View Full Version : Ask an atheist (the second coming)


Pages : [1] 2

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 01, 2011, 07:27 AM
what's for dinner.

It's pizza actually.

holy king
Nov 01, 2011, 07:29 AM
whats your favourite church?

Yared
Nov 01, 2011, 07:33 AM
What are the ultimate badass virtues that ultimate badass cool people possess?

Defiant47
Nov 01, 2011, 07:44 AM
What are the ultimate badass virtues that ultimate badass cool people possess?

Altruism and good will despite God not existing to provide those for us.

Silurian
Nov 01, 2011, 07:52 AM
Why not "Ask an atheist:2" or some better title.

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 01, 2011, 07:53 AM
Because my subtitle "what's for dinner" wouldn't flow.

I'll happily change it if it means something to anybody :)

Lone Wolf
Nov 01, 2011, 08:15 AM
What is your view on religions' effect on the world?

Skwink
Nov 01, 2011, 08:45 AM
What's for lunch? What kind of pizza do atheists like best?

civver_764
Nov 01, 2011, 08:48 AM
What's your take on meditation?

bathsheba666
Nov 01, 2011, 08:48 AM
Why atheist? Why not simply most athy ?

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 01, 2011, 08:57 AM
whats your favourite church?
Sagrada Família.
What are the ultimate badass virtues that ultimate badass cool people possess?
Eloquence.
What is your view on religions' effect on the world?Such a broad question deserves a broad answer: it varies.

What's for lunch? What kind of pizza do atheists like best?Filet American aka ground cow and Pepperoni.
What's your take on meditation?
It shuts her up for half an hour.
Why atheist? Why not simply most athy ?Or just: Ask an a.

mayor
Nov 01, 2011, 08:57 AM
When I'm going through a rough time in my life I pray to God to help me through, to support me and give me strenght. Afterwards I feel more relax and capable to deal with the situation and it is my believe that I recieve this strenght, to give it a name, comes from God.
(small step back in time: this what I meant with influencing :))
anyway, the question is: What do you do when you're experiencing a hard time.

EDIT:
It shuts her up for half an hour.


:lmao:
It's taking me a lot of concetration not to laugh out loud at this (am at the office)

Yared
Nov 01, 2011, 09:03 AM
Altruism and good will despite God not existing to provide those for us.

To what extent?


anyway, the question is: What do you do when you're experiencing a hard time.

DD3bnj1uybU

I try to first come up with some form of organisation. I sometimes write down stuff and collect my thoughts and try to come up with alternate plans and stuff I can do. Then, once I've come to a conclusion and decided on a plan, I man up and go fight. Nothing is forever, and t'is too shall pass.

At least that's how I deal with hardship. I like the idea of being in control of/above my hardship as much as possible, and it calms my nerves. Like how taking things to the Big Guy calm yours.

On a side note, I hate it when people whine. The art of whining is an art best left in childhood, when whining inevitably led to mommy swooping in and saving the day. Therefore, an adult male who acts like a boy is not a Man, but a boy. Adult male =/= Manly Man. Usually, when most people are whining, they actually have two different paths: 1) They can (try) to change things and get stuff done 2) They can't change things in which case the accept the worldy conditions and do the best with what they have.

DaveShack
Nov 01, 2011, 09:43 AM
Closed while regular OT mods decide what to do

IglooDude
Nov 01, 2011, 10:01 AM
Reopened - more atheism Q&A and less pizza would do well to preserve the open-ness going forward.

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 01, 2011, 10:07 AM
Okay, time for a short interlude about the Bible.

Often in this forum Christians and Atheists are pitted against each other on Bible-quote wars. A very unfortunate side-effect is that both sides forget the worth the Bible has as a historical document. It opens a window in societies long gone through the stories they tell. I have been told that the hebrew version is kind of a literature masterpiece. We must remember in the fierce discussions that it's not the worth of the Bible that is contested, but the credibility of the content with regard to the extra-ordinary claims it makes.

That is all.

Back to our regular broadcasting.

Winner
Nov 01, 2011, 10:13 AM
Never clicked on the previous thread, so just a simple question: what's the purpose of having a "ask an atheist" thread on a forum where 60-80% of members are atheists?

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 01, 2011, 10:15 AM
Well, supposedly it's for the 20-40% who aren't.

Plus, there's atheists and atheists. The other one also had discussions amongst atheists.

erez87
Nov 01, 2011, 11:12 AM
The Bible is to Judaism as the Iliad is to Greek culture. It isn't really historic, but is based on historical things, and has loads of stories.

Winner
Nov 01, 2011, 11:14 AM
Well, supposedly it's for the 20-40% who aren't.

Plus, there's atheists and atheists. The other one also had discussions amongst atheists.

Well, that's just it - who can answer the questions with any authority?

DaveShack
Nov 01, 2011, 11:18 AM
Okay, time for a short interlude about the Bible.

Often in this forum Christians and Atheists are pitted against each other on Bible-quote wars. A very unfortunate side-effect is that both sides forget the worth the Bible has as a historical document. It opens a window in societies long gone through the stories they tell. I have been told that the hebrew version is kind of a literature masterpiece. We must remember in the fierce discussions that it's not the worth of the Bible that is contested, but the credibility of the content with regard to the extra-ordinary claims it makes.

That is all.

Back to our regular broadcasting.

Sorry, with the spammy start I didn't realize it was meant to be serious. :blush:

I took a Bible as Literature class in college, and it was quite enlightening. Even as a child I realized that the stories I had learned in Sunday School were not literally true, despite what the more faithful said they believed about them. The literature class made the inconsistencies even more obvious. By forcing me to be an observer looking in, it helped me see that my religion's holy book suffered from the same troubles as all the others.

However, I can't deny two important things I got from religion:


There are inherently good and bad actions in life. It is better to live a life full of inherently good actions.
Since you can't avoid death, it is better to see the good that was in the life of the departed instead of dwelling on the tragedy of their death.

I now see religion as a vehicle to enlightenment on these, and other similar topics. Some people need the all powerful judge to help them choose to do good, or the all benevolent to receive them in the afterlife to soothe the pain of death. I'm past the point of needing the crutch, but that doesn't lessen my belief that others need it. Even though I don't need it, and can question the truth of it, I still feel free to believe in it.

And now in the spirit of an "ask a" thread...

If you disregard the vehicle and focus on the end result, how similar or different are atheist views to theist, on the things that really matter?

Also, is atheism really a kind of religion? If it's not, then why do atheists seem to want to treat it like one, legally?

warpus
Nov 01, 2011, 11:20 AM
Well, that's just it - who can answer the questions with any authority?

That's the thing about atheism though - there isn't any authority. I mean, it's group of people defined by a lack of a belief.. As such atheists don't really have much in common aside from that 1 lack of something... and a lack of something isn't a very good way to describe someone.

Anyway, each (serious) answer here will be answered differently by many of us.. or at least should be.

erez87
Nov 01, 2011, 11:25 AM
That's the thing about atheism though - there isn't any authority. I mean, it's group of people defined by a lack of a belief.. As such atheists don't really have much in common aside from that 1 lack of something... and a lack of something isn't a very good way to describe someone.

Anyway, each (serious) answer here will be answered differently by many of us.. or at least should be.
Authority in the atheist community is usually derived from the time spent by the person to study a subject (rather than his place in the religious structure).

Questions in Biology will tend to be answered by Biologists or people who have personally learned Biology to a certain degree...

I would hope that questions about the physical measurable world would not be answered diffrently by atheists :p

DaveShack
Nov 01, 2011, 11:36 AM
Authority in the atheist community is usually derived from the time spent by the person to study a subject (rather than his place in the religious structure).

How do you quantify study of the lack of something?

In science, time in service is not the only measure of someone's standing. Accuracy and novelty of results is also an extremely important factor.

erez87
Nov 01, 2011, 11:39 AM
How do you quantify study of the lack of something?

In science, time in service is not the only measure of someone's standing. Accuracy and novelty of results is also an extremely important factor.
You don't. There are no questions in Atheism (what atheism question can you think of?). Any question atheists ask will have something to do with other things - in which case it goes to either science or philosophical thought... Nothing to do with Atheism.

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 01, 2011, 12:12 PM
Sorry, with the spammy start I didn't realize it was meant to be serious. :blush:Well, serves me right I guess for the spammy start and poorly defined thread title. ;)

If you disregard the vehicle and focus on the end result, how similar or different are atheist views to theist, on the things that really matter?Hardly anything for the average atheist/theist. Both have similar experiences, one subscribes somethings to a deity, sometimes defines it as deity, but ultimately I feel it's mostly semantics. Most theists don't spend the majority of their time into service of their God, and just go on with their life the same way atheists do.

Also, is atheism really a kind of religion? If it's not, then why do atheists seem to want to treat it like one, legally?I guess it's to level the playing field. If religions get special treatment, some atheists will want some of that.

Yared
Nov 01, 2011, 02:19 PM
Also, is atheism really a kind of religion? If it's not, then why do atheists seem to want to treat it like one, legally?

No, Atheism isn't really kind of like a religion. I would argue that animals, who are too intellectually inferior to ponder philosophical questions and issues, are atheist. Not because they follow some kind of religion, but because they simply can't comprehend the existence of a God. Of course - you never know!

Then there is "New Atheism" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atheism). New Atheism also includes (at least in my opinion) the big Youtube Atheists like Thunderf00t. That's the movement that people probably most commonly conflate with Atheism as a whole. Not that that's surprising, considering how most of the Atheists that I know pretty much agree with the "tenets" of New Atheism.


To answer the second part, I'm gonna assume that you're referring to stuff like Pastafarianism and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. People don't actually believe in them, but they make a big deal of them to show how silly religions are (and the benefits they get) and to create debate. Like this guy, who argued that he was obliged by Pastafarianism to wear a bowl over his head:

http://baralinda.se/wordpress/wp-content/Sk%C3%A4rmavbild%2B2011-07-13%2Bkl.%2B23.54.09.jpg

But mostly it's because it's fun. I am particularly fond of the Invisible Pink Unicorn myself, because any entity that is capable of the incredibly feat of being invisible and pink AT THE SAME TIME(!!!) must surely be worshipped.

peter grimes
Nov 01, 2011, 03:00 PM
If it's not [a religion], then why do atheists seem to want to treat it like one, legally?
I, for one, don't want my lack of a belief in supernatural gods to be treated on par legally with a belief in supernatural gods. Quite the opposite - I want to see all legal, political, and financial exemptions that are currently offered to religious groups revoked.

timtofly
Nov 01, 2011, 03:23 PM
I, for one, don't want my lack of a belief in supernatural gods to be treated on par legally with a belief in supernatural gods. Quite the opposite - I want to see all legal, political, and financial exemptions that are currently offered to religious groups revoked.

I agree every entity that makes a profit should be taxed. If it is found out that they spend more than they bring in, how would one quantify that? Would that mean that non-profits declare bankruptcy also if needed?

Leoreth
Nov 01, 2011, 04:10 PM
But mostly it's because it's fun. I am particularly fond of the Invisible Pink Unicorn myself, because any entity that is capable of the incredibly feat of being invisible and pink AT THE SAME TIME(!!!) must surely be worshipped.
Bah, Mermaid Man's invisible boat-mobile can do that too :D

peter grimes
Nov 01, 2011, 04:55 PM
I agree every entity that makes a profit should be taxed. If it is found out that they spend more than they bring in, how would one quantify that? Would that mean that non-profits declare bankruptcy also if needed?

I work for a not-for-profit theatre company. The way it works here is that on the [off-off] chance we don't lose money in a given year whatever money hasn't been spent is allowed to go back into our endowment. It's not profit, in the sense that nobody gets a slice of that. In a for-profit company stakeholders get a slice of that profit. In not for profit they don't. Nobody does.

But I don't see why a group of people peddling lies should be given preferential tax treatment. My theatre company peddles lies as well, but everybody walking through the door *knows in advance* that the story they'll see isn't real.

Yared
Nov 02, 2011, 05:49 AM
Bah, Mermaid Man's invisible boat-mobile can do that too :D

Ah aah aappapapa! Slow down there. The invisible boat-mobile is EITHER invisible or visible ;) It's not both AT THE SAME TIME! Explain that :3

Artifis
Nov 02, 2011, 06:08 AM
Well, that's just it - who can answer the questions with any authority?

Nobody can. :crazyeye::crazyeye:

EDIT: Mr Atheist, do you concern yourself with cosmological questions such as "What is truth?" Or do you focus on the here and now?

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 06:35 AM
I have lots of authority when I'm asked questions about my take on atheism. :)

If the answer is "I don't know", I don't know with authority.

Leoreth
Nov 02, 2011, 06:41 AM
I think it's wrong to expect this thread to be like the religious denomination threads. It's not as if atheism has a wide corpus of beliefs that can be debated or questioned. And I understand the "Ask an atheist" in the title here as not referring to the OP or anyone else in particular, but rather as "ask any atheist who happens to visit this thread".

All that keeps atheists under the common label of "atheists" is that they don't believe in God. That's not much to have any authority about.

What most of us know quite a lot about are misunderstandings of the concept of atheism by religious or religiously influenced people. In my opinion, this thread is mainly to rectify these, and to discuss how the benefits people draw from religion can be gained without it. No need for any authority there.

Leoreth
Nov 02, 2011, 06:43 AM
EDIT: Mr Atheist, do you concern yourself with cosmological questions such as "What is truth?" Or do you focus on the here and now?
I prefer the Wittgensteinian approach to such questions.

Artifis
Nov 02, 2011, 06:54 AM
I prefer the Wittgensteinian approach to such questions.

That there are many truths?

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 07:02 AM
"ask any atheist"
One of the options I considered for the thread title.
Mr Atheist, do you concern yourself with cosmological questions such as "What is truth?" Or do you focus on the here and now?If you mean truth as in "what is reality", I am interested in it, but it's a mind boggling subject.

Not sure how here and now factors in.

Artifis
Nov 02, 2011, 07:10 AM
If you mean truth as in "what is reality", I am interested in it, but it's a mind boggling subject.

Not sure how here and now factors in.

"Here and now" referring to everyday concerns that we can see and trust in, rather than flighty thoughts of whether truth really exists.

What are your thoughts on the mind-boggling subject known as reality then?

FredLC
Nov 02, 2011, 07:13 AM
EDIT: Mr Atheist, do you concern yourself with cosmological questions such as "What is truth?" Or do you focus on the here and now?

That isn't cosmological. It's philosophical - though, granted, modern physics is so fundamental that such issues seens to overlap a little.

