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John Moonstroller

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Is Atheism just another cult, with their own dogma, like religious cults?

Is Atheism just another cult, like a religious cult, with people who believe there is no god, and in most cases also that what is presented by science is the absolute truth? Do people of an Agnostic persuasion believe, atheists have a blind faith in science, believing what they show, and measure is the last word about reality; believing that this Science supports their side of the debate while excluding the Religious view.

Those in the middle of the God/No God debate (Agnostics) have stated that such a claim is delusional and is indicative of cult mentality on par with religious cultism. It requires blind belief God does not exist which is dogmatic because there is no proof (currently) that is acceptably to the Agnostic crowd that God is or is not. Agnostics see the gaps in Scientific knowledge and try to keep an open mind pertaining to spiritual ideas and their connection to the real world. They have sometimes been accused of creating the Scientific idea of Creationism which has gathered steam in the last decade or so. Being in the middle, They are attacked by both sides of the debate, as will be demonstrated in this debate question.

Biting and Kicking is allowed by the Author and leaves it to TED to tell us where the limits lie.

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Closing Statement from John Moonstroller

"Is Atheism just another cult, with their own dogma, like religious cults?"

“The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.[1] The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The word was first used in the early 17th century denoting homage paid to a divinity and derived from the French culte or Latin cultus, ‘worship’, from cult-, ‘inhabited, cultivated, worshipped,’ from the verb colere, 'care, cultivation'.” ~ Wikipedia

“Dogma is the official system of belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization” ~ Wikipedia.

Organizations of atheists ritually denounce the existence of God. They have become an organization, dedicated to the activity of removing all relic’s of Theism from public places. Their dogma is based entirely on their notion or belief that God does not exist. These organizations work tirelessly towards this effort.

It is no longer possible for an individual to simply state they are an atheist, by reason of personal belief, and not be affiliated, by membership or indirect alignment with these organizations.

These organizations have an official system of belief and their doctrine is to end the belief of theism on this planet.

They are exclusive, ritualistic, and have a belief system which generates activity within and beyond the boundaries of the organization. They are a Cult.

Not everyone agrees with this interpretation but the meaning of words evolve over time. To be an Atheist is to believe in a dogma and be a member of a club or organization. In the least, an individual is indirectly aligned with these clubs or organizations by belief or personal assertion they are an atheist.

John Moonstroller

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    Sep 27 2012: If people get touchy, offended or angry about an opposing view in these atheism/God debates, then there is usually a strongly held belief system in there somewhere - on either side.

    Is atheism a belief system? Of course it is. In fact it has become just as dogmatic as the thing it seeks to oppose.
  • Sep 25 2012: "I don't understand the statement about agnostics or creationism. What do you mean?"

    I meant calling atheists cultists because they have blind faith that there's no proof that God does NOT exist, is not something I've ever heard an agnostic say. I've heard creationists say things like that, because they often do not understand where the burden of proof lies. Generally, agnostics understand that you don't need proof that something DOESN'T exist; you would need proof that it DOES exist.

    "Tim, most of this question has already been answered by other commentors."

    Sorry, I thought it was a debate, not a question. I was weighing in with my take. But you're right, I'm sure my points have already been made by others. (And, yes, the forum setup is a bit confusing, with newest posts on top, but nested replies.)
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      Sep 25 2012: Well Tim Powers, you say, "I meant calling atheists cultists because they have blind faith that there's no proof that God does NOT exist, is not something I've ever heard an agnostic say.".

      I say, obviously you haven't heard everything there is to know on the matter.

      It is a debate. But if you don't read, how can you properly debate? How can your debate skills be demonstrated and used to persuade others of the correctness of your position or idea, if all you do is repeat the same thing over and again? Doesn't that have more to do with being a parrot in a tree, than a debater of ideas?

      We all have something to say, but if someone has already said it, of what worth is an echo? Why reinvent the wheel?
      • Sep 25 2012: "I say, obviously you haven't heard everything there is to know on the matter."

        Then you're prepared to cite your sources, correct? Given that it would be a really ignorant thing for an agnostic to say, I tend to wonder if you attributed the notion to agnostics, when you meant to attribute it to a common creationist stance.

        "We all have something to say, but if someone has already said it, of what worth is an echo? Why reinvent the wheel?"

        I find this curious. Surely you don't imagine your debate point is original, so what was the worth of your echo? If you're allowed to echo a question based upon an incorrect notion of where the burden of proof lies, I'm certainly allowed to echo a logical correction.
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          Sep 25 2012: My intentions in the debate, were to illicit comments on the issue of how people view atheism and it's characterization as almost a religion of total counter theism, rather than a debate on the idea of religion. If religion is theism, than is atheism simply anti-theism? If the aura of religion or the idea that religion is justified in becoming organized and seeks to mandate their followers proceed to seed the population with this idea, then is it possible for the anti-theistic movement to also do the same?

          The role played by the Agnostic is one of wonder and introspection. From this perspective the agnostic can set back and view both parts of the debate and interfere in the mandates or take issue with the postulation of either side. This places the agnostic squarely in the middle. It has absolutely nothing to do with Creationism, but many agnostics are accused of being creationists as demonstrated by some comments to the author of the debate, which is me.

          Personally, I like to provoke debate on this issue and taking the side of the Devils advocate is sometimes a good tool to expand some commentators views about whither or not their comment should have weight in the final analysis. Your comments for instance, will be tossed in the bin because you don't offer anything new. I don't mean that personally, just as an example of how the analysis will take shape. I do have to write closing remarks to this debate when it ends. Think about that and see if you might want to participate in a different way. I appreciate your interest.
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          Sep 25 2012: Tim I notice you don't have a PM feature on your profile Is there some way to talk to you privately? My personal email is rexrino@moonstroller.com
          I can't leave this post up very long because it is off topic and will be deleted. I usually delete them myself but sometimes forget and TED does it for me. :)
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        Sep 25 2012: Why would you start a debate..and then attack people who respond?
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          Sep 25 2012: Henery if you feel I've attacked you I apologize. It was not my intention to do so.
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        Sep 25 2012: George Carling was the Cyber bully of Television Don. He intimidated Liberal, conservatives, the innocent and the guilty, alike. Not many people can do what he accomplished in "Real" life. Nothing was sacred to George Carling.

        Virtual reality is just that Virtual. It's not real. The people are real (sometimes) but the human element, the soul, the thing inside us that makes us human to other human beings is easily subdued in this virtual environment. Those with a finer grasp of vocabulary have the edge in this arena.

        There is a moment in combat when you realize the enemy is dead. That's the time you should stop pumping the lead, so to speak. In the virtual word, the enemy never dies, they always come back and this is an obstacle to some personalities. So, they adopt other methods to try and kill the opposition, They develop Troll and Cyber-bullying techniques, become physiologically and additively attached to these techniques because they believe they have accomplished in the virtual world what they think is the equivalent of the real world. To the pathetic mind, the words and phrases are the ammunition by which they defeat their opponents. An internal sense of Catharsis usually follows the exchange when an opponent appears to be defeated. A sense of pleasure.

        There is an interesting debate which took place in October of 2011, involving a different set of TEDsters then are currently online today. It was a debate entitled: "jails should be more widely known as schools", introduced by Griffin Tucker of Canberra Australia. I found this exchange to be very demonstrative of how people can talk about a subject that they have little or no experience with
        as if they were experts on the subject and, in the case of some of the members, just outright lie about their connection and experience within the subject area. It was very interesting reading. Sometimes the old conversations are much better than the new. TED is a maze, sometimes a laboratory.
  • Sep 23 2012: Hi John. You have mixed up the two different kinds of atheism. The attribute, "people who believe there is no god", is not applicable to Dan Dennett and Richard Dawkins, and possible others in the list of TED speakers you have linked to.

    Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_atheism

    On the one hand, the agnostics I have come across have made stronger claims than you. Most state that it is impossible for us to know whether or not a god exists. (which god?) On the other hand, most atheists I have come across, personally or in books and other media call themselves "agnostic atheists" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism.

    Putting it in another way, I have come across many atheists, but none of them have the "blind belief God does not exist". They have all said, "demonstrate a proof, and I'll believe".
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      Sep 23 2012: John you said, "On the one hand, the agnostics I have come across have made stronger claims than you.". I am an amateur agnostic and don't belong to any organization of agnostics so my pitiful attempts should be overlooked sometimes.

      hat said, I will repeat what I have stated in other places in this debate. It is a question that I hope will reveal more truth so we (I) can become more enlightened on the issue, via your wisdom and the wisdom of others. I would add your not the first to offer this information. It has caught my attention and made me scratch my head a bit.


      I have read about agnostics, I have not researched them with the intentions of writing a dissertation on their personalities or characteristics or belief system. My lot is internalized towards understanding and defining myself.

      If you have suggestions about how I should reword the question, then by all means, state them to me, perhaps the email would be a better venue. If you can prove this with some official evidence or a private poll conducted by you in request to an official posting agency, I will be more than happy to work with you and alter the question and remove the "blind belief" part with the permission of the other contributors here. I suppose we could try polling every one in an unofficial capacity:


      How many think the wording of "Blind Faith" should be changed or delete and what would I exchange it with?
      One person, one vote.


      Until then, I'm kinda stuck with it and don't clearly see any reason to alter it.

      Thanks for pointing this out to me John.






      Perhaps I should use CAPs more often?
      • Sep 23 2012: I'm sorry -- I should have been clearer. By "stronger claims", I meant the opposite. Consider the following:
        1. Obama has an apple in his left hand right now.
        2. Obama may have an apple in his left hand right now.

        Sentence 1 is a "stronger claim", requiring the person claiming it to provide evidence. I like the weaker kind of atheism and the weaker kind of agnosticism. I am a "weak atheist" myself. I think it is to your credit that you did not make the stronger claim.

        Only after writing what I wrote in my original post, above, did I scroll down and see that others had made similar comments, and mine was quite redundant.

        That said, I have a login id on richarddawkins.net. Many people there tend to blame religion for every little thing, rightly or wrongly. Many of them take the attitude that person X is a christian or muslim, therefore, all his principles are wrong. I have often argued against that attitude too. It's generally the opposite on TED. For example, I have heard claims that atheists are immoral, or even that we have no reason to live. I have argued against such people on TED. I don't know if I'd appear to be a cultist in your eyes.
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          Sep 23 2012: Here in Cherokee county Georgia. TED is black listed because the people in charge of the school system deem them to bee too anteisic and Liberal, therefore, a danger to the mental health of their children....

          That's just the way regional attitudes flow. It's an indication that TED, as presented, as the tool to end all ignorance is just another stop on road to blog city. Some Tedsters believe they have fallen in Liberal Heaven and are very bold. Others think they are warriors on a quest to defeat the dragon monster TED. :)

          It's too funny really. you need to join my forum at www.moonstroller.com.

          And no John. I've read nearly all your posts on TED. You are one of the people I'd invite to my forum. I have no problems with you efforts to advance the cause of blogging. I just let you take the foreground in case there might be snipers in the trees. ;)
      • Sep 24 2012: I don't quite get what you mean by "I just let you take the foreground in case there might be snipers in the trees." Are you making me the bait for those snipers? I don't mind :-)

        I'm not sure if I'd let my own kids venture into TED forums unless they have developed a modest ability for critical thinking, and a hard-enough skin. So, I'm not sure I disagree with what the Cherokee county's decision, despite our differing motivations.
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          Sep 24 2012: Yes, the image you imagined was correct. You're the bait.
          If your not a Vietnam veteran you don't see the humor in it.

          Yes. I agree. I've been a Liberal minded person all my life. Did you see the movie "The Hunger Games"?

          I've been trying to analysis the authors internal feelings about the theme. It could just be a commercialization without any real meaning, just pulling on people's neurons a bit. I've read the reviews.

          When I imagine the future it takes on the setting in that movie. Complete Isolation of the have from the have none. With education and technology centered near an energy rich, location Like Indiana, or up around the Great Lakes, with the rest of society spread out in districts. I guess it would look more like a Greek City State.

          The world my great grandchildren will live in.

          I'm not so sure I want the Liberal dream anymore. I'm not sure we will survive to create it.
          One day someones going to push the trigger and it will be gone in a flash.

          Did you know they exploded over 2000 Nuclear bombs between 1945 and 2009. That's 31.25 bombs per year since 1945.

          They say that wwIII would waste the planet but 2000 bombs is a very large number. 31 bombs a year is a large number.

          If 2000 bombs didn't destroy the planet, is it possible that we could survive a nuclear war with, say 500 detonations in one weeks time frame?

          We have really been beating this planet up since the end of WWII.
      • Sep 24 2012: No, I haven't seen The Hunger Games. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check it out one of these days. The sad part for me about all those nuclear explosions is that scientists can no longer do carbon dating of anything created after 1950. It's dead!

        Have you seen this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlE1BdOAfVc ?
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    Oct 4 2012: Let me first assume that with atheism, you imply more than "not believing in any kind of god".

    If you assume the naturalistic worldview (like the Bright movement states http://www.the-brights.net/ ),
    then you cannot claim it is the same as a religion or a cult.

    Pure atheism is rare, I call myself an atheist because for me the likelyhood of any given god is close to 0... (I just round down).

    Of course a lot of people that have a naturalistic worldview still want to have rituals or spiritual congregations or other aspects that are found in religion (like Alain explains here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html)
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      Oct 4 2012: "Pure atheism is rare, I call myself an atheist because for me the likelihood of any given god is close to 0... (I just round down)." ~Christophe Cop

      If pure atheism is rare, is impure atheism more common?

      IF you round up, does it change the likelihood?

      Your statement yields two questions which require answering before we can reach a conclusion.
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    Oct 1 2012: If it's a cult it's a cult everyone is born into.
    Atheism has become a handy term to define people who do not believe in god or gods. I am constantly referred to as an atheist but don't consider myself one. How would I describe it? "I don't believe in something that doesn't exist"? I simply consider myself a human being.
    That said, if people want to call me an atheist I don't lose sleep over it, better than saying I'm delusional.
    The term atheist depends on religion, if religions didn't exist neither would the term atheist. So if it's a cult it is because of religion.
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      Oct 1 2012: No one decided that the term atheist would apply to those who didn't believe in God or Gods. It was invented to describe those who did not believe in the God(s) of the defining society. It was a curse word a derogatory word intended to demean or belittle another person who did not share the beliefs of the society in charge.

