More adventures from my wife's work day. From time to time the conversations of my wife and her co-workers pass into discussion on religion. Well, today was one of those days. She couldn't remember what they were discussing, but did remember these two points that temp workers made. The first one said that he doesn't understand Atheists, "They bash religion all the time, yet most of them feel the need to meet up in groups, attend Atheist conventions and join websites". Basically a loose version of the 'Atheism is a religion too' fallacy. My wife simply responded that fans of a baseball team all gather together to watch the team play, they join fan sites, host parties to watch the games, etc. They simply share a common interest, and share it with others that feel the same. This does not make Atheism a religion any more than being a fan of a sports team is a religion. The guy sort of agreed but acted like it's still different somehow...

But that wasn't the doozy. The most illogical argument I have EVER heard regarding Atheism. This lady who is filling in stated that she doesn't understand Atheist's either. "They say they don't believe in God. But in order to say you don't believe in a God, you have believe in a God." ...What?!?!? My wife and her other co-workers could do nothing but exchange bewildered looks of, "she didn't just say what we think she said, did she?" Everyone knew it was a BS statement, but she is a less than stable person, so no-one know quite how to tell her so they just let their faces speak for themselves. I must say that is a new one for me. The ONLY way I can rationalize it is buy assuming an incorrect assumption and definition of Atheist. My guess is that she feels that the only way a person can get past the fear of denying her God is to believe in their own God that promises reward for turning from Christianity. Perhaps she simply can't conceive of someone simply not believing in ANY gods? I think even that is a stretch, and wish I was there to ask a follow up.

After hearing this I told my wife that if any of her co-workers are genuinely curious of/confused by Atheists and Atheism that I would be happy to submit myself to Q&A. I doubt that some of them are open to reason, but if I can at least correct some false assumptions and show that we are regular people, I would consider it a victory. Time will tell if they take up my offer, but I certainly hope that they do.

P.S. I just remembered an acquaintance that made a quite silly comment as well. She, my mother-in-law and myself were outside and bees kept buzzing her. Well my mother-in-law said that it seems like the bees like her. She replied that they don't and can't. "Only conscious beings can form such thoughts. So my mother-in-law then said asked if she was saying that she has unconscious bees flying around the yard. She said yes, only humans are conscious. My mother-in-law and I just shared a look of 'you've got to be kidding me'. I wanted to ask her what her definition of consciousness is and then go from there, but then someone arrived and the topic instantly changed...

Views: 30

Comment by willailla on August 16, 2010 at 10:03pm
"She said yes, only humans are conscious."

i recall reading about Descartes once. He was performing surgical experiments on a dog without anesthesia and the dog was screaming. An observer asked him how he could treat an animal in such a manner and Descartes replied that animals can't feel pain. The screaming was merely an involuntary response. I think Mengele was the same way concerning humans--or perhaps he didn't care.
Comment by Gaytor on August 17, 2010 at 12:01am
I personally believed in all 3000 God's and some not yet written about before becoming atheist.

I would wonder where consciousness ends, but certainly there are many sentient animals that think, dream, speak, express emotion... I don't know where it ends, but would agree that bees are likely to run on instinct potentially entirely.
Comment by Jānis Ķimsis on August 17, 2010 at 3:20am
I think that what the lady from your wife's work was trying to say was that you need to have a concept of god to be able to state that you don't believe in god. It also seems she has trouble differentiating between the existance of a concept and the existance of the thing the concept represents.
Comment by James on August 17, 2010 at 8:56pm
Gaytor: That's why I was going to ask her what her definition of conciseness was. Because, by the one I favor a bee is certainly conscious. "an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation"

Janis: I do believe you could be correct. I have run across that fallacy a few time in the past.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on August 18, 2010 at 8:06pm
So Zeus DOES exist!


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