Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but only for believers

Thinking about God may make you less upset about making errors, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The researchers measured brain waves for a particular kind of distress-response while participants made mistakes on a test. Those who had been prepared with religious thoughts had a less prominent response to mistakes than those who hadn't.

"Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs," says Michael Inzlicht, who cowrote the study with Alexa Tullett, both at the University of Toronto Scarborough. "I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve."

With two experiments, the researchers showed that when people think about religion and , their brains respond differently—in a way that lets them take setbacks in stride and react with less distress to anxiety-provoking mistakes. Participants either wrote about religion or did a scrambled word task that included religion and God-related words. Then the researchers recorded their as they completed a computerized task—one that was chosen because it has a high rate of errors. The results showed that when people were primed to think about religion and God, either consciously or unconsciously, brain activity decreases in areas consistent with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), an area associated with a number of things, including regulating bodily states of arousal and serving an alerting function when things are going wrong, including when we make mistakes.

Interestingly, atheists reacted differently; when they were unconsciously primed with God-related ideas, their ACC increased its activity. The researchers suggest that for religious people, thinking about God may provide a way of ordering the world and explaining apparently random events and thus reduce their of distress. In contrast, for atheists, thoughts of God may contradict the meaning systems they embrace and thus cause them more distress.

"Thinking about religion makes you calm under fire. It makes you less distressed when you've made an error," says Inzlicht. "We think this can help us understand some of the really interesting findings about people who are religious. Although not unequivocal, there is some evidence that religious people live longer and they tend to be happier and healthier." Atheists shouldn't despair, though. "We think this can occur with any meaning system that provides structure and helps people understand their world." Maybe atheists would do better if they were primed to think about their own beliefs, he says.


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Aug 04, 2010
I know that thinking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster gives me great comfort.

Aug 04, 2010
I get the same result thinking about my cats. Does this mean I "believe" in cats? Since you cannot really think about "God" any more than an ant can conceive of a president, the subjects were thinking about the quiet of a church, meditation or prayer - the kind of activity associated with "God" in our culture. I would expect that, if you could get an Islamic Jihadist to participate, you would get entirely different results.

Aug 04, 2010
@ marjon:

The empirical evidence shows that atheists in Western societies have a definite sense of morality. Refer to sociologist Phil Zuckerman's paper, "Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions":

http://www.pitzer...eism.pdf

Aug 04, 2010
If one system embraced is that man is supreme and leads to a concept that human rights are not inherent, not unalienable, then we return to the more savage state that man has existed in for millennia.


This is the straw man argument that theists are always trying to push about atheists. In fact, atheists are more likely to have strong, consistent moral values than theists. What theists have is a laundry list of rules, that you must follow OR ELSE. Not the same as a moral system.

In fact, IMO it is impossible even in principle for theists to create a real consistent moral system.

Aug 04, 2010
To suggest that morals must come from a deity or be transcendental is to suggest that morals are useless. If morals are useful they can be derived by their use. No god required.

Aug 04, 2010
So morons are happy, and they have low standards. If you lobotomized subjects they wouldn't be bothered about test results either. Tell a bunch of christers they will be crucified if they fail and they'll start having so many snuff movie flashbacks their scores will be impaired.
Superstition is a failure. It's like eating faeces. The reaction to the lies of religion should be the same as the reaction to 2 girls 1 cup.

Aug 04, 2010
What I get from this article is that religious people are more numb to failure. "It makes you less distressed when you've made an error." In other words they don't care about being correct. So "ignorance is bliss". Until your errors end up killing people. I think errors should make you stressed.

Aug 04, 2010
What systems do atheists embrace?


System in regards to what?

I will not speak for atheists, because those who call themselves atheist do not necessarily have ANYTHING else in common...

If you are referring to a belief system then I for one believe in that which is rational to believe in, that which is supported by evidence.

If one system embraced is that man is supreme


I do not nor do I know of any atheist who would state that.

The statement would be meaningless without context... eg. supreme in what regard?

and leads to a concept that human rights are not inherent, not unalienable


Human rights are not inherent, and they are not unalienable, this makes the fact that we have them ever more significant.

then we return to the more savage state that man has existed in for millennia.


Wow, what a non-sequitur...

The recognition that human rights are not inherent does not automatically cause us to undermine them.

I mean, come on...

Aug 04, 2010
Part I

"Although not unequivocal, there is some evidence that religious people live longer and they tend to be happier and healthier."

When Stephen Hawking got ALS he was given a life expectancy of two or three years. That was 47 years ago, although he is an Atheist. It shows that you don't have to believe in god in order to "make(s) you calm under fire" and live a long and happy life. I don't like to use arguments like this because that are only special cases, but I know that if Hawking had been religious every christian would have said: "That's a true miracle, a proof of god!"

I think that what gives Stephen Hawking his strength is the thinking that since those two years everything has been a bonus. He knows that we are only spec is in a giant universe and he appreciates the wonderful fact that we can perceive the beauty of nature. Such thoughts give you a lot of freedom, you get relieved from all responsibilities and worries, just enjoy this short but beautyful life!

Aug 04, 2010
Part II

In modern society moste people just make the mistake that due to modern technology and media they overestimate the importance of us human beings and they get depressed by the responsibility to do everything right. To relax you have just to think realistically and remember that there is something greater, either god or the universe. However, I would prefer the second possibility, because then I don't have to go through the pain of lying to myself.
Well, and if you still prefer to get relaxed through religion instead of reasoning I want to remind you all that the calming effect of religion was known long before this survey. I'll remind you of this famous quote: " Religion is the opium of the people."

Aug 04, 2010
Research has shown that a sense of personal purpose and control over things in our lives not only reduces stress but also contributes to personal happiness. Yet everyone understands that we do not control everything. Believers find comfort in knowing that a loving God is looking after the things that are beyond their control. Non-believers, on the other hand, exist without a sense of purpose and assume that things beyond their control are merely random events. To cope with such an inately distressing belief system non-believers live in constant denial and try to get rid of any reminder of what is missing in their lives. So the mere mention of God is upsetting to them, and such upset is often to a degree that appears irrationally excessive. In essence, just like a person who feels poor is bothered by reminders that most people are better off, non-believers are bothered by reminders of God because it reminds them of what they are missing.

Aug 04, 2010
What systems do atheists embrace?

That is a meaningless question as atheists do not have a common ground: _Not_ believing in something does not make a group. That would be like saying that all people who don't believe in unicorns share a coomon philosophy.

As for morality: Atheists have a chance to understand morality while believers must simply accept it (no understanding is required of them or even possible, since the rules come from 'on high' on no one can know the mind of god)

In normal circumstances the effect is the same whether yu just follow a set of morals like a slave or whether it is something you have understood/derived for yourself. It is only in critical situations where the former group fails and the latter group excells.

Aug 04, 2010
Non-believers, on the other hand, exist without a sense of purpose


Can you explain why you are assuming this?

Or are you asserting that gods purpose is the only possible purpose?

and assume that things beyond their control are merely random events.


This is untrue. In fact, most atheists I know do not believe in random events...

To cope with such an inately distressing belief system


Given that you know nothing of an atheists belief system I don't think you should be making such claims about them.

non-believers live in constant denial


No, we don't.

The rest of what you have written is pure bullshit and does not deserve a response, or any respect.


Aug 04, 2010
Yes, fear of the unknown is scary. Does that mean theists tend to be cowardly? Am I more brave for believing in the potential abilities of human kind?

I would rather have my evidence-based theories remove that fear than the ancient writings of the profoundly ignorant.

Aug 04, 2010
In fact, atheists are more likely to have strong, consistent moral values than theists.

How have they tried to promote such moral values?


Simple. By living a good, empathetic, life. We don't need to produce as a group to make a positive impact. An impact that is needed to undo the psychological damage theists have inflicted on the world for millennia.

You are coming from a flawed premise. Somehow, this is more obvious to us atheists than it is to yourself.

Aug 04, 2010
Marjon,

What point do you think you are making by pointing out that some bad people happened to be atheist?

Do you know how many bad people happened to be Christian?

It's a retarded argument that is meaningless, and I think you know that.

Aug 04, 2010
Marjon,

What those despots "said" and what they were taught and actually believed were totally different things, just like a pedophile priest doesn't practice what he preaches. Regardless, your pathetic correlations do nothing to prove any point whatsoever. How many popes and bishops encouraged the inquisition?

Aug 04, 2010
Another physorg argument about religion...yawn....what is the point?

Aug 04, 2010
As soon as anybody can give me a good, non-contradictory meaning for this term, "God" I'll tell ya whether I believe in it. Morality certainly has a transcendental origin, as in rooted in the necessary ordering of phenomena by the human mind, but that origin is not at all divine. Morality is certainly not based on some deistic dictate. To understand why, read Plato's Euthyphro.

Aug 04, 2010
Another physorg argument about religion...yawn....what is the point?


Dunno... enlightenment? A better world? I have personally converted several theists to atheism, so I know for a fact that the endeavor is not futile.

Aug 04, 2010
What systems do atheists embrace? If one system embraced is that man is supreme and leads to a concept that human rights are not inherent, not unalienable, then we return to the more savage state that man has existed in for millennia.

Actually I usually think about the complexity of nature and how each living and non-living thing is so unimaginably beautiful in its function, form, and fit into the greater systems of existence.

And the fact that I get a front row seat and can participate in finding out how it works is what gives me comfort.

Aug 04, 2010
Christians say they will know by our love.

Rapists say that too.
How will anyone know an atheist?
By our reason.

Aug 04, 2010
Marjon,

What point do you think you are making by pointing out that some bad people happened to be atheist?


The same point the 'moral' atheists here try to make about people who have faith in God.


So.... Stalin and theists were/are irrational? That's it? Cool story.

Aug 04, 2010
The same point the 'moral' atheists here try to make about people who have faith in God.


You recognize a flawed argument, so you choose to repeat it?

I'm confused...

Aug 04, 2010
But you don't mind ganging up on your neighbor take away his rights?


I cannot speak for SH but I of course would mind that...

After all, as rights can't exist without government protection


This is not true. Rights exist because societies agree that they should. When the majority believes that something is a right then that thing is considered a right and that right is respected by that majority.

The minority who refuse to respect that right are currently punished via our legal system, but that is not necessary.

The concept of a "right" does not depend on the inability to trespass on that right.

then the government is effectively the source of rights


False. Consensus of the majority of society is the source of rights.

and can take them away as the mob sees fit to do.


If by "mob" you mean "majority of society" then sure.

Aug 04, 2010
Marjon,
Your comment about "the mob" made no argumentative sense, but I'll respond off topic anyway:

"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
--George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
--George Bernard Shaw

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

--Sir Winston Churchill"

Aug 04, 2010

I presume you are equally appalled at the corrupt US government that violates the US Constitution every day and it must be attacked and condemned?


I am when they do, but I won't pretend that I don't know exactly where you are coming from.

This is not a fact. Go back to your tea party and re-read the constitution before you go instead of just assuming what your fellow radical right wing nuts tell you is in the Constitution. You guys act like every member of government was replaced 19 months ago. You lost. Get over it and do something positive and productive.

Wow, this thread is derailing before our eyes. I'm new to PO, is this normal?

Aug 04, 2010
You said something earlier, marjon, about what counts in science, and presumably, faith in some sort of ill-defined deity and morality in general:
As in science, all that is required to make a profound statements(sic) of truth is one individual.

This statement is profoundly false. Science recognizes "truth" through the consensus of the scientific community. One lone practitioner, with no relationship to that community, has never and will never reveal the "truth." [cont.]

Aug 04, 2010
Experiments are proposed, performed and interpreted among a community of observers, each purportedly judging according to principles proposed and consented to by that community. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't alone, he was one of many thousands of active protesters against systematic legally mandated racism throughout the South in particular, and was by no means their leader. The individualistic theism you espouse is ethically bankrupt. Your god is a contradiction in its very conception, hence necessarily false, and from a falsehood, anything at all follows. If you became convinced that your god wanted you to brutally murder someone, then you would do so.

Aug 04, 2010
So, if we accept the conclusion that world-view-reinforcing stimuli produce a blissful, inattentive state in theists,
and if we reasonably infer that atheist-world-view-reinforcing stimuli would produce a similar blissed-out reaction in atheists,
can we be surprised that so many online discussions attract atheist/theist confrontations?

In fact, I'd guess from the voluminous posting evidence that the neuroelectrochemical reward is stronger, and thus more strongly self-reinforcing, for stronger believers whom we expect to post more enthusiastically and often.

Political discussions seem to hold a similar ability to manipulate this pathway.

What the world needs, it seems to me, is the antagonist to this reinforcement mechanism. But how? And then how to make it attractive to the most afflicted by passionate belief?

Some research seems to indicate that certain kinds of meditation produce happiness and compassion over time, but notice how few people voluntarily undertake the effort.

