not minutia, it is the core problem with EVERYONE"S thinking, including my own. So we strive to be precise with our words, especially when it comes to their use as nouns and verbs, objects or concepts.

It is a shame you didn't learn that from Fatfist, as he is a very good teacher. I'm different though, I'll let YOU rant and rave and call me names and not respond in kind. It's very likely that if you hang in there, in the end, you will come over to my way of thinking about this. It's like kicking any other religion, or drug or alcohol. It will be tough, but worth the trouble.

OTOH, if you are able to show me of the error in my thinking, I will be so grateful. It's a win-win situation.


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jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

" I just wanted to be sure before continuing. No sense in wasting anyone's time."

" I'll let YOU rant and rave and call me names and not respond in kind. "

I would not waste my time counting every word long-hand. Just copy and paste into a Document and use the Word Count. Easy!


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

jonnyc.l.

I think the idea that one should work out one's own moral salvation is covered in the teachings of Jesus. In fact so much is there when it comes to ideas about morality and personal conduct that Jefferson sought to remove the divinity from the New Testament and concentrate exclusively on the moral teaching contained there in.

I like the idea of having company in the after life, especially the company of atheists whose personal moral conduct and understanding are well developed and consistent. Maybe we can have a cup of coffee if you make it.


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dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

Monkeyminds, all beliefs believe they are the right one. That's why they exist. Islamists want to kill the infidels. Jehovah's Witnesses say they are Christians but don't believe Jesus is God so they are always trying to convince people, covering neighborhoods in groups. Jews believe they are the only ones. Christians are not the only ones who believe their religion is THE one.


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jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

umbertoobrian, I would love to have that cup of coffee with you, as long as it's organic, ecologically grown and infinitely sustainable! Which brand of machine do they make it with up there?

Although, with a beggar like me arriving unheralded, they might say "you can't be choosers up here."

If you ever come to Tasmania, this is often called God's Country, so feel invited.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Ok, lots to get through here. And right at my busiest time of the year, ha! Thank you all for coming and commenting and keeping the conversation lively and interesting (even you, Monkey).

Diane:

Christianity receives a lot of attention because it is the dominant religion in the US, as Monkey mentioned, and because it is the largest and by far most influential religion on earth. It is, however, declining, particularly in the west. One reason I write about Christianity a lot here on Hub Pages is because I have found that when I write about Islam or Hinduism, the articles do not get anywhere near the amount of attention/ traffic/ commentary as the Christianity-related ones. That makes sense, since this is mostly English speakers, who come largely from countries with Christian backgrounds.

I wrote a series of articles assessing how the various major religions score on a hypothetical scale of humanism. You might be interested in it:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Humanists-...

Umber:

Regarding the poster, yes, it is inaccurate as I said to a previous commenter. They were not all true atheists. But the main point of it, I think, is that these men were brilliant leaders in their time and their field, so the contention of many religious people, that atheists, agnostics, secularists or thinkers who do not toe the line of traditional religion, are fools or deluded, clearly does not hold up.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Seductor:

Thank you very much. It's amazing how those myths can develop and spread, isn't it.

Jonny:

"I have no need to discredit christianity or any religion, although I might not hold to it. However, I do discredit christians who make the assumption they are right and everyone else has to fall in behind and behave themselves."

This is a very important point that many miss. It's not about just randomly going around tearing down people's private belief systems. We criticize it and fight it when it becomes a threat--either physically (Islamic terrorism, anti-abortion Christian extremism, violent Neo-Nazism, etc), or intellectually (teaching creationism alongside evolution to public school students).

So many Christians are (evidently) completely unaware of the fact that their religion is being pushed onto people against their will every day, in large and small ways. From something as insignificant as the word "God" on the currency, to shaping the minds of the next generation, all the way to terrorism and bombings in Africa.

We secular and atheist people don't spend a lot of time criticizing the beliefs of the Amish, or the Hasidic Jews, or the traditional beliefs of Native Americans. There's a reason for that. These are groups that keep to themselves and are basically harmless. Ignorant and silly, yes. But the fight is being brought to us elsewhere.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

I agree that Protestants, Catholics and others believe in "ex nihilo" creation. But as I said, this is just a convention, a convenient term for them (and being in latin gives it extra cache). It does not literally mean that absolutely nothing existed--no God, no nothing--before reality as we know it existed. There was one thing that did exist--God. Therefore it is not truly "out of nothing." It is more precisely, "out of nothing but God." That is what they believe.

Imagine you walk into a field. You stick your arms out in front and wave them around, and *poof!* a car appears. That is what they mean by "ex nihilo." That there were no preexisting materials, and everything just "poofed" into existence. But you were there in that field. God did exist prior. So there was not nothing. There was God. There was nothing BUT God. That's what it means, and that is the point I have been making.

The one possible exception to this seems to be Mormonism. But even there, it's shaky.

"For He has created the world out of nothing."

Exactly! And what was there before the world? Nothing... except the "He" that is doing the creating! He existed, therefore there was not actually, 100% nothing. It is creation from nothing-but-God. The "nothing" part refers to the fact that God had nothing to work with--but God himself is something! Lol.


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jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

I reality of course we cannot imagine "nothing." We cannot image a God that has no form, no physical presence, invisible, just a spirit or ghost. Our imagining minds need something recognizable that we can hang on to.

Therefore we use a euphemism, like "He," "The Lord," etc. We put a human-like form into our mind and imagine that to be what god is like.

The Hindu religion is very much like this. God can be depicted as Ganesh (Elephant), Shiva (good looking male), Kali (vicious female), etc. These convey certain attributes which we think a perfect god would have. Hinduism does not say there are multiple gods, only one.

It's when we try to convey a sense of what we are talking about that it becomes difficult. Then there is the tendency to see that euphemism as the real, the essence.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

Ok, I deleted your previous comment and left the last one. Thank you.

"Don't put words in my mouth. I'm not calling anyone names."

Uh huh... I believe "bobblehead" qualifies as a name. Lol.

"You say atheists don't hate religious, yet you are calling them idiots."

And where did I call anyone an idiot?

"Science offers possible explanations for things. Better explanations come along all the time, and that help science to be self correcting."

Don't know where I disagreed with that. I already said that true "proof" per se does not exist. Only effective proof, given the most reasonable assumptions/ axioms. For all intents and purposes, we can assume that certain things are definitely true. It's like any survey or study--we have 99.9945% certainty of XYZ. That's close enough to 100% for any reasonable person. But I digress.

"Your statement that no one serious believes the big bang created the universe out of nothing is refuted. That's the only beef I had with your #3 beef and our conversation."

The idea that the Big Bang means something came from nothing is a common misconception, especially among theists because it serves them so well. Any physicist worth his salt will tell you that the Big Bang theory alone says nothing about what happened "before" the Big Bang. It cannot say, because it constitutes the beginning of space and time as we know it.

The laws of space and time used to articulate it break down when that early universe gets small enough, and thus quantum mechanics takes over, if anything. This is why there are competing theories as to what happened "before" the Big Bang. While the Big Bang itself is well established and all but certain, the same cannot be said for whatever existed "before."

Moreover, it is self-evident that any sane, coherent person cannot possibly claim that something can literally arise from absolutely nothing.

"It is a shame you didn't learn that from Fatfist, as he is a very good teacher."

Haha. Of what, exactly? Sure, he makes a few thought provoking points, but it's buried beneath a mountain of confused gibberish. It's barely coherent. Which I guess is to be expected from a nihilist (or whatever he considers himself). Not a very effective teaching method to rant and shout and ask 100,000 questions disingenuously.

I just always find it interesting how certain people can argue against the utility of logic/ reason. And yet, in order to make that argument, you have to use logic/ reason. But wait--logic/ reason is a "concept," therefore a "religion," therefore a "God," therefore an "opinion," blah, blah. Eventually this stuff just becomes a joke, because it becomes an argument against all knowledge... and yet how does one know this? By utilizing one's knowledge! Lol. This is the problem with much of this nihilistic type stuff--it saws off the tree branch upon which it sits.

It is self-contradictory and self-defeating. And a powerful strain of literalism and contrarian semantical wordplay seems to run throughout it as well, because there is no way of actually, truly "defining" anything. For example, define the word "word." Well, a word is a part of language. And what is a "part"? And what is "language?" And for that matter, what is "of"? And so on, and so on.

Ultimately there is no way to actually define everything because every definition requires a reference to something else. So there has to be something to get it started, or we have an infinity of circular references. Fatfist and his compatriots cannot escape this basic reality themselves, but they do try so hard. To even open one's mouth and say anything--whether what I am saying, what he is saying, or what you are saying--inherently constitutes a tacit admittance that, yes, knowledge exists, knowledge is possible, information is possible.


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dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

There are faster growing religions and, supposedly, Christian is shrinking. Islam is fasted growing.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/05/13/t...


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Well, this may be pointless, as we keep going around in circles. There appears to be too large an inferential distance between us.

Uh huh... I believe "bobblehead" qualifies as a name. Lol.

Rock Stars and Bobbleheads was referring to others out side of the conversation, not to you or any of your readers.

"And where did I call anyone an idiot?"

You were saying I called Christians idiots, which I did not, you were putting words in my mouth and so in effect, it was you calling Christians idiots.

" For all intents and purposes, we can assume that certain things are definitely true. It's like any survey or study--we have 99.9945% certainty of XYZ. That's close enough to 100% for any reasonable person. "

No, we can not. We also can not say someone is 99% pregnant. The adjective certain, in its common usage, means without a doubt. Fuzzy, imprecise language may be fine for two bros discussing surfing over a couple of brews, but is not acceptable in science. One must be precise. Any rational person will understand this.

"The idea that the Big Bang means something came from nothing is a common misconception, especially among theists because it serves them so well. "

It is not a common misconception. It is common sense. A zero dimensional singularity is not possible. 0 dimensions=nothing!

"Any physicist worth his salt will tell you that the Big Bang theory alone says nothing about what happened "before" the Big Bang. It cannot say, because it constitutes the beginning of space and time as we know it."

This is the same problem any creationist has. "Time is something clocks do" -Einstein. Space is nothing. Space is void. Space is the absence of anything, and as such is the only word in the human language that can ONLY be defined in the negative.

"While the Big Bang itself is well established and all but certain, the same cannot be said for whatever existed "before.""

This is not the case at all. The BBT has been completely dismantled and put out by the curb, to be hauled away to the physicist landfill. It is easily refuted conceptually, but also empirically and mathematically. I can refer you and your readers to scientific papers, (if anyone is interested) but most will not understand them. I can give you dozens of reasons the layman might understand but will require more than 5 thousands words. Here is one for empiricism (you're stuck on observations so this is for you). Over three hundred blue shifted galaxies. And don't give me the common response to that, it is already defeated. Instead, keep an eye on my Hubs and I will write an in-depth article on the BBT.

"Moreover, it is self-evident that any sane, coherent person cannot possibly claim that something can literally arise from absolutely nothing."

Agreed, and this is why BBT is insanity. Unless you can explain how zero dimensions can suddenly gain length, width and height.

"I just always find it interesting how certain people can argue against the utility of logic/ reason. And yet, in order to make that argument, you have to use logic/ reason. "

Logic and reason are two different subjects. But since you are railing against Fatfist, I'll let him speak for himself. His latest three Hubs utterly and completely destroy all your (and anyones) arguments. If you are really an intellectually honest person, you'll want to come over and see for yourself. I'm not interested in working that hard!

Come on I dare ya! What have you got to loose?

http://hubpages.com/@fatfist

The rest of what you said there would take too much of my time to unravel all the misconceptions that you have, and is covered in great detail in the Hubs I linked above.

" there is no way of actually, truly "defining" anything. For example, define the word "word." Well, a word is a part of language. And what is a "part"? And what is "language?" And for that matter, what is "of"? And so on, and so on."

There you go a gain totally misunderstanding what you have been told. In science, we define our KEY TERMS. The ones our hypothesis depends on.

" yes, knowledge exists"

Sorry, but here is where you are confused. Everything you say depends on a definition of exist. You won't do it though. You ran from it with Fatty and you run from me. Defining exist in a precise and unambiguous, non-contradictory way, destroys your entire argument.

Try it! EXIST____________

If you don't then do not expect any further discussion from me, because I'll see that you are just another "Bobblehead."

http://www.monkeypedia.com:

Bobblehead, one that nods their heads in agreement with authority, such as (Physics) Rocks Stars without thinking for themselves.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Secularist: "Any physicist worth his salt will tell you that the Big Bang theory alone says nothing about what happened "before" the Big Bang. It cannot say, because it constitutes the beginning of space and time as we know it."

This deserves far more discussion that space and time allow ;). I will let you know when I have a Big Bang Hub with lots of details. Meanwhile, we can solve this conceptually.

If the Big Bang was "the beginning of time and space as we know it" then time and space would have to be something, wouldn't it? If space was something, then what was it in, nothing...or more space? We still have the problem of infinite regress, don't we?

Hence the physicistsafter hundreds of years still argue over, aether, spacetime, the fabric of space, infinitely nested particles within waves, within particles, and so forth. Also why after all this time they can not define unambiguously and make useful universally, words like exist. Physics in particular is about reality. That which exists. One would think that this basic fundamental concept could have been answered long ago.

For simplicity, we will assume that a singularity is possible, and all of space is in Hawking's dimpled pea. Where was it? Sitting in a container somewhere, or in more space? If something (matter) was sitting in something (matter), then what contained that ....but also:

What did/does space expand into, more space?

If all there was prior to BB was something, that is, matter, motion would be impossible. There has to be displacement for motion to occur. This is true for now, as well. If there was not space, movement would be impossible.

If time was created by the Big Bang, then what was time before t=0? This is a more difficult subject for most to grasp, so I'll leave that here. Rest assured it will be covered in detail in my Hub on the Big Bang Theory.

Johnny: "I reality of course we cannot imagine "nothing." We cannot image a God that has no form, no physical presence, invisible, just a spirit or ghost. Our imagining minds need something recognizable that we can hang on to."

Which is why the religious person's depiction of God (weather using his own matter or preexisting matter, or nothing at all) makes more sense (i.e. can be visualized) than the physicists zero dimensional singularity. While it is possible to draw a picture of God, it is impossible to draw a picture of a zero dimensional object. It is because this is a mathematical abstraction, and useful only in math, not in reality.

Actually, it is not so difficult to imagine nothing, because we have to. We have no other choice. So let's give it a try, shall we?

The universe consists of matter and space. The only intrinsic property of all matter is that it has shape. Space does not have shape as it is border-less. Space 'contours' objects. Space provides the background in which to frame objects. Without shape, everything would blend together and we would have just one big chunk of indistinguishable matter.

We can go into this at greater length, but let's do that at my Hubs where there are no restrictions, such as word count.

Finally, one last thought...

The problem with logic is that it is bound to it's particular system, it's assumptions, it's axioms. Human reasoning has no such limits. See how we reasonably explained the concept nothing?

This is covered in greater detail in my Hub Infinite Space.

Thanx to Secularist for allowing me to have my say, regardless of the word restriction! It takes courage to allow others to challenge one's world view! Now, if he would only define EXIST! ;)


umbertoobrian profile image

umbertoobrian 4 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

jonny, coffee in heavan would of course be perfect - by heavanly definition. I think there are many "God's countries" in the world. Tasmania is actually on my list, always wanted to visit the devil's land - lol. Tell you what, my faith is strong enough that I pray that every atheist will come with me for a cup of good heavanly coffee. Don't take offense - it is the way I was taught to be by the Sisters of Saint Francis.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Diane Trotter: "Monkeyminds, all beliefs believe they are the right one. That's why they exist. Islamists want to kill the infidels. Jehovah's Witnesses say they are Christians but don't believe Jesus is God so they are always trying to convince people, covering neighborhoods in groups. Jews believe they are the only ones. Christians are not the only ones who believe their religion is THE one."

Sorry I missed this earlier Diane.

Of course, that is why you hear atheists say, I only believe in one less god than you [insert any religion].

It's also why science does not believe anything. In science, a conclusion can only be that something is POSSIBLE or NOT POSSIBLE.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Hello Secularist and all. Here is part of a debate between Dr. Craig, philosopher, and theologian, and PhD Physics prof. Krauss who authored the book Universe From Nothing. Since it is over 4,000 words, I put it up on my website for all to view at their leisure. It really should put to rest the discussion we have been having about something from nothing.

Of course, it offers ammunition for creationists, and Christians to use against one of the current theories proposed by atheists. Or, it destroys creation theories of all kinds, depending upon one's take of it.

Regardless, of one's take on the debate, it does confirms everything that I have been saying in this Hub.

Enjoy:

http://www.monkeymind.webs.com/krausscraig.htm


RASTA 4 years ago

I WILL PRAY TO THE GOD THAT YOU ALL DON'T BELEVE IN, TO HELP YOU ALL BEFORE IT'STO LATE!!!!!!! SAD!!!!!!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thank you, Rasta. You will pray for me, and I will think for you.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

Ugh. You called, I called, you called. Who cares. This is not a concession, just saying I'm not interested in debating who said what and who called whom what, etc. I will just say that I never called Christians as a whole "idiots," if you think that then you misinterpreted something I said. The reader can judge for themselves. Moving on...

"We also can not say someone is 99% pregnant. The adjective certain, in its common usage, means without a doubt."

In the case of a binary situation like pregnancy, it's different obviously. There are no degrees. But take a theory like evolution. That is very scientific, supported by plenty of evidence and reason. However it will never be 100%. It started out as, say, 10% likelihood that it's true. As more evidence and more discoveries occurred, that likelihood increased. Today it is well over 90%, say. Evolution as a theory is meant to embody all of this deductive and inductive reasoning.

Now, you may say that evolution is not scientific, it's another religion. In which case, you are not actually arguing for "science" per se, but rather for some kind of extremely narrow domain of understanding where pure, absolute certainty is the only game in town. Mathematics would be the main example of that. But that is not science as it is defined and practiced all over the world.

On imprecise language--this is another example of sawing off the tree branch upon which you sit. You cannot create a definition of anything that I cannot tear down using the same hypercritical logic you want to use. Precise terms, yes--as precise as possible. But at some point, there's a limit to it. Like it or not.

Zero dimensions--you are confusing the macro world with the world of quantum mechanics. I know you don't like quantum mechanics, so that's pretty much that. Same thing with your statement that "space is nothing"--not in quantum mechanics.

If your criticism of the Big Bang would take more than 5,000 words, then I suggest you improve your summarization skills, lol. I'm not qualified to do an in-depth analysis of the most advanced physics. If you think you are, and you know something the brightest minds in that field don't, by all means, publish your theory and debate with them. I'd watch that debate. May the best theory win.

"Everything you say depends on a definition of exist. You won't do it though. You ran from it with Fatty and you run from me."

Haha. Where did you get that idea? I already covered that territory with Fatfist in that other hub. You didn't read closely enough. To exist means to be, to be a part of reality. Here I go, running scared! Lol...

Will you, like Fatfist, slice and dice and misrepresent my words?

"In science, we define our KEY TERMS. The ones our hypothesis depends on."

My friend, let me let you in on a little secret: ultimately, ALL terms are key terms.

"If you don't then do not expect any further discussion from me..."

I do love these bizarre ultimatums.

This question: "What did/does space expand into, more space?" and your related statements are answered simply by the fact that space and time are restricted to this universe. So in a multiverse, for instance, or any kind of larger realm "outside" of this universe, as we would conceive of it, there would be space of a different kind. That would be the medium into which space and time "expands" (except we perceive it as expansion through our senses and observations, but from the laws and norms of that external realm, it would theoretically be perceived differently).

Imagine a bubble in the sea. Inside the bubble is air--that would be our universe. The sea is water, liquid. So a hypothetical being inside the bubble would perceive reality totally differently than a being outside, in the liquid. See, I'm not a physicist and even I can imagine a legitimate explanation. Of course, that's just one possibility.

"Come on I dare ya! What have you got to loose?"

Time. Some of us have other things to do, lol.

I did read Fatfist. Like I said before, he makes some thought-provoking points. But his unstable, emotional and tangent-laced style make it far more difficult to comprehend than it has to be. A statement like this is typical: "The purpose of logic is to solve derivational-type problems....not to create delusion for the purposes of persuading the gullible among us."

Well, gee, I always thought the purpose of logic WAS to create delusion and persuade the gullible! Silly me! Haha.

Suffice to say nothing he writes "demolishes" anything I have said. It might be working with a different definition of the word "logic" (mine from earlier is broad in nature), but that's all.

BTW, your comparison of my statement on your webpage to Karl Popper's statement is clearly disingenuous, like much of what you have been saying. I never said we should not discuss words, definitions or terminology. I said there is a limit to it. A limit you yourself must accept. Even though you don't realize it.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

On your webpage you say:

"QM fails as does Special Relativity, General Relativity, and String Theory, because math only deals with dynamic mathematical abstractions (concepts), such as infinities, and not with the static objects of reality."

If this was true, then these theories and methodologies would not be able to precisely predict countless events in the real world. The fact that they do... is that just luck and coincidence to you?

The ultimate test of a theory is if it is consistent with reality.

BTW, I can't believe your whole beef basically comes down to the tongue-in-cheek rhetoric that modern physicists use vis-a-vis "nothing." LOL!

"There's different kinds of nothing, Nothing isn't nothing anymore, etc" This is just wordplay for the sake of piquing the interest/ curiosity of the layman. They are almost trying to redefine the word "nothing." They have been doing it for years. Obviously these are not technical terms. I agree that it's annoying and they should stop it because it leads to confusion and misunderstandings like this. But that's all.

