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Author Topic:   WooHoo! More idiots running the gub'ment.
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 136 of 245 (549507)
03-08-2010 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 134 by nwr
03-08-2010 12:38 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
quote:
Objectivity requires adherence to facts and logic and nothign else. Not opinions, not compromise.

That would make one a mindless mechanical robot.

Only if you consider that the scientific method requires all scientists to be "mindless mechanical robots."

Besides, this is an appeal to consequence fallacy - whether objectivity results in bland automatons or not is irrelevant to whether or not objectivity does or does not require a strict adherence to facts and logic to the exclusion of all personal opinions, preferences, emotions, and other forms of human bias.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 12:38 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 1:58 PM Rahvin has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 137 of 245 (549518)
03-08-2010 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by Rahvin
03-08-2010 12:48 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Rahvin writes:
Only if you consider that the scientific method requires all scientists to be "mindless mechanical robots."

No, there is no such requirement. There is probably no such thing as "the scientific method" either, though that discussion is off topic for this thread.

Rahvin writes:
Besides, this is an appeal to consequence fallacy - whether objectivity results in bland automatons or not is irrelevant to whether or not objectivity does or does not require a strict adherence to facts and logic to the exclusion of all personal opinions, preferences, emotions, and other forms of human bias.

Without personal opinions, preference, emotions and other forms of human bias, there would be no science.

Scientists tend to be highly opinionated, and their scientific work often arises from strong emotions. Their choice to consider objective evidence as more important than financial reward is itself a choice derived from emotions.

Note: I am not wanting to derail this thread. I was just commenting on some some highly simplistic assertions that you were making.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by Rahvin, posted 03-08-2010 12:48 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 2:44 PM nwr has responded
 Message 139 by Rahvin, posted 03-08-2010 2:57 PM nwr has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 138 of 245 (549524)
03-08-2010 2:44 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by nwr
03-08-2010 1:58 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Without personal opinions, preference, emotions and other forms of human bias, there would be no science.

Science is indeed a human endevour that is susceptible to both our very human failings and indeed strengths. But I would argue that science is unique in the way that it attempts to overcome some of those human proclivities that stand in the way of reliable understanding and knowledge.

There is probably no such thing as "the scientific method" either, though that discussion is off topic for this thread.

That is quite a statement. Do you fancy starting a thread on that topic? I suspect you would get a lot of responses.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 1:58 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 140 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 3:11 PM Straggler has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 139 of 245 (549526)
03-08-2010 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by nwr
03-08-2010 1:58 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
No, there is no such requirement.

Precisely. While a scientific theory must remain objective and contain as little human bias as possible, the scientists are not turned into machines.

In other words, objectivity does not turn one into a "mindless mechanical robot" as you said.

I don't need to be objective when I decide whether I enjoyed a movie or not. But if I'm going to make a claim about reality, I do need to be as objective as possible in order to prevent my personal bias from affecting my accuracy.

Without personal opinions, preference, emotions and other forms of human bias, there would be no science.

Scientists tend to be highly opinionated, and their scientific work often arises from strong emotions. Their choice to consider objective evidence as more important than financial reward is itself a choice derived from emotions.

And yet the peer review process exists specifically to weed out those conclusions that are driven to inaccuracy by the personal bias of those submitting a paper.

You seem to believe that I actually said that scientists are required to think like robots. This is not the case. I said that scientists are required to be objective. You were the one who claimed that maintaining objectivity turned one into an automaton.

There is no requirement for scientists to be emotionless machines without opinions. However, when a scientists (or indeed anyone) makes a specific claim, human bias in the form of preconceived opinions and emotions detract from accuracy. Whether you or I like the rate of U235 decay is irrelevant. Whether ICANT believes in a global Flood 6-10,000 years ago is irrelevant.

All that matters when making a specific claim are the facts and the logical reasoning that draws a conclusion from them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 1:58 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 142 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 3:50 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 140 of 245 (549528)
03-08-2010 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 138 by Straggler
03-08-2010 2:44 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Straggler writes:
But I would argue that science is unique in the way that it attempts to overcome some of those human proclivities that stand in the way of reliable understanding and knowledge.

I certainly agree that science attempts to achieve reliable understanding and knowledge. But it does not do so by overcoming opinions, emotions and bias. You might even say that science is itself biased in favor of empirical evidence as opposed to ancient traditions.

Straggler writes:
Do you fancy starting a thread on that topic?

No, I don't.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 2:44 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 141 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 3:37 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 141 of 245 (549534)
03-08-2010 3:37 PM
Reply to: Message 140 by nwr
03-08-2010 3:11 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
I certainly agree that science attempts to achieve reliable understanding and knowledge.

OK.

But it does not do so by overcoming opinions, emotions and bias.

Then in what way does it attempt to achieve a superior level of reliability of knowledge and understanding than other methods of knowing?

ou might even say that science is itself biased in favor of empirical evidence as opposed to ancient traditions.

Are you saying that science and other ancient methods of knowing are equally reliable, equally valid and equally successful in terms of results?

Do you fancy starting a thread on that topic?

