Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"And no, atheism has no political or economic structures in the world"

  Commentor bachfiend:


And no, atheism has no political or economic structures in the world. Organizing atheists is like trying to herd cats.

Ohhh... how to respond?

"And no, atheism has no political or economic structures in the world." 




Hmmm... :


































"Organizing atheists is like trying to herd cats."














Aside from their aversion to state power and herding, atheists are also inveterate collectors:


33 comments:

  1. Shall we rehash the deeds of Christian governments of the Middle Ages? Thirty Years' War? The French Wars of Religion? The conquest of the Americas by the Spanish? The crusades?

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  2. @oleg:

    Differences:

    1) All atheist governments have been tyrannies. Some Christian governments have been tyrannies.
    2) Rate of atheist murders (100 million/100 years) Rate of Christian murders (much much less)Stalin killed more people every week than the Spanish Inquisition killed in 300 years.
    3) When you have to go back centuries to find Christian atrocities, you don't have much of an argument. I don't have to go back at all. Just hop a plane to North Korea.

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  3. No need to go back centuries, Mike. World War I was fought by all-Christian countries. 15 million dead.

    And I don't think there is a statute of limitations on this sort of thing. It remains on record.

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  4. Also you have to adjust for population size. In relative terms, wars of the past were no less brutal. Thirty Years' War killed a third of the population in what is now Germany.

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  5. Uh oh! Oleg once again attempts history.

    "the deeds of Christian governments of the Middle Ages?"
    Tract or common land deeds? Or does he mean title?
    No. I fear Oleg means something far less reasonable and researchable. He means ALL the collective mistakes and evils of an entire epoch of history can be pinned on a single ideology.

    "Thirty Years' War? The French Wars of Religion?"
    One must wonder, how do these centuries old regional conflicts compare to the images posted above? In sheer size and magnitude, or in the matter of intent? The former, as nasty as it was, hardly compares to Soviet Pogroms or Nazi Genocides. The latter is eclipsed by 'The Terror', and again very obviously by the Geno-terror of the super pro science and ever progressive Übermensch

    "The conquest of the Americas by the Spanish?"
    Poor Oleg, he forgot we were talking about ideologies and decided to throw the kingdom of Spain under the bus instead. He forgets about Portugal, Britain, France, Holland and the rest of the European powers; never mind the rest of the world.  He also forgets who was running the show when the Conquistadors showed up as well as the very material reasons for such conquest (route to Asia, colonies, gold, resources, slaves, etc etc).That is a lot of forgetting!
    Idols of infants blood and maize flower fed live sacrifice are preferable to monasteries and cathedrals? I disagree Oleg.
    He also forgets the Cristero(s) War, and the others like it. Calles laws, and the later Fascists, Communists and their various atrocities. Having been attached to a duty in both Cuba and Nicaragua I have seen some of it myself. Little boys with lash marks on their backs, little girls missing their tongues.
    But perhaps Oleg would prefer a communist or Islamic south/central America to a superstitious Christian one? Perhaps he would have had history reverse itself and the Aztecs invade Europe?
    Maybe, maybe not. We'll never know. Like the Lord God Himself (and several other commentors), Oleg ignores me - he pretends I am not here :(
    Unlike our Lord, I am a little less engaged in creation, and so will post on his comments so that other readers can more easily see this nonsense for what it is.