And what is so "irrational" about multiverses and whatnot? Just because it seems weird to you? It stands to reason that at that level, just at the edge of human comprehension, we would discover things that seem weird.

"90% is NOT good enough."

Again, different context.

You keep saying "Dr Craig agrees with you, Secularist" as if I'm supposed to feel bad about this or something? Haha.

If Dr Craig says the sky is blue, then yes, I agree with Dr Craig. But cherry picking a few statements here and there out of a long winding debate does not mean that the ultimate thrust of his beliefs are on par with mine.

"Isn't this ironic, Secularist? Isn't this the same form of logic you used in your argument about logic (about the illogic of logic used to disprove logic)? So if you accept your conclusion, then you must also accept Craig’s."

Nope. Because first of all, by "logic" I was referring to the rational processes of human thought. So if that was a difference in definitions, so be it.

Secondly, what Craig says (and this is a very old and tired theistic argument) is that if only science is allowed, then you must use science to prove science, which is self-contradictory.

But science is not the only thing allowed. The theists are wrong. Science is about induction. We also have deduction. And moreover, we do allow blind faith--just the minimum amount necessary. Whereas Craig and other religious people accept endless quantities of it.

Separately, I agree with Krauss in spirit (though not in specifics of his words, necessarily) that classical logic does not apply at the quantum level. The rules change, they break down. Just as Newtonian physics is useful within its sphere, but not useful at the scale where relativity comes into play.

Bottom line, this little presentation doesn't accomplish what you seem to think.


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jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

secularist10, you bake a very good debate. Better than I could manage. Taking each little ingredient of Monkey's recipe and pummeling it into a good stiff dough ready for the oven is a great skill. I wonder what the loaf will taste like.

Might be a little bit un-leven by the time we get to try a bit.


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Please excuse the many typos. I haven't finished my coffee, and for some reason I can not edit within the text field or under edit comment. I should have done this first in my word processing program. Well, live and hopefully, learn


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Johnny:

"secularist10, you bake a very good debate. Better than I could manage. Taking each little ingredient of Monkey's recipe and pummeling it into a good stiff dough ready for the oven is a great skill. I wonder what the loaf will taste like.

Might be a little bit un-leven by the time we get to try a bit."

Well said, there Johnny, and very funny. I am pleasantly surprised by your wit.

I'm sure that most people like being patted on the back. However, it really offers nothing to the discussion, and it is a bit premature for you to predict an outcome, since we have barely started.

What it does accomplish, is that it shows everyone reading along how little you understand the discussion, or that you're the type of guy that likes to stand by and let someone else do all the work. I've seen this a lot in high school. Sadly, with some individuals, it continues well up into one's senior years. Now, I'm getting up in years myself, so don't take that as a criticism of your age. Some folks only get smarter, and their behavior improves with age.

Now, if you have something to offer towards resolving the issues presented, that would be appreciated.


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Part One:

"This question: "What did/does space expand into, more space?" and your related statements are answered simply by the fact that space and time are restricted to this universe. So in a multiverse, for instance, or any kind of larger realm "outside" of this universe, as we would conceive of it, there would be space of a different kind. That would be the medium into which space and time "expands"""But take a theory like evolution. That is very scientific, supported by plenty of evidence and reason. However it will never be 100%. It started out as, say, 10% likelihood that it's true. As more evidence and more discoveries occurred, that likelihood increased. Today it is well over 90%, say. Evolution as a theory is meant to embody all of this deductive and inductive reasoning."

There is not a single theory of evolution, there are theories of evolution. However, there is no truth, or fact of evolution, and no percentage of certainty involved. It is the foundation of all biologic science, and the best explanation that we have. It is possible, that is all. I have several Hubs on evolution versus creationism, and my view is clear. Creation is not possible. Evolution by means of common descent is.

"On imprecise language--this is another example of sawing off the tree branch upon which you sit. You cannot create a definition of anything that I cannot tear down using the same hypercritical logic you want to use. Precise terms, yes--as precise as possible. But at some point, there's a limit to it. Like it or not."

Defining one's Key Terms in a hypothesis, is up to the theorist making the presentation. If the terms are unambiguous, non-contradictory, and precise, if they can be used universally in any scientific presentation, then they are acceptable, and we move on with our presentation. Definitions are a limitation that we put on words to be precise. I am talking about science not the common usage of language.

And no, you can not. Unless you are better than dozens of physicists, mathematicians, theologians, and philosophers that have already tried. The words we define for physics, have been honed and perfected. If you want to try go ahead. If you can come up with a better definition we'll use that.

We will start with exist.

You said exist= “To exist means to be, to be a part of reality.”

To be is a synonym, what have we learned? Reality is better, if by that you mean physical presence.

Try this

EXIST: object with location (physical presence)

Object: that which has shape

location: static distance between objects

If there are words that you don't understand in the definitions we can define them as well. They are being used in the usual way, so that should not be necessary.

"Zero dimensions--you are confusing the macro world with the world of quantum mechanics. I know you don't like quantum mechanics, so that's pretty much that. Same thing with your statement that "space is nothing"--not in quantum mechanics."

I spent years 'liking' QM, but that has nothing to do with reality. QM is irrational, contradictory, uses ambiguous terms, and therefore not possible. If you think you understand zero dimensions, then explain it to me. I understand full well, the belief that the macro world behaves differently that the micro world.

"If your criticism of the Big Bang would take more than 5,000 words, then I suggest you improve your summarization skills, lol. I'm not qualified to do an in-depth analysis of the most advanced physics. If you think you are, and you know something the brightest minds in that field don't, by all means, publish your theory and debate with them. I'd watch that debate. May the best theory win."

I already told you that I would create a Hub on the Big Bang. I generally write mostly using layman's terms, so you and your readers can fallow along. I did give you one example of where BBT fails.

"Everything you say depends on a definition of exist. You won't do it though. You ran from it with Fatty and you run from me." Haha. Where did you get that idea?"

Because… I asked you twice in THIS Hub.

"My friend, let me let you in on a little secret: ultimately, ALL terms are key terms."

Well, it pays to be precise then.

"I do love these bizarre ultimatums."

Not bizarre at all. If we are talking about weather or not something exists, and you refuse to define it, we CAN'T go further. What would be the point?

Well, now we finally get to the real issue. BBT doesn't have anything to do with multiverses. That is a whole other discussion, which came about in an attempt to explain the problems we are discussing with BBT. BBT came about to popularize creationism with science. Newtonian, or Classical physics, had it's problems, so Special Relativity tried to fix that, and General Relativity tried to fix SR, and QM tries to fix GR and String Theory tries to fix QM.

If you think I can summarize all those theories in less than 5,000 words you are mistaken, and Hawking can't do it either. We can however start at the beginning, and show how the house of cards which is QM falls apart with all the rest. We are not just talking about small problems, we are talking erase the board and start over.

It boils down to the reification of verbs into the nouns of reality. It starts with geometry. The foundation of all these theories is geometry at the most basic level. The point, the line, and the plane. Try to define these scientifically. It can not be done. Even the mathematician will tell you this. This became the foundation of all current models of ‘reality.”

"Time. Some of us have other things to do, lol."

I'm surprised that I have gone along with you this far. I suppose I have developed some patience. Especially, since it takes hours and hours of waiting in between posts. I have other things to do as well. If I didn't value understanding, and my fellow humans, I wouldn't waste my time. So regardless, you and your readers are worth it.


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Part Two

"Suffice to say nothing he [FF] writes "demolishes" anything I have said. It might be working with a different definition of the word "logic" (mine from earlier is broad in nature), but that's all."

He has had multiple university courses in logic and has defeated students and teachers of logic many times. Suffice it to say he understands it very well. There is simply too great an inferential distance between you and he to recognize it. It's not something I care to argue with you about. Let's just drop him from the discussion, unless you care to join me over on one of his logic Hubs, for a serious discussion.

We are talking about your Myth #3, remember? Too bad we have to unravel the entire universe to get to the solution. I dropped the part about "no one believes something from nothing" because faced with the 'evidence' of actual modern day current doctrine of several Christian faiths contradictory to your position, you refused to budge on the issue. Of course, you are continuing along the same track with the science aspect. We'll, cover that (hopefully) one last time in a minute.

"BTW, your comparison of my statement on your webpage to Karl Popper's statement is clearly disingenuous, like much of what you have been saying. I never said we should not discuss words, definitions or terminology. I said there is a limit to it. A limit you yourself must accept. Even though you don't realize it."

Not at all. I am always sincere in what I say. Since you say much of what I say is disingenuous, perhaps you can give at least one other example. As for Popper, I quoted him for two reasons. One is, as you say, in regards to your statement about definitions, and trying to get clarification. Many people use this reasoning, and you appeared to be one of them. Now that we have that all cleared up.... The second reason for using Popper, is because he introduced falsification into the scientific method. Science is not about true or false, it is about possible. I cover this in great detail in my Hub on the Scientific method so no sense in filling up your Hub with it. If you have questions about it, please post them there.

Finally, I press so hard on definitions because of things like this:

Me: Science doesn't prove anything. It offers explanations."

You: Semantics. Obviously nothing can ever be "proven" in the truest sense of the word.

This is one reason why defining Key Terms (in science) is of ultimate importance. Semantics is very important in a scientific presentation. We just can not have a discussion in science or present a hypothesis, if everyone has a different idea of what is being said. This happens when there are multiple definitions for words, or disambiguation. Proven a little bit, almost proven, really, really proven, just confuses things. We must be precise.

"On your webpage you say: "QM fails as does Special Relativity, General Relativity, and String Theory, because math only deals with dynamic mathematical abstractions (concepts), such as infinities, and not with the static objects of reality."

If this was true, then these theories and methodologies would not be able to precisely predict countless events in the real world. The fact that they do... is that just luck and coincidence to you?"

No, not coincidence at all. The math describing these ideas is fudged to conform to observation. For instance, Einstein's equation E = MC^2. If any amount of mass is present in the formula, then as approaching the speed of light it would take an infinite amount of energy to push an infinite amount of mass. Knowing the impossibility of infinite amount of mass, photons are made out to be mass-less particles. That is, zero mass.

About this prediction business. If you have a pencil and pad in hand, and are trying to calculate F=MA and trajectory and all that while I am aving my turn at horseshoes. I will beat you in the game. Trial and error is what is happening here. Newton, sat under a tree and observed an apple fall and came up with an equation that tells us that an apple falls at about 26 feet per second per second. He measured the distance traveled over time, repeatedly until he came up with his equation. He did not 'predict he observed nature and patterned a formula after it. The formula however only describes what is happening. It does not explain why the apple does not fall up into the tree. What have we learned? A real prediction would be, if Newton had predicted when the apple was going to fall. Then he wouldn't have been hit on the head by that apple!

Another example: Recently I was discussing General and Special Relativity with the scientist responsible for the 23 GPS satellites. More specifically, he designs the satellites and the atomic clocks. Of course he was absolutely sure that GR explained the time dilation that his clocks and circuitry compensated for. Of course, time is not something that can dilate. It is not a thing, but a concept. I can show mathematically that GR does not account for this discrepancy in time. But conceptually, I can explain it like this. Shake a watch real hard and notice the time is off. It is due to stress. Various different gravitational interactions as the satellite and clock orbits the earth stress the cesium atoms. Simple as that. Of course, the math is pretty accurate at accounting for time discrepancy, and so the scientist believes that General Relativity's idea of time dilation must be "true."


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Part Three

"The ultimate test of a theory is if it is consistent with reality."

If this is so, then we definitely need to understand what reality is, don't we? However, I submit to you that experimentation and testing is extra-scientific. It belongs in Technology and engineering. GPS, cars, planes and Ipads are a result of technology. Trial and error. While my associated were using Thevinin's Theorem to design circuits, I was building them. I built an amplifier using op amps and 555 timers, in a fraction of the time and they worked as well. When I was getting an electrical engineering degree, we were tasked to build a 60 second count down timer using logic gates. The number one student in the school (with the highest GPA the school ever had) built a device, that had 23 components. It took him all eight hours. He was using theory almost exclusively and that bogged him down. I built mine in under 2 hours. His used 23 major components and mine used 13. The 13th was interchangeable. It could be either a three input AND gate or a three input NAND gate. Which device do you think a manufacturer would want to use? I see this happen regularly in other fields, as well. It is the trial and error of technology, and not the theoretical math nonsense that attempts to mimic reality, that has gotten to where we are today.

"BTW, I can't believe your whole beef basically comes down to the tongue-in-cheek rhetoric that modern physicists use vis-a-vis "nothing." LOL!"

It is not tongue in cheek, at all. That is misdirection. Notice the several different "kinds" of "nothing." Regardless, and this is the third time I have said this, zero dimensions IS NOTHING. 0 Mass IS NOTHING.

"There's different kinds of nothing, Nothing isn't nothing anymore, etc" This is just wordplay for the sake of piquing the interest/ curiosity of the layman. They are almost trying to redefine the word "nothing." They have been doing it for years. Obviously these are not technical terms. I agree that it's annoying and they should stop it because it leads to confusion and misunderstandings like this. But that's all.

No, it is more than annoying, it is disambiguation intentionally. I can quote multiple physicists, using many of the same words and giving different uses for those words. It is a real problem, and not just with the word nothing.

"And what is so "irrational" about multiverses and whatnot? Just because it seems weird to you? It stands to reason that at that level, just at the edge of human comprehension, we would discover things that seem weird."

No there are even terms such as Quantum Strangeness, that refer to the weirdness of QM. Even in the debate referred to, Krauss says this. Even Hawking says that it is "impossible" to understand dimensions (A Brief History Of Time).

""90% is NOT good enough." Again, different context."

The point is, there is no certainty, there are only possibilities.

"You keep saying "Dr Craig agrees with you, Secularist" as if I'm supposed to feel bad about this or something? Haha. If Dr Craig says the sky is blue, then yes, I agree with Dr Craig. But cherry picking a few statements here and there out of a long winding debate does not mean that the ultimate thrust of his beliefs are on par with mine."

No, but the man that you claimed who is wrong, defeats the man of science, using your logic, and your science. Cherry picking is useful for picking out the salient points having to do with our discussion. Craig won the debate, which was about greater degree of probability that a God exists than not. Sad, that a physicist can not defeat a theologian and philosopher on a topic of existence.

"Nope. Because first of all, by "logic" I was referring to the rational processes of human thought. So if that was a difference in definitions, so be it."

Well, then see, that is a different use of the term logic, sense I have only referred to formal logic systems. This underscores once again the importance of defining one's terms. Craig is using mostly Classical logic...law of identity etc., major premise, minor premise, conclusion and so forth.

Logic is inferential reference using a logic tree conforming to the axioms of that particular system, as I pointed out before. Rational has nothing to do with it, as I illustrate with my use of"

P1=humans are made of cells

P2=Cells are invisible to the naked eye

C=Humans are invisible to the naked eye

Of course this is irrational, but yet it conforms to the form of classical logic in that if one's premise are ture, then the conclusion is true. So much for rationality and also for "truth."

This is why truth is for philosophy and religion and not science.

"Bottom line, this little presentation doesn't accomplish what you seem to think."

Let's see, I wanted to:

1) Show Craig win an argument on existence----check

2) Show that defining terms is critical in science----check

3) Show that using logic one can 'prove' anything----check

4) Show that nothing and existence are unambiguous terms----check

5) Show why atheists are still arguing with theists-----check

6) Show how truth, and proof are not part of the scientific method.....

Well, based on your response, I don't think I accomplished that, but I may have influenced others.


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monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

After having to delete multiple posts to allow me to conform to your guidelines you may find this final post a relief (The fact that it is my final post here that is!). I am happy to talk to you about anything at my Hubs, or if you start another Hub, to accommodate such a large subject as, “The Universe.” To continue will take many hours of reading, and writing with all the time in between. It doesn’t seem like a very realistic idea to cover all the subjects in this Hub. Nor is it really appropriate given the purpose of the Hub and the type of visitors it draws.

Just summarizing all that is wrong with the BBT would take a minimum of several pages. As you can see, the BBT builds upon prior theories and QM, depends upon those. Stephen Hawking summarizes all the territory we will have to cover, in his book The Universe In A Nutshell which is 200 pages. The average person still has to read the book several times to get the full impact of what he is saying. I read it for the last 5 years, and still can not explain it very easily.

The good thing is, we can solve many of the issues at the conceptual level, and avoid so much back, and forth on various hypotheses, and theories. For instance, if I were to tell you that there were square circles, you would quickly be able to dismiss reading my lengthy mathematical formula(s) or scholarly paper(s). This is the beauty of the rational and critical thinking mind. It puts all of us on a level playing field.

There is another critical problem here that deals with authority, and specifically the scientific method. You said, “If Dr Craig says the sky is blue, then yes, I agree with Dr Craig.”

This statement brings up several issues that should now be addressed, separately from the rest of the discussion, and should illustrate another reason why I think we probably should end here.

If agreeing had anything to do with the scientific method, I wouldn’t use the term bobbleheads so often. Having said that, we do agree on the sky is blue. We have to as there is no choice if we are to understand each other. We point at it, and say sky, then agree upon what to call that color. We don’t define sky we point to it and give it a name. Then we can qualify it with the adjective blue later. This is all part of common language and not really what I have been talking about. We don’t define things, we name things. It’s why things are called nouns.

On e hears all the time the question, why is the sky blue? Funny, that this never gets challenged as an irrational question. The sky is blue, because that is the name we gave it…blue! The question should be, “What makes the sky blue?”

Now to the cruxt of it. There are many reasonable and rational theories about various aspects of the universe. These will never see the light of day, as they do not conform to the current accepted models of science.

I am proposing a different model of the scientific method than the one you are used to. You probably wish to stick with the majority, or popular opinion on this matter. You may call this scientific consensus. I am of the thinking that consensus should not be the basis for our conclusions. There is a better model of scientific inquiry and I have laid it out in my Hub The REAL Scientific Method.

I am aware of one theory that answers all questions without contradiction and eliminates most of classical physics, SR, GR, QM and String theory. Therefore I see it as the best explanation for reality.

Since you depend on authority (as you have stated you are not a physicist) you will never ‘agree’ with me since I am considered a ‘crackpot’ by mainstream physics.

I look forward to a time when one can put away ideas of authority, or consensus and use their rational and critical mind to solve the issue of reality. Stop by anytime, if you wish to explore reality outside of the confines of authority. Facts, are opinions from authority.

Thanks for indulging me!


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dianetrotter 4 years ago from Fontana

Geezy monkeyminds! If nothing else, you are driven.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Jonny--love that image, haha.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

I deleted your earlier comments. If there was something important in there not already addressed in these, then feel free to post it. I’m dividing this into sections. Two comments.

************TRUTH, EVOLUTION, EXISTENCE AND DEFINITIONS**********

You quibble so much with the word “truth.” It’s just a word. It’s just a name we give to an idea or concept. If you don’t like the word “true” or “fact,” maybe you would prefer a word like “correct” or “real” or “legitimate.” I don’t understand the utility in quibbling over words that mean basically the same thing. I know, I know—you must be precise in your key terms!! Lol. It’s precise enough. Everyone knows what these words mean. This is not a scientific publication, it’s the comments section on a website for amateur writers. Lol.

(Your focus on a word like “truth” would make sense if this was a philosophical discussion specifically about the concept of truth, what is truth, what is fact, etc.)

“[Evolution] is and the best explanation that we have.”

Using other words, that is exactly what I said. The “best explanation” is another way of saying it is the “most likely explanation.”

“The words we define for physics, have been honed and perfected.”

Yet you said on your webpage that the field of physics needs a complete overhaul.

Ok, you have put your money where your mouth is on the word “exist.” Now let me play your game:

“EXIST: object with location (physical presence); Object: that which has shape; Location: static distance between objects”

Hmm. And what is “shape”? What is “static” and what is “distance” and what does “between” mean, exactly?

You see, you have barely scratched the surface. To follow your methodology faithfully and fully, you must dig much deeper. Try it. What you will find is that every single definition refers to something else. Therefore at the deepest level, after we have defined everything else, we are met with two choices: circularity or a blind faith axiom. Neither of which is particularly appealing, but that’s the way it is.

I love how you think you’ve offered some golden treasure with this definition of the word “exist” but you have simply moved the chairs on the deck of the sinking ship. The sinking ship being the basic problem of definition.

But wait, there’s more…

“If there are words that you don't understand in the definitions we can define them as well. They are being used in the usual way, so that should not be necessary.”

Ahh!! Interesting. So it turns out that the “usual way” of using words buttresses your so-called precise definitions. Isn’t that ironic. So you rail against common language, yet you are stuck relying on it just like everyone else. It’s there, just below the surface.

************ZERO DIMENSIONS, SUMMARIZATION, AXIOMS IN SCIENCE AND CHRISTIANITY****************

“If you think you understand zero dimensions, then explain it to me.”

It’s not so unimaginable. It’s not literally zero. Just like it’s not literally “nothing.” It’s zero/ nothing as predicted by one theory or one set of laws, but not by another. And the latter is the one that predicts reality at that scale.

“If you think I can summarize all those theories in less than 5,000 words you are mistaken, and Hawking can't do it either.”

You can summarize anything. You just need to improve your writing skills. On Sparknotes.com they can summarize a book of tens of thousands of words in just a few hundred words. Even books by Steven Hawking have summaries on their inside front cover.

“It boils down to the reification of verbs into the nouns of reality.”

There goes that love affair (or love-hate relationship maybe?) with grammar again.