      "The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative (derogatory term) applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society."~wikipedia {with emphasis added by me}

      When a Religious person calls you an atheist, it is this fashion they are using the word, so they are correct in their usage.

      In this sense it does depend on Religion and it is possible that if there never was any religion, there would not be such a word. But, it could also be argued that by the power of evolution that we would be dinosaurs instead of humans if they weren't wiped out by a cataclysmic event and you wouldn't exist at all as a human being. So, you are a human being by "what?" an act of providence or by design, or just by coincidence?
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        Oct 1 2012: If we were having this discussion a few thousand years ago you would be correct but words and language are flexible and their meanings change over time.

        In your same wikipedia page you will find:
        "Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities"
        All other definitions say basically the same thing. This is the meaning of the word today.

        By the way, it is a well known fact that the dinosaurs were atheists. I imagine this angered the boss almighty and may have had something to do with their extinction.
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        Oct 1 2012: I guess followers of a particular religion with its particular gods or goddesses are atheist to the gods and goddess of other religions.
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    Sep 30 2012: @ John,

    I am not sure if you genuinely misunderstand or are just being obtuse.

    Yes there is no teapot, that is the point, but you cannot prove that, and any reasonable person would expect me as a 'teapotist' to prove it's existence, not for you as a teapot atheist to disprove it. That is the point of the example, religion is a belief, and that is fine if people admit it is just that. Otherwise don't hid being the 'you can't disprove it' fallacy and offer some genuine proof. Simple.

    Atheism is NOT a journey to disprove something, it is a position that this something does not exist and a statement that there is no real proof for it. It amazes me how words are twisted and games played rather than openness from those who claim to be honest and pious. This does not seem to align with my understanding of the point of religion. But then as an agnostic I guess I can claim I wouldn't understand.

    As per my reply to Peter, I don't think atheism is remotely cult like. Some proponent of atheism have been mistakenly drawn into reason and evidence free debates on this subject that does not do them any favours when we should stick to the scientific position of expecting reason and evidence, but that is as far as it goes for me.

    As my previous post stated this likely will go round in circles, and we clearly have opposing views the other is unlikely to change. This is proving to be true.
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      Sep 30 2012: There is no teapot to hide behind Kevin. I am in the open and never condescending. If theism is the belief then is atheism the anti belief?

      A position, as you imply is a point along the path of the journey

      What is closed minded and dishonest about the statement: "...there was a man named Jesus who was God, came to this earth as a man, preformed miracles, then ascended to heaven after his death?", which is the claim of the Christians. Perhaps it is true you don't understand; you would know better than I.

      Atheism the definition is not a cult. Atheism the dynamic population of organized members, I believe, is a cult. It matches all the definitions of "Cultism". They are an anti-belief.

      Your last statement is very true.
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    Sep 28 2012: John you seem to pay attention to etymology (cultus in Latin, worship). So atheism or agnosticism doesn't imply to worship anything. It's a belief without any specific rules to follow, events to attend or authority.

    So I'd answer: No. It is not a cult.
    I believe it's just that simple :-)
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      Sep 28 2012: 1 vote no from Bruno Carre. Thanks.
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      Sep 29 2012: We all have gods..............money, power and so on. What we don't do is have worship services to adore that particular god.
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        Oct 3 2012: We do have festivals to adore one another and birthday parties also. The idea of adoring successful people is documented all over the TED website especially in the Talks section. When we clap our hands, we give reverent respect to the speakers.

        Worship is a broadly defined term I think.
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          Oct 4 2012: John...I guess so.....but I was thinking of special rituals.
  • Sep 26 2012: Not all atheists choose to be on the side of science. As for the ones who do, they do so because it makes more sense in their eyes. Atheists don't have a cult or cults, we do not have gatherings (I am atheist) in which we share our religious ideologies. Science isn't a cult either, its just the study of things. Religion has its views on what is true and what is false and they show these very strongly. With science, it looks for the facts of what occurred and didn't. In some sense science can be viewed as a religion because science is looking for similar answers that religion stories say are plausible. As for me I'm atheist because I feel that believing in a creator or a god isn't needed. That doesn't mean I don't take into consideration what others have to say about what they believe. I'll listen to what people say, just so I know their stand point on things, and I don't judge those who believe and who don't. A person shouldn't be judged by their beliefs, and in some cases I feel that religion changes the mind of people into doing just that. Its a way to make a religion grow. Again this is just my opinion, I'm not one to say what is plausible or not.
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      Sep 26 2012: By (we) you are really taking about yourself I assume Stephen Torres.

      Stephen you can Google and see the number of atheist organizations that have grown since the 60's. It's a large number and the internet has only allowed them to grow stronger. They have a political agenda that is set off from their philosophical views and belief system.

      They aim to destroy all religious beliefs and set the world straight. They are just as powerful as a mob organization (criminal) and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. If you are religious, they want you off the planet. All you need do to discover this information is join up and move through the system to the inside circle. I suggest you don't get caught.

      These atheist organizations have their tools to stimulate hate, confusion, and conflict. It's strange but sometimes they are allied with christian hate organization. The recent film that has set the Muslim world on fire today is an example of such collaboration. I could say more but I won't. (a hint to the wise.)


      You can get more information from this site.
      http://www.splcenter.org/?ref=blog

      You have to email them to find specific information about such groups as Atheist organizations. These Atheist organizations have their own lawyers.

      The world is not the calm peaceful place we here in the US wake up to when we sit on our decks and drink our coffee in the morning. It's aflame.
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        Sep 26 2012: Haha, I didn't know that you had renegade atheists in the US!

        I must say that I really enjoy seeing mankind transform into a more enlightened species.

        Anyway John, I easily tire of these debates so I'm just going to leave my thoughts and never return to this conversation, enjoy!

        First of all science is basically the opposite of dogma, religious people don't really seem to get that...

        You really don't get science at all! There would be few things cooler for a scientist then proving that everything we knew was wrong! There is no truth in science, only probability. So you see, the being dogmatic argument goes away quite fast.

        I think that religious people "attack" agnostics way more then atheists perhaps do. I as an atheist would only ask an agnostic what kind of odds he/she thinks there is for (a) "God". Most people here seem to be Teapot-Agnostic/Atheist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russells_teapot

        And to answer your question: No, we're not in a cult, it's the other way around!!! I'm really not kidding you, snap out of it man!

        (no offence)
        • Sep 26 2012: I am just like you in this one response. I don't get into the whole battle of faith and non-faith discussions. But I do like to read others opinion on the matter.
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          Sep 26 2012: Jimmy: None taken :) It's been fun talking with you. Come back and join us when ever you can. It's refreshing to have a very young perspective on how we old people missed everything there is to know about the world, people and ideas. We were too busy destroying the world to notice I guess.

          Later.
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        Sep 27 2012: John,

        If I might make a suggestion. Your heading states is atheism just another cult.

        That is bundling up all those who don't believe in gods, all those who consider themselves atheists as part of a cult.

        Hopefully this is obviously clearly false. As discussed not believing in gods does not mean you automatically belong to any cult. It is a position on one question.

        Atheists can join any cult or group they like, but atheism isn't a cult. It is a position on one question.

        Now I get your point about some atheists organising for whatever reason. Some might consider religion harmful. Some might even cross lines I consider reasonable. Still I suggest you might consider most of these political or philosophical organisations rather than cults.

        You may be doing a disservice to your argument by bunching all atheists together as a cult.

        If there are atheists trying to force others to give up religion or other impingements on the rights of others that should be resisted.

        Others might like to see an end to religious type superstition or at least the negative impacts, but would not force people to be atheist.
        • Sep 27 2012: I really like the post by you obey, I've seen more of them in other debates. Kind of a side note to the last bits you said; if there are atheist organizations trying to end religion by any means, isn't that the same for religions causing trouble for atheists or those of a different belief. What I mean is something like the Crusades, Christians traveled across many countries killing all who didn't fallow their belief system. So in other words history is repeating itself on a daily basis. But now it's by other means.
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          Sep 27 2012: So you are saying that the definition of "Cult" is the point of your argument.

          That could be a valid point Obey. I could reword the topic but would that be fair at this juncture of the conversation?

          Atheism is accepted within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neopagan movements[17] such as Wicca,[18] and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods,[19] whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but some schools view the path of an atheist to be difficult to follow in matters of spirituality.[20] ~wikipedia

          It appears that in some religions, Atheism is a religious notion and as such can be called a cult.
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        Sep 27 2012: Thanks Stephen.

        It is similar I guess. I support freedom of religion even though I argue against it in many regards. Mainly because it is so powerful and can be used to excuse many bad things. But I'm okay with religion if it doesn't harm people or isn't forced on others. Even then I will debate if people are willing. I will protest if religion is trying to undermine secular institutions like chaplains and scripture classes in state schools etc.

        It's a funny position, like supporting freedom of speech, within limits, even if you use it to disagree with me.

        But there is something about religion that is really hard to have reasoned discussion. How do you argue with " because god said so".
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        Sep 27 2012: Hi John - not asking to reword the statement

        Just suggesting that while atheists can join cults or be superstitious or not, atheism is not a cult.

        Some atheists may be part of something cultish. But atheism is not a religion or a cult.

        I suggest cults do exist. Often led by charismatic individuals. Usually very closed. Jim jones etc. there is a continuum and some groups might easily be classed a cult but others may share some cultish aspects. Remember the om supreme truth sect. Classic cult. Then you have particular immans or preachers under the umbrella of a larger tradition that may influence small groups in a cultish manner, but may not meet all the trappings of a cult.
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          Sep 28 2012: Atheism is accepted within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neopagan movements[17] such as Wicca,[18] and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods,[19] whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but some schools view the path of an atheist to be difficult to follow in matters of spirituality.[20] ~wikipedai.

          Note religious affiliations.

          Your western minded world mindset is just a part of the whole world viewpoint Obey.
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    Sep 26 2012: In some religions what you call "Dogma" is actually what I would call "A foundation"; a basic building block on which the belief stands. Even science has these basics.
    It is not that these basics have to be accepted without argument; it is just that sometimes arguing about both basics is like arguing with someone who tells of the sun rising from the north when we all know which direction to look in order see a rising sun.
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      Sep 26 2012: you know science and religion are two different things .
      once religion had tried to prevent the science development .in the acient the religion try to kill pwople they hurt many famous person who do not agree with their cults ..
      while at last science broke out .and now science is the lead of the world .! ist it ?
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        Sep 26 2012: They are similar in enterprise-ship, but different in behaviors.

        Lol, the way you reference them sounds as if they are in opposition to one another - which is not the case.

        Some religious groups do still try to prevent scientific investigation, but in touche topics like stem cells and fetus research. Which they should be touche, playing 'God' in a laboratory should be heavily mandated by some form of policy - similar to the laws involved in cloning.
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        Sep 27 2012: You are so correct about science taking the lead in developing our new knowledge Chen xin, but,

        science was developed so we could kill each other or, exploited if you like.

        Archimedes developed war machines, that's what got him started with sponsors.
        Leonardo Di Vinci, created some really good war machines. He needed sponsors too.

        If we removed all the military funding from science research today, there would be many scientist, applying for jobs at Wallymart and Home Improvements are us.

        I believe if we removed all the military funding world wide, Science might decline at a considerable rate.

        Science also invented the Atomic bomb...... yes Chen.... science can not only kill, it can do so very effectively and wholesale.
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      Sep 26 2012: I was just thinking along this line yesterday, then forgot it. I'm glad you brought it up. I'll have to look at my notes but there is something very useful in what we call our "belief" system. Something basic, something lost to newer minds. Something we need to revisit and bring it back into our common knowledge bank.
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      Sep 27 2012: Science has the scientific method as a foundation.
      Islam has the Koran and bible to a lessor extent
      Christianity has the nt and ot to a lessor extent

      Science changes when better explanations are found.

      Religions tend to resist change.

      More different than similar.

      In a way science and religion are responses to ignorance. One has led to vaccines, computers, electricity generation and a whole array of technologies that we know work.

      I'm writing this comment on an iPad running on electricity, harnessed by science. You can pray to god, sacrifice some goats, but that won't recharge the battery, or make crops grow in the way that science based technologies work.
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        Sep 28 2012: I am yet to see a religion that tells one of the herbs for treating diseases; or the ways to build houses; or have a detailed description of the world and its citizens/its geography; I am yet to see a religion that gives one lectures on diet or how to prepare food.

        Mr No1Kinobe, you've missed the point. Religion is focussed on inter-personal relationships and relationships in human societies. There are moral laws and guidelines for harmonious relationships.

        There have been scientists who are christains, and christains have contributed immensely to science. No human system is perfect. Just as there have been times when so-called christains have done things that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, Scientists have also made mistakes.

        Scientic inventions are great, but what is the use of great inventions if it would be tools in the hands of depraved human beings?
        Now, depraved human beings are no good, either they are affiliated to any religion (the fact that someone makes a claim to a religion does not make the claim a right one) Or if they are scientists.

        True religion, as stated in James 1:27 in the Bible, is meant to give a human face to knowledge and science.
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        Sep 28 2012: Obey, Science is a practical method of defining knowledge based on mass and energy.

        It is not a way of life, method of ideology, lessons in morality and other social concerns.

        It is not a political affiliation. I does not deal with issues of Vise, morality, Virtue, etc.