    "The crusades?"
    Out of timeline, out of context, and way out of his depth. This is a tired talking point. This statement makes it obvious that Oleg has never studied medieval history in a post secondary environment, or he has forgotten all he learned. The Crusades, as any semi-literate student of history understands, were a reaction to a massive foreign invasion/occupation by Muslim forces in Europe, Anatolia, Middle East, the Med and across North Africa. The response was slow, brutal, and often ineffective - but it was a response.
    WITHIN Christianity there is a debate as to it's morality as a 'Christian War' and whether it was justifiable. But as a medieval conflict it was only remarkable in it's organization and effect; It worked.
    So the question to the reader must become: Why does Oleg, an atheist who is relative in his morality, attempt to lecture Dr Egnor on the morality of historical Christian figures? I suspect this 'crusades' talking point is simply a that: rhetorical device. The vexing question is what is the point? Is Oleg trying to say that because men who called themselves Christians did horrible things hundreds of years ago, it is only fair that Atheists should commit horrific acts today? Again.... we shall never know. Perhaps another, more visible commenter could ask him?
    Regardless of the moral take on such bloody conflicts so many centuries ago, Dr Egnor makes the most salient point in his response.
    He states '3) When you have to go back centuries to find Christian atrocities, you don't have much of an argument. I don't have to go back at all. Just hop a plane to North Korea.'
    That says it ALL, Doctor.

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  6. Hitler may or may not have been a Christian. He certainly said he was a Christian, bemoaned godless communists, and banned most atheist and free thought organizations in 1933.

    There is no doubt that the operators of the Nazi holocaust machine where Christians, and that the Holocaust was a Christian genocide against non-Christians. So no, you don’t need to go back very far at all to find Christian perpetrated genocide on a massive scale.

    -KW

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  7. Imposed atheism by megalomaniac dictators is a suppression of opposing centers of political power, not a political expression of atheistic values.

    -KW

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  8. But don't you know, Doctor, that atheism is a hobby just like not collecting skulls is a hobby?

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  9. That is a nice non-sequitur of a post. How many of those governments were organized or acted based upon atheism as an ideology?

    Oh that's right, none of them.

    Once again you create a straw-man to attack, and attack it. And once again you look foolish when you do so.

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  10. Anon...is that you Oleg? :P
    Well, never mind.
    Did I say Hitler?
    Silly me.
    I meant the Nazis and their obsession with Haekel and Social Darwinism. They were also VERY fond of old Freddy Nietzsche, too. I did not mean Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Bormann, or any party leader or military leader individually.
    I meant the Nazi group think. Eugenics and racial laws specifically.
    I am discussing what they did, not how they wished to be portrayed.
    But anon/oleg is not the first to attempt this argument with me. Maybe I am not making myself clear enough. Perhaps I should clarify on this Hitler business.
    I am not one of these revisionist types who likes to paint Hitler as mad (or demonic) and thus totally responsible for the Third Reich. He was surely evil and absolutely instrumental, and it's figure head - but he was only a small and replaceable aspect of a vast mechanism; even if an important one.
    Hitler, like all motivators, said what the crowd wanted to hear and told them so.
    He was a sent by 'the Lord' when speaking to Catholics, and was for the 'volk' and 'workers' to others, all the while presiding over pagan rituals and orders.
    In his literature he is very progressive in his thinking on evolution. Almost atheist, but not quite convinced. Hitler seemed to see a design in nature, and intended to exploit it.
    I would say Deist if I had to make a guess, but we will never know as he was characteristically\in this area. I would suggest religion was a tool for Hitler, as it has been for all such dictators and tyrants. He saw faith as a weakness to be exploited, and thus never truly really revealed his own. all we are left with are the contradictions.
    Men like this USE religion and faith.
    They must be allied with, in control of, or destroy religion entirely. History shows us that science and scientist prove a useful tool in this.
    Here is Hitler,  found literally preaching evolution and natural selection to all in his manifesto, Mein Kampf.

    "Whatever survives these hardships of existence has been tested and tried a thousandfold, hardened and renders fit to continue the process of procreation; so that the same thorough selection will begin all over again. By thus dealing brutally with the individual and recalling him the very moment he shows that he is not fitted for the trials of life, Nature preserves the strength of the race and the species and raises it to the highest degree of efficiency"
    Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. 1, chapter III.

    In several of his lesser known but easily accessible and collaborations, Hitler denounces religion and Christianity all together. So which Hitler are we to believe in? One that was a devout religious man but was driven mad (?) taking his whole country with him, or the one who thought industry and science would propel his new empire and race of supermen into his vision of futurist utopia? Perhaps we would see the reality in his architectural, social, and military plans. One could read Albert Speer on that, if one was interested.

