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Post 0

Tuesday, October 21 - 5:34pmSanction this postReply
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Excellent article!

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A friend of mine dated a religious woman for a short time, and I remember him telling me how shocked she was to hear that he, an atheist, had a moral code.  

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America has elected a black president, and many decades ago we elected a Catholic to the highest office, we might end up electing either a woman, a Hispanic or a Mormon in 2016 (depending, of course, on who runs), but I suspect that it will be many generations before we will see an admitted atheist in that office, even if he isn't the least bit militant in his atheism or at all intolerant of religious beliefs and has no "atheist agenda" he or she wants to carry out.

 

My prediction is that the very last minority to be elected will be the atheist.



Post 1

Tuesday, October 21 - 6:26pmSanction this postReply
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From my personal experience growing up through the teaching of Assembles of God (evangelical Pentecostal Christian), the purported importance and power of faith was one of the most discussed topics.

 

"God loves humans so much he sacrificed his only son on their behalf, and who ever believes (faith) in him will not die: instead live forever."

John 3:16 (of the New Testament of the Bible, my translation)

 

Translation: Believe what I tell you (even though I give you no evidence), and you will live forever!

 

Denying God's existence is so evil in Christianity that it is the only purported reason your life/existence would end.

 

Given that some religious leaders know that thier religion is a sham, and that the "Faith is good -> religious leader goal injection" trick is the base of their power to inject goals into their followers...  they will strongly promote fierce fighting against people who reject belief without evidence/reason (faith).  This strong promotion will be permitted and even repeated by religious leaders who don't know their religion is a sham.

 

(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 10/21, 6:29pm)

 

(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 10/22, 9:03am)



Post 2

Tuesday, October 21 - 8:39pmSanction this postReply
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Huh...the translation I grew up with for John 3:16 (King James Version)was "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life..."

 

(Edited by Joe Maurone on 10/21, 8:41pm)



Post 3

Wednesday, October 22 - 7:17amSanction this postReply
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...or a Mormon in 2016 ...

 

Or a Moron in 2016, like we did in 2008 and 2012.



Post 4

Wednesday, October 22 - 7:23amSanction this postReply
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Steve:

 

My prediction is that the very last minority to be elected will be the atheist.

 

Or perhaps, the very last minority to be elected will be an atheist who honestly admits he's an atheist, as opposed to the sell-outs who will say whatever it takes to get elected.

 

That isn't a criticism of believers; that is a criticism of believers in nothing but getting elected.

 

Think the Tom Skerrit sleazy politico character -- David Drumlin -- in one of my favorite movies, "Contact", going on about God like a reptile when campaigning for a seat in the gizmo.

 

regards,

Fred



Post 5

Wednesday, October 22 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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Joe M, Yes, that is the version I have memorized...  what I wrote above is a modern succinct translation.  For example, what does it mean that he gave his son?  He loves the world?



Post 6

Wednesday, October 22 - 12:03pmSanction this postReply
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Fred,

Or perhaps, the very last minority to be elected will be an atheist who honestly admits he's an atheist....

Yes, that's what I meant.  As to those who make a practice of saying whatever is poll-tested - even if it isn't true...., well we've suffered more than our share of them.  That form of sleaze seems to be the standard these days.

 

I'm not a militant atheist, at least not in the political arena.  If a theist keeps his religious beliefs out of politics and they aren't a driving force in his or her life, then I'm not that concerned.  I find that fundamental beliefs that people have volition, that there are such things as universal moral values, and that people are responsible for their actions are more important - in elected officials - than something like their background belief in an afterlife.  On the other hand, if they take the Bible too literally, it isn't so much those beliefs that would be off-puting for me as my estimation of their intelligence.



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Post 7

Thursday, October 30 - 11:04amSanction this postReply
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I found your article interesting. I would like to propose a few perceptions though...

Among religious people, the term atheist is frequently viewed in another manner that was not identified in your article. The stance of an atheist is identified with the premise that there is no god. As such, it is by definition a stance against belief and does not automatically include a set of values such as Humanism even though that set of values is frequently realized in the absence of religious values. To many religious people, this equates more to a hate group than a religious stance.