Aug 04, 2010
I wonder if this is driven by the inevitable associated meditation that goes with contemplation or prayer. How do their observations compare against any other forms of practiced meditation? Is it better? Worse?

Aug 04, 2010
Most scientific "breakthroughs" or revolutions in thought, take place very slowly, as the old guard dies off and the new students, familiar with the arguments, take over. Tesla was mainly an experimental engineer, not so much a scientist. And he didn't prove AC was safer than DC. Edison actually had people electrocute elephants in front of crowds with AC to prove the opposite. Tesla showed that it was a more efficient transmission of electrical energy over long distance lines. He did this using apparatus and experimental techniques recognized and agreed with by his observational peers and financial backers. That's a consensus.

Aug 04, 2010
The life expectancy in largely Atheist New Zealand (Around half have no religion, Life expectancy 80.2 Years, 13th in world) is much higher than religious USA (14% are without religion, Life Expectancy 78.2 years, 38th in World) (sources: Wikipedia).

Aug 05, 2010
Otto:
Yes- like malaria or hookworms. A parasite, an infection, a contagion which we are struggling to develop immunity to.


That was pretty mindless Otto. For one thing no species struggles to evolve much less struggles to evolve in any direction.

For another, generally, believers have more children thus they should be increasing their percentage of the population.

Ethelred

Aug 05, 2010
If you like your life today with all its liberties, conveniences, technology, etc., thank the Jews and Christians.
I'd rather thank the Greeks.
How could a grassroots philosophy like Christianity be usurped by the most powerful empire in the world, Rome?
One God against a pantheon of Gods. Roman belief was multifaceted but the primary statements were that the Gods ruled the world and man was their plaything. Christianity was more appealing to the underclass and so it grew throughout the culture.
The evidence I submit is quite apparent as there were other major civilization and empires in the world 2000 years ago. Why did the one from Rome with its Christian philosophy prevail?
Technological advantage perhaps.

You must remember, Rome wasn't a Christian empire on the whole until after the Christian Goths invaded and demolished their infrastructure. They had Christian emperors for certain, but the majority of the populace still held family gods.

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon:
The majority men in the Muslim world say that minorities: women, Jews, Christians don't have rights.
Such consensus is acceptable to you?


Uh Marjon - You are aware that Islam is a RELIGION aren't you? It is not a social belief that you are talking about there. It is a religious belief.

How about you deal with that reality?

Ethelred

Aug 05, 2010
I have asked this question before and of course all the atheists have some excuse, but how would the world be today if Persia had take Greece?
Can't say for sure. It could have been positive or negative. There's no way to guess.
Why didn't the Chinese and Mongols expand into Europe?
The Mongols did expand into Europe periodically. The Chinese didn't care to cross the Gobi desert.
Why didn't the Indians expand or the Africans or the Aztecs, Myans, Incas....
All of these cultures did expand. Christianity's primary expansion was the darkest and dumbest times of the species. God was easy for the dumb to understand.
Why is English the world language that originated from a small island with few resources?
The English Navy.
How do the atheists deny Christians played a positive role in where we are today?
We don't, we simply recognize that Christianity played a largely negative role as well.

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon,

If you kept your religion to yourself, and made it a private matter, as it should be, none of these conversations would have ever occured. You'd be welcome to continue on believing as you will, having faith as you choose, but instead you decided to share your personal beliefs.

Don't be upset that the rest of us think your personal beliefs are utterly insane. There's a reason why they're called personal, (hint: keep them to yourself).

Atheists don't have some sort of church group that holds to tenets like evolution and cosmology, and we're not proselytizing science as though we own it and it's part of our belief system in place of god. You've stated many times that there are scientists who have faith in God so Atheists aren't in exclusion with the belief and understanding of science.

Your personal belief contradicts with science. The Science that contradicts is more correct than your belief. That is your problem, not ours. Deal with it and leave us be.

Aug 05, 2010
Consensus of the majority of society is the source of rights.

The majority men in the Muslim world say that minorities: women, Jews, Christians don't have rights.
Such consensus is acceptable to you?


No, it is not.

What does that have to do with anything? You were talking about the source of rights, to which my opinion has no bearing.

To put it another way, what is is, whether or not you or I or anyone else likes it.

The fact is you have no rights unless OTHERS grant you those rights, and they grant you them simply by not infringing on them.

Your rights are granted to you by every single person who does not infringe on them.

Aug 05, 2010
Consensus of the majority of society is the source of rights.
A simplifying statement of proponents of legal positivism. It takes for granted that - in a democracy - the set of lawmakers and judges represents the majority of the society.


For better or worse...

In any case, police and laws do not grant your rights, they simply try to prevent and or punish those that would infringe on them. Every single person who does not willfully infringe on a perceived right grants you that perceived right. Society grants the rights of society, we all grant each other our rights through mutual observation.

The only reason that the concept of "rights" in general is in any way meaningful is because people agree to respect them.

There exists another source of rights; it's called natural law.


Can you explain what you think natural law is? Because to me, natural law is saying that anything goes, and there are no "rights", making it pointless in the context of this discussion.


Aug 05, 2010
Why do so many religious orders have rules of self-discipline, poverty, etc.? To control the animal side of human nature.


Hmm... maybe, or maybe it was because not too long ago the church was the ruling authority over society and had near complete power, and most of the wealth as well.

Tell me, what is the best way to prevent revolt against a corrupt organization that is oppressing the general public into subservience? How about convincing them that they SHOULD be poor, that they SHOULD suffer, that paradise is waiting for them when they die as long as they don't commit any sins... which would of course be necessary to overthrow this corrupt organization...

Hmm... Your vow of poverty and promise of reward in the afterlife, or threat of eternal suffering if you seek anything better for yourself, is the collar around your neck my friend... They might as well tie you to a plow and have you walk the fields.

Aug 05, 2010
Then society can take them away


True.

as they did to millions in NAZI Germany or the Japanese in the USA during WWII


Good example of the truth of that statement.

Rights must be considered inherent and unalienable or else they will be taken.


You can consider them to be whatever you want, it doesn't affect the truth of the matter, which is that rights are granted by society and can be revoked by society, as you demonstrated.

Aug 05, 2010
So you all want to protect your rights to attack religion, but not my right to defend?
No, that's not accurate at all.

How does speaking about evolution attack your religion? How does speaking about the Universe and nature attack your religion?

The only attacks you're seeing are factual statements that contradict the statements of your religion. Let's say your religion is entirely accurate. God comes down to Earth and addresses the UN and leaves no doubt that he is God and that the events of the Bible are 100% legit.

I'll be the first one in line for church that sunday because at that time God will be proved to me. I won't believe in God at that time, I'll know of God. The difference between you and I is simple. I don't believe it until I see the evidence. If your religion is so fragile as to not be able to admit a mistake or two, well...

You threw the first stone by stating that science was wrong because of your religion. Then when asked for evidence, nothing.

Aug 05, 2010
If you respect my beliefs I will respect your yours.


Respect is worthless if given freely. Respect must be earned.

I have seen little respect for my beliefs or opinions.


An ignorant man blames everyone else for his problems, an intelligent man blames himself.

Instead, anything that many disagree with here are ridiculed and I am personally insulted.


Granted I don't read all of the comments, so can you point out anywhere that you have ridiculed or insulted? Stating disagreement with you or your points is not the same as ridiculing you.

Aug 05, 2010
What's amatter SH, you wouldn't equate the taliban with Nazis? You would deny that the tendency exists in all religions, that it is a part of their structure should the need ever arise?
I would deny your insinuation that this is an aspect that is solely based within religion. All organizations have the potential for corruption, some are simply structured to permit corruption at an accelerated rate.
Not surprising coming from a German.
Otto is not German. He's a fan of German culture.
That is in direct conflict from the fundamental basis of the US Constitution and is very dangerous.
It's actually directly in line with the Constitution. "We the People" and all that.
You continue to ignore the point: faith.
There is no need for faith if all is proven.

No, you are missing the point. Faith is belief in spite of evidence.
Even Max Planck
Because he was a christian as was almost everyone else at the time. You're so ignorant in this respect.

Aug 05, 2010
You have faith science will provide all your answers. Science is your god.
No I don't, no it isn't. Science is a method of thought. The discoveries made by science are the results of observation and reality. There is no faith involved. Science requires one to remove their faith and follow a rigious methodology by which to justify observations regardless of the faith of the observer. This is a very fundamental misunderstanding you have and it is wholly born of ignorance.

As Planck said also, there is reason to expect physical laws to be the same today as they were yesterday. How can you deal with such lack of control or certainty?
And Planck was wrong when he said that. Planck had a limited view of reality, just as I have a limited view of reality. The difference between people like Planck and I when compared to you is that as the evidence changes we can admit our mistakes and create new statements.

When is the last time you were allowed a new concept of God?

Aug 05, 2010
rights are granted by society and can be revoked by society, as you demonstrated.

That is in direct conflict from the fundamental basis of the US Constitution and is very dangerous.


I'm not concerned with whether it is or is not dangerous or in conflict with the constitution, that is irrelevant, I am only concerned with the truth of the matter.

You see, the difference between you and I is that when I am speaking about something I speak the truth to the best of my knowledge regardless of any affect or implication that that truth might have. Truth in and of itself is valuable, even if it is a truth that you are uncomfortable with. I cannot lie to myself for the sake of my own comfort or pleasure, as you are implying that you do and as I have witnessed many other religious people do.

Aug 05, 2010
Believers find comfort in knowing that a loving God is looking after the things that are beyond their control. Non-believers, on the other hand, exist without a sense of purpose and assume that things beyond their control are merely random events. To cope with such an inately distressing belief system non-believers live in constant denial


Atheists aren't upset by the mention of god. Atheists are upset by the incredible arrogance, self-righteousness, and mush-headed statements of theists JUST LIKE YOU. That's not a reaction to religion. I react very similarly to GW denialists, moon landing denialists, tobacco denialists, bigots, holocaust deniers, and anyone else who has turned in their brain for a set of slogans. Understand this, and understand it well. I'm not ticked with god -- I'm ticked with YOU!


Aug 05, 2010
You have faith science will provide all your answers. Science is your god.


I love it how religious people think that the more often they assert this the more likely it will become true.

This is not and has never been the case for myself or anyone I know... I obviously cannot speak for strangers but I cannot imagine this being true for anyone else either.

I have no faith in the scientific process to do or answer ANYTHING. On the contrary I am constantly amazed by what is accomplished through its use.

Also, I don't know why you think that someone MUST have faith in something to provide answers, this is clearly fallacious. One can be content with simply not knowing the answers to the great mysteries of existence, or one can work to answer them without having faith in finding that answer.

Or, as you and so many others have done, one can simply accept a set of make-believe answers with no supporting evidence.

Aug 05, 2010
Personally I do not believe in a "God", nor do I believe in "not believing in a God".

There is, however, a genuine sense of wonder and awe of the universe, which includes a sense there is an Intelligence from which all intelligence has arisen. But I don't really know what that is. There is nothing solid, no object or thing that can be defined and believed in.

So, that leaves a kind of not-knowing.....which makes me a member of the Stupid Ass Club, I guess.

Aug 05, 2010
Personally I do not believe in a "God", nor do I believe in "not believing in a God".


How can you not believe in the ability to not believe in a god? That doesn't make sense.

There is, however, a genuine sense of wonder and awe of the universe


Sure, and it has to do with disparity between how big we feel in our every day life's and how small we realize we are when we consider the grandeur of nature.

which includes a sense there is an Intelligence from which all intelligence has arisen.


Maybe for you, not for me.

But I don't really know what that is. There is nothing solid, no object or thing that can be defined and believed in.


So you don't believe in any particular god... right?

So, that leaves a kind of not-knowing


Right, none of us KNOW... but that is not the question. There is a difference between knowledge and belief.

I don't KNOW whether or not there is a god but I do not believe in one. See the difference?

Aug 05, 2010
What point do you think you are making by pointing out that some bad people happened to be atheist?

Do you know how many bad people happened to be Christian?

If you want to be picky about it then you can go to the US prison statistics: More people in prisons (as a percentage of prison population) are believers than in the rest of the country.

Of course one can also argue that, since atheists are statistically more intelligent than believers, they get caught less often ;-)

Aug 05, 2010
An honest atheist, refreshing.
Oh stop it.
You have faith (belief without proof) there is no god because you don't KNOW.[q/] That's not correct. Again, faith is belief despite evidence, not belief without evidence.
Maybe you should review Pascal's wager.
If you understood the true rammifications of pascal's wager, you'd never bring it up again.

So here they are.

Pascal's wager (god/no god) isn't that clear cut. You insist that if there's a god, you're saved through faith, if there's no god, there's no salvation.