No, I don't

Well I am not surprised as I don't think you can justify your rather ambiguous but nevertheless all too obvious assertions here.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 3:11 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 142 of 245 (549536)
03-08-2010 3:50 PM
Reply to: Message 139 by Rahvin
03-08-2010 2:57 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Rahvin writes:
In other words, objectivity does not turn one into a "mindless mechanical robot" as you said.

In Message 133 you said "Objectivity requires adherence to facts and logic and nothign else." If that is what objectivity is, then it would turn one into a mindless mechanical robot.

Rahvin writes:
And yet the peer review process exists specifically to weed out those conclusions that are driven to inaccuracy by the personal bias of those submitting a paper.

You seem to misunderstand the role of peer review. There are plenty of published papers for which corrections had to be issued, or in some cases the papers retracted, because of inaccuracy. And there are plenty of accurate papers that are rejected in the peer review process as "not of sufficient interest".

Rahvin writes:
You seem to believe that I actually said that scientists are required to think like robots.

I'll repeat again, that what you actually said was "Objectivity requires adherence to facts and logic and nothign else."

Science is a highly creative enterprise. With your "and nothing else" you have ruled out that creativity.

Rahvin writes:
Whether you or I like the rate of U235 decay is irrelevant.

Coming up with radiometric dating methods is an example of the scientific creativity that would be ruled out by your: "Objectivity requires adherence to facts and logic and nothign else."

Edited by nwr, : fix broken bbcode


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Rahvin, posted 03-08-2010 2:57 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 143 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 3:59 PM nwr has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 143 of 245 (549537)
03-08-2010 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by nwr
03-08-2010 3:50 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Science is a highly creative enterprise. With your "and nothing else" you have ruled out that creativity.

Rahvin is more than capable of speaking for himself. But WTF?

Nobody is suggesting that intuition and creativity are not part of science. Or indeed any other human endevour. We are not robots. We do not live by logic alone. Nobody disputes these facts. Nobody here is claiming that we should even aim to be like robots or deny our humanity in this way. Nobody is claiming that this would be even remotely desireable.

But that is not the same as proclaiming that all conclusions are merely the result of wholly creative subjective processes and that none are more or less valid than any other.

Why do you have to try and depict anyone who claims sceintific knowledge as superior to other forms of knowing as some sort of mechanistic nutjob? What are you proposing as an alternative method of knowing and why do you think it is even remotely reliable?

Edited by Straggler, : Fix quotes


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 3:50 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 144 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 4:18 PM Straggler has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 144 of 245 (549539)
03-08-2010 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by Straggler
03-08-2010 3:59 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Straggler writes:
But that is not the same as proclaiming that all conclusions are merely the result of wholly creative subjective processes and that none are more or less valid than any other.

I'm not sure what's the point. I certainly have never made such a proclamation. I am a strong proponent of science.

Straggler writes:
Why do you have to try and depict anyone who claims sceintific knowledge as superior to other forms of knowing as some sort of mechanistic nutjob?

That's a damnable lie. I have not criticized scientific knowledge. What I did criticize was a grossly simplistic description of scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 3:59 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 145 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 5:47 PM nwr has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 145 of 245 (549548)
03-08-2010 5:47 PM
Reply to: Message 144 by nwr
03-08-2010 4:18 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Nwr writes:

You might even say that science is itself biased in favor of empirical evidence as opposed to ancient traditions.

Straggler writes:

But that is not the same as proclaiming that all conclusions are merely the result of wholly creative subjective processes and that none are more or less valid than any other.

Nwr writes:

I'm not sure what's the point. I certainly have never made such a proclamation. I am a strong proponent of science.

OK. Then what did you mean by the above?

Nwr writes:

There is probably no such thing as "the scientific method" either.....

Nwr writes:

That's a damnable lie. I have not criticized scientific knowledge. What I did criticize was a grossly simplistic description of scientific knowledge.

If the scientific method probably doesn't exist then on what basis do you advocate scientific knowledge as different or superior to any other?

You seem to want to have your cake and eat it Nwr. What is your position? Be specific.

Edited by Straggler, : Formatting

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 144 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 4:18 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 148 by nwr, posted 03-08-2010 8:06 PM Straggler has responded

  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5858
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 146 of 245 (549552)
03-08-2010 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by Rahvin
03-08-2010 12:27 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Some of them (and I count you in this subset) actually believe that they are being objective, when they are doing nothing of the sort.

Oh, I see, so now I'm also delusional. Great.

As an aside, the Midless Middle in politics brings us political drift - when everyone agrees that the correct course of action is "somewhere in the middle," all one side needs to do to swing things their way is to become even more extreme, moving the "center" farther in their direction.

What does that have to do with the state of facts either being accurate or inaccurate or a mixture of both?

I;m not claiming that you're biased. I;m claiming that you're not objective. In this thread you;ve made unsupported statements suggesting that "neither side is right." You took a "middle" position, without actually analyzing any facts at all - and it bit you in the ass, because your statements were factually wrong.

You're going to have to point out what I said that was "factually wrong" because I'm on several different forums discussing several different topics.