A frequent perception is that by extension, an atheist can take the stance that anyone that believes in a god is irrational and possibly unpredictable and dangerous. (not a surprising position given the fanaticism seen in the news today) From that point, it has been a small step to the stance that rational people would try to get rid of the dangers of all religion and should take action to do so (and so support this seemingly human tendency toward fanaticism in opposition).

Many religious people see that fanatic stance as a threat to open minded discussion and respond defensively.

I would note that many "atheists" that I have spoken to are not actually atheists but agnostic in that they don't subscribe to the argumentum ad ignorantiam premise of there is no god because there is no scientific evidence or the straw man argument made that the behavior of a god is not seen as expected so god does not exist.

I would also note that from the religious perspective there is evidence supporting the existence of gods depending on the interpretation of the evidence. But it is only supported by testimony and cannot be considered scientific evidence as the associated theories cannot be tested.

Agnosticism is much easier to accept by religion than Atheism as it is more rational from their view.

I agree that Atheism should be viewed on equal footing with religion and critiqued with the same evaluations because it also draws a conclusion and takes a stance as does religion.

If we are going to hold a rational discussion with a person of religious belief, we should take the open minded position that they are not automatically all idiots for believing something ridiculous and examine whatever rational support they may have for their views.

I would also propose that taking a stance as an Agnostic Humanist, if that applies, will serve the rational discussion better for all involved.

The solution to religious fanaticism is not bowing to it by lying about one's personal beliefs nor the destruction of all religion but the enlightenment of rational thought and promotion of tolerance, human dignity, freedom of personal opinion and open discussion. 



Post 8

Saturday, November 1 - 11:38amSanction this postReply
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Lee,

 

I found the observation that many religious people tend to view atheists as members of a hate group interesting.

 

It makes a kind of sense since they see the most visible atheists who are the more militant atheists - those who are confronting religion in a very public way.

---------------

 

For me, the issue of religious people has three important divides:

 

  1. - Politically enforced religous views versus free to believe what you want

    Any group that advocates forcing others to accept their religious beliefs, or to live by them, by casting those beliefs into law, such as the Religious Right in the US, or the supporters of Sharia law around the globe, should be aggressively challenged. This is just saying that in the issue of choice versus force, religion isn't a justification for adopting force.

  2. - Faith (or emotionalism) versus reason

    People can believe anything they want to. They can choose beliefs that are right or wrong in their content, and they can choose beliefs by means that are sound (e.g., logic) or adopt a belief in the absence of reason - faith. Or they can adopt the practice of choosing beliefs based upon emotions (and then adopting some psuedo-logic as a cover for what was really just emotionalism).

  3. - Central to their lives versus not central to their lives

    I find that people who adopt religion in ways that make it a driving force in their life, and take their goals from it feel 'foreign' to me. I can never find much in the way of commonality with them. On the other hand, when someonemight hold some religious views that are common in a culture, but go about their life mostly from the basis of reason, don't work towards achieving goals on behalf of their religion or church as a key part of their life, then, for obvious reasons, there is more of chance that we might end up being able to communicate and find common ground.

    From my perspective this last point is kind of like the difference between a person who is an individual and a person that is just part of the Borg. I'll never feel like someone who has no strong sense of self apart from their religion, is like me in a fundamental sense.
    ----------------

 

I would certainly disagree with the statement that "Atheism should be viewed on equal footing with religion" since they are different things all together. Atheism and Theism are of the same category, whereas religion is about more than a belief in a a god.   And in some cases, like Budhism, may not include a god.  I also wouldn't put them on the same footing since religious views are faith based, despite any claims to have rational evidence for this or that bit of the religion whereas atheism is the absence of a particular belief and often in the presence of reasoned arguments (not faith) in opposition to theism.

 

I also disagreed with the following statement:

I would also note that from the religious perspective there is evidence supporting the existence of gods depending on the interpretation of the evidence.