The issue is mutually exclusive faiths. There are over 400,000 different religions and subsects, meaning your chance of being correct is less than 0.002%. Not 50%.

Aug 05, 2010
If you don't have faith in the process, why do you use it?
Do you have faith in aspirin? I don't. I know it works, so I use it.
You have admitted science can't answer all questions so you have no faith science can answer all questions.
Science can't answer anything. The scientific method can be used to answer anything depending on the tools and techniques used in conjunction with the method.
Because Planck was a Christian his discovery of quantum physics must be rejected and his views on science are irrelevant?
I didn't say that, did I? Planck was a Christian because almost everyone was a Christian. Darwin was a Christian, Newton and Gallileo were christians. They were scientists because they could suspend their faith to find objective truth in observation.
What world changing theory has SH published?
None yet. What world have you seen God create?

Aug 05, 2010
If you don't have faith in the process, why do you use it?
You have admitted science can't answer all questions so you have no faith science can answer all questions.
Because Planck was a Christian his discovery of quantum physics must be rejected and his views on science are irrelevant?
What world changing theory has SH published?


We use it because it has worked time and time again. Again, no faith required when every trial results in no error. Are you serious or a troll?

Who said anyone needs science to answer ALL the questions? It has answered infinitely more questions than religion, which has answered none. Ok, maybe religion has explained a few things about how humans react to ignorance.

The fact that Planck, or any other scientist, had spiritual beliefs is irrelevant. Their discoveries and claims are testable and repeatable. Truth doesn't care who discovered it; it's still true. We care about the knowledge, not the person.

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon,

What are you being taught about science? Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. Science and faith are not mutually exclusive.

Science and willful ignorance ARE mutually exclusive. You've stated your position as a biblical literalist, which even the Bible states is a stupid stance to have (good samaritan parable). You believe in a literal god that has specific attributes that are self contradictory.

If you notice, I don't get in these disagreements with non-literalists, only with YECs and evolution denialists. I've only ever said that "your god" is false when addressing you, or when addressing others of the same cloth. I've called out the god of the desert, or the biblical god, as those are also entirely false constructs.

If there's a god, you don't know jack about him/her/it/them and neither do I. Atheism simply doesn't make shit up to force the thought of a god where you do. That's the problem. "YOU LIE!" -Joe Wilson

Aug 05, 2010
Temper, temper. Wow, another honest atheist. Was that so hard?
You're jsut a simple little troll marjon. This entire diatribe from you is completely transparent now. Either that or you're unable to read.

Yes you've show yourself as a biblical literalist, but it's probably for attention. I think everything you write here is for attention.

Are you lonely?

Aug 05, 2010
Error exists in all measurements. The hard part is quantifying the error, and that is where the real good discoveries are made, at the fringe.

And at the fringe of religion all scientific discoveries are found.

Have you quantified the error in your beliefs marjon?

Aug 05, 2010
Again, no faith required when every trial results in no error.

What experiments do you run? Error exists in all measurements. The hard part is quantifying the error, and that is where the real good discoveries are made, at the fringe.
As quantum theory suggests, observations affect the outcome. How do you account for that?


I knew you were going to use that one. I was exaggerating and everyone on PO except you probably knew that.

Almost every discovery was a "fringe" discovery at the time. That's why it's called discovery. You seem to be having a hard time with perspective.

There are plenty of non-quantum, repeatable experiments. You should know this. What are you arguing here? Do you really think the uncertainty principle has a significant affect on all knowledge?

Aug 05, 2010
Temper, temper. Wow, another honest atheist. Was that so hard?
You're jsut a simple little troll marjon. This entire diatribe from you is completely transparent now. Either that or you're unable to read.

Yes you've show yourself as a biblical literalist, but it's probably for attention. I think everything you write here is for attention.

Are you lonely?


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he is doing this in between home-school assignments. Just a guess, but one based on many samples of evidence. Oooh zing! :)

Aug 05, 2010
Effect.

Also: Theory gets disproven --> work towards a new theory. That's it. I don't know why you judge science in general based on the wording in specific cases in which we are just beginning to understand things.

Sometimes laws or theories are challenged based on previously unavailable evidence. New theories come with new evidence and are tested over and over again. The process repeats forever as long as new evidence is gathered. That's science.

Aug 05, 2010
I don't KNOW whether or not there is a god but I do not believe in one. See the difference?

An honest atheist, refreshing.
You have faith (belief without proof) there is no god because you don't KNOW.
Maybe you should review Pascal's wager.


Faith is not believe without proof.

Faith is believe without evidence, or in spite of evidence to the contrary.

You are conflating belief with knowledge, as so many often do.

Aug 05, 2010
Do you really think the uncertainty principle has a significant affect on all knowledge?

Define 'significant', and what is 'all knowledge'?
The answer, yes.


When I add H2O to Na a chemical reaction ensues. Every time. The uncertainty principle has no significant, IOW practical, affect on that. It's not like 1 out of every 1 million times they don't react. It's EVERY TIME. There are countless other examples of this. Your contention here is a stretch that I think no one who truly understands QM would make.

Aug 05, 2010
Theory gets disproven --> work towards a new theory.

Theory: God exists.
How has that been disproven?


God exists is not a theory.

You don't know what the word "theory" means.

It has meaning, and defiling that meaning as you have done makes for a nonsensical statement.

Specifically, something which is not falsifiable by its very nature cannot be a theory. See Russels Teapot.

Marjon, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but now I am inclined to believe that you are trolling and are not worth consideration. Please demonstrate that I am wrong.

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon, you are the biggest troll I have ever seen on this site. On almost every article that has any controversy in it's subject, there your are, trolling and making retarded arguments, defending belief systems that most people on a SCIENCE NEWS SITE don't care about and don't have any respect for. Why are you here? What is your problem? Do you really think you are going to convince anyone with your drivel? Do you really believe half the bullshit that flows from your keyboard? WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR MAGICAL GOD. Now go away and stop trolling a SCIENCE NEWS SITE.

Aug 05, 2010
There is no evidence to support what you assert, marjon. Indeed, most of the evidence points the other way. And 'God exists' is not falsifiable, because the concept implies no measurable observation that could possibly be had and shared with the community of other scientific observers. 'All crows are white' is falsifiable because crows are observable objects and white is an observable condition. 'God' by definition, is not observable, even with instrumentation, and 'exists' is too vague a term to give any possible observation by which to confirm or refute it.

Aug 05, 2010
So far everyone, except marjon, has agreed to some simple definitions.
Faith: belief without or in spite of evidence
Belief: A personal ideology
Atheist: A person who holds no belief in a god or gods due to a lack of evidence
Evidence: Observation or logical deduction of reality
Theory: A statement encompassing all known evidence, logic, and observation that is potentially falsifiable but not presently falsified

So going forward, Marjon, when you're going to use one of these words, adhere to the above definition.

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon lets start with something basic... do you believe in a supreme being or God?

Aug 05, 2010
I just want to know why you feel so strongly about arguing this issue with people who clearly aren't going to be swayed by your arguments? Do you want to save all these Physorg reader's souls? Do you do it just for fun? Do you think it might help the odd random person who might be open to your ideas? You post on so many articles it makes me wonder why you spend so much of your life posting this tripe on this website. It's a waste of your and our time. And that's the last thing I have to say on this issue. Good day.

Aug 05, 2010
'God exists' is a falsifiable statement, just as 'all crows are white' is a falsifiable statement.


No it is not, and it is very simple to explain why.

The idea of "god" is that of an all powerful being. Being all powerful, or omnipotent, any potential "god" entity could perfectly hide itself from human observation.

Therefor, no matter what we do, no matter how much of the universe we search, you can ALWAYS state that "god", in his omnipotence, is intentionally hiding himself from us.

Therefore "god" is NOT FALSIFIABLE and is NOT and NEVER will be a valid theory for anything.

What I find interesting is how all you 'scientists' support socialism when data, aka evidence, demonstrates socialism limits and reverses prosperity.
But then maybe the socialist scientists really are not that rational and objective and harbor some emotion like envy?


Who supports socialism?

What in the fuck are you talking about and why are you confusing politics with this discussion?

Aug 05, 2010
Now you qualify 'falsifiability'. The statement 'God exists.' is either true or false. That you don't know how to falsify the statement does not make it un-falsifiable.


No, the fact that NO MATTER what we do to falsify it you and your ilk can always fall back on the claim that god is intentionally evading our detection of it, which it can do as it is all powerful, makes it inherently impossible to falsify.

Try to get that through your thick skull.

Aug 05, 2010
I will agree to standard definitions of words as found in the 'peer' reviewed OED.
This is not OED, but here is one for faith:
"belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact."


Quoting obsolete, pedestrian, dictionary definitions is the lowest form of argument... actually the second lowest, after analogy.

Why didn't you quote the actual OED definition though? Because it doesn't support your position?

It doesn't. I checked. You need to stop being deceptive if you want anyone to have any respect for you.

Aug 05, 2010
I like to point out the intolerance and irrationality of people like yourself, using your own words.


lol you are a retard. Yes I am trolling you. DUH. Yes I am being intolerant of you. THAT WAS MY POINT. I am going to continue to troll every comment I see you make that reeks the slightest itself being a troll. Which sadly won't be many since unlike you I don't spend my whole life arguing on this site. But the equivalent of your sad state of affairs would be for me to go troll some Christian site and try and convince them of the err of their ways or some stupid shit like that. So I may be intolerant, I may be just a counter-troll, but that doesn't change the fact that you are plain dumb... or at least that seams to be the impression you are dead set on perpetuating here.

Aug 05, 2010
Many atheists here can't seem to wrap their head around the idea that prominent, award winning scientists really believe in God.


I can point out scientists who are pedophiles, or scientists that play world of warcraft all day long, or scientists that dress up like anime characters at conventions...

What is your fucking point? OF COURSE there are scientists that believe in god, do you think you are making a point?

And again, WHY are you mixing politics into this discussion? Can you please follow a simple discussion without bringing up irrelevant nonsense?

What is the matter with you?

Aug 05, 2010
I do want to add that for all my personal attacks on you Marjon I am sure IRL you aren't stupid, but spending as much time arguing on this forum about this is pretty damn stupid. Also you answered my question above:
Not true. God revealed himself to believers and non believers.
"Could it be you don't really want to know? What kind of 'seeker of truth' is that?"
So you are a Christian then?

Aug 05, 2010
Not true. God revealed himself to believers and non believers.


Do you have any better evidence for that than 2000 year old hear-say? Because I would LOVE to hear it.

Could it be you don't really want to know? What kind of 'seeker of truth' is that?


Oh I want to know, I would love it if heaven were real and I would go there when I die, and I would love it if evil people went to hell, maybe not for eternity that is a bit too much, but you know, it would be nice to think evil people will get what is coming to them.

That doesn't change the fact that there is no evidence for any of this and there is no rational reason to believe in any of it.

Aug 05, 2010
The US Declaration of Independence stated rights are inherent and unalienable, endowed by our Creator.


Granted, I'll take your word for it, it sounds correct.

That fundamental concept is required for a government that is based upon the consent of the governed.


How so?

If anything, requiring the consent of the governed is perfectly in line with what I have been saying about rights, that they are granted by the people, for the people.

The alternative, socialist view


Blatant false dichotomy.

If that doesn't SCREAM false dichotomy to you then you don't know the meaning of the term.

Because of this, the rest of what you wrote is null and void.

Aug 05, 2010
No, you do not.
If you did you would not be an atheist or agnostic.


Are you asking me or telling me?

I am telling you that I would love it if heaven were real. I lost quite a few loved ones when I was young and I would love to believe that I will be reunited with them when I die.

One of those loved ones who I have lost in my life was killed by an idiot street racer, who got off with 90 days in jail and 2 years probation... I would love for him to spend some time in hell.

I am an atheist. I am an atheist for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I do not see any credible evidence to believe in such things, and every time I hear of evidence in support of any of it it always ends up being proven to be incorrect, misinterpreted, or intentionally deceitful.

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon,

Atheists, at least the ones I know, don't hate the idea of god or of an afterlife or any of that... In fact many I know and have spoken with share my hope that it is all true...

However, we simply cannot look past the fact that there is no good reason to believe in any of it.

Aug 05, 2010
"The 18th century concept of individual...


I am not interested in the least in discussing politics.

I stated that the concept of "rights" has meaning only because we as a society mutually agree to respect in each other that which we consider to be our rights. Therefor rights are granted through the consensus of society or of the ruling elite and are observed and maintained by each individual person who does not violate those rights in others.

These are statements of fact. I do not care what you think of them, or what you think the implications are, or whether or not you think it is in agreement with the constitution, or what political ideology you think I follow as a result of the recognition of this fact.