Irrelevant. I;m not claiming that you're biased. I;m claiming that you're not objective.

But being objective is not relying on a bias, so which is it?

"Fairness" is not objective. Fairness is the very definition of the Mindless Middle.

Well, you're dead wrong about that. "Fairness" is the synonym of objective. Here, for your own peace of mind.

I feel like you're asking me to define the word is instead of answering a question directly.

quote:
Nonsense, because I never said atheism. You just assumed it and immediately went on the defensive. You're now posturing to defend your worldview that was never in jeopardy to begin with.

I said anti-religion very clearly. To be anti-religious you have to be an atheist, but you don't have to be anti-religious in order to be an atheist. Same concept is Londoners are British, but not all Brits are Londoners.


Liar. See the following quotes from the message I initially responded to

quote:
I would tread lightly if I were you. There are whacko's on your side of the fence too.

As for how many atrocities have been committed under the pretense of some religion, it pales in comparison to the numbers murdered by despots seeking a religion-free utopian society in the last 100 years alone.


You were directly responding to a comment regarding atheism, and you specifically referred to "despots seeking a religion-free utopia." What else ycould that have meant, Hyro? Do you think I'm an idiot, or just too lazy to look back at what you actually said? Your furious backpedalling won't make your comments any more objective.

I very clearly said that to be anti-religion, one had (out of necessity) to be an atheist, but that not all atheists had to be anti-religious. I have been saying that from the beginning, all of which can be verified by simply reading everything I wrote. Oni then said that you could technically be agnostic or deist and be against religion (at least organized religion. I pondered that and came to the same conclusion and retracted my statement that one has to be an atheist in order to be anti-religious. At NO time, however, did I in any sense claim that atheists are to blame. I said clearly that people who are anti-religion go a step further and I even went out of my way to clarify EXACTLY that point.

So, right now, quote me on saying anything like that. You can't because it never happened. You had to quote my original post where you assumed I was speaking about atheists (which is dumb because I'm closer to an atheist than anything else). I'm agnostic, and given my myriad of posts concluding just that, I would think that fact wouldn't be lost on you.

You claimed that the number of people killed "under the pretense of religion" is outnumbered by recent mass-murders motivated by a vision of a "religion-free utopia."

Because it's true.

That specific statement was false. It was also a Mindless Middle arguemnt, because it sought to paint "both sides" as guilty, yet provided no facts at all to support any such assertion.

You don't know anything about history that I have to prove it to you the purges? Is the history of the commissars lost on you? Is the history of the Soviet Union lost on you? This is common knowledge, and that you dispute it only proves that you've lost all objectivity.

Atheism contains no ideology! It's simply a lack of belief (for some, an active dis-belief) in deities. THAT IS ALL. I;m used to repeating this to people like Buz or ICANT, but you should know better, Hyro. There is absolutely no coherent ideology surrounding atheism. There's no Great Book of Atheism, no dogma, no clergy, no central philosophy.

Rahvin, for most atheists it is simply about disbelieving in deities. But please don't expect everyone here to be blind, as if no atheists went a step further and formed entire anti-religious ideologies of hate around it.

The Communist Manifesto, the Humanist Manifesto, etc are documents that go far beyond mere disbelief. They outline how religion is a blight on mankind and find ways to subvert it. That goes beyond mere disbelief, Rahvin. That's forming an ideology and making an enemy out of religion.

You alleging that atheism has no ideology attached to it is just senseless because the whole thing is formed on a philosophical and scientific basis! It wasn't formed in a vacuum. These are carefully constructed ideals.

You've once again claimed that "both sides do this and are equally wrong," without actually qualifying such a statement with facts or evidence or even a logical analysis of the tactics of each.

Qualifying them? Religious and irrelegious people murdered on that basis! I need to qualify that????

You can't even defend yourself against a claim of a Mindless Middle argument without making another such argument. Pathetic.

Let's talk about pathetic. Your use of this Mindless Middle is a straw man and you wield it derisively to make a futile point since I'm here clearly arguing with you. There's no middle position in that. I am unequivocally stating that people died and it was wrong. I'm just saying that two different sides did the killing and it was equally wrong. Apparently you are justifying why it's copacetic for anti-religious people to slaughter religious people because they didn't do it for ideological reason! Rrrrrrrriiiight.

Who is "they," Hyro? I've never seen a "church of disbelief." Have you" Where? I;ve never met an atheist on the street handing our Jack Chick-esque pamphlets seeking to subvert the faithful.

Well, I was actually being metaphorical, but some actually do have congregations where they talk about the evils of religion.

http://firstchurchofatheism.com/

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=...

http://www.atheistalliance.org/

You mean that a subset of atheists persue atheism with a ferver equivalent to those who zealously worship their god(s)? What does theis have to do with the argument at hand?

The people that go beyond mere disbelief are not dispassionate about their aims for religion. They have therefore crossed over from simple disbelief in to anti-religion. Not ascribing to a religion and being against religion are two entirely different things, I think you would agree.

You still haven't shown how your statement

quote:
I would tread lightly if I were you. There are whacko's on your side of the fence too.

