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TheVillageAtheist

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About TheVillageAtheist

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  • Favorite Area of Science
    Cosmology
  1. They'd be wrong. Religious ideology, more than any other kind, breeds violence because of the grand claims it makes for itself. It positions God as the creator, the source of all life, and makes him the ultimate moral authority. And adherence to his creeds promises the ultimate reward, while the ultimate punishment is meted out to those who do not. No non-religious ideology could possibly make such claims, and without such claims there are--as history has proven--far fewer people willing to sacrifice their integrity and common sense. Yes, non-religious ideologies can and do lead to viole
  2. Ideology can be dangerous regardless of the brand. However, religious ideology tends to be dangerous with more frequency than non-religious ideology. I also would hesitate to classify the soviets as irreligious. Yes, atheism was a bit of a prerequisite for Stalinism, but Stalinism was also something of a pseudo-religion. North Korea is a more crystalline example of this: A non-theistic nation that has simply replaced traditional gods with the Dear Leader.
  3. If you're going to break rank and assume God isn't so good after all, why not just go all the way and assume he doesn't exist?
  4. This is an interesting observation, and I think you're right. At least in the west, where adhering to religious practice is impractical, we see few strict observers. I think that's why some of them have trouble believing that religion is the chief cause of unrest in areas like the middle east. After all, it isn't a chief cause of anything in their own lives, so how could it possibly be the cause of something like deadly violence? Real belief is pretty serious business, particularly in the Abrahamic faiths, where there exists strict dietary and social restrictions.
  5. Yes, religion is extremely important in our world. It is a motivator for good and bad behavior, sometimes exceptionally good or bad behavior. It colors our language and our culture. It is the hinge of hugely consequential social and political debates. The reason we should debate the merits of religion or the existence of God is that, like any philosophy, it has real consequences. A thousand years ago, when Islam was inclusive and promoting art and science, you would hope that people continue believing to foster the atmosphere of discovery and scholarship. Today, with terrorism and poverty
  6. How could geometry be subjective or objective without making some statement about it? I mean, are you saying that morality is objective just because it exists as a concept? And anyway, to say that one morality is more true than the other, or that the more useful morality should be applied is a subjective statement, even if the usefulness of said morality is objective. But the valuation you give to each of the items in your code of morality is subjective, even if you are basing it its usefulness to the human race, because you must apply a subjective value to whatever end you are at
  7. No. Even if we were the product of a supreme creator, the mandates of that creator must still be given a subjective value by its subjects (i.e. "us"). Without that valuation, even the words of a god are empty. We can say much more than that. It is a fact that morality is subjective. It's entirely up to the individual to decide for itself what constitutes "right" and "wrong." We can intellectualize these opinions and make compelling, logical arguments for one code over another, but the strength of our position ultimately lies in our ability to build consensus. In other words, moral
  8. Um, no. First and foremost, not everyone agrees that killing, cheating, and stealing is wrong, and not everyone believes that altruism is good. Many people think charity is counter-productive, for example. So your assertion is incorrect right from the start. But what I'm curious about is why "even aboriginies, indians etc." are treated as something other than people in your post? What do you mean "even" they have morality? This is incorrect. I can say with confidence that Adolph Hitler was wrong, and I can give you an reasonable, rational explanation for why. Just because there is no
  9. Flood myths exist in most cultures because people tend to settle around bodies of water. If you live near a river now, you see how flooding even today can be a major problem, and major flooding can be catastrophic, so imagine how even a mild flood thousands of years ago could totally turn civilization on its ear. That said, the Biblical flood story isn't necessarily based on a real flood. First of all, Noah's flood story is based on the flood story from the epic of Gilgamesh, and the flood part of that story may itself be a late addition based on the flood myth from the epic of Atra-Hasi
  10. If you're just going to call the laws of the universe "God," then what's the point? It's theoretically possible, but there's no evidence to suggest it and the concept doesn't provide a better understanding of the universe. The better, broader question is whether or not science is compatible with religion, and as we've seen, it very much is. Catholicism is already fully on board, and others are going to have to follow if they want to remain viable in the West as time goes on. Science isn't going away, in other words, and as we continue to shed light on the truth in ways that nakedly contra
  11. Fair enough, but usefulness is a subjective quality as well. Okay, it was admittedly a poor example. But morality isn't something you can measure. You can look at a planet and say "That planet is objectively this size," but you can't say "This ethical code is objectively good." It all depends on what you consider "good" to be. You've proposed Sam Harris' "Avoid the worst possible suffering," which is noble, but not one I agree with. You're making two huge assumptions here. First, that they agree with the concept of charity, and secondly, that they find no humor in making
  12. No, I did not. What I said was that I had a problem that he included the Judeo-Christian myth because of this specific reason. I made this plain in my post; I am not responsible for your reading comprehension level. And I ask again: Do you plan on adding to this conversation, or are you just here to troll? Excuse you? I'm the one being attacked here. I'm simply defending myself.
  13. I'm no mathematician, but I have heard that proof only exists in math, so I would assume that if there was any place one could find true objectivity, it's there. As for your overall point, I was say that you're right. I hadn't thought of it that way, but now it seems obvious. You learn something new every day, I suppose! Unless your arms and mine are the same length, then arm length is not objective. Even your own arms are of different lengths, same goes for your legs. There is no objective mold from which a person comes from. Not liking the implications of something is c
  14. What the hell are you talking about? I never said the conversation didn't belong in the religion forum, and I never tried to lay out the parameters for what can and cannot be discussed. How about you actually contribute something to the discussion? Or are you contended in being a troll?
  15. Sam Harris' argument still begins with a subjectively valued premise: We should try to avoid the worst possible suffering. While this is a noble thought, it's not something everyone agrees with. And of there is a difference between morality being innate--which it is, as it arises from and is rooted in our ability to feel empathy--and morality being objective. Arms and legs are innate, yet their lengths and specific measurements are subjective. In other words, just because we feel empathy doesn't mean that morality is therefore objective. It doesn't take a psychopath to feel less empathy for a
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