And I am obviously concerned with such questions, though arriving at the answer of a range of possible truths does not seem that hard.

In fact, the matter-energy duality of particles in quantum physics seens to indicate that there is no "Laplace's supermind", that the universe isn't, in it's most fundamental level, the deterministic place described by newtonian ideas, what makes the concept of a single "truth" to be little more than an intellectual excercize.

Regards :).

peter grimes
Nov 02, 2011, 07:13 AM
I don't consider 'what is truth' to be a cosmological question.

A cosmological question is something like 'How many earthlike planets are there in the universe?' or 'what is dark energy' or 'where is did all the antimatter go?'

"What is truth" is, in my little opinion, a philosophical question. It's not very interesting to me (maybe it should be, but I'd have to read a bunch of philosophy... we only have a diminishing amount of time on this earth :)), but it's probably interesting to some other atheists here.

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 07:18 AM
What are your thoughts on the mind-boggling subject known as reality then?Oh boy. I'm going to cop-out here and direct you to the Horizon special; "what is reality": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh_c7v0fijU&feature=related (part 1, other parts also to be found there)

The best part of that is when they ask the boffins the simple question: "What is reality?".

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 07:35 AM
Well, what I meant was, a lot of people are atheists. Doesn't mean all of them can satisfactorily answer the more complicated questions that are related to the topic (= which in practice means mostly debunking religious myths and pseudo-arguments ;) ).

So, who's the boss here? I didn't know you were big on debating these finer points, Ziggy.

Artifis
Nov 02, 2011, 07:35 AM
That isn't cosmological. It's philosophical - though, granted, modern physics is so fundamental that such issues seens to overlap a little.

I don't consider 'what is truth' to be a cosmological question.

I was taking metaphorical liberties with the word. I used "cosmological" because the question opens so many infinite vistas which stretch into endless space. Call it the use of vivid imagery on my part. ;)

Oh boy. I'm going to cop-out here and direct you to the Horizon special; "what is reality": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh_c7v0fijU&feature=related (part 1, other parts also to be found there)

The best part of that is when they ask the boffins the simple question: "What is reality?".

I'm-a gonna watch that over the weekend.. I just got through some philosophical material today and I'm not sure my brain can handle much more. Looks interesting though, as anything the BBC broadcasts should be.

FredLC
Nov 02, 2011, 07:36 AM
Eh! The problem of lack of authority is exactly the reason why I never really posted in an "ask an atheist" thread before, though I suppose answering here is no different than answering in any of the generic religious threads we get ever so often.

Anyway, for the sake of novelty, perhaps we should drop a question from atheists to other atheists? I consider it very hard to come up with an engaging question, as atheism is so darn internally consistent, I personally can't do it, but perhaps someone else can come up with something a little less anecdotal than "how did you became an atheist?" or "how do you cope with sad events?", or less insulting/condescending than "where does morality comes from?".

That is because most of the questions ever addressed to atheists either have nothing to do with the single uniting premise (that there is no special dispensation in the coming to be of the universe, but rather, a mere interaction of matter and the forces of nature) - like "how do you explain beauty", or "how did my *relative* got cured from *disease* if doctors said it wouldn't happen" - or they assume aprioristically the existence/need for a god - like "would you take away the comfort of billions?" or " justify the fine tuning of the universal constants without a creator".

So the boundaries for a truly engaging question would have to be: a) the idea that there is no "special intervention" of any sort in the creation or evolution of reality (AKA - there is no God), and that such premise is pertinent to the question per se. As often said by philosophers, the hardest part commonly is not to arrive at answers, but to formulate the right question!

I can't come up with such question - or couldn't so far, if I manage to, I'll post - but I openly ask others if anyone can come up with such line of questioning. There is one I'd love to give a shot at answering...

Regards :).

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 07:39 AM
So, who's the boss here?It's total anarchy here.
I didn't know you were big on debating these finer points, Ziggy.Well, for one, atheism is the easiest thing to defend in the world. Second, I grew up in a religious environment so I've always been interested in theism and atheism.

FredLC
Nov 02, 2011, 07:41 AM
I was taking metaphorical liberties with the word. I used "cosmological" because the question opens so many infinite vistas which stretch into endless space. Call it the use of vivid imagery on my part. ;)

Fair enough.

I'm-a gonna watch that over the weekend.. I just got through some philosophical material today and I'm not sure my brain can handle much more. Looks interesting though, as anything the BBC broadcasts should be.

I heartly recommend the NOVA documentary The Elegant Universe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULlR_pkHjUQ). Actually, I would recommend the book as well, though it's a much more demanding material than the documentary would lead one to think, specially if you dare read the footnotes.

Regards :).

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 07:49 AM
It's total anarchy here.

Damn hippies...

Well, for one, atheism is the easiest thing to defend in the world. Second, I grew up in a religious environment so I've always been interested in theism and atheism.

But defending it in a way a religious person will understand is a bit more difficult. But anyway, keep up the good work.

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 08:00 AM
It isn't that hard really. Mostly because most theist are also atheists ;)

Looks very interesting FredLC, I'll be sure to check out the docu. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/about.html) But is the book readable for non-mathematicians?

Leoreth
Nov 02, 2011, 08:08 AM
Eh! The problem of lack of authority is exactly the reason why I never really posted in an "ask an atheist" thread before, though I suppose answering here is no different than answering in any of the generic religious threads we get ever so often.

Anyway, for the sake of novelty, perhaps we should drop a question from atheists to other atheists? I consider it very hard to come up with an engaging question, as atheism is so darn internally consistent, I personally can't do it, but perhaps someone else can come up with something a little less anecdotal than "how did you became an atheist?" or "how do you cope with sad events?", or less insulting/condescending than "where does morality comes from?".

That is because most of the questions ever addressed to atheists either have nothing to do with the single uniting premise (that there is no special dispensation in the coming to be of the universe, but rather, a mere interaction of matter and the forces of nature) - like "how do you explain beauty", or "how did my *relative* got cured from *disease* if doctors said it wouldn't happen" - or they assume aprioristically the existence/need for a god - like "would you take away the comfort of billions?" or " justify the fine tuning of the universal constants without a creator".

So the boundaries for a truly engaging question would have to be: a) the idea that there is no "special intervention" of any sort in the creation or evolution of reality (AKA - there is no God), and that such premise is pertinent to the question per se. As often said by philosophers, the hardest part commonly is not to arrive at answers, but to formulate the right question!

I can't come up with such question - or couldn't so far, if I manage to, I'll post - but I openly ask others if anyone can come up with such line of questioning. There is one I'd love to give a shot at answering...

Regards :).
Good points. Personally I see no problem in discussing philosophical questions many people answer with religion here as well, under the premise that there is no God.

FredLC
Nov 02, 2011, 08:20 AM
Looks very interesting FredLC, I'll be sure to check out the docu. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/about.html) But is the book readable for non-mathematicians?

Perfectly readable. I read it and understood it, and I'm no mathematician by any strech of imagination. Granted, it's a thought read. My father, who is much better at math than me (I'm a lawyer, he is an engineer) had more problems with the book than I, on account of the level of abstraction required, especially in the latter chapters (that handle cutting edge aspects of string theory). Nevertheless, you are bound to come out of the experience with a better understand of relativity and quantum mechanics.

I personally achieved my goal with that reading, which was comprehending what was the abstraction Einstein used to ever conceive the notion that space-time dimensions are a colloidal structure that can be warped by gravity. Before looking into the steps he took, such conceptual leap seemed miraculous to me... now I toned it down to merely mind-boggling. ;)

Regards :).

bhsup
Nov 02, 2011, 10:40 AM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

bathsheba666
Nov 02, 2011, 11:13 AM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

"You know, you'll really have to learn to do better than that."

If she's rational, it might prompt an interesting and long discussion.
If she's a dick, who knows?

bhsup
Nov 02, 2011, 11:15 AM
Uh, better at what? I'm honestly curious and this is the "ask an atheist" thread so I'm asking... sorry if the question bugged you.

Artifis
Nov 02, 2011, 11:17 AM
^ I assume it'll be "better at providing us with proof", or something along those lines.

bathsheba666
Nov 02, 2011, 11:18 AM
Uh, better at what? I'm honestly curious and this is the "ask an atheist" thread so I'm asking... sorry if the question bugged you.

The question didn't bug me at all.

Not sure if you understood that my comment was not directed at you,
but was the answer to your question.

IglooDude
Nov 02, 2011, 11:28 AM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

"Is anyone winning Pascal's wager?"

Okay, okay. More seriously: "My aunt, who was one of Your most devout and kind-hearted believers, passed away after two decades of chronic pain and sickness, but my evil selfish atheist uncle died in his sleep after a long comfortable life. Why?"

El_Machinae
Nov 02, 2011, 11:30 AM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?


"So ... cold ... death ... imminent. Damnit, I was hoping to live forever. Stupid unforeseen events. I tried my ... best ... hope the future is ... better ... So, cold ... can't see

"Begin liquid nitrogen flush."
"Cryogenic storage beginning"

[Fade to Black]

[Fade to White]

"What the? Heaven ?!?! Holy cow, I was wrong! This is awesome, I have so many questions!"

HOLY COW? YOU DARE BLASPHEME? TO HELL WITH YOU!

"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!"

Fwoosh

[scene]

FredLC
Nov 02, 2011, 11:49 AM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

I'd quote Bertrand Russel's answer: "My lord, you hadn't given enough evidence".

Of course, the cynical reply to the one questioning this is: what if you die and found out that you were praying to the wrong God? Maybe mighty Horus couldn't care less about nonbelievers, but is keen to send fans of Yahweh to the egyptian hell pit...

Regards :).

bhsup
Nov 02, 2011, 11:52 AM
The question didn't bug me at all.

Not sure if you understood that my comment was not directed at you,
but was the answer to your question.

:lol: Boy, I feel kinda stupid now!

EDIT@El Mac: That' what you get for invading Aman! :D

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 12:13 PM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

"Why did you wait until after I was dead to show yourself to me and allow me to speak to you? By the way, are you the Christian God? Muslim? Hindu? Which religion was right? Were any?"

edit: additions:

"Are you going to judge me now? On what basis? Am I going to be judged by my deeds? Or as some religions claim, my belief or lack of it in your existence? If so, why is that important?"

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 12:14 PM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?I'd want to know which of the religions got it right. As they say in Scotland, there can be only one.

Probably the Jews.

edit: Curse you Warpus!

bhsup
Nov 02, 2011, 12:16 PM
Actually, I specifically left that open ended in the question, as well as gender, saying "God" instead of him/her in the second part.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 12:45 PM
Actually, I specifically left that open ended in the question, as well as gender, saying "God" instead of him/her in the second part.

I think you should realize that (and this isn't in response to anything you have just said, but rather a more general statement) I wouldn't immediately assume that the creature standing in front of me was the Christian God, if I died and ended up standing in some sort of a Godly creature claiming to be God.

You are Christian so to you it is natural to assume that as the default God to appear to you after you die. I view all religions equally though (in some respects), so I would not assume that the God was Christian, Hindu, some religion I have never heard of, or perhaps even a God no religion on Earth worshipped.

As such, my questions would try to figure out which sort of God this was, which religion it was tied to - if any, and so on. After that was sorted out, I would ask about the implications of me being alive after death, the implications of me standing before God, and the implications of me not being a follower of the religion in question (whichever one it ended up being)

Hope that's the sort of answer you were looking for :)

timtofly
Nov 02, 2011, 12:58 PM
If I were an Atheist, I would say "thanks".

My question in light of the last few post. How would an atheist describe the "image" of a Christian God?

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 01:02 PM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

Ha, good question.

Winner: *crap* :cringe:
God: "I see you're surprised."
Winner: "Very."
God: "So, do you regret that you didn't believe in me?"
Winner: "No, not really. You see, you failed to provide any proof of your existence."
God: "Aren't you afraid I am now going to send you to Hell?"
Winner: "That depends on whether you call yourself a just god. I lived my life as well as I could, I tried never to hurt anyone or do harm to other people. If you think that my not believing in you is a reason enough to have me tortured forever, go ahead."
God: "Are you trying to shame me into letting you into heaven? You pathetic little worm, to Hell with you!"
Winner: "@#$$%^!!!"
God: "Ah hah hah, relax, I am just kidding. I like atheists, smart people, not like the religious sheep I am dealing with most of the time. They don't give me a rest, praying to me all the time, expecting me to help them with their pathetic little problems... you wouldn't believe the crap they want from me sometimes. And when they get here, they're usually so scared that they can't even speak, and do all kinds of ridiculous things. The guy who came before you tried to kiss my feet, I had to have him sedated. The fundamentalist nutcases are the worst - they actually expect me to reward them for being brain dead idiots. I usually send them to Hell for a few years, you know, just for them to get a new perspective on life... so to speak.
Anyway, here's your permit. Show it to the angel in the next room, she'll take you to the Atheist quarter (ha ha) and show you around. If you're interested, the tour of neighbouring star systems begins next week, so sign up if you feel like it.
Winner: "Wow. Thanks."
God: "Don't mention it." *Next!*

;)

ParadigmShifter
Nov 02, 2011, 01:05 PM
I'd say "what's with all the appearing on toast thing?"

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 01:06 PM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

"I apologize, but I can't know for a fact that you are God. No, not even now."

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 01:08 PM
If I were an Atheist, I would say "thanks".

My question in light of the last few post. How would an atheist describe the "image" of a Christian God?

Old guy dressed in a white robe.

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 01:09 PM
If I were an Atheist, I would say "thanks".

My question in light of the last few post. How would an atheist describe the "image" of a Christian God?

Zeus.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 01:19 PM
I would just expect to see Jesus, if the Christian God really existed and showed himself to me after I died.

After all, the other 2 parts of the trinity don't make sense. The spirit (or whatever it is) is a spirit, and God the elder is not really defined, and has been said to kill if you look at him, like Medusa.

ParadigmShifter
Nov 02, 2011, 01:25 PM
Yeah, it would suck to be killed again after death.

Leoreth
Nov 02, 2011, 01:27 PM
And how to you imagine Jesus? Like the late John Lennon?

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 01:34 PM
And how to you imagine Jesus? Like the late John Lennon?

I dunno.. olive skin, long hair.. Middle eastern looking.. wearing all white?

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 01:34 PM
And how to you imagine Jesus? Like the late John Lennon?

The standard picture: long dark hair, goatee, european looking.

peter grimes
Nov 02, 2011, 01:34 PM
Just as a hypothetical, let's say you're wrong and God exists. What would you say to God after you die?

