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Old 2009-02-12, 20:46   Link #1601
Clarste
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
That was a good explanation and I agree with you but my original post was in regards to "how you define an atheist," to which I said "if you say 'I don't believe in God' it probably means you are atheist." It had nothing to do with atheists being looked down upon or whatever, it was my thoughts on the definition.
I was responding to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoXiao
I don't understand your point, nor can I see any ulterior motive. Explain yourself.
which was in response to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinak
doing this is pretty much on par of telling a homophobe that you are gay.
which was in response to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0
My question here would be how you even know they're atheists. Most of them don't exactly go around advertising it.
which was in response to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaceNFrills
Honestly, most of the Atheist that I've met and heard of from my acquaintance are rude who think they're right and cocky about their view of Gods, but they're teenangers so they're immature I guess.
Basically I was explaining why people dislike atheists and therefore why shouting "I don't believe in God!" randomly is akin to "telling a homophobe that you are gay." The point being that just as gay people hide their homosexuality from homophobes, atheists are quite likely to hide their atheism. So hearing people say "I don't believe in God" isn't always the best way to identify atheists.

Er... hearing them say that is probably a sufficient condition for them to be atheists, but its not a necessary condition. There are plenty of atheists who do not shout such things for various reasons. Therefore judging all atheists to be annoying because some people are shouting "I don't believe in God!" is flawed because you have no idea how many of the people you meet are atheists, since most of them don't go around shouting it, because they'd be persecuted if they did.

In short, people who go around shouting "I'm Catholic!" all the time would probably be very annoying too, but that doesn't really say anything about catholics in general. It just says things about people who like to loudly declare their beliefs repeatedly.
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Old 2009-02-12, 20:57   Link #1602
Kusa-San
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Originally Posted by Clarste View Post

Er... hearing them say that is probably a sufficient condition for them to be atheists, but its not a necessary condition. There are plenty of atheists who do not shout such things for various reasons. Therefore judging all atheists to be annoying because some people are shouting "I don't believe in God!" is flawed because you have no idea how many of the people you meet are atheists, since most of them don't go around shouting it, because they'd be persecuted if they did.

Persecuted by who The Truth is I think most of the atheist don't care at all about religion or god. Personnaly i will not ask someone if he is catholic since i don't care if he is. Religion, for me, is not important at all. I don't judge a man beacuse of his religion but because of what he is. That's all.

And to tell you the truth, I'm really surprised of what i read in this thread. In France, Religion is not that important (with, sadly, some exception though...). What i mean, is, here you can be catholic, it's your right but it's not something good or bad.
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Old 2009-02-12, 21:38   Link #1603
Vexx
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Ah but see.. you're in France ---- i.e. mostly secular Europe. In the United States, publicly admitting atheism can actually get people really unfriendly to you. Its almost a given that you are UNelectable if you even admit agnosticism. Some survey numbers: Half the people in the US think Creationism is a viable theory and that evolution is just a crazy idea (which made the Anglican Church celebration of Darwin's birthday this week rather amazing to people in the US if they even heard about it). Over a quarter of the people in the US think the world was created 6000 years ago. They think secular humanists are the agents of Satan (who is a real entity to them). They believe in supernatural events, miracles that happen today.

See the problem for non-Christians and purveyors of scientific reasoning in the US yet? It doesn't make them well-liked by a significant portion of the population.
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Old 2009-02-12, 21:43   Link #1604
Ikan
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mmm...I'm a roman Catholic...Though I believe In God...I think all of our religion do..Yahwe, Alla, Lao Tzu, Brahma. They're all Gods from different kind of religions(well except Lao Tzu)..^^
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Old 2009-02-12, 21:58   Link #1605
Kylaran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kusa-San View Post
Persecuted by who The Truth is I think most of the atheist don't care at all about religion or god. Personnaly i will not ask someone if he is catholic since i don't care if he is. Religion, for me, is not important at all. I don't judge a man beacuse of his religion but because of what he is. That's all.
Religion, metaphysics, and epistomology are all related. If we define many aspects of human behavior according to morals and ethics, and, in general, assume that basic codes of conduct and rules of thumb are what people follow in their daily lives, then religion has a profound impact on how people in modern day societies function. We cannot necessarily disregard this fact. Similar to how it's impossible to remove the Buddhist tradition of thinking from East Asia, it is just as difficult to eliminate the Christian background from Western thought, and we all know how different these societies are.

You're right that persecution in areas of the world is no longer as strong as it used to be, but I also don't think "persecution" was used in this sense. The fact that religious traditions holds sway means that outsiders who do not attest to those beliefs fall under suspicion, and thus are treated differently.