        This idea is old and off the track Obey...
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    Sep 25 2012: Sure you have heard this one before 'Reality is a social construction'. Humans incredibly complex and diverse and aware of self. Have to develop some kind of filtration system to process information received in minute by minute existence. Filtration partly within ourselves and partly in communities we live in. Idea that lives dictated by' a higher conscienceness' pervasive throughout culture and history. Maybe it is about finding a balance. A person might feel paralysed by the notion they are ultimately responsible for what happens in their lives, a social structure helps creativity and communication even if the end product is detrimental to a particular individual. Lucky enough to live where I can observe nature and the seasons. Never fail to be impressed by sheer opportunism of life force. People notice energy. Where does it come from and where does it go and how can an individual survive a chaotic and random existence without some belief system, no matter how irrational or insane.
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      Sep 25 2012: You make a good point Elizabeth. Do you think that a belief system is just a tendency of the human condition to make sense of the world around themselves?
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        Sep 26 2012: Not 100 percent certain and a combination of many other people's ideas. Got idea from thinking about people who end up in psychiatric institutions (and big business). Tend to be people with very specific information filters in place. So much so that communication with a range of people compromised. Good for individual if makes them good fit for a particular business (something about driven business leaders often being psychopaths). Do like your big idea 'keep your money in your own pocket'. Confusion in younger generation good consumer somehow good citizen. Cheeky article on internet, if you don't use Facebook, you are some kind of social misfit. Author was arguing social media just another method of sifting potential customers for product selling. Hope not straying too far off original debate here.
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          Sep 26 2012: I think I understand. In my forum, we like to talk about these ideas, not debate them. We seek to understand, not only the idea but the person behind the idea. You are invited to join if you like. There, we have more room to discuss idea then we come to TED to test those ideas (hopefully_ on qualified minds. I'm afraid I haven't seen many and those who are tend to be a tad irrational if you disagree with them. But, considering the fact many people who are not qualified tend to offer suggestions that sound justified instead of inquiring, I see whey these qualified people get frustrated.
  • Sep 25 2012: I don't mean to be overly argumentative, but your closing line said biting and kicking were allowed :)

    "My intentions in the debate, were to illicit comments on the issue of how people view atheism and it's characterization as almost a religion of total counter theism, rather than a debate on the idea of religion. If religion is theism, than is atheism simply anti-theism?"

    Absolutely not. The prefix 'a' simply means "without." Asexual reproduction is reproduction without sex, not reproduction that is anti-sexual. Amoral means without morals, not bad morals or anti-morals. Likewise, atheism is without a belief in a personal god.
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      Sep 25 2012: How would you suggest I correct this shoddy statement. I mean this sencerily. I would like to correct the statement and reach out to you for the proper criticism. Tim.

      When I changed the list selection from newest to oldest, it became apparent to me that I've inappropriately answered some of your comments in a disorderly fashion.
      Sorry. Later I will go back and alter those misnomers.

      I'd like to start over with this reply. Do you think I'm implying that I'm a creationist of sorts, within the religious context or that I'm associating agnosticism with Creationism?
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    Sep 25 2012: Good thing about being agnostic...you can attack all you want....I have plenty to defend myself.

    I see this position as the only "absolute" position to have.

    However, let us not value information too much. Religion has positive sides.

    With our technology and new ideas..we may just be distracting ourselves.

    I guess the only answer...is to "not know" unless you "believe" which is not something you can just "pick up".

    I respect all opinions and all forms of debate. I cannot claim to know...because I do not...and any other statement is false.
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      Sep 25 2012: Sounds like you're up to the task Henry Woeltjen. I see our profile. you are an interesting individual. I used to live in Miami in the park with the rest of the hippies. :)

      So you view yourself as Agnostic, is that correct?

      And, that this stance gives you ammunition to compete with other stances like Religion (Thesis) or Atheism (athesis)? Do you think that both Atheism and religion exhibit cult like behavior, requiring adherence to an explicit set of rules and ritualism to maintain it's membership?
      '
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      Sep 28 2012: I'm right there with you on this. Well put. I'm not big on using logic in debates regarding this topic because it sort of becomes nonsensical to me. It's pretty simple, one cannot know. Using logic to try and 'win' a debate on this --semantics aside -- is fruitless in my book. burden of proof is irrelevant at best.

      I think a good take-away from these lively debates could be asking oneself -- for those debating from the atheistic or theistic sides -- 'am I debating from a context of having to be right?' 'what bias am I bringing into the equation, how open am I?'
  • Sep 24 2012: Atheists do not have a "blind faith in science." They simply default to the Null Position of not believing in something for which there is insufficient evidence.

    As for your claims that agnostics view atheists as cultists because they "... requires blind belief God does not exist which is dogmatic because there is no proof (currently)..." this sounds eerily like what creationists say about atheists, not agnostics.

    Atheists don't need proof to NOT believe in something. An atheist doesn't need proof that the tooth fairy doesn't exist. He's not in an atoothfairiest cult. Someone who doesn't believe in big foot is not an asasquatch cultist.

    The idea of agnostics being the inventors of creationism seems pretty absurd. That's like saying the NFL created baseball's designated hitter rule.
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      Sep 24 2012: Come on Tim. Man up and tell me what you really mean. I can see it in your message. I won't be offended. Are you aware that it takes, roughly the same amount of electrical energy to send a post as it does to move a 2000 lb. Vehicle 3 feet? Why so many words and welcome to TED. :)
      • Sep 24 2012: "Are you aware that it takes, roughly the same amount of electrical energy to send a post as it does to move a 2000 lb. Vehicle 3 feet?"

        I've never heard that, so I guess I'm forced to take the null position unless and until I do some research on the matter. :)

        I'm not sure why you think I'm not saying what I really mean? Care to elaborate?
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          Sep 25 2012: Tim. Unless you can create knowledge out of thin air, I guess your right. ;)
          Or, you could google it.

          Good joke Tim.... I like you already.

          I see you just joined up?

          I don't understand the statement about agnostics or creationism. What do you mean?

          Tim, most of this question has already been answered by other commentors. You might try reading the whole conversation. There is a button box where you can select oldest first to traverse the discussion from start to finish. I feel you question will be appropriate answered.

          I have heard from other commentators that the setup of this system sometimes allows the conversation to appear confusing.

          Enjoy.
          John.
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    Sep 23 2012: Hi John.
    Good question.
    As you probably know I would be considered as a Christian Fundamentalist on this site. However, looking at things analytically, I would say that we are really all Agnostic. We are all fallible humans; we all think we are right, but are all open to deluding ourselves, or just simply misunderstanding things.
    I see a spectrum from Atheism to Fundamentalist, with guys like yourself in the centre. I came at this question seeking the truth of our existence, I studied the data & decided there had to be a designer. I studied the candidates & decided Jesus Christ was that designer. Changed my life. I assume Mr. Dawkins followed a similar path & decided Mr. Darwin had the right idea. We all decide for ourselves. Certainly many seem to be religious just for the sake of it, just like golf, or sailing; but to me that's a different issue.
    So, if you consider Christianity to be a cult, then you should really consider Atheism one also. They are just different interpretations of the same data. I don't consider either to be a cult, but if it fills a need in some of us to reinforce a prejudice then I guess that's understandable.

    :-)
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      Sep 23 2012: I moved from one side of the question to the other, before finally settling in the middle to avoid all the rocks and bottles. but some of them landed on my property and almost hit me in the head a few times, if you now what I'm talking about. :)

      So Peter I assume you've at least examined the flagellum of bacteria and seen the super micrograph photos of them. They look amazingly just like a machine don't they.

      It easy for folk to defend the idea of evolution creating an eyeball, etc but when you get to the real itty biddy parts of the bigger machine, they start to take on the appearance of some very fundamental machinery we find in the garage and tool shed.

      We must admit, in front of the backdrop of genetic research that the possibility to create life is a promising proposal in the laboratory at some time in our future. Genomic researchers like our fellow Tedster: Dr. Gabriel Moreno-Hagelsieb Associate Professor, Biology, are bringing this information to our attention everyday. In Dr. Gabo's case, sometimes many times for days, with a peculiar type of insistence, that can sometimes put people off. :)

      Sometimes super intelligence comes with a price tag but, if we want the research we have to pay for it, not always in money :)

      Amazing stuff. Hence the tag in my profile of Super Alien Scientists.

      However. In my minds creationism will have to evolve towards a scientific stance to support their logic because Science is being hijacked to allude to a God creature with the expectations of dropping all that creation stuff and falling back to their "True word of God = the King James Bible" as soon as they capture a majority of the voters.

      So it's better to look at these things and develop some kind of rational flow of dialog, that offers others the opportunity to try and identify this race of aliens instead of giving the impression that God is the one and only creature with the capacity to create life which is distinct from creating all reality
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        Sep 24 2012: Hi John.
        My training & career has been in mechanical engineering; most of my life has been involved in designing & building stuff. In the early days, when I looked at evolution, I was sort of persuaded, because it was to do with chemistry, about which I know zilch. However, thanks to electron microscopes we can see that this magical chemistry is really nano-engineering. The flagellum is just a little motor. I listened to a guy a while ago on about a part of the cell that seemed to act like a jet engine. He was interested in getting some effect, so he asked a jet engine guy how this could be achieved in a real jet. When he tried it in the cell, it did exactly as predicted.
        There is nothing magical about engineering, it involves a lot of directed, intelligent, funded, effort. Nano engineering more so. The cat is out the bag, this universe is a precisely engineered mechanism; humans & all.
        The majority of scientists down through the ages assumed a god of some sort. It is difficult to imagine such a uniform & predictable creation without a singular architect. This belief has never been a problem to doing science, & it isn't today. We can trust things to unfold in a predictable & orderly fashion.
        The reason many creationists start from the bible, & work out wards is that it saves time. Like me, they have discovered that these 66 musty old books were authored by the same guy that created everything. They still have to do the science though, which they have been doing for hundreds of years. The only real contention is with evolution, the majority of scientific endeavour sails on regardless.
        On the Super Alien Scientist front. This, of course, is a possibility, but we are still left with the question of where these guys come from, & what's the point in the whole shebang anyway ?

        :-)
        • Sep 25 2012: OK I think some of these points have not been addressed.

          Peter said:
          "However, thanks to electron microscopes we can see that this magical chemistry is really nano-engineering."

          No, it really IS just chemistry. For example, those pictures you see of flagellum are artists renderings made so we can visualize how it works. They're drawn to look like mechanical parts because their function is being described in terms of mechanical parts that most will understand. Actual photos from the e-scope are grainy and only show the general shape.

          That some things in nature act and/or look like things that man can engineer means nothing.

          "The cat is out the bag, this universe is a precisely engineered mechanism; humans & all."

          There are many examples of humans being very poorly designed. If we are the product of a Designer, he's no Master Engineer. More like a second-year liberal arts major who attended one chemical engineering lecture because he had a crush on one of the TAs.

          "The reason many creationists start from the bible, & work out wards is that it saves time."

          No, it's because they start and stop with the Bible. Where science and the Bible conflict, they'll just ignore the science. For example, C-14 dating is called completely useless by young-earthers. But when c-14 dating is used to date a tunnel under Jerusalem to Hezekiah's time (Hezekiah's tunnel), then suddenly C-14 dating is accurate and reliable.
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        Sep 26 2012: Hi Tim.

        Never heard anyone on either side argue that the flagellum is anything other than what is normally depicted. Atoms arranged in the form of a motor. This is cutting edge & no doubt will be clarified as time passes.

        I have heard the poorly designed argument, what I have never heard is suggestions for a better one. We have to bear in mind that the creation is misfiring & we are stuck with disease, hatred, etc. In biology we also have the genetic load problem as mutations build up & make us ill.

        C14 dating is accurate during recorded history as we can normally use an artefact of known age to fine tune the dates. Prior to recorded history we have to make assumptions & these tend to be weighted by our worldview. Eg. Whether or not a worldwide flood actually occurred can have a massive impact.

        :-)
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          Sep 26 2012: "Never heard anyone on either side argue that the flagellum is anything other than what is normally depicted. Atoms arranged in the form of a motor. This is cutting edge & no doubt will be clarified as time passes." ~Peter Law.

          It focuses on the flagellum.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7gMavetWuo


          "C14 dating is accurate during recorded history as we can normally use an artefact of known age to fine tune the dates."

          I remember someone arguing that because we exploded around 2000 nuclear weapons in testing from 1945 to 2009, that it has effected this type of dating. Know anything about that?

          Something about polluting the environment with dust, radiation, etc.
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        Sep 28 2012: Hi John.
        The vid is where I live. There is no getting away from the fact that we are machines; our bodies at any rate. Apparently if you take away half the flagellum components you are left with a hole in the cell wall. This is touted as proof that the flagellum is not irreducible complex, & so didn't require a designer. If you take the engine out of a car, you get a boggie; what does that prove ? The fact that there are millions of different mechanisms working away perfectly (or nearly so) is just swept aside. There is just no possibility of this level of sophistication arriving without design & forethought.

        If you read a gravestone & it says 1000BC; then you dig up the corps & get a c14 reading, you can be fairly confident that anything giving the same reading is 1000BC. This will be the case regardless of nuclear explosions etc. If however you try to date something older than any artefact, you are into the unknown & your assumed starting values can be miles out. As the percentage of c14 is minuscule, the effect of any error is magnified. Then explosions, eruptions, floods etc become pivotal.
        It was calculated that the c14 in the atmosphere should be stable after c30,000 years. Ie production would equal consumption. Recently it has been discovered that the percentage c14 is still rising, & is nowhere near equilibrium.. Work it out for yourself.

        :-)
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      Sep 25 2012: Hi Peter,

      When you state we are all agnostic, that we really don't know for sure, you don't sound like a fundamentalist.

      You may believe the bible is inerrant and that there is a spiritual realm and a triune god, but you are taking a slightly softer line than an absolutist of any stripe.

      I agree with you we really don't know if there are gods or goddesses.

      I suggest Christianity started as a cult, like Mormonism, like Buddhism, like Islam, but it is now an established religion like the others. Believers may still be part of a sub cult following particular Christian or Islamic leaders. Also, different believers may experience more or less cultish behaviours, such as being closed to outside influences and information.

      I still think people are mixing up world views that may or may not be religious, associations that may or may not be cultish.

      And also misunderstanding that atheism is a position on whether you believe in gods or not. You can be a buddhist, humanist, astrologer, even a scientoloist or anthing else, just not believe in gods. You can be an atheist and except evolution or not. You can be an atheist and not have any idea how old the universe is, just not believe in gods or goddeses.

