Or the Koran, etc. etc.
My choices would be,
1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the looking glass and what alice found there. By Lewis Carroll
2. The Complete Hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
3. Cats Cradle, By Vonnegut Jr. (Or almost anything by him, also particularly Sirens of the Titans)
What about you? What book or narative do you think presents a better understanding of Morality/reality/sexuality/ and/or spirituality, then the trash presented by the pig religions?
'Which do you believe it is, James, are babies born with a belief in a god, or without? Pick one, it's that simple.'
Sadly it really is not that simple. Such a statement might indicate an unreasonable reductionism. I wish to suggest, IMHO, a more honest 3rd option. That babies have no preset position on the issue. Their existence is much more simple and unclutered, unlike ours which has grown in complexity as we mature. If you took a baby, attached electrodes to it's head or performed a function MRI, with exposure to theist and/or atheist ideas and/or symbolism, you would find no significant responce as to arousal/stimulation. You most likely would find a response to images of food and mother. I do not know if the experiment has been performed, but this could be considered my hypothesis. It seems unclear if this would satisfy you as an invalidation of the first assertion or 'babies are born atheist'. My position is based upon what I see as an unwarrented assertion, with a possible experiment to test it.
Many here speek to the scientific method, or the sciences as a possible ground for atheism, but we do not always demand the method as final arbitor. I am not a true believer in most things, but figure that experience and honesty will finally yield useful results. My present commitment is to an atheist world view, and I have not found any justification to change this, but after an extensive time exposed to theist mind games, I have become synsitized to their possible presence and action. Sadly, I find them a little too often amide the general functions of the surrounding culture, theist or not.
As you read this, I am not attempting a devious end run around what I see as a respectable vision of reality, but desire some measure of consistency as to method. I think that my classes in the Philosophy of Science might have caused a decay in my social skills, but I assure you that my heart/brains are in the right place.
Only consider what the assertion in question implys. Is the the whole story, or are we asserting knowledge we just do not have?
James, through your comments, I have known you for nearly a year, and I believe I can safely say that you don't have a devious bone in your body, in fact, I truly believe that if Diogenes had ever met you, he would have said, "That's it, I'm done - time to retire to a little place in Boca Raton!" so I would never accuse you of attempting an "end run."
That established, I suggest you reread your own first paragraph - stripped to its essence, you've said yourself that a newborn has absolutely no concept of a deity, and that's as close to the purest form of atheism that anyone can ever get.
It's not about choice or "preset positions," it's about presence or lack of presence. Want to see a true atheist? Show me a man who, when asked, "Do you believe in a god?" says, "What's a god?"
"What's a god?"
Thank you for the humor and fellowship.
I see the confounding of 'Predicated upon' VS 'Present in', an issue mention in Aristotle's Metaphysics I think. When a baby is born, they make their appearance, most of the time, into a social context. They are most likely tabla rasa, 'blank slate', as to cultural issues and values. From my previous point, I am asserting that because of this originating state, any lables imposed from the outside(metaphysical commitments), from us, are premature.
Your 'purest form of atheism', seems to harken back to theist concepts of the 'absolute', which seem strange, since my primary point is really questioning if the 'lables' from us are invalid. There is no desire to assert an absolute, but only to guestion if babies 'can' have any recognizable belief in 'atheism'. Our positions on reality, while interesting to us, are mostly not attainable for very young children due to limited cognitive development. But children do not stand still, and like us, explore the world. 'Atheism', might not be an original position, but could be an end point for their maturity as a adult.
Questioning the 'babies are atheist from birth', seems only a minor point for me, but I am concerned that honesty is not being served, via this assertion.
'Whats a god?' is a very good question. Can babies even construct the question and begin thinking about what it means? Adults, like us (yah just let me have this assertion..;p), have so much we take for granted from our socialization. New borns, have yet to develope anything like what we take for granted.
Ok, I'm done. This might all appear to be 'beating a horse', I hope it does not seem more nutty than neccesary.
To paraphrase Einstein, "While I agree that your premise is nutty, my concern is with whether it's nutty enough." (Uncle Al used, "crazy." but "nutty" works too!)
Yeah, I got nothin' left either, but it's been fun, we'll have to do it again sometime.
A single sheet of paper with the "Rotarian" 4-way test written on it:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all involved?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and better FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all involved?
Every other rule for living in society can be boiled down to these :)
Anything by Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, LOTR, Dune, Foundations, and Jurassic Park (just in case we decide to clone Dinos...), Hitchhiker's, and I think "The 40 dollar Tomato" would neatly replace lamentations.
Oh no hard feelings, I just know when to walk away ;)
Enjoy the gift.
101 ways to get laid. Religious people really need it.
They're not the only ones --!
The Good Book - A Secular Bible.