I don't think that I would assume the experience I was having was a meeting with God. I think I'd assume I was having a sort of near-death-experience sort of event, wherein the brain is struggling to make sense of the erratic patterns of neuron firings and neuron non-firings. I think I'd assume the experience was an artifact of wetware malfunction.

I underline the word 'think' to emphasize that I really have no way of predicting how i'd react. I'm basing most of this on what I know about how the brain works (modular) and Carl Sagan's ideas about near death experiences from Dragons of Eden (or was it Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors?)

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 01:35 PM
And how to you imagine Jesus? Like the late John Lennon?
Arab-like.

Winner's in for a shock :p

Jesus: "Hi Winner"
Winner: "Oh for the love of ..."
Jesus: "Careful now, or you won't get your virgins".
Winner: "What? No way!"
Jesus: "Yeah, dad's a bit misogynistic"
Winner: "This can't be happening!"
Jesus: "It's not. It's just a dream"
Capt. Kirk: "Quite a weird dream as well, you have issues"

Wait. What was the question again?

caketastydelish
Nov 02, 2011, 01:40 PM
Arab-like.

Winner's in for a shock :p

Jesus: "Hi Winner"
Winner: "Oh for the love of ..."
Jesus: "Careful now, or you won't get your virgins".
Winner: "What? No way!"
Jesus: "Yeah, dad's a bit misogynistic"
Winner: "This can't be happening!"
Jesus: "It's not. It's just a dream"
Capt. Kirk: "Quite a weird dream as well, you have issues"

Wait. What was the question again?

I always thought the virgins thing was a part of Islam and not Christianity? Anyway, here are some questions from someone who is Christian(ish) but has religious doubts:

1. Who is your favorite Atheist? Mine is Douglas Adams.

2. Were you always an Atheist or did you start to become one at some point? If the latter, details would be cool.

3. Does being an Atheist make you sad that you will cease to exist after you die, or happy because you can do things strict religious people couldn't do, and not have to worry about punishment after you die?

Sorry for so many questions, but religion is topic that fascinates me, even though I'm only about half-religious myself.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 01:42 PM
The standard picture: long dark hair, goatee, european looking.

Why European looking? He was from the middle east, he'd look a bit darker than that.

timtofly
Nov 02, 2011, 01:47 PM
So, now the Abrahamic God is polytheistic?

How does one think the brain can survive after death?

If anything, what does survive after death?

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 02, 2011, 01:47 PM
1. Who is your favorite Atheist? Mine is Douglas Adams.Good one, certainly amongst my favourites. Mine's Stephen Fry.
2. Were you always an Atheist or did you start to become one at some point? If the latter, details would be cool.Reluctantly I was always one.
3. Does being an Atheist make you sad that you will cease to exist after you die, or happy because you can do things strict religious people couldn't do, and not have to worry about punishment after you die? Yeah, I think the 100 year max age sucks. I'd like at least twice that. But the afterlife doesn't appeal to me at all. Eternity is a frightening concept. And I think I'm too old to see the cure for ageing. About the punishment, I'm happy to worry more about punishment when I'm alive. Much more important. Off the things I can do that religious people can't, I can't think of any serious one's. What would I be able to do that religious people can't?

Lillefix
Nov 02, 2011, 01:54 PM
The fact that Richard Dawkins, Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry are/were Apple fanboys drag them a bit down imo. But they are/were good guys anyway. We can't all be perfect.

caketastydelish
Nov 02, 2011, 01:56 PM
Good one, certainly amongst my favourites. Mine's Stephen Fry.
Reluctantly I was always one.
Yeah, I think the 100 year max age sucks. I'd like at least twice that. But the afterlife doesn't appeal to me at all. Eternity is a frightening concept. And I think I'm too old to see the cure for ageing. About the punishment, I'm happy to worry more about punishment when I'm alive. Much more important. Off the things I can do that religious people can't, I can't think of any serious one's. What would I be able to do that religious people can't?

Embarrassing example: religious people sometimes believe that you shouldn't have sex before marriage, or that you should never gamble, or drink.

caketastydelish
Nov 02, 2011, 01:58 PM
The fact that Richard Dawkins, Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry are/were Apple fanboys drag them a bit down imo. But they are/were good guys anyway. We can't all be perfect.

I use a Mac and love it. But none the less, why does it matter? He's famous for being a writer, not because of the computer he used. I believe his first Hitch-hiker book wasn't even written on a Mac, it was written on a type-writer.

I don't know about you, but I couldn't care less about the personal lives of celebrities. When they start talking about "this musician married that actress" I change the channel. If someone is a good musician, I listen to their music and that's it. If someone is good at acting I'll see their movie (supposing the plot is also good) and that's it.

But that's just me.

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 02:02 PM
Why European looking? He was from the middle east, he'd look a bit darker than that.

So what? The way he's being portrayed here is totally European-looking. White guy with long brown slightly curly hair, goatee, usually also blue eyes. This stereotype is what I picture in my mind when someone says "Jesus".

The fact that Richard Dawkins, Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry are/were Apple fanboys drag them a bit down imo. But they are/were good guys anyway. We can't all be perfect.

Damn, my opinion of Dawkins and Fry just went down a little...

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 02:05 PM
So, now the Abrahamic God is polytheistic?

How does one think the brain can survive after death?

If anything, what does survive after death?

No, but trinity, etc. Who else would you expect to see after you die, but Jesus? Makes sense to me - he was the only part of the trinity to regularly expose himself to mortals. The holy spirit was all invisible and stuff, and the father part of the trinity was all "look at me and die!". So Jesus greeting you in heaven makes sense. He was the part of the trinity that was human for a while, after all.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 02:07 PM
So what? The way he's being portrayed here is totally European-looking. White guy with long brown slightly curly hair, goatee, usually also blue eyes. This stereotype is what I picture in my mind when someone says "Jesus".

Yeah, but if he exists, he won't look like that, he'll look like the guy Yoshua (or whatever his name was) who actually existed and was inspiration for the Jesus legend.

The blue eyes, blonde hair, was a later addition, I believe. Jesus did not actually look like that (if he existed, etc.)

Moss
Nov 02, 2011, 02:13 PM
What do you believe the intentions were of the writers of the Gospels (I'll go with those specifically) in writing those accounts of Jesus's life?

_random_
Nov 02, 2011, 02:22 PM
The Bible is to Judaism as the Iliad is to Greek culture. It isn't really historic, but is based on historical things, and has loads of stories.
I don't think the comparison is accurate though. It might apply to Exodus or parts of Genesis, but Kings and Chronicles would be more comparable to Herodotus, and there are many other genres thrown in there.
I always thought the virgins thing was a part of Islam and not Christianity?
Technically, but the image originated with some Imams, not in the Koran, and is only accepted as literal by a small minority of Muslims.
@Atheists:
Who's your favorite Christian saint?

caketastydelish
Nov 02, 2011, 02:24 PM
I don't think the comparison is accurate though. It might apply to Exodus or parts of Genesis, but Kings and Chronicles would be more comparable to Herodotus, and there are many other genres thrown in there.

Technically, but the image originated with some Imams, not in the Koran, and is only accepted as literal by a small minority of Muslims.
@Atheists:
Who's your favorite Christian saint?

So if you're saying it was made by Islamic Imams, it still would have nothing to do with Christianity. Just because it isn't in the Koran doesn't mean it has to do with Christians.

_random_
Nov 02, 2011, 02:25 PM
So if you're saying it was made by Islamic Imams, it still would have nothing to do with Christianity. Just because it isn't in the Koran doesn't mean it has to do with Christians.

Of course, but V wasn't asking specifically about the Christian God to begin with. Just thought I'd clarify that point.

Lillefix
Nov 02, 2011, 02:28 PM
Q from Random: Who's your favorite Christian saint?

Saint George. He's the guy with the dragon and he looks cool(don't know much about him). And Jeanne d'Arc of course. Everything but crying virgins who see Mary in an apple.

edit: Paradigmshifter :goodjob:

ParadigmShifter
Nov 02, 2011, 02:30 PM
Everyone knows St. Stephen is the best saint. He was the first one to be stoned.

erez87
Nov 02, 2011, 02:30 PM
1. I don't have a favorite atheists. They are all awesome. But if I'll be forced at gun shot to choose one, probably Richard Dawkins, since I like my Biology rough and in your face.

2. I was a believer most of my life. First I lost faith in religion, and later in god. Scientific Skepticism filled up the lost stuff.

3. Nop. After I die, I won't care about anything, since I won't be, and so I have no fear of that time or sadness towards it. I do wish to live VERY LONG life, but that's a wish that may or may not come true. Makes no difference to me while I'm dead if it didn't :) “Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo”

erez87
Nov 02, 2011, 02:31 PM
I don't think the comparison is accurate though. It might apply to Exodus or parts of Genesis, but Kings and Chronicles would be more comparable to Herodotus, and there are many other genres thrown in there.
Who's your favorite Christian saint?
The Torah than. The rest is pointless anyway... :p

timtofly
Nov 02, 2011, 02:32 PM
Everyone knows St. Stephen is the best saint. He was the first one to be stoned.

Only because Jesus abstained.

peter grimes
Nov 02, 2011, 02:35 PM
How does one think the brain can survive after death?

If anything, what does survive after death?

The brain doesn't survive after death. Nor does any other part of our body. However, genes do. As long as you have a living relative on this earth a small part of you continues. And since all humans are related to eachother if you go back far enough, then it could be reasonably argued that part of me will live on as long as there is another living human.

For that matter, every single cell I was born with is already dead. Those cells died within my first post-partum decade. The material that currently makes up my body has been recycled through the biosphere several billion times before it came to rest with me. But it's not really accurate to say 'rest', since it will leave my body in a matter of years.

Being alive is not like a stone sculpture that only changes as the rains erode it, particle by particle, year upon year, until it's a shadow of it's original self. Being alive is a continual process of recycling of molecules and matter. We're a pattern of matter, not a static thing. When we die the pattern ceases to propagate. Nothing more.

When we die the brain ceases to function, the kidneys stop, the lymph nodes stop - it all stops. Nothing more. There is nothing of the living pattern after that final stop.

Unless you consider the genetic legacy we all hold, and some of us pass on. But even the pattern of those of us who don't pass it on continues to propagate in the bodies of those to whom we are related. Which brings me back to my first point. Circle of life, get it? ;-)

_random_
Nov 02, 2011, 02:37 PM
The Torah than. The rest is pointless anyway... :p

Most of the Torah is legal rather than narrative though.

MantaRevan
Nov 02, 2011, 02:41 PM
Never clicked on the previous thread, so just a simple question: what's the purpose of having a "ask an atheist" thread on a forum where 60-80% of members are atheists?

And this is why civilization(or maybe civ fanatics) is so awesome.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 02:54 PM
Who's your favorite Christian saint?

John Paul II (he's a saint already, right?)

He helped fight communism, and while I disagree with some things he's done, I don't really know much about many other saints, so I'm going with Johnny.

ParadigmShifter
Nov 02, 2011, 02:55 PM
He's not a saint yet. He's just been beatified (sp)?

caketastydelish
Nov 02, 2011, 02:55 PM
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding the history of atheism, which I found to be very interesting:

"Will Durant explains that certain Pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no gods, no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to travelers' reports. The Vedahs of Ceylon, only admitted the possibility that gods might exist, but went no further. Neither prayers nor sacrifices were suggested in any way."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism

peter grimes
Nov 02, 2011, 03:00 PM
1. Who is your favorite Atheist? Mine is Douglas Adams.

2. Were you always an Atheist or did you start to become one at some point? If the latter, details would be cool.

3. Does being an Atheist make you sad that you will cease to exist after you die, or happy because you can do things strict religious people couldn't do, and not have to worry about punishment after you die?


1. Favorite?.. I don't really have one. There are several people who I really enjoy reading / listening to:
Bill Maher,
Pat Condell,
Tim Minchin,
PZ Myers,
Richard Dawkins,
Greta Christina,
Chistopher Hitchens (I love to hate to love him!)
Mano Singham
Sam Harris

All of these people are nothing more than well-known and well-publicized atheists. There is nothing inherently 'better' about these people than others, it's likely simply a result of them having either widespread media exposure or interesting blogs.

2. I was not always an atheist. I was raised in a good old-fashioned white church New England Protestant household. Church every Sunday, confirmation at age 14. But by the time I was supposedly 'confirming' the pact that my parents made on my behalf at my baptism I was already a disbeliever. I can't say there was a morning when I woke up and said 'Nope, Not Real'. It was more a slow realization. If someone, somewhere, really did turn water into wine, or 10 fish into 1000 fish, or whatever, then you'd expect this to be remarked upon all over the empire. Even if 'the man' tried to crush the story, it would have certainly lived on in folklore. But instead we only have some scraps from one tiny little tribelet. Doesn't pass the sniff test. Of course there was more to it than just one or two stories not being independently corroborated. But it was things like this that made me start to question the historical accuracy of the central text. Once you allow that some of it isn't true, then you MUST question the entire text. At that point, it's a simple matter of relating what the text claims with what we all see around us: No Evidence Of Gods.

3. I'm not at all sad that I will cease to exist when I die. I'm not sure I understand why anyone would feel otherwise - there has not been a single documented case of someone returning from the grave, so why on earth would you assume it's possible? I think it's much healthier to assume you're not going to live forever, and make the best of this one little life that you have; rather than pine and fret over something you have to reason to believe in. That's just lunacy in my book.

As for doing things that religious people can't do?.. Well, I sincerely doubt there's much that I do that religious people don't. The thing about religious people is that, aside from their irrational belief in make-believe gods, there's very little difference between them and atheists. They lie, they cheat, they murder, they adulter, they donate to charity, they lay down their life for a stranger in the street, they don't put poison in Halloween candy, they love their children, they hate their bosses - they are just like everyone else.

The reason I don't cheat on my wife isn't because a shepherd's deity proscribed it. It's because only a d!ck would do that. The reason I don't drink to excess isn't because I might slander your prophet's god. It's because it's not healthy for my body or my relationship to my family. The reason I don't eat beef isn't because your gods' cows are holy. It's because I get a stomach ache after eating a steak. But I'll eat fishes and pigs and lambs and goats and ducks and pheasants and chickens as long as I know where they come from. Not for kosher reasons, but for economic and food policy reasons.

_random_
Nov 02, 2011, 03:07 PM
He's not a saint yet. He's just been beatified (sp)?