Aug 05, 2010
Apparently the words "black","liberal","Atheist",and "scientist" are all interchangeable. Marjon can't stay on one heading. Nobody said that because a scientist is christian, they are no longer called a scientist. You are placing a lot of words into peoples mouths, and people have repeatedly called you on it. PEOPLE came here to talk about the article and because this is a science website, 85% of Physorg users don't believe in God. You hijacked this article by straying off course.

Article:
As an atheist, thinking about god stresses me out because it reminds me of the frustration I encounter in discussions like the above. I think the religious relax because they believe that they can't mess up bad enough to hurt themselves. They believe god will intervene if things get too bad. An atheist believes that there is no restoring mechanism to correct errors.

Aug 05, 2010
I am telling you that I would love it if heaven were real.

You would love it, but you are not willing to do what it takes, have faith.


Do what it takes?

Are you suggesting that faith makes it real? Because that is absurd.

No, you are right, I will not have faith in something for which there is no evidence. But more-so than that, I CANNOT believe in something that I see no reason to believe in, for I would always know that I was lying to myself.

Aug 05, 2010
You wanting it to be real is not a 'good reason'?


Do you really not understand what I mean?

What I want has no bearing on reality. There is no reason for me to believe that any of it is true. There is no credible evidence for any of it.

Ask yourself how well it would work out if you tried to force yourself to believe that Zeus and the other greek gods existed, that is how it would be for me to try to force myself to believe that the Judeo-christian god exists.

I care because the implications of your incorrect view of inalienable rights


You state that it is incorrect but you have yet to even present an argument against it.

will lead to loss of rights for me AND for you you


No it will not, don't be silly.

I can recognize the true origin of rights without wanting to undermine them, which I have already

Aug 05, 2010
Nobody said that because a scientist is christian, they are no longer called a scientist.

Review the comments of the many atheists here and you will find they do minimize the scientific qualification of Christian scientists.


Are you talking about scientists from the dark ages who would be burned at the stake if they publicly stated that they did not believe in god?

Check this out, according to this study only 7% of scientists believe in god, 72% are atheist, and the rest are agnostic (which usually means atheist...)

http://www.lhup.e...elig.htm

Aug 05, 2010
Nobody said that because a scientist is christian, they are no longer called a scientist.

Review the comments of the many atheists here and you will find they do minimize the scientific qualification of Christian scientists.


I read most of these comments. They only said that these christian scientists were able to leave the bible at home and professionally conduct themselves as scientists. Darwin observed nature and formed his theories. He was a christian, but he was also a scientist. He knew that what he observed contradicted what he was taught through religion. Darwin chose to believe his new theories based on the scientific method because he realized that he trusted that method in all other areas of his life. Also, when an article says 85% of people believe in a god, be sure to think about what "god" means. Many of these people probably don't have a personal god and their beliefs may be far different than yours.

Aug 05, 2010
You claimed to have no reason to believe. I guess you were just lying to yourself.


You and I are using the the term "reason" quite differently, which is not surprising.

I don't suspect you have any notion of reason.

"You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself.
W. Clement Stone "


What a stupid fucking quote.

Remember when I said that analogy is the lowest form of argument, and then dependence on outdated dictionary definitions was the second lowest?

I think we found the third lowest, relying on quotations taken out of context to make your argument for you.

You're batting 1000, keep it up.

Aug 05, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 05, 2010
Good night marjon, I don't where you are but it is late here.

I hope you don't think I am trying to convince you to denounce your beliefs, I am not. If you CAN believe in god, then I suspect you most likely will believe in god.

There simply came a point in my life when I could no longer believe in such things, because I realized that the only reason I was believing in it was based on the trust of my family. As soon as I realized that they are as susceptible to flaw as I was, and as soon as I became educated in the natural sciences I realized that there was no evidence for, and thus no reason to believe in, any of it.

At this point, given the knowledge and understanding I have been granted through 8 years of university level education I simply CANNOT believe in what I used to believe in, whether I want to or not, any more than I can force myself to believe in the loch ness monster, leprechauns, or big foot.

I am always open to new evidence, and will reevaluate my positions as needed

Aug 05, 2010
Marjon, tell me why you are a Christian, why you believe that Jesus will save your sorry ass, or even why you think there ever is or was or will be a christ or god.

Aug 05, 2010
What a stupid fucking quote.

How eloquent and refined!
Do all you atheists talk like that because that is a frequent response, vulgarity.


You've received enough well thought out eloquent responses. Enough time has been wasted on you. I agree, you need to shut up now.

Aug 05, 2010
What a stupid fucking quote.

How eloquent and refined!
Do all you atheists talk like that because that is a frequent response, vulgarity.
The gist of the article is being proven out here. All these atheists exhibiting distress.


I call them like I see them.

You can take that as distress or anger, but it was simply a stupid fucking quote.

Simply calling it a stupid quote is insufficient to impart how stupid I believe it to be, hence the addition of the word "fucking" for emphasis.

That is all.

Aug 05, 2010
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."
- Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign.

THATS A STUPID QUOTE, Marjon :D

I think you'll agree sometimes it's appropriate to call something stupid.

Aug 05, 2010
So now you know everything?


Did I say that?

The more real education one obtains should make him realize how much more their is to know.


And it has. It has also shown me what is and is not rational to believe.

But you did say you had a university indoctrination.


You're a troll.

You don't care about discussion or debate, you care about stirring the pot and making people angry with you.

This is obvious due to your frequent use of logical fallacies, your propensity to put words in peoples mouths, your reliance on out of context quotes, and the generally disingenuous way you participate in these conversations.

You are worthless, you are not worth consideration any longer.

Aug 05, 2010
Simply calling it a stupid quote is insufficient to impart how stupid I believe it to be, hence the addition of the word "fucking" for emphasis.
That says more about you than Stone who used such quotes to become a multi-millionaire.
Does that bother you?
I have a suspicion that many who spent 8 years in a university education believe they deserve to be better compensated than those like Stone who was a Christian and became rich working hard and starting his own company. ("That damn free market is just not fair!")
Millions of people have become successful by following Stone and Napoleon Hill and many others who support a positive mental attitude.
With such evidence, why is it so hard to believe?


Here, marjon makes an assumption as to my feelings regarding the success of a random person and then proceeds to construct a character assassination that relies on this baseless assumption.

Aug 05, 2010
What a stupid fucking quote.

How eloquent and refined!
Do all you atheists talk like that because that is a frequent response, vulgarity.


You've received enough well thought out eloquent responses. Enough time has been wasted on you. I agree, you need to shut up now.

Shout them down or ban speech you disagree with? So common here.


Here, Marjon attempts to lead the reader to believe that the reason we are no longer listening to him is because we disagree with his arguments, while it is apparent that the real reason is that we disagree with the fallacious and often deceitful way in which he presents them.

Aug 05, 2010
It is a FACT one can be a scientist AND can believe in God no matter how you try to deny and minimize the fact.
Shows you how good your reading ability is. I only said this explicitly a whole 20 posts above.

You're not only indoctrinated, but you're jsut damn stupid as well.

I think there's something about the will of idiots within the bible but I've been enjoying my atheistic vice far too much to attempt quotation.,

Aug 05, 2010
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man."
Is this rational?


Here, Marjon presents yet another ambiguous quote of marginal relevance, but the interesting thing in this case is that the quote appears to be saying the exact opposite of what he thinks it is saying.

Let's analyze it.

The first sentence states that a reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. This could easily be extrapolated to the idea of changing ones belief system in accordance with changes in scientific understanding.

The second part states that an unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself, which could likewise be referring to adapting scientific understanding to fit the persons long standing beliefs. Christians often attempt to rationalize scientific understanding to work with their beliefs, through their distortion.

Aug 05, 2010
Shows you how good your reading ability is. I only said this explicitly a whole 20 posts above.

Planck was a Christian because almost everyone was a Christian. Darwin was a Christian, Newton and Gallileo were christians. They were scientists because they could suspend their faith to find objective truth in observation.

And like other atheists, you try to minimize their faith, as I said earlier.


Here, Marjon attempts to convince the reader that SH's statement that religious scientists "suspend their faith to find objective truth in observation" is equivalent to a minimization of said faith, presumably with the intent to marginalize it.

This is clearly not the case, unless Marjon is attempting to argue that turning a blind eye to physical evidence and observation is a virtue... which I wouldn't be surprised considering his previous correspondences.

Aug 06, 2010
And like other atheists, you try to minimize their faith, as I said earlier.

If these men knew what any kid can find on the internet about evolution, abiogenesis, cosmology, and other deep science topics, you'd watch them state empirically that the Christian god cannot be.

Just as you are today, those men were ignorant of the topics we're discussing. That's why you're here. You're a conversionist. You've come to a science site not due to curiosity, but to proselytize and attempt to defame the information that makes your view look so truly stupid. Since you're incapable of that, instead you attempt to make us out to be careless, immoral monsters.

Sorry, boy, no dice. That computer you're sitting on, the house you live in, the power comming to your house, and every other luxury you enjoy requires no faith, and no god. That is what science discovers, how things work. In turn, engineering determines, using science, how to make these things work for us...

Aug 06, 2010
So it's rather simple Marjon.

You can wake up and learn something, or you can turn off your computer, forget the luxuries you enjoy, and live the poor, suffering life of an adherant. Don't worry, you're god will protect you if you believe.

Then again, that can't be true because you don't see many devout ignoring the old idiom of "Look both ways before crossing the street". Either you don't have faith that your god will protect you, or you just instinctively know better and faith doesn't come into the picture.

You live a faithless life outside of your dialogue, sucking from the teet of that which you deny to be true.

In short, you're delusional.

Aug 06, 2010
I forgot one more feature that is demonstrated by those who respond to me, arrogance.


From Merriam-Webster:

arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

Marjon. You are the definition of arrogance.

Aug 06, 2010
marjon:

How many were believers before they were sent to prison?


Less than 1% of prison population is atheist (with about 14% of the total american public being atheist): Even if you have _some_ converts in prison (which is a hypothesis that lacks any support, BTW) this STILL means that a religious person being criminally minded/immoral/unethical is an order of magnitude more likely than the same for an atheist.

So the argument that "not being religious makes you immoral" is bogus. If you are intellectually honest you must argue the opposite.

(But something tells me that you will not do so...which is just another case in point ;-) )

Aug 06, 2010
Mythology (and I don't care how precious you consider your "holy books" to be, that is what they contain - mythology) merely erects unsupported blind assertions about the world, and presents those blind assertions as if they constituted "axioms" about the world, to be regarded uncritically as eternally true, and never to be questioned. One of the fundamental rules of proper discourse is that whenever an assertion is erected, no one is obliged to regard it as valid unless proper, critically robust supporting evidence is provided for that assertion. Which means independent corroboration from an outside source, or a direct, methodologically rigorous, repeatable empirical demonstration of the validity of that assertion. Without this, any blind assertions, particularly those erected from mythology or mythology-based doctrines, can be dismissed in the same casual manner in which they are tossed.

You provide none of this, Marjon. Absolutely nothing of merit. Your arguments are dismissed.

Aug 06, 2010
I just ask questions no one wants to answer and point out inconsistencies.


You are currently showing your attitude of superiority through both the presumptuous claim that your questions can be answered and through the assumption that no one wants to answer them.

Aug 06, 2010
Still did not not answer the question about conversions.

It's your hypothesis that there are a lot of prison conversions from atheism to belief of one sort of another (at least more than there are conversions from being a christian to being atheist). So the onus is on you to support that hypothesis.

Christians are not perfect but they are forgiven.

By whom? Only by their own wishful thinking. That's not forgiveness - that's self delusion.


Aug 06, 2010
I just ask questions no one wants to answer and point out inconsistencies.

No, you ask silly questions, we give you the answer, and then you subsequently ask the ssame question again simply because you don't like the answer. You assume our answers will change based on when or how you ask them. Unlike you, our answers don't often change without reason. This can be shown here:
Like creating your own word definitions?
Which we haven't. We've established the dialogue and shown you the factual definitions and operative meanings of the words you're misusing.
I have been told that scientists are willing to state "I don't know". But many questions I ask elicit a torrent of insults instead of answers or discussion or references pointing out errors.
Due to your inability to read, you've percieved the reapeated definition as a seperate definition and further obfuscated the issue INTENTIONALLY. This is how you must operate because the truth scares you. Grow up.

Aug 06, 2010
Marjon,

You seem to be confusing the value of personal, psychological growth with the value of objective, material, facts.

Yes, improving ones emotional response to social stimuli (forgiveness, empathy, etc) is valuable and should be encouraged. This endeavor is a subset of intellectual growth, not the only reason for such growth. Our relationships with others and our personal ethics are governed by the entire environment, not just our human social environment. IOW, our theories on nature, its causes and current state, matter. You seem to be arguing that they are not as significant as our relationship with each other and god. Atheists don't believe the former relationship exists and you have no proof that it does, yet you demand we prove that it doesn't. Do you understand how these differences in framing this discussion are causing confusion? It seems you do not.