“The point, the line, and the plane. Try to define these scientifically. It can not be done.”

Of course not. They are axiomatic. You just make a definition and get started with the work of science. This goes back to what I said earlier.

“He has had multiple university courses in logic and has defeated students and teachers of logic many times.”

I hate to do this, really, but I haven’t taken a single university course in logic and even I recognize this statement as a fallacious appeal to authority.

“something from nothing…faced with the 'evidence' of actual modern day current doctrine of several Christian faiths contradictory to your position, you refused to budge on the issue.”

And you did not even address my counterpoints. That tells any impartial observer that your argument is weaker. God created the universe out of nothing. Nothing existed except God. That’s what they believe.

Interestingly, if you pay attention to the context of what they are believing, and the way they use these terms, instead of just the literal definition of "ex nihilo", you would see this.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

********************TRUTH IN SCIENCE, PHOTONS, PREDICTIONS, OBSERVATIONS, AND NEWTON**************************

“Since you say much of what I say is disingenuous, perhaps you can give at least one other example.”

A lot of this unnecessary and pedantic grammatical problematizing is a prime example.

“Science is not about true or false, it is about possible.”

I will just say that saying “X is possible” is exactly equivalent to saying “it is true that X is possible.” Same thing.

“Semantics is very important in a scientific presentation.”

As I said, this is not scientific presentation.

“Knowing the impossibility of infinite amount of mass, photons are made out to be mass-less particles.”

Ok, so what? As far as I can tell from what I’ve read, under certain conditions photons are detected to have mass, but this does not change the essential utility of Einstein’s formula.

“He did not 'predict he observed nature and patterned a formula after it. The formula however only describes what is happening.”

The observation informs the prediction. I have seen the sun rise 1,000 times, so I predict that tomorrow it will rise again.

“It does not explain why the apple does not fall up into the tree.”

The apple does not fall up because gravity pulls it down.

What is gravity? Gravity is the force whose nature is described by this and that formula, these observations, etc.

“A real prediction would be, if Newton had predicted when the apple was going to fall.”

No. To predict when the apple was going to fall is the domain of biology/ botany, not physics. Apples fall from the tree in a certain season. I’m sure botanists could probably make a somewhat accurate prediction, give or take a few days, of “when” the apple will fall, if that is your concern.

A more physics-relevant prediction would be: given what I know about the speed of falling objects, I predict that this object will arrive at X destination Y minutes after I release it. There is your prediction. I don’t know why you are confusing things.

*********************NOTHING, PHYSICS, WILLIAM CRAIG*************

Nothing—I know you can quote physicists talking about nothing, I can too. But I reiterate these are not technical terms, they are speaking to the public. These guys don’t get out much, so when they get a chance to get some media coverage, of course they will embellish things and play with people. Unless of course you think thousands of physicists all over the world are in on a giant conspiracy to keep the public from knowing they don’t know anything. In which case, certainly *somebody*--you, Fatfist, somebody—would have gotten a Nobel prize by now for debunking the whole field!

“No, but the man that you claimed who is wrong, defeats the man of science, using your logic, and your science.”

You are fascinated by who is “defeating” whom. Truth (or fact or reality or whatever term you want to use) is not a popularity contest. Craig is a better speaker, a persuader. The ancient Greeks studied rhetoric, the art of argument and persuasion, as a field unto itself. A slick lawyer can get a murderer off scot-free. Doesn’t mean what he is saying is consistent with reality.

You say “my science”—another example of being disingenuous. I specifically said I agreed with Krauss on a few main points.

Craig is correct that the quantum foam is not “nothing.” I can see just in the quotes you cited that Krauss veers off topic a lot which loses points in a debate like this. He also uses fuzzy language—nothing, etc. Again, not persuasive.

I haven’t read the whole of the debate, only your summary, so I really can’t comment on any more than that.

All I can say is that other debates I’ve observed with Craig show that Craig’s worst enemy is himself. He could stand there all alone talking, and he would be defeated because sound reasoning defeats his arguments. Who cares about two individual people debating and their personal opinions.

BTW, if you were to debate Craig in a forum like that, he would rip you to shreds too, and for the same reason: persuasiveness/ communication ability. You would go off on grammar and parts of speech and say that physicists are idiots, and he would just stick on the topic and say his little claims.

**********************FORMAL LOGIC*************************

“P1=humans are made of cells; P2=Cells are invisible to the naked eye; C=Humans are invisible to the naked eye. Of course this is irrational, but yet it conforms to the form of classical logic in that if one's premise are ture, then the conclusion is true. So much for rationality and also for "truth."”

Sure, if the premise that “cells are invisible” is true, the conclusion is true. I can also say the following:

P1=I am ten feet tall

P2=people who are ten feet tall are awesome

C=I am awesome.

It all makes logical sense. If the premises are true. But the real question is not whether this conforms to the model of formal logic. The real question is: is the premise true/ correct? That is the question of science, observation and reason.

So in your example, the problem is with P2: Individual cells are invisible, but collectively they are not. Insofar as humans are *collections* of cells, they are not invisible. So P2 is actually not really true. So a more accurate one would be:

P1=humans are collections of cells

P2=individual cells are invisible; collections of cells are not

C=humans are not invisible.

It’s just a question of information, facts and evidence. Are we looking at all the evidence, or only some of it.

*******************WORD COUNT, BLUE SKY, WORDPLAY**********

“I read it for the last 5 years, and still can not explain it very easily.”

That’s because you’re not a very good communicator, lol. Communication is a big part of my work, so I can say that. It’s ok, few people are. You’re a smart guy obviously, but this is not your strong suit. To whit: I ask you to limit yourself to 1000 words, you give me over 3,500. It’s at least 10 pages when I copy and paste it into Word. But I’ll let it slide this time since you’re sticking to substance and contributing something new and unusual. Pro Tip: cut down on the quotations of other people; it makes it easier to read.

“We don’t define things, we name things.”

That’s a silly statement. Naming and defining are the same.

“One hears all the time the question, why is the sky blue? Funny, that this never gets challenged as an irrational question. The sky is blue, because that is the name we gave it…blue! The question should be, “What makes the sky blue?””

Allow me to show you the silliness of your position. Your question—the legitimate question—is “what makes the sky blue." I can use the approach you are using here and say: "This is an irrational question. What makes the sky blue, is that we named it… blue!" See how dumb this is? This is not precision, this is wordplay and rhetoric.

*****RELIANCE ON AUTHORITY, YOUR THEORY OF EVERYTHING********

We all rely on authority for the vast majority of our lives (mechanics for cars, dentists for your teeth, the media for news, etc). An individual person cannot know everything about everything. That is where the economic phenomenon of specialization comes from. But just because I rely on authorities for information does not mean I swallow what they say hook, line and sinker. I research multiple sources and come to my own conclusion. Your assumption that I only believe in what the majority of experts say, simply because they are the majority and they are experts, is an example of jumping to conclusions. It is totally unwarranted.

If you have such a great new approach to understanding and learning about and explaining the world, a new scientific method, it seems to me you should be on a fast track to several Nobel prizes. You should be able to explain things that other scientists cannot explain, prove things they cannot prove. So what’s stopping you?

That’s assuming the premise is true, of course!


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

“(Your focus on a word like “truth” [snip]

This is what I said! ‘Truth’ should not used be in a scientific discussion. It belongs in a religious or philosophical discussion. And so what is the HUB about? Isn’t this about the philosophy and beliefs of atheism? It is why I am only talking about your Myth #3 which is about what is real, and therefore in the domain of science.

"[snip] the field of physics needs a complete overhaul.”

I am talking about the scientists and physicists that I speak with, not the mainstream phiz whiz like Kaku, Green or Hawking.

"Hmm. And what is “shape”? What is “static” and what is “distance” and what does “between” mean, exactly?

I said if you don’t understand any words we can define them. You are being intentionally obtuse if you are saying you don’t understand these words. If you really do understand the words, than you have made my point, that is not necessary to define every word, only the KEY TERMS upon which our hypothesis depends. OTOH, if you really do not understand these words, then you really have no business writing Hubs and talking abut things that you don’t understand.

EXIST=object+location Can not be refined further.

“ “If you think you understand zero dimensions, then explain it to me.” “It’s not so unimaginable. It’s not literally zero””

Not only did you not explain zero dimensions, you got confused. If we can’t understand common language, and deny precise scientific terms, how will we ever get to the real science of reality? Zero dimensions, means No dimensions. No dimensions is impossible for reality. If it’s not literally no dimensions, then what is it? Part of a dimension? Irrational, and once again underscores the importance of unambiguous terms.

“You can summarize anything. You just need to improve your writing skills. On Sparknotes.com they can summarize a book of tens of thousands of words in just a few hundred words. Even books by Steven Hawking have summaries on their inside front cover.”

The Universe in a Nutshell is a summary of all the areas of physics we will have to cover to discuss the Big Bang. Hawking barely got it done in 200 pages. I can summarize the Big Bang’s major flaws probably in about 100 sentences. I can maybe reduce those down to 30. Placed in the context of Classical Physics, SR, GR, QM and String Theory, It will take a far greater amount of work. However, conceptually we can put it all to rest very easily, by understanding the difference between nouns and verbs, objects and concepts.

“There goes that love affair (or love-hate relationship maybe?) with grammar again.”

As you stated, we are all stuck with it in order to communicate.

““The point, the line, and the plane. Try to define these scientifically. It can not be done.” Of course not. They are axiomatic. You just make a definition and get started with the work of science. This goes back to what I said earlier.”

The problem is, those definitions can not be used consistently and why theoretical physics fails. Take the point, for example:

There is Euclid’s no part point, the infinestimal point, the ordered pair point, the node point, the center of mass point, the element of a set point, Hawking’s event poin,t and Weyl’s here and, now point.

The contradictions between them, disqualifies their use as they can not be used consistently. It’s not just a problem of definition. Definition is how we tell if it going to be a problem.

In Geometry, we have several undefined terms: point, line and plane. From these three undefined terms, all other terms in Geometry can be defined. In Geometry, we define a point as a location and no size. A line is defined as something that extends infinitely in either direction but has no width and is one dimensional while a plane extends infinitely in two dimensions.

http://www.brightstorm.com/math/geometry/geometry-...

Right, we don’t define the 3 main terms that everything else in geometry depends on…then he goes on to give irrational definitions. Rest assured, we can spend hours, just discussing the different definitions of point. These definitions often aren’t even being used consistently by the same person in a single presentation.

“I recognize this statement as a fallacious appeal to authority.”

Telling you that FF had univ. courses was an appeal to authority, but not a fallacy as it was a response to your appeal from ignorance. The inferential distance between you and FF is so wide that you don’t even realize it. You make claims such as he makes the occasional ad hominem, indicating that you do not even know what that very basic logical fallacy is. FF challenges anyone to show him using an ad hominem, and they can not…ever.

“And you did not even address my counterpoints. Interestingly, if you pay attention to the context of what they are believing, and the way they use these terms, instead of just the literal definition of "ex nihilo", you would see this.”

I answered that a long time ago. Those are 2 different issues. 1) God . 2) God creating something. God has a choice. He can create something from nothing, something from something else, or something from out of himself. The persons that propose only go, have to chose from nothing, or from out of god. I gave you examples of creation ex nihilo. I was at my nephew’s graduation party last night with about 50 Christians and three preachers. I asked one individual there, and he told me God created everything in the universe from out of nothing. I asked him specifically, “Do you mean from out of himself?” He said, “No out of nothing.” I used to debate Christians all the time about this and many of them say the same thing. Admit you need to alter your myth #3 or plug your ears and go nananananana!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Thank god (or Albert Einstein) for the Scroll Button!


tigresosal 4 years ago

Wonderful hub. Learnt a lot from the ideas presented. Yes there are many myths about atheism and most of them are biased.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

OK, As I promised. (My first draft).

http://monkeyminds.hubpages.com/hub/How-Theists-Ca...


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Monkey:

You went over the limit again. I hate to do it, I really do, but I had to delete those extra comments over the word limit. Anybody who knows me or follows me knows I value highly the free flow of ideas. But there has to be some limit to maintain order. Part of free speech is that others must have the opportunity to speak too. So that means one person cannot monopolize the conversation.

In the spirit of fairness, I won't respond to the other points in the comments that are now deleted. Just this one comment and your previous points.

"You are being intentionally obtuse if you are saying you don’t understand these words. If you really do understand the words, than you have made my point, that is not necessary to define every word, only the KEY TERMS upon which our hypothesis depends."

But I "really did understand" the term existence before your little definition:

“EXIST: object with location (physical presence); Object: that which has shape; Location: static distance between objects”

Every word here is "key" to the statement being made. Therefore to be consistent, you must define them all. And, in turn, each word used in each of those definitions, logically, must be critical as well, because they support a critical term. And so on, until we have 100,000 "critical" words that need to be defined, or we are just down to axioms.

If I am being intentionally obtuse, then you have been intentionally obtuse as well by obsessing over a word like "truth" that anyone who speaks this language understands.

You said "object: that which has shape." And what is shape? The dictionary gives several definitions. Since you want to be so precise, why don't you define it further? You want to pretend that you are not using any axioms, or any blind faith, but you are. You just don't realize/admit it.

"If it’s not literally no dimensions, then what is it? Part of a dimension?"

I thought you had studied this stuff? Lol. Looks like you are the confused one. When they say "zero dimensions" it's that physicist-speak I was referring to. It's zero dimensions as predicted by one theory, but not by the theory that actually works at that level.

Just define point, line and plane as you see fit and move on. Lol. No big deal. As I said, they are axioms. You just say it and move on to the next thing. We could spend hours discussing "point"--I'm sure we could. I'm sure we could spend an entire lifetime on it. And guess what--other people, with a working definition, accepting the fact that they do not know everything, will be making discoveries and gaining knowledge while we waste the rest of our lives discussing "point."

This is what you're not getting. If you really want to execute this methodology of definitions and grammar, we will never accomplish anything or get anywhere. Because every single definition ultimately comes down to either (a) another definition, or (b) an axiom.

When you say "science is not about truth" this is just disingenuous nonsense. "Truth" can be defined in different ways, yes. But any reasonable person understands what "truth" in such a context means. It means reality, what is really real. You can problematize it, but then you must accept the problematizing of your own terms--and thus you saw off the tree branch upon which you sit.

That is when everybody sees you are just playing rhetorical gymnastics for the sake of contradicting others, but you are not offering anything fundamentally different yourself. Your approach, as I said, is as pointless as rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. You're the guy saying "Hey! Those chairs belong over here, not there!"

"Telling you that FF had univ. courses was an appeal to authority, but not a fallacy as it was a response to your appeal from ignorance."

Ridiculous. Nowhere did I make an appeal from ignorance. Everyone can scroll up and see what I wrote.

"You make claims such as he makes the occasional ad hominem, indicating that you do not even know what that very basic logical fallacy is."

It means "attacking the person" as opposed to the ideas or statements being made. He does it all day long. Deny all you want. I could provide specific examples, but who cares? There's more important things to do.

I suppose everyone is guilty of ad hominems to some extent, but at least be honest and don't pretend like you are some brainiac and everyone else is a neanderthal.

On God and "ex nihilo" creation:

"Admit you need to alter your myth #3 or plug your ears and go nananananana!"

Now why would I lie, Monkey? That wouldn't be very nice of me.

I don't know how many times I have to say the same thing. There was nothing except God, before creation. That is what Christians believe. God is something, not nothing, in case you didn't get the memo.

BTW, you love Craig and his amazing logical depth. Well, let's see, he presents 5 main evidences for the existence of God at the beginning of that debate (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-craig-krauss-de... ). Every single one of these is defeated by sound reason. I have addressed many of these common theistic arguments in other hubs, including this one: http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Proofs-for... .

His evidence for God is: (1) The existence of contingent beings (whatever the hell that means), (2) the origin of the universe, (3) the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, (4) objective moral values, (5) the historical facts of Jesus (!).

Each of these fails. Very briefly:

(1) A "contingent" being is something that exists, but does not have to. The long and short of it is, there is no reason to think that anything "does not have to exist." Theists often ask "why is there something, instead of nothing?" Sounds profound. Until you realize the question implicitly assumes its conclusion (God). The proper answer to that question is: "why do you ask?" Why is it considered possible that there be nothing? THAT is the real question, and it is a question that must be answered by the theist. Craig says "such things might not have existed." Says who, Dr Craig? Voila, that question alone liquidates his whole argument.

(2) We've covered this, but again, the science indicates that even if this universe had a beginning, a larger reality that contains it does not necessarily. Moreover, if we believe in God, then the question arises, "where did God come from?" The answer of course is that God is eternal. Well, if that can work for God, then it can work for reality. Argument failure.

(3) This one barely deserves any attention. Obviously, intelligent life arose, and that is why everything seems perfect for intelligent life!

(4) Craig does not give any evidence of moral values being "objective" in the sense of being baked into the fabric of the cosmos. Yes, there are common, universal moral standards among all humans transcending personal preference. But there is no reason to believe the universe "cares" per se in that way. Indeed, nature seems not to care at all, what with countless lives lost, physical injuries, and psychological distress caused by natural disasters.

(5) Do I really need to address this one? Lol. Here's my pertinent hub on Jesus: http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Happy-East...

So you see, Monkey, Craig is not some juggernaut of logic. His arguments fail. Needless to say, just like yours.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Tigresosal--thank you, I appreciate it.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"You went over the limit again. I hate to do it, I really do, but I had to delete those extra comments over the word limit."

Well, your previous post, that also went over the limit at 1333 words, said that you made an exception because of new and interesting points. I see also that this last post of yours went over the limit at 1224 words.

So much for intellectual honesty.

Anyways, not to worry, Sec. I have all my posts and I'll probably just put them up on my Hub for all to see.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

"It means "attacking the person" as opposed to the ideas or statements being made. He does it all day long. Deny all you want. I could provide specific examples, but who cares? "

Nope. You are guilty of an ad hominem fallacy fallacy.

http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

But I can see that you don't care about accuracy...as you say "Who cares.?

This is my last post because you delete posts that destroy your religion. We are having a good time laughing it up at Rational Science on FB. BYE!


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"So much for intellectual honesty."

Occasionally I can break the rules because it's my hub. Especially since I let you break it. I've been more than fair with you, as any reasonable person can see.

Not "attacking the person," I should not have put that in quotation marks. The translation from Latin is "to the man," but an ad hominem, as your link verifies, is an attack on the person, not an attack on the actual argument. It does not have to be an "insult" or a "personal attack" per se.

You claim to care about accuracy, but only as a way of contradicting others you disagree with on an emotional basis. When it comes to the accuracy of your own statements, you fold like a lawn chair. So everybody is obligated to be "accurate" except you.

"This is my last post because you delete posts that destroy your religion. We are having a good time laughing it up at Rational Science on FB."

Demonstration that you don't know what a religion is. And that you are barely with us--I didn't delete those comments out of fear of your amazing arguments. You haven't provided any. It's hardly "destruction" of anything, Lol! Again, it all just comes down to personality and emotions for you. If you had strong arguments, you would not have to resort to barbs. The sure sign of a man who has nothing important left to say.

Your little hub is funny. You cite "some deleted material," yet all of that material is right up there approved in the comments here! Lol.

You are far more dishonest and deceitful than I initially thought. Too bad.

I'm leaving it all up, as you can see. Oh no, I hope nobody I like finds out the truth about me on your hub! Haha.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

You're such a liar! The sad part is, most of your readers appear to NEED you to reinterpret everything I say.

"Your little hub is funny. You cite "some deleted material," yet all of that material is right up there approved in the comments here! Lol."

When you put my posts back up here let me know on my Hub and I';ll take it down. You got far more attention that you deserve.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Secularist: "Not "attacking the person," I should not have put that in quotation marks. The translation from Latin is "to the man," but an ad hominem, as your link verifies, is an attack on the person, not an attack on the actual argument. It does not have to be an "insult" or a "personal attack" per se."

Man your reading comprehension is really bad, or you are just being dishonest again. Instead of you trying to reinterpret everything. I posted the link here for your readers:

"In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse. Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker's argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument.

The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem:

the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn't there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person's arguments.

Therefore, if you can't demonstrate that your opponent is trying to counter your argument by attacking you, you can't demonstrate that he is resorting to ad hominem.

If your opponent's sarcasm is not an attempt to counter your argument, but merely an attempt to insult you (or amuse the bystanders), then it is not part of an ad hominem argument.

Actual instances of argumentum ad hominem are relatively rare. Ironically, the fallacy is most often committed by those who accuse their opponents of ad hominem, since they try to dismiss the opposition not by engaging with their arguments, but by claiming that they resort to personal attacks.

Those who are quick to squeal "ad hominem" are often guilty of several other logical fallacies, including one of the worst of all: the fallacious belief that introducing an impressive-sounding Latin term somehow gives one the decisive edge in an argument.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Now I'm a liar. Haha. Good old fashion name calling. It shows the depth of your intellectual emptiness.

Let's try this again, Monkey:

WHAT I SAID:

"an ad hominem, as your link verifies, is an attack on the person, not an attack on the actual argument. It does not have to be an "insult" or a "personal attack" per se."

WHAT YOUR LINK SAYS:

"...ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker's argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument"

What is so difficult to understand about this for you, Monkey? Or do you just have the need to contradict everyone?

I'm sensing some instability from your end, so I suggest you watch yourself if you're going to reply again.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Secularist: "Let's try this again, Monkey:" WHAT I SAID:

"an ad hominem, as your link verifies, is an attack on the person, not an attack on the actual argument. It does not have to be an "insult" or a "personal attack" per se."

