Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm an atheist and I don't shower - there's no point

Sometimes, it's good to try to understand what the other side thinks about myself as an atheist. Someone at Answers in Genesis decided let others know about atheists, just so we're all clear on the concept. That's good, right? Knowing is half the battle.

Let's see what he has to say!

Are you tired of all the evil associated with the philosophy of atheism—Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and so on?
Damn straight! Well, I'm not sure what "philosophy of atheism" is. "I don't believe you" isn't a philosophy, but setting that side, yes, I am tired of that association.

After all, it is a fairly inane application of an Association Fallacy. It'd be like saying that Stalin likes dogs, and I like dogs, therefore, I'm just like Stalin. I'm glad Author and I agree that this tired trope is just a red herring.

I'm sure Christians are sick and tired of the likes of Hitler, the Spanish Inquisition, etc, from being brought up.
After all, most murderers, tyrants, and rapists are not biblical Christians, and most have rejected the God of the Bible.
Wait, what?

Ah, so you're going to be one of those people. Does he have any kind of data backing him up? Nope. I spent a few minutes trying to look up prison religiosity statistics, but I lost interest fairly quickly. It became fairly evidence that anyone can cherry pick statistics as they want.

I don't see a causal link between not believing in fairy tale and being a murderer. It could be a typical correlation/causation error he's making. Could it be that a murderer is a atheist because he's a murderer, as opposed to being an a murder because he's an atheist? How can we tell?

Nope - he's done none of this critical thinking. He just flatly states it as fact, and off we go! I'm afraid he's got a burden of proof here.

By the way, a "biblical Christian"? As opposed to a "Qu'ranic Christian?" What ever does he mean?
Even if they claim to believe in the God of the Bible, they are not really living like a true Christ follower (who strives to follow God’s Word), are they?
Oh! See, I was wondering how he would explain all the religious people responsible for so many atrocities. Yep, a classic No True Scotsman fallacy, also known as Special Pleading.

It's a good thing they stopped following the old testament (except for special occasions) otherwise I'd be running exactly in the opposite direction from these people.

Of course, the New Testament god decided to make us behave by threatening us with infinite torture for thought crimes. I'm not sure this is an improvement.
Do you feel conflicted about the fact that atheism has no basis in morality (i.e., no absolute right and wrong; no good, no bad?)
Conflicted with what? *shrug* I agree, actually. Atheism has no basis in morality. It also has no basis in art or chess or cooking.

Humans on the other hand, do have a basis in morality - we're a social species who evolved a strength of getting along and cooperation. Morality is something we've figured out through trial and error to determine how to live in a society together. In a nutshell, that's the basis.

Atheists are humans, and that's where we get our morality.

I addressed the concept of absolute morality in the past, but in short, I reject the notion that it exists, or that it even needs to exist. I won't rehash that much more.

He's got a bit of bad equivocation going on with "i.e., no absolute right and wrong; no good, no bad?". Not having absolute morality is not equivalent to having no morality.
If someone stabs you in the back, treats you like nothing, steals from you, or lies to you, it doesn’t ultimately matter in an atheistic worldview where everything and everyone are just chemical reactions doing what chemicals do.
Is he talking about atheism, or determinism? (Those damn dirty determinists!)

Ironically, if you want actual sympathy, empathy and caring about humanity, your best bet is to go find the nearest atheist. Religion is one of the most divisive concepts ever conceived. Once we remove sky daddy and myth-based divisions, there's nothing left to care about but humanity.

You won't find a more consistent bunch of sticklers for the law, equality, anti-bigotry, and anti-violence than within the atheist community, as opposed to religions that are a consistent lingering source of violating the law, anti-equality, pro-bigotry and pro-violence (as long as they can figure out how to "otherize" a group they don't like).

Millions of atheists in America are walking, talking disproofs of this author. Every day.
And further, knowing that you are essentially no different from a cockroach in an atheistic worldview (since people are just animals) must be disheartening.
The heck?

No, we're very different from cockroaches. What is this, some kind of slippery slope fallacy? Sounds more like a straw man argument.

I would even say that we're actually very similar to chimpanzees, which makes sense since they and bonobos are recent evolutionary splits with humans. That doesn't make us "no different". I have no idea where Author person is getting this.

Despite the disingenuous misrepresentation of who knows what atheist, I wouldn't even draw that conclusion even if it were true.

I would find it fascinating and inspiring that we're part of this world - that we share a common ancestry. All of a sudden, those trees, deer, and yes, even cockroaches, are more like our cousins.

At what point is that "disheartening"?