That's correct. Formally canonized commie-busters include St. Justin Popovich (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justin_Popovich) and St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (http://orthodoxwiki.org/John_%28Maximovitch%29_the_Wonderworker). I don't know of any Catholic examples though.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 03:11 PM
Goddamit, I don't have a favourite saint then. Maybe that guy from Assissi, cause he helped the poor, I think.

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 03:12 PM
Yeah, but if he exists, he won't look like that, he'll look like the guy Yoshua (or whatever his name was) who actually existed and was inspiration for the Jesus legend.

The blue eyes, blonde hair, was a later addition, I believe. Jesus did not actually look like that (if he existed, etc.)

I've never seen Jesus being depicted as blonde. Anyway, I am simply explaining what's my mind's picture of Jesus, based on the stereotypes I grew up with (not that I ever believed Jesus was god or something, but I've been in church enough to get this picture burned into my brain).

And this is why civilization(or maybe civ fanatics) is so awesome.

Why? I live in a society that's essentially atheistic. ~95% of my friends are atheists. If anything, CFC is far more religious than anything else I am in daily contact with.

MantaRevan
Nov 02, 2011, 03:29 PM
Why? I live in a society that's essentially atheistic. ~95% of my friends are atheists. If anything, CFC is far more religious than anything else I am in daily contact with.
And what society, might I ask, is this?

_random_
Nov 02, 2011, 03:31 PM
Brno -> Czech rep. >>European Union

Moss
Nov 02, 2011, 03:33 PM
What do you believe the intentions were of the writers of the Gospels (I'll go with those specifically) in writing those accounts of Jesus's life?

I'll repeat..question is to anyone.

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 03:34 PM
And what society, might I ask, is this?

Czech society. Or more precisely, that of below-30 urban middle class college educated Czechs.

MantaRevan
Nov 02, 2011, 03:41 PM
Czech society. Or more precisely, that of below-30 urban middle class college educated Czechs.

In Sweden we're a large majority(despite, ironically, having no separation of church and state), one of the reasons I moved here.

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 03:45 PM
I'll repeat..question is to anyone.

What were the intentions of the writers of Beowulf? It is a moot question.

Winner
Nov 02, 2011, 03:45 PM
In Sweden we're a large majority(despite, ironically, having no separation of church and state), one of the reasons I moved here.

Yes, from what I heard Sweden is pretty godless too. Where are you from, originally? (And I believe that the lack of a proper separation of state and religion actually contributes to the decline of religion, so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all...)

MantaRevan
Nov 02, 2011, 04:02 PM
Yes, from what I heard Sweden is pretty godless too. Where are you from, originally? (And I believe that the lack of a proper separation of state and religion actually contributes to the decline of religion, so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all...)

I was born in the University of Virginia, however I grew up in Louisville. While I quite like both of those cities, certain aspects of America angered me.

Another reason for my Swedish immigration was my fascination with the native walrus and beluga populations.

El_Machinae
Nov 02, 2011, 04:12 PM
I'll repeat..question is to anyone.

I think it was a serious attempt to record why their faith was the way it was. Each author had bias, obviously, but I think they had a true faith in what had happened and were trying to pass it on.

Moss
Nov 02, 2011, 04:56 PM
What were the intentions of the writers of Beowulf? It is a moot question.

Not really a good comparison there (although, I would argue that knowing the intentions of the author of Beowulf would be meaningful - sadly, we don't know who that was). The Gospels are considered, at the very least, an attempt to provide a picture of Jesus's life and ministry. Whether you think it is embellished or not, I think the question of why the writers wrote what they did is a fair one.

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 05:15 PM
Not really a good comparison there (although, I would argue that knowing the intentions of the author of Beowulf would be meaningful - sadly, we don't know who that was). The Gospels are considered, at the very least, an attempt to provide a picture of Jesus's life and ministry. Whether you think it is embellished or not, I think the question of why the writers wrote what they did is a fair one.

I don't see why it is not an apt comparison. The chronicles of Beowulf could likewise be considered an attempt to provide a picture of Beowulf's life and experiences.

I don't know what could be the reasoning behind ancient writers. Perhaps they thought Beowulf/Jesus was divine. Perhaps they just wanted to share a story. Both tales were passed down many generations before being put into writing.

ParadigmShifter
Nov 02, 2011, 05:23 PM
Beowulf has a better song and video though

qvf-I_Kzru4

XWs2aQIiCKg

Moss
Nov 02, 2011, 06:07 PM
I don't see why it is not an apt comparison. The chronicles of Beowulf could likewise be considered an attempt to provide a picture of Beowulf's life and experiences.

I don't know what could be the reasoning behind ancient writers. Perhaps they thought Beowulf/Jesus was divine. Perhaps they just wanted to share a story. Both tales were passed down many generations before being put into writing.

What do you mean by many generations? Mark was written around 70AD and the other Gospels not long after (of course, the age is approximate).

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 06:11 PM
What do you mean by many generations? Mark was written around 70AD and the other Gospels not long after (of course, the age is approximate).

My understanding was that most of the gospels of Jesus's life were written hundreds of years afterwards.

El_Machinae
Nov 02, 2011, 06:18 PM
No, they seem to be second- or third-hand accounts.

warpus
Nov 02, 2011, 06:18 PM
I don't know enough about the Gospels to really say what the writers' intentions might have been, but I suspect they were eager to put a story they had heard passed down orally into writing so that the story would not be forgotten. Probably similar intentions as the people who first sat down and decided to write down the various books of the Bible, Torah, and all other such books which were collections of stories passed down orally (until then)

Whiskey_Lord
Nov 02, 2011, 06:24 PM
Not to mention, even if the Gospels were completely accurate in their recording of events, it would not prove that Jesus was divine.

El_Machinae
Nov 02, 2011, 06:29 PM
I think that this is probably the best modern analogy to the gospel writers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Edward_Mack

Whiskey_Lord
Nov 02, 2011, 07:06 PM
Does anyone ever get tired of having to refute the same tired arguments for theism over and over again? Sometimes I just feel like rationally explaining myself is a waste of time and I should stick to blasphemy because it's quick, easy, and probably the highest level of treatment that religion actually deserves.

_random_
Nov 02, 2011, 07:08 PM
My understanding was that most of the gospels of Jesus's life were written hundreds of years afterwards.

Where did you get that impression?

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 07:11 PM
Does anyone ever get tired of having to refute the same tired arguments for theism over and over again? Sometimes I just feel like rationally explaining myself is a waste of time and I should stick to blasphemy because it's quick, easy, and probably the highest level of treatment that religion actually deserves.

I actually worship Satan. In the war between Good and Evil, we must make the greatest of sacrifices to stand up against pure evil, no matter what the consequences. The fact that I will be sent for eternal torture in Hell is a small price to pay for standing up against a genocidal mass-murdering tyrant such as God.

But you know... if I start spouting this off, people will think I'm crazy.

Where did you get that impression?

Posts here and there in the "Ask a Theologian" thread. But it is slowly dawning on me that I might be somewhat mistaken.

Moss
Nov 02, 2011, 07:15 PM
I think that this is probably the best modern analogy to the gospel writers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Edward_Mack

That's very interesting - I hadn't heard of him or his research before.

So you would say that the gospel writers had a similar experience to those who report alien experiences in terms of the increased spiritual aspect that Mack reports?

Whiskey_Lord
Nov 02, 2011, 07:18 PM
I actually worship Satan. In the war between Good and Evil, we must make the greatest of sacrifices to stand up against pure evil, no matter what the consequences. The fact that I will be sent for eternal torture in Hell is a small price to pay for standing up against a genocidal mass-murdering tyrant such as God.

But you know... if I start spouting this off, people will think I'm crazy.

I see this sort of stuff all the time on reddit, but I think it feeds most people's stereotypes of atheists as a) actual devil-worshipers or b) sarcastic a-holes. Not that there's anything wrong with being a sarcastic a-hole when it comes to religion, as long as the punchline has a point with a small chance of making people think. Lately, I've been favoring the sort of blasphemy that directly uses Bible verses to highlight choice absurdities in the text.

Moss
Nov 02, 2011, 07:22 PM
Posts here and there in the "Ask a Theologian" thread. But it is slowly dawning on me that I might be somewhat mistaken.

Plotinus posted this nice summary (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=5107943&postcount=105) in his Ask a Theologian Thread:
No-one knows who wrote the Gospels. I don't know why you say that some were written over a century after Jesus' death - that is very unlikely. Here is what is generally agreed about them:

Mark - probably the earliest Gospel to be written, perhaps in the late 60s. Apparently written on the basis of oral traditions, although some parts, such as the "controversy" section of 2:1-3:8 and the Passion narrative, may well be based on earlier written collections. Traditionally attributed to John Mark, a follower of Peter, who supposedly based it on Peter's reminiscences in Rome; no reason at all to suppose that this is true. Like all the attributions, it was made only a century later.

Matthew - probably written in the mid-80s or thereabouts. Clearly based to a large extent on Mark, with extra material as well - much of it apparently from a now-lost source that Luke also knew, known as Q. Traditionally attributed to Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples. Very unlikely to be by him, if only because someone who was actually present at the events described would hardly base his account on that of another writer who wasn't even there. The Gospel was apparently written at roughly the time when Christian congregations were being thrown out of synagogues and cursed, as the Pharisaic tradition came to dominate post-Temple Judaism; this is why Matthew's Gospel is exceptionally anti-Pharisee. All references to friendly Pharisees and scribes in Mark have been removed in Matthew, and it contains the notorious chapter 23 in which Jesus harangues the Pharisees at some length.

Luke - also probably written in the mid-80s or thereabouts. Also based to a large extent on Mark, with extra material, including that taken from Q, but apparently written quite independently of Matthew. Traditionally ascribed to Luke, a companion of Paul. This is because Acts, which is by the same author, sometimes lapses into the first person when describing Paul's journeys, suggesting that it's written by someone who was with him. However, this was a common literary technique at the time. The author shows little understanding of Paul's theology as expressed in his genuine letters.

John - perhaps written in the mid-90s or thereabouts. Dates from after the split with Judaism: the passionate hatred of Matthew has gone, and the author apparently knows little of the various groups within Judaism since Jesus' opponents are now just "the Jews" as if they were a monolithic group. Apparently written completely independently of the other Gospels from quite different sources and traditions - although it is possible that the author had read Mark but deliberately chose not to base his account on Mark's. The Gospel is extremely complex and has apparently gone through several editions, perhaps all by the same author, who may have revised his work frequently. For example, much of the first half may be based on an earlier "Signs Gospel". The famous prologue is apparently a hymn which has other material worked into it to turn it into an introduction. The book originally ended with chapter 20; chapter 21 is a later addition, though again, perhaps by the same author. Traditionally attributed to John, the brother of James and disciple of Jesus. Again, unlikely to be by him. The reason for the attribution is the presence of an unnamed "beloved disciple" at key points of the story. Since John (prominent in the other Gospels) doesn't appear, it was supposed that the beloved disciple is actually John, and he isn't named because he is the author and he wished to remain anonymous. Very unlikely, though, partly because in the other Gospels John invariably appears with James, but the beloved disciple does not. The beloved disciple is probably simply a literary device.

All the Gospels are based, to a large extent, on oral tradition. "Form criticism", which developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is the art of examining the material in the Gospels and working out how it was changed in the oral tradition and what use it was put to. Form critics can sometimes aim to reconstruct what the original material might have been, thereby (perhaps) getting closer to the real Jesus. Clearly, though, there was written material too, which has been lost - presumably because once the Gospels were available people didn't bother preserving the older and less complete texts. All four Gospels seem to have been popular quite quickly. The popularity of Mark, for example, is attested by the fact that both Matthew and Luke decided to use it as the basis for their own books. Matthew was extremely popular, and once his Gospel came out Mark was hardly ever used; it survived into the canon mainly because of the belief that the authority of Peter lay behind it.

The degree to which the Gospel authors altered the material themselves is also unclear. In the case of Matthew and Luke, we can examine how they have changed the material they take from Mark, and then guess about what they might have done to the other material they have taken from different sources. Matthew changes his material much more than Luke does, so Luke is probably a better source for Q, the now lost text that he and Matthew both seem to have used together with Mark. Q seems to have consisted almost entirely of Jesus' teaching rather than what he did. Matthew scatters Q material throughout his Gospel: his Jesus delivers five fairly long speeches at various points (a subtle reminder of Moses, who supposedly wrote five books of the Old Testament) with action in between. Luke, by contrast, lumps all the teaching in a huge long section in the middle of the Gospel, with all the action before and after. Mark is harder to evaluate since we don't have his sources. And John is the trickiest of all, because his Jesus speaks in a completely different way from in the other Gospels, and does quite different things. It seems that John was much freer with his sources and basically wrote it all himself, while the others seem to have been more conservative and limited themselves to small alterations rather than wholesale original composition. This is one reason why scholars whose aim is to reconstruct the historical Jesus generally ignore John and focus on the Synoptics instead.

MantaRevan
Nov 02, 2011, 07:26 PM
I see this sort of stuff all the time on reddit, but I think it feeds most people's stereotypes of atheists as a) actual devil-worshipers or b) sarcastic a-holes. Not that there's anything wrong with being a sarcastic a-hole when it comes to religion, as long as the punchline has a point with a small chance of making people think. Lately, I've been favoring the sort of blasphemy that directly uses Bible verses to highlight choice absurdities in the text.

Indeed. Unfortunately, despite being a sarcastic a-hole, I never get called that. The Americans enjoyed terms such as "terrorist" or "baby eater" quite a bit more than any actual observation. But of course, if they were good at natural observations, they wouldn't be religious, would they?

El_Machinae
Nov 02, 2011, 07:27 PM
That's very interesting - I hadn't heard of him or his research before.

So you would say that the gospel writers had a similar experience to those who report alien experiences in terms of the increased spiritual aspect that Mack reports?

He was mostly picked as being a UFOlogist, not anything more special than that.
I don't have a reason to think that the gospel writers experienced anything extra-ordinarily supernatural. They seem to be second- or third-hand accounts. But I suspect that the people who started the stories were true believers.

Defiant47
Nov 02, 2011, 09:33 PM
Plotinus posted this nice summary (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=5107943&postcount=105) in his Ask a Theologian Thread:

Thanks! Own beliefs readjusted.

zjintz
Nov 03, 2011, 12:01 AM
3. Does being an Atheist make you sad that you will cease to exist after you die, or happy because you can do things strict religious people couldn't do, and not have to worry about punishment after you die?


About this question. Do you guys belive in some karma law in this lifetime? or some kind of reward for good actions, and a punishment for bad actions?.