Judging religion as right or wrong is not something we should do, but that does not mean that the relationship between religion and society has come to a point where it is negligible. It's a good thing to learn about who follows what faith, and to get a good understanding of what traditions of religion and philosophy influence people around the world.

Or, at least, I think so.
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Old 2009-02-12, 22:51   Link #1606
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinak View Post
pretty good video on the subject
Spoiler for youtube:



Sorry if i am going off topic.
What I find very funny about the author of that book attacking religion is that he considers himself to be among "people of reason", in this sense arguing in support of those who think in terms of the scientific tradition. Those who are religious have control of their ability to reason, though. For them, their reason just follows a traditional form of analysis and understanding, and that reason has its metaphysical roots in a divine being.

Last edited by Kylaran; 2009-02-12 at 22:54. Reason: Was completely incoherent the first time.
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Old 2009-02-12, 22:59   Link #1607
Vexx
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Everyone has the ability to reason. The flowchart can vary and the means of acquiring and validating data can vary. So-called atheists (or theists) sometimes approach the discussion from the wrong angle (as the youtube video showed a bit of.
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Old 2009-02-12, 23:00   Link #1608
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Quote:
pretty good video on the subject
This kind of thing happening has nothing to do with religion. It's about mob mentality. In communist nations the reverse [from what the video showed] happens, and such behavior is actively supported by the government. It's not religion that causes the problems, it's people's intolerance and ignorance.
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Old 2009-02-13, 00:24   Link #1609
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
This kind of thing happening has nothing to do with religion. It's about mob mentality. In communist nations the reverse [from what the video showed] happens, and such behavior is actively supported by the government.
Really? Can you show even one communist state sponsored persecution of any group of people that was ever done in the name of atheism.?

Quote:
It's not religion that causes the problems, it's people's intolerance and ignorance.
You can argue that it may not be the specific cause, but it is clearly one of the most potent fuels.
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Old 2009-02-13, 00:51   Link #1610
Kylaran
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Originally Posted by Vinak View Post
I know Russia is no longer communist, but they were and they do have religion. in fact 95% of the followers of the Orthodox church reside in Russia.

While China is still a communist state and originally founded it's government on atheistic beliefs. recent events have brought fourth government recognition of certain religions. Primarily Buddhism and Taoism.

While Vietnam have active Catholic and Buddhist populations.
Indeed.

Challenging traditions in society is probably the most difficult aspect of being atheist in a world filled with theistic tradition. Communist thought held that religion would fracture society into different spheres, and prevent cooperation and cohesion that's necessary for prosperity. But it's also very difficult to shed the influence of traditions that once may have held meaning, but now may not be so meaningful for other reasons (such as scientific reasoning).
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Old 2009-02-13, 01:39   Link #1611
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Vinak View Post
I primarily wanted to show the report on the school. Richard Dawkins makes pretty good arguments to support atheism and helps explain why some atheists lack a belief. But I don't agree with everything he has to say.
I love reading Richard's writings and science. He's hilariously entertaining in interviews and talks. Most of what he says I think is spot on target -- but he and I diverge on agnosticism versus atheism. He asserts the non-existence of any supernatural (though even that term has some liquidity) whereas I'll use the "shadows on the cave wall from the firelight" .... we cannot experience Reality directly, we can only build theories based on our sensory input. Some theories work better than others - some theories work well in some situations but not others -- some theories hang around because they're intrinsically irrelevant. Some theories are actually destructive in new situations because they constrict adaptation if one refuse to discard them. But I cannot completely rule out the idea an entity created the Universe or metaverse -- there's simply no evidence yet for one and a number of compelling arguments against one.
Anthropomorphizing natural forces, otoh, is entertaining and evocative - and i could argue that I'm just a more complex phenomenon than that little dust devil playing in the leaves on the sidewalk. It requires some pretty complicated math to model him....
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Last edited by Vexx; 2009-02-13 at 01:56.
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Old 2009-02-13, 05:38   Link #1612
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
It's not religion that causes the problems, it's people's intolerance and ignorance.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK.

Nuff said.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinak View Post
Do you know this for a fact or are you just basing this on the assumption that communist countries are non religious?
There's some truth in that even if it's just an assumption. Communism was a response to class war. It started with Marx's question "On what grounds do you justify being in the position you're in, bossing others around while they lead miserable lives only for your benefit?" Because there is no answer, the answer was always god. "I have been placed where I am, you have been placed where you are by god", and people would accept this natural law until reason made them realize that is a bunch of shit.
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Old 2009-02-13, 05:52   Link #1613
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Originally Posted by Xrayz0r View Post
Because there is no answer, the answer was always god. "I have been placed where I am, you have been placed where you are by god", and people would accept this natural law until reason made them realize that is a bunch of shit.
The example you have just given demonstrates cognitive faculties and the ability to reason. So, I would argue, that such a justification for their status in society is not "a bunch of shit" because they have reasoned their way to that conclusion. Yes, I'm sticking to definition, and, yes, I'm assuming your idea of "people with reason" and "people without reason" is exclusive and correlates to a certain method of reasoning rather than reasoning itself.