Is this problem merely that of an attitude issue?
Are you tired of the fact that atheism (which is based in materialism, a popular worldview today) has no basis for logic and reasoning?
Yes! Go materialism! Woo! Despite my infatuation with methodological materialism, no, atheism is not based on materialism. It's based on "I don't believe you", but the reasoning for not believing is up to the individual.

I concur, atheism has no basis for logic and reasoning, just like atheism has no basis for art, morality, etc.

It fact is, logic and reasoning exist, and we can use them. We don't have to know where gasoline comes from, or how it forms, in order to figure out how to use it. 

In addition, Christians claim to have accounted for logic and reason, but I'm afraid making up universe-creating ghosts is insufficient. I certainly don't know why logic is the way it is, but the point is they don't know either. Knowledge is demonstrably true belief, and as far as I know, they haven't demonstrated it. Called "presuppositionalism", they've created a word game where they literally assume the answer... and that's good enough, apparently! 

At least one of us has the honesty and integrity to admit when we don't know.
Is it tough trying to get up every day thinking that truth, which is immaterial, really doesn’t exist?
What? Apparently, I have to start each section with "... huh?"

First, whether truth is immaterial doesn't really factor into my capacity to wake up and physically get myself out of bed.

Secondly, I'd be interested to know what he means by "truth", because as far as I understand the concept, it is, definitionally, that which is materially true. How does Author get to this idea?

In truth, my coffee mug exists, and is sitting on my desk. It's also technically the cap to a thermos. It's part plastic, and part metal, and in truth, it's my habit to use this to drink from. All of these aspects is that which manifests  materially, in this reality. Even the fact that I enjoy coffee is something that manifests materially. It dictates my behavior in reality to keep drinking the sludge that I comically title "coffee".

As far as I can tell, Author has left this reality, entirely.
Are you bothered by the fact that atheism cannot account for uniformity in nature (the basis by which we can do real science)? 
Nope, not bothered. Then again, atheism isn't supposed to, just like the earlier topics brought up. Again, Author might claim to have solved it, but we kind of need something more than mere assertion.

I'm happy to say that I don't know why nature is uniform.

This argumentation appears to be a combination of an Argument from Ignorance and a False Dichotomy.
Why would everything explode from nothing and, by pure chance, form beautiful laws like E=MC2 or F=MA?
Great question! Of course, I'm not aware that atheists or scientists say that "everything exploded from nothing."

Again, I have no idea! So, let's just follow Author's lead and just make something up!
Do you feel like you need a weekend to recoup, even though a weekend is really meaningless in an atheistic worldview—since animals, like bees, don’t take a day of rest or have a weekend?
The heck?

Well, yes, again, atheism has no meaning for weekends, but as a human, I do. It's time to relax and do projects I'd rather work on (Such as writing this while watching old Star Trek: Voyager episodes on this bizarre magnetic tape device).

My atheism doesn't dictate my meaning and purpose. I do.

Additionally, just because we're technically animals doesn't mean that we have to emulate the ones that don't have higher cognitive faculties like we do. That's the slippery slope cropping up again.
So why should atheists? Why borrow a workweek and weekend that comes from the pages of Scriptures, which are despised by atheists? Weeks and weekends come from God creating in six literal days and resting for a literal day; and then the Lord Jesus resurrected on the first day of the week (Sunday).
Probably for the same reason that we still use months and weekdays that are named after Greek, Norse and Roman gods - because it's convention that we can't change. We barely can get elected to office, let alone make any substantial changes like that.

Why not go with it? As an atheist, I am not obligated to despise or hate anything that religious people were ever associated. Sometimes, the religious tend to do things reasonably well, such as organizing communities (high praise, I know). America still uses the English system of measurement (inches, miles) instead of the Metric system (centimeters, kilometers), not because the English system is superior, because it's freaking hard to change a framework of society.

We don't axiomatically "despise" the Scriptures. There's things in the Scriptures which are pure evil, impractical, wrong, etc. The Bible happens to have good plot-worthy quotes, when it comes to writing movie scripts or books. The Book of Revelations has decent movie potential.

More broadly, what we're opposed to is faith-based thinking, dogma, and the harm caused by these aspects.  I recycle quite a bit. I pain-stakingly peel the packaging tape off cardboard boxes, clean out kitty cans, retain bottles and plastic bags, all so I can recycle the material. 

Whereas, if Christianity is right, what's the point in environmentalism? Jesus is just going to come rapture us away, right? Many Christians actually think this. If their silly superstitions are incorrect, these beliefs have inhibited a portion of humanity from helping out - hence, harm.

These are things that concern us - not a blanket rejection of anything Christian. We care about things on a deeper level than because a book said so.