It is a form of circular argument to start with the concept of a "religious perspective" type of evidence - and then end up with the conclusion that such a perspective can interpret 'evidence' that supports acceptance of a religious belief in a god. An honest form of religion just stands by their faith-based acceptance of what they interpret from their scriptures, and doesn't try to find psuedo-scientific, or psuedo-logical "reasons" that are stood up behind each of the beliefs - beliefs that an honest person would admit they had first, and would admit that their motivation was to find reasons to justify the beliefs.
-----------------

 

p.s., If you wanted to pursue this, this web site has a section (a forum) called "Dissent" where theists can present their perspectives in whatever way they wish and will usually find people responding in a rational, open discussion with them.  (Probably not me as I feel I've been there and done that too many times already)



Post 9

Tuesday, November 4 - 10:32amSanction this postReply
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Certainly, this is a topic often discussed here at length.

 

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand,_Objectivism,_and_Religion_(Part_1_of_4).shtml

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand,_Objectivism,_and_Religion_(Part_2_of_4).shtml

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand,_Objectivism,_and_Religion_(Part_3_of_4).shtml

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand,_Objectivism,_and_Religion_(Part_4_of_4).shtml

 

... just for openers...

 

Lee Ninde wrote: 

I found your article interesting. I would like to propose a few perceptions though...

Among religious people, the term atheist is frequently viewed in another manner that was not identified in your article. The stance of an atheist is identified with the premise that there is no god. As such, it is by definition a stance against belief and ...  

Many religious people see that fanatic stance as a threat to open minded discussion and respond defensively.

I would note that many "atheists" that I have spoken to are not actually atheists but agnostic in that they don't subscribe to the argumentum ad ignorantiam premise of there is no god because there is no scientific evidence or the straw man argument made that the behavior of a god is not seen as expected so god does not exist. ...



 

There may well be a God.  Nothing anyone has said so far makes sense. No one has offered any proof.  From that, it is easy to say that there is no God (as far as we know).  That said, I personally doubt that the chain of being stops with us as the crown of creation.  Here at our home, we had a problem with insects, so we bought nematodes and sprayed them into the lawn.  It is pretty gruesome to read about.  Not the bacteria they inject, nor the nematodes themselves, nor their victims have much perception of us.  So, it is easy to imagine that if you extend the chain of being up and out in space and time and whatever else, well, maybe there are many such beings far more extensive, powerful, and et cetera than we are or than we can imagine.  

 

But I doubt that they care much about who rules at Jersusalem.

 

So, for me, people who do care about that because they think that God cares are really very wrongheaded.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 11/04, 10:44am)



Post 10

Tuesday, November 4 - 2:07pmSanction this postReply
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True Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists

 

Person A believes in X which has no logical evidence for it, and much evidence against it.  This is a True believer who makes use of denial, rationalization and emotonalism to maintain the irrational in their minds even though it has no logical connection with reality.

 

Person B Believes in X which has no logical evidence for it, but no evidence against it.  This is a fearful soul who grants primacy of imagined fantasies over reality... unless someone can prove them wrong.  And doesn't want to commit to being a 'true believer' on one hand, or giving up the particular fantasy on the other hand... not yet.  This is a kind of having your cake and eating it kind of epistemology.  And they might imagine that they are safe from logical attack with this irrational position.  They aren't.  Reality is still reality and they are still not logically connected to it.  But the real cost is in adopting a psychoepsitemology that makes it more likely they will be comfortable with floating abstractions in any given area.  To some degree they have set their mind to find and support compromises between knowledge or reality and fantasies - not the kind of programming one should set up in their mind.

 

Person C does not believe in X which has no logical evidence for it, and some evidence against it.  This is just simple reasoning based upon the primacy of reality. If later, the evidence against it is shown to be false, or evidence for it comes into being in the future, then this person's mind opens itself to a reevaluation to best eliminate any contradictions.  But this person doesn't adopt a "maybe" position in advance by saying "maybe there will be new evidence in the FUTURE, so I'll leave my thinking open NOW."

 

Person D does not believe in X despite there being no evidence against it, because there is no evidence for it.  This is a recognition that people mistake an agnostics argument for reason, that it is mixing up the notion of a 'possibility' that is based upon nothing, with a 'possibility' based upon something - and sound reasoning doesn't grant ontological status to that for which no such evidence exists. This person might say, "There were once frogs in Newton county, and there is no evidence that would preclude them from coming back, so there might someday be frogs in Newton County."  That is a valid possibility based upon valid evidence from the past.  He would not say, "There are things we don't know, so one day we may well discover a real unicorn, or omnipotent god, so I'll remain neutral on these issues."
------------------------


Marotta said, "There may well be a God."
Really?  Why not say, "There may well be unicorns and leprechauns."

