The fourth estate = the fifth column

Discuss life, the universe, and everything with other members of this site. Get to know your fellow polywell enthusiasts.

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Betruger
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Postby Betruger » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:21 am

All the faith you need, pragmatically, is solipsism.

ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:45 pm

joedead wrote:
It is of course, my opinion that the majority of Athiests do not devote much thought to pondering the nature of their social surroundings with an objective viewpoint.


That made me laugh. Not in a mean way. That is, I enjoy your reading your posts. You certainly don't back down from anything!

In any case, do you have a link to an example of Athiest pondering the consequence of an Athiest humanity ? I really can't see it as anything but a recipie for mass murder. A different perspective would be very interesting, especially the reasoning behind it.


I would start off by recommending Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russel and then The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins gets alot of flack from people I know (even atheists) for coming off as condescending, so I would go with Russel first.

Both of them tackle the idea that athiests' lack of belief in god somehow makes them less moral. Both do an admirable job of explaining how morality can exist outside of religion, and both have made cases that it even precedes religion.

I personally don't have anything negative to say about non-athiests. I became an athiest after a long, objective search for what I believe to be rational and reasonable truth. I believe my search for truth to be a good enough reason to believe the way I do. I still question my beliefs, btw. Who knows? Perhaps someday I'll find my past reasoning to be too weak to justify my beliefs, and I'll have to change again. Therefore, I do not begrudge someone for what they believe in. I only hope they have examined and questioned their own beliefs thoroughly before coming to their conclusions.



I shall see what the man has to say, and I shall be very suprised if he has considered what would happen if everyone ELSE was an athiest.

(I guess my "First Principle" here is that MOST people NEED a God to behave. Even though Some don't, thinking that everyone doesn't is a serious mistake. )



David
Last edited by ravingdave on Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:11 pm

MSimon wrote:Alex,

The universality does not prove anything except that such belief is helpful for survival. Men it seems need faith. Where things go bad is if they pick one that is counter reproduction.



Amen Brother! Hallelueia! Say it again!! :)


Seriously, that is MY argument. Deep in Human history, The rules of Morality were adopted because they AIDED in survival, and some clever old men linked them to a Deity(s) to provide a Fear mechanism, and thereby created a negative feedback system.

Ocassionally something bad would happen to an otherwise devote follower, and of course it was in the best intrest of the Religious leaders to explain it in such a way that it doesn't destroy their belief in the religion, so they invented other gods or devils.

It's a clever system, and people would screw with it at their own (and everyone else's peril.)


David

ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:15 pm

alexjrgreen wrote:
joedead wrote:I would start off by recommending Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russel and then The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins gets alot of flack from people I know (even atheists) for coming off as condescending, so I would go with Russel first.

Bertrand Russell's essay is here http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html

The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men.

In the archaeological record, special care for the dead appears as part of the transition to modern human behaviour. As far as can be reasonably determined, most humans, at most times, in most places, have exhibited religious behaviour.

In historical times, the overwhelming majority of cultures have believed in a God (or gods). The details of these beliefs have varied very widely, but the concept of the supernatural is almost universal.

Even for an atheist, this represents an evidential base that deserves enquiry.



Thanks for the link, and I think your statements are on a related vector to mine.



David

joedead
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Postby joedead » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:45 pm

Totally off-topic, but does anyone else here read xkcd?

http://xkcd.com/

ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:47 pm

joedead wrote:
I would start off by recommending Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russel and then The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins gets alot of flack from people I know (even atheists) for coming off as condescending, so I would go with Russel first.

Both of them tackle the idea that athiests' lack of belief in god somehow makes them less moral. Both do an admirable job of explaining how morality can exist outside of religion, and both have made cases that it even precedes religion.

I personally don't have anything negative to say about non-athiests. I became an athiest after a long, objective search for what I believe to be rational and reasonable truth. I believe my search for truth to be a good enough reason to believe the way I do. I still question my beliefs, btw. Who knows? Perhaps someday I'll find my past reasoning to be too weak to justify my beliefs, and I'll have to change again. Therefore, I do not begrudge someone for what they believe in. I only hope they have examined and questioned their own beliefs thoroughly before coming to their conclusions.



I've read the essay. He touches on my points here: (Thanks for the link alexjrgreen)

Bertrand Russell wrote:That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.




Well, he makes mistakes in Reasoning and Fact, and he does not address my point.