    For a deeper look into Hitler and the Nazi ideas on Evolution, natural selection and it's relation to Eugenics I suggest reading Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress. It is an incredibly balanced work and goes to great lengths to make the distinction between Darwin himself and the adherents and

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  11. Yikes...my post got butchered! Blogger? tablet? COFFEE??
    Anyway...what about all the other stuff. Only Hitler gets mention? And a canned talking point without proper notation, at that.

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  12. My reply was too long for a comment... so now it's its own blog post. Hope you don't mind the link: http://reedbraden.com/2011/08/30/an-image-dump-is-not-an-argument/

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  13. CrusadeREX, what was the religion of those operating the Nazi concentration camps? What was the religion of the victims? Despite your squirming I’m sure you know the answer. Death in the concentration camps was determined based on a religious test. It’s apparently not that difficult to persuade western Christians to commit genocide against religious minorities.

    -KW

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  14. I live in a country where most people are non-religious. Being an atheist here is no big deal, and nobody ever told me "you're going to hell", "you worship Darwin" or "where does your morality come from?" and I never had to debate about atheism or religions.

    So when I read stuff on American websites, I'm always amazed by the stupidity of "arguments" again atheism and atheists.

    Being compared to Stalin, Pol Pot and other mass murderers because I don't believe in medieval superstition is extremely insulting and ridiculous.

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  15. Anon. The people operating the death-camps were neo-pagans. Not Christians.

    Herpy. You aren't being compared to Stalin, et. al. It is merely being noted that your ideology tends to empower such people and that they indulge in mass murder.

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  16. @Herpy:

    [So when I read stuff on American websites, I'm always amazed by the stupidity of "arguments" again atheism and atheists.]

    The arguments for atheism (shit just happened, everything came from nothing, there is no objective moral law...) are stupid. Theism is a much more intelligent understanding of the world.

    [Being compared to Stalin, Pol Pot and other mass murderers because I don't believe in medieval superstition is extremely insulting and ridiculous.]

    Atheists insist that religion is a violent scourge. I just remind you that atheism in power is not just a thought experiment. It has been very real, and very very violent.

    Atheism is a medieval superstition. Belief in God is much more rational.

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  17. Theism is a much more intelligent understanding of the world.

    You keep saying this, and nothing in the wharrrgarrble word salad you keep trotting out actually demonstrates it. All you've shown is that you can erect straw-men and knock them down while touting the half-baked ideas of 12th century theologians.

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  18. @anon:

    [Theism is a much more intelligent understanding of the world.]

    [You keep saying this, and nothing in the wharrrgarrble word salad you keep trotting out actually demonstrates it. All you've shown is that you can erect straw-men and knock them down while touting the half-baked ideas of 12th century theologians.]

    If the ideas are so half-baked, you ought to be able to easily refute them.

    ...birds chirping...

    Explain existence, moral law, natural laws, from the perspective of atheism.

    I always find it amusing.

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  19. The case for Aquinas' correctness is yours to make. Thus far you've failed. All you've done is parrot the unsupported musings of a 12th century theologian. With no empirical basis to rest upon, Aquinas demonstrates nothing. You assert that things have "potency". How do you demonstrate that other than by raw assertion? You assert that things need a prime mover to actuate this potency? On what basis do you conclude this other than you really really wish it to be so?

    Thomism is internally inconsistent. If individual human souls are immaterial, then why must there be a prime mover? You cannot assert anything about the properties of the immaterial except by raw assertion. How do you know that the "potency" isn't actuated by immaterial human souls? You can't actually say anything one way or the other about those souls that you claim exist, since you've consigned them to immateriality, and hence removed them from the causal chain you assert demonstrates a prime mover. But if they are unmoored from causality, why does a prime mover have to exist?