WHAT YOUR LINK SAYS:

"...ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker's argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument"

"What is so difficult to understand about this for you, Monkey? Or do you just have the need to contradict everyone? I'm sensing some instability from your end, so I suggest you watch yourself if you're going to reply again."

Monk: Ha! You still don't get it. You even reposted the point, and you don't understand. So here it is again:

"The attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument"

It comes in two parts. First I say you are an idiot. Then I say, your argument is invalid because you are an idiot. Get it now? See why the link said these types of fallacy are rare. What isn't rare, is hearing the ad hominem fallacy fallacy. It is far more common.

And it's really funny, because, even though you are an idiot, you have made some good points in your list of myths.

As for you sensing anything...you might want to check your pants, as you may have just wet yourself!


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

" You cite "some deleted material," yet all of that material is right up there approved in the comments here! Lol."

You're right. Excuse me for calling you a liar! Unfortunately I didn't save the posts you deleted.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Monkey, when you post this sort of statement: " First I say you are an idiot." about a Hub author who has been so patient and intelligent in replying to your rubbish post, then I suggest you go and try arguing across the bar with a beer in your hand. You might get a few more listeners. Your attitude is indicative of someone who might need some professional attention.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Well, Johnny, seems like the two of you just can't get enough of me. I keep trying to tap out, and you guys keep tagging me back in. If you don't want me to reply, then simply stop talking to me.

Secularist is an idiot, but you're even worse because you're an idiot's bobblehead. He says ridiculous stuff, and you just nod in agreement offering nothing of your own.

What attitude is that, Johnny? Do you mean the attitude where I politely correct a glaring inaccuracy, and instead of a thank you, I get pulled into a long drawn out futile discussion? The one where I don't let ad hominem fallacy fallacies slide by?

Or, do you mean the attitude of admitting when I am in error, and correcting it like I did about the deleted material? BTW, I unpublished the Hub, you guys don't deserve the attention.

I think you might need some medical attention, because the blood flow obviously isn't getting to your brain.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Ah, now I'm an idiot! Lol. First a liar, now an idiot. I wonder what other fascinating insights into my mind I am in store for.

"I think you might need some medical attention, because the blood flow obviously isn't getting to your brain."

Your behavior has been erratic. You think you're smartest guy in the room, Monkey. Well, a truly intelligent person is not threatened by others who disagree with him. And he does not have to resort to personal insults to make himself feel better.

Your personal insults just demonstrate to everybody that, as I said before, you have nothing important left to say. You're in trolling territory now, so I will probably be forced to delete. I won't have my page sullied by such nonsense.

And anyway, if I'm such an idiot, why do you keep coming back here to my hub? Lol. Who's the real idiot--the "idiot," or the guy who keeps arguing with him?

I will say though, that it was clear your earlier ad hominems were indeed part of your effort against my arguments. So they were for the purpose of undermining the argument. Not just random personal snipes. You can't weasel your way out of it.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Atmospheric Science is one of Monkeymind's favourite topics. He/she loves to create an atmosphere but there's little science about it. Lol.

Belongs with the Planet of the Apes.


Reality Check 4 years ago

The monkey cleaned your clock secularist10!

You don't have a clue about any of this do you? You need to go back to writing about fashion shows. You're a disgrace to atheism. I was enjoying this Hub. If you kick the monkey, you'll have nothing of interest in your Hubs at all.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Hahaha! Hey Monkey, I know that "Reality Check" is you. I can see the IP Address! Lol! You must have WAY too much time on your hands. What a clown!

Witness, ladies and gentlemen, the lows to which this troll will stoop. Never seen anything like it.

I'm deleting a bunch of Monkey comments because even where there are legitimate points, he's proven himself to be nothing but an agitator desperate for attention. To say nothing of his unwarranted personal attacks against me and others.

But that comment from "Reality Check" is really one for the books. Oh man, that is just too funny. How pathetic.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

And BTW, how can I be a "disgrace to atheism" if I'm not even an atheist? Lol. The mysteries of the monkey boy...


StoneCold 4 years ago

I normally don't post in a thread where the author censors for ANY reason, but just wanted to put in my 2 cents.

Although things appeared to get out of hand with monkeyminds, he was right about the ad hominem fallacy fallacy, and he was not guilty of any ad hominems that I can see. The only thing monkeyminds is guilty of is being a jerk.

He also made some good points, and I won't cover those. He didn't call secularist10 on multiple logical fallacies, so I'm not sure if he really understands classical logic systems, or was letting those slide.

Secularist10 is guilty of the following logical fallacies:

strawman, shifting of goalposts, reification, and equivocation, among others.

If this does not get deleted, I will be happy to come back and point these out for anyone interested.

Finally, as far as I know, it is not possible to retrieve IP addresses from Hubpages unless an administration. Actually, there is another way, but that's illegal.

Secularist10, if you used ping what you got was the hubpages IP; 66.211.109.24, or 13. No matter what you type, monkeyminds,hubpages.com or secularist10.hubpages.com or, you will get the same IP. If you ping realitycheck.hubpages.com you will get an internal or external command not recognized error.

Finally, if you want to say I am monkeyminds, or reality check, then go ahead and imagine that, but I use a program that sets the IP mask of the subnet randomly.

I hope this doesn't make you paranoid to think everyone is this monkeyminds character. You probably were right about the reality check, but at least it was a guess.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

I'm glad I was on-line to see this, before it gets deleted. I knew about the logical fallacies, but not about the IP thang. Except my server assigns IPs dynamically.

Thanx StoneCold, I'm getting an IP masking sw program. If he does know how to get IPs illlegally, he will never know when I'm in his threads. He'll be paranoid. Ha! poetic justice!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Stone Cold:

"Secularist10, if you used ping what you got was the hubpages IP; 66.211.109.24, or 13. No matter what you type, monkeyminds,hubpages.com or secularist10.hubpages.com or, you will get the same IP."

That's not how I got the IP address. You are not a member of Hub Pages, so you don't know that as the Hub author I see the commenter's IP address under each comment. Your IP address is unique.

I will address your other points a little later.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

It won't be deleted, Monkey boy--there you go assuming things again.

Still here, eh? Guess you can't get enough of me. Lol. Like a jilted lover who keeps coming back for more. You certainly seem to expend a lot of mental energy, and time, on little old me. Which is odd, since I'm supposed to be an idiot, liar and a coward. But whatever. Who can know the mind of a monkey... :)


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Nah! Takes no energy at all. Now I did spend a great deal of energy 'splain things to you, but that got us nowhere!

This is more for your readers, than for you. Of course, I'd love to see you come around to rational thinking. I hate this bickering, it's mostly a waste of bandwidth.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

From some of your hubs I have read, Monkey, you have a sound, exploratory mind. It also seems to me that you are highly intelligent yet frustrated because you can't find people to discuss your subjects on your level of understanding. Is this so?

Maybe your postings here in this hub are your fun times, allowing you to relax from the mentally tiring process of deep thinking. (Here, though, you don't seem to be doing anything "deep.")


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

BTW StoneCold, Reality Check was me, I was just trying to be funny. I have 49 Hubs, and as a Hub author we can see IP's as he said. Click on a name if you're interested in someone's Hub.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Thank you Jonny. Well, yes, it is frustrating discussing some of the topics at times. I don't just post for fun tho. I just wanted to help other Hubs get traffic, when I saw the Help us by Hopping request, I clicked on it and ended up here randomly.

I do get frustrated when certain tactics are used to downplay what I am saying. I get downright irate when censored. When a friend told me my posts were being removed, I came back swinging. I didn't check it out first, and that's why I made my own Hub and the statements I did here. When I found out most of my posts were still here, I apologized for calling Sec a liar over it and removed my "counter" HUB.

I'm sorry to get on you like I did, but I felt like you were poking me with a stick through the bars. Secularist has far more integrity than most people I have to deal with, and I hate that it turned out like it did, especially after dedicating so much time to his HUB.

Instead of taking the approach that Sec. does, I just call names and send barbs.

Sec. says stuff like, "That’s because you’re not a very good communicator, lol."

It's not true, therefore it is a poke intended to tick me off. He does that a lot and uses the LOL and Hahaha! routine. I like the straight forward approach myself.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Stone Cold:

As for your other points, I won't say absolutely that I am not guilty of any logical fallacies, nobody's perfect. But I doubt it. You can point out what you think of as a logical fallacy if you want. And on the ad hominems, it does not require an explicit declaration that "You are stupid THEREFORE your argument is flawed." We can read between the lines.

As far as censorship. Look people, it's very simple. By writing these articles and allowing comments, I have created a space for people to have intelligent, respectful conversation and debate. With me and with each other. This space, my little corner of this website, is my responsibility. I can either let it all degenerate into a quagmire of insults, invective and ranting, or I can impose some basic rules. The lucky thing is that my style of writing tends to only attract relatively intelligent people to begin with.

When one person keeps writing endlessly, thousands and thousands of words, they monopolize the page and gum up the conversation. As I said earlier, freedom of speech does not just mean that YOU have the right to say whatever you want. It also means that others have the right too. And when one person treats it as their exclusive right, they stomp on others'. So I impose a word limit when conversations get this lengthy. And 1000 words is very reasonable for expressing oneself.

I have only ever censored two commenters for word count--and one of them is Monkey. The other was a religious commenter on another hub. I deleted a few other comments from some whack job, also religious in nature, who went on an insane profanity-laced rant on one of my articles. I also censored Monkey when his comments took a turn for the personal and hateful, rather than coherent criticism. That stuff simply serves no purpose. And then there are spam comments. That's it.

This is out of literally hundreds of commenters on my hubs. As of this writing, I have 1,700 total comments on all my hubs. Stone, you can go visit any of my articles and see the debates and discussions I have gotten into, and continue to get into. Even just look at this hub, and all of the people I have welcomed to have their say despite disagreeing. Rest assured, I am not the censoring type.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

It's your Hub and you have the right to keep order however you see fit.

1000 word restraint is not for me so....I'll just select unfollow (so I don't get dragged back in) and let StoneCold make his points. Hope it turns out well for you, but I got to say I've seen this ad hom fallacy fallacy debated many times.


StoneCold 4 years ago

Secularist10: "As for your other points, I won't say absolutely that I am not guilty of any logical fallacies, nobody's perfect. But I doubt it. You can point out what you think of as a logical fallacy if you want. And on the ad hominems, it does not require an explicit declaration that "You are stupid THEREFORE your argument is flawed." We can read between the lines."

Good, then I won't point out all of "what I think" are fallacies because as I re-read through the material I see there are far too many (often in one sentence or parapgraph) and my time is limited. Therefore, we will stick to the ad hominem fallacy fallacy, which seems to be the main area of dissagreement.

We'll skip the definition, and assume the one already given in the Hub as acceptable, as secularist10 himself derives his argument from it. He apparently is dissagreeing only with monkeymind's interpretation of the definition. Therefore it is only necessary to look at a few representative examples given in some definitions.

wiki:

"What makes you so smart and all-knowing that you can deny God's existence? You haven't even finished school."

Nizkor:

Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."

Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."

Lander.edu:

A prosecutor asks the judge to not admit the testimony of a burglar because burglars are not trustworthy.

Notice in all the arguments there are two parts to the ad hominem fallacy. Ad homs take the form of 'because of this therefore that.' "You are a liar, therefore it is not raining outside." When monkeyminds called secularist10 a liar, he was (apparently) referring to his mistaken belief that he had deleted particular arguments. When he saw that this was not the case he withdrew his accusation. Perhaps there were some ligitimate ad homs that were deleted but I did not notice them in the remaining comments.

Monk comically illustrated his point rather well about the fallacy fallacy here:

Monk: "And it's really funny, because, even though you are an idiot, you have made some good points in your list of myths."

If you call this an ad hom, you would in effect be saying that you did NOT make some good points.

An example of an ad hominem taken from this very Hub is seen here:

Jonny: "I see it as an "imperfect human nature" when an individual writes and writes and writes, huge posts, (one above is over 1300 words long!), seemingly with the attitude that most others' opinions are very suspect if not obviously wrong."

1) Imperfect human nature because of (2) huge posts [snip]. The person referred to here may very well have an imperect human nature (who among us IS perfect?) but that does not mean their hugh posts indicate an imperfect nature, or that the person believes others "opinions are suspect if not obviously wrong."

Of course, when one makes an accusation of a fallacy, the onus is on them to point it out and make their case. Secularist10 refused to do this with Fatfist . He also doesn't point out one of monkeyminds' to make his case. Then again, they may have been deleted.

Oddly, after falsely accusing someone of ad homs, you indulge in a few of your own.

Secularist is referring to the long posts of monkeyminds when he says:

"That’s because you’re not a very good communicator, lol. Communication is a big part of my work, so I can say that. It’s ok, few people are."

The argument here is that monkeyminds (1) can not summarize (in less than the arbitrary 1000 words) *God, the universe, and everything, therefore (2) he, or she is not a very good communicator. As an extra bonus the next sentence is the fallacy of argument from authority. We are expected to believe that Secularist can make his argument because the implication is that he is an authority on communication. I point this out to contrast the two fallacies. Whereas one is saying you can't trust the other person's argument because of a negative attribute, the other claims you can trust the argument because of a positive attribute. One can be a liar and tell the truth just as one can be honest and tell a lie.

*monkeyminds was actually referring to a number of scientific disciplines.

Secularist10: "You claim to care about accuracy, but only as a way of contradicting others you disagree with on an emotional basis. When it comes to the accuracy of your own statements, you fold like a lawn chair."

This is a stab at monkeymind's character by implying dishonesty. It would be dishonest to dissagree based purely upon an emotional attachment to the outcome and to use accuracy as an excuse when not caring about one's own accuracy. Even if monkeyminds did (1) fold like a lawn chair when it comes to his own accuracy, it does not mean that he (2) does not care about it. He could simply not understand that he is being inaccurate, and may correct his position once confronted with an inaccuracy. As previously pointed out, monkeyminds retracted his accusation of secularist10 lying when he told him particular posts of his were not deleted."

Secularist10: "Now I'm a liar. Haha. Good old fashion name calling. It shows the depth of your intellectual emptiness."

(1) Name calling, or weather or not you are a liar does not necessarily mean that (2) an indidividual is intellectually empty (whatever that means).

This statement needs to be justified, as do all claims of a fallacy...

"I will say though, that it was clear your earlier ad hominems were indeed part of your effort against my arguments. So they were for the purpose of undermining the argument. Not just random personal snipes. You can't weasel your way out of it."

Secularist10 has the burden of proof (since it is his accusation) to show Fatfist, or monkeyminds used personal attacks for the purpose of undermining the argument(s).


StoneCold 4 years ago

Seeing my previously posted 1227 word response to secularist was deleted, I edited and re-posted with 999 words.

I see it too is deleted, therefore, I shall not return.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Stone: If you're reading this...Since your last post is up, it may mean that he is not deleting, but reading and then approving after a chance to read it. Although it is curious that he let your last post through.

Check back here in a little while (maybe tomorrow) after he has had time to read your posts and write a response.

Please post your response on any one of my Hubs, so I can see it.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Stone Cold (if you're still around):

Thank you for trimming it down. Well, your analysis doesn't exactly knock my socks off.

"Good, then I won't point out all of "what I think" are fallacies because as I re-read through the material I see there are far too many (often in one sentence or parapgraph) and my time is limited."

Right away this tells me your argument is probably not very strong.

I'm not terribly interested in the ad hominem fallacy, to be honest with you. But since you've chosen to focus on it, fine.

First, I never said that him calling me a liar constituted an ad hominem.

Second:

"Monk: "And it's really funny, because, even though you are an idiot, you have made some good points in your list of myths."

If you call this an ad hom, you would in effect be saying that you did NOT make some good points."

This is just an emotional attack. And it alone shows that I effectively win the argument by default. When one side runs out of legitimate points and resorts to personal insults, it shows they have nothing important left to say.

"The argument here is that monkeyminds (1) can not summarize ... therefore (2) he, or she is not a very good communicator."

How is this an ad hominem? Ability to summarize is definitionally part of being a good communicator. If one cannot summarize, it indicates they are not a good communicator, in broad terms. Anyway, this statement of mine was more flip if anything.

I did not intend to imply that "I'm an expert on communication, therefore everything I say about it is true." I meant only to mention my relevant experience to clarify where I was coming from.

My statement about accuracy was not saying that he is necessarily dishonest, but rather that he is inconsistent. One set of rules for him, and another set of rules for others he disagrees with. He may very well genuinely believe it all, which would make him honest. But the point is consistency.

"(1) Name calling, or weather or not you are a liar does not necessarily mean that (2) an indidividual is intellectually empty (whatever that means)."

Well, it's not ironclad, but it is certainly an indication.

Here is an example of Monkey's ad hominems:

"QM is self refuting. We can solve QM BS on a conceptual level right here and now, if you are up for it. As for proof. You obviously don't understand the Scientific method. Science doesn't prove anything. It offers explanations."

My supposed lack of understanding the scientific method is being used as supporting evidence that my argument is wrong. Another:

"Obviously, it is [complicated] for you. There are over 38k Christian sects, and some believe in creation from nothing..."

The (supposed) fact that this is complicated for me is being used as supporting evidence that my argument is wrong.

BTW, the system hid your comments automatically because you are not a member of Hub Pages and your comments had a very large number of words. It was asking me if they were spam before showing them.


StoneCold 4 years ago

Thank you for trimming it down. Well, your analysis doesn't exactly knock my socks off.

So?

"You can point out what you think of as a logical fallacy if you want. And on the ad hominems, it does not require an explicit declaration that "You are stupid THEREFORE your argument is flawed." We can read between the lines."

"Good, then I won't point out all of "what I think" are fallacies..."

"Right away this tells me your argument is probably not very strong."

Non-sequiter, your challenge has to do with ad homs.

"I'm not terribly interested in the ad hominem fallacy, to be honest with you. But since you've chosen to focus on it, fine."

Disingenuous. Not really interested? Isn't that why you were deleting posts."I'm deleting a bunch of Monkey comments because .....To say nothing of his unwarranted personal attacks against me and others."

This is just an emotional attack. And it alone shows that I effectively win the argument by default. When one side runs out of legitimate points and resorts to personal insults, it shows they have nothing important left to say.

Non-sequiter, emotional attacks do not mean one has run out of important things to say.

"The argument here is that monkeyminds (1) can not summarize ... therefore (2) he, or she is not a very good communicator."

"How is this an ad hominem? This statement of mine was more flip if anything."

The fact that you admit to being flip shows that you were not being serious, further indicating a personal attack. That in itself is not an ad hom. What makes it an ad hom is (1) then (2). Monkeyminds says “I read it for the last 5 years, and still can not explain it very easily.” He wonders how he can be expected to summarize what is much of the highly technical field of physics and be held to 1000 words. So do I. He gave an example of Hawkings' entire book being a summary. He made his point, and the Amazon review bears that out. http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nutshell-Stephen-Wi...

Just because he did not summarize does not mean he can not, and just because he can not summarize all of physics, does not mean he can not summarize other subjects. That is another fallacy known as a non-sequiter. It does not follow. It is also a hasty generalization, since one broad technical subject is not necessarily indicative of one's ability to communciate.

"I did not intend to imply that "I'm an expert on communication"

Intent is not the issue. One can commit a fallacy unintentionally.

"My statement about accuracy was not saying that he is necessarily dishonest, but rather that he is inconsistent."

Then that is what you should have said. That you were calling him dishonest is what I inferred. I'm sure others did as well, especially since intellectually dishonest and liar had come up before.

Here is an example of Monkey's ad hominems:

"As for proof. You obviously don't understand the Scientific method. Science doesn't prove anything. It offers explanations."

"My supposed lack of understanding the scientific method is being used as supporting evidence that my argument is wrong."

Not necessarily, he made a statement and supported it. If you disagreed with "It offers explanations" then you should have concentrated on that. Instead you later agree that science doesn't really offer proof.

"Obviously, it is [complicated] for you. There are over 38k Christian sects, and some believe in creation from nothing..."

"The (supposed) fact that this is complicated for me is being used as supporting evidence that my argument is wrong."

I'm surprised you really think this since you don't see the ad hominem in "can't summarize therefore not good communicator."

However, monkeminds was responding to your statement that "this stuff isn't complicated." Since your statement implied it was complicated to monkeyminds, that was a deliberate attack on him, not on his argument. Therefore you were both comitting ad hominems. There were a number of other fallacies comitted by monkeyminds as well.

I have a heavy work load right now, and I don't really enjoy this kind of lawyering so I'll opt out. I will say that I took a very quick glance at the Fatfist pages on logic, and they are well worth your time. He understands logic. Although I did not see any ad homs, I have to agree he is very abrasive at times. Not my style, but if you can navigate through his abuse you may learn something.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"So?"

Lol. I knew you were going to say that. So nothing. Just making clear that I disagreed.

"Non-sequiter, your challenge has to do with ad homs."

It was not a categorical statement. I was referring to a general indication, one piece of evidence, so to speak.

"Disingenuous. Not really interested? Isn't that why you were deleting posts."

No. I was deleting them because they became offensive, unhinged and counterproductive to the conversation. I meant "personal attack" in the sense of emotionalism, name-calling, etc.

"Non-sequiter, emotional attacks do not mean one has run out of important things to say."

Technically no. But it sure is a good indication.