Yeah, Hooah is anti-religion not just an atheist. He;s not shy about it. Just click on his name and read any of his posts.

But I'm curious - precisely and specifically which central tenet of atheism is ever "twisted and contorted" for some negative purpose? I find it difficult to believe that a position defined only by a lack of any belief in deities can possibly be "twisted" to any end at all.

You have a simple disbelief in deities. It turns in to a loathing for the religious (or specific religions) which can turn in to an obsession for some. That obsession can lead to the same mentality of why the Nazi's hated the Jews. There is no one reason or central reason, it is a concoction of different reasons, whether real or imagined. What was the "central" reason why Nazi's hated Jews?

Your "common sense" is worse than useless here.

Throughout this post you've been especially congenial with me and I want to thank you for your good behavior.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston

This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Rahvin, posted 03-08-2010 12:27 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by Rahvin, posted 03-08-2010 7:40 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 147 of 245 (549564)
03-08-2010 7:40 PM
Reply to: Message 146 by Hyroglyphx
03-08-2010 6:13 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
quote:
Some of them (and I count you in this subset) actually believe that they are being objective, when they are doing nothing of the sort.

Oh, I see, so now I'm also delusional. Great.

I think you simply have an inaccurate sense of what being objective entails. I wouldn't necessarily stretch that so far as to say you're delusional.

quote:
As an aside, the Midless Middle in politics brings us political drift - when everyone agrees that the correct course of action is "somewhere in the middle," all one side needs to do to swing things their way is to become even more extreme, moving the "center" farther in their direction.

What does that have to do with the state of facts either being accurate or inaccurate or a mixture of both?

You miss the point. That comment was a barely-on-topic aside mentioning teh effect the Mindless Middle has on modern politics. When the populace believes that the correct stance is a compromise between two sides, one side has merely to adopt an extreme version of their position to move the "middle" in their direction. It;s something like haggling - you start by asking for a significantly lower price than you know you'll get so that the seller has room to make a counteroffer while still giving a lower price than if you had offered a fair price immediately.

This isn't something you're doing. It's simply me mentioning another application of the same phenomenon you've demonstrated.

quote:
I;m not claiming that you're biased. I;m claiming that you're not objective. In this thread you;ve made unsupported statements suggesting that "neither side is right." You took a "middle" position, without actually analyzing any facts at all - and it bit you in the ass, because your statements were factually wrong.

You're going to have to point out what I said that was "factually wrong" because I'm on several different forums discussing several different topics.

In this particular thread, you said that more people have been killed in recent times by atheistic regimes than by religiously motivated ones. That claim is factually wrong. As I showed in message 99 of this thread, Hitler's Holocaust was in fact religiously motivated, while the purges of Russia were not motivated by atheism - rather, atheism was, like the purge itself, just a means to an end motivated by the political desire to eliminate political competition.

In other words, of the two most horriffic mass-murders of modern history, one was actually religious in nature while the other was done in the name of politics, not atheism, meaning your statements were factually incorrect, unless you can point to a mass murder motivated by atheism that carried a higher death toll.

quote:
Irrelevant. I;m not claiming that you're biased. I;m claiming that you're not objective.

But being objective is not relying on a bias, so which is it?

Not quite. If I claimed you were biased, I would be suggesting that you leaned one way or another on a topic in a way that was not justified by evidence. When I say you're not being objective, I'm saying that you're not basing your statements on facts, but are instead throwing out unsupported assertions based on "common knowledge' (itself a cesspool of misinformation - "common knowledge" results in laughable absurdities like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the X-Men shaping public perceptions on mutation and genetics).

I believe you when you say you have no preference or personal stake. I also note that you didn't qualify your claims with evidence, meaning you cannot be objective.

quote:
"Fairness" is not objective. Fairness is the very definition of the Mindless Middle.

Well, you're dead wrong about that. "Fairness" is the synonym of objective. Here, for your own peace of mind.

I feel like you're asking me to define the word is instead of answering a question directly.

Let me quote the definition of "objective" that I used for my "On Objectivity and the Mindless Middle" thread:

quote:
Objective
5. Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased

The definition of "fairness" I'm using as it applies to the context of this thread is the practice of giving "both sides" equal consideration, regardless of the evidencial support. In other words, "you're just as bad," or "both sides are partially right," when such statements are not supported with an analysis of relevent facts.

Nonsense, because I never said atheism. You just assumed it and immediately went on the defensive. You're now posturing to defend your worldview that was never in jeopardy to begin with.

I said anti-religion very clearly. To be anti-religious you have to be an atheist, but you don't have to be anti-religious in order to be an atheist. Same concept is Londoners are British, but not all Brits are Londoners.

quote:
Liar. See the following quotes from the message I initially responded to

I would tread lightly if I were you. There are whacko's on your side of the fence too.

As for how many atrocities have been committed under the pretense of some religion, it pales in comparison to the numbers murdered by despots seeking a religion-free utopian society in the last 100 years alone.

