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Scottmkiv

Nine Countries are on the Path to Atheism

73 posts in this topic

Only a woman could have written Atlas Shrugged.

In large parts, yes. Imo no male writer would e. g. have portrayed the three male heroes as a-sexual when it comes to their desire for other women aside from Dagny.

Young Galt merely 'watches' Dagny for about twelve (!) years,

As for D'Anconia, he has no sexual relationship with any other woman during all his years as a 'playboy'.

Rearden loses sexual interest for Lilian after only one(!) week, but seems to have no desire to sexually replace Lilian with other female company instead. Not a very plausible situation for a young man like Rearden, is it.

Only an adolescent could have imagined the major heroic characters' psychological essentialities cutting out many of humanity's necessities.

Ayn Rand never stopped loving Cyrus, the hero of the stories she read as a nine-year-old.

This seems to be another almost exclusively female phenomenon: girls having idolizing 'crushes' on fictional characters on whom they don't have to do a reality test.

Edited by Xray
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What is needed is a better, deeper and broader understanding of actual human nature than "selfishness" or "rational self interest" and caution with the idea of the radical political transmogrification of society into pure capitalism.

These are THE key issues when it comes to scrutinizing Objectivism.

What exactly IS "selfishness"?

Is it a "virtue"? A virtue one has to struggle to attain?

Or is selfishness something else altogether: A biological drive? A drive which we all possess, without exception, the reason being that this drive is essential for our survival?

Edited by Xray
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What is needed is a better, deeper and broader understanding of actual human nature than "selfishness" or "rational self interest" and caution with the idea of the radical political transmogrification of society into pure capitalism.

[subsequently edited by Xray--see original] These are THE key issues when it comes to scrutinizing Objectivism.

What exactly IS "selfishness"?

Is it a "virtue"? A virtue one has to struggle to attain?

Or is selfishness something else altogether: A biological drive? A drive which we all possess, without exception, the reason being that this drive is essential for our survival?

Of course selfishness is a biological drive and it's common to all organisms. It's why they exist. Plants are selfish plants and animals are selfish animals.

--Brant

you take this discussion from there, not before there--why?--it saves mucho time

Edited by Brant Gaede
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Now, is selfishness a virtue? Basic selfishness simply is. The virtue is understanding you have the right to your own life and happiness--their pursuit--and what you give and extend to others redounds to that and comes from the psychological and material surplus one acquires in life and is in itself no moral obligation whatsoever for obligations do not rule you, you rule you. But the moral factor is still incomplete which brings in the matter of individual rights and social existence beyond mere family or tribal existence--civilization itself, if you will.

--Brant

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The quickest, most moral way to transform society for the better is simply to focus on individual rights and their essentially moral nature and not on the practicality of economics or to be champions of capitalism, for the last has too much negative mixed-economy, cultural ballast. When we think of capitalism today we end to see giant corporate state-sanctioned entities feeding at the public trough of special legislation and subsidy at the expense of the rest of us.

--Brant

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You quoted three lines of me but the garbled first line isn't mine.

Sorry about my sloppy typing. I have corrected it.

Of course selfishness is a biological drive and it's common to all organisms. It's why they exist. Plants are selfish plants and animals are selfish animals.

--Brant

you take this discussion from there, not before there--why?--it saves mucho time

I just wanted to make sure to establish a common ground we all can agree on (including Objectivists): selfishness is a biological drive.

In case there are no objections, we'll take it from there.

Edited by Xray
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Of course selfishness is a biological drive and it's common to all organisms. It's why they exist. Plants are selfish plants and animals are selfish animals.

--Brant

you take this discussion from there, not before there--why?--it saves mucho time

I just wanted to make sure to establish a common ground we all can agree on (including Objectivists): selfishness is a biological drive.

In case there are no objections, we'll take it from there.

Yeah, shell-fish are selfish, too, you know...

All organisms are selfish to the limit of their nature. Automatically.

Only Man has to make the conscious choice to be rationally selfish.

As the only self-directed and self-generating animal - he has to apply his mind deliberately.