Aug 06, 2010
By God.
Ask and you shall be forgiven.


And what do you know of god, besides that which has been insisted upon you by others or which is a subjective entity of your individual consciousness?

That seems to be a real difficult thing to do for many people, asking for forgiveness even from other people.


I agree, it is a shame. It is easy to predict that the reason for this is that asking for forgiveness implies that you were wrong, and people do not like to admit that they were wrong.

But that has NOTHING to do with the discussion. Why do you insist on bringing up points that have no bearing on anything being discussed?

Like SH said, your primary influence in this discussion has been one of obfuscation and confusion due to the nature of your rambling and half-incoherent replies.

Aug 06, 2010
"The jail cell conversion from "sinner" to true believer may be one of the best examples of a "second chance" in modern life...


Here, Marjon constructs a straw man argument whereby he attempts to confuse the reader into thinking that we are arguing that religion cannot be a positive motivational force, which of course no one here has stated or implied, by presenting evidence that the influence of religion on a prisoner is typically a positive one.

Since this does not address any point being made on either side of this discussion the only reason Marjon had for posting this was in the hope that some careless reader may be fooled into thinking that he was making a good point or presenting good evidence for something relevant to the conversation.

He was not.

Aug 06, 2010
Is this the typical atheist response?
How many other atheists agree with Otto?


I agree that you are trolling, at least I hope you are... if what you are doing is not intentional and satirical then I feel sorry for you.

Atheists here keep trying to prove it does not exist. Maybe all you atheists should agree on the same story line.


No one here is trying to prove that god does not exist, I suspect we have all come to the realization that that is inherently impossible (see: non falsifiable) shortly after we became potty trained.

You intentionally misrepresent our arguments and mis-characterize other posters... or, again, I hope it is intentional, for your sake.

Aug 06, 2010
marjon opined,
"Atheists here keep trying to prove it does not exist.
Maybe all you atheists should agree on the same story line."

That's what makes us atheists, marjon, the fact that the only thing we share is our believing in one less God than you. See, marjon, to every other Religion out there with a God, YOU are the atheist. Ain't it great?

Aug 06, 2010
How have they tried to promote such moral values?
Christians say they will know by our love. How will anyone know an atheist?


By our unwillingness to assign people to hell for not believing just like us. By our unwillingness to strap a bomb to our chest to make a point. By our ability to defend our moral values from first principles, rather than by a laundry list of commands from an imaginary sky fairy who will punish us if we don't toe the line. By our willingness to accept that other people have the same rights as us, even when they have a different lifestyle.

Aug 06, 2010
Face it, atheists must own up to Lenin, Stalin and other atheist statists.


That's silly. That's like claiming that all Christians must own up to anyone who's ever murdered in the name of God.

Aug 06, 2010
Do you know what thoughts reduce my stress? The thoughts I have after every illogical, anti-productive, self-destructive human interaction I witness. I am initially stressed, but I almost immediately understand them because of the illumination of evolution and it's many selective forces. After that, I feel at ease because the whole Universe makes sense again. Science has made me a very content person. I don't need zen, god, prayer, meditation, mantras, or the ilk; just knowledge given to me by centuries of repeated observations and tests.

Aug 06, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 06, 2010
Actually, Jav, they should own up to that. I have no problem comparing the historical records of atheists and theists in terms of who's murdered, raped, tortured and enslaved the most innocent people in the name of their beliefs. So far as I am aware, no atheist ever tortured and murdered someone for insisting there was a God.

Aug 06, 2010
Who is we? 'Max just said all atheists were independent.
And there are atheists who attempt to use science to prove God does not exist. SH and Otto are two.

All atheists are independent, as all christians are independent in action.

I don't claim to be able to prove that a god doesn't exist. I can prove that god as you describe him does not exist.

See this is the difference, God isn't a black and white issue, as you think it is. When you say God, it's the Christian god. When most people say God, they don't define it by the prevailing mythology because it is demonstrably false.
So far as I am aware, no atheist ever tortured and murdered someone for insisting there was a God.
Thrach, you're wholly incorrect. Pol Pot for one, and that's documented and unambiguous. Then again, he also tortured and murdered because his victims had glasses or wavy hair.

Aug 06, 2010
Alrighty, there's one then. I think he got about what, 1.5 to 2 million people? Now, how many theists have tortured and murdered people who insist there is no god, or who worship a different god than they?

Aug 06, 2010
Now, how many theists have tortured and murdered people who insist there is no god, or who worship a different god than they?


Probably nearly every tribal leader of pre-history, for starters.

Aug 06, 2010
That is really big of you to admit that.

I never denied it. The problem is people who take their religions far too seriously.

Again, back to the Good Samaritan, moral of that story is "You guys take this shit far too seriously, just don't be a dickhead to other people because of your religious ethos."
Alrighty, there's one then. I think he got about what, 1.5 to 2 million people? Now, how many theists have tortured and murdered people who insist there is no god, or who worship a different god than they?
Really doesn't matter. Just as the religious response of "Hitler and Stalin!" is damn stupid, the converse is also true. Crying "Pope Clement and Joshua!" gets nothing done and just devolves the conversation. I'm guilty of doing this as well and I think we should collectively cut it out, you and I more so. Don't let the creationist troll you into denigrating your own character, like he has done to me.

Aug 06, 2010
Hey, he wants to go down the path of who's more ethically reprehensible, that's fine with me. He wants to dance on this battlefield, he'll lose here too.

Aug 06, 2010
Face it, atheists must own up to Lenin, Stalin and other atheist statists.


That's silly. That's like claiming that all Christians must own up to anyone who's ever murdered in the name of God.

I agree it is silly, but some atheists here blame all the world's evils on religion.


Every individual has a different opinion. You say "some atheists...blame all...evils on religion." But, before that you said "atheists must own up to ...Stalin, etc." You did not say some atheists must own up. Without that qualifier you have attacked us all and we are not all the same. Do you see the mistake in your wording? Do you see why that would make us get defensive? You come off like you are blaming all atheists for the exaggerations of some. And before you do it, you can't say you do it because some atheist claim all theist do this or that. Two wrongs don't make a right. I highly doubt your Jesus would argue in such a way.

Aug 06, 2010
This certainly brought the God mob out in force. What is it they fear so much? That there is no truth in their belief system.
Religion is a crutch. It allows people to avoid personal responsibility. It is a belief in magic.
Michael Inzlicht's selection of athiests for his trial would appear to be flawed.
I do not see any logic in any belief system of a creator, it is simplistic, naive and childish.
I believe in personal responsibility for my own actions and I never set out to harm another, because I would not like others to set out to harm me.
I know many good people who are religious just as I know many religious people who are anything but good people, the only thing these two groups have in common is a professed belief in God.
I am unmoved by any mention of God it simply has no effect upon me one way or another.
So had Inzlicht used me in his trial he would not have elicited the response that he got from those he did select.
Perhaps Inzlicht got the result he wanted to get???

Aug 06, 2010
"Those who had been prepared with religious thoughts had a less prominent response to mistakes than those who hadn't."

Thats the problem.
God let me do it, so it's not my fault.

Aug 06, 2010
ANYONE at all who advocates a belief in the unreal must share the responsibility for the suffering and death it causes anywhere in the world, by any religionist whatsoever.

Religionists are all alike in this respect; their beliefs justify and enable those who would carry them to extremes in their defense. All religions harbor this propensity for violence when they are threatened. And all are threatened sooner or later by each other.

Religion serves no legitimate purpose. Time for it to go.


I really don't think my saintly grandmother was responsible for the inquisition or islamic terrorism. It takes great courage and effort to shake off the shackles of religious indoctrination and we ought not expect it from everyone. We all have our weaknesses and strengths. Most people on this site have intellectual qualities. You seem to be weak in empathy.

Just callin it like I see it. I could be wrong about you. Maybe your just in a mood.

Aug 07, 2010
marjon opined,
"Or by the number of people murdered in the name of the state?
Face it, atheists must own up to Lenin, Stalin and other atheist statists."

No, we don't have to "own up" to them. Everybody makes their own choices. I'm not any more responsible for who Stalin or Lennin killed than I am for the earthquakes or hurricanes, or the mosquitoes that wiped people out with malaria. See, the crucial thing you're missing, marjon, is that they made their own choices, free of the rationale that God made them do it. God didn't "order" them to kill all the infidels. So even though Lenin and Stalin were evil mass-murderers, they still did it by their own choices. Religious mass-murderers can't even be intellectually honest with others or themselves. It's not "their" fault, God made 'em do it.

Aug 07, 2010
When it comes right down to it, Religious people are always insulated from their choices because it's God behind everything.

If something good happens, God did it. If something bad happens, oh the Devil did it, or he works in mysterious ways, or, it was that evil free choice God gave us. So they always want the credit but never the blame.

Aug 07, 2010
ANYONE at all who advocates a belief in the unreal must share the responsibility for the suffering and death it causes anywhere in the world, by any religionist whatsoever.
So kids who believe in Santa need to redress the Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia?

Too general a statement otto.

Aug 07, 2010
Actually, Jav, they should own up to that.


I'm really annoyed with religion a lot of the time, but individuals should own up to the actions of individuals. There's nothing in the Christian faith that advocates rape, torture, and murder so it doesn't make sense to blame anyone who believes in God for the misguided actions of individuals.

Please don't quote me some obscure bible passage from Job or something... I don't know the bible passage by passage, but I know that the faith is essentially based on a combination of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule with a few differences in specifics depending on Catholic/Anglican/etc. Rape, murder, and torture are blatant violations of the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

Aug 07, 2010
I know a lot of people here have a huge hate on for religion, but when you group everyone who is "religious" together you're being as ignorant as the "religious" who group everyone who is an atheist together.

There's a significant difference between the average Sunday church-goer and the fundamentalist crazy that bombs abortion clinics.

Aug 07, 2010
Atheists here keep trying to prove it does not exist.

No. We simply insist that you apply the same standards you apply to anything else to the issue of gods existence. If someone tells you "I have a billion dollars in my pocket" then you rightfully say "prove it".

It is the person who claims existence of _anything_ who must supply evidence - not the one who claims non-existence.

So before you are able to show your god there is not a single atheist who needs to prove anything.

if you do not show your god then you are inconsistent in your way of interacting with people (demanding one set of values for one set of circumstances while demanding them in others)

That makes you, as a person, untrustworthy. Do you expect anyone to take anything that an untrustworthy person says seriously? YOU wouldn't trust an untrustworyh person. So why should we?

Aug 07, 2010
Why?
All anyone who has faith in God can do is demonstrate their faith. How is that 'unstrusworthy'?
Because you assert that your faith grants knowledge. Knowledge is demonstrable. If you can't show it, you don't know it regardless of how strong your feelings are on the topic. The contention here is the fact you assert "God Exists" is fact, when you can't demonstrate that fact. Since you cannot demonstrate "God Exists", it is not a fact. All the faith and belief in the world won't alter reality,. So until you can prove that "God Exists" is a fact, you should act accordingly, and be a bit more humble in what you state.

Aug 07, 2010

By the way skultch, I have relatives in the military who have been busy fighting religionists. I had one at ft hood the day all those people were shot by an Islamist. You got any empathy for them?


I was an active Army 1LT on 9/11/01 and a CPT in Iraq for 360 days starting in March '03. I drove HMWVVs every other day from Abu Gharaib to Baghdad in the commanders vehicle. You know I'm an atheist.

And, YES, I have empathy for everyone. I can't help it. It's my nature and I also happen to think it's a reasonable thing to do.

Know your enemy.

Aug 07, 2010
How many of you atheists use drugs contributing to those deaths?
Mine come from the US.
How many products do you use that are made with resources that enrich Kim Jong and his Allies? This is a silly argument. Global production uses global resources.

Aug 07, 2010
How convenient. You consider an innate behavior you can't control reasonable.
You may not be able to control empathy, but you can certainly ignore it if necessary.

The statistical reports lend creedence to atheists being more moral, more empathetic, less pollution, and less selfish on average. Now that doesn't mean that all atheists share these traits, or that there's a preclusion ot a religious person having these traits, it simply shows an average. I'm not a big fan of survey evidence as questions can be misworded or misleading based on the subject, but, when it appears in each and every study it gets my attention.

It speaks to some people not being able to be moral or ethical on their own. They require the doctrine and dogma of religion.

It also explains why a lot of dogmatists will toss out the old gem "If you think you're a monkey, does that mean you can act like one too?" My reply is always, "War has monkey written all over it."

