Hello Fellow Heathens,
Long time no see. I haven't post anything in ages, but I'm back.
So, guys this is going to be a somewhat long post bear with me please. I REALLY want your inputs. From a theist friend I have gotten several complains that when he goes to atheist forums and he's curious about any question he gets insulted and banned from the forum and called a troll. I tried to explained to him that the problem is that we do get lots of trolls and it's a problem to differentiate who has a legitimate question, specially in this medium. He still defended his position saying that it was not fair, he honestly has legit. questions, and I can't deny that he does. In my opinion, this behavior gives us bad reputation, and I believe we are better than that. One thing I can fully grant is that sometimes we get carried away and we insult people needlessly. There are more eloquent, elegant, and productive manners to tell a person something along the lines "please go do some research first," than just calling him/her ignorant and some other unnecessary slang. Now this is where the long part of the post starts, because I got the chance to do just what I stated in Facebook. This whole post started because an acquaintance of mine said, "(my name goes here) does not buy into the whole god thing and not because she knows little, but, because regardless of who was pulling her strings, she found science suited her better… remember even science requires faith as what is still unseen, remains just a calculated theory while the search continues..." So, in response I went in length to explain that there's not such thing a faith based science, and I deconstructed the way the words faith, believe, etc. are used, and the semantics of it. Ok so far so good, nothing related to God just yet. But, this guy jumped into the conversation and geez here we go again.
First: One can see that there are several holes in his argument.Second: My first answer to his post. Bear in mind that I have been talking about faith based science for some time and I'm exhausted and this point. It's quite late. But, again, no insulting.
As you can see, I underlined two particular phrases out of his response. The first one: "faith-based," because in my view, and I'm sure in many of you, the moment a person says "faith-based" there's no longer a conversation. The second underline is about educating him. And, this is where I feel where the problem lies when it comes to differentiate 'trollers' and people with legitimate questions.
Lastly my answer,
So far I have not received an answer. I might get one. I might not. Going back to my first point, the legitimate questions, I think this guy really don't know and he is trying to defend his view with the information he has. I have no idea if he's a Christian, I just made an assumption. By the way, if by any chance the blog I spoke of goes through I hope I can get some fellows from TA to back me up. Furthermore, as an agnostic atheist I get frustrated too with repeating the same information over and over and over again. It's tedious, time consuming, and I understand and feel our overall mentality and view, which goes something like that, "the research, and information is already there, if you don't want to read and take the time to educate yourself why on earth I have to do it for you. I'm a person, just like you, and I have other things to do than just sit down in front of my PC for hours on end educating you regarding something that's already been debated over and over again." But, could you we do this in a more civil manner? I know we have had some somewhat similar discussions, but I look forward to your inputs. Feel free to constructively criticize my responses too. If you think I could have used some other arguments or words, please let us all know. I'm sure we can all benefit from brain-storming here together. Feel free to talk of your own experiences also.
Just a quick comment:
Evolution is not faith based. It can be proven scientifically. Its understanding is down to education and the study of the subject.
Dawkins not explaining how life started on Earth is irrelevant to the topic of Evolution. The TOE sets out to explain how life evolved after it got started. How it began is the subject of the study of abiogenesis.
Once again point out to him that Atheism is not the denial of his god’s existence but rather the lack of belief in it or any other gods existing - including the ones that he also does not believe exist.
And a word of advice – do not argue Science with a Theist too often. It is mainly a futile task as the faith card will eventually get played.
Thanks for the advice. I learned my lessons the hard way. Those "faith-based" explanations are the ones that make us all face-palmed. More and more I'm convinced that theism in general is a mental disease very hard to extricate.
After another long reply, in which he used the video game SIMS as an example of God controlling behind the scenes what we do, etc. etc., this guy said lastly: "But to be honest, I didn't really want proof from you to begin with. I just wanted you to see the existence of God as a possibility."
I really wanted to answer: "There's a possibility that you might choke and die on a breath mint tomorrow too. You see, given the number of probabilities some "possibilities" are most likely to happen than others." But, after some thought I found it futile.
@MB - RE: "But to be honest, I didn't really want proof from you to begin with."
Just send him this, along with quoting his above remark:
"If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood, or persuaded of afterward, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call in question or discuss it...the life of that man is one long sin against mankind."
-- William Kingdon Clifford --
"There's a possibility that you might choke and die on a breath mint tomorrow too."
A similar issue came up concerning terrorist victim risk. I have a greater chance of being hit and killed by a gun toting, cigar smoking, theist driving a cadilac, than being killed by a terrorist bomb. Should we lock up all theists with cadilacs? A few of us here might sign on this idea. LOL
Is there any merit to this statement which I use with theists? We need to distinguish “possibility” from “probability” when the terms are used in a debate. The former suggests a philosophical thought experiment, the latter a more mathematical exercise. It is possible that (your) god exists but that remains a subjective statement. Given the lack of any evidence it is very improbable that it does exist. Both terms are confused or deemed to have the same meaning for many believers.
It should always be pointed out that the arguments used by Theists are just that –arguments. That is they are not “Evidence” for a gods existence. This is why the average apologist tends to end up misusing Science –i.e. they use the science from the bible. So when you try to debate them you are forced into a theological debate and not a Science one. I have been informed by Theists in the past that Moses knew about the benefits of quarantine in times of disease and that the Nitrogen cycle is mention in the O.T. There is no point continuing when that happens. It not that I am trying to “win”, I am just trying to have a debate. The playing of the faith card just makes it absurd (to me).
Reg The Fronkey Farmer: So you mean that one should explain the difference between probability and possibility beforehand? By the way, I thought it was the other way around; probability was used as a mathematical exercise (as in statistics), while possibility was, as you put it, "a philosophical thought experiment." But, the problem seems to be again that both words are used interchangeably and they take us back to the problem of semantics.
Thanks for the correction. My bad (*-_-*)
MB - does that mean you're antisemantic?
I expect being 'antisemantic' would verge on living in an cloistered hermitage under a vow of silence. While such a condition could be ideal for some, it is doubtful that atheists would survive such a state without some prosthesis over the mouth.
Theists, some of which might have experienced such a state while studing for the priesthood, or practicers of Zen, might fair better. I tried a day of silence once during a Zen retreat. About the only time I was able to reduce my noise making was during a meal of very good baked squash and fresh vegs, dehusking fava beans, or meditation! I have since practiced my silence or tempered my noise making, but now my wife thinks I still make too much noise making coffee in the morning!
@archaeopteryx I'm not sure what you mean by antisemantic, that's worst than an oxymoron. LOL. I just get annoyed on how theists use and misused language to fill their ridiculous logic gaps.
It was a play on words, MB - I rarely get more than semi-serious.
@James Cox try tea in the morning. It's not as noisy ;-)