      Also science is not dogmatic in the same way religions are. 100 years ago we were only aware of one galaxy. the milky way. There were blurry objects the best telescopes could see called Nebula. With more powerful telescopes we can see billions of galaxies now. Big bang is also a theory that developed in the last 100 odd years. We only identified the background radiation from it in the last few decades. We only figured out the universe is expanding in the last few decades. Science is the process that delivers just our current best guess. Things will change in science.

      To compare respect for science, that works - look at technology, with conflicting beliefs in thousands of gods and sects and dogmas, talking donkeys, virgin births, is a poor comparison indeed.
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        Oct 3 2012: Obey how can peter "sound" like a fundamentalist? Did he send you some audio with his comment?
        :)

        What kind of sound does a fundamentalist make?
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    Sep 23 2012: Atheism is a position on the single question - whether god exists or not.

    It is not a cult.

    However, cults could be formed that involve not having a belief in gods as one or perhaps a central tenants.

    But that is something more than atheism. That is something more than not having a belief in gods and goddesses.

    You could have a cult based on the supremacy of chocolate ice cream if you wanted, but that does not make liking chocolate ice cream a cult.
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      Sep 23 2012: It's just confusion about the semantic syntax.... When you going to check out my forum?
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        Sep 23 2012: Where is you forum JM?

        Also, the semantics tricks allow people like Deepak Chopra to make sentences including the word god which he knows includes anthropomorphic aspects to many but he sneakily borrows the word to for his own new age meaning e.g. God is the ultimate mystery that we cannot define. God is our highest potential to know ourselves and the end goal of our seeking.
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          Sep 23 2012: it is meanless to talk about this .you know there is no bountries .you can belive or not .when things are going well.i dont think about this .when i am sad i may think of Buddhism.you know just for a better life .
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          Sep 23 2012: It's here Obey..... www.moonstroller.com
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        Sep 23 2012: it is not obey . it is my opinion . i dont like the word obey ..we are all equal
        on obey on order
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          Sep 23 2012: Yes your right Chen,we are all equal but Obey's name is a statement to all humans to never bow down to an oppressive force.

          Obey no one

          Oh, by the way,that conference in Palm Springs is a little too expensive for me,i'm not a rich man.
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          Sep 23 2012: Ken got it in one.
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          Sep 27 2012: Chen, I'm sorry if I've appeared distant to you. I am coming to know you better and enjoy conversations with you.....
    • Sep 23 2012: Every Atheist is his own religion.
      Eberhard Schmitz.
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      Sep 23 2012: Obey. The difference lies in the distinction between "ism" and "ist" One is a philosophical argument the other is a belief. This world "belief" has evolved over the years to mean many things it was not, I believe, intended to serve. Like many words, it has been hijacked from the social structure and bastardized to imply meaning to other ideas or objects.

      The Epistemological understanding of the word "belief" (are you looking Gerald, Brian?): "The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true." ~ wikipedia.

      Evidence is simply one of the assertions and not the sole priority.

      "Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge and belief. The primary problem in epistemology is to understand exactly what is needed in order for us to have true knowledge. In a notion derived from Plato's dialogue Theaetetus, philosophy has traditionally defined knowledge as "justified true belief" ~wikipedia.

      So belief doesn't have to be proved, it only has to be justified and true.

      So our job is to determine the "truth" of the argument stated in the question I posed in this debate. I have already "justified" it in my own mind and bring it to the table of discussion. You have given it "further justification" by contributing in the debate posed by the question.

      I say that Agnosticism is the middle ground because Religion has taken the stance to "believe" that God exists, and Atheism has taken the stance that God does not exist and Agnostics have taken the stance to be skeptical of either of these extremes, based on their parity or reconciliation with ideas of difference between "belief" and "knowledge".

      There is a difference between those who have a Philosophy of life and those who spend their life pursuing the Knowledge of life. And I ran out of Characters. Someone else can take over.
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    Sep 22 2012: Not another cult! Anybody can form a cult!
    We all have boundaries of knowing and believing in a "God". I believe most belief systems can cause a digression of the thought process; specifically by actively shunning other beliefs and/or idolizing certain people. Blind faith in science seems crazier than blind faith in religion if you ask me. Neither should be allowed to stagnate and where it does is where you'll see people who lash out.
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      Sep 22 2012: I've said this often Justin. Astronauts have blind faith in Science every time they leave the earth. Not all astronauts are scientists they didn't design the vehicle they have faith will work as designed. Sometimes it doesn't and we've seen the results on the news.

      Blind faith is something you have to put on the line sometimes, especially if your faced with something that could do you great harm. With a cop or soldier, it's blind faith in the fact their weapon will work when needed.

      I see you live in NC. I live in the state below you in Georgia, Canton. Do you sail?
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        Sep 22 2012: It takes a sort of daredevil mentality to get on something with that many tons of jet fuel. It has to be quite a journey not for the feign of heart. I haven't spent much time on a sailboat, John, but I do live by the intracoastal waterway.
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    Sep 21 2012: agnostic = coward atheist

    there are no people on earth who would be equally agnostic to god, vishnu and zeus. most agnostics would happily agree that zeus does not exist, nor vishnu. they are agnostic only about god. the reason being, of course, is they don't dare to piss off the intolerant religious friends, family members and other people around them.
    • Sep 21 2012: Krisztian, I dont totally disagree with you, as i do not have much of a doubt that zeus did not exist, nor do I think Yehway exists, nor do I think any dogma that theism touts has an ounce of credibility outside of metaphor. I however, have my questions about a pantheistic God. If its one things humans naturally do it is to claim we know! we know this is true! and how many times has this turned out to be completely false. There are a vast amount of variables in regards to trusting the senses, I think the only thing one really accomplishes, when one claims to know if God does or does not exist, is a reduction in anxiety and a feeling of control.
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        Sep 21 2012: Hi Brian,

        Usually, when a scientist proposes a new idea, it is not done in the form of a claim that it is "absolutely true".

        Some people following a concept called relativism assert that there is no absolute truth. And they quickly try to extend this concept to science by saying that what it is true today may be false tomorrow. It is indeed a common misconception

        Today it is known that the shape of the earth is not flat but almost spherical. But some relativists would have me believe that tomorrow it could be found that the earth's form is actually a cube, or a pyramid!

        I invite you to read this dissertation by Isaac Asimov, that tries to explain the way in which science considers an assertion to be right or wrong and the way new knowledge compares to old knowledge.

        http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

        Science is not an open field where every theory today can be turned heads down tomorrow. The way science advances is by taking the previous theory and finding the narrow band of cases where the theory and data do not agree... and then a new theory is proposed that accounts for those discrepancies. But the new theory is identical to the old theory when discussing the cases where there was no prior disagreement with the data

        cheers
        • Sep 21 2012: Andres i understand this is true and never claimed it wasn't..... This is why I have my questions about a pantheistic concept of God and do not have questions about the laws of physics which science has clearly demonstrated to be true.
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      Sep 21 2012: Agnostic = someone who believes that being open-minded is more important than thinking.
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        Sep 21 2012: open minded to bad ideas ... what a terrible idea
      • Sep 22 2012: Gerald, you cant claim to know that a God, or gods, the concept of a creator of the big bang did not exist. Can you?
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          Sep 22 2012: That is true, I can't. Because I have no idea what you are talking about. I could only refute you if you told me more about this concept of a creator... the boring technical details about it.
          Until then, I'm not even discussing it, or even considering it. And why should I?
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      Sep 21 2012: You've polled them all Pinter"? A very commendable feat in itself. You should be proud of your self and publish your work.
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      Sep 28 2012: @ Krisztian Pinter

      Oh boy.
      What a dumb thing to say.

      Theists: "I'm sure God exists". Atheists and agnostics ask "prove it!"
      Atheists: "I'm sure God does not exist". Agnostics ask "prove it!".

      I'm agnostic and although I'd say I'm 99% sure God does not exist, I don't rule out the possibility of.. It's not because men sent a man on the moon a couple of years ago that we know and understand everything

      As Bertrand Russel said: "The problem with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt".

      Well, I'm cocksure that I don't know much and will never rule out new things and that what you said is stupid and despising.
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    Gail . 50+

    • +2
    Sep 21 2012: In your original question, you say, "Scientific idea of Creationism". Creationism is not scientific. It's the OPPOSITE of scientific. It requires one to ignore science in the name of belief (faith). In a later answer to your own question, you say that you are sometimes accused of being a creationist. But in your question, you make it clear that you are.

    TECHNICALLY, you could call me an atheist, though I DO have a god-concept that bears no similarity to God of the Bible. I am not part of a "cult". Christians often think this way, but atheism is not a religion by any definition, and it is harmful to call them that because it's dishonest.

    I LOVE what has been happening in quantum mechanics. That science explains the world in a way that counters the Bible is good enough for me. The Bible was compiled by Constantine, and some very beautiful texts were deleted, and some important changes were made to the text, thus changing the story. If you read the pre KJV in koine-greek or Aramaic, the changes stand out.

    I can use math to prove that Noah's flood didn't happen as described.
    I can use quantum mechanics to show that the God of the Bible doesn't exist
    I can use geology to show that the creation didn't happen as described in Genesis
    I can use archeology, geography, historical records, and math to show that the Biblical Exodus never happened.
    I can use the bible to show how many times it contradicts itself.
    I can use the teachings of Paul & Jesus to prove that Paul is lying about Jesus' teachings.
    I can use quantum mechanics to show that Jesus and science are in agreement, and that Jesus was more of a pantheist.

    I do not close my mind to new information, but I do not dismiss what I know to be a fact about reality. When there is a question, I do not answer it with a word ("God"). I look for rational answers.

    Your understanding of what atheism is seems to be uninformed. Most American atheists are ex-christians - as I am an ex-christian.
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      Sep 21 2012: I beg to differ TL

      The generations of today and just after mine have probably never set foot in a church on a Sunday.We come from era's gone by,for John and you,i would say 1960 through to 69' were the growing years(it's a wild guess based on past posting info i can recall from memory) for me it was 1980 to 1990, after those years your more generally concerned with surviving.
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        Sep 21 2012: No, my world changed on April 24, 1984.
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          Sep 21 2012: I actually don't like using the word atheist as those of a religious demeanour give it a derogatory countenance and vis a vis it's returned in kind,it's quite interesting to watch in motion,it almost looks like we are using a form of mirror neurons with language,another take on it would be that we are actually just arguing with ourselves.

          In my first post i was referring to our teenage years where things are fuzzy but by the time we are 18-19 things gets set,whether a person continues or changes is up to the individual as they are considered adults and beyond parental guidance.
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          Sep 21 2012: Hello Ted Lover,

          Can I ask what event changed your world?
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        Gail . 50+

        • +2
        Sep 21 2012: I am convinced that our words are meant for US; therefore I talk TO me while I talk AT you. Life surely is a mirror
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        Gail . 50+

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        Sep 21 2012: Casey,

        That was the day my worldview crashed. A fleeting thought captured my attention. I saw an inustice occur in our legal justice system, and I thought "that's not justice - that's not even equality". Why I heard myself think those words so clearly, I'm not sure, but then I realized that there is no real freedom either. How I could have missed this having grown up at a time when women and blacks were treated like 2nd class citizens (and I was a woman)??? The awareness floored me. I reached my hand up to ask God what happened, and in a similar flash of awareness, I saw all of the contradictions and inconsistencies of my christianish worldview, and I knew that God (& evil) were a lie as well. The whole thing came tumbling down. I saw how I had been contributing to all that was wrong in our world, without knowing that I had been doing so. I no longer had an operational worldview. It was quite paralyzing. I didn't know what to do. I had no operational sense of right or wrong. I had been living a lie.

        That afternoon, I decided that I would devise a new worldview - one that would never be able to fail me because it would be fact based. Curiously, a friend stopped by less than a half hour after I made that decision. She gave me a book that she was all excited about. It talked about the recent advances in science, math, technology, and the inevitable changes that these things would do to our common philosophy.

        As soon as she left, I sat down and started reading, and I haven't stopped learning since. My life changed that day. That was the day I began my love affair with life-long learning. Today I have a new worldview. Most people think it's a rather weird one, but I've learned to trust it, AND, I've also learned that there are MANY of us who have arrived at the same conclusions from whatever circumstances led them to it.

        My hearing myself think an "unthinkable" thought caused me to pay more attention to my thoughts, emotions,, & feelings.
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      Sep 21 2012: You said: "No quantum physicist is a proponent of creationism. Creationism is not associated with any science.z
      I would say there are many who disagree with you and I'm positive your percentages are incorrect.

      Do you like Chocolate or Vanilla Ice cream? Are you blonde or Burnett, or Grey perhaps?

      I have grey hair with blue eyes and I like Strawberry Ice Cream.

      You said, "if god is powerless over your life (by choice or by design), what is the purpose of a god?"
      I don't know, what is the purpose of the drunk wino lying in the alley way you have never seen your entire life. If they don't have affect or impact your life in some way perhaps they have zero relevance in your mind.

      A chemist is well trained in the field of Chemistry and could be a deacon at his/her church. A computer can do chemistry and it's not even human.

      You are far from educated TL but if it make you feel better, then, with a touch of my finger, you are now educated, what ever educated means. You really should join my forum. www.moonstroller.com I find you ery interesting and likeable. Others already have joined.
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        Gail . 50+

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        Sep 22 2012: No quantum physicist is a proponent of creationism. Creationism is not associated with any science. It IS associated with three religions. More than 99% of quantum physicists who are studying areas that have implications regarding the existence of "God" have concluded that no such "God" exists. Most are atheists. Some are agnostic with respect to a deist type of god - which is more of an atheist view than a theist one, because if god is powerless over your life (by choice or by design), what is the purpose of a god?