Whiskey_Lord
Nov 03, 2011, 12:07 AM
I don't see how you could. Being an atheist means not believing in the supernatural, thus there is nothing to control fate.

zjintz
Nov 03, 2011, 12:52 AM
thus there is nothing to control fate.

So do we have free will?.

That awfull question doesn't belong to this thread. But if there exists physics laws that can predict how each particle in the universe moves, maybe our fate is already sealed. That to say that karma may not be supernatural .

Winner
Nov 03, 2011, 12:52 AM
About this question. Do you guys belive in some karma law in this lifetime? or some kind of reward for good actions, and a punishment for bad actions?.

You mean some sort of a divine/supernatural reward/punishment? No, absolutely not. And if you observe how the world works, you'll see that karma simply doesn't work - too many bad people live opulent lives, whereas too many good people are literally eating dirt. I of course use the word in common expressions like "bad karma" or "instant karma" when I am making fun of things/people. (I do believe in the intrinsic moral value of good actions though.)

I'd like to add one thing, and perhaps make it a question to other atheists:

what do you think of the "eastern" religions (buddhism, hinduism [if there is such a thing], shintoism, etc.)?

I attended about a dozen lectures on these belief systems to get some free credits, and I left with the impression it's exactly the same hogwash as the "Western" religions, just a bit less aggressive and intolerant. I don't understand why some people claim that Buddhism isn't a religion - it seems to me like a pretty standard religious fraud, only without the god figure.

El_Machinae
Nov 03, 2011, 04:00 AM
EDIT@El Mac: That' what you get for invading Aman! :D

More seriously, what could I say? I mean, I have no reason to believe in God, and some of the beliefs in God offend my morality pretty seriously. That said, I recognise that I am an imperfect being.

It really depends on God's nature. If a specific type of faith was required, all I could do was apologise. If a perfect life was required, I guess I'd be mad at the unfairness. If forgiveness was available, and I could live in a better world, I'd be happy to. If God had good reasons for some of the questions I'd have, then that would be grand.

Leoreth
Nov 03, 2011, 04:17 AM
I'm surprised that so many didn't know what Plotinus wrote. The indirect nature of the gospels and their origin decades after Jesus' death are common knowledge to me. Good that we have actual religious education is school, I suppose.

peter grimes
Nov 03, 2011, 07:47 AM
I'm surprised that so many didn't know what Plotinus wrote. The indirect nature of the gospels and their origin decades after Jesus' death are common knowledge to me. Good that we have actual religious education is school, I suppose.

Growing up in the USA, I never had any religion classes in school, but I'm pretty sure I could have taken a couple as electives (private school, not public).

But I did attend a nice little New England Protestant church until I was 17. Up until age 14 we didn't attend the main church service, but went to sunday school class. Here we were taught things about Christianity - mostly teachings of Jesus and such.

I had been under the impression that the gospels were first-hand accounts, but only written down a few generations later - after the Romans stopped persecuting the Christians. Nothing like a persecution story to reinforce tribal identity ;)

I imagine I came to these impressions from those Sunday school classes, but it was so long ago, and I payed attention so little, that it's hard to be sure.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 09:54 AM
About this question. Do you guys belive in some karma law in this lifetime? or some kind of reward for good actions, and a punishment for bad actions?.

A reward for good action is feeling good about doing a good deed. That's all you need :)

So do we have free will?.

That awfull question doesn't belong to this thread. But if there exists physics laws that can predict how each particle in the universe moves, maybe our fate is already sealed. That to say that karma may not be supernatural .

The universe is not deterministic though, as far as we can tell anyway. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle prevents you from predicting the exact movement & energy of particles.

zjintz
Nov 03, 2011, 10:00 AM
yeah, as far as we can tell...

Leoreth
Nov 03, 2011, 10:03 AM
Even if all of our decisions are determined by the biochemical processes in our brains, they're still our decisions, because we ARE the biochemical processes in our brains.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 10:26 AM
Even if all of our decisions are determined by the biochemical processes in our brains, they're still our decisions, because we ARE the biochemical processes in our brains.

The problem is that if the universe is purely deterministic, it would be possible to predict the future, implying a lack of free will (If there was free will, the future would be impossible to predict, etc.)

Leoreth
Nov 03, 2011, 10:56 AM
Yeah, which is why I avoided the term free will in this context, because I believe it doesn't exist.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 11:04 AM
The problem is that if the universe is purely deterministic, it would be possible to predict the future, implying a lack of free will (If there was free will, the future would be impossible to predict, etc.)
Since when a random universe (where you can't predict the future, since it has not yet been made) means there is free-will?

peter grimes
Nov 03, 2011, 11:09 AM
Free will is almost certainly a false construct of our brains. But this doesn't mean that our brains can't make choices.

There's a really good summary of the current state of understanding here:
http://blog.case.edu/singham/free_will/index
It's in reverse chronological order, so start reading from the bottom.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 11:31 AM
Since when a random universe (where you can't predict the future, since it has not yet been made) means there is free-will?

It doesn't, I never said it did :) A deterministic universe makes free will impossible, but a non-deterministic universe does not necessarily imply free will.

timtofly
Nov 03, 2011, 11:45 AM
Is the universe random?

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 11:47 AM
Is the universe random?
At the most basic particles, and even some really big ones, random laws rule the scene.

timtofly
Nov 03, 2011, 11:50 AM
At the most basic particles, and even some really big ones, random laws rule the scene.

Is there a binding "effect" then?

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 11:51 AM
Is there a binding "effect" then?
A what effect?

timtofly
Nov 03, 2011, 12:00 PM
A what effect?

How can the universe be predictable (for the most part), but yet random at it's "core"?

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 12:06 PM
How can the universe be predictable (for the most part), but yet random at it's "core"?
Because the more massive and larger something gets the quicker the quantum randomness looses its importance.

Imagine everything in the universe vibrates to all directions, but the vibration is 10^-31 meters to each direction. You will never be able to grasp such a tiny change, so it's not seen by our eyes (and that's why you can't normally see quantum things in the big world, and that might be why we didn't know about it until we started researching single tiny particles).

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 12:14 PM
How can the universe be predictable (for the most part), but yet random at it's "core"?

Order arises from chaos all the time.

Read up on Chaos Theory.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 12:15 PM
Order arises from chaos all the time.

Read up on Chaos Theory.
Chaos isn't random. Chaos is deterministic but very hard to... determine I guess.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 12:17 PM
Chaos isn't random. Chaos is deterministic but very hard to... determine I guess.

Then I'll rephrase what I said to: Order arises from disorder all the time.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 12:21 PM
Then I'll rephrase what I said to: Order arises from disorder all the time.
That it does. The laws of nature makes disorder become order all the time.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 12:34 PM
That it does. The laws of nature makes disorder become order all the time.

That's one part of it. It also seems to be an inherent property of chaos in general.. or whatever you want to call it.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 12:39 PM
That's one part of it. It also seems to be an inherent property of chaos in general.. or whatever you want to call it.
A major thought here is what is order to say nature brings it?

How do we define Order?

timtofly
Nov 03, 2011, 12:44 PM
A major thought here is what is order to say nature brings it?

How do we define Order?

It is predictable?

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 12:47 PM
A major thought here is what is order to say nature brings it?

How do we define Order?

Mathematically. I think Chaos Theory deals with all these issues, but I'm not too familiar with the details.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 12:55 PM
It is predictable?
So something disorderly is unpredictable and anything with order can be predicted?
Snow flakes are orderly - yet we can't predict their shape.
Quantum particles are random - yet to a certain level (statistic) we can predict things about it.


Mathematically. I think Chaos Theory deals with all these issues, but I'm not too familiar with the details.
Mathematics? I don't think Chaos theory deals with order and disorder, but with chaotic systems (System that heavily depend on their exact starting conditions).


You got any popular reading material about scientific definitions for Order?
The only one I know of comes from Entropy - disorder is defined as Entropy. And as entropy grows disorder grows -> and of course entropy growing is the basic thing behind nature. So technically we get less and less order.

Ai Shizuka
Nov 03, 2011, 01:24 PM
Question from an apatheist.
Why bother?

It's not necessarily directed to the OP or the people answering in this thread, but some "active" atheists really leave me baffled.
I find apatheism a much more rational stance about the gods or religion in general. I mean, why go out of one's way to prove something completely irrational is... irrational.

No one feels the need to prove the sea isn't pink or tomorrow isn't going to rain faeces from the sky. It's simply not going to happen.


A "real" atheist, in my opinion, shouldn't even have an opinion about the topic.
If someone comes claiming his pen is going to fall upward when he drops it, I don't start a debate. I simply dismiss him as drunk, on drugs, mentally challenged or very ignorant.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 01:28 PM
Question from an apatheist.
Why bother?

It's not necessarily directed to the OP or the people answering in this thread, but some "active" atheists really leave me baffled.
I find apatheism a much more rational stance about the gods or religion in general. I mean, why go out of one's way to prove something completely irrational is... irrational.

No one feels the need to prove the sea isn't pink or tomorrow isn't going to rain faeces from the sky. It's simply not going to happen.


A "real" atheist, in my opinion, shouldn't even have an opinion about the topic.
If someone comes claiming his pen is going to fall upward when he drops it, I don't start a debate. I simply dismiss him as drunk, on drugs, mentally challenged or very ignorant.
Because religion and religious people constantly attempt to control my life and put religious laws in them. Oh and attempt to stop Scientific advancement in health and technology etc... They also want me in jail for being gay.

Why would a "real" atheist not have an opinion? He can, it just have nothing to do with Atheism...

zjintz
Nov 03, 2011, 01:28 PM
Free will is almost certainly a false construct of our brains. But this doesn't mean that our brains can't make choices.

There's a really good summary of the current state of understanding here:
http://blog.case.edu/singham/free_will/index
It's in reverse chronological order, so start reading from the bottom.

What a nice reading!. thanks.

sadly I can't see the clips right now. .

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 01:34 PM
Mathematics? I don't think Chaos theory deals with order and disorder, but with chaotic systems (System that heavily depend on their exact starting conditions).


You got any popular reading material about scientific definitions for Order?
The only one I know of comes from Entropy - disorder is defined as Entropy. And as entropy grows disorder grows -> and of course entropy growing is the basic thing behind nature. So technically we get less and less order.

They're all interlinked topics and ideas, imo.

A "real" atheist, in my opinion, shouldn't even have an opinion about the topic.
If someone comes claiming his pen is going to fall upward when he drops it, I don't start a debate. I simply dismiss him as drunk, on drugs, mentally challenged or very ignorant.

It's hard not to have an opinion. I have an opinion on everything ;)

I'm an atheist who doesn't really care much, though. I just don't believe that gods exist, and that's it.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 01:47 PM
They're all interlinked topics and ideas, imo.



I don't think so. I have never heard of any connection between Entropy and Chaos theory. One is a mathematical subject for systems that depend greatly on starting conditions, and the other is a statistic way of managing the direction to which chemical and some physical system will move to.

BTW claiming we have more order now than when the universe begin would not be correct according to entropy laws. But that's mostly because there is no actually simple definition of order, only a mathematical one.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 01:53 PM
I don't think so. I have never heard of any connection between Entropy and Chaos theory. One is a mathematical subject for systems that depend greatly on starting conditions, and the other is a statistic way of managing the direction to which chemical and some physical system will move to.

Both deal with order/disorder and the complexity of systems.

BTW claiming we have more order now than when the universe begin would not be correct according to entropy laws. But that's mostly because there is no actually simple definition of order, only a mathematical one.

We have localised pockets of order, such as the cities we build on this planet, etc. As a whole, entropy is increasing throughout the Universe though.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 02:15 PM
Both deal with order/disorder and the complexity of systems.

I really doubt chaos theory deals with order and complexity. I have found nothing to indicate it does.


We have localised pockets of order, such as the cities we build on this planet, etc. As a whole, entropy is increasing throughout the Universe though.
That's not exactly true. Entropy is a closed system trait. Cities aren't a closed system and so we cannot consider cities as pockets of order. And a city, as complex as it might get, is still far less orderly (in entropy measures) than the universe at the age of say, 5 million.

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 02:28 PM
I really doubt chaos theory deals with order and complexity. I have found nothing to indicate it does.

Chaos Theory in some cases deals with the emergency of complexity.

That's not exactly true. Entropy is a closed system trait. Cities aren't a closed system and so we cannot consider cities as pockets of order. And a city, as complex as it might get, is still far less orderly (in entropy measures) than the universe at the age of say, 5 million.

Nothing (except for the entire Universe) is a fully closed system though. If you want to talk about the entropy of systems that aren't the universe (or multiverse or whatever), then you've got to consider non-closed systems.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 02:35 PM
Chaos Theory in some cases deals with the emergency of complexity.

Do you have a source for that?


Nothing (except for the entire Universe) is a fully closed system though. If you want to talk about the entropy of systems that aren't the universe (or multiverse or whatever), then you've got to consider non-closed systems.

True. I was going too far. But at least try something somewhat closed. A city is far far from a closed system. A factory is closer to it. But in both we only see an apparent rise in order because somewhere else there are huge drops in order...

warpus
Nov 03, 2011, 02:47 PM
Do you have a source for that?

sure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity)

Chaos theory has investigated the sensitivity of systems to variations in initial conditions as one cause of complex behaviour.

True. I was going too far. But at least try something somewhat closed. A city is far far from a closed system. A factory is closer to it. But in both we only see an apparent rise in order because somewhere else there are huge drops in order...

That's what my example meant to illustrate - while entropy increases as a whole, small pockets in the universe increase in order, the example being a city, or a factory, or whatever.

erez87
Nov 03, 2011, 02:52 PM
sure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity)



That's what my example meant to illustrate - while entropy increases as a whole, small pockets in the universe increase in order, the example being a city, or a factory, or whatever.

Thanks! But now while reading I noticed we kind of mixed something.

Order and Complexity are not the same thing. A complex system can be disorderly and a very orderly system can be totally simple (and many times is).

timtofly
Nov 03, 2011, 02:56 PM
Is it not the fact that predictions happen that shows us "Order"?

I did not mean the diferrence between predictable and unpredictable.

Order is only in things that have the ability to be predictable and when a prediction results in a fact. This fact is law until it is no longer predictable, but a fact comes up to prove it otherwise.


Chaos is at the lowest level, but the more complex something is the less predictable it becomes. Order is the balance between the two, or the equalibrium of chaos.

A city has too many variables and more complex than a factory.