 

Marotta went to say, "Nothing anyone has said so far makes sense. No one has offered any proof. From that, it is easy to say that there is no God (as far as we know)."

[Notice that there is no way to logicfally reconcile this with either the "there may well be a god" statement just before it, or with the implications of his "(as far as we know)" that it ends with!]

Why not just say "there are no unicorns and leprechauns (as far as we know)"?  But how could one say, "There may well be unicorns and leprechauns, but there is no evidence, nothing but nonsense, so there are no unicorns or leprechauns..... well, there might be but we just don't know of them yet."

------

 

Marotta: "That said, I personally doubt that the chain of being stops with us as the crown of creation."
And we might say: "That said, I personally doubt that the creatures in existence stops with those we know of."

Marotta: So, it is easy to imagine that if you extend the chain of being up and out in space and time and whatever else, well, maybe there are many such beings far more extensive, powerful, and et cetera than we are or than we can imagine.

Why not say: "So, it is easy to imagine that if you extend the list of creatures up and out in space and time and whatever else, well, maybe there are many such beings far more interesting, almost magical, and et cetera than we are or than we can imagine - like leprechauns and unicorns." 
---------------------

 

Marotta states that there may be many god-like creatures that exist somewhere "out in space and time and whatever else" - he believes this despite any evidence - as either an act of faith, or emotionalism dressed up to look like reasoning, or logically flawed reasoning.  And he goes on to state that he doubts that they "care much about who rules at Jersusalem."

And then he ends this strange post by attacking those who are a kind of irrational fellow believers, but clearly inferior by his reckoinging when he says, "So, for me, people who do care about that because they think that God cares are really very wrongheaded."

Well, I guess imagining a non-existent god-like being that doesn't care, is one way, although a bit strange, to criticize those who believe in a non-existent god that does care. But I don't see much more than a fig-leaf of difference in wrongheadedness between the two.



Post 11

Wednesday, November 5 - 4:25amSanction this postReply
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The Universe did not have a creator, because that is a logical impossibility.  However, Earth may have had a creator.  

 

The unicorn is the rhinoceros. Verbal accounts of actual sightings gave rise to the image of the mythical animal. 
Everyone knows that (or should).

 

African Rhinoceros  

 

Dragons, also, have a basis in fact.

 

Leprechauns seem to have been invented.  The "histories" of ancient Ireland are no older than the Middle Ages.  On the other hand, concerning the unicorn, Wikipedia points out that ancient Greeks such as Aristotle included them in natural histories. The unicorn does not appear in Greek mythology.  However, Pegasos does.  That might speak better to Steve's worry about my pursuing a chimera.

 

Constructing this post, I did write that flying horses are impossible.... but I got to thinking...  You would need to add significant musculature to the back, of course.  And it probably moreover would need a denser atmosphere to allow flight.  Right now, I am reading 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson.  He goes into digressions on terraforming.  So, just to say, people and pegasi could be in the same place at the same time...

 

The same sort of imagination allowed me to construct an argument in the discussion of Original Property.  We commonly accept that alternating current and direct current are physically different in many ways, perhaps most essentially that an alternating current generates an electromagnetic field.  DC does not.  But that is not exactly true...  When you close the switch on an DC circuit, you create an instaneous flux.  When you open the circuit, that flux collapses.  So, by opening and closing a DC circuit, you can simulate an AC circuit and create an EM field.  That means that the old telegraphs could have been used to provide a kind of radio transmission.  But no such thing actually was done. 

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 11/05, 4:29am)



Post 12

Wednesday, November 5 - 3:57pmSanction this postReply
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Note how Marotta doesn't answer the argument, he side-steps it.

 

I used unicorns as an example of something that doesn't exist as a real animal and he does a slippery slide sideways to say that the mythical unicorn probably came into being following a sighting of a rhinoceros.  Well, clearly what we think of today when the word "unicorn" is used is not a rhinorceros, and when we think of a rhinoceros none of us are confused that it might be a unicorn.  And I doubt that anyone here, except maybe Marotta, holds the concept of "unicorn" in their mind as a thing that has real physical existence.