Aug 07, 2010
"# Freedom ameliorates the problem of mass poverty.
No it doesn't and never has. Technology ameliorates the problem of mass poverty.
# Free people do not suffer from and never have had famines, and by theory, should not. Freedom is therefore a solution to hunger and famine.
I suppose giving people the ability to vote in elections, say what they want in public, and carry guns somehow makes it rain and kill off all the bugs and pests? How idiotic can you be?
# Free people have the least internal violence, turmoil, and political instability.

You really don't know what you're talking about, do you? I suppose you think just saying something makes it true?
# Free people have virtually no government genocide and mass murder, and for good theoretical reasons. Freedom is therefore a solution to genocide and mass murder;

The worldview you espouse is hopelessly naive, supported by outright duplicity.

Aug 07, 2010
marjon opined,
"God doesn't force anyone to have faith in Him or make anyone do anything."

I'd rather get that straight from him, or her. Have him appear sometime next week at a congressional hearing and lets ask him or her directly. As it is, you're just doing the same thing we always hear, you seem to have appointed yourself spokesman for someone who may or may not even exist. In which case it is easy for you to put whatever words into God's mouth that you want at any given moment to bolster whatever claim you are making.

Aug 08, 2010
The books of the new testament were written between 30 and 150 years AFTER the supposed crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

In that time the average life span wasn't much longer than 30 years.

NO ONE that wrote anything in the bible could have witnessed these events unless they were very young children at the time.

The new testament was written about hear-say, passed by word of mouth for decades before being written down, if not entirely fabricated.

The old testament is an amalgamation of the writings of Judaism.

Aug 08, 2010
Do you know why Keynsian economics advocates deficit spending during a recession? Or are you just going to mindlessly repeat that free markets spur innovation? It's because such "valueless" spending actually equalizes the distribution of wealth, and that's important because it's only when the players to the market are relatively equal that that market can be free. When one, or a small number of players have all the playing chips (money and commodities) the market's not free. And what happens in a completely unregulated market? Everybody tries to be the guy with all the playing chips, and eventually, someone succeeds, and then, bye bye free market.

Aug 08, 2010
What we have are statements of those to whom God has spoken.
Courts of law accept eyewitness testimony and a jury decides.

Eye witness testimony is the lowest form of evidence, especially when that witness is an uneducated goat herder.

Aug 08, 2010
Islam is a government also.
Not really. It is a source for a way of running a government and that still has nothing to do with what I asked.
The Koran is its constitution.
In what way is that a social belief and what does it have to do with your idiotic original claim?

It isn't a matter consensus. It is a matter of a religious belief that was mostly spread the sword.

The reality is that majorities do infringe upon minority rights if there is no understanding the rights are inherent.


There are no inherent rights. The only rights that exist are the ones we give ourselves. Sorry but Jefferson was full it on this. Or rather he didn't care if it was based on reason as he was writing a propaganda piece.

And Islam claims any rights comes from a god. The right to divorce for instance. To go to paradise for killing infidels. Not social. Religion. The religion formed the society and not the other way around.

And that was how you dealt with reality. Evaded it.

Ethelred

Aug 08, 2010
Mindless? Mindless?
Yes. And if you repeat it few a more times it will be mindless squared.
Depends on whether you want to refer to evolution in a poetic way or not
This a science site not a place for agoraphobes to whine about consistency.
Individuals struggle against the the debilitations of the environment, for the chance to reproduce
Except for humans no species is aware of evolution and most humans aren't aware of it either. Struggling to survive is not struggling to evolve.
Up until very recently, everybody was having too many children
Not really. Up until recently most places had plenty of room.
Organized religion gave a culture the ability to maximize this equation and direct an even larger cohesive force against it's enemies.
Sometimes. I don't think the Assyrians depended on religion and they seem to have started empire building outside of Egypt. In Egypt it was Narmer and he seems to have done by being an inflamed sphincter.

Ethelred

Aug 08, 2010
Specifically, something which is not falsifiable by its very nature cannot be a theory. See Russels Teapot
Horse manure. String theory and M-Theory both seem to be non-falsifiable. They are still called theories by most. I don't call them theories but that is because they have yet to predict anything different from the Standard Model.

Falsifiability is DESIRABLE in a theory but it is not a true requirement. It was a plea by one opinionated egomaniac who thought he was in charge of setting definitions. I know many now agree but I suspect that the agreement is not a matter of reason but emotion.

And many religions ARE falsifiable. Fundamentalist religions that have Genesis as a part are all false since a literal reading of Genesis does not describe the world we live in. Unless the fundamentalist is the sort that believes Jehovah is a liar. In which case how do they know it is the world that is the lie and not the book.

Ethelred

Aug 08, 2010
"A species will always produce more offspring than can be expected to survive to maturity." As humans became able to overcome the attritive elements which would normally have kept it's numbers in check, the only enemy left became fellow humans. 'Plenty of room' is a hopelessly unscientific... uh, thing.
That's entirely untrue. Your initial premise is faulty. Many animals do not over reproduce, although the majority do. Then again, based on what "over-reproduction would be defined as, you couold be correct.

It's too general a statement to derive any form of logical and consistent truth.

Aug 08, 2010
Well isn't that the obvious benefit of believing in supernatural being(s)? Unless you're a fanatic of some kind, belief in God is soothing and usually harmless.

Aug 08, 2010
Well isn't that the obvious benefit of believing in supernatural being(s)? Unless you're a fanatic of some kind, belief in God is soothing and usually harmless.

Belief in God can be soothing, but only if you're familiar with the neo-western concepts of God.

Prior to and within the Abrahamic faiths the Gods were petty and cruel.

That's another aspect of God that indicates anthropomorphic conceptual invention. The location and time in which a god is worshipped defines the description of said God.

The Gods of Mesopotamia were erratic and wraithful while the gods of Egypt during times of prosperity were loving and caring, an extension of their benevolent rulers. Why is this? The Flood cycle.

When the Nile floods were regular and brought great prosperity, the gods were considered loving, or the concept of the good gods and their power would overwhelm the evil gods. While when the rivers dried up, the evil within the Gods would manifest.


Aug 08, 2010
If God was a creation of native tribes in Arabia, why did they make promote social values?
The need for self organization and propagation of socially beneficial rules. Religion was a good way to force people to do things that they were too lazy or just unwilling to do. Threaten someone with a lightning bolt and if they believe it, they'll do anything you tell them to. Like holding a gun to someone's head, except inescapable. The early religious edicts were matters of sanitation, healthy living, social law. This is well evidenced in the OT as you can see that the moratorium on homosexuality is side by side with the moratorium on shell fish.
Those Jews were pretty smart if they created such a God.

They didn't create it, they borrowed it from other concepts that predated them. This goes all the way back to tribal shamanism. I know you don't believe in evolution, but even religion evolves. It's part of our evolution. The complexity within our society increases over time

Aug 08, 2010
Again, why were they the only tribe to recognize that all those rules and laws were a positive to promote the prosperity of the tribe?
They weren't. A lot of their ethics and morality came to them from the Nubians and Egyptians, later on the Greeks and to a small extent the Romans.
Seems like the key difference seems that the priests and prophets of God were reluctant and did not seek political power over others.
Well that's entirely false. The priest class were the sheppards of Egypt, same with the Jews, Rabbi's and priests were the authority, prior to them the Tribal leaders were the keepers of the faith. The Holy Roman Emperor sat in his throne at the behest of the Pope.

In the past the religious leaders WERE the seat of power. All power stemmed from their will as it was by extension "the will of god". Even 400 years ago the Pope could snap his fingers and have you killed. He could start wars or end them, and seize whatever he wanted. It's exactly the opposite today.

Aug 08, 2010
So why didn't the Nubians or Egyptians or Greeks and Romans create the prosperity and technology we have today?
Please don't be silly. The Abrahamic faiths are not the sole proprietor's of history. If you examine the Greeks and Romans we've done very little that they haven't done. In some cases they've accomplished feats we wouldn't even try, as in the case of the Egyptians and the Mayans. The Thai are known to have had the largest city in the known world for hundreds of years. We weren't able to recreate that level of prosperity until the Industrial age. They did it by hand!

Technology also evolves with us. As we make new discoveries, sometimes big, like developing flight (ie Birds and Planes), our technology changes to become more fit to our needs. In a way our evolution is tied to our technology. Seperate a modern man from his tools and he becomes a lowly creature. Indelible stamp of our lowly origin and so forth.

Aug 08, 2010
Religion exists and will continue to exist as long as there are people who NEED to believe in it.

You are an atheist if you have no NEED to believe in religion or God.


Aug 08, 2010
And, YES, I have empathy for everyone. I can't help it. It's my nature and I also happen to think it's a reasonable thing to do.

How convenient. You consider an innate behavior you can't control reasonable.


No, I absolutely do not. Where did you learn how to read? "...and I also..." - Do you understand how that separates the two? I see now you are not an intentional troll, but merely uneducated. Notice I didn't say miseducated. Know the difference? $100 says Marjon was home schooled by a similar nitwit. Pity is the emotion I feel now.

Aug 08, 2010
Why didn't the Greeks or Romans or Chinese launch the industrial age?
They had most of the basic ideas and a good start on the technology.
In the case of Greece it was the god fearing Romans who conquered them. In the case of Rome it was the God fearing Christians who conquered them. The Chinese existed in a state of perpetual war for a long time, leading to rapid resource shortages in some cases and severe droughts and famines. Disruption was everywhere but in all cases, it wasn't until the objective observation of nature came into the spotlight that their technology could advance. The preconceptions of how the world works and the "will of god" greatly stifled innovation since it's initial rise to power in all cases. It is attempting to do so today, and using people like yourself as fools and puppets to do it.

Aug 08, 2010

How convenient. You consider an innate behavior you can't control reasonable.


No, I absolutely do not. Where did you learn how to read? "...and I also..." - Do you understand how that separates the two? I see now you are not an intentional troll, but merely uneducated. Notice I didn't say miseducated. Know the difference? $100 says Marjon was home schooled by a similar nitwit. Pity is the emotion I feel now.

Typical, insults instead of dialog.
Can't defend so denigrate and evade.


How can a productive dialog be achieved when you simply do not understand what I am communicating? My post was a realization of your failure to achieve productive dialog. Your ignorance forced you to assume a falsehood. What did I have to defend? I merely pointed out facts from there. You are under educated for this conversation and my wager is that the cause of this lack of education is a home-schooling by the relatively ignorant. Prove me wrong.

Aug 08, 2010
Typical, insults instead of dialog. Can't defend so denigrate and evade.
Well, you started that.
It's interesting that Hitler and Stalin always comes out of these discussions. The reason why those two men were able to do such horrible things is because of faith. Faith corrupts reason as faith requires belief despite evidence. Murder is wrong, but only when you don't have faith that you're doing wrong for greater good. The holocaust, the russian purges, the crusades, the burning of the Great Library, the stonings and rapes of muslim women, all the evil of man is bound in the trappings of faith.

I think that's the misconception in the statements of atheism. We don't have faith, but lack of faith doesn't remove the ability to have beliefs. Faith is belief gone sour. That's the problem.

Aug 08, 2010
Horse manure. String theory and M-Theory both seem to be non-falsifiable.


You are confusing an inherent inability to be falsified with our current inability to falsify something.

A God character, defined to be omnipotent, cannot EVER be falsified, no matter what we do or what we learn. String theory and its derivatives could conceivably be falsified in the future with greater physical understanding than what we possess today.

Falsifiability is DESIRABLE in a theory but it is not a true requirement.


I have heard from many scientists and in many scientific publications that a requirement for a theory is that is falsifiable and that the ease of falsification is one of the many determinants of the strength of that theory.

Given that you have demonstrated that you don't understand the difference between something that is inherently non-falsifiable and something that is only currently non-falsifiable I will stick with my definition.

cont'd.

Aug 08, 2010
And many religions ARE falsifiable.


I never said they weren't. Are you intentionally constructing a straw man argument here or were you merely being careless in your reading of my post?

I said a God entity, and I specifically stated a God entity with the attribute of omnipotence, is inherently non-falsifiable.

Aug 08, 2010
It seems some posters have "scientism"; the belief in science as a rational religion. This is not the same as atheism. Many atheists don't believe in God and don't replace him with science. Actually atheism and science have very little in common.

Aug 08, 2010
For legal positivism there are none. For natural law there are.


Someone else asserted this and I asked them what exactly do they think their rights are under natural law... Not surprisingly they did not respond, because there are none.

Natural law is the absence of rights.

Aug 08, 2010
It seems some posters have "scientism"; the belief in science as a rational religion. This is not the same as atheism. Many atheists don't believe in God and don't replace him with science. Actually atheism and science have very little in common.


What in the fucking hell are you talking about?

I have not read anything here that would lead me to believe that anyone is supplanting science for religion, and science is not and cannot be a religion, by definition.

You can, however, use scientific understanding, as opposed to religious understanding, to construct your worldview, which is what I think you are talking about although using the wrong terms...