        A chemist is technically a scientist, as is a biologist or a physician, but these fields do not count as exploring the god-realm. Christians LOVE to say the word "scientist" without saying what kind of scientist they are referring to. The educated among us know better.
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    Oct 3 2012: No, the far fetched possibility I was referring to was god, not the Big Bang. Not sure how that got confused. I admit Zeus may have been responsible for the Big Bang but there are host of more attractive alternatives to consider. You use the word conjecture while I would state it as implausible bronze aged superstitious myths that have been created to fill gaps of ignorance. We flew to the moon and we flew planes into buildings, one science is responsible for, the other religion. We should know better in this day and age.
    You asked me about my god, I would lean with Einstein's interpretation or Frank Lloyd Wright's "“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” It's okay to say "I don't know" - the -Hocus Pocus- moment comes when you don't know but you pull a god out of your hat and act like you do know. That may not be formal logic as you mentioned but neither is arguing that an invisible deity who lives in a celestial Disneyland and can read your mind exists.
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      Oct 3 2012: We are not in the bronze age Steve, yet, such conjecture continues to thrive. If you have anything to offer in the way of debate, other than your simple language stipulations then you will find it hard to relate to others here. Most of them are very smart and very logical minded.

      Don posted a video that gives an example of a very smart Prof. who argues these points quit elegantly.

      We live in a world where over two thirds of the population (that's .3 x 7 billion, to help you with the math) believe in a God. While individually, it is appropriate for one to not share this belief, to insinuate that they are stupid, ignorant and full of (Hocud-Pocus) momentum is, unfortunately, considered unlearned and unsocial behavior.

      If you go to Saudi Arabia talking this nonsense you might lose your head. :)

      Start with a simple statement about how you feel that Atheism is not cultist and should not be called a cult. It's easy. Even a child can do it.
    • Oct 4 2012: I think that John was just being facetious (or sardonic) when he exchanged "god" with "big bang" on you. There was no confusion. He seems to be playing you. Trolling. (Same he seems to do with others.)

      On the "debate." Of course atheism is not a cult. When a question is posed with such absolutism, it has thus been self-defeated. For a few or for a lot of people atheism might become their cult with dogmas, not unlike religious cults. But it is not by definition. It is not by itself. Atheism can be many things. It can be a belief system, sure, it can be a cult too. But it can also be a conclusion, or a position about rejecting until proven otherwise. It can be so many things that trying to define the whole thing into a cult is plain ignorance, and very poor logic.
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    Oct 3 2012: Coincidently, Google and the online dictionaries define the word pretty much as I do: "a lack of knowledge". This can be pejorative if the person has the facts and clear evidence available to him but simple refuses to embrace the truth - like someone who thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old.
    Some people think this type of person is teaching religion but what he is teaching is ignorance - and yes I mean that in a very pejorative way.
    You argued that people can believe in all kinds of crazy things and you're right but they should also be prepared to be challenged when their views are forced upon society.
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      Oct 3 2012: I agree with the Google and online dictionaries too Steve.

      What if "their" views are not "forced" on society? Is it alright to have views that differ with society?

      Is it possible that you're ignorant of the teachings of Religion? How many books have you read about Religion? How many different religions have you studied?

      How old is the earth...... exactly?
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        Oct 3 2012: Sure, I'm ignorant on a lot of things, like everyone else.
        Your argument seems to be that there are things we don't understand so god is a possibility. Yes, that's true but it's a far fetched possibility and like I mentioned in my other post any god past or present could fit your argument.
        I call this the "Hocus Pocus Argument". We don't know how the Universe was create so... HOCUS POCUS... it has to be god (and my god to be specific). Very weak.
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          Oct 3 2012: Steve I get you now. The farfetched possibility you speak of is called the "Big Bang" theory.

          It is a widely held theory by many Cosmologist (Scientists who study the Cosmos). Here is a link to this Theory:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

          As to whether or not God had anything to do with it, it is a conjecture, not a theory. The difference is a conjecture is a proposition that is unproven, untestable by ordinary means.

          I've never heard of a "Hocus Pocus" argument in formal logic.

          "(and my god to be specific)~ steve Zagata

          Tell us about your God Steve.
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        Oct 3 2012: I'm not sure what the point is of asking me how old the Earth is, do you want me to say, "I don't know, somewhere over 4 billion years old?. I'm comfortable saying "I don't know" I'm not comfortable saying "I don't know so it must be god".
        One question for you. How old do you think the Earth is?" I'm starting to think you are in that 6,000 year range and on the wrong website.
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        Oct 3 2012: You ask me how old the Earth is… "exactly". That's a silly question. Because I respond to that you say I'm out of line? Then you call me simple minded while accusing me of improper etiquette? (and comically using bad grammar in doing so). I stand by my comments and challenge you to point to one where I used foul language, called you names or personally attacked you in the way you have me.

        I do discuss the immoral side of religion and I will continue to question aspects of it that harms society. Many people, because they are so tied to an erroneous doctrine will lash out when exposed to the illogic of their beliefs. I understand that and have compassion for them. They may have been programmed since an early age and lack the critical thinking skills to work things out.

        I also understand that you did not mean to be condescending by asking what's "maxism" when clearly the author meant marxism. Or when you cut and paste definitions of easily understood terms like "Big Bang" or "Atheist" or when you ask how many books someone has read.

        So if you think I am exhibiting "stupidity and rancorous postulations" as you so kindly stated I will leave you to "your topic area" so you can continue bullying people that don't agree with you.

        You may want to flag this as you threatened, but after reading your comments you may also want to go flag yourself.
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          Oct 3 2012: Occasionally, Steve I do flag myself by deleting my comments. I am just as given over to human emotional disfunctionality as anyone else.

          Personally, I think, ideologically speaking, you and have more similar ideas than opposing ideas.

          If I have overstated or understated your comments, by inference, I apologize. I think if we can find middle ground and we spend some time together, this feeling of difference will fade away.

          Chin is a virtual friend of mine. I meant him no disrespect. I wanted to suppose he meant Marxism but wanted to be sure before I answered his question. He is just learning to speak English and making remarkable progress.

          I'll put it this way. I am not a creationist but I am open to the discussion of things relating to the scientific ideas of a creator, a super scientist alien, perhaps on the level of a Class III civilization, as delineated by Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku. Such a civilization would have eradicated disease, mortality, and not necessarily be tied to material reality as we are. We are not yet a class I civilization because of the way we derive and manipulate our energy sources.


          I am not a practicing religious person, but I maintain a sense of spiritualism that is more meditative than dogmatic, more communicative than focus. If I were likened to a device it would be a SETI radio antenna. :)

          I don't accept the dogma of any religious organization nor do I accept the dogma of Atheism.

          I don't like to disrespect the arguments of others, I like to entertain myself with them in the hopes of learning or widening the scope of my perspective on reality.

          I hope this explanation helps us to draw closer together as respective members of an open-minded community.
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    Oct 2 2012: John would you agree that if there are gods or goddesses we dont seem to have a reliable way to know anything about them?
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      Oct 3 2012: Yes. Obey. On the surface it appears that way.

      I often wonder, if we rewind the Universe all the way back to the singularity, what lies beyond? If "our" laws of Physics can only be applied to a Universe with "our" particular physical peculiarities and they disintegrate at or inside of it's event horizon, how can we describe what lies beyond?

      My answer is we can't describe it with Science, only conjecture.

      "A conjecture is a proposition that is unproven. Karl Popper pioneered the use of the term "conjecture" in scientific philosophy.[1] Conjecture is contrasted by hypothesis (hence theory, axiom, principle), which is a testable statement based on accepted grounds. In mathematics, a conjecture is an unproven proposition that appears correct.[2]"

      So how can a conjecture be applied to describing what lies on the other side of a singularity?

      If we agree the singularity existed, is it plausible to suppose reasons for it's existence? With some people this reason is God. In fact, there is no reasonable scientific explanation basis by which we can fashion a conjecture about the singularity other than:
      1. It's gravity or force of containment is so strong it can contain an entire universe in a single point of position within an unknown framework.
      2. Equilibrium implies a state of stability created by balanced forces.
      3. It can be destabilized out of equilibrium to give up it's contents.

      It is at this point in the argument of existence that the ideas of the atheist disappear because science disappears, but the ideas of the agnostic can continue to be expressed and stipulated.

      These three points lead to one question:
      1. What is the the framework that contains the singularity?
      2. What kind of force to you need to destabilize a singularity to give up it's contents?

      Why is God a good conjecture? Because there is no other explanation offered.
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        Oct 3 2012: You set the bar low for this argument. Not only can any god; Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Janus, etc be used for your analogy but any other figure the imagination can conjure up would suffice, as long as he, she or it is invisible.
        All you're stating is "I don't know how this happened so it must be god"
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          Oct 3 2012: Steve, I gave you many things to think about and all you come back with is:

          "Not only can any god; Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Janus, etc be used for your analogy but any other figure the imagination can conjure up would suffice, as long as he, she or it is invisible."

          Actually, I was writing to Obey.

          I don't see this analogy you are speaking of. I did mention a "Reason" that may apply to "some" people. But you appear to be taking it for granted that "some" people includes me specifically.

          Have I misinterpreted your comment and you are relying to something else?
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        Oct 4 2012: The edge of science may start with conjecture and then look for hypothesises to test. And if these fit the facts then a coherent theory may develop. This in turn may be improved and refined or less likely completely overturned if improvements are found.

        Some conjecture about the origins of the universe or self replicating molecules and life seems reasonable.

        Gods or goddesses are one diverse group of supernatural explanations for things people do not understand. It's just I don't give them much weight.

        When you get to the essential crux, we don't know, the universe is complex for our monkey brains, we evolved to assume agency, we mostly grew up surrounded by superstitious religions, astrology etc. For some assuming a god is comfortable assumption.

        For me it is basically saying its magic.

        Gods might be more compelling conjecture if there was anything to indicate their actual existence. If there was anything concrete we could say about their nature. If there was anything to indicate that magic or god was a better explanation than we don't know.

        I don't know how gravity works. I can use Newtons calcs. I'm familiar with proposals involving gravitational force carriers that move at the speed of light, but I don't really comprehend how it works, in the same way I can comprehend something more human in scale. By your approach, anything we don't know is a good reason to imagine gods or magic is involved.

        I disagree.

        I don't absolutely discount the possibility, but I disagree.

        Re: "Why is God a good conjecture? Because there is no other explanation offered." If some people want to adhere to this approach that is their choice. But I disagree. Resorting to gods or magic for which there is no evidence, just as gap fillers is a poor path to better understanding.
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          Oct 4 2012: "By your approach, anything we don't know is a good reason to imagine gods or magic is involved." ~Obey No1kinobe

          Obey in the model I presented about the singularity, God is just another name for the unknown destabilizing force. It is a settling description for some and others are happy to simply call it the unknown.

          By the same argument for conjecturing God as a solution, you could substitute the word unknown. It does not change the fact it is the limit of Human knowledge, which was my point.

          This point is made to augment the idea anyone can claim there is no God, but no one can prove it. To be party to a club that has no hope of proof is a waste of time.

          Hence, people are never born atheists because there are no atheists in the sense they can prove God does not exist. It remains an open question for debate. However, the idea that atheists exist.... is closed in my mind. To believe in something that only causes a group of people to be exclusive and locked in their ideas and notions is still a cult and Atheism, fits this description.


          Magic is tricks not forces of nature and therefore cannot be used to compare a real or possibly existing force with simple sleight of hand.

          I don't use magic in discussions such as these to describe phenomenon that I don't understand, but I do use it in the parlor sometimes when playing cards.
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    Oct 1 2012: The best argument you seem to have for supernatural gods and spirits and angels and valkaries and various forms of afterlife is you cant disprove their existence because they are magic.

    That puts these beliefs alongside any claim you can not prove. Great.

    Then you mention that religious beliefs may be useful. Well they can also be harmful. Neither utility or harm goes to the issue of being true or false.

    Then you mention we don't have answers for everything. Or that you can not imagine natural processes resulting in life where most animals survives by eating other living things. So out of the argument from ignorance, there must be some god or gods or goddesses. In fact because it is totally subjective there is jsut as likely 40,999,888,123 gods involved in creating the universe as there is one. And we still haven't got any understanding of how they did it, and you still have no cause for them. You may assume they didn't need a cause, which is special pleading because you make this exception for them but not for the natural universe.

    You are left with millions of contradictory and subjective supernatural religious and spiritual beliefs that may or may not be useful, but definitely at best are all false but for one. And this one truth may be something humans have not imagined.

    If you look at the history of the contradictory religions they were nearly all started by men. A couple like Christian Science, by women.

    You suggest we may never know the truth about god. I agree. Especially if gods don't exist. Especially if there is no evidence for them or any reliable information about them. Its a subjectivesoup

    Then we have some unproven miracles. We have so called miracles today, but not one amputated limb grown back. Not one case of down syndrome being healed.

    Seriously if someone claim to earth claim to be the creator and made another moon I would take notice.

    As it stands it seems not believing theist claims that they know things they seemingly don't is reasbl
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      Oct 1 2012: An hour and twenty three minute lecture? some break.
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          Oct 1 2012: I say that you are off topic posting a video about exploring "the legitimacy of miracles and their supernatural implications."
          Glad you are busy looking for truth. From what I viewed of the video you posted you may need to remain busy.
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          Oct 1 2012: Actually I am open to other explanations. The multi-Universe idea is intriguing, the idea of living in a computer simulation cannot be disproved and is worth consideration. I just don't give much credence to a bronze aged superstition based on outdated myths. Still if evidence revealed itself I would have to consider the possibility. It may be you who is stuck in one system of explanation. You believe what you believe because you were born at a certain time in a certain place brought up by certain people. Most people don't find religion, religion finds them. Let's face it, the claims for religion - virgin births, waking the dead, levitation, talking snakes, etc. is pretty far out there and you have zero proof.
          You seem like a decent enough gent so don't be taken aback by other views. This is an open conversation on the subject not simply a repository of one's views.
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          Oct 1 2012: I agree Steve. No proof.

          I note there are Indian gurus living today who many thousands believe are doing miracles similar to Jesus.

          Imagine is Jesus had created a 5 km high monument made from some exotic alloy that still existed today. That would be impressive.

          Imagine if all the amputated limbs of soldiers were healed. That would be impressive. Seems miracles don't have the power to regrow limbs or cure down syndrome. Lame.