To say someone (1) cannot summarize, therefore (2) is not a good communicator is not an ad hominem. It is an impersonal statement about communication, applied to the individual in question. This would be an ad hominem: (1) you cannot summarize, therefore (2) your argument about the existence of God is wrong. One thing has nothing to do with the other. But summarization DOES have something to do with communication.

"He wonders how he can be expected to summarize what is much of the highly technical field of physics and be held to 1000 words. So do I."

What he wonders or what you wonder is irrelevant as to the question of what makes a person a good communicator.

"Just because he did not summarize does not mean he can not... It is also a hasty generalization..."

My reference to his communication skills was not just about summarization, it was also based on his whole winding, long-winded presentation to that point. There were many lines of evidence indicating that he was not a good communicator.

"Intent is not the issue. One can commit a fallacy unintentionally."

You made intent the issue when you read into my words beyond what they actually said. You assumed that my intention was that I was an expert on communication, etc. That was your mistake, not mine.

"That you were calling him dishonest is what I inferred."

Again, reading into things. I rarely if ever make assumptions about a person's honesty. Certainly not in a limited forum like this.

"Not necessarily, he made a statement and supported it. If you disagreed with "It offers explanations" then you should have concentrated on that. Instead you later agree that science doesn't really offer proof."

What I later agree with is irrelevant as to the ad hominem quality of that statement.

"I'm surprised you really think this since you don't see the ad hominem in "can't summarize therefore not good communicator.""

See above; it's not an ad hominem because I am not using his personal quality to disprove an argument that has nothing to do with his personal quality. I am using his personal quality to make a positive assessment of another quality that subsumes it.

"Therefore you were both comitting ad hominems. There were a number of other fallacies comitted by monkeyminds as well."

It's nice of you to admit that, given your earlier sentiment to the contrary. But I was not necessarily implying "it's complicated" for Monkey, just in a general sense. But he made it explicitly and unequivocally personal.

I've read some of Fatfist's stuff, sure. And as I said, he makes some good points on various things. But even a great idea will be lost with poor communication. Being abrasive, insulting, offensive, rambling and incoherent in one's presentation are good examples of poor communication skills.


StoneCold 4 years ago

"Lol. I knew you were going to say that. So nothing. Just making clear that I disagreed."

Sure.

"It was not a categorical statement. I was referring to a general indication, one piece of evidence, so to speak."

So?

"No. I was deleting them because they became offensive, unhinged and counterproductive to the conversation. I meant "personal attack" in the sense of emotionalism, name-calling, etc."

IOW, not ad homs. Thank you for finally admitting that.

"Non-sequiter, emotional attacks do not mean one has run out of important things to say." "Technically no. But it sure is a good indication."

"Technically" is what is important in logic.

"To say someone (1) cannot summarize, therefore (2) is not a good communicator is not an ad hominem. "

Ad hominems are not necessarily personal attacks, but it was clear that you were using it this way to distract your readers. Afterall, you say that it's part of your work. Are you trying to tell us that you were trying to teach monkeyminds better writing skills?

"What he wonders or what you wonder is irrelevant as to the question of what makes a person a good communicator."

Of course, but the point is not what either of us wonders, the point is one can not summarize all that complicated physics in 1000 words and he gave evidence for that (as did I). Besides you have used more than 1000 words as recently as your last post. Are you saying that you are a poor communicator? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

"My reference to his communication skills was not just about summarization"

That's not what you said at the time.

"You made intent the issue when you read into my words beyond what they actually said. You assumed that my intention was that I was an expert on communication, etc. That was your mistake, not mine."

This was your purpose and you know it, monkeyminds knows, I know it and your readers know it.

"That you were calling him dishonest is what I inferred." "Again, reading into things. I rarely if ever make assumptions about a person's honesty. Certainly not in a limited forum like this."

Inferred because it was implied. You did say he was intellectually dishonest prior and made several other statements implying dishonesty. I'll not be bothered to quote you. It appears that you will continue to lawyer every single point, instead of own up.

"What I later agree with is irrelevant as to the ad hominem quality of that statement."

No, it is not irrelevant. One's intent is not always clear, without taking the whole dialog into consideration. However it was clear, and made even more so by your later agreement.

"It's nice of you to admit that, given your earlier sentiment to the contrary."

Admit? We are discussing ad homs. Monkeyminds just didn't have any glaring examples of that, like you did.

" But I was not necessarily implying "it's complicated" for Monkey, just in a general sense. But he made it explicitly and unequivocally personal."

Not necessarily? Maybe you should work on your communication skills then, and learn to be clear? Nah, you were being sly and intentionally "not necessarily implying."


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Lol, I can't believe you're still on this. I won't respond to every point because I have more important things to do. Not a concession, though.

"IOW, not ad homs. Thank you for finally admitting that."

I never said they were ad hominems!

""Technically" is what is important in logic."

This is not, nor has it ever been, a discussion according to the rules of classical logic exclusively.

"...the point is one can not summarize all that complicated physics in 1000 words and he gave evidence for that (as did I)."

Wrong.

"Besides you have used more than 1000 words as recently as your last post."

What are you talking about? My last comment was less than 600 words.

More on communication:

"This was your purpose and you know it, monkeyminds knows, I know it and your readers know it."

Nope. I suggest you stop trying to read people's minds.

"Monkeyminds just didn't have any glaring examples of that, like you did."

That's because you were going over my comments with a fine tooth comb and not his. Whatever. I guess the attention is flattering, if nothing else. I had no "glaring" examples of ad hominems as I have made clear here. You won't accept it, of course, for some reason.

My communication skills are quite good, thank you very much. Maybe you should work on your comprehension skills?

"Nah, you were being sly and intentionally "not necessarily implying.""

Lol. Ok, let me rephrase: I was not implying, period.

"It appears that you will continue to lawyer every single point, instead of own up."

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! LOL. And I have nothing to "own up" to anyway.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 4 years ago from My Tree House

Hilarious! I don't know why I got a notification on this, but I am glad. That was so funny. This guy hasn't a clue that logic is powerless against someone that doesn't follow the rules! It's why I use insults. Much more effective.

I especially loved this:

"This is not, nor has it ever been, a discussion according to the rules of classical logic exclusively."

Love the last word-exclusively. Dude, you are the King Weasel! I mean that in the most sincere way possible! You have a lifelong fan in me!

But this time I will click on the Unfollow for the last time (hopefully that does the trick) I just can't afford to laugh this hard, it'll bust my stitches out.

Take Care! I really did enjoy our dialog (My wife's a New Yorker, so I knew what to expect).


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

King Weasel--the hits just keep on coming from the Monkey boy! Lol! He never fails to impress.

What he calls "weasel" most would call precision.

I do find these "rules" interesting though. It seems a person does not "follow the rules" if they don't operate according to an expected model of conversation/ argumentation.

I guess it is annoying when people actually defend their arguments in a coherent and reasonable way instead of just jumping straight into insults. The latter is so much more predictable. Ideal for those with little of substance to offer.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

All this stuff coming from a supposedly gifted expert on "communication," seems a bit like a christian person arguing a single verse in his/her bible, without giving due weight to context. Also it seems to exclude good will and acceptance of the less-than-perfect.

By the way, isn't a King Weasel the guy who goes after the King Wabbit? Racing down the hole, chasing the Wabbit out the other end, then remaining in the hole for too long. I guess you will get my meaning, lol.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Alright, well I'm officially done with this nonsense of who said what, when, and why. Not conceding anything, just moving on because I have many other things to do and this is my busiest time of the year. Continue commenting to your heart's content, everyone.

If anybody wants to talk about something important, by all means, I'll be glad to come back and give my two cents.

Stone, you can have the last word if you want.


DMVmimay 4 years ago

wew.... i cant believe you tackle about this also, i just read one of topic like this and it said that the term atheism has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in some places...


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

DMV, it's good to have your feed-. At the risk of annoying "secularist10," who's hub this is, for continuing when maybe he want to break off, there is just one more thing I wish to say on this topic. I was lying in bed this morning, just before rising, thinking: "Surely there is room for all of us, each with our own interpretation of 'things.'"

I mean, there are us who are atheist. There are those who are christian. There are those who want to believe in creation. Some of us can accept evolution as arises from Darwin's perceptions.

We don't have to be adamantly one way or the other. If we all keep our minds open to new understandings and possibilities, then the world simply carries on around us.....it does not fold up because we can't see everything in absolute terms.

Just suppose the beliefs of the Creationists turns out to be correct! That does not exclude the possibility that the creator, if there was one, used evolution as the mode of expression.

Suppose also that creationism turns out not to be correct. Some other means of formation caused our world "to be." Then it does not really matter. By the time we can come to this conclusion, we will be much wiser anyway.

Our looking upon the possibilities simply allows us to live our lives in awe and wonderment. Human emotions and being aware of the beautiful universe! What more can we wish for? We are blessed simply by this ability.

There now! I've gone and said much more than one thing! Sorry.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

Creationism is associated with a particular point in time and therefore does not fully comply with the concept of time, especially the infinite nature of it. However you cannot rule it out because available logic does not support it.

Being "much wiser" is a welcome thing and discussion is one of the paths to this target. Wisdom is our birth right. I am all for it. Where do I sign? :) :) :)


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

"Secular thinking can and does lead to moral absolutes, as with humanism."

Name one moral absolute common to all secularists.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Nicomp--I didn't say that all secularists have a common moral absolute. Every single secular person does not have to believe the same thing for secularism in general to lead to moral absolutes.

But if you're asking for an example of secular moral absolutes, the example is right in the statement you quoted--humanism.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

So... secular thinking leads to moral absolutes, but different sets of non-intersecting moral absolutes? Is that what you're asserting?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

That is not exactly implied by my previous comments.

But yes, I agree with that statement.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

Are you also suggesting that these sets of moral absolutes will never conflict with each other? For example, is Secularist A asserts that abortion is immoral, then there is no Secularist B that asserts otherwise?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

No. Obviously they can conflict with each other.


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Gillian Copsey 3 years ago

my understanding is that its not just "God" that atheists dont believe in (and I mean here the Jewish/Christian/Muslim one), its the existence of ALL gods and goddesses past and present, and I'm pretty sure atheists dont believe in saints, angels or devils or any other animal type deities either


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

How can moral absolutes conflict with each other?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

The bishop quoted should go back to his own country and address all the cruelty and abuse which women suffer there. The women are victims.

When two men or two women love each other and engage in whatever they find mutually agreeable, then it is their business, not one else's, and there are no victims.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

jonnycomelately: Any age limitations on your morality?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Gillian--it depends on the specific definition of atheism to a degree. But the key quality of atheism per se is the lack of belief in God.

Buddhism, for example, is often considered "atheist" even though some sects of Buddhism believe in saints, spirits and other kinds of entities.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Nicomp--different people believe different things.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

But they all claim absolute morality?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Yep. People disagree.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

nicomp, very sorry, that last post of mine came into the wrong thread..... I expect you will know where it should have gone if you care to look into my "activity" area.

"....age limits on my morality?" Not really. At any age we reach, hopefully life's experience will teach us how to behave within, and relationship to, our social community.

I suggest one of the main qualifications of morality is whether an action or a bias or belief has a deleterious effect on another person. If you start from this basis a very reasonable judgment can be made....


wileyspeaks profile image

wileyspeaks 3 years ago from Auburn, Indiana

Interesting article on this subject. I always enjoy learning about all the different views out there religious and non-religious views. I think that it is important to inform yourself and learn what others think and most importantly why they think that way. The biggest thing you can do is educate others. What bothers me are people that refuse to learn, and refuse to listen, they choose to remain ignorant and that I just don't understand. Good Hub!!


nuffsaidstan profile image

nuffsaidstan 3 years ago

I used to think i was an atheist now i am not so sure, i think i could be agnostic. i used to think i was schizophrenic but now i am in two minds about it. Great hub by the way.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks a lot, Wiley. I too have little tolerance for those who choose willing ignorance. I hope my contribution here can help along that process of education.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks, Nuff, glad you liked it.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

nuffsaidstan, that's what I like, positive, definite thinking! Like myself, I am always straight to the point and definite about everything; at least I think that's what people say about me; not sure I got that quite right, but anyway......

That "Nutty Chocolate Toffee Cheesecake" of yours looks positively, religiously EVIL. Could you make me one sometime?


Prion Indigo 3 years ago

Abraham Lincoln was not an atheist!! he was known to be a Christian. Albert Einstein was NOT an atheist, he was a theist (not religious, though).


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

There are questions as to Lincoln's devoutness, but yes, he was not likely an atheist. Whether Einstein was a theist is very much debatable. There is a lot of evidence indicating he did not believe in God, or that perhaps he believed in a kind of universal spirit power (very different from the traditional Abrahamic God).


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Of course not all atheists are inherently evil. :)

It is a worry though that "Secularist" hasn't mentioned a word about Peter Singer's Zoophilia activities and his attempts to end the lives of perfectly healthy children. Or Mr Dawkins' silence on these issues and the deafening silence in general by most online atheists about these issues (the 'cutting edge of new atheism).

(shhh! Don't mention the war Fawlty!)


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"Of course not all atheists are inherently evil. :)"

Atheists cannot agree on a definition of evil, so the assertion is specious. It may be an atheist's opinion that not all atheists are inherently evil but I'm sure you agree that an atheist cannot impose their definition of morality on anyone else.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

If an atheist's morality happens to be higher than a christian's, why not?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

@jonnycomelately , now you presume to judge morality: an atheist cannot do that without looking outside oneself for morality. There is no morality upon with all atheists can agree, ergo you have no benchmark.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

It is entirely possible for an atheist to have a very high degree of ethics; no one should deny that.

The problem is the "leaders" of atheism do not currently have high ethical standards (re singer, dawkins and even poor old hawking). I know, I know, the majority of atheists are in denial that these people are in fact leaders; but the fact is they are the common garden variety "leaders of atheism".

There is no evidence to show that a coherent body of ethics has emerged from New Atheism (as yet) hence the bizarre notion of Zoophilia and similar ideas such as the re-birth of Eugenics etc are spawning awful consequences (see genocide; also AIDS and the transference of animal diseases to humans etc).


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"It is entirely possible for an atheist to have a very high degree of ethics; no one should deny that."

Each atheist picks their own ethical code, so certainly they can anoint each other ethical. Or unethical.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oztinato:

"It is a worry though that "Secularist" hasn't mentioned a word about Peter Singer's Zoophilia activities..."

Boy, talk about coming out of left field, lol.

This is an article about atheism, not Peter Singer or anyone else.

Atheism is the lack of belief in God. There are no leaders of "lack of belief in God" and by definition there cannot be. It is possible for there to be leaders of a church, temple or other religious institution because those belief systems and institutions are set up in that way. But you cannot have a leader of a concept, an idea, a notion, or the lack thereof.

You may be talking about *prominent* atheists, but being prominent does not make one a leader.

It seems we have discovered an 11th myth about atheism: that because certain people happen to be prominent or celebrities, therefore they are "leaders of an atheist movement" or some such. Lol!

"There is no evidence to show that a coherent body of ethics has emerged from New Atheism"

I am not concerned with the so-called "New Atheism." But atheism itself has nothing to say about ethics--it is simply the lack of belief in God, full stop. I don't know how many ways one has to put this before people grasp this concept.

"...hence the bizarre notion of Zoophilia and similar ideas such as the re-birth of Eugenics etc are spawning awful consequences (see genocide; also AIDS and the transference of animal diseases to humans etc)."

The randomness and disjointedness of this statement is quite amazing. First of all, how in hell is zoophilia a "similar idea" to eugenics? Lol.

Secondly, I was not aware that eugenics was making a comeback.

"See genocide"--what the hell are you talking about? Genocide has been occurring around the world since the dawn of time. (In fact, arguably one of the earliest examples of genocide is documented in the Old Testament--the ancient Israelites committing genocide at the command of their "God," and thus a religion-based genocide.)

I must admit, I've never heard anyone try to pin AIDS and the "transference of animal diseases to humans" on atheism. That's a new one. I thought I had heard it all! Lol!

At least you've brought some entertainment to this hub, lol!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Secularist

Dont sell the New Atheism short. Its a new resurgent attempt at philosophy albeit without ethics trying to develop science, art etc on as yet vague grounds.

Like it or not it does have new leaders; Mr Dawkins and zoophiliac Singer two of the most prominent. To deny that is just embarrasment at work.

These blogs are abbreviations. I was referring to 2 topics swept under the mat by many but not all new atheists; two incedibly unethical practices that turn the stomach.

These weird embarrasing new atheist developments are related to my main point regarding the poverty of ethical development of the very new atheist movement currently sweeping the world.

Atheism in the 21st century and its highly visible leaders are laying claim to much more than just a non belief in God. You can deny it but no serious observer will.

In my dealings with most online atheists (but not all) I see them get very emotive and irrational and insulting in debates which I find symptomatic of the same weakened ethical state as described above.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

PS i just tried to edit regarding eugenics but it didnt come through.

Briefly I am referring to the prominent new atheist leadership push for after birth abortion (legalising infanticide) and the deafening silence coming from Mr Dawkins and the vast majority of online atheists regarding this unethical idea.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oztinato:

Zoophilia and eugenics--I still fail to see what any of this has to do with atheism. Lol. I already said atheism in and of itself has nothing to do with ethics.

Lack of belief in God no more leads one to any specific moral belief than belief in God, unto itself. It is only with additional beliefs or ideas or assumptions that one starts to construct any ethical or moral framework.

"Atheism in the 21st century and its highly visible leaders are laying claim to much more than just a non belief in God. You can deny it but no serious observer will."

Again, atheism does not have any leaders and cannot, by definition. It is not up to me or my personal opinion, or yours, or anyone else's. It is a definitional issue. So since "atheism" does not and cannot have any leadership (any more than "theism" can), your premise is faulty and therefore this statement is unsound.

"In my dealings with most online atheists (but not all) I see them get very emotive and irrational and insulting in debates which I find symptomatic of the same weakened ethical state as described above."

Well, in my dealings with many online religionists (not all) I see them get very emotional and irrational as well. I don't take it as symptomatic of a weakened ethical state though (at least not necessarily). I just think they're idiots.

"eugenics... Briefly I am referring to the prominent new atheist leadership push for after birth abortion (legalising infanticide)..."

With all due respect, I have to call a spade a spade. You are just pulling this nonsense out of your ass.

First of all eugenics and infanticide are two different things. (I'm not sure why you like to conflate eugenics with so many unrelated things.)

More importantly, what "prominent new atheist leadership" is advocating infanticide? If they are so prominent, certainly they should have plenty of influence and easily get media attention, especially for such an outlandish and absurd idea, no?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Let me put it this way: it is apparent that the New Atheist Movement has created an ethical vacuum in many, but not all, of its adherents.

The most obvious example to me is a widely held view that hypocrisy now has no meaning. For example; all ethics, science and art evolved out of religion (a belief in God/God’s) but many atheists,not all, deny the evolutionary roots of their own philosophy of ethics while at the same time defending the principle of evolution! Ergo, hypocrisy.

This new Homersimpsonion atheist view that “everyone is stupid except me” does not count as a philosophy or an ethic. For example, if a budding new individual atheist (say for example a Peter Singer type) was to develop his unique code of ethics by practicing Zoophilia with a pig and happened to create a new types of AIDS this would have to be seen as “bad”, stupid, undesirable or possibley evil as it would be potentially fatal to millions of other humans.

In other words atheism as a philosophy as described by Secularisto "doesn't work" (yet).

PS there was a huge public media controversy about so called after birth abortions only in the last year of so.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Well, you're wrong on almost every count.

Let me reiterate that I am not concerned with "New Atheism" in this essay. Only atheism, plain and simple.

That said, the "New Atheist" movement (which by the way is dissipating nowadays ever since Hitchens' death, and also because there is increasingly less need for it, since western society as a whole is becoming more secular and atheistic), has featured a number of thoughts and ideas about ethics, from various thinkers.

Those ethical and moral beliefs may be different from what you are comfortable with, if you are a Christian or other religious person, but that does not mean there is an ethical vacuum. The basis for morality is different, but it is still there. Lack of religion does not inexorably lead to moral decline.

"The most obvious example to me is a widely held view that hypocrisy now has no meaning."

No one has said such a thing. This is utterly random.

"all ethics, science and art evolved out of religion (a belief in God/God’s)..."

Wrong. Humans were creating moral and ethical frameworks, science and art long before religion, as such, existed.

"... but many atheists,not all, deny the evolutionary roots of their own philosophy of ethics while at the same time defending the principle of evolution!"

I think you are confusing biological evolution with a metaphor of "evolution" in human culture.

"This new Homersimpsonion atheist view that “everyone is stupid except me”..."

To the contrary, it is religious people who have held this view for thousands of years.

"In other words atheism as a philosophy as described by Secularisto "doesn't work" (yet)."

Atheism is not a philosophy. So your premise is faulty.

Enough with this zoophilia nonsense. I am not interested in the sick behaviors you're morbidly fascinated by.

Anything else you want to talk about, fine.


Oztinato 2 years ago

I am not saying there is no hope for Atheism. It could be the answer to many of life's problems IF combined with strong ethics and laws.

Biological evolutionary theories have lead to a whole new cultural approach to science, art etc; "evolution" has certainly grown to become a modern concept that encompasses many phenomena even in the arts. Likewise the New Atheism is doing the same thing. It has gone way beyond the simplistic definition that you seem to want to cling to. My view is a very clear and "sound" view mirrored in the media and internet.

You say clearly here that each individual atheist selects their own ethics: but all ethics evolved out of religion! Think about it. Our laws evolved out of religion. Even if religion has become a museum piece it should be respected as part of our human history and heritage as described.