You were directly responding to a comment regarding atheism, and you specifically referred to "despots seeking a religion-free utopia." What else ycould that have meant, Hyro? Do you think I'm an idiot, or just too lazy to look back at what you actually said? Your furious backpedalling won't make your comments any more objective.


I very clearly said that to be anti-religion, one had (out of necessity) to be an atheist, but that not all atheists had to be anti-religious. I have been saying that from the beginning, all of which can be verified by simply reading everything I wrote. Oni then said that you could technically be agnostic or deist and be against religion (at least organized religion. I pondered that and came to the same conclusion and retracted my statement that one has to be an atheist in order to be anti-religious. At NO time, however, did I in any sense claim that atheists are to blame. I said clearly that people who are anti-religion go a step further and I even went out of my way to clarify EXACTLY that point.

So, right now, quote me on saying anything like that. You can't because it never happened. You had to quote my original post where you assumed I was speaking about atheists (which is dumb because I'm closer to an atheist than anything else). I'm agnostic, and given my myriad of posts concluding just that, I would think that fact wouldn't be lost on you.

It did happen. I did quote it. I'll do so again:

quote:
Show me where an atheist has don harm in the name of the FSM, or in the name of atheism.

I would tread lightly if I were you. There are whacko's on your side of the fence too.

As for how many atrocities have been committed under the pretense of some religion, it pales in comparison to the numbers murdered by despots seeking a religion-free utopian society in the last 100 years alone.

Later you did indeed retract the assertion that all "anti-religious" people must be atheists. However, you quite plainly above were referring to atheists, as you were responding to a comment regarding atheists.

quote:
You claimed that the number of people killed "under the pretense of religion" is outnumbered by recent mass-murders motivated by a vision of a "religion-free utopia."

Because it's true.

NO IT IS NOT. Go back to Message 99. Re-read what I said. I supported the arguemnts that:

1) the Holocaust was religiously motivated as shown in Hitler's own writings from Mein Kampf, many of which I directly quoted, and which follow directly from the writings of Martin luther, the father of Protestantism.

2) the purges of Stalinist Russia were not motivated by atheism, but by politics. Enforced atheism was a means to an end, not in any way a motivation; it is dishonest to claim that the purges were done "in the name of atheism" or "in the name of anti-religion."

quote:
That specific statement was false. It was also a Mindless Middle arguemnt, because it sought to paint "both sides" as guilty, yet provided no facts at all to support any such assertion.

You don't know anything about history that I have to prove it to you the purges? Is the history of the commissars lost on you? Is the history of the Soviet Union lost on you? This is common knowledge, and that you dispute it only proves that you've lost all objectivity.

Quite the contrary - I rely on the actual writings of Hitler to determine Hitler's motivations, while you rely on an Appeal to Popularity in claiming that it is "common knowledge" that the Holocaust was an atheistic or anti-religious persuit.

"Common knowledge" is very often wrong. That's why you do need to support your assertions rather than just stating them.

quote:
Atheism contains no ideology! It's simply a lack of belief (for some, an active dis-belief) in deities. THAT IS ALL. I;m used to repeating this to people like Buz or ICANT, but you should know better, Hyro. There is absolutely no coherent ideology surrounding atheism. There's no Great Book of Atheism, no dogma, no clergy, no central philosophy.

Rahvin, for most atheists it is simply about disbelieving in deities. But please don't expect everyone here to be blind, as if no atheists went a step further and formed entire anti-religious ideologies of hate around it.

(insert exasperated sigh here)

What tenet of atheism can be used for any form of motivation whatsoever? Name just one. Any philosophical or ideological position of atheism that can be used as motivation for anything at all.

The Communist Manifesto, the Humanist Manifesto, etc are documents that go far beyond mere disbelief. They outline how religion is a blight on mankind and find ways to subvert it. That goes beyond mere disbelief, Rahvin. That's forming an ideology and making an enemy out of religion.

Communism does not hold atheism as some sort of ideal. Atheism is not a motivation for communism. Rather, communism idealizes the State. Communism isn;t motivated to stamp out religion because no god(s) exist; communism is simply motivated to stamp out any competition for the authority of the State.

Do you honestly not understand the difference? It's motivation vs. means. The means are not the motivation. Atheism in communism is a means to an end, not a motivation in and of itself.

You alleging that atheism has no ideology attached to it is just senseless because the whole thing is formed on a philosophical and scientific basis! It wasn't formed in a vacuum. These are carefully constructed ideals.

No. They aren't. Atheism is a default psoition, without any thought required. Logic and reason is only required to revert back to atheism. A newborn baby is an atheist, having no belief in deities, without any knowledge of philosophy or science, or even what any of those concepts mean. Atheism, in effect, is the vacuum.

Atheism is one thing and one thing only: a lack of belief in deities. Nothing else. One can be a compeltely irrational and inscientific atheist. One can believe in the supernatural and still be an atheist. Regardless of your attempts to complicate the issue, atheism is and remains a simple lack of belief in deities, and nothing more. It makes no suggestions on human behavior. It carries no guidance for morality. It does not dictate a methodology for maintaining accuracy in modeling reality. It doesn't have any associated traditions. It doesn;t say anything about the value of human life. It does not form a political standpoint. It is and only is a lack of belief in deities, nothing more or less.

quote:
You've once again claimed that "both sides do this and are equally wrong," without actually qualifying such a statement with facts or evidence or even a logical analysis of the tactics of each.