    Similarly, you reject determinism, and assert free will. But that also rejects the causal chain that you rely upon to demonstrate the prime mover. Because by rejecting determinism you are saying that our decisions are not caused by the prior influences on us, but are instead driven by some sort of noncausal "special sauce". And the chain of logic that Thomas relied upon to support his prime mover theory fails again, because you have included literally billions of unmoved movers into your theology in this case.

    Now I hear to starting to whine that the free will comes from the prime mover, so it is caused by him. In which case, you do believe in determinism, its just that you rely upon unprovable supernatural determinism. And you can't even demonstrate that the "special sauce" came from the prime mover, since you can't actually demonstrate anything one way or the other about a supernatural cause. In short, your "theory", such as it is, relies upon unprovable internally inconsistent assertions.

    Morality is easy - it is human derived. I've noted you say that "this means that your morals are opinions". That's fine. Yours are too. Only mine aren't based on bronze Age mythology, while yours are. if God's moral laws are immutable, why have they changed so much in the last three thousand years? Two thousand years? Two hundred years? If they are somehow universal, why do so many groups use the same book to draw wildly different conclusions? And other than a raw assertion of authoritativeness, why is the interpretation you adhere to correct? Your prime mover argument failed, and you've got nothing else to support your assertion that your morality is anything other than human decision making. it is just that yours cloaks itself in authority it simply doesn't have.

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  20. "Explain existence, moral law, natural laws, from the perspective of atheism."

    "I don't know" seems to me a better answer than "a magical being did it."

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  21. These are not examples of regimes driven by rational thinking or secular morality. Religion was banned because it was a threat to the state's authority.

    Dictatorships a run within a dogmatic framework where the authority of the leader or the state can not be questioned. Sounds more like religion to me. Kim Jong Il can perform divine miracles. 

    The nonsense you're pedalling here has been debunked many times before in detail.  Are you a) wilfully ignorant or b) too lazy to do a Google search? I suspect c) it's a cheap shot after the massive humiliation in you're Coulter post. Your looking a little punch-drunk. 

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. @sasho:

    [Are you... too lazy to do a Google search?]

    Google 'state atheism'.

    It's all about totalitarians and mass murderers. Atheists in power.

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  24. @anon:

    [The case for Aquinas' correctness is yours to make...]

    I don't have time to be your personal philosophy tutor. All of the arguments you've made are incoherent gibberish except for the point about free will and the Prime Mover.

    It has long been a question as to how libertarian free will is possible in a world with a Prime Mover.

    Aquinas' view was that God is the source of freedom, and that there is no inconsistency between God's omnipotence and human freedom. I agree.

    Other thoughtful people have disagreed.

    I'll try to discuss these issues on this blog as much as time allows.

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  25. I think my hypothesis that Michael has the Geschwind syndrome (google it to read what the features are) is getting stronger. One of its features I forgot to mention previously was polygraphia, the urge to write an enormous quantity on absolutely nothing.

    Like most human qualities, humans fit on a bell curve. Height. Intelligence. Empathy. Pattern recognition and agency detection. Activity of temporal cortex and limbic system (I think Michael has a hyperactive temporal cortex and limbic system).

    The communists did their atrocities for political reasons, not for atheist reasons. Stalin had fellow atheists killed. Attributing blame to atheism or theism for any particular atrocity is fraught with difficulty as there are usually more than one factor involved.

    The Crusades were partly started to unite Christians so they weren't fighting each other in Europe.

    The Spanish Inquisition was partly started so that the Spanish king could get his hands on the money of the Jews.

    The Thirty Year War started as a religious conflict but then became a political one (Catholic France paid Protestant Sweden to invade Germany, and eventually it became a war between Catholics and Protestants on one side, and Catholics and Protestants on the other).

    Humans aren't very good at determining their true motives for some action, but they are very good at rationalizing the reasons. Many times humans act out of fear or emotion, often unconscious, but manage to find a rational reason to justify it (largely subconsciously). How humans decide isn't entirely rational or conscious.