Secondly, and especially, is his endeavor towards rational selfishness critical, given the background of a culture that preaches it to be the nearest thing to a sin.

Your regular arguments that a. all animals have the instinct to survive, and are 'selfish' as well; b. all men are 'selfish', anyway - ignore and undermine Man's specific volitional nature, by trying to make it a "biological drive." Or, an explicit morality of selishness, redundant. You can't have it both ways.

If a man wants to only survive, he can do only that, semi-consciously.

But if he wants to survive, AND also live to the limits of his nature and personal potential, more effort is needed, with an ethical base of rational egoism.

In case there are no objections, we'll take it from there.

Tony

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The problem Myers has with so-called dictionary atheists is that this rough grouping of opinion seems (to him) to have no agenda or rather disdains any agenda such as the ones he operates under; his dictionary atheists sometimes want to trump all other non-believers and pretend that ALL non-believers should simply say they 'have no faith in god' -- and leave it at that -- as if there were no other useful arguments or actions to bring against religionauts.

I understand his being irked at the generality some of his targets use, which is something like this: "ALL atheism is simply a lack of faith in god and to do anything with a lack of faith besides shut up is WRONG and Not Helpful."

-- you may or may not be familiar with a few notable science-promoting opinion-makers like (acknowledged atheists) Chris Mooney or (agnostic) Michael Ruse who quite fiercely attack fellow non-believers for Not Being Nice.

The targets of Mooney and Ruse and similar are Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris, who are characterized as The New Atheists. For Mooney/Ruse-ish folks, the basic problem is tactics -- they believe or seem to believe that attacking odious religion is Not Nice and will tend to drive away middle-of-the-roaders who would otherwise accept the need for a separation between science and state, or who would otherwise support teaching evolution in the schools, or who would join with atheist/agnostics in working against some of the pernicious effects of religious nutcases, laws, prejudices, etcetera.

I think it is fair to say that non-believers come from every background and demographic. I find it a little bit depressing that Mooney, Ruse et al use unfair arguments, hyperbole, derision and other unreasonable rhetorical strategies to essentially curse the more activist atheists like PZ. One of the most interesting critics of the Mooney/Ruse cohort is the wonderful Ophelia Benson (who writes at the talkshop Butterfies and Wheels and its challenging blog Notes and Comment**).

There is a good take on 'dictionary atheists' at the Urban Dictionary.

You might also get a sense of a certain disdain some Objectivists have for 'militant atheists' or 'rabid atheists' in an exchange between Barbara Branden and Roger Bissell.

I often sigh inwardly that the central, supreme, most important value of Ayn Rand (which I share), Reason, is in all its difficult operation and multiple methodologies simply a badge a few Objectivish folk stick on their breast, rather than an active, constant, challenging and central driving force in their mental lives. Coupled with ignorance and emotion, the Badge of Reason all too often tells you zero nada squat diddly bupkes jack about the actual intellectual integrity of its wearer.

** the mission of B&W:

Butterflies and Wheels was established in 2002 and has (not surprisingly) evolved since then. At the beginning it focused mainly on various kinds of pseudoscience and epistemic relativism, aka postmodernism. The latter prompted an increasing focus on moral or cultural relativism and a defense of universalism and human rights. This in turn led to concern with the chief opponent of universalism and human rights, which is religion. This then led to interest in the backlash against overt atheism.

Thanks so much much again Wiliam for directing me to some other great links and crucial debates on the subject.

I often sigh inwardly that the central, supreme, most important value of Ayn Rand (which I share),
Reason
, is in all its difficult operation and multiple methodologies simply a badge a few Objectivish folk stick on their breast, rather than an active, constant, challenging and central driving force in their mental lives. Coupled with ignorance and emotion, the Badge of Reason all too often tells you zero nada squat diddly bupkes jack about the actual intellectual integrity of its wearer.

Nor can a mere 'Badge of Reason' provide any proof whether what these people claim to be reason IS is actually reason, or whether their "rational" decisions are really that rational.