Qualifying them? Religious and irrelegious people murdered on that basis! I need to qualify that????

Yes. Because I;ve challenged your assertions with evidence, but you have not responded in kind. You simply ignored my evidence and argument, and responded with emotion-filled meaningless blather and additional factual inaccuracies.

quote:
You can't even defend yourself against a claim of a Mindless Middle argument without making another such argument. Pathetic.

Let's talk about pathetic. Your use of this Mindless Middle is a straw man and you wield it derisively to make a futile point since I'm here clearly arguing with you. There's no middle position in that. I am unequivocally stating that people died and it was wrong. I'm just saying that two different sides did the killing and it was equally wrong. Apparently you are justifying why it's copacetic for anti-religious people to slaughter religious people because they didn't do it for ideological reason! Rrrrrrrriiiight.

The only straw man here is the one you've created. I;ve never claimed it was okay for atheists to kill theists. I;ve never even implied as much. I simply disputed your unsupported claim that atheism-motivated murders outnumbered theistically-motivated murders, and then used facts tto support my refutation of your claim.

The Mindless Middle is not a straw man. The Mindless Middle is a form (in this case) of a tu quoque fallacy - you are claiming that atheists shouldn't criticize theists for theistically-motivated atrocities because atheists have committed worse atrocities upon theists. It's simply icing on the cake that your assertion also happened to be factually wrong.

quote:
Who is "they," Hyro? I've never seen a "church of disbelief." Have you" Where? I;ve never met an atheist on the street handing our Jack Chick-esque pamphlets seeking to subvert the faithful.

Well, I was actually being metaphorical, but some actually do have congregations where they talk about the evils of religion.

http://firstchurchofatheism.com/

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=...

http://www.atheistalliance.org/

Well, that's rather amusing. The groups are irrelevant, but the first church or atheism is worth a good laugh.

quote:
You mean that a subset of atheists persue atheism with a ferver equivalent to those who zealously worship their god(s)? What does theis have to do with the argument at hand?

The people that go beyond mere disbelief are not dispassionate about their aims for religion. They have therefore crossed over from simple disbelief in to anti-religion. Not ascribing to a religion and being against religion are two entirely different things, I think you would agree.

Irrelevant. This discussion surrounds the modern mass-murders on a state level, such as the Stalinist purges of Russia or the Holocaust, and their motivation being anti-religious in nature.

As I've already shown, neither was motivated by an "anti-religious" sentiment; quite the contrary in the case of teh Holocaust.

quote:
You still haven't shown how your statement

I would tread lightly if I were you. There are whacko's on your side of the fence too.

Yeah, Hooah is anti-religion not just an atheist. He;s not shy about it. Just click on his name and read any of his posts.

Way to only quote half of a statement. Also irrelevant. The part we've been debating is this:

As for how many atrocities have been committed under the pretense of some religion, it pales in comparison to the numbers murdered by despots seeking a religion-free utopian society in the last 100 years alone.

Are you enjoying your red herring? This isn't about hooah.

quote:
But I'm curious - precisely and specifically which central tenet of atheism is ever "twisted and contorted" for some negative purpose? I find it difficult to believe that a position defined only by a lack of any belief in deities can possibly be "twisted" to any end at all.

You have a simple disbelief in deities. It turns in to a loathing for the religious (or specific religions) which can turn in to an obsession for some.

Really? Not believing in god(s) turns into a hatred for those who do? I thought it was the way theists treat atheists that did that. Silly me, thinkign that a simple lack of belief in god(s) didn;t carry any motivation for anything at all.

Let me guess: my lack of belief in Santa Claus is actually the motivation for my valuation of human life?

That obsession can lead to the same mentality of why the Nazi's hated the Jews.

The Nazi's hated the Jews for very specific reasons, Hyro. Again, check out Message 99 where I specifically quoted Hitler's reasons for anti-semitism. They were religiously motivated, and were derivatives of Martin Lutehr's own writings.

There is no one reason or central reason, it is a concoction of different reasons, whether real or imagined. What was the "central" reason why Nazi's hated Jews?

They weren't Christian or Aryan, in a nutshell.

quote:
Your "common sense" is worse than useless here.

Throughout this post you've been especially congenial with me and I want to thank you for your good behavior.

Niceties are irrelevant. Only argument and evidence are relevant. You've had plenty of the former and none of the latter.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 146 by Hyroglyphx, posted 03-08-2010 6:13 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 149 by Hyroglyphx, posted 03-08-2010 10:05 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 148 of 245 (549567)
03-08-2010 8:06 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by Straggler
03-08-2010 5:47 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
Straggler writes:
nwr writes:
You might even say that science is itself biased in favor of empirical evidence as opposed to ancient traditions.