    CrusadeRex,

    You contradict yourself. How can Hitler be both a small and replaceable aspect of a vast mechanism and simultaneously be important?

    I think the overwhelming consensus of historians is: no Hitler, no Third Reich (and WWII or Holocaust). The theories concerning Hitler's evil are protean, including his being a psychopath. The latest theory I've read is that he contracted encephalitis lethargica during the First World War, causing brain damage. Encephalitis lethargica is thought to have been a viral infection (it's disappeared now) affecting about 15 million during and immediately after WWI (it was overshadowed by the Spanish 'flu pandemic). About a third had the severe infection of 'sleeping sickness' as illustrated in the film 'Awakening'. About a third had milder effects, with progressive neurological damage such as Parkinson's syndrome. Hitler had Parkinson's 'disease' of unusually early onset, some thinking that it actually started in the '20s with a tremor in his left hand (the side subsequently affected by his Parkinson's). Before 1950, about three quarters of early onset Parkinson's syndrome were due to encephalitis lethargica.

    Persistent encephalitis lethargica also had psychological effects, such as paranoia, grandiose ideation, rage ... (all of which Hitler had in abundance).

    It's of some not little concern that a viral infection in one individual could have resulted in such worldwide misery.

    But my point remains. Humans are COMPLEX. It's nonsensical ascribing their actions to a single factor. It is extremely simplistic just taking one factor and stating that that was the sole reason. Humans act for many reasons, and the obvious ones are often not at all important.

    Stalin was an atheist, but he was also a Communist and an egoist.

    Himmler was a Catholic. He was churchgoing in the '20s, he was ashamed of what he did, stating in 1943 that what the SS did could never be written down, and he stated in 1945 that the Lord God would not allow Germany to lose the war. But he did his crimes for reasons of power. He wasn't a pagan (that probably applies best to Goering). His pomp was more like that of King Arthur.

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  26. “Explain existence, moral law, natural laws, from the perspective of atheism.”

    I can’t speak for atheism because it’s not a monolithic set of beliefs. These are my personal views. I don’t hold these views because I’m an atheist; I’m an atheist because of these views. No Atheist I know, or know of, would be arrogant enough to claim to speak for atheism. With atheists it’s always “I believe” not “we believe”.

    Existence: Don’t know, but it looks like the gravitational potential energy of the universe’s constituents may very well balance out all other forms of mass and energy resulting in a net energy for the universe of precisely zero. The ultimate free lunch. Of course this is consistent with a divine creator, but then, so is everything else.

    Moral Law: Evolution. It really does explain every extant aspect of biological systems, and you know it.

    Natural Laws: Personally, I don’t know. But I do know that people much smarter than you or me are investigating the nature of spontaneous symmetry breaking in big bang cosmology, the possibility of a string theory landscape, and a host of other theories and hypothesis to explain the nature and origin of physical laws. I know a married couple of physicists, after having discussed these very sorts of issues with them, I think it’s safe to say that you don’t even know how to frame any truly relevant questions. Questions that are difficult to express in the English language. If you started to go on about Aquinas you would most likely get a blank stare as they decided never you invite you to any parties.

    -KW

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  27. I don't have time to be your personal philosophy tutor. All of the arguments you've made are incoherent gibberish except for the point about free will and the Prime Mover.

    Nice dodge. Once you are confronted with questions that your 12th century theology can't handle, you duck and run. Like most theists who realize that the gobbledegook that they rely upon is too tired and worn out to work any more.

    You still haven't answered how you come to any conclusions concerning the supernatural. How do you conclude that the immaterial souls you assert as part of your theology are not the cause of "potency"? Your refusal to actually confront the contradictions in your chosen theological framework is pretty revealing.

    Of course, I didn't even have to point out that Aquinas' thoughts about causation don't actually match the understanding we now have concerning causation. It isn't his fault, but when you rely upon the thinking of someone who lived eight hundred years ago, well, you have some problems.