It can happen that mere personal preferences are then erroneously presented as 'rational' choices.

Edited by Xray
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The myth function of religion might be one of the reasons Objectivism is easily seen by many as a religion with Atlas Shrugged as the Objectivist Bible.

Here’s an interesting thought, Campbell discusses how a mythological system serves to help people with the difficult transitions we all have to go through in the different stages of life. The earliest, thus most important, is that of moving from the dependency of childhood into independent adulthood. I think this is where Rand’s fiction works best, I’m thinking particularly of the contrast between Peter Keating and Howard Roark. Keating is still ruled by his mother when he needs to be making his own decisions about what he wants to do with his life. Somewhat problematic is the contrasting portrayal of Roark, who isn’t shown to have ever needed individuation, or rather, to have in any way struggled with it. But, it still works just by portraying the sharp contrast.

I think this is why Rand appeals so much to people in their late teens and early twenties, her work resonates with the struggles we all go through then.

From Nathaniel Branden's The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand: http://nathanielbranden.com/catalog/articles_essays/benefits_and_hazards.html

NB: In preparation for this presentation, I re-read the opening chapter of “The Fountainhead.” It really is a great book. I noticed something in the first chapter I never noticed before. Consider these facts: The hero has just been expelled from school, he is the victim of injustice, he is misunderstood by virtually everyone, and he himself tends to find other people puzzling and incomprehensible. He is alone; he has no friends. There is no one with whom he can share his inner life or values. So far, with the possible exception of being expelled from school, this could be a fairly accurate description of the state of the overwhelming majority of adolescents. There is one big difference: Howard Roark gives no indication of being bothered by any of it. He is serenely happy within himself. For average teenagers, this condition is agony. They read “The Fountainhead” and see this condition, not as a problem to be solved, but as a condition they must learn to be happy about—as Roark is. All done without drugs! What a wish-fulfillment that would be! What a dream come true! Don’t bother learning to understand anyone. Don’t bother working at making yourself better understood. Don’t try to see whether you can close the gap of your alienation from others, at least from some others, just struggle for Roark’s serenity—which Rand never tells you how to achieve. This is an example of how “The Fountainhead” could be at once a source of great inspiration and a source of great guilt, for all those who do not know how to reach Roark’s state.

I can imagine that youngsters (who are naturaly often tormented by self-consciousness) who read Roark's "I'm not not thinking of you" are far more susceptible to this statement than adults with more life experience.

Imo Roark is Rand's most problematic character, having some personality traits which one can only hope no reader was trying to emulate in real life.

Edited by Xray
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It can happen that mere personal preferences are then erroneously presented as 'rational' choices.

Yes, of course, they are "mere" because they are "personal preferences" and therefore(?) irrational(?) and, of course, the volk is a higher level of rationality and morality!

--Brant

a distant mirror--that's me

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Xray: I just wanted to make sure to establish a common ground we all can agree on (including Objectivists): selfishness is a biological drive.

In case there are no objections, we'll take it from there.

Yeah, shell-fish are selfish, too, you know...

All organisms are selfish to the limit of their nature. Automatically.

No objection here.

Only Man has to make the conscious choice to be rationally selfish.

This is already where the problems start. For if you test it through even with simple examples, things quickly turn out to be quite complex.

If John Doe wants to climb Mount Everest with sandals, it would be easy to expose this as an irrationally selfish decision, but in countless other cases, things are not nearly as simple.

Example: Suppose a doctor sells his flourishing medical practice and decides to work for a non-profit organization instead which helps the poor in the third world.

No one has urged the doctor to do this; it was his own decision. In the course of his life, making big bucks in medicine has simply ceased to be one of his top values, and this in turn led him to his present decision.

Since we have agreed on the premise that we are all selfish, it logically follows that the doctor's decision was selfish too. He does what he wants to do.

Now it remains to assess whether the decision was "rationally" selfish.

But how is one to determine that at all, and by what standard?

Rand says that "the achievement of his [man's] own happiness is his highest moral purpose".

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/happiness.html

So if John is happy with his decision and no one else suffers from it, is his decision to help the poor rationally selfish then?