Straggler writes:
But that is not the same as proclaiming that all conclusions are merely the result of wholly creative subjective processes and that none are more or less valid than any other.
nwr writes:
I'm not sure what's the point. I certainly have never made such a proclamation. I am a strong proponent of science.

OK. Then what did you mean by the above?

I'm not sure why you see a problem.

If I hop into my car and want to turn left, then I can control the steering so as to bias the motion of the car such that it turns left. If I prefer to go straight, then I can control the steering so as to bias the motion of the car toward going straight.

If I don't want to bias the motion of the car at all, I can keep my hands off the steering wheel, hit the gas pedal, and see where it goes. I'm pretty sure I would finish up in the ditch if I did that.

I am saying that there is always bias.

If I have a mindless mechanical robot, then it can act without bias. But what it does will suffer from GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). As humans we have minds, and we use those minds to bias our actions in such a way as to avoid the GIGO problem.

Straggler writes:
If the scientific method probably doesn't exist then on what basis do you advocate scientific knowledge as different or superior to any other?

I really don't know why you are seeing a problem there. I have not questioned the existence of science.

In genesis there is a story of Adam and Eve, which claims to describe the origins of the Jewish people. If I suggest that the Adam and Eve story is merely a "Just So" so tale, I am not thereby questioning the existence of the Jewish people. Similarly, if I suggest that what is often given as "the scientific method" is merely a "Just So" story, I am not thereby questioning whether there is such a thing as science.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 145 by Straggler, posted 03-08-2010 5:47 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 236 by Straggler, posted 05-17-2010 4:53 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5858
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 149 of 245 (549587)
03-08-2010 10:05 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by Rahvin
03-08-2010 7:40 PM


Re: The Mindless Middle
When the populace believes that the correct stance is a compromise between two sides, one side has merely to adopt an extreme version of their position to move the "middle" in their direction. It;s something like haggling - you start by asking for a significantly lower price than you know you'll get so that the seller has room to make a counteroffer while still giving a lower price than if you had offered a fair price immediately.

What does that anecdote have to do with the current discussion and how does that apply to me? Anyone at any time is subject to changing their views if persuasive evidence is presented. I don't see how that is relevant.

This isn't something you're doing. It's simply me mentioning another application of the same phenomenon you've demonstrated.

What am I doing? I'm haggling? I'm taking an extreme view? What am I doing?

In this particular thread, you said that more people have been killed in recent times by atheistic regimes than by religiously motivated ones. That claim is factually wrong. As I showed in message 99 of this thread, Hitler's Holocaust was in fact religiously motivated, while the purges of Russia were not motivated by atheism - rather, atheism was, like the purge itself, just a means to an end motivated by the political desire to eliminate political competition.

Okay, first of all, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union's respective holocausts and purges are too complicated to attribute to any one thing. Be that as it may, it certainly played a large role.

Was Hitler a Christian? For every quote you provided, there are conflicting quotes made by him concerning Christianity.

"National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things."

[i]"Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.i"

"The individual may establish with pain today that with the appearance of Christianity the first spiritual terror entered into the far freer ancient world, but he will not be able to contest the fact that since then the world has been afflicted and dominated by this coercion, and that coercion is broken only by coercion, and terror only by terror. Only then can a new state of affairs be constructively created. Political parties are inclined to compromises; philosophies never. Political parties even reckon with opponents; philosophies proclaim their infallibility"

Yet he's also made the statements you quoted as well as directly addressing the Soviet purge of Christianity by saying,

""Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany's entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years."

What we know of Hitler is that he was fascinated by the occult, by Germanic-pagan religions, anything affiliated with the Aryan race, etc, etc.

He used elements of Christianity, like the fact that it was "the Jews" who killed Christ and the anti-semetic writings of Martin Luther to bolster some kind of semblance between him and Christianity. In other words he took the elements of Christianity that appealed to him and discarded the elements he disliked.

Now, as for the Soviet Union, there is NO question behind their motives. History testifies quite strongly, of which you seem to deny despite my utilizing of several sources. For someone who just lambasted me as a Mindless Middle[man] who isn't backing up his claims, I find it rather odd that you are now silent on the issue when I provide clear evidence that refutes your claims.

This laundry list of anti-religious provisions lays it out plainly that religion was something to be destroyed. That is an undeniable FACT and I hope you concede this obvious point.

When I say you're not being objective, I'm saying that you're not basing your statements on facts, but are instead throwing out unsupported assertions based on "common knowledge'

Alright, well, I have now rectified that and provided numerous sources to back up my "unsupported assertions." We can now move beyond that distraction and deal with the issue.

Later you did indeed retract the assertion that all "anti-religious" people must be atheists. However, you quite plainly above were referring to atheists, as you were responding to a comment regarding atheists.

quote:
:You claimed that the number of people killed "under the pretense of religion" is outnumbered by recent mass-murders motivated by a vision of a "religion-free utopia."

Apparently you still aren't grasping the concept. Yes, the people [in the Soviet Union] were committing atrocities because, at least in part (a very large part), religion was an enemy of the State. That is indisputable. Where you go awry is trying to get me to say that "atheists" of all persuasions are therefore guilty by virtue of association. Not only did I not say it, I didn't even imply it.