History shows that from Neanderthal times humans practiced religion; this later grew into the myriad cultural forms of literature, art, architecture, science and philosophy. It is all part of cultural evolution and shouldn't be denied and mocked.

It is therefore hypocritical to deny it as I have argued here.

There is no doubt Atheists claim in the 21st Century to be much more than just a disbelief in God: it has become a growing influential philosophy in all the arts and sciences.

I don't think any serious researcher would doubt that all art, science and culture came from man's belief in God and attempts at religion for the past 100,000 years.

If you follow the news about Zoophilia there are determined leading atheist philosophers trying hard to bring it into law. Likewise with after birth abortions. Just Google it; its all there and its all coming from atheist professors of ethics and even doctors.

Why deny it? How can we have a discussion about it if its simply denied?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

There has been a vibrant and growing ethical and philosophical discourse among secular thinkers for hundreds of years, "New Atheism" is ironically nothing new in that respect. The only thing that we might say is "new" is that there is more intellectual space for such a conversation today because religion is all but finished in the western world.

But atheism is what it is. No one can change the definition of the word. Secular moral philosophies and new ways of thinking about ethics are another matter entirely. Many of those thinkers may happen to be atheist, yes. They also might happen to be of European descent, or living in English-speaking countries. Those things will influence their ideas as well.

I am a proponent of secular morality (indeed, I have written hubs on that topic). But atheism, by itself, cannot logically lead to any moral conclusion. The same can be said of theism, or deism. These are simply isolated metaphysical concepts, nothing more. Moral and philosophical discussions are separate from them.

I am not clinging to any simplistic definition. The definition of "atheism" has been established for a long time. You can look it up in the dictionary. Don't shoot the messenger.

The difference between the metaphorical use of "evolution" that you cite and atheism is that atheism has always referred specifically to the lack of belief in god ("a-theism"), whereas evolution, as a term, existed long before Darwin's biological use of it. Evolution technically means any process of change or growth. The "theory of evolution" is a specific theory in science.

I do agree that "atheism" is misused and misunderstood by many people today. But that is all the more reason to clarify its actual meaning. If people want to talk about secular philosophy or anti-religion philosophies, then they can use other terms for that.

Your description of religion and human culture is too simplistic. Yes, some kind of religious belief has existed since the earliest times. And yes, art and politics and other aspects of culture were often deeply tied to religious beliefs. But to say that "religion came first" is incorrect.

Rather, the earliest religious beliefs were part of an overall cultural whole. Political leadership, ethnic and tribal identity, gender roles in society, art and music, moral customs, supernatural beliefs and pretty much everything else were united into a single whole. We see traces of this in the Old Testament, but even by then significant change was underway, where religion and political life were being gradually distinguished from each other.

Moreover, true "religion" as we know it (a formalized belief system a la Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, etc), was a much later invention, long after human ethics and artistic talents had emerged.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Although the word evolution existed before Darwin it was only after the flowering of that concept via Darwin that a once vague word began to affect many other areas. This changed many concepts and even moral philosophies. It is clear this is now happening with New Atheism (for want of a better word). Early atheistic view points seem to have uneasily wedded onto the idea of evolution and created the abberations that I have already pointed out.

In other words these twin concepts have resulted in a very mixed and confusing bag of ethics and non ethics. It is easy to say that atheism itself is a non-philosophy but that is very wishful thinking considering recent modern developments.

Comprehensive anthropological dictionaries agree with my view regarding atheism;simplistic one line definitions dont.

I dont agree with you on that point.

There is a lot of evidence to show theism and religion existed since even Neanerthals came along. Hinduism and other very ancient religions existed for milleniums and created all human culture and science.

An atheist who has a strong ethical code is part of that same relgious/theistic evolution as stated. Hence it is ethically wrong to "ridicule" religion. An atheist without a strong ethical code is part of the failed branches of social evolution.

I dont see much evidence at all of atheism "going anywhere" either culturally or philosophically in the past and certainly it is struggling badly to add any ethical positives even now. "Festivus" is a running gag. Peter Singer is another running gag but unfortunately he also gives new meaning to that old unpopular word "evil". If other atheists dont speak up against this Singer direction they become morally culpable.

If you analyse what I am saying it should be quite clear that the once vague and limited word atheism has now taken on another dimension in the 21st century.

Theists dont necessarily have a relgion; and religion certainly needs to evolve into an all encompassing Hindu form but at least it can evolve as proved by classic Hinduism.

I am not a Hindu but I tolerate all beliefs that protect the weak and show economic compassion.

Currently modern atheist philosophy is re-writing the Dickens classic "A Xmas Carol" and calling xmas humbug plus wanting to euthanase Tiny Tim Cratchet! What is responsible for this? If analysed honestly it is the newly emerging atheism which in fact has become more than just a dis-belief in a god.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Oztinato, if you want to be a theist, Dear, you are free to do so.... no one is trying to stop you. You are free to apply whatever you regard as ethical principles in your life, as you see fit and to comply with all your beliefs. I certainly would not wish you to be anything but a good, upright, god-fearing person, fit to enter your Heaven after you last breath - if that is your solemn wish.

But please, don't run away with the idea that all you see as "moral" is in agreement with what others see. Indeed, some might see your morals as immoral in their opinions.... that's if they ever got to know your secrets. This is a diverse world we live in. All manner of cultures and traditions are followed around the world. They have different backgrounds, different histories, different habitats and climatic conditions, all of which can shape cultures in unique ways.

However, you need to be careful in how you practise and how you preach. One-track minds have a habit of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." They fail to see the genuine needs and feelings of others whom they would like to "evangelize." From that failing, they can perpetrate untold suffering and confusion in those they would like to convert.

So, to summarise, your views can honestly be your own, but not translatable to any or every other person in the world. Remember, in order to judge anyone fairly, one needs to be in possession of all the FACTS, not just hearsay. I am sure that you, as a religious person, will agree with that.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"One-track minds have a habit of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater."

A proper description of atheism.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

If that "baby" is just a plastic doll, shaped the way you want your god to be, maybe it will swim out with the bathwater.

Hopefully I am not too narrow minded. I do try to see other points of view. But I do embrace atheism. For myself. Not trying to impose it on others like evangelists try to do with their faith.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oztinato

"It is easy to say that atheism itself is a non-philosophy but that is very wishful thinking considering recent modern developments."

To the contrary, the vast majority of atheists and secular thinkers will agree with my more limited view of the word "atheism." Recent developments do support my position, as atheism and secularism have become more acceptable these days, and greater diversity has ensued.

The people who are actual thinkers on these matters should not be confused with the media and the popular culture, which has a tendency to simplify and gloss over everything. It is primarily in that domain that we see the over-simplification regarding the definition of atheism.

(Not to say that there are not atheists, including intelligent and well-read atheists, who make this mistake as well. Just that these kinds of errors are far less common among those who know what they believe.)

"Theists dont necessarily have a relgion..."

Exactly! It's the same thing for a-theism. Theism and atheism are simply singular ideas or concepts, they do not necessarily lead to anything more.

The fact that the vast majority of theists are also members of an established religion does not change the fact that theism itself is limited in this way.

Similarly, even if the vast majority of atheists may believe this or that, it does not therefore follow that "atheism" per se deserves such an expansive definition.

Atheism has never been "vague"--its meaning has always been clear to anyone who just looks up the definition.

"Hinduism and other very ancient religions existed for milleniums and created all human culture and science."

You are simply restating what you said in the previous comment. I already addressed this issue of the role of religion in early cultural development.

You should look into the many different ethical philosophies among modern atheists. It is more complicated and diverse than your simple analysis.

It's like you are looking at the official doctrines of the Catholic Church, and concluding that is representative of the totality of Christian belief.

Among atheists today there is everything from hedonism, to nihilism, to existentialism, to utilitarianism and more. Specific schools of thought crisscross each other and often contradict each other, even while they are all advocated by atheists.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Theism is the basis for all religions and also for all god based philosophy and action be it creative or scientific.

Likewise atheism is the foundation for all non-god based philosophies and actions be they creative or scientific.

Neither is an isolated single line definition simplistic singular phenomenon.

I can’t put it any clearer than that.

I have re stated the correct view that religion has been responsible for the last approx. 100,000 years of successful human culture (science, art and the whole lot!) as a way of pointing out certain contradictions I have noticed in modern atheist philosophy in its approach to religion. Contradictions that neither you nor others have yet fully and correctly responded to.

Both functional atheism and functional theism share the basic ethic of human compassion and protection of the weak. Bereft of those basics both philosophies will fail and become Homersimpsonion ("everyone's stupid except me").

The great cultural failures of human history revolve around the loss of basic human values. These basic human values certainly evolved out of religion both old and new.

If I personally don't see any modern variation of atheism loudly condemning the Peter Singer's of the world I can not take it seriously and see it as another dead end branch on the evolutionary tree of philosophy: it is a weird pre-neanderthal type of social thought that didn't last. To bring back antiquated failed moral philosophies in the name of atheism is deeply hypocritical. Hypocrisy is regarded as not conducive to the better good by both Religion and Science. If it can be proved that either philosophy practices hypocrisy, it should be condemned.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Ok, so condemn christianity. Or stop being a hypocrite.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oztinato:

"I have re stated the correct view that religion has been responsible for the last approx. 100,000 years of successful human culture..."

The facts simply do not back you up. Religion has motivated many positive human achievements, yes. But it has also motivated many negative ones (wars, genocides, oppression of women, oppression of minority groups, rejection of scientific advancement, etc).

Indeed, although religion has sometimes supported scientific advancement, it has more often resisted it and inhibited it. That is a major reason why people actually practicing science have become less and less religious over the centuries, to the point that today the vast majority of scientists are atheists.

The greatest achievements in science, technology and political advancement have occurred in the last few centuries, IN SPITE OF religion, not because of it.

This realization is a major reason why so many people are leaving religion today and embracing secularism or atheism.

Religion's overall impact on humanity has been, and continues to be, negative. Atheism and irreligion are not the panacea, but at least they provide space for true human flourishing and growth, outside of the arbitrary restrictions of backward and regressive beliefs.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

An unbiased view shows that the negative behaviors of both religious and atheist based philosophies are based on cartain participants own hypocrisy and ulterior political motives.

Hypocrisy is not religion and it is not atheism. It is an annoying human ethical failure that has nothing to do with either.

Therefore it has to be said that both ethical atheism and true religion share a common abhorrence of hypocrisy. It is this kind of basic adherence to a code of ethics ("laws") that is a guiding force in any new social phenomena: otherwise the social phenomena self destructs.

If any atheist takes the time to study the way the ancient Greek and Hindu religions encouraged the sciences they can get a better view of the big picture. Even Islam had a golden age of learning which carried the ancient Greek maths and philosophy into the Modern world (through to the Renaissance). Without this transference of knowledge it can be argued that today's modern world would not be so advanced.

It is certain that the mix of true religion and society has been very fruitful.

Yes of course there were times when the hypocrisy of certain religious leaders opposed new scientific thought: but it has to be remembered these new ideas were also being put forward by devout truly religious open minded men (frequently monks and priests).

If we admire the works of Michelangelo or Van Gogh, or ancient Egyptian art or the architecture of the Gothic period etc we are admiring the interaction of religion with society. Therefore my argument is that religion does work but atheist philosophy does not YET seem to bear fruit. I am not saying atheist ethics can't work, just that they have failed to work in the past and are struggling in the present. By not vociferously opposing people like Peter Singer the average atheists are still failing to provide an ethical philosophical alternative: simply by shrugging it off they are proving the point I am making here.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

You speak of "hypocrisy." It's not about hypocrisy. If you follow the letter of many religious doctrines, you will be oriented towards violence and conquest and oppression. Read many holy texts like the Old Testament or the Quran, and you will see plenty of justification and encouragement for violence and for resisting new ideas.

You speak of "true religion." What makes you say that one religion, or one religious belief, is any more "true" than another? There are many holes in your statements here.

"...the ancient Greek and Hindu religions encouraged the sciences... Even Islam had a golden age of learning..."

This demonstrates that it is not religion that contributes to scientific advancement and learning, it is a basic human desire for knowledge and growth. Each of these religions and worldviews were very different from each other, and yet we see scientific advancement in all of them.

"Therefore my argument is that religion does work..."

History shows otherwise. When religion declined, prosperity and freedom increased. Where there is more religious devotion in the world today, there is less prosperity and less freedom, and vice versa.

These are simply the facts, not opinion. More religious devotion is correlated with more human suffering and misery.

I have explored these facts in other hubs:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Religion-A...

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Religion-A...

As well as others. You can also see my articles on the decline of Christianity in recent history, this is the first in the series:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Declin...

"...but atheist philosophy does not YET seem to bear fruit."

This statement is meaningless because there is no "atheist philosophy" as I keep saying. Just as there is no "theist philosophy."


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

(I believe it is regarded as unethical on Hub to refer to other threads. I could do the same but of course will not).

The true part of ALL religions is the part about compassion and humanity: this is theist based philosophy at work. There is of course a wide variety of theist based philosophy and religions. No one can deny this. Its well recorded in millions of books etc.

There is no one superior religion.

All religions have something to contribute (taking into consideration the time, place and circumstances of each religion). Corrupt hypocritical people like Hitler etc. tried to use religion to further corrupt ends: that’s all there is to it. To tar all religions with the same brush is yet another boring gross ethical error akin to racism etc. (stereotyping)

Those who try to use religion to further political ends are merely hypocrites just as an atheist ethicist who tries to further a hidden political agenda is also a hypocrite. The difference often seems to be that religions can eventually identify this kind of hypocrisy but many atheists (NOT ALL!) seem to treat this as normal behavior.

Religions ultimate and greatest achievement was to make us truly human by encouraging virtues of compassion and protection for the weak. It also created civilization, great art, architecture and science: this is totally undeniable and the historical record is forever frozen in time and well recorded on this point. To deny it is obvious hypocrisy for political ends (see above)

I have given sound logical arguments to the effect that modern atheism is undeniably the basis for numerous modern philosophies which are now affecting the law, sciences and the arts: again a totally undeniable modern phenomena. To try to wave all this current social trend away by simply saying “there is no such thing as an atheist philosophy” just doesn’t make sense. To do so is just convenient political hypocrisy which adds nothing to the debate and does not reflect the obvious reality.

Do you agree that both religions and atheist based philosophies abhor hypocrisy?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"Do you agree that both religions and atheist based philosophies abhor hypocrisy?"

You cannot make that generalization about atheism. Atheism has no 'philosophy' beyond the denial of God's existence. Individual atheists may abhor hypocrisy but there is no codified reason for them to do so.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

All I ask is that the people here read wiki on atheism and you will see that although there is no unifying philosophy there are in fact many atheist philosophies and ideologies. Atheism is more than just a one line definition. Its an important modern movement intimately linked to numerous new ideologies.

As for the mutual abhorrence of hypocrisy: it doesn't matter if there are no codified reasons. The abhorrence of hypocrisy evolved out of religions millenniums ago and is part of humanity, as is compassion. Its like a meme that is so ancient it has become a gene. True atheism and true theism both share ethics. Even some animals display compassion and tolerance and the abhorrence of hypocrisy.eg. many higher mammals punish members who go to far in the harassment of members of their own species.

Ergo to disregard the evolution of religion is in fact hypocrisy; the tarring of all religions with the same brush is hypocrisy; not seeing the religion in art history and science is hypocrisy etc.

I am saying this not to be nasty but to try and demonstrate that generally atheism SEEMS to have lead to a dulling of the ethical sense; so that practitioners can no longer perceive potential hypocrisy as easily UNLESS it is replaced with a strong set of ethical values and education.

Many of Secularistio's arguments reveal this after a logical clinical ethical analysis.

What is the motive in ignoring the historical value of religion? It has to be a political reason and not a logical or an ethical reason.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Oztinato, I note from Wikpedia that your nickname if spelt with and "s" relates to being stubborn. Is that significant?

All that you have written here about atheists comes from you in obscurity. You have been in Hubpages for 12 months, with no hubs and no followers. You tell nothing about yourself, so how can we give you credibility? What are you afraid of? Is your refusal to expose anything about yourself a form of hypocrisy?

Are you a person who professes christianity? If you are, then that surely would give you courage to state your convictions openly, regardless of anyone disagreeing with you.

Are you genuine with what you write here? Are you open to changing your opinion if someone offers different points of view? Or are you totally fixed in your way of thinking?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

" True atheism and true theism both share ethics. "

Nope. Atheism is without ethics. It has no morals. Atheists may declare themselves moral or adopt some external moral code, but becoming an atheist obligates no specific moral or ethical code.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

"...isms" don't need ethics.

Humans need ethics in order to live comfortably with other people and all the other living things of this world - in harmony♥.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oztinato:

"(I believe it is regarded as unethical on Hub to refer to other threads. I could do the same but of course will not)."

I don't know where you heard that. You are free to post links to whatever references or sources you want, as long as you don't overdo it with a million links or whatever. And as long as they are relevant to the discussion. I don't mind.

"Do you agree that both religions and atheist based philosophies abhor hypocrisy?"

Ha! Definitely not! Human beings are famous for their hypocrisy and contradictions. And religion is in many ways the epitome of this tendency (although hypocrisy is certainly limited to religion).

There are plenty of thinkers and thought leaders (religious, atheist and others) who have been hypocritical in many ways through the centuries.

One of the best examples in modern times is the Catholic Church. It has claimed moral authority on countless matters, including sexual morality, and yet for years looked the other way at child abuse and child rape by its own priests.

It's interesting that you criticize politics for its tendency to hypocrisy, but for some reason religion, which is just a human invention as much as politics, you view as sacrosanct.

Let's be real and see religion for what it is: a flawed attempt by people to understand their world, frequently hijacked by corrupt and self-interested individuals and institutions, and more often than not standing in the way of human advancement.

I reiterate, the facts of history are on my side. If you add up all human achievements in the sciences and in knowledge--that is, aggregate them all--you will see that the vast majority of these achievements have occurred in the last few centuries.

Humanity went for thousands of years with precious little advancement scientifically or technologically. People in the 1300s were more or less at the same level of advancement as their ancestors a millennium earlier.

It was in the former period that humans were most religious and devout. While that period was much LONGER (lasting thousands of years), the total amount of advancement was actually LESS than in the last few hundred years, when people have been at their least religious ever.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oztinato:

"... atheist philosophies and ideologies."

I agree that there are various philosophies and ideologies that fall under the "atheist" umbrella. But I already said that earlier. You have been talking about atheism *as a philosophy*, which is different.

"... atheism SEEMS to have lead to a dulling of the ethical sense"

Your causation here is incorrect. And I would not cast it in terms of "dulling the ethical sense" but rather transcending traditional, established ethics into a DIFFERENT ethical sense.

So yes, in recent centuries people have left the traditional values and ethics of religion and the worldviews associated with religion. And they have replaced those traditional religious values with new religious values (new religions and spiritual paradigms), or with nonreligious values (values based on naturalistic or secular ideas), or with nihilism/ lack of any values at all.

So in a way it is not surprising that you associate ethical decline with atheism, because both can occur when adherence to religious values decline. But the key thing you are missing is that many of those traditional religious values were in fact, unethical.

Think of all the crimes and wars and oppression committed in the name of religion. The oppression and violence against women, against minority groups (African slaves in North America, Jews in Europe, etc), religious wars, persecution of witches, and so on. Today we see some "devout" Christians persecuting certain children in Africa because they believe they are witches.

We are lucky to be rid of these "traditional values."

Does getting rid of existing, established ethical norms sometimes lead to uncertainty, ambiguity or even moral decline? Yes. That is the nature of change. It is a risk. Sometimes we fail.

But evidently, we are succeeding more often than we are failing, as seen by the millions of people who live in post-religious societies today that enjoy more freedom, justice, equality, peace and prosperity than ever experienced in human history.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Jonny:

"Humans need ethics in order to live comfortably with other people and all the other living things of this world - in harmony♥."

And religion was often used as a mechanism for achieving that ethical reality. We have only recently realized that it's the ethics that are really necessary, not the religious packaging around it.

Confusing the superficial aspects of religion (rituals, customs, prayers, ceremonies, etc) with true ethics has resulted in countless problems.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

In summary regarding the various comments made I feel it necessary to briefly mention Peter singer again: the inherent dangers to the entire human race of encouraging animal to human diseases by the acceptance of beastiality plus the calm acceptance of infanticide as the "new black" and cutting edge of atheist philosophy is the current appalling reality of this huge social experiment.

There is nowhere (at the moment) for atheism to go but down. Peter Singer is not just one man but represents an entire highly popular school of thought that has influenced thousands of graduates.

There is nowhere (at the moment) for atheism to go but ‘Down’ unless there is a considered acceptance of the evolution of human ethics from religion to more evolved religion and of course even into atheism itself.

I am defending true atheism and true religion.

Atheism itself is quite acceptable, but devoid of ethics is close to insanity re Peter Singer.

It doesn’t have to be a specific code of ethics; but there is no doubt that the protection of the human race, the weak and animals etc relate to the definition of humanity. Other basic human values such as the non-stereotyping of entire groups, compassion, honesty etc are also symptomatic of what is “human”. They have evolved with us a species and can’t be gotten rid of just as the skeletal system can’t be simply gotten rid of because of an erroneous idea that the skeletal system is no longer relevant! It is a result of evolution and is inseparable from us as humans.

To abandon human ethics is to devolve.

I can only continue to re-state that the failures and hypocrisy of religion and atheism are due to practicing hypocrites and are not a result of the actual true form of either philosophy.