I believe the question here should be: "What justifies that reasoning?" Some people are unable to accept the idea of "that dude in the sky" telling them how things should be, and thus we have the difference in opinion here. It is not so much that one set of people are incapable of thinking; they simply have no reason to doubt otherwise what the truth is. And there are plenty of poor people that have conservative tendencies, even when it comes to religion and justification of existance.

Perhaps this might be interesting to think about:

Science and experience requires just as much reasoning as religion. They simply base their proof on different things.

If we equate atheism to a certain amount of faith in the natural world (which, I suppose, would not necessarily be an outrageous claim because I could argue that most atheists would find things such as science or empiricism to be the few dependable things to base conclusions on), then we would find ourselves still asking the question of "what lies further behind that?"

Why does an atom do what it does? Why does it function as it functions? Why do we humans possess the ability to create neural pathways and thus acquire information? Why are we capable of processing sensory input into an electrical form to send to our brain? What is an unconscious?

These questions are fully compatible with religion in my opinion. Science answers the how, but it fails to answer the why for many things. Our instruments of measurement can be flawed, and our ability to perceive can be just as flawed. Religion provides that answer in many situations, but there are also those who cannot accept that answer. But it can be flawed as well.

So we have a question of right or wrong, justified and unjustified. But this does not mean that those who are religious are not "people of reason." Even the ones we associate as conservatively and traditionally ignorant.

Last edited by Kylaran; 2009-02-13 at 05:58. Reason: Edited for clarity.
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Old 2009-02-13, 06:21   Link #1614
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Few things.

In that context, reason allowed people to see through how society is a dynamic process, and every person in any position has arrived there on no grounds justified. Either born into it or by a different way. There is no objective standard by which you can justify any person being placed higher than another. Even if one is smarter or more talented, there's no objective standard, hence communism. Not saying that's my position, but that's how communism came about.

So it's an entirely different lingo when you're talking about reason vs science. Religious people aren't necessarily people without reason, but religion and science are both found on the same track, yet lightyears apart.

Before Thales, people tried explaining the world with myths. This is, in a very primitive sense, a product of reason.
Then Thales came, he was looking for something different. A first principle was needed to explain the universe. He posited "water". This is a product of reason, yet there's progress.
Then came Parmenides, he posited maybe the senses are deceitful. Further progress.

Finally Kant, who led us to think whether reason is maybe preconditioned, we should question reason.

And so on. It's not a matter of what requires more reason. It's not about more, it's about purity. This is how things progress, and religion has fallen way behind. It's not compatible with contemporary philosophy. It's a product of medieval, ancient reason. People today hold onto it out of fear or something else, not reason. So there's an important difference here.
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Old 2009-02-13, 06:41   Link #1615
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I simply posted what I did to note that one of the phrases you used seemed more like an attack on religious reasoning rather than an analysis of the reasoning itself. My point was that reasoning lies behind all things, and we cannot easily throw around the description "people of reason" very easily in a discussion this sort. Although there is a different meaning to the phrase "people of reason" (more like, people willing TO reason), but, nevertheless, that was not clarified.

I say this because reasoning must have a definition before we are to argue on similar grounds.

Now that you've clarified yourself, then I need say no more about that point.

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Finally Kant, who led us to think whether reason is maybe preconditioned, we should question reason.

It's not a matter of what requires more reason. It's not about more, it's about purity. This is how things progress, and religion has fallen way behind. It's not compatible with contemporary philosophy. It's a product of medieval, ancient reason. People today hold onto it out of fear or something else, not reason. So there's an important difference here.

I fail to see how a word such as purity plays into reasoning. To describe one method of reasoning as pure brings in connotative polar opposite of impure, perhaps corrupted. From what you are saying, I'm assuming we can assume a pure form of reasoning is desirable and better than other forms of reasoning.

Furthermore, correct me if I'm wrong, but you mentioned both "questioning reason" but also assaulting the religious tradition of reasoning in the words I have just quoted. Does that mean you believe that this purest form of reasoning lies in doubting reason itself, particularly traditions that were founded in the past?