Your regular arguments that a. all animals have the instinct to survive, and are 'selfish' as well; b. all men are 'selfish', anyway - ignore and undermine Man's specific volitional nature, by trying to make it a "biological drive."

I would phrase it differently: the biological drive provides the basis for volitional processes to occur, whether it is in humans or higher developed animals. (Our dog just begged for a little treat: hazelnuts of which she realized I was munching some. She can also identify the sound the box makes when we open it, and will then rush toward the food source).

Human volition is merely far more complex than a dog's, but the biological root of volition in higher developed animals including man is this drive for survival that we share with all living species.

If a man wants to only survive, he can do only that, semi-consciously.

But if he wants to survive, AND also live to the limits of his nature and personal potential, more effort is needed, with an ethical base of rational egoism.

Imo the ethical base lies in first studying man's nature.

Now when a philosopher presents his/her moral theory, it is necessary to examine whether the philosopher's premises regarding the biological/psychological/social needs of humans are correct.

As humans, we strive both for individual freedom and for the approval by others; the ethical task lies in productively balancing the two. Any ethics which is to work with human nature has to take both these factors into account.

An ethics which disregards the human individual's yearning for personal freedom will result in collectivism; the opposite, an ethics solely concerned with superman-type individuals to whom rules of the human community don't apply (the Nietzschean-type of fallacy) will result in disaster as well.

Rand was correct in attacking the doctrine of altruism which says one 'must' serve others first. This both absurd and dangerous philosophy contradicts human nature to such a degree that trying to apply it just had to end in a catastrophe, as the atrocities committed by collectivist dictatorships show.

But imo Rand cried the "altruism alert" too often, applying it also to situations where indoctrination plays no role. Thus we get statements from like 'friends and family being of no primary importance in man's life' (I don't have the exact quote, iirc, it was in a magazine article).

It was certainly not of primary importance in her life, but the moral conclusion she drew was a non-sequitur: she made the mistake of declaring her own personal preference as the moral standard for all.

Edited by Xray
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IMO what's important about the Objectivist Ethics is freeing people from guilt for honoring and understanding their personal self interest. It is also important because altruism as a doctrine is the moral foundation for any political collectivism and most religions. In freedom a person gets to engage the kaleidoscope of choices the wealth of his society and his own wealth--not just money--make available and not feel fed upon.

--Brant

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IMO what's important about the Objectivist Ethics is freeing people from guilt for honoring and understanding their personal self interest. It is also important because altruism as a doctrine is the moral foundation for any political collectivism and most religions. In freedom a person gets to engage the kaleidoscope of choices the wealth of his society and his own wealth--not just money--make available and not feel fed upon.

--Brant

"Personal self interest" has a strongly individualistic note. What happens in case an individual's personal self interest should happen to clash with what is called "rational selfishness" in Objectivism?

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Do you believe in God?

God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought. Even the categories of being and non-being. Those are categories of thought. I mean, it's as simple as that.

God - a "metaphor"? But doesn't every metaphor contain a 'tertium comparationis' which two different terms have in common, terms which are then connected via analogy where Term B replaces Term A?

Example: In calling a loved one "honey", the tertium comparationis is the 'sweetness' both the loved one and the honey have in common. Term B ('honey') then replaces Term A ('loved one')

From the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor

Metaphor is the concept of understanding one thing in terms of another. A metaphor is a figure of speech that constructs an analogy between two things or ideas, the analogy is conveyed by the use of a metaphorical word in place of some other word. For example: "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphors compare things without using "like" or "as."

If God were a metaphor, this would mean that an (already existing) term A ("eyes" in the above example) has an analogy with a term B ("jewels") referring to another thing/idea, and that the term B referring to the other thing/idea then replaces the already existing term A.

But this is clearly not the case with the term "God".

Edited by Xray
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IMO what's important about the Objectivist Ethics is freeing people from guilt for honoring and understanding their personal self interest. It is also important because altruism as a doctrine is the moral foundation for any political collectivism and most religions. In freedom a person gets to engage the kaleidoscope of choices the wealth of his society and his own wealth--not just money--make available and not feel fed upon.