If you think holding a worldview based on scientific understanding is the same as supplanting religion with science then you are flat out incorrect. Both may provide the framework for a worldview, but science and religion are two completely different things and as such one cannot substitute the other in the general case.

Aug 08, 2010
Atheist: A person who holds no belief in a god or gods due to a lack of evidence
That's not precise enough for me. I prefer to make a difference between atheists and agnostics.
Agnostics hold that atheists and believers have something in common: They both cling to non-falsifiable statements.
"There is a (supernatural) god" and "there is no (supernatural) god".


This is not accurate.

Theism has to do with the belief in god. The prefix a- means without... a-theist means without a belief in god.

Atheism is the position of holding no belief in a godlike entity, it is NOT the position that there is none, because that would pertain to knowledge, and like many others so far in this discussion you are conflating knowledge with belief.

Gnosticism refers to knowledge of god, theism refers to belief in god, knowledge and belief are completely different things. Most atheists are ALSO agnostic, holding no belief in god and claiming no knowledge of god.

Aug 08, 2010
Without Natural Law there would have been neither the tyrannicids of ancient Greece nor the Nuremberg Tribunal.
Without Natural law all people living under a rule of injust laws would be damned.

The absence of Natural Law is the negation of Human Rights.


I am sorry I have no clue what you are trying to say.

Natural law, aka the law of the jungle, is the complete absence of rights. Animals in the wild, a gazelle for example, has no rights. This is because no other animal respects anything that we (well, you, as a naive individual) might perceive as a "right".

Tell me, what does a Lion know or care about any potential or perceived rights of any given Gazelle in the African Savannah?

What rights do you think you would have (eg. would be respected by other animals) if you become lost on a jungle excursion?

Do you think a tiger is going to respect your "right" to life? Do you think a chimpanzee is going to respect your "right" property and not steal your food while you sleep?

Aug 08, 2010
It seems to me that the religious state is somewhat like a trance state in which one "suspends one's critical faculty" and begins "to think selectively." That keeps one from questioning one's beliefs to the extent of closing one's mind to alternative possibilities. It is not limited just to religious thought but to most any thought process in which one believes deeply rather than just interestedly or curiously. That description of a trance state, if I recall correctly, was that of Dave Elman who many decades ago was a well known stage and medical hypnotist and broadcaster.

Aug 08, 2010
This is not the first time I have discussed the nature of "rights" on the internet and I am always amazed at what some people think.

Animals (except humans) have no rights because they do not grant each other rights and therefore do not respect any potential rights of others.

The origin of a "right" is manifold, first you have a consensus that is met, either by the majority of society or by the ruling elite, as to what rights should be respected. Next you have the willful cooperation of the majority in respecting those agreed upon rights. And finally you have some mechanism to discourage the violation of these agreed upon rights, which typically manifests itself as threat of punishment or retaliation.

Therefore, the reason you or anyone has anything we can consider a right is because:

A: Society agrees that it is something worth preserving.

B: Individuals refrain from violating it.

and

C: The legal and penal system exists to deter those who would violate it.

Aug 08, 2010
Sorry frajo but a theism is a belief in the existence of a god or gods. Thus with the prefix "a", which means "without", "atheism" means without a belief in the existence of a god or gods. Thus an "atheist" is one who has no belief in a god or gods. That does not mean that one denies the existence of a god, but only that one has no reason to do so lacking any evidence for a god. The positive knowledge that the people that atheists express is the knowledge that there is that for all they know there is no evidence for the existence of a god. I was born an atheist, i.e., any knowledge of a god and now at 70 I still have not seen any evidence that would let me conclude that there is an supernatural outside of the natural let alone any evidence for a god.

Aug 08, 2010
Yes.


Then clearly you agree that an atheist simply holds no belief in god, and does NOT NECESSARILY believe that there is no god, since the BELIEF that there is no GOD is a belief about god, an atheist holds no belief about god.

No. It means "without god".


You must have forgotten that you just stated that theism has to do with belief in god. So how does a-theism mean without god, rather than without BELIEF IN god, when theism refers to a belief in god... You're being ridiculous and you know it.

But today it's a _descriptor_ for people who are convinced of their knowledge that there is no god.


And here you are again confusing knowledge with belief. Theism has nothing to do with knowledge. Stop confusing the two, it isn't difficult.

None has written "I don't know whether there is a god".


You are wrong, because I am atheist, and have I stated exactly that in this thread.

Here, I'll do it again:

I am an atheist, I don't know whether or not a god exists

Aug 08, 2010
No. "Gnosis" means just knowledge. "Gnosticism" is only a _designator_ for a bundle of ancient religions.


Gnosticism refers to knowledge of god. You know this, you are arguing semantics.

When you apply the prefix a- to the word gnostic, which means knowledge of god, you get the word agnostic, meaning without knowledge of god.

Stop being silly.

The atheists in this thread claim to know something, namely "there is no god".


I have not seen anyone state or imply this, perhaps you are reading different words than I am, or perhaps you are filtering them through your preconceived misconceptions... hmm...

Aug 08, 2010
Did they also test how thinking about reality affects stress levels of the religious?

Aug 08, 2010
I am sorry I have no clue what you are trying to say.
I see. Maybe I should have written: The so-called "Natural Law". Maybe I should have provided links like http://en.wikiped...ral_law.


Hey thanks for the wikipedia link, I'll add it to my collection.

Can you perhaps speak for yourself in this context though? Since you are the one making the argument?

Specifically, what part of that Wikipedia article is relevant to the point you were trying to make that natural law includes inherent rights?

But apart of this: Has a citizen the right to kill a tyrant?


Humans, as animals, have no rights.

Humans as organized by societies have the rights that the society agrees on, and that the majority of the society respects and observes.

If the majority of society agrees that an individual has the right to kill a tyrant, than one has the right to kill a tyrant.

You frame your question as if there is objective set of rights, there isn't.

Aug 08, 2010
chollman82,
Rights are freedoms of actions in social situations. Sure there can be an objective set of rights. First you have to know what kind of being is acting and for what values it is acting. The primary value is one's life for which all other values apply. A being must have certain freedoms of action if it is to survive. Now in you collectivist approach to life you will deny that any of this is from observations of life and must blot out any form of individualism with some kind of consensus. Whether or not a rights are recognized in law or by some mob of citizens, they are objective and necessary for a being to freely seek fundamental values if it is to survive.

Aug 08, 2010
"I know there is a god" is knowledge (which may be true or false).
"I know there is no god" is knowledge (which may be true or false).
"I don't know whether there is a god" is agnostic.
"I don't know whether there is a god and I'm an atheist" is religious agnosticism with wrong semantics.


And here you are confusing knowledge with belief YET AGAIN.

Look, do you want me to draw you a truth table for this? Concerning both the knowledge and belief in god there are 4 possibilities:

1 - I have knowledge that there is no god, and therefore do not believe in god.

2 - I have knowledge that there is a god, and therefor believe in god.

3 - I have no knowledge of god, but believe in god.

4 - I have no knowledge of god, but do not believe in god.

These are 4 possibilities. In order to express all 4 possibilities we use 2 binary descriptors, one to refer to the belief in god (theism), the other to refer to knowledge of god (gnosticism).

This is not difficult

Aug 08, 2010
Sure there can be an objective set of rights.


When referring to something that is purportedly objective it either is or is not, "can be" has no meaning here, and neither does this statement.

First you have to know what kind of being is acting and for what values it is acting.


I agree that values have a lot to do with what is eventually agreed to be a right.

The primary value is one's life for which all other values apply.


And again, do you think a lion in Africa thinks a gazelle has a right to life?

A being must have certain freedoms of action if it is to survive.


Who says it must survive?

Aug 09, 2010
chollman82,
I did not say it must survive, only that "if it is to survive" it must be free to act to obtain those values needed for its survival. That is the nature of living things. I doubt that lions can think. They act freely within their natures to obtain the values, e.g.,gazelles,
necessary for their survival. Only rational beings have the problem of deciding on whether to live or die. Of course, in you collectivist mob world, rights are not recognized and one is stuck with permissions to act and privileged spoils for survival. A right to act needs no permission for action. Outside of social situations, whether of law or custom, one acts freely to obtain one's values. One objective definition of a "right" is that "a right is a moral principle which sanctions a man's freedom of action in a social context." Moral implies choice and principle implies objectivity. So, if one likes, one is free not to discover the principle and choose not to put it into action.

Aug 09, 2010
I think "heaven" is peace when you die and "hell" is falling into despair when you die, if somehow thoughts continue. People may hope there is a god or put faith in that belief because they are scared they wont be able to control what happens when they die.

Aug 09, 2010
Everyone sins so they hope "god" is merciful and will forgive. This could just be people feeling bad for sins and not wanting regrets to consume them.

Aug 09, 2010
it wasn't until the objective observation of nature came into the spotlight

"The Monk in the Garden
The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics "http://www.nytime...onk.html
How could this be?
At what point in time did I say there was no such thing as a rational Christian? Aquinas also advocated searching for truth in nature, his goal was to discover God, sounds an awful lot like the other Christian faith'd scientists you mention.

@frajo, I'm using the English definitions of the word, not the greek eytomology from which they came. For purposes of this topic my definitions are the accepted standard within the English language. And Buddhism is improperly classified as a religion. Orthodox Buddhism holds no divine figure within it's faith. Only the corruptions of Buddhism, like the Tamil Tiger sect hold to divinity. Seeing as they're also the inventors of the suicide bomb in the modern era....

Aug 09, 2010
I did not say it must survive, only that "if it is to survive" it must be free to act to obtain those values needed for its survival.


Agreed.

I doubt that lions can think


You are demonstrably incorrect.

Only rational beings have the problem of deciding on whether to live or die.


This makes no sense. Almost all animals have a built in survival instinct, rational or not.

Of course, in you collectivist mob world


I have described the world as it is, as opposed to how you would like to think it is.

rights are not recognized and one is stuck with permissions to act and privileged spoils for survival.


What? Of course rights are recognized... you have rights don't you?

Why the hell do people always confuse the recognition of the true source of rights with the complete exclusion of them or the ultimate demise of them?

You have rights, I am not saying you don't, I am just telling you where they actually come from, they are not inherent.

Aug 09, 2010
Holman,

I think I've figured out Marjon's core objections.

His belief system, and I'm not referring to faith or christianity, requires every person on the planet to be a unique and individual snowflake. That's probably been proved to be false time and again for him, as it typically is for all of us at some point in time.

Marjon,

There was no special care rendered when you were created. You were formed by the same sloppy biological processes that we all were. You are both unique as there is only one you, but you're also the same as you were born human and not some new derivative species. We're all interchangable, and we're all individuals with different aspects that make us more or less fit for certain tasks.

There is nothing wrong with either perspective, but the true beauty of us as a species comes in when you examine both aspects critically and carefully, giving equal weight to both.

Aug 09, 2010
cmon guys, surely deep down the sock puppets make for an interesting revisit to places you thought long gone over. Dont get snarky with it/them/whomever, keep patiently pointing out the flaws (however obvious and frustratingly mindbombingly logic busting they are) and you are sort of performing a community service to other PO readers such as me!

Aug 09, 2010
I am an atheist, I don't know whether or not a god exists

That is an inconsistent statement.


Only if you don't know what one or more of the words mean...

Theism deals with belief in god. I have no belief in god, therefore I am an a-theist... meaning without belief. The prefix a- means without, theism refers to the belief in god, therefore a-theism means without belief in god...

A lack of BELIEF in god says NOTHING about my KNOWLEDGE of god, because belief and knowledge are two completely different things.

I have no knowledge of god, meaning I don't know whether or not a god like entity exists. My lack of belief in god does not in ANY WAY speak to my knowledge of god.

Again, what do people find so difficult about this. Do you people speak English? Can you follow simple logic? If I gave you a block with various shaped holes and the matching wooden shaped pieces could you put the correct piece through the correct hole?

I really wonder sometimes...

Aug 09, 2010
Sounds like you spend way too much time among the 'elite' in Cambridge or is that your Army training?


Nice ad hominem.

How can equal weight be given to treating humans as individuals with unalienable natural rights and treating humans as cogs in a wheel that tyrannical masters can remove and replace at a whim?


See, your problem is that you are so mired down in your preconceived bullshit about the state and, in your words, tyrannical masters, that you can't look past that nonsense to see the truth in what we are saying as the truth that it is DESPITE what you may think of it or of its potential implications.

The problem is, you think your personal desires have some bearing on truth. They do not.

The truth is as it is regardless of what you think about it.

If the truth is terrible then it is terrible, it doesn't make it any less truthful.

You live in a fantasy land where you construct what you consider truth based on what you consider good...

Aug 09, 2010
That is an inconsistent statement.

