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Atheism is absurd


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Posted on Feb 12, 2012 10:13:44 AM PST
Granny T. says:
Empathy is a product of evolution and increased brain size. It's a survival trait. It drives us to care for the sick, feed the hungry and protect the weak...so we can be cured, fed and protected if necessary.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 10:36:11 AM PST
I always get a kick out of people who project the persona of a sociopath in order to show that atheists are immoral, or that morality (and in this case, he/she seems to be arguing that only that which is eternal has any value at all!) can only come from a Deity, even as alternative positions, position which value morality, ethics, and life, are patiently explained to them.

In the end, all they end up doing is giving the impression that they are, in fact, sociopaths, and that all that's holding them back is some combination of the fear of divine wrath, and their desire for divine favor.

In seeking to denigrate others, their only achievement is to denigrate themselves.

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 11:00:37 AM PST
Granny T. says:
Well said Michael...again.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 11:23:03 AM PST
ABOTA says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 11:47:32 AM PST
sfon says:
Yes, well said again.

Michael Altarriba says: "I always get a kick out of people who project the persona of a sociopath in order to show that atheists are immoral, or that morality can only come from a Deity... all they end up doing is giving the impression that they are, in fact, sociopaths, and that all that's holding them back is some combination of the fear of divine wrath, and their desire for divine favor."

It is rather conspicuous: the number of believers who reveal that empathy seems 'illogical' or 'unnatural'... to them.

It's certainly not 'all believers', but it is almost always 'a believer' who cannot identify a natural quality of empathy within, and insists that it must be imposed.

Perhaps some do identify and recognize empathy inside themselves, and simply assume it is not 'our' nature but exclusively received from a deity.

But, for obvious reasons, the most disturbing are those who don't seem to recognize that we have it in us at all.

Michael Altarriba says: "In seeking to denigrate others, their only achievement is to denigrate themselves."

All agreed. Our words generally serve to reflect ourselves, not others.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 11:54:49 AM PST
"The same has been argued against theism: that it's the evolutionary result of intelligent minds attempting to deal with the unknown, particularly the prospect of non-existence."

Well, there's certainly evidence for this:
Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief
Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth

which is not to say that theism is without value even if no Deities actually exist:
How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist

It's an open question as to whether or not theism is simply some side-effect of our neurological development, and/or that it does convey an actual survival benefit.

"It would make theism an absurd fiction to which people adhere as a survival trait."

Well, I wouldn't call it "absurd", necessarily... it *could* be a "useful fiction" instead, especially if it *does* convey an actual survival benefit.

"Now empathy, so described, would also be the product of an absurd illusion."

Not at all... empathy has deep neurological underpinnings, and most definitely *does* convey a survival benefit for social animals. And, while the sensation of empathy is one of the foundational elements of morality, it is not the only one. An individual could also argue for an orderly, compassionate society without depending on empathy as a motivation.

"Yet, what fascinates me is to read the arguments that seem to portray empathy as having some transcendant value."

It exists. We feel it. I don't know that I'd call it "transcendent value", necessarily, but it makes no more sense for me to ignore my empathic feelings towards the suffering of another than it would for me to ignore my feelings of pain when putting my hand on a hot iron.

"And their proponents defend these claims as voraciously as religionists without even noticing the commonality."

We simply disagree.

But, really, be honest: what game are you playing here? What point are you trying to make, and why don't you just come out and state it plainly?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 11:58:38 AM PST
ABOTA says:
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Posted on Feb 12, 2012 12:01:55 PM PST
Bravo to Scientific Mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 12:14:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2012 12:14:53 PM PST
Lucifer says:
Aromatic writes, "No one I know lives out these premises."

Aromatic, speaking of bad premises, if you ever happen to drive past The Darby Arms in Calgary, keep on truckin'. Jesus and Debbie M. agree: at the Darby Arms the service is slow, but the food is so bad you don't mind waiting for it.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-darby-arms-traditional-house-calgary
1.0 star rating
1/27/2012
Probably my worst experience in a restaurant ever. Went in for lunch today on a time constraint. Left without food after 45 minutes. Server was rude, non responsive , yelled at members of our group. I came home and sent at letter of complaint to the manager and he basically threw the blame back at me/us. Made no apologies. Told us we should have gone to Wendy's or Mcdonalds. Very nice!! But next time we will. I thought it funny that at noon we were the only table in the place but it seems customers are not a priority at the Darby Arm's! Shame on you!
Sorry cannot comment on the food as we never did get our meals!!
--Debbie M., Calgary AB

1.0 star rating
1/27/2012
I hear you, Debbie M! I ordered a sandwich at the Darby Arms and was served the rankest pulled-pork I've ever not digested. Visited the WC and lost it. I suspect that every meal ever served at the Darby Arms comes ultimately to the same meaningless end.
--Jesus of Nazareth, Calgary, AB

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 12:19:16 PM PST
sfon says:
sfon says: "It is rather conspicuous: the number of believers who reveal that empathy seems 'illogical' or 'unnatural'... to them."