--Brant

"Personal self interest" has a strongly individualistic note. What happens in case an individual's personal self interest should happen to clash with what is called "rational selfishness" in Objectivism?

Xray,

A reasonable question, I think. Except you already know the O'ist explanation (having heard it often) lies in the distinction between objectively held values, and passing fancies.

To begin with, there should not be a clash between personal self-interest, and rational selfishness - essentially, they are one and the same.

Granted, nobody is completely rational, all the time.

When a clash occurs, the person only has to check his or her premises, and the cause becomes apparent.

Without objective values, "personal self interest", as you put it, becomes a floating abstraction, liable to change at any moment.

With no objective ideal to aim for in one's life, it is only half a life, and too easy to get lost.(imo)

The doctor? Sure, no contradiction to his happiness and values, if he chooses to give up a lucrative practice to help out in Africa. Assuming it is of value to him, and not motivated by e.g. guilt, obligation, etc,- and only for as long as it remains an objective value, I would think.

Tony

Edited by whYNOT
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Whether atheism grows or not, I believe myths are going to be with mankind for a long time to come.

For many millenia, myths have served pre-modern man to cope with existence. They have relieved humans of the multiple pressures and anxieties connected with existence.

Myths have constructed sense, they have satisfied man's 'spiritual thirst' for a "deeper sense" of existence. They have filled in the blanks which the lack of scientific knowledge left in man's mind.

But as soon as humans began to reflect about existence on a more cognitive basis, there has been another, very powerful train of thought at work: the scrutinizing and questioning of the content of the myths.

Few myths have survived this epistemological challenge.

Belief in the Greek gods for example was already called into question back then by e. g. Heraclitus, Thales, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Pythagoras.

Acquisition of knowledge will normally lead to the crumbling and destruction of myths.

I'm 100% convinced that this (ongoing) epistemological challenge on myths will, in the long run, eventually lead to te crumbling of any kind of faith built on such myths.

Makes me think of the bright six-year-old in my colleague's class who, when the colleague tried to explain the Christian idea of "Resurrection" (a constituent part of this religion's Salvation Myth), raised her hand and said, "No, no - this can't be. Death people can't stand up again. Impossible!" :)

Grotesque, isn't it: While a six-year old is already able to reason epistemologically here and expose an element of a myth as scientifically false, millions of adult believers still have not reached this stage (or rather, don't want to reach it, for fear of their whole Christian faith crumbling once they abandon their belief in the resurrection of Christ and of humans in an afterlife).

"But doesn't need man a sense of purpose in life?" it is often asked by people who see the decline of religious faith with uneasy feelings.

Yes, man does need a sense of purpose in life, but it is lo longer the monopoly of religion to tell people what this purpose is.

I can imagine that humans will more and more construct a sense of purpose for their individual lives in compatibility with the state of scientific knowledge which has been achieved.

I'm only speculating, but imo certain ideals shared by more and more humans will eventually replace myths. The ideal of a peaceful and empathetic society for example. Not that this is ever going to become complete reality, but to work at it can give a person a deeply satisfying purpose in his/her life.

Edited by Xray
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Myths are also allegories and as such don't have to paper over knowledge gaps or be false on that level. They subsume and compress a tremendous amount of data about human social and personal existence and grace the idea of the possible but not yet achieved. They speak of courage and heroism and striving and accomplishment. While they tend to be masculine it's a masculinity both sexes are about in the sense they are of the family of man. Women need to embrace their masculinity by embracing their men and men need to embrace their femininity by embracing their women, and their children bless them both in marvelous synergy.

--Brant

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Myths address two fundamental issues which science and philosophy cannot.

1. Why do living things have to kill and consume other life to exist?

2. Why do we have to die?

Nobody can answer those questions. They are, to use Rand's phrase, "the given."

You look at the glass half empty and think dejectedly, "What a gift..."

Then you look at the glass half full and think excitedly, "What a gift!"