The universe is predictable until a comet is found on course to hit the earth in 5 months?

cardgame
Nov 03, 2011, 03:18 PM
That doesn't mean it's not predictable, merely that we missed a spot or variable...

El_Machinae
Nov 03, 2011, 03:25 PM
Actually, the way people mean that the universe is 'unpredictable' is that some fundamental laws of reality are determined by probability functions and not by set figures. In aggregate, or macro terms, the net effect of all the probability functions are going to be predictable. But each individual component is not predictable

Ziggy Stardust
Nov 04, 2011, 08:37 AM
How can the universe be predictable (for the most part), but yet random at it's "core"?I heard you like analogies :)

A river is predictable. We can say it'll flow to lower areas, we can predict were erosions will take place prominently, like in bends. But the motion of each atom vibrating in a single molecule which is tossed around amongst other molecules is chaotic.

Now if you really want to go into mental physics you could imagine an electron 'circling' an atom. Not really circling since such an atom zips in and out of existence. Then it gets really unpredictable.

But unpredictable in this case simply could mean: according to rules we have yet to discover.

ParadigmShifter
Nov 04, 2011, 09:58 AM
That doesn't mean it's not predictable, merely that we missed a spot or variable...

Nope. It means we cannot measure the initial conditions to an arbitrary precision. Chaos Theory shows us that certain dynamical systems diverge wildly away from each other even when the starting condition differences are too small to be measured, and the underlying algorithm is the same, just applied to slightly different initial conditions.

Here's an image of a simulation of a pendulum being attracted to two magnets depending on where the magnet pendulum starts.

http://www.joakimlinde.se/img/pendulum.gif

In the chaotic regions the more you zoom in the more unpredictability arises, it's very difficult to tell whether a pixel is red or blue. All measurements are necessarily inaccurate, and this means in a chaotic region you cannot tell with any certainty where the pendulum will come to rest.

cardgame
Nov 04, 2011, 07:26 PM
Yeah, I should have amended my post with a 'necessarily'.

timtofly
Dec 07, 2011, 05:45 PM
Is it possible for a dinosaur bone to be correctly dated less than 10,000 years old?

If not why?

cardgame
Dec 07, 2011, 05:54 PM
No, because they all died out circa 65 mya.

civ2
Dec 07, 2011, 05:59 PM
I know I'll get attacked (at least mildly) for saying this, but:
Like I said recently in my thread and have mentioned quite a few times before - there is one thing that people take for granted, whereas if not taken so, it would change a lot.
What I'm talking about is the greatest cataclysm ever - the Flood.
It is quite clearly stated about it that during/after/because of it, the NATURE itself underwent a change.
That's my point ever to say when I talk about object age measurements.
If we do take this in consideration - then all those millions of dino-years have no sense, simply cause they are being predicted from our natural point, which isn't the same as before the Flood.
Meaning, there's no way to calculate real age of objects and/or events of pre-Flood age.
You can argue on that until that dino bone talks - but won't change the fact that scientists are basing their calculations on modern assumptions that might as well be irrelevant to such long ages.

Smellincoffee
Dec 07, 2011, 06:06 PM
I know I'll get attacked (at least mildly) for saying this, but:
Like I said recently in my thread and have mentioned quite a few times before - there is one thing that people take for granted, whereas if not taken so, it would change a lot.
What I'm talking about is the greatest cataclysm ever - the Flood.
It is quite clearly stated about it that during/after/because of it, the NATURE itself underwent a change.
That's my point ever to say when I talk about object age measurements.
If we do take this in consideration - then all those millions of dino-years have no sense, simply cause they are being predicted from our natural point, which isn't the same as before the Flood.
Meaning, there's no way to calculate real age of objects and/or events of pre-Flood age.
You can argue on that until that dino bone talks - but won't change the fact that scientists are basing their calculations on modern assumptions that might as well be irrelevant to such long ages.


:confused: What kind of dating meters are you thinking of that would be affected by rising water?

civ2
Dec 07, 2011, 06:14 PM
SC
Exactly my point:
For you, it's just "rising water", you don't regard it as really cataclismic.
But according to some commentaries, there were drastic changes in the entire nature of the Earth.
Like, for that entire year, there was no change of days/nights, whatever that means practically.
Actually, what I say is, WE don't know WHAT exactly the world BEFORE looked like, but we DO know that it WAS different.
That's all.

cardgame
Dec 07, 2011, 06:16 PM
SC
But according to some commentaries, there were drastic changes in the entire nature of the Earth.

And do they provide any evidence to back these 'comments'?


Like, for that entire year, there was no change of days/nights, whatever that means practically.

That's flat-out impossible.

Smellincoffee
Dec 07, 2011, 06:20 PM
SC
Exactly my point:
For you, it's just "rising water", you don't regard it as really cataclismic.
But according to some commentaries, there were drastic changes in the entire nature of the Earth.
Like, for that entire year, there was no change of days/nights, whatever that means practically.
Actually, what I say is, WE don't know WHAT exactly the world BEFORE looked like, but we DO know that it WAS different.
That's all.

Well, according to some commentaries, mythological literature has nothing to do with science. G'day.

civ2
Dec 07, 2011, 06:22 PM
Whatever.
I never hoped to prove anything to those who take bone puzzles for granted.:lol::lol::lol:
I'm just disappointed, not surprised.

Defiant47
Dec 07, 2011, 06:35 PM
Like, for that entire year, there was no change of days/nights, whatever that means practically.

It means that the Earth stopped spinning. The consequences of such an event would be greater than simply "nature gets rearranged". Life would never exist again on the Earth due to a variety of reasons, including the lack of magnetic protection from solar winds - Earth would become like Mars.

So, I'm sorry to say, such an occurrence is impossible.

Ayatollah So
Dec 07, 2011, 08:29 PM
In fact, the matter-energy duality of particles in quantum physics seens to indicate that there is no "Laplace's supermind", that the universe isn't, in it's most fundamental level, the deterministic place described by newtonian ideas, what makes the concept of a single "truth" to be little more than an intellectual excercize.

The best interpretation of current science favors indeterminism, I agree - but truth (small t!) is still with us. Many things may be possible, but only a few things actually happen.

A deterministic universe makes free will impossible

Disagree, because prediction =/= control. A friend who knows me well can predict some of my decisions. That doesn't make those decisions unfree.

cardgame
Dec 07, 2011, 08:36 PM
Disagree, because prediction =/= control. A friend who knows me well can predict some of my decisions. That doesn't make those decisions unfree.

DA: Your friend isn't going to be 100% correct all of the time, making him quite different from whatever actual determining force(s) may be present.

Crezth
Dec 07, 2011, 08:59 PM
SC
Exactly my point:
For you, it's just "rising water", you don't regard it as really cataclismic.
But according to some commentaries, there were drastic changes in the entire nature of the Earth.
Like, for that entire year, there was no change of days/nights, whatever that means practically.
Actually, what I say is, WE don't know WHAT exactly the world BEFORE looked like, but we DO know that it WAS different.
That's all.

This wouldn't affect carbon-dating in the slightest.

A lot of theories on early Earth are speculative, but I don't think any one of them proposes that the laws of physics were different at any point in time.

civ2
Dec 08, 2011, 03:20 AM
Crezth
You still think in the "scientific" way - nothing is changing.
But there are 2 possibilities considering the Flood that would make such approach erroneous:
1. It definitely WAS a miracle to begin with - and miracles are meant to defy physics.
2. Even if not so "miraculous" as to change the physics itself, still, it could had altered the environment to such an extent that it would alter all these calculations WITHIN our current laws of physics.
Either way, there is no way to be SURE about it.
And neither are scientific THEORIES.
So it's just a matter of CHOICE, which "theory" to believe in - "scientific" or "religious".
(And it's so funny, how people claim that "science knows all" in such topics, where it is IMPOSSIBLE to KNOW, rather than SPECULATE.:crazyeye:)

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 08, 2011, 03:51 AM
The difference in all this civ2 is evidence. You have: None. Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Ef all.

Where science needs it to even form a hypothesis. And the theory you so easily dismiss has more to it than just evidence. It has been tested and passed those test. Whereas your claims have been tested and found wanting.

Another difference is: Like, for that entire year, there was no change of days/nights, whatever that means practically
You brush this off as: "whatever that means practically". I take it you know what makes a day and a night. So you are very aware of what that means practically. And you need to brush is aside as an "whatever" since it is evidence, there's that nasty word again, against no change of day and night for a year.

You provide evidence, I (we) will listen and consider it. If you go: check this out, no evidence whatsoever to back it up, but you must consider it, you will be pointed and laughed at and you will be asked to take it elsewhere.

And again, for the zillionth time, Science does all but claim it knows all. No one in this thread claims it knows all. You continue to spout this nonsense while having been shown and explained time and time again it's not the case, which leads me to conclude you're either not listening/reading the replies or you're being dishonest. Either way you can take that strawman and shove it up your arse.

It's great to sneer at people who judge real evidence and who test that evidence against reality while satisfying yourself with: "But according to some commentaries". Why don't you do a little of introspection and see that you are way worse than the thing you are ridiculing. You settle for "according to some commentaries", so here goes. According to some commentaries you haven't got the foggiest what Science is and haven't got the willingness to find out or to listen when it's explained to you. According to some commentaries you need to embrace this wilful ignorance or you would have to accept that your incredibly inane notions about science are completely missing the point, the definition and the purpose. According to some commentaries you cannot afford the kind of scepticism science provides because turning that scepticism towards your world view would destroy it.

According to some commentaries. Not mine of course. No, no, no.
1. It definitely WAS a miracle to begin with - and miracles are meant to defy physics.
2. Even if not so "miraculous" as to change the physics itself, still, it could had altered the environment to such an extent that it would alter all these calculations WITHIN our current laws of physics.
3. It never happened. Which is the best conclusion until provided with ... *drumroll* ... evidence!

El_Machinae
Dec 08, 2011, 04:25 AM
Man, I know radiodating is controversial, but you should know that tree-ring dating disproves the Flood. And there's more than just tree-rings as biological indicators.

erez87
Dec 08, 2011, 04:44 AM
Man, I know radiodating is controversial, but you should know that tree-ring dating disproves the Flood. And there's more than just tree-rings as biological indicators.
Radio dating is not controversial at all. It is a well developed and deeply researched dating technique based on a stronger based physical phenomena (half life). Among the scientists there is no controversy on the subject. Only among those of faith.

El_Machinae
Dec 08, 2011, 05:05 AM
Yeah, we're agreeing. The concept of radiodating has been poisoned, and the flocks deceived. That's what I meant by 'controversial'. Churches have speakers come in, just to obfuscate the science. But "tree rings" is simple, intuitive, and well-known to all. And they disprove the Flood.

ArneHD
Dec 08, 2011, 05:29 AM
Man, I know radiodating is controversial, but you should know that tree-ring dating disproves the Flood. And there's more than just tree-rings as biological indicators.

Actually, carbon dating is based on tree ring dating, as C14 years are based on carbon collected from tree rings.

I'm not sure how well known the term C14 years is, but in essence, C14 ratios varies throughout the 60 000 year period when C14 dating is useful, so geologists came up with a chart, tying the carbon ratios in tree rings to specific years. Also of interest is the fact that all C14 years are defined as being BP or before present, the present being defined as 1950. This is because nuclear testing released radiation that caused the formation of C14 and generally messed up the dating system for things that are preserved during this time.

erez87
Dec 08, 2011, 05:36 AM
The calibration. It's pretty cool. They used trees to calibrate the carbon dating and than carbon dating to date trees to calibrate more carbon dating........

There are more radiometeic techniques...

Besides C14 isn't used to date dinosaurs anyway...

ArneHD
Dec 08, 2011, 05:43 AM
The calibration. It's pretty cool. They used trees to calibrate the carbon dating and than carbon dating to date trees to calibrate more carbon dating........

There are more radiometeic techniques...

Besides C14 isn't used to date dinosaurs anyway...

Not trying to argue anything, just thought that I would point it out.

Also, which method is used for dating dinosaur fossils anyway? I thought it was Argon-Argon, or Potassium-Argon, but both of those are for mineral dating. Maybe they just date the sediment the fossil is found in.

erez87
Dec 08, 2011, 05:50 AM
Not trying to argue anything, just thought that I would point it out.

Also, which method is used for dating dinosaur fossils anyway? I thought it was Argon-Argon, or Potassium-Argon, but both of those are for mineral dating. Maybe they just date the sediment the fossil is found in.
I think they date the sediment and from that draw the dinosaur age. After doing that a lot they can use the dinosaurs to calibrate sediment.

civ2
Dec 08, 2011, 05:52 AM
I don't think that the TREES would reflect an event of only ONE year long, especially which hardly even affected them.
The story of the Flood ends up with a bird bringing a LEAF from a tree - thus the TREES were unaffected by it.
Meaning, your "evidence" is pointless, cause it can't reflect the situation.
As of the cataclysm itself, like day/night thingy.
You say that it meant that the Earth stopped spinning.
But:
1. If the event was miraculous (and definitely it must've been, cause you don't get GLOBE-sized floods NATURALLY), then there was no problem for it to be "suspended" as part of that miracle.
2. Your premise is based on the Earth WE know.
But the Moon, for example, also doesn't have "Earth-light day and night" change, even though it still spins.
Just it's done through different conditions - always being turned the same side towards Earth.
Who said, you can't do similarly with the Earth towards Sun???
Oh, and if you imply that it would cause huge waves and other cataclysms - well, HELLO!
WHAT are we actually talking about if NOT THAT?!
Anyways, you can stick to your "evidence" - I'll stick to mine.
As long as it doesn't hurt anyone - I'm fine with it.:lol:

Camikaze
Dec 08, 2011, 05:57 AM
@civ2- I don't see many questions in your posts here. This is the 'Ask an atheist' thread, not the 'Ask civ2' thread. Please respect the point of this thread.

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 08, 2011, 06:18 AM
Back to some real questions.
Question from an apatheist.
Why bother?Many, many good reasons.

1. We're in a discussion board, which serves the purpose of exchanging ideas. Before I came here, I only discussed these issues with Catholic Christians. While posting here I have found wildly different ideas from all kinds of flavours of Christians, Buddhists and Muslims. Drawing the conclusion that the perceived differences between all of us are smaller than we'd like to think.
2. I am not infallible. I need to test and adjust my world view according to new information and insights. The only way to do this is to throw them out there and have others comment on them. Again, when I just started posting here, my ideas with regard to atheism and theism were quite different. For instance I didn't know the concept of the "God Alone Is" God. Really freaky and interesting way to look at God. Which I have PunkBass to thank for in this thread (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422051).
3. Proselyting doubt (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=371182). Too many people are too sure of themselves so they don't allow consideration of new ideas, before judging them. It's great to go along in an idea until you get to the point where the idea fails to deliver.