Aromatic Bovine on the Alpine says: "You equate unnatural with illogical."

No, just that some suggest it is illogical while some others suggest it seems unnatural. I actually wouldn't conflate the two words, that's why I used 'or' instead of 'and'. I hope this clarifies.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 12:20:33 PM PST
Logic is simply a formal system which takes you from premises to conclusions in a way which is provably correct.

It isn't magic, nor is it the be all, end all standard of value.

Again... what point are you trying to make, and why don't you just plainly make it?

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 12:36:06 PM PST
Granny T. says:
I am confused by some of the above statements. My point is that I believe Empathy (the ability to put yourself emotionally in another's shoes) is a terrific survival trait. It fosters cooperative work, community and law making efforts. Very young children lack this ability. A 3 year old shown a ball which is red on one side and blue on the other will nod. If you then position them so that they see only the red half and you the blue and ask them what color you are seeing, they will say red. They cannot see any perspective than their own, much less put themselves into another's shoes.

But I also think that we are still deeply ego driven people and have great natural angst at the thought of dying. It's a psychological nightmare for we cannot conceive of not BEING. We all face and solve this in our own way. Some by intellectualizing or philosophizing enough to accept our eventual demise. Others by projecting a Life after death by bargaining with the One who gives life.

Different strokes for different folks. And we get really pi$$Ed at the other side because they threaten our chosen coping mechanism OR because the other side wants to use thie beliefs to control you.

Just my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 1:24:17 PM PST
ABOTA says:
RE: Darby Arms,

Never been there, but I await the brilliant connection which you are about to make. Is it the reference to "meaningless" in the last paragraph?

Nice try!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 1:26:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2012 1:27:09 PM PST
ABOTA says:
Hi Michael,

I think you've given my comments some thought and responded fairly to them. I will try to do the same with yours, but not right now. I need to get some work down. I hope to come back to this, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 1:30:50 PM PST
ABOTA says:
Hi Granny T.:

Just a quick thought on your post. Theism (if we even want to call it that) doesn't ipso facto entail a belief in an afterlife. I hope to respond to Michael's post later, as he seems to be onto my scent, and that should cover empathy.

The Darby Arms people are way off in the wrong direction. But it's not the first time that's happened. ;)

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 2:06:41 PM PST
It amazes me that the praise for God usually happens at the tail end, not the leading edge..."Praise God that the child got away from his captures after 3 weeks of torture." You can ism everything to death but if you can priase God for making the light tutn green just as you get there, you have to damn him when when it turns red.

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 2:31:34 PM PST
Atheists believe in no OTHER gods.

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 2:57:19 PM PST
Lucifer says:
Aromatic Cow Boy,
Seriously, though, could you explain your "naughty Messianic" gig? Is the "Prince George Messianic Community" a hippy commune? a cult? a parochial society for eccentric tax collectors? a whole new religion? Most people south of the US-Canadian line thought that the Canadians gave up on religion, years ago. Is Christianity making a comeback in your neck of the Prince George woods?
L.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 3:54:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2012 3:55:20 PM PST
ABOTA says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 5:16:19 PM PST
Re Aromatic, 2-12 11:58 AM: "Can something not be natural and illogical?" Our usual logic system is intended to mimic the way that the world appears to work, and we postulate that it always does so: this is necessary in order to be able to make predictions. But logic is a man-made construction, and in the event of a face-off between logic and reality, guess which wins? This particularly applies to quantum mechanics, which has a logic all its own -- which logic is very different from the logic we use for dealing with macroscopic objects and events.

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 5:17:17 PM PST
Lucifer says:
The Messiah loves you, Aromatic Bovine.
No wonder He has turned cool on pork.
It's not so absurd!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 6:05:20 PM PST
"Atheists believe in no OTHER gods."

Atheists lack a belief in the existence of Deities... any and all Deities.

What part of this is unclear to you?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 7:06:00 PM PST
Ariex says:
Aromatic Bovine on the Alpine says: "Either the atheist is living a fantasy by acting as if life has meaning, or atheism itself is absurd."

Ariex: Holy stinking cow, Batman. The theist often sees this as a valid argument, but doesn't realize the obvious error. Must something be eternal to have value for the moment? Life has no meaning unless one can live forever? A day, an hour, a moment that gives enjoyment on some level has no meaning unless that enjoyment is eternal? I don't think so.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 7:10:27 PM PST
Ariex says:
Aromatic Bovine on the Alpine says: "What a lot of balderdash I'm reading! "A conscience can create its own purpose"? What does that mean? How long will that purpose last? In whose mind?"

Ariex: "Don't confuse me with facts. My mind is made up!"

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 7:12:57 PM PST
Ariex says:
Aromatic Bovine on the Alpine says: "You were presented with a challange to atheism,"

Ariex: A shallow and fallacious "all or nothing" argument is certainly no challenge to anything.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
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Initial post:  Feb 11, 2012
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