Dayaamm!

You can go nuts thinking about this.

Give me a good myth any day. At least I will then be able to get some work done and live it up a little...

Michael

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Myths are also allegories and as such don't have to paper over knowledge gaps or be false on that level. They subsume and compress a tremendous amount of data about human social and personal existence and grace the idea of the possible but not yet achieved. They speak of courage and heroism and striving and accomplishment. While they tend to be masculine it's a masculinity both sexes are about in the sense they are of the family of man. Women need to embrace their masculinity by embracing their men and men need to embrace their femininity by embracing their women, and their children bless them both in marvelous synergy.

--Brant

Beautifully said, and true.

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Myths are also allegories and as such don't have to paper over knowledge gaps or be false on that level. They subsume and compress a tremendous amount of data about human social and personal existence and grace the idea of the possible but not yet achieved. They speak of courage and heroism and striving and accomplishment. While they tend to be masculine it's a masculinity both sexes are about in the sense they are of the family of man. Women need to embrace their masculinity by embracing their men and men need to embrace their femininity by embracing their women, and their children bless them both in marvelous synergy.

--Brant

Beautifully said, and true.

Carol, I have always thought of Brant as an individual who strongly focuses on creating his own personal philosophy. The homo philosophicus in Brant shines trough in several of his posts, as in the # 67 you quoted above.

Edited by Xray
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Here is an article published by apologist Jerry Johnson which demonstrates how, by fairly simple debate strategies, an atheist not schooled in such debates can be pushed into a corner.

http://nicenecouncil.com/media/display.pl?media_file=60

Frankly, the atheist presented as the theist's debate opponent comes across as so helpless that one could believe the whole debate was 'invented' for demonstration purposes ...

The article has the challenging title "The Blind Faith of Atheism".

So per the article, atheists are not only believers, they are also blind believers. Attributes which one normally does not associate with atheists but with the opposing party: the theists.

The "Christian's" strategy is quite obvious: using the same accusation which your opponents use against you ('theists are blind believers') to accuse them: 'atheists are blind believers'.

A pot calling the kettle black situation, on might think at first glance.

But the Christian's goal is of course not to rest his case in a mere pot/kettle 'draw'.

For the Christian wants to come out victorious as a theist in this debate, and if this atheist really exists, he will have to admit he did a lousy job in trying to counter the Christian's strategy. Actually the atheist did not counter at all but folded like a wet Kleenex instead.

Here is the ouverture where it becomes quite clear where the Christan is headed:

["A" = Atheist] ["C" = Christian]

A: You and I used to believe in Santa Clause when we were children. But we no longer believe in him, do we? It is the same way with God. God is for childish minds. No adult should believe in Him any more than believing in Santa Clause. You see, there is no God. He does not exist any more than does Santa. I know the Bible states “the fool says there is no God,” but I say that only a fool believes in God. This is all I have to say. Atheism is simply a matter of giving up childish beliefs.

Not very smart by the atheist (or quite smart by the author in case it was he who invented this whole debate) to use one of the weakest atheist arguments: the Santa Claus/Tooth Fairy argument.

For Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy can clearly be unmasked as lies concocted to conceal a truth: that it was the parents, not Santa/the Tooth Fairy who put the gifts there.

But with the god question, there exists no simple disproof as with the Santa/Tooth Fairy lie.

Now C launches his epistemological attack on the atheist's position:

C: In order for me to make my opening remarks I was hoping Professor “A” would assist me and come up to the blackboard. (He agreed and came forward.) Would you please take this piece of chalk and make a dot on the blackboard. It does not have to be big. (He made the dot.) Now professor “A” this dot represents you. Would you now draw a circle around the dot with the dot in the center. (Professor makes the circle.) The inside of the circle represents all that you know; all you have studied and experienced; where you have been; and what you have seen and heard. The outside of the circle represents what you do not know; what you have not heard, studied, or experienced; where you have not been; and what you have not seen and heard. Are you okay with this so far?

A: Yes. This is amusing. I am interested to see where you are going with this. Surely you do not believe that this little exercise is going to disprove my point?