A "real" atheist, in my opinion, shouldn't even have an opinion about the topic.All a real atheist needs is no believe in God. No other qualifications are needed :)
If someone comes claiming his pen is going to fall upward when he drops it, I don't start a debate. I simply dismiss him as drunk, on drugs, mentally challenged or very ignorant.I'd want to know what makes him think that. If it turns out he's drunk, on drugs or mentally challenged, I can still dismiss him. If it's very ignorant, I can try to reason. If it's wilful ignorance, I can still dismiss him.

In other words, by engaging in discussion I lose nothing (ok, I lose time, but I'm here to kill that anyway) and probably gain nothing. Still, those odds are good enough for me :)

El_Machinae
Dec 08, 2011, 06:41 AM
Is it possible for a dinosaur bone to be correctly dated less than 10,000 years old?

If not why?

Well, first there'd have to be some organic carbon in it, and be an actual bone. I think you should check out the difference between a 'fossil' and a 'bone'. There's a reason why we have a lot of mammoth bones and why we have a lot of dinosaur fossils.

Defiant47
Dec 08, 2011, 07:08 AM
I don't think that the TREES would reflect an event of only ONE year long, especially which hardly even affected them.
The story of the Flood ends up with a bird bringing a LEAF from a tree - thus the TREES were unaffected by it.
Meaning, your "evidence" is pointless, cause it can't reflect the situation.
As of the cataclysm itself, like day/night thingy.
You say that it meant that the Earth stopped spinning.
But:
1. If the event was miraculous (and definitely it must've been, cause you don't get GLOBE-sized floods NATURALLY), then there was no problem for it to be "suspended" as part of that miracle.
2. Your premise is based on the Earth WE know.
But the Moon, for example, also doesn't have "Earth-light day and night" change, even though it still spins.
Just it's done through different conditions - always being turned the same side towards Earth.
Who said, you can't do similarly with the Earth towards Sun???
Oh, and if you imply that it would cause huge waves and other cataclysms - well, HELLO!
WHAT are we actually talking about if NOT THAT?!
Anyways, you can stick to your "evidence" - I'll stick to mine.
As long as it doesn't hurt anyone - I'm fine with it.:lol:

Have you read the gospels of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? At least the FSM claims that all its miracles were covered up so that we wouldn't know. Your Bible makes no such claims.

Which is the more likely to be true, HMMM?

Smellincoffee
Dec 08, 2011, 07:12 AM
Out of curiosity, any atheists and nonreligious readers here going to church for whatever reason this Christmas season? (Thinking of that recent news article about atheists bringing their kids to church for Christmas..)

I am, but I rather like the crowd (and atmosphere) at the local Episcopal church, so I show up there fairly regularly. Good music.

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 08, 2011, 07:21 AM
Nope. The Dutch churches aren't as lively as the ones I saw in the States. If they had been I would likely have visited just for that.

El_Machinae
Dec 08, 2011, 07:56 AM
I just attended a memorial for a loved one. The sermon was longer than the eulogies. Unfortunately, the sermon was by a YECer who believed my loved one had a 'deathbed conversion'.

Firstly, can people please help us cure aging, like proactively? Because I'm tired of funerals for loved ones. And secondly, the sermon was very unsatisfying. It provided zero comfort to the non-believers, and was only focused on the believers. I almost felt like it was rude, we hired a pastor to help us with the memorial, but he had nothing to say for the non-believers. We have to generate our own closure, which there is very little of. The 'good news' is that he's no longer in pain? The 'good news' is that Christians think he's in Heaven? Please: it's a goddamn tragedy he was in pain, death is a piss-poor 'solution' to suffering.

Ajidica
Dec 08, 2011, 08:00 AM
Out of curiosity, any atheists and nonreligious readers here going to church for whatever reason this Christmas season? (Thinking of that recent news article about atheists bringing their kids to church for Christmas..)

I am, but I rather like the crowd (and atmosphere) at the local Episcopal church, so I show up there fairly regularly. Good music.
Yep. My family always goes to Christmas Eve mass and then have egg salad for dinner.
Plus we get to play the "Which choir kid will faint?" game. There is one each year.

Kyriakos
Dec 08, 2011, 08:05 AM
I doubt i will be going to church, although i used to be interested due to the 7th century AD Byzantine architecture.
But most priests here are appalling, and i want nothing to do with them. Seems like everyone who is an utter failure becomes a priest...

plarq
Dec 08, 2011, 08:11 AM
I just attended a memorial for a loved one. The sermon was longer than the eulogies. Unfortunately, the sermon was by a YECer who believed my loved one had a 'deathbed conversion'.

Firstly, can people please help us cure aging, like proactively? Because I'm tired of funerals for loved ones. And secondly, the sermon was very unsatisfying. It provided zero comfort to the non-believers, and was only focused on the believers. I almost felt like it was rude, we hired a pastor to help us with the memorial, but he had nothing to say for the non-believers. We have to generate our own closure, which there is very little of. The 'good news' is that he's no longer in pain? The 'good news' is that Christians think he's in Heaven? Please: it's a goddamn tragedy he was in pain, death is a piss-poor 'solution' to suffering.

Well, curing patients is not pastor's job.

warpus
Dec 08, 2011, 08:51 AM
The best interpretation of current science favors indeterminism, I agree - but truth (small t!) is still with us. Many things may be possible, but only a few things actually happen.



Disagree, because prediction =/= control. A friend who knows me well can predict some of my decisions. That doesn't make those decisions unfree.

If he can predict exactly what you are going to do, then you have no free will in doing what you want. If you think of your actions as a tree (kind of like a tree of possible chess moves) then you'd be confined to one particular path along the tree. If you had free will you'd be able to pick a different path.

timtofly
Dec 08, 2011, 10:24 AM
Well, first there'd have to be some organic carbon in it, and be an actual bone. I think you should check out the difference between a 'fossil' and a 'bone'. There's a reason why we have a lot of mammoth bones and why we have a lot of dinosaur fossils.

So there have never been any dinosaur bones found that are not fossilized?

warpus
Dec 08, 2011, 11:22 AM
So there have never been any dinosaur bones found that are not fossilized?

Fossilization preserves bones. No other process can do that, IIRC.

erez87
Dec 08, 2011, 12:18 PM
No. But left overs of organic materials have been found. Not bone thou...

peter grimes
Dec 08, 2011, 01:26 PM
So there have never been any dinosaur bones found that are not fossilized?

I'm not aware of any, but I suppose it's possible - just supremely unlikely. You'd need an organism to die in such a way that the body is sealed away in an anoxic ph neutral environment that doesn't undergo any geomorphological processes for 65,000 millenia. Nowhere on earth fits this... even the driest places on earth don't stay that way for more than a few million years.

Within our own lineage we find that the last common ancestor with chimps and bonobos is already beyond the fossilization horizon, and that's 1/10 the amount of time since the dinosaurs died out. It's not until we get into more recent ancestors (100kya) that we see bones that are either not fossilized or partially fossilized.

I'm hoping this helps answer your question... though part of me suspects that you're leading up to something
the AiG spat with UM

timtofly
Dec 08, 2011, 02:34 PM
I'm not aware of any, but I suppose it's possible - just supremely unlikely. You'd need an organism to die in such a way that the body is sealed away in an anoxic ph neutral environment that doesn't undergo any geomorphological processes for 65,000 millenia. Nowhere on earth fits this... even the driest places on earth don't stay that way for more than a few million years.

Within our own lineage we find that the last common ancestor with chimps and bonobos is already beyond the fossilization horizon, and that's 1/10 the amount of time since the dinosaurs died out. It's not until we get into more recent ancestors (100kya) that we see bones that are either not fossilized or partially fossilized.

I'm hoping this helps answer your question... though part of me suspects that you're leading up to something
the AiG spat with UM

Is this not an assumption? Why does it have to be 65,000 years old? That is my question. You have seemed to conclude that no dinosaurs can be younger than that. Why?

My next point, to not leave you hanging, is the hypothetical I asked. What if a bone like that existed? Would it be dismissed as an abnormality and why?

Please don't say the mountain of evidence, I have already heard that answer. IMO it is conveniently hiding the....

Maniacal
Dec 08, 2011, 03:10 PM
65,000 millenia is 65,000,000 years. While I think it would be incredibly awesome and amazing and probably wet myself a little bit if we found even part of a dinosaur (or other creature or plant) in such a perfectly preserved condition, the chance is so incredibly small I just don't see it ever happening :(

If we did find one, I don't know why it would be dismissed unless it is never properly recorded, tested, dated etc. So unless you're suggesting species which have been extinct for 65 MILLION years lived 10,000 years ago I don't know what your point is.

Ceoladir
Dec 08, 2011, 04:11 PM
Science > Religion imo

El_Machinae
Dec 08, 2011, 04:13 PM
There is a known dinosaur bed that has not completely fossilized. It's big news, and a headliner in the primary scientific literature.

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110614/full/news.2011.369.html

It's not completely certain that the tissue found is from the animals, or from something that lived in the bones after the animals died. It's a bit of a running debate, in the primary scientific literature.

Lillefix
Dec 08, 2011, 04:21 PM
I might be going to church this Christmas. It's up to my mother. As always. I find it quite boring though, and hope to avoid it. And there are so many people.

And the nitpicker in me has to point out that the dinosaurs never went completely extinct, but evolved into birds. Consequently we have lots of dinosaur bones around. Just not the cool kind.

warpus
Dec 08, 2011, 04:58 PM
Penguins are dinosaurs

Gamemaster77
Dec 08, 2011, 05:29 PM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death? Do you feel said believing that when you die your just gone forever? What about the point of living; what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it? What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?

Defiant47
Dec 08, 2011, 07:01 PM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death?

I try not to worry about it too much.

Do you feel said believing that when you die your just gone forever?

Pretty much. It's the sad truth of life. No point in getting upset about it any more than getting upset that I wasn't born as an Egyptian king with boundless wealth, power, and slaves.

What about the point of living; what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it?

Well, I generally try to make others happy beyond just myself, to make a difference.

I have already rejected the notion that the idea that the present is fleeting means that attempting to better the present is pointless.

What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?

What else is there to do?

Ayatollah So
Dec 08, 2011, 08:20 PM
DA: Your friend isn't going to be 100% correct all of the time, making him quite different from whatever actual determining force(s) may be present.

So, you admit that my predicted acts are free: this leaves you with the need for an explanation of why some predicted acts are free while others supposedly can't be. Also, suppose I tell my friend what I am about to do in every case. Now he can predict every action.

If he can predict exactly what you are going to do, then you have no free will in doing what you want. If you think of your actions as a tree (kind of like a tree of possible chess moves) then you'd be confined to one particular path along the tree. If you had free will you'd be able to pick a different path.

Non sequiturs. I am able to pick a different path. I won't pick a different path; that doesn't mean I can't.

Gamemaster77
Dec 08, 2011, 08:35 PM
What else is there to do?

I just think of the question "Would you have rather you not been born?". Of course if you have life you might as well live it out but otherwise would you have rather have not had to have built up such emotions, material worth, thoughts, and other stuff only to be tossed into the ground?

Maniacal
Dec 08, 2011, 08:42 PM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death?
As much as I dislike the thought of not existing again, death is inevitable and there is no point in worrying too much about it. Just enjoy your life and be a good person, and I have no need to lie to myself that everything is magically better after death.

Do you feel said believing that when you die your just gone forever?
Yes and no. While I don't look forward to it I also don't know which idea scares me more, living forever or having an ending.

What about the point of living
Besides the biological need to reproduce, enjoying life, being a good person and not trying to harm others is reason enough.

what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it?
Not living a happy life would be extremely pointless and a waste of your life. Besides, there is no guarantees you will remember everything you did in life in the afterlife anyway. Not too mention lots of people spend and have spent their lives accumulating great wealth and power in the name of religion (priests are often holders of wealth and power), none of which matters after they die (and certainly isn't helping them get into heaven or whatever).

What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?
I assume it is somehow tied to the biological need to reproduce, but I really have no idea why people (regardless of beliefs) feel the need to leave a legacy. A legacy isn't important if there is an afterlife or not too.

Smellincoffee
Dec 08, 2011, 09:10 PM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death? Do you feel said believing that when you die your just gone forever? What about the point of living; what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it? What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?

I've never had a problem with death, never wanted an afterlife.

As for the point of living...I'd say living IS the point. I'm here; I see no reason not to embrace the fact. And sure, all of our actions are ultimately pointless, but who needs an ultimate point? What's the point of eating when you're going to die eventually? Why start running if you have to stop sooner or later?

Because running is fun. Human beings do not need to be masters of the universe and possessors of some 'ultimate truth' to enjoy themselves and lead fulfilling lives.

warpus
Dec 08, 2011, 09:19 PM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death? Do you feel said believing that when you die your just gone forever?

I don't feel sad believing that there is nothing after life, because what I believe doesn't affect reality.

I feel an uneasy suspense about death from time to time because I know it's coming.. but I don't really spend too much time dwelling on it. It happens to everyone, so.. I will deal with it when the time comes.

What about the point of living

For me? The point of living is to explore the Earth, meet new people, have meaningful relationships with them, eat bacon, play and watch soccer, drink beer, fondle women, build web applications, and play video games... and read! and a whole bunch of other stuff.

For you it's probably different, but at least what we know for sure is that you at least enjoy bacon unless you're Jewish or Muslim.

what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it?

Of course one day you are not going to remember anything, because one day you're going to be senile... and then dead.

If you want to go living through life like an emo kid just cause one day you're not going to remember anything then you're just doing it wrong. Life is about experiencing the now and enjoying the company of other people.. among other things.

Finding enjoyment in the NOW is a fundamental human quality.. I think. We can all do it. That's the answer to your questoin.

What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?

We don't know that at all. Who knows what the future holds.

One day the continents are going to look a lot different, due to them slowly moving over time... This means that eventually there is not going to be a New York. Does that mean that we should just abandon it? I hope not :)

warpus
Dec 08, 2011, 09:21 PM
Non sequiturs. I am able to pick a different path. I won't pick a different path; that doesn't mean I can't.

If you can pick a different path, then how can your friend predict which one you're going to take? Can he read your mind?