          And even if they did occur, and would warrant examination, they don't prove the claims of being the creator god of the universe. They don't make the bible factual in total.

          Now if Jesus created a few extra planets that would indicate he may have had the ability to create much of the universe.

          But what do we get. Loaves and fishes created from loaves and fishes. That's the sort of creation miracle we see described in the bible, again with no proof.

          Odd that there are no known extra biblical references to Jesus made while he was alive, let alone miracles. Even the new testament was written decades after he lived. Pretty poor in terms of evidence for the theist claims regarding the creator of the universe, supposedly with some very important consequences - ie Yahweh/Jesus will kindly send us to eternal punishment if we get it wrong.
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      Oct 1 2012: 1. Science does not define the Limits of rationality.
      "You can speak of the ethics of science but you can't speak of ethics with science" ~Albert Einstein
      The car is a device invented with scientific knowledge but the knowledge came from the Agent, Henry Ford, et all.
      Alludes to the idea, who is the agent of creation?
      Science can, of itself, do nothing. Science is a creation of the mind.


      Excellent video Don, Thanks for the contribution. You have led me to myself. :)
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        Oct 2 2012: Yet we can usually tell instantly whether something is natural or created by human agency.

        Yet nature seems to run fine without any obvious agency.

        And who created your creator. And who created the creator of the creator. You go around it circles until you assume that something didn't need a creative agency.

        On ethics I have a slightly different view to the quote. Ethical and moral analysis as best we know are human endeavours. Religion was/is one human technology used in part to convey morality, generally by assumed divine command. My god orders us to kill homosexuals and adulterers so this is good.

        While science is not the appropriate vehicle for discerning sensible ethical constructs it does inform us about ourselves and the universe. Combined with reason and evidence we can try and construct frameworks of human bestowed rights and responsibility without bundling them up in religion.

        In fact if Yahweh described in the old testament is real, what a monster. What he is supposed to have commanded and did is not moral unless you fall back to divine command theory.

        Why is it good to kill homosexuals and adulterers? Why is it good to slay the Canaanites and Ammonites etc. Was this god moral when he murdered every man women and child in the great flood? Was it moral for him to pick one tribe as his chosen people. Is it moral of him to eternally punish and torment other conscious beings. Other than divine command, how is this so.

        If a human did these things outside of a religious framework would they be good?

        Religion is a very flawed technology for moral and ethical analysis.
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    Sep 30 2012: Hi Peter,

    I would suggest anything could be made into a cult, but most that I have heard of have a leader or leader who claim some divine or supernatural right for their position and for the cult so I guess it may be more difficult when your position is that there is no supernatural or divine being..

    I'd certainly suggest atheism isn't a cult as it is just a position on whether the is a god or not, nothing more. If some people who hold that position take a too strong a view or position that doesn't change the view point or it's validity. I expect you wouldn't want your entire religion judged because a few extremists under that banner may become a cult or go too far?
  • Sep 29 2012: I cannot fully agree with you. I have known many atheist and I'm an atheist myself. Before you place a judgement (I think that's a bit too late), I would like to say that atheist in general are against irrational and illogical statements. I am also a scientist and I know how science works and the all its gaps. However science is a process of logic thought and experimentation. It is not correct for scientists to believe that whatever "science" says is the absolute truth. Science inquiry and the ability to question everything in a logical manner is part of being a scientist. But there are facts that science has helped determine and that we use in our daily life. Those can be treated as truth, like the force of gravity, evolution, and the speed of light.

    Atheist do not believe in god because its existence is just not logical. It does not compute in any logical manner. And the fact that they don't believe in god does not mean they don't believe in human values like respect, love, friendship, cooperation, etc. We, atheist, don't need a god to blame for whatever happens to us, or to pray to when we are in a bad situation, or to regulate our behavior because logic itself is enough for us to decide how to act.

    I don't think science or atheism are dogmas. One is a process of understanding the word using logic. The other one is the lack of a belief of god or gods.

    That was just my opinion...and I would like to excuse myself for any grammatical error since English is not my native language.

    Cheers!
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    Sep 26 2012: I honestly hate the argument "atheism is not a belief system, because you cannot possess a lack of belief"

    Ridiculous, only babies can truly 'lack' the anticipation of God, rather atheism is the rejection of God - because clearly you are aware of the option of theism v. atheism. Atheism is a belief system, or rather a quality of belief - atheistic perspective. Personally, the whole theism, atheism, gnostic, agnostic way of looking at things is pretty shallow when considering the central point of these arguments - religion. Deity worship is not the only concern of religion.

    Also, reading some of these post, I need to state very clearly:

    There is a very REAL cultural movement involved in neo-atheism (tendencies of being militant and authoritative in arguments). Many of you may reject the word 'religion' as having positive connotations, but that is the reality of the situation. New Age Atheism is becoming a religious movement, and it would be better if the unorganized practitioners would organize - Neoatheism would be a great religious movement to form; government recognition is important for whole groups of people to get their demands. Think of the smaller groups of minorities whom have representation politically.

    It's dumb to reject the ideals of religion (what it is, provides and contributes to culture/society). In cognitive science, theory suggest religious thinking is innate feature to our cognition development to be social creatures. We cannot escape recognizing ourselves with groups, we need to in order to have a self identity. How can you know your knowledge is justifiable, true or a solid belief if you do not have authority to rely on?

    Lastly,

    Everyone has belief systems, I am tired of hearing the argument 'I do not have beliefs' - just nonsense...

    The phrase 'belief system' does not entail purely religion. In fact religion is a composition of multiple belief systems - faith, dogmas, rituals, metaphysical concerns...
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      Sep 26 2012: "I honestly hate the argument "atheism is not a belief system, because you cannot possess a lack of belief"~ Micholas Lukowiak,

      Good intro.

      "Personally, the whole theism, atheism, gnostic, agnostic way of looking at things is pretty shallow when considering the central point of these arguments - religion. Deity worship is not the only concern of religion."

      True.

      "Neoatheism would be a great religious movement to form; government recognition is important for whole groups of people to get their demands. Think of the smaller groups of minorities whom have representation politically. "

      Good point.

      "The phrase 'belief system' does not entail purely religion. In fact religion is a composition of multiple belief systems - faith, dogmas, rituals, metaphysical concerns..."

      Excellent conclusion.

      Thank you very much.
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        Sep 26 2012: l was looking to challenge any self proclaimed atheist, not praise John!

        But thank you sir!
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          Sep 27 2012: Sensitive you are.... I wish I could take my thumbs up back now.

          I hope you are talking about the Book of John and not me. :)

          Thank you sir.
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          Sep 27 2012: Always good to be challenged in honest peaceful debate.
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        Sep 27 2012: One can learn more from challenging than accepting! That is all!
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          Sep 27 2012: I challenged a guy in a parking lot once and learned I couldn't whip everybody's butt.

          Sometimes we think we are bigger and more powerful than everyone else. Sometimes, an attitude adjustment is all we need to bring that reality into proper perspective.

          Good luck on your adventure. Nicholas.
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        Sep 27 2012: I feel no pride in correcting semantics of those who argue in the atheist mindset...

        In fact it disturbs me, why are these bright people falling into semantic traps? Ignoring how the history of words developed to where they are today. Elitism seems to be apart of the atheist movement and that should not be apart of it... So I guess I am being anti-elitist by my challenge to the atheist on this conversation.

        But your words are wise and accepted/appreciated.
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          Sep 27 2012: Very well, I give you full access. Please don't hurt anyone feelings. Be respectful, put yourself in others shoes.

          I have a forum too and I just sent a message to someone asking them to handle the questions about Islam that some members ask. If you have time, drop by if you feel the need to explain your religion and you have the time to drop by once in a while and do the question answer thing.

          Later, John.
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      Sep 26 2012: Great response Nicholas, I guess I must try to answer your call from an atheist/agnostic point of view and see where this may lead us

      Let us, for a moment, turn this conversation to Santa Claus. Babies indeed lack the anticipation of Santa Claus, and it is only when their caregivers bring it up that they develop a "belief" in him.

      For some of us... by the time we grow a little more... (and here comes the spoiler), we learn that our "belief" was somewhat misplaced. Some of us become aClausists... because we no longer hold the old belief. Our "belief" turns into a different kind of understanding: Santa does indeed perform a very noble function, and we do not go out and start telling five year old kids that their belief is something wrong. We recognize all the good things that can spawn from Santa, and we even continue teaching him to youngsters generation after generation.

      But deep down, we know a little better. We know that things are not the way we initially believed.

      If you don't want to call this a "lack of belief in Santa", well so be it. I am still calling myself an aClausist.

      There are many people out there that never even talk to their kids about Santa. Not sure they qualify as New Age, but they are indeed adamant about not even teaching about him anymore.

      I do not hold that position though. I followed suit and my kids knew Santa for years until they figured things out on their own.

      Do i think that, prior to me figuring this out, there was a real Santa out there? Do I look back and marvel at my power, being that Santa sudenly ceased to be who he was and all due to my individual conversion? Do i switch and start telling myself that Santa only exists for people who believe in him? Actually, I don't think there was a supernatural Santa before i became aClausist... i just think now that older people were nice enough to let me be a kid for a few more years. And I am sure thankful for that

      cheers
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        Sep 27 2012: No, no I fully consider the lack of belief in Santa is still a belief, because like you said it becomes a constructed belief. The premeditation of a claim to knowledge and rejecting it, is still a belief.

        The argument around 'aClausist' is immediately deceiving. Santa isn't a major foundation for 5 billion people in religious practices.

        It is not about 'lacking' it is about 'rejecting'. With the anticipation of knowing you have options and denouncing one is rejecting.

        Atheist do not lack a belief in God, they reject the belief in God. If anything they choose to lack the belief, which is still rejecting.
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          Sep 27 2012: It's starting to sound a bit like semantics. In the context of god and religion, a belief means something much more than a hunch. A belief in the existence of god is the absolute basis for a religious individual. So in that particular sense, the hunch that there is no god and the belief that there is god are definitely not in the same category

          For a religious person, it would be catastrophic to be proven wrong, not simply a small adjustment to his/her world view, but catastrophic indeed. where as i don't really consider much of an issue if my hunch turns out to be incorrect. As far as my world view, it's relevance would be quite limited.

          Yes, i use two distinct words (belief vs. hunch) to highlight this difference. So i think that putting those two "beliefs" as if they were equally meaningful, is what is deceiving.

          Seems that you think 5 billion people cannot be wrong about something while a few billion less (people who grew up believing in santa, or tooth fairy, or ghosts), well, they can be a little bit more wrong.

          That is the issue i have with relativism. It attempts to imply that all alternatives weight equally, and hence not only none of them should be discarded, but they should be given equal validity. But i assure you, no amount of prayer can make the shape of the moon suddenly to become a cube

          I would be interested to read why is aClausist deceiving argument, and what is the real difference between rejecting my previous belief and lacking one in the present.

          cheers
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          Sep 27 2012: To the child Santa and god are both just as real.

          I suggest both are human constructs.

          There are also preachers who do not believe what they preach, but are stuck.

          Suggest gods and goddesses are the similar constructs to tooth fairy and Santa, except adults continue to believe in their different gods. The probable delusion is maintained.
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        Sep 27 2012: You're confusing faith and belief - which definitively are different. In every dictionary you find.

        It would not be a belief in God, it would be faith in God, for a fundamentalist of religious practice.

        Rejecting the word 'belief' (which also includes 'hunches' and 'valued thoughts') is fine and dandy as long as you recognize they are unavoidable in our subjective pursuits of exploring the world. We cannot know what is objective without first recognizing the subjective alternatives and dispositions in which allow objectivity to exist. A belief not simple a single unit of thought, but could be multiple. The belief in astrological energies for example depend on a large amount of beliefs. The evolutionary psychology paradigm is dependent on beliefs shared within scientific communities to be defended as the proper method to pursue research - rather than purely structuralism, behaviorism, etc.

        I never suggest 5 billion people are correct based on their belief, but rather I suggest one of their major dogmas in foundation is not Santa Claus but in God. To be atheist is to reject God, thus rejecting the faith of 5 billion people.

        I in no way suggested alternative mindsets to be weighed equally, but rather recognizing where alternatives derive from is important to considering what is the grounds for debate - this one being religion, theism, atheism and now belief v. faith issues.

        You are not lacking the belief in Santa, you rejected it, plain and simple. You consciously choose to not believe in Santa, you do not have to, but you so choose.
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          Sep 27 2012: Fair enough... faith and belief are not exactly the same (though in practical terms they are not used much differently; just ask a random sample of believers what the difference is and you will find them pointing reciprocally between the two). And i did check a few dictionaries and they are a bit confused too.

          But i will use your distinction. My major was physics, so i must admit that i am much more ignorant in other fields. And english is my second language, so i have been known to confuse english words. Part or my confusion comes from the fact that the verb "to believe" is something subjective, whereas the particular meaning of "belief" (noun) that you are focusing here is closer to "dogma" which I agree is not subjective.

          So the god dogma is something outside of me, something that others can grab and hold on to (like a rope in the middle of the ocean) and i chose not to hold on to. (so far so good?)

          But when i say that somebody believes the bible to be literal, is he just holding to a smaller dogma? (since less people seem to hold on to that rope)

          Then i can follow your argument a step further and state that the belief in santa would be another dogma that eventually we chose to reject

          So if i may ask... have you rejected the santa dogma? what does that mean in terms of the objective reality outside of you?... in your opinion, is santa physically possible? if your answer is no, then do you think that someone who has not rejected the santa dogma has faith in something physically impossible? I lack that faith.

          Maybe the world out there does not really exist and we can only live within our own perception, open to the possibility that others may live in a world completely different. Such speculations are great for coffee afternoons, but useless if we want to design a machine that can fly people from LA to Seattle. There are physical qualities that you and I share, and we can build up from there a "dogma" of science that doesn't require a concept of god to work
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          Sep 27 2012: Well faith and belief are related.

          Isn't faith basically belief without much evidence or even in the face of conflicting evidence.