No, it is perfectly consistent with the definition of the word.
Are you an alpha, beta or gamma?
I didn't know we lived in the Brave New World.
Sounds like you spend way too much time among the 'elite' in Cambridge or is that your Army training?
It is reality. Do you think the "elite" in Cambridge would think they're replacable? Truth is, everyone is replacable.
can equal weight be given to treating humans as individuals with unalienable natural rights and treating humans as cogs in a wheel that tyrannical masters can remove and replace at a whim?
There are no tyrannical masters involved, that is unless you plan to iunstitue them or allow for certain people to be above the law.

In short, grow up, stop putting words and ideologies in other people's mouths. Your arguments are starting to look like McCarthyism.

That's the truth.
As you see it. When you're done draping yourself in the flag have it cleaned.

Aug 09, 2010
The truth is government IS force.

It uses force, it is not force itself...
Does its power derive from those governed?

This is a complex question, but to put it simply I think that it can be, but it doesn't have to be.
Do the governed agree to give up some of their inherent rights and power to better protect their rights?

Some of them do and some of them don't and each to varying degrees.

Why do you keep phrasing things as if they were in black and white?
Or is the government the ultimate provider of rights and whoever controls the government controls the rights of all?

It can be, but not necessarily...

Again, you are asking complex question phrased as if they can be answered with a simple true or false, yes or no... These issues are not as black and white as you make them out to be.

In the general case, as I have stated, the source of rights is the agreement of others to respect them. Whether this agreement is coerced or not is another discussion

Aug 09, 2010
200 some years ago a few didn't like that idea and documented their ideas and created a new government with the idea that people had natural, inherent,unalienable rights and that the only function of the state was to protect those rights.


You are confused.

The founding fathers did not mistakenly think that rights were inherent, for if they were inherent they would not need stating or protecting and the constitution that you are referencing here would not need to be written.

No, in fact the constitution proves my point. The founding fathers came to a consensus of opinion of what should be considered rights among the people, rights that are worth preserving and protecting, and they then included those rights as a basis for our government.

Don't you see that this is EXACTLY what I am saying? These rights were mutually agreed upon by the majority (or the majority rule) and then steps were taken to protect them.

The source of these rights was the mutual agreement of men.

Aug 09, 2010
Marjon is an Anarchist... which of course means he KNOWS that government does not exist... just as an Atheist KNOWS that god does not exist......

lol

Aug 09, 2010
Did they also test how thinking about reality affects stress levels of the religious?


Great point, and on topic, to boot! :)

I think this article / experiment shows what happens in our brains when we are confronted with a worldview that opposes our own. Your brain can't help but attempt to parse it into its current understanding and that takes energy and focus. It may be quicker for some with a more defined, detailed, worldview. Some may also have their brains trained to automatically ignore info that contradicts their personal worldview, so stress levels may barely increase for some.

I'm actually not so sure thinking about opposing info directly increases stress reactions. It may simply be that the brain cannot consciously focus on difficult tasks and challenge its view of reality at the same time, which THEN increases stress.

A recent article in PO showed that women can multitask more efficiently than men. I wonder if this experiment showed a sex difference.

Aug 09, 2010
Why do you keep phrasing things as if they were in black and white?
Because, like McCarthy, Bush, Calvin, and a lot of other poor thinkers: "you're with him or you're against him".
just as an Atheist KNOWS that god does not exist......

No, we simply see no concrete evidence for a god, therefore we have no faith in a god, and further, do not believe in one. There are a great many "religious" atheists, for example the ancestor worshipping faiths, the universal soul faiths, the secular humanist faiths, pantheism etc. The only bonding element is that faith in contrast to natural observation yields poor results.

Aug 09, 2010
just as an Atheist KNOWS that god does not exist......

No, we simply see no concrete evidence for a god, therefore we have no faith in a god, and further, do not believe in one. There are a great many "religious" atheists, for example the ancestor worshipping faiths, the universal soul faiths, the secular humanist faiths, pantheism etc. The only bonding element is that faith in contrast to natural observation yields poor results.


That was satire... I was misrepresenting his anarchism the same way he is misrepresenting our atheism.

Aug 09, 2010
That was satire... I was misrepresenting his anarchism the same way he is misrepresenting our atheism.
My bad, it didn't translate through the text well.

Aug 09, 2010
Marjon is so vehemently defending his faith because it's an essential part of self-identity, and the formation of this self-identity is also the source of his blatantly erroneous views of the state and economics. He believes, as someone above so eloquently put it, that he is a unique, precious snowflake, that God is the source of that uniqueness, and that this uniqueness both in himself and in all others is the source of all value, economic and political. In truth, he's only really wrong about the source of his uniqueness. That is a result of the intersection of a multitude of complex social forces, beginning with his family dynamic, and spreading outward, just as the uniqueness of a snowflake is a result of the intersection of complex chemical forces.

Aug 09, 2010
The responses to the article are pure comedy. Most all of you "atheists" reacted just like the research said you would. God bless all of you and thank you for a great laugh.

Aug 09, 2010
The responses to the article are pure comedy. Most all of you "atheists" reacted just like the research said you would.


And?

Aug 09, 2010
The responses to the article are pure comedy. Most all of you "atheists" reacted just like the research said you would. God bless all of you and thank you for a great laugh.


I can tell you right now that having discussions about god with Christians causes me a great deal of stress...

Mostly because their worldviews and ideologies are woefully inconsistent, they apply "logic" with all the care of a raped gorilla in a china shop, and they CONSTANTLY make unfounded assumptions about you and put words in your mouth which not only are inaccurate but are often polar opposites of what you actually believe, all of which are akin to listening to a set of long french nails rake down an old classroom chalkboard.

The responses to the article are pure comedy. Most all of you "atheists" reacted just like the research said you would. God bless all of you and thank you for a great laugh.


Agreed, this has been pretty hilarious to watch unfold. I love the continuing arguements about definition and conspiracy history.

The article is basically 'thinking about things you like makes you happy and calm'. Also literally under fire i would be calmer if i had the placebo effect of thinking that I was immortal. Futhermore hearing things you find crazy and threatening to society will certainly cause distress. Nice spin on a simple idea to get a comment war going.

I do envy religious people though, i wish my adult view of reality allowed me to believe stuff i percieve as fiction and magic, it would be like being a kid again. *tongue in cheek*

Aug 09, 2010
My take on the gist of this article is that ignorance is bliss

Aug 09, 2010
No atheists here have ever addressed the central theme of the Bible, faith.


What a ludicrous statement. It is addressed every time we AGNOSTICS and the Atheists point out that going on faith mostly going against evidence.

Why go on faith when you can go on facts and reason?

Ethelred

Aug 09, 2010
Next time look it up. Otto does not like to play fetch.


I didn't say the Assyrians didn't have a religion. My point was that I thought their acquisitive nature was the main cause of the conquests. I think they developed a religion to support that rather than the religion was the cause.

For instance the Aztecs HAD to conquer others or they would have had to sacrifice Aztecs. Thy cut out someones heart EVERY day. 365 and a quarter days a year. Yes they knew the length of the year wasn't 365 days.

For that matter the Romans conquered most of Europe and ALL of the Mediterranean because they were greedy SOBs. And had some rather nasty neighbors that they had to either put down fairly frequently or conquer.

Ethelred

Aug 09, 2010
The value of faith:


The value of unfaith.

Few Agnostics or Atheists commit crimes. Eighty percent of the US prison population is Christian. Less the one percent is Atheist or Agnostic as opposed to somewhere between seven and fifteen percent in the general population.

http://www.holysm...-pri.htm

I NOT claiming that religion leads to jail. Just that Atheism and Agnosticism, as opposed to simply not being religious, leads to NOT going to jail. Which is a strong indication that a Agnostic or Atheist way of life is a moral way of life.

Ethelred

Aug 10, 2010

That is why it is called faith.
No atheists here have ever addressed the central theme of the Bible, faith.
Bullshit, I already addressed this with you several times. Faith is toxic. Anything inspiring belief in spite of evidence is delusion. You've been called to the carpet on this topic the entire time, don't be retarded.
All major stories in the OT are about faith.
Or war, and rape, and vengence.
Those who follow God are rewarded. When Israel deviates, they are punished.
Whether you believe in God or not, why is the central theme always about faith?
It's always about punishment for lacking faith actually.
More modern individuals have developed similar concepts with positive thinking principles and medical research supports positive attitudes for wellness.
Faith in God isn't necessarily a positive attitude, it is a love born of fear.

Why did a bunch of ignorant shepherds wandering around Arabia believe faith is so important?

Duh, ignorance.

Aug 10, 2010
"Religious faith has an enormous effect on your attitude. It can make you more generous and openhearted toward others and toward yourself, too. It helps to look for what's good and uplifting so that you focus more on the positive."

Complete bullshit. Religion doesn't make nice people nice. Religion keeps bad people from being bad.
There's a reason why charity and Christianity go hand in hand. These people aren't donating because fo love, or goodness in their hearts in all cases, many of them are donating because the dogma says "Give of your treasures on earth so that you may acquire treasures in heaven". Since heaven is eternal, who wouldn't want to have a bunch of treasure?

Your arguments are all circular and based on false logic. Religion doesn't change people's attitudes or primary motivations, simply look at all the "good christians" in government who are caught with their penis in another man's mouth.

Aug 10, 2010
@ Marjon, concerning you responding to our arguments on the truth of god's existence with the value of faith.

So, the ends justify the means? Your only argument on our repeated evidence suggesting gods existence is extremely unlikely, is that you have to have faith. IOW, a guess. Your answer to the question why do you believe with no evidence, is that there is an earthly benefit. How does that make any sense? How is that even consistent with your worldview?

Aug 10, 2010
Your answer to the question why do you believe with no evidence, is that there is an earthly benefit. How does that make any sense? How is that even consistent with your worldview?

Simple, because religious fundamentalism is a great way to hide a case of Schizophrenia. Speaking in tounges, and feeling the presence of things that aren't there, engaging in dangerous and stupid acts like waving snakes around or strapping C4 to your chest is commonplace and easy to do for the deranged. Fundamentalism is the home of the deranged.

Aug 10, 2010
Of course you are
Bull. I said what I meant. Which is that NON religion in the form of Atheists and Agnostics leads to NOT going to jail. Non religion in the form of not caring to think about it seems to lead to jail disproportionately.

This implies that not thinking leads to jail.
How many of those in prison have their lives turned around by faith in God?
Some of them became Scientologists and a LOT became Muslims. Some get religion and then go out get sent back.
What makes Christianity really great is its theme of another chance at life, an opportunity to change.
I have the opportunity to change without being Christian. You do too as soon you change to a thinker instead of believing everything you read from religious and extreme conservative institutes
How many are in prison due to the atheist/socialist government policies that do not promote the nuclear family?
None. There is no such policy. The US government is mostly run by Christians. A few Jews.

Ethelred

Aug 10, 2010
I think this conversation and similar ones demonstrate one thing that most people overlook... the simple fact that people can be very different.

Some people, like myself and many of you, put value in reason. We cannot accept things that we are told without investigating and learning the truth for ourselves. We cannot simply accept that which makes no sense to us, or that in which we recognize logical inconsistencies. We put reason and truth above all else.

Other people, like marjon here, aren't as concerned with reason or truth. Instead they place much more value on comfort and peace of mind. I understand what a comforting thought it is to believe in the afterlife, to believe that there is an all-powerful benevolent entity looking out for you... it is basically a security blanket, a little stuffed animal to carry around with you everywhere you go, providing comfort, warmth, familiarity, and hope anytime you need it.

Some people need that, and I understand that. Others, have grown up

Aug 10, 2010
See marjon, where you place value in comfort and security we place value in truth and understanding. The truth is not comforting, in fact it is often very disturbing.

It has been said that questioning god is a luxury, a luxury afforded to us by our relatively easy lifestyle. Life used to be very difficult, with tragedy and death a commonplace occurrence. In those times the comfort provided by belief in god was very alluring. Combine that with the lack of understanding to question it and it is easy to see why religious thought became so popular.

Today, however, we are very much secure in our day to day life's. Very few people in the western world wonder whether or not they will have enough to eat today, or whether they, or their children, or their newborn baby, will live through the harshness of the coming winter... Today the comfort that religious thought provides is not as important as it once was, and because of this we have the luxury to the seek the truth of the matter...

Aug 10, 2010
@marjon: You asked "How many are in prison due to the atheist/socialist government policies that do not promote the nuclear family?"

Why on Earth would you want the government promoting any sort of family? Isn't that what, oh, I don't know, FAMILIES are for?

Aug 10, 2010
Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but only for believers
Ehh, duh?

But maybe the community needs someone actually pointing this out. More interesting would be detailed studies on what the differences are between religious and atheistic persons. Are there physiological brain differences to be found, etc.

Aug 12, 2010
Everybody take five, reread the article, then read what you posted. Pure ironic comedy.