I very clearly identified "anti-religious" (again, distinguishing from people who disbelieve but have no beef with religion) and qualified that VERY clearly and consistently.

1) the Holocaust was religiously motivated as shown in Hitler's own writings from Mein Kampf, many of which I directly quoted, and which follow directly from the writings of Martin luther, the father of Protestantism.

Nonsense. The Holocaust was racially and socially motivated and Christianity became just one more tool in which to oppress his enemies.

2) the purges of Stalinist Russia were not motivated by atheism, but by politics. Enforced atheism was a means to an end, not in any way a motivation; it is dishonest to claim that the purges were done "in the name of atheism" or "in the name of anti-religion."

I agree now and publicly agreed before that to think atheism was its only motivation for the purges is not telling the whole story. Be that as it may, religion was DEFINITELY on the hit list as one of the main instigators.

What tenet of atheism can be used for any form of motivation whatsoever? Name just one. Any philosophical or ideological position of atheism that can be used as motivation for anything at all.

There is no central tenet of atheism. What's your point? I never claimed that atheism has a figurehead or anything like that. What I said, and which is beyond contest, is that some atheists have gone the extra mile and used atheism as a backdrop for their hatred of all things religious. These anti-religious people have used their atheistic agenda to subvert various religions.

What in there is incompatible with history or incompatible with reality? I mean, that you would even argue that point is ridiculous. It's like me trying to defend the Crusades. You can't defend something that transparently wrong.

Communism does not hold atheism as some sort of ideal. Atheism is not a motivation for communism. Rather, communism idealizes the State. Communism isn;t motivated to stamp out religion because no god(s) exist; communism is simply motivated to stamp out any competition for the authority of the State.

You could clearly draw a line from Nietzsche to Marx to Engels to Lenin ot Stalin etc where an anti-religious stance was a very noticeable central theme.

That's like saying that Christ's resurrection is actually unimportant in the whole theme of Christianity. It's a central point for the people committing the purges and therefore is more than relevant.

Atheism is one thing and one thing only: a lack of belief in deities. Nothing else.

Yeah, and Christianity is just about believing in Christ. It's that simplistic, right? There's no other backdrop necessary. So to blame Christians for the Crusades doesn't make sense.

I hope this illustration shows you what I see about your statement.

I;ve never claimed it was okay for atheists to kill theists.

No, you just denied that it ever happened... My bad

quote:
As for how many atrocities have been committed under the pretense of some religion, it pales in comparison to the numbers murdered by despots seeking a religion-free utopian society in the last 100 years alone.

Are you enjoying your red herring? This isn't about hooah.

This quote was directed to Hooah (an anti-religionist) in direct response to his post. So, yes, it's completely relevant to the debate.

Not believing in god(s) turns into a hatred for those who do? I thought it was the way theists treat atheists that did that. Silly me, thinkign that a simple lack of belief in god(s) didn;t carry any motivation for anything at all.

What do you want me to do, defend theists? It's not going to happen. The theists who abused, tortured, and murdered atheists are just as sordid as the one's who did it in reverse. The difference is for some reason you pretend that one didn't do it at all, which is really suspicious given that you are an atheist who appears to foster some anti-religious sentiments.

I guess bias and fabrication is a result of straying from the Middle.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston

This message is a reply to:
 Message 147 by Rahvin, posted 03-08-2010 7:40 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 150 of 245 (549590)
03-08-2010 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 122 by Theodoric
03-02-2010 7:43 PM


Re: Lets talk values
Theodoric writes:

Do you want to know my values. I am an atheist, probably as hard core as they come. Let me tell you about me and you can tell me all about my terrible atheist values.
I have been married 5 years. Yes it is my second marriage. I have been faithful to both of my wives. The idea of cheating never has been a serious thought.

I have a 27 year old adopted son, that my ex and I adopted when he as 12. He lived in a childrens home that my worked at. He is mentally impaired and currently lives in a group home. This is not meant religiously but he is a huge part of my heart and soul.

My wife and I are currently doing respite foster care.

I am not employed(wife has great job), but I volunteer 4 days a week at the local public school.

We give generously to needy causes; Red Cross, local organizations and Lambano Sanctuary in South Africa.

So don't sneer at me about your idea about atheist values. You are a self-righteous ass. You know nothing about me and my values or any other atheist. So why don't you just shut the fuck up, before you imply anyone here is immoral or evil.

Theodoric, these values which you have itemized are not athiest values perse. They are your personal values which we all have to a greater or lesser percent. Your response was a strawman rant about your virtues. You did not address the values of athiesm, i.e what unique values athiesm advocates.

For example, the Biblical principles and some Buddhist principles, some Boy Scout principles list their values in their literature, etc. My statement aluded to what values athiesm perse promotes as being unique to athiesm.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 122 by Theodoric, posted 03-02-2010 7:43 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 213 by Theodoric, posted 03-14-2010 12:44 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded
 Message 216 by dwise1, posted 03-16-2010 4:22 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded

  
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