          To be an atheist is rejecting god beliefs not people in total. It is a contrary position for sure.
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        Sep 27 2012: How about we avoid the nonsense related to Santa Claus example?

        There is no Santa dogma to reject, rather the tradition of telling children about Santa Claus in order to behave good for presents, yes I reject those cultural norms. If those cultural norms create a dogma worthy enough to you, to be labeled one, yes I reject it.

        However replace your series of questions with something more substantial: God.

        First you have to define the terms of God in which you are asking that I reject. Judea God? Yes. That means ideas of God that exist in the history of religion do not necessarily derive from literal translation of scripture, but also cultural norms and constructions. Therefore I must never assume that God means the Judea God, and also does not necessarily equate to an omni-being, but perhaps energy, life force and/or everything. God-like entities are physically possible; consciousness has been considered energy-like since the beginning of Western philosophy, perhaps the ideal is not too far fetched. Depending on the terms in which God exist, they may or may not be possible. I approached this with an ignostic attitude.

        Your final statement avoids responsibility of what is in debate and concern here. Science is not apart of this dispute nor it is the opposite of religion in any manner. In fact enterprise-ship of both religion and science can be comparable, but then separated at belief modulation and thought construction.
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          Sep 27 2012: You can completely ignore my santa example, Nicholas. Sometimes i use artifacts during my replies that probably only make sense to me.... If i keep going back to it is because it highlights one of our fundamental disagreements: I do consider the tradition of god simply as a tool to help people to behave good, very similar to the tradition of santa for children. You obviously consider god in a whole different category.

          And i don't blame you for that. Many philosophers have seriously studied the question of god over thousands of years. But please don't blame me either, the vast majority of physicists have departed from that topic of study in the last couple hundred years.

          So you ask me to leave santa behind and address the more substantial topic of god. Ok then. But for the record, i was having some fun.

          I was not asking you to reject god in any particular terms. If anything, i was trying to trace my own steps from someone brought up as catholic, realizing one day that metaphors are quite effective for teaching good lessons, and then concluding that the important thing is the application of these lessons in our daily interaction with other people. The metaphor can be left behind once we have learned the lesson. Even more, the same lesson can be taught using different metaphors.

          if the metaphor of god is that "energy" or "entity" in charge of those things that we cannot explain scientifically, then it is indeed a receding and diminishing god. I may not need to reject it, just decide on how small my margin of error should be

          thank you for taking the time to read through all this

          cheers
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        Sep 27 2012: - God has multiple categories - many interpretations of God exist, not just the Judea God

        - How 'some' believe in God could be considered a story to keep people in line, but not universally. Whether they accept that bias in thought (a fear driven thought) or not, is based on a level of rationality as well as their individual definition of God.

        The Santa to God parallel is an atheist trend of argumentation. It holds no real substance in religious studies, rather to prove a point based on predisposed beliefs - that God is automatically a being that can be described, measured and accounted for in one thought; that simply avoids a lot of realities in the topic at hand. The topic being rejection of beliefs. How can you reject every thought of God? Biased thinking - now the question for yourself; is that bias necessarily negative?

        God is hardly a metaphor, rather a dogmatic belief involved in the foundation of multiple religions.

        Science being apart of the argument... A dictated pattern of argument in my comment to Obey as being a neoatheistic position. There is no evidence of either existence or lack of existence, so why go outside philosophy?

        I ignored the Santa Claus example because it is unsubstantial. Want to discuss the relationship of man to God - talk about it, don't add what is believed to be a comparable story. Santa Claus is historically, culturally and dogmatically not equated to God. Rather a social construct for children to behave... perhaps even one that was created in order to easily associate those fear factors into the next step of a Judea God. However, ignoring the other interpretations of God is corrosive to the major topic here: religious belief.

        So thank you, for providing evidence that Atheism is moving into the religious spectrum of thought.
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          Sep 27 2012: It is the first time i read that the santa to god parallel is an atheist trend... i did make up that example on the fly, but i must have the exact same bias as other atheists (namely common sense).

          You are absolutely right on the interpretation of the scientific view of god: there is no evidence of the existence or lack of existence, so science (in particular physics) simply drops god as one of its subjects of study

          I could say back that the elusive, multifaceted, impossible to delimit god, is a new-theistic trend of argumentation. It holds no real substance to the physical world out there, so i am happy to leave it within the domain of philosophy.

          ====
          But now i realize that our disagreement is one of basic group theory. You see philosophy as the study of everything, physical and metaphysical, and hence god fits nicely and quite highly into the field of study of philosophy. Physical sciences only deal with a subgroup of the entire field of study of Philosophy, but there is no question on which group contains which.

          I see it backwards. Physics can explain chemistry, and chemistry can explain biology, and a combination of physics, chemistry and biology can explain the brain processes. This in turn can explain other subsets of brain processes like emotions, perception, memory, and one of these processes happens to be the conscious human mind. From this perspective, god is only a small subset of the subset called conscious human mind, which itself is a subset... well, you get the point

          So it is no wonder that when i dismiss god, i don't feel like i am really dismissing much, whereas you seem to take it as dismissing something vast and way beyond the physical world
          ======
          There is something that must acknowledge, though: there are no sacred dogmas in our collective knowledge of the physical sciences. Every piece of knowledge is fair game. I think that, even if small, is the key difference with the religious spectrum of thought
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          Sep 27 2012: That's right many gods.
          Many interpretations and dogmas even with a single god tradition.
          So most religious beliefs must be wrong. In fact they could all be wrong.

          Let's say one specific interpretation is correct. What are the chances for a theist that they have the right one. And compare this to the dogmatic certainty many have that their particular sect has the truth.

          I'm much more on board with those who admit up front that they don't know for sure and don't push their sects morals etc on others.

          Santa Claus, elves and fairies can be useful illustrations or parallels for religion. Kids are credulous, they are easily indoctrinated. People can easily imagine agency. Go sit in a cave for a week and it is not hard to imagine a presence of god in a form reflecting your culture. Also it demonstrates how religion or Santa are cultural constructs. Human constructs.

          It's not the whole story. Humans seem to have evolved to have psychological experiences interpreted through religious paradigms for example that are used to validate a whole lot of dogma. I felt the presence of god, so the bible must be true. Or the Koran. Or whatever.
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        Sep 27 2012: https://www.google.com/search?q=aclausist&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

        Yes, you sporadically created the same term of aClausist and crafted the same exact arguments as hundreds of people prior to you.
        _______

        Ah, too bad science is no where near mapping out the brain - to the point where they are turning to holistic methods, including the Buddhist mapping involved with eddies and energy cycles. It is going to take a good while of theory making and breaking to get close in my life time.

        However, interestingly enough, I have been reading a wonderful journal about religious mindsets:

        Religious thought and behaviour as by-products of brain function - Pascal Boyer

        Abstract: Religious concepts activate various functionally distinct mental systems, present also in non-religious contexts, and ‘tweak’ the usual inferences of these systems. They deal with detection and representation of animacy and agency, social exchange, moral intuitions, precaution against natural hazards and understanding of misfortune. Each of these activates distinct neural resources or families of networks. What makes notions of supernatural agency intuitively plausible? This article reviews evidence suggesting that it is the joint, coordinated activation of these diverse systems, a supposition that opens up the prospect of a cognitive neuroscience of religious beliefs.

        From this perspective the God-idea could be a driving force behind why people believe in their religion as well as are concerned with preserving their traditions. Going beyond rationality itself, but being an instinctual behavior we all share in some dimension.

        This above nature of thought we have appears to be attached to metaphysical concerns; nature beyond our immediate understanding. Yet, this concern of God is subset of a subset in consciousness? Wrong. Stick to physics.

        - Ultimately you feel your bias is not negative, fine. But in multicultural rationality it is a bias of thought
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          Sep 27 2012: I was disappointed to find only 301 google results. But that number probably makes the number of people who calls themselves aclausist into the hundreds, yes.

          I have not encountered any articles about this buddhist mapping with eddies and energy cycles... or any other "holistic" approach to study the brain. And believe me, i do read a bunch of those articles. Do you consider that one article, or two or ten mean that brain science has given up and is "turning to holistic methods"?

          I'll be really interested in reading Pascal Boyer and that relation between religious thought and brain function. I can always be proven wrong!

          No need to reaffirm the advice... I know that i don't even make a lousy philosopher. Nor do i want to become one... For the most part i do stick to physics (although here i am playing you my trick again, since to me everything including consciousness and perception is physics down below)

          Yes... new age atheism as you describe sounds exactly like a religion: namely just a different unquestionable belief. It is easy to make the case for it if you narrow down the definition in that way. But then you jump to the conclusion that all atheists hold the same belief. I think that you are falling prey to what some call "the illusion of asymmetric insight", which is the feeling that we know better than others about their own ideas or beliefs.

          As in religious people, not all atheists are cut the same... and for someone who seems to lean heavily on a relativistic worldview, your generalization regarding all atheists seems to me pretty black and white
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        Sep 27 2012: Odd, Buddhism and Cognitive Science are two tags I find often together.

        Also, no, not reverting to holistic practices but rather looking in alternative places for theories, because ours fall sort in the existing paradigms of psychology.

        The majority of those who label themselves atheist tend to hold similar traditions in belief modulation. As denoted in my comment to Obey.

        My generalizations are just that, general. Meaning I am looking at the majority not everyone.
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          Sep 27 2012: Odd indeed, i guess the people who write blogs or tweets is not the same as the people who conducts actual research and publishes papers.. or maybe the intersection is a small one? group theory again

          I tried to learn what is belief modulation but could not find any info about it... is that a term you coined? what is the concept?

          Indeed Nicholas i use generalizations too. But the devil is in the details (forgive the pun), and that the true beauty of humanity is in the details too

          Nothing wrong in using generalities, as long as we don't pretend that by grasping those we get much more than a cognitive heuristics
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        Sep 27 2012: No, what is odd was your inability to research such a claim...

        http://www.smith.edu/philosophy/documents/AskNot.pdf (Journal, not a blog)
        http://www.voicesfromoxford.org/B-S-Introduction.html (a seminar about science and Buddhism)

        Also there are organizations of such practitioners with the anticipation Buddhism can give light to mental activities

        http://www.mindandlife.org/

        Belief modulation is more or less not a real term but the idea of it resides in intelligence theory. What becomes structured thinking is based on multiple modules and vice versa. Note: Intelligence theory is really problematic today, even quantum consciousness paradigms asks more questions than they express in explanation. That being said, I feel the entire theory of the above, is missing major marks on cognition.

        Sorry but there are real attributes to a group's thought patterns and having highlighted them (below in the address toward Obey), does suggest that they can be further investigated in detail. Such as the Aclausist argumentative being a formal argument for many atheist. Or even the overstatement of science and religion as far as etymological realities.
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          Sep 27 2012: Never said that there were no papers written on the subject of buddhism and cognitive science, and yes, my search abilities are above average at best. I was assessing the frequency of those two "tags" together, since you claimed it is "often" (not sure if that means certain percentage or if it was just a generalization)

          The first article you pointed is pretty good. I certainly agree with this, quoted from it:
          "I emphasize it only because we hear a lot about how much Buddhism has to teach cognitive science, how the truths of classical Buddhist metaphysics and philosophy of mind are finally being confirmed in the laboratory, and this work is often cited as evidence. But while this literature shows that Buddhism can provide data to neuroscience, for instance, regarding the particular regions of the brain involved in, or transformed by meditation, it does not demonstrate that Buddhist doctrine tells cognitive science anything"

          I think that you will agree that these article and the seminar hardly qualify as a demonstration that the entire field of cognitive science is turning away from the "shortness of their existing paradigms" to fully embrace holistic methods, but rather science will explore pretty much every avenue in parallel when a topic is still not fully understood

          Now you definitely got me interested with this "quantum consciousness" (for some reason i suspect they are not really talking of quantum as in quantum mechanics, the one i know about, but i shall see). i'll go do some average searches on it, and i may be back to ask you for some references if i am unsuccessful
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        Sep 27 2012: 'Often' is used in reference to the idea of Buddhism having practical implication, and the frequency in the debating of such implication. Many researchers are taking up the debate and the concern of Buddhism in science. I feel that some things will be taken and others will be rejected - which is normal (Jay L Garfield's quote you posted, is example). So yes, my frequency is based on my understanding of developing theories in cognitive studies. Also the doctrines aren't intended to necessarily form new empirical fact, but again, shed light on new theory making to support fact.

        I never suggested the entire field is shifting, but rather a good amount of researchers are looking into alternative methods in the holistic tradition - more and more so. Not just Buddhism, but even Hinduism (body energies). Some of the best contemporary cognitive scientist are Eastern based which is why these theories are also being highlighted in our practice of psychology.

        http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/presentations/whatisconsciousness.html
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          Sep 27 2012: Gotcha, not talking about specific percents. Yes many researchers are taking up the debate of the concern of buddhism in cognitive science and i think, like you, that it has the potential of opening doors to new insights. Many people are taking on the research on strong magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain and their effects on our behavior and cognition. More and more so every year. That research is also opening a lot of doors to new insights

          Personally, i prefer actual research to debate. Philosophical debate made tremendous contributions to our understanding of the world around and inside of us, but long time ago (over a century) it stopped contributing much to further understanding. Since then, biology, chemistry and physics have contributed much more to the current understanding of how the world around and inside of us work than modern philosophy. It is refreshing to see transcendental meditation being researched, but i think that debating about buddhism and studying the brain of a person who meditates into a different mental state are two very distinct things

          I googled "quantum consciousness" and got a bunch of great info. I did the same search adding "site:edu" at the end of the search and the number of hits dropped drastically. This afternoon after work i will search for academic papers on the subject, since at first glance it indeed seems like the understanding of quantum mechanics that it is being talked about is faulty or mostly wrongly applied. But i am always open to reading more
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        Sep 27 2012: Well biology and chemistry are apart of cognitive studies, the fact is, how they work together to map out cognition is reliable purely on theory. And as far as the cognitive communities is concerned atomistic methods can only get us so far.

        We need new theory to be able to understand how the brain works rather than how each part works.