Contemporary philosophy is fragmented. Analytical philosophy has made a whole in itself through its postmodern dissection of anything and everything that it's being incorporated into - art, science, literature, politics - without having a progress of its own. It is stuck because of an analysis of how it is used today, and how it has progressed from its history. To be a philosopher now means nothing more than to question everything because everything should be questioned. I'm not sure how valuable it will be to even bring in continental philosophy, as those of us in English-speaking countries have separated the analytic tradition with other traditions of thought.

There is nothing as dangerous as arguing one point of reasoning being more pure than another. If your conclusion is that we have progressed in methods of reasoning all along, then perhaps we need a definition of "progress" and to re-evaluate the worth of philosophy today.

Last edited by Kylaran; 2009-02-13 at 07:10.
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Old 2009-02-13, 07:11   Link #1616
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I fail to see how a word such as purity plays into reasoning.
Uhm, for lack of a better word. If you're familiar with Hegel, you'll know that leaps are made when reason allows one (or many) to reason itself out of a certain situation (or belief) in order to ascend. And once you're there, it will be reason again to acknowledge that something is also wrong with this new situation (or belief) which will once again pull you up towards a higher truth, or closer to it.

Without reason, there would never be progress, because nothing would make anyone realize that whatever the current situation is, has problems. It's an inevitability within any society, but it faces difficulty when one has advanced at a faster pace than another, because of different reasons, and comes in conflict. Religion has great appeal because it answers to what people are afraid of. Emotions cloud reason.
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Old 2009-02-13, 07:24   Link #1617
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Originally Posted by Xrayz0r View Post
Uhm, for lack of a better word. If you're familiar with Hegel, you'll know that leaps are made when reason allows one (or many) to reason itself out of a certain situation (or belief) in order to ascend. And once you're there, it will be reason again to acknowledge that something is also wrong with this new situation (or belief) which will once again pull you up towards a higher truth, or closer to it.
And if I argued that we are assuming this result is not progressive, what would your challenge be to this? Hegel is also one of the important thinkers that have clouded contemporary philosophy by becoming engaged with the history of philosophy itself. I do not "know" that reason allows us to "ascend" because, at this point, I disagree with what this nature of progression is. We can assume Hegel's definition, and then yes, you might be right, but if we were to attack Hegel's position, then we may see religious reasoning and scientific reasoning in different ways.

An analysis of the past and a synthesis (as Hegel believed) of historical ideas merging to reason their way through to a better future is not necessarily progress. Hegel might have felt this way, and there are certainly some aspects of society that can be seen as progressive (for example, technology), but there could be aspects of society that we see similar trends from ancient times to modern times. If fact, I could argue that our current methods of reasoning and analysis have added more problems to things than not.

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Originally Posted by Xrayz0r View Post
Without reason, there would never be progress, because nothing would make anyone realize that whatever the current situation is, has problems. It's an inevitability within any society, but it faces difficulty when one has advanced at a faster pace than another, because of different reasons, and comes in conflict. Religion has great appeal because it answers to what people are afraid of. Emotions cloud reason.
Religion provides answers just as much as science does. Yes, there's always that added bonus of "understanding" what lies after death (which, as we all know, is different according to the religion), which is certainly a comfort to our fear of death as a species, as well as ascribing to other pre-established assumptions, but that does not necessarily mean that religion has fallen behind.

Again, I ask: "What is progress?"

And how does this "progress" truly render religion to be a relic that has fallen behind?

Last edited by Kylaran; 2009-02-13 at 07:40. Reason: Blah. It's late. Needed to make myself coherent.
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Old 2009-02-13, 07:40   Link #1618
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And if I argued that we are assuming this result is not progressive, what would your challenge be to this?
I'm not sure what you mean by progressive, so let's not go all abstract with this. Morality, I hope we can all agree, has progressed. Even if not so in practice (if you wish to argue), it has so in understanding. Morality entails "guiding one's actions by reason", at the very least. It it reason-able for Hegel to believe that today's morality is the product of historical events which took place following the "denial" of reality which was untrue, or immoral, or wrong according to reason at the time. In science, when new difficulties present itself because no theory can possibly explain phenomena it is supposed to, a synthesis will occur sooner or later to include those in a new theory. So within what reason is capable of, progress is made, whether that's objectively genuine or not.

Hence, purity.

Last edited by Xrayz0r; 2009-02-13 at 08:05.
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Old 2009-02-13, 08:00   Link #1619
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Originally Posted by Xrayz0r View Post
Emotions cloud reason.
Oh, I dunno. Emotions are what make anime memorable for me. Would that suggest reason's overrated?

We're human, not robots, are we not?

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Morality, I hope we can all agree, has progressed.
I admire your certainty.

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Old 2009-02-13, 08:09   Link #1620
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Hey, on a side note (actually the main topic), has anyone noticed this?

Looks like the ex-nazis have finally accepted evolution.
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