Whiskey_Lord
Dec 08, 2011, 09:29 PM
Better question: what is the point of obsessing over whether life has an intrinsic purpose or not? Seems like human vanity to me. I'm just thankful to be alive despite all the misery religion has caused me. I'm not going to whine about the fact that someday I have to go back to how I was before I was born.

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 09, 2011, 01:47 AM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death?Same as most theists I guess.
Do you feel sad believing that when you die your just gone forever?Of course. But wishing it were different doesn't make it so.
What about the point of living; what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it?How don;t I remember it? I remember it every day I'm alive.

What I find puzzling is how people spend time worrying about the afterlife instead of this life.
What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?I'm not too concerned with leaving a legacy.

bathsheba666
Dec 09, 2011, 02:20 AM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death? I don't think of it that often.
I worked all that out a long time ago, no need to dwell on past thoughts unless they are particularly interesting.
Do you feel said believing that when you die your just gone forever?
No.
I wasn't feeling sad before I was born; and I'm hardly likely to afterwards.
What about the point of living;
What's your point ?
what is the point of doing things to make yourself happy in life you are not going to remember any of it?
I remember it now; that is sufficient.
What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?
They will remember it then; that is sufficient.

Actually, which is more sad?

Living the few years you have in an honest and enjoyable manner and confronting the realities of existence, as needed?.
Or spending the only time you have obsessing about a delusion; a consensual hallucination about a fairy - all in order to gain a purchase over some time that doesn't exist ?

l9zcLAUp5E0

Dr Hook understood, they just had the wrong target.

Maniacal
Dec 09, 2011, 02:45 AM
Better question: what is the point of obsessing over whether life has an intrinsic purpose or not? Seems like human vanity to me. I'm just thankful to be alive despite all the misery religion has caused me. I'm not going to whine about the fact that someday I have to go back to how I was before I was born.

I'm pretty bloody happy just to be a young white male and Canadian. It gives me a potential advantage in enjoying my life the way I want to that many people don't have.

I think a lot of people I know really take a lot for granted.

El_Machinae
Dec 09, 2011, 03:49 AM
How do some of you atheists deal with the prospect of death?

It pisses me right the hell off. Lots of theists implicitly want to live forever, but I explicitly do so. I'd prefer a world where the only human death was voluntary, and involuntary death is (to me) a giant injustice and tragedy.

To me the question is like "how do you feel about being mutilated slowly by war with the tribe over the hill?"

"Oh, happens to everyone, I guess. I try not to think about it. Oh, I exercise, you know, just in case, so I can fight better, but I know eventually I'll be mutilated by that enemy tribe"

That's just NOT the right answer! No, I'm not interested in being mutilated to death. I'm not interested in watching my loved ones being mutilated to death. Heck, or strangers. You know what could defeat that enemy tribe? Technology, resources, wisdom, focus.

JonBonham
Dec 09, 2011, 03:59 AM
What is the point of leaving behind a legacy and affecting other people if eventually all of the humans are going to be dead anyway, even if it is far in the future?

They are going to all be dead anyways even in the religious PoV? If heaven is mans future and all that, why do theists bother on caring for planet and leaving a legacy?

I hope to get an answer from you but since its also an ask an atheist thread, the point of all that is that because all we have is this world and this life, and so what matter's is what we do with it. To put it in someone else's words,

"If there's no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. If there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world."

Gamemaster77
Dec 09, 2011, 05:36 AM
They are going to all be dead anyways even in the religious PoV? If heaven is mans future and all that, why do theists bother on caring for planet and leaving a legacy?

Most theists I know believe life now is like practice for the after life. You need to gain everything now so you know who you are in the afterlife.

We don't know that at all. Who knows what the future holds.

One day the continents are going to look a lot different, due to them slowly moving over time... This means that eventually there is not going to be a New York. Does that mean that we should just abandon it? I hope not :)

Well I am talking about the way distant future, when the sun runs out of juice, a black hole gets a little too close, a sun explodes, or the universe starts shrinking again.

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 09, 2011, 06:06 AM
Most theists I know believe life now is like practice for the after life. You need to gain everything now so you know who you are in the afterlife.Most theists I know say they believe that, but then go on to live their live exactly as I do. As if there is no afterlife. So I'm not so sure whether they actually believe in the afterlife, or it's just something they tell themselves.

Because when you think about it, believing in an afterlife would mean drastic changes in how you live your life. Much more drastic than theists usually display.

mayor
Dec 09, 2011, 06:54 AM
Most theists I know say they believe that, but then go on to live their live exactly as I do. As if there is no afterlife. So I'm not so sure whether they actually believe in the afterlife, or it's just something they tell themselves.

Because when you think about it, believing in an afterlife would mean drastic changes in how you live your life. Much more drastic than theists usually display.

why? isn't the reverse also a possibility? You living the life that would lead you to said afterlife?
(I am assuming we are talking about the afterlife that is heaven and leave hell out of the picture for the sake of simplifying things and me assuming you lead a "good" life :))

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 09, 2011, 07:03 AM
why? isn't the reverse also a possibility? You living the life that would lead you to said afterlife?How? I have no theories which tell me how to get to that afterlife, and I'm not taking anyone's word for it. So how can I live my life to get there?
(I am assuming we are talking about the afterlife that is heaven and leave hell out of the picture for the sake of simplifying things and me assuming you lead a "good" life :))Ok. Tell me what's more important in this life than everlasting happiness in Heaven? Not a thing. You would spend your entire life dedicated to that everlasting happiness, instead of worrying about a job for instance.

El_Machinae
Dec 09, 2011, 07:05 AM
Well I am talking about the way distant future, when the sun runs out of juice, a black hole gets a little too close, a sun explodes, or the universe starts shrinking again.

Well, those are all separate problems, and so should be tackled based on priority. But yeah, I honestly have spent time thinking about the heat death of the universe. My current reasoning is that the solution (or lack thereof) is probably not visible to me now. But (shamlessly) I spend time reading about baby universes.

Most theists I know say they believe that, but then go on to live their live exactly as I do. As if there is no afterlife. So I'm not so sure whether they actually believe in the afterlife, or it's just something they tell themselves.

Because when you think about it, believing in an afterlife would mean drastic changes in how you live your life. Much more drastic than theists usually display.

Oh, yeah. Very much. But keep in mind people's behaviour despite things they know, know. Everyone 'believes' in diabetes, and 'knows' it leads to potential decades of suffering ... and yet.

Leoreth
Dec 09, 2011, 07:18 AM
Out of curiosity, any atheists and nonreligious readers here going to church for whatever reason this Christmas season? (Thinking of that recent news article about atheists bringing their kids to church for Christmas..)

I am, but I rather like the crowd (and atmosphere) at the local Episcopal church, so I show up there fairly regularly. Good music.
I'm an atheist and I'll definitely go to church on Christmas Eve. It's the traditional "everyone including non-believers or in-name-only Christians goes to church" day in Germany. It's part of my family's Christmas ritual and I like it. Plus, singing (liturgical) Christmas songs is fun, more so than what's typically sung in our Lutheran church, and it's the only day where there's actually enough people that it sounds good (we're the minority in a Catholic-dominated region, half of the usual attendants are made up of Orthodox Russo-German immigrants even).

I consider the bible readings and the sermon to be rather dry, clichedly obvious and dispensable, but I wouldn't want to miss the rest of it.

mayor
Dec 09, 2011, 07:18 AM
How? I have no theories which tell me how to get to that afterlife, and I'm not taking anyone's word for it. So how can I live my life to get there?

aah, but that is in the assumption you need to believe in an afterlife in order to reach it.
what if you could reach afterlife without believing in it?
In that case it is possible for you to live your life in a way that leads to said afterlife, is it not?

and you have theories of how the get to that afterlife, or at least they are accessible to you. You just don't believe those, right? :)

Ok. Tell me what's more important in this life than everlasting happiness in Heaven? Not a thing. You would spend your entire life dedicated to that everlasting happiness, instead of worrying about a job for instance.

I am a bit confused.. are you making a statement that the afterlife is more or less important than life on earth?

peter grimes
Dec 09, 2011, 07:29 AM
Is this not an assumption? Why does it have to be 65,000 years old? That is my question. You have seemed to conclude that no dinosaurs can be younger than that. Why?

My next point, to not leave you hanging, is the hypothetical I asked. What if a bone like that existed? Would it be dismissed as an abnormality and why?

Please don't say the mountain of evidence, I have already heard that answer. IMO it is conveniently hiding the....

No, it's not an assumption. It's not the case that no dinosaurs can be younger than that, rather that we don't encounter any. If dinosaurs hadn't died out (or evolved into birds) I'm sure we'd still see many forms today. But we don't. Because they died. It's not like there's a restriction placed on the dating of dinosaur bones by us - the dating of dinosaur bones shows that they by and large went extinct 65,000,000.

For the longest time this was a huge mystery - the dinosaurs are prolific in the strata throughout 100,000,000 years. Then at 65,000,000 years ago there's a literal line in the rocks above which we don't find dinosaurs. Sure, there are some stray finds here and there, but it's nothing compared to the number of finds below that line. So scientists reach the conlcusion - based on that mountain of evidence you reject - that dinosaurs by and large went extinct 65,000,000 years ago.

If a dinosaur skeleton were found that seemed, from stratigraphic context, to be only 20,000,000 years old it would be pretty shocking. There would be a ton of justifiable skepticism, different teams would try and imagine ways of explaining this outlier, labs would test and re-test, hunting for sources of contamination.

But it certainly wouldn't overturn everything else we already know about the history of life on earth, the evolution and diversity of species, the fact we too evolved from ancestors with whom, if you go back far enough, we share common ancestors with every other living creature on earth today.

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 09, 2011, 07:42 AM
aah, but that is in the assumption you need to believe in an afterlife in order to reach it.Well, you first need to believe the afterlife exists, so you can have criteria to get into it. If I don't know the criteria, how can I live my life to get into the afterlife.
what if you could reach afterlife without believing in it?
In that case it is possible for you to live your life in a way that leads to said afterlife, is it not?It would be a fluke. But I would make no decisions in life which are influenced by it.
and you have theories of how the get to that afterlife, or at least they are accessible to you. You just don't believe those, right? :)There are many stories of how to get into the afterlife. They don't all coincide. Any similarities to those and how I live my life are incidental. Do I pick the Christian Criteria, and if so which specific one? Maybe rather the Muslim or Buddhist way? The thing is, if I live according to the criteria of one, I'm breaking the criteria of another.

I am a bit confused.. are you making a statement that the afterlife is more or less important than life on earth?Much, much, much more important. Eternity and all that jazz.

mayor
Dec 09, 2011, 08:10 AM
Well, you first need to believe the afterlife exists, so you can have criteria to get into it. If I don't know the criteria, how can I live my life to get into the afterlife.

matter of opinion, or believe if you will, if you ask me, I believe that you don't nessecarily need to believe in afterlive in order to reach it.

not knowing the criteria are less important than the actual way you live your life (at least that is how I see it (I've got the feeling we're getting back to the discussion of multiple interpretations :p))
Even without knowing the criteria you can live by them, most of them are based on living you life with respect for others.


It would be a fluke. But I would make no decisions in life which are influenced by it.

welll, obviously.. if it was a fluke you wouldn't know it beforehand :p

There are many stories of how to get into the afterlife. They don't all coincide. Any similarities to those and how I live my life are incidental. Do I pick the Christian Criteria, and if so which specific one? Maybe rather the Muslim or Buddhist way? The thing is, if I live according to the criteria of one, I'm breaking the criteria of another.

like I said. the basis of all these criteria is respect for others. besides I don't belief that breaking 1 or a few criteria blocks the way to the afterlife. Some of the criteria are outdated anyway... I don't feel the need to follow those, don't think that'll block te way to the afterlife

Much, much, much more important. Eternity and all that jazz.

I'm actually quite surprised to hear that from an atheist.


NB. Afterlife is one of the things about my believe I have the most trouble with understanding. Everything I say are attempts to getter a better grasp on it myself. Heck, this whole discussion is :)

Ziggy Stardust
Dec 09, 2011, 08:47 AM
I'm actually quite surprised to hear that from an atheist.Mind that I am arguing from the perspective there is an afterlife. I don't believe there is one, so I'm not bothered at all. If I did believe in an afterlife I would spend my entire life making sure I get there. Since this life is finite, and the afterlife eternal it is much more important. If you believe in it.

If I place myself in your position, I'd be scared as hell (pun intended). You seem to believe in afterlife, but not in a set criteria to get there. For you there's an eternity at stake and only uncertainty about how to get there. Since you don't seem to be scared to death (again ... intended) I don't believe you believe in an afterlife, or you do but haven't thought it through.

warpus
Dec 09, 2011, 09:01 AM
Well I am talking about the way distant future, when the sun runs out of juice, a black hole gets a little too close, a sun explodes, or the universe starts shrinking again.

You really don't see any purpose in life because the Universe will start shrinking at some point in the far future..? (which I don't think is true at all anyway)

Do you refuse to watch TV shows because one day there will be a series finale and the whole thing will be over?

In that case it is possible for you to live your life in a way that leads to said afterlife, is it not?

Yeah, but.. How am I (as an atheist) supposed to know what sort of life to lead to reach the afterlife?

There are countless of religions out there claiming some sort of an arterlife. They each claim different things about it and none of them have any sort of evidence that their afterlife is real and the other ones aren't.

It's impossible to live your life based on the dogma of a dozen religions, all at once. And what if it is some minor or even extinct religion was right about the afterlife? Or none of them and the afterlife is something entirely different, if it exists? It makes it utterly impossible to do what you propose.

mayor
Dec 09, 2011, 09:02 AM
Mind that I am arguing from the perspective there is an afterlife. I don't believe there is one, so I'm not bothered at all. If I did believe in an afterlife I would spend my entire life making sure I get there. Since this life is finite, and the afterlife eternal it is much more important. If you believe in it.

If I place myself in your position, I'd be scared as hell (pun intended). You seem to believe in afterlife, but not in a set criteria to get there. For you there's an eternity at stake and only uncertainty about how to get there. Since you don't seem to be scared to death (again ... intended) I don't believe you believe in an afterlife, or you do but haven't thought it through.

:lol: nice puns

yes I believe in afterlife and have thought it through, but, as a I said, it is, for me, the most difficult part of my believe.
I'm indeed not afraid as hell for death (:p) for I know/believe I'll reach the (good) afterlife the way I live my life currently no matter in what form it will manifest itself. maybe I'll find out someday (before I die) maybe not :)

For me, God, hasn't got a checklist on which he checks if you have accumulated enough "points". If you live you life with good inentions I believe you reach eternal happiness.