        Example: In psych. the following are major orientations of formulating systems: functionalism, structuralism, behaviorism, and evolutionism. Yet, each one are looking at the same thing in different highlighted methods, so much like quantum conscious theory suggest, they are reliable but there is no system that anticipates all of the systems in formulating.

        I put my attention to evolutionism as the foundation, while still accepting the determinable claims of the others.

        We have no theory of psyche/mind that is well rounded enough to truly answer: what is intelligence? what is personality? how do they relate, and how do they alter one another? Yet, we accept these two major thought constructions as being a real factor to an individual psychoanalysis. Yet, our nature of atomistic pursuits falls short in doing so, thus, why I feel communities are turning to the holistic practices of Buddhism for a refreshment on breaking down the entire psycho-process of a human - rather than just the chemistry and neurology, Which are important, but tells us very little in how the whole brain works together.
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          Sep 27 2012: I could not resist the temptation and went ahead to read a bunch of information on quantum consciousness. Most of it seems to be based on the work of Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff back in 1996.

          Nothing against them, both are quite bright individuals, but I could not shake off the sensation that i was reading some literature on intelligent design, just oriented to the physiology of the brain.

          Some of their basic assumptions, like the Orch OR model, have been examined since 1996 and found not feasible. (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009APS..MART40009R) Neither Penrose or Hamerof have proposed alternate, more feasible models to supersede them.

          So the reason why it sounds like intelligent design is because it starts with a speculation, then it uses a lot of complex scientific jargon to provide with a context, but then fails to use this context to support the speculation. It simply assumes that at some point, a quasi-magic mechanism, of which we don't really know much about, could be complex enough to allow the emergence of consciousness.

          Rarely in the documentation is mentioned that the same neuron physiology (microtubules and their coherence) is shared with the vast majority of animals, in a way diluting the speculation that it is the key factor enabling human consciousness (or conversely, opening the definition of consciousness as widely as to include neuronal processes that normally occur in worms and fruit flies every day)
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        Sep 28 2012: Idk, what you want me to say here lol.
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          Sep 28 2012: ahhhh... i don't know, something in spanish would be lovely! :-)
        • Sep 28 2012: Nicholas, I just read this whole jousting match and I agree that a complete science of the mind is incredibly improbably within our lifetime. You can make the argument that neuroscience doesn't explain certain aspects and i would agree it doesn't, but neither does Buddhism. Neurology is one categorial bucket amongst evolutionary aspects, fetal environment, genetics, hormones, and experience. Its true that cognitive scientists are reaching over to buddhism, this is nothing new, its been done in physics as well.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tao_of_Physics.

          Ill grant you reductionism has failed so far in regards to studying the brain, but I think your happily championing buddhism as something it isn't. Psychology even dating back to freud shows commonality with eastern philosophies, as well as western philosophers, especially Schopenhauer concering Freuds life death drive in "Beyond the Pleasure Principle". So what? Does this exalt buddhism in some way?

          In regards to quantum consciousness, why would the brain evolve quantum activity? Quantum physics is excruciatingly complex and its being used as a pseudo god of the gaps argument these days. Ill admit i'm an absolute layman when it comes to physics especially something as complicated as quantum theory.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WA76VTq3O8
          This was a pretty cool discussion I think you will enjoy, its changed some of my thinking and if you want to see Stewart Hameroff questioned by A physicist(Leonard Milodinow) skip to 1:34:25
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      Sep 27 2012: Is not believing in Aliens that abduct humans a complete belief system, or just a small part of a world view?

      Is not believing in astrology a complete belief system, or part of a belief system?

      Does having a Christian belief system contain a lot more dogma or content that informs a world view than not believing in gods. Christianity comes with creation stories, descriptions of gods, mythical stories, moral directives from a creator, afterlife explanations, prophecies, instructions for avoiding hell etc.

      I really don't get how you compare not having a belief in gods or goddesses, a position on a single question, with say a bible literalist evangelical Christian belief system - Jesus born of a virgin, global flood, heaven and hell, how life and the universe came about.

      Of course atheists have world views. Atheism may be part of that but it is not a complete world view. Atheists might believe in astrology or not. Reincarnation or not. Immortal spirits or not. String theory or not.

      In the same way a Deist position is not as substantial position as being a Christian or Buddhist. It leaves a lot more open, just like atheism leads a lot more open.

      I agree probably everyone has a world view. It may be semantics but I tend to save belief system for say religious belief systems or something more comprehensive and detailed. But they probably overlap.

      It might help to say a religious belief system like Christianity fills more of the overall world view than an atheist or Deist position. Christianity is a system of beliefs. Atheism is just not having theist beliefs. you have to fill in all the other gaps left by not having a religious framework yourself.

      You might even say atheist - not having theist beliefs is generally based on believing it is most likely gods or goddesses don't exist, or if they do we have no idea of the specifics or implications so they might as well not exist anyway in a practical sense.
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        Sep 27 2012: Answers in descending order:
        - Alien-based considerations are required to have a larger scope of thinking than simply 'they abrupt us' (singular belief) - so yes that single belief is a part of the belief system or world view involving E.T existence.
        - Astrology can vary between being apart of belief systems or it's own practice of interpreting cosmic events - so both.

        Atheism is quality of belief, and culturally made into it's own belief system over the past few decades, characteristics follow: when science and religion are overstated terms, militant behavior in research and argumentation, rejection of alternative views in fundamentalism and/or, but not limited to, authoritative recognizing of scientist/philosophers as references to debate in concerns of objective epistemological and ethical disputes. Indeed, a religious-behavior in pattern can be revealed when broken down to those who practice or recognize neoatheism traditions.

        I agree that just because one is atheist does not immediately concern their other metaphysical opinions relative to religious construction: death, life, energies, human nature, etc. However that doesn't dismiss the likelihood they will require 'proof' which is again, systematic towards considering science as the definitive means of understanding nature, which is false. Both theory and evidence are required, and theory does not solely derive from scientific efforts - it's a procedural manner of both crisis and culture.

        Belief systems... Are semantically not equivalent to religious belief. The biggest difference lays in what is dogmatic or fundamental to the religious person.

        To claim I am atheist - would then only mean one thing, the rejection of God. If an atheist were to stop there, there would be prob., rather they don't. They continue to assimilate other beliefs based on the foundation of 'no God'.

        Atheism is a major world view, it disagrees with millions, it is in fact a great foundation, but should still be thought as such.
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          Sep 27 2012: We seem to agree there are different scales from narrow belief positions to comprehensive ones.

          I agree we Atheists may build or have world views consistent with this. Just saying it is not prescriptive in the same way many traditional religions are.

          I agree some theist or deist views may be highly individualised and not as dogmatic as those related to organised religion.

          For me atheism comes from my general skepticism. So I don't think there is an afterlife. Whereas a Buddhist may be an atheist but believe in reincarnation.

          Perhaps scepticism is a higher more profound operating system for me than atheism. Like some atheists are into crystal healing or astrology or acupuncture etc.
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          Sep 28 2012: Andres: Suggestion: religion = atheism X (-1);

          Andres: "So let's take the Judases/Christian religions as an example. People are told that following the 10 commandments, plus one more for the Christians, they will be saved."

          Jew = cmd (10);
          Christian = (Jesus factor + cmd(10)) = Jew + 1;

          Andres :"I can take the list and start at number 5, practice those and live a very decent and fulfilling life. Does that make me 60% religious? What if someone enters my house and i am forced to kill him in self defense... do i become 50% religious then? And besides... does the judeo/christian religion hold a copyright on the precept of "not killing" i suspect that is a little older than a few thousand years."

          Good life = 0.6 X cmd(10+1) ;
          Implication = (Jew + Jesus Factor) = cmd(10 +1);
          Suggestion(1) = CMD(10+1) X .6 = Good-life.
          If good-life = good-life + (murder or theft);
          good-life = bad-life.

          Therefore Suggestion Good life invalid.

          Andres: "I can teach a kid the precepts from 5 to 10 and never mention religion, and most likely he, too, will lead a decent life. Without a god. Does he qualify as atheist? if not, what should i call him then?"

          If atheist = cmds (10) X child(mind) and Religion = Atheist;

          Tmp = if test(Religion and atheist);

          if Tmp > 0 and good-life not equal bad life;
          Then atheist = religion.
          Assumption valid.
          If Assumption valid then let (Atheist = Relgion) = goodlife.

          Andres: "Bottom line, what makes religion a cult is the acceptance of a series of principles and precepts as sacred and never to be challenged."

          Religious cult = (sacred X (Principles + precepts)) X (challenge = 0);

          Andres: "What are the principles and precepts that an atheist holds as sacred and never to be challenged? Do they abide by 10 anti-commandments?"

          Sacred = undefined;

          Jews believe a good man gets a good man's reward and a bad man gets a bad man's reward, with or without religion.

          good and bad = undefined.
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        Sep 27 2012: "Is not believing in Aliens that abduct humans a complete belief system, or just a small part of a world view?"~Obeynokinobe

        If it didn't happen to you, or others, therefore it is not true is not a path to a tautology Obeyno1,

        "In the same way a Deist position is not as substantial position as being a Christian or Buddhist. It leaves a lot more open, just like atheism leads a lot more open."~ObeyNo1

        I see you implying similarities in Atheism and Religion, why stop here? Why not say they are similar in a religious perspective in a world view framework?

        A is a member of the set of all things religious (R) which includes Atheism because Atheism is the inverse of Religion or the Anti thesis of religion and therefor has a rationalized connection to religion. If A is the inverse of R then R = 1/A. If A = 0 then both are undefined.
        R therefore cannot be nothing because A cannot be nothing but, if Religion does not exist then A does not exist.

        If there are no Religious folk, there cannot be any Atheist folk because Anti Theism requires Theism to be valid.

        ergo, if Religion is cultism then Atheism is also cultism, because the definition of a cult is a group which requires members to be exclusionary and adherents of the group belief system. If you don't believe in God, you are by the notions of inverses relationships, an Atheist which blows Agnosticism away or renders it non existent in a logical sense.

        So the question becomes, Do Agnostics actually exist because there is no logical connection to the relationship between A and R.


        Obeynoone, I set the timer up for a few more days.

        We have room to ponder.
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          Sep 27 2012: Hi john, I didn't make a judgement about alien abductions in the comment above

          Just pointing out that Christianity or Islam come packed with dogma on a wide range of issues. Origins of life and the universe, afterlife, that the creator of the universe took particular interest in one middle east tribe. Moral instructions. Who to kill and why. Instructions for slave ownership. What to eat. Outlined in dozens of books compiled into a bible.

          A belief in alien abductions is less content packed than a Christian belief system.

          Atheism at its core does have this store of dogma either.

          A belief in a non interventionist creator may not be linked to a religious tradition.

          Not having a belief in gods is not a religion like Christianity, or Hinduism.

          Lots of false dichotomy statements in your comment above in my view.

          Not playing tennis is not a sport.

          Bald is not a hair colour.

          Most theists are atheistic towards all gods but their own. Atheists just go one more.

          Atheism to religion is different to
          Christianity to Islam
          It is not an alternative religion

          Like not being a pet owner versus being a pet owner
          Is different to
          Being a dog owner versus being a cat owner

          I hope that makes it clearer.

          I guess you can see that distinction. Not sure why you are so committed to seeing not believing in gods as a religion or cult.

          Not having pets is not pet ownership. It is an alternative position to all types of pet ownership.

          There is a relationship between the positions. You can have pets or not. But the null position not having pets is not a type of pet ownership if you what I mean.

          Suggest your cult definition is too broad. Unless you are happy to have virtual cults for every belief proposition. Thinking chess is better than checkers makes me a cult member.
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          Sep 27 2012: Hi John,

          Not sure i follow your argument that since there are similarities between religion and atheism, therefore they must be identical opposite twins

          So let's take the judeo/christian religions as an example. People are told that following the 10 commandments, plus one more for the christians, they will be saved.

          I can take the list and start at number 5, practice those and live a very decent and fulfilling life. Does that make me 60% religious? What if someone enters my house and i am forced to kill him in self defense... do i become 50% religious then? And besides... does the judeo/christian religion hold a copyright on the precept of "not killing" i suspect that is a little older than a few thousand years.

          I can teach a kid the precepts from 5 to 10 and never mention religion, and most likely he, too, will lead a decent life. Without a god. Does he qualify as atheist? if not, what should i call him then?

          Bottom line, what makes religion a cult is the acceptance of a series of principles and precepts as sacred and never to be challenged. What are the principles and precepts that an atheist holds as sacred and never to be challenged? Do they abide by 10 anti-commandments? Follow them blindly? It seems like the brand of atheists that we are discussing in this thread are a very narrow bunch... certainly not the kind i consider myself to be

          cheers
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    Sep 25 2012: Hi John,

    Just on your astronautics having faith their rocket will not explode.

    I guess they know the rockets exist and have been tested as best as we know anything. I guess they know they are taking a risk. Its a calculated risk.

    Science works. Look at all the technology we have based on applying our scientific understanding. Its not perfect or complete but is works. It does not claim to know things it does not know.

    I have faith the sun will rise tomorrow as the earth rotates. And I can test this.

    Seriously, not all beliefs are equal.

    This is so different to religious beliefs. The sun used to be a god. Faith in gods, in one dogma, as opposed to taking the risk that a 747 will not crash are not reasonable comparisons. If trusting your car will start is okay then trusting in Madak, Yahweh, Baal, Vishnu, Zeus, Odin, Gaia are also equal...Sorry - False dichotomy.
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      Sep 25 2012: What... not all beliefs are equal? Where's the fairnest in that?

      Obey you are too busy looking at the trees to realize you are lost in the forest and your memory is too short.

      Want to borrow my compass?
  • Sep 24 2012: most people i know who are atheist just stopped haven faith i there religion because they got titred of haven no answer. most of them have had a pretty rough past. i also know a lot of atheist who have turned to christianity. but yeah it all depends on the person id there fake or real they give up to easy or they hold on. ir just have no more left and want a sighn
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      Sep 24 2012: It's a personal thing. I get that message. Nice to hear from you.