His mistake in reasoning is... "It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked."

He is Refuting this Statement: "That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion."

His "Argument" doesn't refute the Allegation.


Let's simplify. He's trying to disprove this statement. Non Christians are wicked.


His Argument is : Some christians are wicked. Therefore, Non Christians are not wicked.

That's really bad logic.

He is of course, overlooking the mitigating effect of Christianity. (He is attacking the Specific case of Christianity, when he ought to be attacking the General case of Theism)

Using a control group, AKA the Soviet Communists, we can compare the wickedness of Theists (Christians) to Non Theists.

Arriving at the Factual Mistake he makes in his argument : "there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches;" and comparing it to the Deaths under Soviet Athiests >30 Million", I dare say all the evidence is against his argument.

Sure, some Theists were wicked and evil, but compared to the Non-Theists, they were downright humanitarians !


The proof is in the piles of Dead bodies througout history. I'd much rather live under a corn ball religion that is relatively benign, than to remove ALL negative feedback controls, and then having to dodge all the people who are trying to kill me.


David

joedead
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Postby joedead » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:05 am

The proof is in the piles of Dead bodies througout history. I'd much rather live under a corn ball religion that is relatively benign, than to remove ALL negative feedback controls, and then having to dodge all the people who are trying to kill me.


David


FYI, I just checked out the link, and would like to specify I was refering to his ENTIRE book, not just this single lecture. If I had any of my books with me, I would just browse through them and directly quote them. But I just moved and my entire library is packed up in boxes several states away.

Well, I still find fault with your reasoning and would like counter-attack, but I have the feeling you've already made up your mind about this, eh? Regardless, I'm much less likely to convince you than Bertrand Russel and Dawkins. But I'll bite on this one last point.

Getting back to your original statement:
I really can't see it as anything but a recipie for mass murder.


Now, explain your reasoning to me, and I'll try my best to pick it apart as logically as possible. It seems to me this is just a loaded statement that's full of assumptions, but I can't be sure until you clarify.


Let her' rip.

TDPerk
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Totally off-topic, but does anyone else here read xkcd?

Postby TDPerk » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:40 pm

"Totally off-topic, but does anyone else here read xkcd? "

Yes.
molon labe
montani semper liberi
para fides paternae patria

joedead
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Postby joedead » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:01 pm

"Totally off-topic, but does anyone else here read xkcd? "

Yes.


We should invite him to check out this site; perhaps fodder for his comic?

ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:00 pm

joedead wrote:

FYI, I just checked out the link, and would like to specify I was refering to his ENTIRE book, not just this single lecture. If I had any of my books with me, I would just browse through them and directly quote them. But I just moved and my entire library is packed up in boxes several states away..



Geeze, the guy wrote an entire BOOK on the subject ? I guess you caught me showing my ignorance. I'll have to see if the Library has it.


joedead wrote:
Well, I still find fault with your reasoning and would like counter-attack, but I have the feeling you've already made up your mind about this, eh?
.



Well, yes, of course. Everybody's mind is made up till they see some reason to change it. I have changed my mind about serious things in the past, and I am persuadeable. You see, I go through life making up theories to explain things I don't understand in terms of things that I do.
(Or at least think I do. ) When my theory get's blown apart by some fact in contradiction to it, I have to think up a new theory. Eventually, my theories get's pretty robust because they evolve from the corpses of previous theories.



joedead wrote:Regardless, I'm much less likely to convince you than Bertrand Russel and Dawkins. But I'll bite on this one last point.

Getting back to your original statement:
I really can't see it as anything but a recipie for mass murder.


Now, explain your reasoning to me, and I'll try my best to pick it apart as logically as possible. It seems to me this is just a loaded statement that's full of assumptions, but I can't be sure until you clarify.


Let her' rip.



Well, I start with the premise that humans are evolved, and therefore basically evil. ( what I mean by evil is that they will do cutthroat things to their felllow organisms in the race to get ahead) As babies regard themselves as the center of the Universe, they consider "Good" to be anything that makes them feel better, and "Bad" as anything that makes them feel worse.

The firmware for human selfishness is hardwired into the brain as a result of evolution. Through rearing, they are gradually taught that there are other people in the world, and that they don't always get everything they want. They also soon realize that Strength is Power, and those with strength get what they want more often. They learn that they can bully people weaker than themselves, and that they have to submit to people stronger than themselves. (like mom and dad)

Basic, primitive, cave man, instinct.