My own philosophy is multi faith and multi religious and I take the stance of an anthropologist who studies and appreciates comparative religion.

Of course there has been a startling growth in science and technology and this is taken for granted as a good thing: so why is an advance in ethics seen as undeniable and “too close to religion”? This attitude to religion and thus ethics is definitely coming from and being publicly taught by the poor atheist leadership of today eg. Dawkins, Singer. Such leaders have entangled themselves (hypocritically) into the world of mass marketing and cooked up badly thought out “haywire” ethics and non-ethics so they can sell books and become famous.

I have no desire to start a hub as there are already thousands of them available. My main goal is to express original thought regarding these topics in the hope of mutual education. I am a very busy person and really do not have the time for the social media Facebook type of lifestyle that seems to attract so many others. I prefer to remain anonymous. As both atheists and the religious accept freedom of speech it should be easy to accept that I am allowed to express my own freedom of speech ( if it doesn’t harm the weak, the human race in general, does not stereotype and sticks to the rules of basic human ethics which is imprinted in our DNA).


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

".....the inherent dangers to the entire human race of encouraging animal to human diseases by the acceptance of beastiality plus the calm acceptance of infanticide as the "new black" and cutting edge of atheist philosophy is the current appalling reality of this huge social experiment."

A statement such as this when you are discussing (and denigrating) atheism is a disgusting liberty on your part. How on earth you can even consider such things to be acceptable to anyone just because he or she is of atheist persuasion, is beyond my ken.

You have given very weak excuses for your anonymity, I rather suspect it is cowardice on your part. Prove I am wrong.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

My apologies, I retract some of what I wrote in the previous post. Having read some of the Wikipedia entry for Peter Singer, I see what you are talking about.

All I can say now, having read only briefly about Peter Singer, I suspect he is the victim of mass reaction - from people who will not listen to him fully, will not consider deeply what he has to say and race into an immediate judgment of his views, a bit like I did for you, oztinato.

So, let's have the discussion continue. I, as one with an atheist point of view, do have a background in christianity during the early part of my life. This moved into involvement with Siddha Yoga and Vipassana, neither of which I follow specifically, yet have gained much from simply listening to their teachings and "testing" them for myself.

I do have a strong sense of ethics, which might surprise some people who are dead against homosexuality and atheism.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Oz:

We are in agreement that strong ethics are necessary for human flourishing. And we are in agreement that both atheists and religious people can be ethical, or unethical.

But your main error is in thinking that religion, in and of itself, provides some special or unique ethical insight. It does not. Religion has been created and layered on top of the existing human ethical sense, not the other way around.

This is precisely why people can be ethical without religion. And why religious people can be unethical. The two are independent of each other.

At best, all that religion gives us is various thoughts and ideas on ethics. We might read the Bible from a secular standpoint, for instance, and get some ideas and food for thought, the way we would read a text from Plato or Aristotle or Machiavelli or Confucius.

But the error is to reify religion into some kind of special authority, when it is simply one expression of human ethical thinking among many.

You are, once again, giving Peter Singer far too much credit. Singer, Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet and other prominent atheists are all prominent or well known. But that does not mean their ideas are swallowed hook, line and sinker by most actual atheists.

In fact atheists today are probably one of the most diverse groups of people around. Everyone has their own ideas, precisely because independent thought and skepticism and critical thinking are core values that almost all atheists and agnostics today hold dear.

Jonny come lately, for instance, is an atheist, and he and I certainly do not agree on a lot of things.

In any case your error here is two-fold, (1) you fixate on specific problems and failings of Singer's writings, without acknowledging his positive ethical contributions in other areas (with respect to poverty alleviation or animal rights for instance), and (2) more importantly, you ignore many other ideas from atheists and secular people who have very different models of ethics and morality.

It's interesting you want us to account for the good contributions religion has made, ignoring or sweeping under the rug the negatives, but when it comes to modern atheist and secular thought, you do the exact reverse: fixating on the negatives, while ignoring the positives.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I think we are largely in agreement about this topic. It is refreshing to hear an atheist at least acknowledge the existence of religion rather than trying to pretend it doesn't exist.

Yes, I am very concerned about Peter Singer's ideas as they are sensationalist and unhealthy. Also, I am concerned about the total lack of opposition to his ideas on beastiality and infanticide by the other leaders of atheist philosophy. Any actual good ideas he has come up with are certainly swallowed up by his attempt to calmly accept the ideas mentioned above. (Hitler once had a “good idea”too: the VW!) To all legal, true atheist and theistic ideologies Singer’s ideas on these ethical issues hark back to what perhaps a pre-human might have practiced (Ramapithecus perhaps?). To put it more simply, if we can keep our food down when we read about Singer’s ideas we are losing touch with basic human ethics.

The popular leaders have enormous influence particularly on younger people who might want to formulate their own concept of atheism.

I have repeatedly freely admitted the failings of hypocrites in both religions and atheism as separate phenomena from both religion and atheism. I will continue to repeat that mantra. The flaw in below average atheist reasoning stems from a stereotyping of all religions: stereotypical thinking is neither a symptom of scientific thought nor of ethics, so it can't be said to have any use whatsoever in this debate or in the evolution of ethics. Hence to stereotype is to devolve.

To leave it all up to the individual doesn't work because the actual "law" is the true arbiter of ethics so the individual is legally not the sole arbiter of ethical standards. The corporate world often pines for a life unhindered by any regulation and I don’t see them successfully relying on their innate ethics to run business. (see GFC).

People need laws.

Laws evolved out of religion and into a partially secular legal system. Yes the legal system too has had monumental failures due to corrupt hypocrites and a slow evolution into something better.

I have openly defended ethical atheistic humanism.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Johnny Come Lately

thanks for your comments.

The Hindus have called Vishnu "the atom" for thousands of years. They say he is present in every single atom. Does the "Observer Effect" provide proof of the consciousness present in the quantum world? A consciousness that travels at 4 times the speed of light! Infinite consciousness? Psychic researchers often complain that results change when the experiment is observed. This is still laughed at by skeptics.

Once medieval monks taught that one million angels could fit on the head of a pin. This was laughed at by skeptics. Today science says the entire universe was once the size of the head of pin.

Religions, even primitive ones, suspected there are at least several other dimensions: today maths proves there are many other dimensions.

Ideas do not often occur in total isolation: they evolve and grow out of each other.

Science may yet prove the existence of God. For example it is mathematically impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of any thing unless we first give it a value. Hence to use maths to prove that God does not exist entails first positing a value for God! So mathematically speaking God has to exist first before we can disprove Him!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Thank you.....

One analogy I find attractive: you and me standing before a mirror. Only in our presence does an image appear. That image is totally dependent on our being there. I cannot see your image at the same time as looking squarely at my own: there is an angular difference, and neither of us can see the other withou at least a tiny amount of distortion. Those are the differences we have to contend with even in the finite (measurable) incident position.

Imagine then, those two images in the mirror, totally dependent upon our presence, remember, arguing with each other which of them is real!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

How about this:

Kurt Godel (1906–1978), a famous mathematician, had his mathematical "proof of God" tested by modern computers and they proved him theoretically correct in October 2013!

See article below:

http://www.ibtimes.com/god-real-scientists-prove-h...

Is God Real? Scientists ‘Prove’ His Existence With Godel’s Theory And MacBooks

By Maria Vultaggio

on October 29 2013 4:26 PM

"Scientists have “proven” God’s existence, at least in theory, by plugging in mathematician Kurt Godel’s philosophy on their MacBooks..."


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

If something is proven then it is no longer a theory.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

The problem is in the premises. As one of the commenters on that page said, what the scientists did was verify the logical soundness of the argument--that the conclusions follow from the premises. They did not prove the premises themselves.

"Hence to use maths to prove that God does not exist entails first positing a value for God! So mathematically speaking God has to exist first before we can disprove Him!"

So we could use the same logic for anything: "To use maths to prove that unicorns do not exist entails first positing a value for unicorns. So mathematically speaking unicorns have to exist first before we can disprove them."

This opens the door to the notion that pretty much anything and everything that we could ever possibly imagine, exists.

Obviously that's ridiculous.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

My own math ability is average. Kurt Godel on the other hand was on a par with Einstein. The newspaper comments about his recently proved God theorem are coloured by the journalists own prejudices. We have to yield to a people with great math ability. Neither the journalist or ourselves are in a position to question Godels proof as it is a proof just as sound as any other theorem.

Incidentally other maths greats point out that as there are infinite universes and hence infinite possibilities it is certain that say unicorns exist somewhere in the universe! Strange but true.

Sankara also states that if something is truly impossible it would be impossible to even conceive of it.

We need to take more heed of Godel as the model has now been tested and proved thus turning all atheists into agnostics.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

"Incidentally other maths greats point out that as there are infinite universes and hence infinite possibilities it is certain that say unicorns exist somewhere in the universe! Strange but true."

If a Unicorn existed anywhere in this universe, it would have evolved as a Unicorn for a reason. I.e., the horn on its nose would have had a beneficial function, otherwise it would not have arisen.

If anywhere else in this universe had the air for a Unicorn to breathe, the right food for it to eat, the right predators around to cause the horse-like creature to need sturdy and speedy legs..... these sort of characteristics in existence might lead us to suppose Unicorns exist.

You would not need mathematics to prove it or otherwise.


Oztinato 2 years ago

I am only quoting people like Stephen Hawking and other physicists who claim there are now theorems which prove the existence of an infinite amount of other universes: so many it is argued (by physicists) that there are many slightly parallel "us's" of every degree of subtlety and minor shades of difference "out there": including horses with every shade of difference to earth's horses.

Whereas the character of a unicorn is simply just a horse with a single horn on its head, the character of God is an omnipotent being which "can't change" ie is perfect. Hence His theoretical reality is more substantial than anything else and theoretically pervades the entire universe/s.

Although I am only average at math I like to toy with math philosophy: if x equals God, and x can or cannot equal y, then x can't exist, but as x does exist it cannot equal y! In other words (I think!:) it seems to be impossible to either prove or DISPROVE God's existence without giving Him a value ie without claiming He exists in the first place. There is an "a priori" criticism about proving God's existence, but the DISPROVING of God's existence also relies on "a priori" reasoning!

If this same phenomena occurs with every math model available then we have further proof. I think Godel's model was a way of testing hypothesis' in all math models; hence the need to wait for super computers to verify it all.

I repeat that it is up to the best mathematicians to deal with these proofs, not me, not us, not journalists, and certainly not unqualified biologists of very doubtful ethics and self proclaimed math ability such as Mr. Dawkins.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Or if x equals "perfect" it can't equal y etc.

(I am trying to speak Nerd in order to get my message across. :)


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"f anywhere else in this universe had the air for a Unicorn to breathe, the right food for it to eat, the right predators around to cause the horse-like creature to need sturdy and speedy legs..... these sort of characteristics in existence might lead us to suppose Unicorns exist.

"

By that logic, everything that should exist does exist. Don't need math to disprove that, either.


Oztinato 2 years ago

I note with interest a lack of responses to Godels proof and its implications. Mathematically, atheism no longer exists.Math arguments against Godel cant contradict other theorems. So endless universes Hawking tells us certainly do contain endless varieties of horses even those with antlers! Do you have a new math theorem to disprove this?


Oztinato 2 years ago

....or to put it another way: there is a greater mathematical chance of a unicorn existing on another planet than there is of atheism existing anywhere in the universe.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Atheism does not "exist." It's a concept, abstract, and a way of thinking depending on one's point of view.

Anyway, regardless of such finer points, do you have a problem with atheism? Is it not ok for any person to have an atheist opinion if he/she thinks that way? What harm can it do?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I have no objection to moral atheism. You know that already.

I am trying to point out that overnight atheism has become scientifically implausible(see Godel). This means there are now only irrational non scientific and emotive reasons for clinging to atheism. It is a "dead parrot" so to speak.

There many implications of Godels proof include the logical undermining of all the attendant definitions of what atheism is(as stated by secularisto above).

The cold scientific truth is that atheism has become mathematically passe. By all means cling to it but dont claim its scientific or the basis of many new modern philosophies until you come up with a new theorem to disprove Gods existence.

Once again I have no problem with moral atheism. Do I need to repeat it again? If we accept new scientific research (see Godel) atheism is now more correctly agnosticism. There is no shame in it. Its just another step on the evolutionary ladder.

Of course the issue of scientific hypocrisy raises its head for those who both claim to be scientific but who also deny new theorems; but this ethical problem has been covered by me in some detail here withour resolution by New Atheists.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Religionists have been trying to use math to make theism seem logically inevitable for many centuries, whether through ontological proofs like this, or through complaints about an infinite regress, and so on. They still haven't succeeded.

The idea of multiple universes is one idea in theoretical physics, it is by no means established as the definitive conclusion to anything.

Moreover, there is a logical problem you are missing. God is defined as the creator of everything, which means all the universes (if there are multiple universes). So it's not sufficient to say "by the law of probability, in one of these universes, a God exists" because such a being would have to exist outside of the universes altogether.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

"Neither the journalist or ourselves are in a position to question Godels proof..."

Isn't that convenient! Lol! A really, really smart guy said it, so it must be true.

This is a logical fallacy known as the "appeal to authority."

The problem with using the rules of mathematics to try to prove God's existence is that it requires us to assume all sorts of things before we can even begin to have the discussion. What math does is it tells you what follows necessarily from the axioms and premises. Math or formal logic is great at that.

For instance, here's a nice little proof for God:

Premise 1: If reality exists, it had to be created

Premise 2: Reality exists

Conclusion: Therefore, reality was created

Sounds great. But the problem is the first premise. Is it true that something must have been created if it currently exists? No. We can imagine that reality is uncreated and eternal.

So when you start assigning "God's qualities" to be axiomatic, and designating them as "positive" and "essential" and whatnot, which is what Godel's proof does, you are stacking the deck in favor of theism.

The exact same proof could be done in the opposite direction, with different premises. It's completely arbitrary and totally up to the person who is making the proof.

What formal logic cannot tell us is what the premises should be. Only once we have premises in place, can math or formal logic provide any utility.

This is why all of these proofs that assume this, and assume that, all ultimately come down to: If God exists, then God exists.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

The Godel theorem is now in the hands of the Hawkings of the world. Not net chat or dodgy biologists. It is best to wait for professional scientists to comment. No rush.

As far as I can make out the idea of "perfect" is more than that as "it" exists prior to creation, as well as within the current creation AND also in the past present and future.

The interesting thing is that a new proof has potentially changed the entire psycholgical landscape in a matter of minutes.

I can understand the culture shock that atheists might be feeling. A maths proof must go straight to the bone.

Ethics come into play as wel: are you saying all a priori proofs are invalid? Wouldnt that be unscientific? Wouldnt that be stereotyping?


Oztinato 2 years ago

Here is Godel's mathematical theorem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del's_ontologi...


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

"are you saying all a priori proofs are invalid? Wouldnt that be unscientific? Wouldnt that be stereotyping?"

Calling it stereotyping seems a bit off-the-wall, not sure where that comes from.

Proofs like this are perfectly valid--but we have to understand what they really are and what they really tell us. They are not giving us new information, they are simply rearranging information we already have to give us insights we did not realize.

Here is an example:

Premise 1: All men are strong

Premise 2: John is a man

Conclusion: John is strong

The proof is perfectly valid as far as it goes--if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. So that works.

But the premise is clearly wrong. In reality, all men are not strong. Some men are weak.

Regarding science, science gives us insights and understanding of the world based on observed evidence AS WELL AS logic and a priori reasoning.

Science is NOT just a series of assumptions, premises and the conclusions that result from them in the abstract. What makes science different is that it is totally committed to observed evidence. So in this case, for example, we observe that all men are not strong, therefore we know that the first premise is incorrect.

This is why limiting a discussion about God to math is a mistake. Math is completely limited to the abstract realm of a priori reasoning. It has no impact on, and is not impacted by, observed evidence. Observed evidence has no relevance to the principles of mathematics and formal logic.

But God is believed to be a part of reality, therefore observed evidence is indeed a necessary part of the discussion about God.


Billy 2 years ago

This is a cop-out. Atheists who believe in "The Big Bang Theory" are adherents of a religion as well, they just can't bring themselves to admit it. Consider: the periodic table of the elements has 114 known, proven-to-exist elements, all unique. According to this theory everything started out in a hot and dense state with nothing but hydrogen, helium and lithium then exploded outwards to form the universe as we (think we) know it. Sorry but you can combine hydrogen, helium and lithium any way you want and you're never going to get any of the 111 other elements. That's why they're elements and not compounds, common sense. So either the other 111 elements magically appeared somehow (which itself defies science as matter supposedly can neither be created nor destroyed, just changes form) or Someone created them. Either way you're taking it on faith. Moreover, even were it somehow possible to make the rest of the elements out of those three it brings up another question: how did those three elements come into existence? They clearly did not just magically appear on their own or create themselves. So again you're taking it on faith.

Another problem: according to an atheist we evolved from other primates which in turn evolved from other lower animals, going back to some point at which the first single-celled organisms came into being. Great, but it is also common sense that non-living matter, like dirt, rocks, sand etc. is never, no matter what processes happen to it or how much time elapses, going to somehow become a living thing. No scientist will ever be able to create a living thing, even a bacterium, in a laboratory using non-living matter. There simply is no crossover between living and non-living substances. But at some point some grains of something HAD to have mysteriously come to life, even as bacteria, for any of this evolution process to be possible. Common sense tells you this never happened yet atheists who cherish the scientific method above all else can't seem to figure out that they're putting all their confidence in a process that has never and can never be replicated in a lab. Thus they're taking the concept of living organisms somehow springing from dirt/sand/whatever non-living matter as a matter of faith. Sounds an awful lot like a religion to me, just one that doesn't require its followers to have any kind of moral code for their behavior.

Adaptation is clearly a genuine, provable process, not a theory. It makes sense. Evolution on the other hand is junk science. Consider this: with all the vast array of different life forms on this planet would you really expect that there would be NO other creatures who bear a closer resemblance to humans than other beings? No matter what a human looks like there would have to be some species that is closer to us than any other creature is, it's common sense. That certainly doesn't mean we evolved from them, explaining why nobody has ever found the mythical "missing link". The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have uniforms that are strikingly similar, as do the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs. That doesn't however mean that the Cowboys evolved from the Detroit Lions or the Chiefs from the Redskins. With 32 different NFL teams a few are bound to look more similar to another team than to the other 30. The human mind is predisposed to see patterns, even where none exist.

To me it makes infinitely more sense that a Creator designed the universe and our planet within it, us and everything that exists than having faith in some unproven, impossible to prove process that just occurred through happenstance or coincidence, that all these diverse pieces of an impossibly huge puzzle all came together just right to form a livable planet with life on it and not just a planet of crabgrass with the occasional germ or bacteria but a planet with life as amazingly diverse as redwood trees, human beings, whales, insects and lizards and everything in between. And not only does all this life exist on earth but it COexists in a beneficial way. Ever thought about the huge amount of diverse animal and plant life found in just one acre of a forest? The delicate and intricate ecosystem at work there, where this eats that, and something else eats this and so on? It all works together for a reason, not because it all happened to come together through some incredibly fortuitous random process. Anyway what I've been getting at is that whether you believe in a supreme being or not, either way you're operating on faith, either faith in your religious teachings or faith in an unproven, hypothetical process that can never be replicated in laboratory conditions. Thus whether you see it or not, atheism with its belief in science above all else even to try to explain things science will never be able to explain, is essentially a religion as well so no atheist should ever look down their nose at "primitive" belief systems of religious people when your faith-based conjecture and hypotheses dressed up with scientific-sounding terminology and guesswork is nothing more than a religious belief system itself.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Billy:

Not only is most of your comment irrelevant to the topic of this article, but you're wrong on most of your analysis of the science.

"Sorry but you can combine hydrogen, helium and lithium any way you want and you're never going to get any of the 111 other elements."

Evidently you are not familiar with the concept of nuclear fusion, which is what powers a star like our sun.

All elements are just different combinations of protons. Add a new proton, you have a new element. More on how new elements were formed is in this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleosynthesis

Like most misinformed theists, it is impossible for you to talk about atheism without getting into the completely unrelated theory of evolution. See point #4 in my article--there is no connection between atheism and the theory of evolution logically.

And, also like most misinformed theists, you confuse evolution, which deals with how life developed once it existed, with the origins of life itself.

"There simply is no crossover between living and non-living substances."

Incorrect. It's a well-established scientific theory that the first lifeforms developed from the chemicals present in the early earth. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than "magic" from a poorly-defined supernatural being.

If you were to actually do your research, you would see how this process is believed to have happened.

"To me it makes infinitely more sense that a Creator designed the universe and our planet within it..."

Begging the question. Saying "God did it," does not answer the question of how life arose, or how the diversity of life arose, or how the universe was created. It's just hand-waving.

But no matter. The science is clear on all these points.

"Ever thought about the huge amount of diverse animal and plant life found in just one acre of a forest?"

Yep. Biology and other related fields have answered the questions you are posing as to how all these unique individual parts developed their relationships. You just need to do your research.

"Thus whether you see it or not, atheism with its belief in science above all else..."

Well, whether you see it or not, atheism itself has nothing to do with science. Atheism is a metaphysical position regarding the existence of God.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Although Billy has rambled a little I think his main point about faith is correct. There is no doubt a faith is being shown towards atheist based science philosophy.

I cant say I am totally opposed to the vibe or feeling I am getting from Secularisto. However it is quite impossible to simply write off Godel. We cant do that; it is just net chat. Godel is a really great Platonist mathematician


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"What makes science different is that it is totally committed to observed evidence."