 

I happen to think that this is a perfect example of how Marotta often 'thinks' - it is almost like an "anything is possible" epistemology.  It clearly makes agnosticism more acceptable than the commitment required by atheisim or theism.  It opens the door to floating abstractions, letting them act as a kind of fuzzy bridge over what would otherwise be uncomfortably restricting connections to a hard reality.  It is a celebration of the ability to dance with such fluid and nuanced verbal creativity that what might be illogical or contradictory to others, isn't for Marotta.  

 

But it isn't a connection to the real world.



Post 13

Sunday, November 9 - 3:54amSanction this postReply
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"The same sort of imagination allowed me to construct an argument in the discussion of Original Property. We commonly accept that alternating current and direct current are physically different in many ways, perhaps most essentially that an alternating current generates an electromagnetic field. DC does not. But that is not exactly true... When you close the switch on an DC circuit, you create an instaneous flux. When you open the circuit, that flux collapses. So, by opening and closing a DC circuit, you can simulate an AC circuit and create an EM field. That means that the old telegraphs could have been used to provide a kind of radio transmission. But no such thing actually was done."



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Post 14

Tuesday, November 11 - 12:28amSanction this postReply
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Manual half wave rectifier?! Lol



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Post 15

Tuesday, November 11 - 7:17amSanction this postReply
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Michael:

 

I think you mean, a DC current can produce only a constant electromagnetic field.

 

Said another way; the solonoids in your automobile are DC solonoids.

 

regards,

Fred



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Post 16

Tuesday, November 11 - 7:33amSanction this postReply
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In your example, communication requires change('surprise') in the carrier; but a magnetic field exists whether AC or DC current in the wire, as long as there is current in the wire.

 

Also, when you think about it, DC is not really static as long as current is flowing; charge q is net moving through space.    In DC, net in one direction.   In AC, alternating in direction at some frequency.   At frequency '0', AC converges to DC.  

 

 

I like the peas in a straw analogy.   If you think of charge q as peas, in DC, the peas move through the straw; push on one pea at one end (do work on it via emf) and another pea moves out the other end(and can do work on something via emf).   In AC(ooops), the peas are shaken in place, alternately pushed and pulled at one end of the straw(via alternating emf) and are thus able to alternating push and pull on something else at the other end, but if we were to think of peas in the straw, they are just being jostled in two directions in phase.

 

But... as long as charge is moving, an emf  magnetic field is generated around the wire. 

 

If the charges are stationary, there is an electric field E, but no generated magnetic field B.    The existence of the magnetic field depends on moving charges, not the DC or AC nature of their moving.

 

regards,

Fred

 

(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/11, 7:34am)



Post 17

Wednesday, November 12 - 4:40pmSanction this postReply
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Fred, thanks for the corrections.  I did mean as you inferred that the magnetic field is constant.  It has been a while since I used this stuff, obviously, and so I built some circuits for myself.  (My wife wants to build a home security system, but neither of us is a bench technician.  So, we went to a local electronics store and bought half a dozen kits.  She got the programmable Arduino kit and gets the lights to run in sequence.  I built a radi-controlled tank, and a lie detector. (She loves me.)  But I also hauled down the Radio Shack 30 Project kit that she got me 1000 years ago for Christmas.  With that, I built a bunch of oscillators.  So, I was able to run a long wire and charge it from a switch while I had some compasses nearby.  I have an old scouting compass; but I also tested my iPhone 5 just to see.   So, I knew that when the wire is carrying a current that there is a magnetic field.  But it is constant.  I also wrapped the wire around an iron bolt. By tapping the key, I could make the compasses really spin...)   

 

On the topic of religion here...  It is nice that the prophets all want us to act nice to each other and all, but, really, if they had extra-normal powers of insight and heavenly awareness, you'd think that they or their gods could have given us radio or something really miraculously and anachronistically useful.   

 

I mean, Prometheus gave us fire...  OK... that was 2 million  years ago.  I guess it's true that to God 2 million years is an instant...

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 11/12, 4:40pm)



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