Over time, children realize that the people surrounding them (Kith and Kin) have more value than strangers, and therefore Tolerate/Embrace them. They establish a "Group" identitiy. Useful Members of the Group are "good", strangers and detrimental members of the group are "Bad."

A sort of "Detente" gets established. Strangers and "others" are Outsiders, while group members are insiders.

Where does "Tolerance" come from ? It is something which is learned and taught. If Parents exhibit tolerance, children will learn by their example.
(before they get old enough to start questioning their parents decisions. )


Continued at a latter date...


David

vernes
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Postby vernes » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:15 am

joedead wrote:Totally off-topic, but does anyone else here read xkcd?

http://xkcd.com/
ofcource!
But do you read dresdencodak?
http://www.dresdencodak.com/

ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:09 pm

Here's what's going to have to serve as a continuation of my previous post. After having thought about it for a few days, i've decided not to go through with the hassle of writing a lengthy explanation for why I believe an ocean of athiests would be equivilant to a recipie for mass murder.

Rather than explain the theory, I would suggest we just look at the experiments which have already taken place. I.E. Stalinist Russia, Pol Pot's cambodia, Mao's china, etc.



Victims of Stalin's forced famine.
Image

Victims of Khmer Rouge
Image


Victims of Mao tse tung.
Image


Perhaps this is unfair to characterize these events as the result of Athiesm, as it can be argued that the bigger component is the fact that they were left wing socialists. Possibly, but it seems to me that as socialists/communists are vehemenently athiestic, athiesm itself must be a component of their doctrine, and therefore must bear some responsibility.

If there is no standard for right and wrong, how can there be a right or wrong ?


David

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:12 pm

R.Dave,

It is not atheism exactly. Their God was Marx. Their ethics was: "by any means necessary."
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

joedead
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Postby joedead » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:56 am

Perhaps this is unfair to characterize these events as the result of Athiesm, as it can be argued that the bigger component is the fact that they were left wing socialists. Possibly, but it seems to me that as socialists/communists are vehemenently athiestic, athiesm itself must be a component of their doctrine, and therefore must bear some responsibility.


Excellent. Was waiting for you to finish this. I'll rip into this later this weekend.

Communists and Left Wing Socialist contained some athiest ideas, and they killed alot of people, therefore all athiests are morally bankrupt? Not great logic, but I'll devote more words to your fuzzy logic later.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:59 am

Why The One will have a pile of skulls to his credit according to Eisenhower:

"In this anxious time for America, one fact looms above all others in our people's mind. One tragedy challenges all men dedicated to the work of peace. One word shouts denial to those who foolishly pretend that ours is not a nation at war. This fact, this tragedy, this word is: Korea. A small country, Korea has been, for more than two years, the battleground for the costliest foreign war our nation has fought, excepting the two world wars. It shall been the burial ground for 20,000 America dead. It has been another historic field of honor for the valor and skill and tenacity of American soldiers. All these things it has been-and yet one thing more. It has been a symbol-a telling symbol-of the foreign policy of our nation. It has been a sign-a warning sign-of the way the Administration has conducted our world affairs. It has been a measure-a damning measure-of the quality of leadership we have been given. Tonight I am going to talk about our foreign policy and of its supreme symbol-the Korean war. I am not going to give you elaborate generalizations-but hard, tough facts. I am going to state the unvarnished truth. What, then, are the plain facts? The biggest fact about the Korean war is this: It was never inevitable, it was never inescapable, no fantastic fiat of history decreed that little South Korea-in the summer of 1950-would fatally tempt Communist aggressors as their easiest victim. No demonic destiny decreed that America had to be bled this way in order to keep South Korea free and to keep freedom itself-self-respecting. We are not mute prisoners of history. That is a doctrine for totalitarians, it is no creed for free men. There is a Korean war-and we are fighting it-for the simplest of reasons: because free leadership failed to check and to turn back Communist ambition before it savagely attacked us. The Korean war-more perhaps than any other war in history-simply and swiftly followed the collapse of our political defenses. There is no other reason than this: We failed to read and to outwit the totalitarian mind... World War II should have taught us all one lesson. The lesson is this: To vacillate, to hesitate-to appease even by merely betraying unsteady purpose-is to feed a dictator's appetite for conquest and to invite war itself."
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.


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