C: Now, obviously in this high tech age, there will be more outside the circle than inside the circle. Since your degree is in Biology, would you claim to know a great deal about quantum physics or economics?

A: No, I admit that I am limited in my knowledge.

C clearly tries to trap A into a situation comparable to a fish living on the seaground which 'concludes', going by its limited knowledge, that there is no such thing as a sky because it can see no evidence.

And indeed, the "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is quite a strong (if not the strongest) argument theists have to refute assertions like "There is no god".

And lo and behold, the reader now witnesses the atheist suddenly 'switching' to agnosticism!

C: You see the point of my opening remarks is that it is philosophically and logically absurd to state such a universal negative as, “there is no God.” The only one who could say that there are no gods of any shape or size in the universe throughout all time is God Himself. A person would have to be in all places at all times with all knowledge in order to be able to say “there is no God.” In short, you would have to be omnipresent and omniscient to have such knowledge. And in order to pull the whole thing off you would have to be omnipotent as well. So I will ask you again, is it possible for God to exist outside the 1% circle of your limited knowledge and experience?

A: Well, yes. To say otherwise would be (“C” interjects “BLIND FAITH”.) I would have to admit that God could exist outside the circle. But I think that it is impossible to know if He does. This debate is not fair. I did not know I would have to deal with this man.

C: You said if I heard correctly, that it is logically possible for God to exist. Therefore, it would be utterly illogical to say, “there is no God” since you would have to be God to know that there is no God, which would defeat your own thesis. Therefore, must we not conclude that your belief is totally based on faith, and a blind unproven faith at that?

A: Yes, I admit it. You see, I am really not an atheist. I am an agnostic. I don’t know if God exists and neither do you!

C: Well then, I have won the debate. You have presented yourself to these students all semester as an atheist and now you have admitted in front of them that atheism is absurd. But did I hear you correctly; you now claim to be an agnostic?

A: I did not know what I was getting into when I agreed to this debate. I don’t think this is fair at all.

C: Since we have refuted atheism together and shown it to be a blind leap of faith perhaps you would be willing to discuss agnosticism.

A: I am done. This debate is over... (At this point he walked out of the room.)

C: I hope that everyone has enjoyed tonight’s debate. In terms of his original thesis professor “A” had to admit that his proposition was absurd and based on BLIND FAITH.

Too bad the 'atheist-turned-agnostic' fled from the debate before discussing agnosticism, thus not making use of the opportunity to gain back lost ground by getting the theist into a corner, applying the clear separation of mere belief from fact to the theist's blind faith.

The final 'triumph' of the theist is mere circular reasoning, with quotes from his biblical "God":

C: I hope that everyone has enjoyed tonight’s debate. In terms of his original thesis professor “A” had to admit that his proposition was absurd and based on BLIND FAITH. Maybe the next question should be, “Why does the professor not want to believe in God?” We will let God answer that question Himself....

Romans 1:18-32, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

Quite brazen when you think about it: the theist now shamelessly practices that what he had criticized the atheist for doing: presenting mere belief as if it were an established fact:

Edited by Xray
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Here’s an interesting thought, Campbell discusses how a mythological system serves to help people with the difficult transitions we all have to go through in the different stages of life. The earliest, thus most important, is that of moving from the dependency of childhood into independent adulthood.

Ugh, I just reread this since the thread's active, and I'm not happy with the words "earliest, thus most important". Most important, maybe, but earlier comes the transition to having a sexual identity, mainly in puberty. For that matter, moving from the "terrible two's" to having self control is an important transition.

Edited by Ninth Doctor
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Myths address two fundamental issues which science and philosophy cannot.

1. Why do living things have to kill and consume other life to exist?

2. Why do we have to die?

1. We require the chemical elements to make protein. Were are not endowed with photosynthesis so we must consume living things (directly or indirectly) which are capable of photosynthesis.

2. Apply the second law of thermodynamics. entropy increases.

Science answers. Philosophy does not (no surprise).

Ba'al Chatzaf

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