    You see, you've previously used the example of a leaf as an object with "potency". But a leaf isn't actually something definable. It is just a label applied to a particular collection of cells that are joined together at a discrete moment in time. And those cells are nothing more than aggregations of molecules. And those molecules are just atoms, and so on. At what point does the "potency" lie? Because once you dial down to the atomic level, you're in the area of quantum mechanics, and all that whaarrrgarrble about "ordered series" and "unordered series" and chains of causation and all that go out the window. Things do come into and out of existence spontaneously. And without any cause. And since that leaf is just a collection of quantum events aggregated together, your 12th century views on causation fail in the face of empirical evidence to the contrary.

    Now, you might dismiss quantum mechanics, like you dismiss much of the rest of modern science. But the problem is that they are demonstrable. In fact, unless you are accessing the internet via a machine fueled by vacuum tubes, you are relying upon transistor to drive the device you are using, and transistors function entirely based upon quantum phenomenon. If quantum causality doesn't work, then we can't make the computer you are using.

    It has long been a question as to how libertarian free will is possible in a world with a Prime Mover.

    Aquinas' view was that God is the source of freedom, and that there is no inconsistency between God's omnipotence and human freedom. I agree.


    And Aquinas' view is based upon mere assertion, since he (and you) posit a supernatural source for this free will. But that violated the chain of causation that led you to the prime mover, since the free will exists outside of the (archaic and almost certainly wrong) chain of causation that led you to conclude there was a prime mover to begin with. Adhering strictly to Aquinas' logic, you can have free will, or you can have a prime mover, but you can't have both. Either you are given free will by the prime mover, in which case you just have supernatural determinism, or your free will exists separate from the "prime mover", in which case there are billions of prime movers. As pointed out before, it is internally inconsistent, and you cannot demonstrate any of it.

    Which is what happens when you unmoor yourself from reality and begin asserting supernatural causes. Everything falls apart, because you cannot actually demonstrate anything. Your adherence to Aquinas is cute, but exposes you for the fool that you are.

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  28. In North Korea, Kim Jong-Il is credited with supernatural powers (such as the ability to control the weather with his moods), and he hand his late father have been elevated to divine status. That is hardly an "atheistic" regime.

    But then again, given your track record, we shouldn't expect accuracy. It isn't your strong suit.

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  29. @anon KW:

    [I can’t speak for atheism because it’s not a monolithic set of beliefs...With atheists it’s always “I believe” not “we believe”.]

    Then you can't assert that atheism is more true or less violent than theism. You can only discuss atheism as a particular, not as a universal. So you can't assert that I misrepresent atheism, because to you there is no atheism to mis/represent.

    [Existence: Don’t know, but it looks like the gravitational potential energy of the universe’s constituents may very well balance out all other forms of mass and energy resulting in a net energy for the universe of precisely zero. The ultimate free lunch. Of course this is consistent with a divine creator, but then, so is everything else.]

    A series of causes in an essentially ordered series cannot go on to infinite regress. You ned to come to grips with Aristotle's/Aquinas' arguments if you are to have a coherent opinion. You're not there yet.

    [Moral Law: Evolution. It really does explain every extant aspect of biological systems, and you know it.]

    Evolution offers no explanation for ought, only is. Even for 'is', it sucks.

    [Natural Laws: Personally, I don’t know. But I do know that people much smarter than you or me are investigating the nature of spontaneous symmetry breaking in big bang cosmology, the possibility of a string theory landscape, and a host of other theories and hypothesis to explain the nature and origin of physical laws. I know a married couple of physicists, after having discussed these very sorts of issues with them, I think it’s safe to say that you don’t even know how to frame any truly relevant questions. Questions that are difficult to express in the English language.]

    God made natural laws.

    English works fine. It's atheism that's unintelligible.


    [If you started to go on about Aquinas you would most likely get a blank stare as they decided never you invite you to any parties.]

    No doubt.

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