No, it is not. It is totally committed to the natural world. It is totally committed to the assumption that everything observed can be explained through the natural world.

Within that, it is totally committed to observation.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Nicomp

What you say is true for the most part except for math.

Also there is a difference in what various people observe. Some observe God some dont


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Here's a great quote from wiki about Einstein's opinion of Gödel: "Economist Oskar Morgenstern recounts that toward the end of his life Einstein confided that his "own work no longer meant much, that he came to the Institute merely ... to have the privilege of walking home with Gödel".


Wallace 2 years ago

The all but two of the people in that last picture were deists


Mario 2 years ago

Sir, you are making me happy to be an atheist. I've recently spent the last six months getting out of and being relieved from a spiritual life style and I have to say, living with atheist friends and being exposed to so much science has made my life less of a guessing game, and more of a miracle.

Thank you for the great conversations on the comments thread and please keep writing.

Also I would love to hear your opinion on TBR. The Bible Reloaded. It is a read through of the bible with two atheists who (in between mocking jokes) explain the origin and cultural influences that made the bible what it is today.

Again thanks for your post.

PS: I understand that it takes faith in your own observations to feel secure in your understanding of the universe Billy, however I've placed my faith in imaginings before, and I have to say... disappointed in Santa Claus.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks Mario, I appreciate it. Great to hear.

I actually haven't seen TBR, I have heard good things about it though. I've been taking a break from a lot of these issues over the last year or two, working on some other blogs, sites and other projects. I just pop into Hub Pages from time to time to respond to somebody or make an edit here or there. If you have any links to interesting resources, please feel free to share them here. I will definitely check them out.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

TBR is academically lazy and should be taken as seriously as The Daily Show.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Ironically, The Daily Show is more sane and rational than the mainstream media half the time.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

Yes, a show on a channel with the word "Comedy" in the name is sane and rational.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

More so than the mainstream media, yes.

Satirists and comics have been poking fun at politicians and "important" people, and teaching the public important lessons in the process, for thousands of years.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

Poking fun is not a sane and rational message. It's humor. Humor is exaggeration and hyperbole and juxtaposition. Without question liberals experience difficulties differentiating.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Humor can be a very effective teaching tool, pointing out the absurdities of our hallowed leaders and laws.

Political humor is hardly limited to liberals (although they do tend to be funnier). Both conservatives and liberals partake.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

Interesting, it is, that The Daily Show is excused for having a liberal agenda but is still considered news , while Fox News is regularly attacked for ostensibly having an agenda and is not considered news.

Funny how the Libs want to have it both ways.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

I don't know any serious person who considers The Daily Show to be news. It's obviously a comedy show.

Fox News definitely qualifies as a news channel, but it is biased (as they all are, to varying degrees).


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

Many uninformed sentient humans employ The Daily Show as their only news source. Listen to the audience. They laugh at the funny parts and they cheer rabidly when liberal points are made.

Jon Stewart is a raving hypocrite: criticize him for the content of his show and he will tell you it's comedy. Invite him onto a hard news show and he will be there with bells on.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

"Uninformed sentient humans" -- exactly, only uninformed or non-serious people would consider a comedy show real news, as opposed to commentary or satire.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"Uninformed sentient humans" comprise most of the Liberal base.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

I would argue the same could be said, if not to a greater degree, for the right.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

"I would argue the same could be said, if not to a greater degree, for the right."

Pointless, but incorrect.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Huh?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

Pointless: having no salient or relevant point.

Incorrect: not correct.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Your words made sense, but your grammar did not.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

Like Jesse Jackson.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 19 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"The U.S. is a country based on freedom of religion which is why most people think of atheism as a religion. "

I think you're right about that attitude being prevalent among a lot of people. But they don't seem to get that it's also a negative freedom. The freedom FROM religion. The freedom to opt out of it altogether. They can't do the kind of mental gymnastics needed to grasp the concept. Ron Reagan certainly does. So, they mistakenly argue that atheism is "just another religion". Then they'll argue that the Separation of Church and State violates the first amendment by promoting the religion of atheism. It's hard not to come across as condescending to people when you argue with them about this. They simply don't understand the concept and seem to think they have a "fool proof" argument to finally take down the God-less heathens who are responsible for 9/11 and every other disaster known to man.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 19 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"There is a lot of evidence to show theism and religion existed since even Neanerthals came along. Hinduism and other very ancient religions existed for milleniums and created all human culture and science."

There's some pretty convincing evidence to show that Neanderthals were a pretty primitive species that would no doubt look for some answer to the questions in their primitive brains when they looked up and saw the sky? What is this place? Since they had no written language it's likely that in the hierarchy of their tribes, some elders that were respected would describe how they got there and that tradition would be passed along to others. They had no science, so there was no other explanation. That's hardly evidence that supports religion as necessary for any of us just because of what Neanderthals may have believed.

Ozzinato says this: "The cold scientific truth is that atheism has become mathematically passe. By all means cling to it but dont claim its scientific or the basis of many new modern philosophies until you come up with a new theorem to disprove Gods existence."

I'm jumping into the middle of this, so I don't know what reference to science regarding many "new modern philosophies" you're talking about. You may want to consider Scientific Philosophers like Popper to inform you of their views. However, I'm not aware of any scientific theorem being used to disprove Gods existence. Although I think that science is in the business of "disproving" theories rather than "Proving" them, Science only deals with the physical world and describes that world to us; what it's made of. God is not of the physical world, so science has no interest in trying to disprove a metaphysical concept. For example, forget about God for a moment and task science with proving that purple unicorns don't exist somewhere in the Universe. Science would likely not see that as a question that could be answered. That doesn't prove that the purple unicorn exists. If somebody believes that it's going to be taken on faith because they could never produce evidence to support the belief. God is no different in that regard. If people believe that God exists, fine. But if people demand proof that he doesn't, nobody including the atheist or the scientist will play that silly game. The burden of proof always falls on those that make a claim. Nobody is required to prove a negative.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 19 months ago from Ohio, USA

"Nobody is required to prove a negative."

OK: humans are not causing global warming.

I'm glad that's settled.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 19 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

I'm afraid it's not. Because there is scientific evidence that they are. There is no scientific evidence for God.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 19 months ago from Tasmania

If nicomp takes notice of all the road traffic in his/her area; note how many vehicles are chugging along, stop-start-stop-start in the peak-hour traffic, morning, noon and night; consider the billions of litres of fuel being burned across the world, every day of the week.... and then consider the amount of waste heat being pushed into the atmosphere..... not just in his/her neighbourhood, but ALL over every country in the world.....

If you imagine that this situation is not causing a change in our atmosphere and that it's not caused by human activity.....

Am I speaking with an intelligent human being?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"If you imagine that this situation is not causing a change in our atmosphere and that it's not caused by human activity....."

"Imagine?" OK. Let's try your 'logic' on another problem:

In my area people die. Every one of them ate bread. Therefore bread must be killing them.

Now we will relate your Internet browser software to the murder rate: http://gizmodo.com/5977989/internet-explorer-vs-mu...

So we have conclusively proven that bread causes death and using Internet Explorer causes the murder rate to go up.

That was fun!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

Fun, maybe, but you are far more intelligent than to see your ideas as "logic."

Are you convinced that the amount of heat and products of combustion, on such a huge scale, is unlikely to affect our worldwide atmosphere?

If you are so convinced (and not suggesting you are, just asking). would it be just your "belief" that convinces you, or the results of an honest scientific study and report?

If you asked the scientist who might be employed by a big multi-national to support their profit-making efforts, then you would most certainly get a skewed answer.... do you agree? Such corruption of scientific enquiry is common, to the detriment of our planet.

I am not a university-educated scientist. I don't need to be, when my eyes and reasonably intelligent brain say it's most probable that human activity IS changing the air we breathe.

However, I am willing to listen to scientists who do their work and come up with some very carefully researched findings..... even if they prove my presumptions incorrect.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"Are you convinced that the amount of heat and products of combustion, on such a huge scale, is unlikely to affect our worldwide atmosphere?"

You obviously don't understand the mathematics involved. You are arguing from intuition. It may seem like a 'huge scale' to you but your impression of how big things are can hardly be called science. I will accept that your opinion, given your frame of reference, is that humans cause the Earth's temperature to increase.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

In all seriousness I'd truly like an answer to this question:

What is the temperature of the Earth supposed to be?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"Fox News definitely qualifies as a news channel, but it is biased (as they all are, to varying degrees)."

I don't know if Fox News is biased but the opinion shows on that channel certainly are. duh.

Ratings and revenue, ratings and revenue.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

Intuition is a valid reason for me to act in a certain way. I cannot depend upon information obtained through scientific methods all the time, so I will continue to rely upon intuition when it seems to fit a need in my life.

With regard to effects upon the temperature of air caused by emissions from internal combustion engines, it's reasonable presumption. We know that within towns and cities, ambient temperatures can be higher that in the country areas where less people live, where there are less buildings being kept warm and therefore emitting Infra-red. Also, there tends to be more vehicular traffic, also adding to the heat of the town.

I do not call my intuition science. But if someone took my intuition and did some scientifically valid research, then came up with the answers, would you want to believe those answers? Since you did not do the experiments and research yourself, you would have to rely upon the opinions and statements of others.

So... I don't see the need to argue this at all. Do you see a need, nicomp?

"What is the temperature of the earth supposed to be?" ....and you really expect me or anyone else to give you a definitive answer to that? !!!!

You are just playing at games here. You can't be serious....


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

""What is the temperature of the earth supposed to be?" ....and you really expect me or anyone else to give you a definitive answer to that? !!!!"

Well, you assert it's too hot right now. You should be able to tell me what temperature is preferred. A perfectly reasonable question.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"Intuition is a valid reason for me to act in a certain way. I cannot depend upon information obtained through scientific methods all the time, so I will continue to rely upon intuition when it seems to fit a need in my life."

I totally agree and I respect your position as long as you don't impose your intuition on me or anyone else. Live in a cave and eat tree bark as long as you don't insist I do the same.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

"Well, you assert it's too hot right now. You should be able to tell me what temperature is preferred. A perfectly reasonable question."

I have not said that. Putting excess heat energy into the atmosphere can cause temperatures to be higher in some areas, cooler in others. Consequences of that are more extreme weather patterns, changes in oceanic currents, changes in the lives of many different species and varieties of living organisms. These have been, and are continuing to be, the areas of much research over many years. Scientific reports are out there for us to read and consider. I cannot tell you "what temperature is preferred." But knowledge gained through careful and honest research can. Your question was not perfectly reasonable.

I totally agree and respect your position to walk your own journey through life. And, of course, I cannot impose my intuition upon you. I can only ask you to open your mind to other possibilities, beyond what your current presumptions might be. I try to do this personally, even to the extent of reading and carefully considering what you have written.....which in the first instance causes me to feel like rejecting your attitude. But I hang in here and give you the benefit of any doubts I might have....keeping my mind open.

By the way, you used the expression, "Live in a cave and eat tree bark...." Why do you use it? What do you mean by that?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"By the way, you used the expression, "Live in a cave and eat tree bark...." Why do you use it? What do you mean by that?"

This is the logical conclusion to your 'climate change' argument.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

Your notion of what constitutes logic is mind-boggling!

If you can't come up with a better answer than that I will not bother replying to you. Ball is in your court.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

Keep reading. You'll catch on.

Anyway, let me know when you decide what the temperature of the Earth is supposed to be.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

Conclusive proof that macro-evolutionary theory is flawed:

http://i.imgur.com/dUgeVht.jpg


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

I fail to see your reasoning.

That pony is more than likely the result of human-led genetic engineering of the pony's DNA.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"That pony is more than likely the result of human-led genetic engineering of the pony's DNA."

Yes, that fits your narrative.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

... still waiting for an explanation of what the temperature of the Earth is supposed to be.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

And you can keep waiting. You know, or at least you should know by now, that is a most unintelligent question and it does not deserve an answer.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

I'll assume you can't answer. Fascinating, it is, that Global Warming advocates can tell us it's too hot but cannot decide by how much.

I guess we'll blindly follow the scientific acolytes until they tell us to stop.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

And your mind, nicomp, seems to be stuck in pre-school boy days.

You can research it for yourself, you have the Internet. Read about the 2 degrees increase that is projected to have an influence on the world's climates. Read also about the ways you, personally, can reduce the waste and misuse of resources, in a way that will preserve habitat for plants and animals other than ourselves. Read about the garbage dumped in the oceans that ends up in the guts of sea birds and animals. Read about the lung disease caused by sitting for long periods in peak-hour traffic jams. Read about the enormous quantities of fresh, potable water flushed down the drain, billions of tons per year, just to remove crap from the view of anyone that makes it.

Instead of trying to ridicule me or anyone else who is simply trying to do a bit of good for the world, educated yourself. Step out of your world of religious make-believe and get real.

No matter what I say to you, no matter how I answer your ignorant question, that question is intended to ridicule and deny the idea that we humans can and do have an inordinately great influence upon the climates of this world.

Who am I to argue? You believe what you want to believe. Your cynicism will benefit no one.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 18 months ago from Ohio, USA

"You can research it for yourself, you have the Internet. Read about the 2 degrees increase that is projected to have an influence on the world's climates."

And you be sure to read about the Bristle-cone pines that were used in some of the projections.

"Instead of trying to ridicule me or anyone else who is simply trying to do a bit of good for the world, educated yourself. Step out of your world of religious make-believe and get real."

Hey, I'm actually doing good. I am educated: I have two science degrees. I am helping you learn to understand your world. I've not ridiculed you at all.

I am asking legitimate questions: what is the temperature of the Earth supposed to be? You're certain it's too hot -- how much cooler do we need to get?

Stick with me, you'll catch on.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

For a person with two science degrees, you ask a silly question. I have not said it's too hot. What sort of answer do you want? Would 100 degrees Celsius suit you? -100 ? At which point on the globe would you be thinking of spending your vacation? Hawaii? Antarctica?

I cannot argue with you about "what temperature the Earth is supposed to be." If you think this is a sensible question, give us some ideas of your understanding.

I have no science degree. However, I do have a reasonable intelligence that says we humans are in the process of destroying the world that supports us. If we continue with our current careless use of resources, we will become extinct as a species or at least reduce our numbers to a level the world can handle. If you have a reasonable response to this, I will read it and reply further.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@nicomp: "Hey, I'm actually doing good. I am educated: I have two science degrees. I am helping you learn to understand your world. I've not ridiculed you at all."

What are your science degrees in? What field?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

I don't see why we all have to become polarized towards any one particular concept/theory.

With the cynicism that seems to be Nicomp's platform, I wonder if that is politically, philosophically or religiously based opinions.

If you are, for example, strongly skewed in favour of right-wing politics, trying to toe the christian tight-rope, and just love an argument that leads you no where, then you will deride "liberalism," close your ears to anything an atheist says and regard evolution as the mind of idiots.

The converse of that would be to open the mind to all possibilities. Admit that an evolutionary, naturally selective process could easily be the way in which all living things came about. You would not need to be absolutely for or against the idea, just receptive to the idea and run with it until proven one way or the other.

A political position, driven by the feeling that this world contains too many do-gooders, drop-outs, lazy good-for-nothings and that there should be no such thing as a Welfare State, because "we" are better and "we" are different and deserving.......such a political position would need to be defended, otherwise you are going to look pretty silly when you are proved wanting.

There is nothing to say a person with religious affiliations must necessarily be wrong in the eyes of an atheist, or vice versa. You can have an atheist point of view or a religious one, it does not mean you will or will not lean towards the evolution theory. But put up a good, reasonably sound alternative suggestion for how the diversity of living things came about.

For example, when I consider the internal workings of most animals, I see commonalities. They (we) have a heart, a brain, a digestive system, a neural system, a skeleton, muscles, hair/scales/feathers......all different shapes but all doing virtually the same things in terms of physiology.

So, it's reasonable to suppose they (we) all developed over the millennia from common ancestry. If this is not accepted, give us an alternative scenario. And nothing Harry Potter-ish, just a reasonable hypothesis on scientific grounds.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

Look also into modern scientific findings. Look into Websites about embryology. Use your own eyes to read of advances in embryology of the eye and its various parts and structures.

From infinitely (immeasurably) small beginnings, with quantum choices at the atomic, and possibly smaller level, living cells divide and sub-divide, gradually growing and expanding into all the numerous tissues which are required to make up the organ which will allow us to see and react to visible light.

Look at pictures showing how cells which form the optic lens lay parallel to each other. This will allow those light photons to pass through the lens and be focussed.

Consider how the optic nerve, the muscles that will ultimately control lens shape and focal distance, and the retina all seem to be growing together....up to a particular time when each part will further differentiate.

All this surely, in my mind of limited knowledge and understanding, needs to have some kind of controlling force. Now, could that controlling force be located in the area of quantum choice? Is that where the "Creator" resides? If so, that would not surprise me. After all, being infinite would mean that any notion of small or large is nonsense. These two adjectives are indications of measurement, and infinite means - can't be measured.

Any argument about a "God" that ("who" in the theist's eye) has a particular worldly or human characteristic is just about as irrational as you can get.

I prefer to stick with the awe and wonder revealed to me by scientific research.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@Jonny: " There you go. Being rational again. What are we going to do with you?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

My interest in the eye anatomy and embryology has come from having intraocular lens replacements these past two weeks.... the right eye last week and the left this week, 2 days ago.

I am so in awe of the science and technology that has allowed me the privilege of brand new sight, that it's automatically brought me to think of deeper things. How this intricate body, full of amazing organs and functions, has come to be? And, of course, I come up against all the old questions.

And the conclusion that neither the Creationist Model, nor the Naturalist Model fit every conceivable answer. We can but take ideas and ponder, research, come up with ideas and concepts, test them, repeat the tests, modify ideas, theories and results. Both the Models are useful, yet neither is sufficient to explain everything.

Keeping the eyes fully open and the mind fully aware of possibilities...this is the way I admire.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Jonny... I have a question about that. I had cataract surgery on both eyes a few years back. Did you have insurance to cover the cost? I was on my wifes group policy at the time. But if I didn't have insurance my options would have been to go blind or go bankrupt. Not much of a choice there. I can only imagine people out there that had no insurance and were facing the same choice.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 18 months ago from Tasmania

No insurance, Adagio, but I am on Aged Pension, so cost of Doctor's fee was partly covered. The hospital costs, device cost and anaesthetist's fees were not covered. I privately funded, out-of-pocket to the tune of about $5,000.

I did the +ve thinking exercise and decided that if I live for about 15 years more (but might reach the century, hehe!), in that time I would probably fork out on several new pairs of glasses, at present day prices of around $600 a time... quite a saving in the long term.

The really great benefits are that I am single, don't want to be a burden to others if I can help it, have very good health and fitness now, so good eyesight lifts my game considerably..... not so tired when reading and writing; get all the beauty of the world around me; stop using spectacles for the first time since I was 8 years old.... etc. Lots of gain for a small bit of (financial) pain.

This is right off topic, I know, but there are some things in life which are counter to the usual doom and gloom of mass-media/religious argument/debilitating anxiety.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 14 months ago from Orlando Florida

You did a great job of explaining away the foolish myths about atheism. Thank you.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Interesting stuff here. I haven't looked through the whole article but point three says that most Atheists see 'reality is eternal' despite the fact that Hubble showed that the universe is expanding and that the Universe had a beginning!

The hypothesis that reality is eternal has been largely rejected by science (though some do still think an oscillating universe is possible but unlikely).

What you seem to be saying is that atheism flies in the face of Modern scientific theory, is this true?

Most people who believe in God only really have a problem with the time-frame of the big bang and who was in charge but not with the theory itself!

Lawrence


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 14 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"most Atheists see 'reality is eternal' despite the fact that Hubble showed that the universe is expanding and that the Universe had a beginning!"

You present that as a conflict of some sort. I don't see the conflict. I think most people accept the Big Bang as the beginning of the visible universe. It's what we mark time from and what we see as our reality. It's an absurd question to ask what came "before" time? There is no time before time. Nobody knows what caused the Big Bang, but the universe has been expanding for around 14 Billion years. It would seem that gravity would slow down the expansion and it would begin to reverse and contract back on itself. As it does it, I would think that it gains speed and become more dense until it is packed so tightly that it explodes beginning the whole process once again. I think that theory is called the Big Crunch or the Undulating Universe. In other words, what caused the Big Bang was a Big Crunch just before the Bang. Sort of like the universe is breathing in and out. I'm not a physicist, so I just look for those things that seem plausible without resorting to supernatural explanations. There are a lot of theories out there.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

That theory has been proposed but has largely been discounted as it runs against the second law of Thermodynamics that 'all things are subject to entropy' and literally 'winding down'

You are right that there "was no time before time" as time itself is part of our fourth dimension but for time to come into existence along with the rest of the universe there has to an agent or 'prime mover' even Einstein acknowledged that had to be.

Lawrence


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 13 months ago from New York City Author

Catherine: Thanks for reading! Glad you like it.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 13 months ago from New York City Author

Lawrence:

Reality and the known universe are two different things.

The known universe is what we are able to observe, beyond which we don't know what there is, if anything. The Big Bang itself, dealing with the known/ observable universe, is not directly concerned with the totality of reality per se.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

I'd agree with that.

Lawrence


cjnileski profile image

cjnileski 6 months ago from Somerset, New Jersey

Enjoyed your article very much. Nice work!! Everyone should be able to believe their own beliefs regardless.

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