Sorry, I digress.
And why look forward to time off for a holiday (i.e., holy day), when nothing is holy in an atheistic worldview?
It's time off. I like not having to work. Do I really need a deeper reason than that? I'm perfectly happy to take the holidays, strip out the religious nonsense, and make it better. I'm sorry if that offends the author.
For professing atheists, these questions can be overwhelming to make sense of within their worldview.
The heck? Really? Has he talked to any atheists? Ever? 

If I don't  have enough evidence to understand why E=MC^2, my position is "I don't know" until I do get sufficient data. That's not overwhelming within my world view. That's standard protocol.

I don't find these questions overwhelming. I find them silly.
And further, within an atheistic worldview, atheists must view themselves as God. 
Laughing Jesus

Uh, how so? Must I see myself as a unicorn if I don't believe that Bigfoot exists, too?

Surely, he'll explain.
Essentially, atheists are claiming to be God. Instead of saying there may not be a God, they say there is no God.
The heck?

How can we claim to be God, while simultaneously claiming there is no God? Am I claiming that I don't exist?

The answer is "no" on both accounts. The vast majority of "professing atheists" take the "I don't believe" stance - so he's addressing a straw man argument. What most of us say is that these odd people keep asserting that this "God" thing exists, and have yet to demonstrate it, so we don't believe them.

Give me a fire-enchanted axe, and I'll happily go after those atheists who make the positive claim that no gods exist.

Remember that honesty thing I was mentioning before? Author might try it sometime.
To make such a statement, they must claim to be omniscient, which is an essential attribute of the God of the Bible) among other attributes of God as well.1 So, by saying there is no God, the atheist refutes his own position by addressing the question as though he or she were God!
I agree! Good thing for us that the premises for his argument are false. People like the author have no defensible position against actual atheists, so they have to make up a bizarre characterization of us to fight instead.
Do you feel conflicted about proselytizing the faith of atheism, since if atheism were true then who cares about proselytizing?
The heck?

Atheism is not faith. It doesn't have faith. "I don't believe you" is not a faith-based position. In fact, it's the exact opposite of faith.

To say "... if atheism were true" - what? How can "I don't believe you" be true? The whole point behind atheism is that God hasn't been demonstrated to be true.

If I were to proselytize anything, it would critical thinking, reason, skepticism, the standards of evidence, standard epistemology and a familiarity with logical fallacies.

... all of which Author could use a good proselytizing.
Let’s face it, life seems tough enough as an atheist ...
Life seems tough? Alright, this guy definitely hasn't talked to any atheists. Our lives aren't bleak. If anything, many atheists will tell you that their lives improve after deconversion. Life and the challenges it delivers are so much clearer to deal with when one is utilizing a evidence/reality-based approach to problem solving. All of a sudden, problems like job loss or injury aren't the results of spirits or demons. They're simply standard causal events that are up to us as individuals to resolve. It empowers us to realize this fact.

On the other hand, Christian doctrine tends to load us down in emotional baggage, guilt, fear and bucket-loads of superstitious thinking that only muddies our capacity to accurately resolve life's problems.
without having to deal with other major concerns like not having a basis to wear clothes, or no basis for marriage, no consistent reason to be clean (snails don’t wake up in the morning and clean themselves or follow other cleanliness guidelines based on Levitical laws), and no objective reason to believe in love
The heck?

I wear clothes because it's convention, I'd probably get arrested if I didn't, I'm used to it because I've been brought up that way, and it does serve an armor capacity. I'm sorry, but we don't need to make an appeal to your magical pixie in the sky to warrant wearing clothes.

Marriage existed before Christianity. No, not yours.

Consistent reason to be clean? You mean like, hygiene? Does the author have any idea how much time animals spend on personal hygene? I have an aquarium with mice. They're practically OCD about it.

That mysterious reason for being clean is health - you know, like guarding against infections, parasites, diseases, etc. Yet again, we don't need an invisible bearded man in the sky to justify washing ourselves.

This guy has found a deep end, within a deep end, to go off.

No objective reason to believe in love? You mean like procreation and the behavioral patterns it drives, or the scientific investigations into what we call love?

Nope, no objective reasons at all.
Are you weary of looking for evidence that contradicts the Bible’s account of creation and finding none? 
Well, I'm not weary since I haven't really been looking. Remember where the burden of proof lies? Even besides that, one doesn't need to go much further than Genesis to start finding contradictions with what science reveals.
Do the assumptions and inconsistencies of dating methods weigh on your conscience when they are misrepresented as fact?
Even if I were to grant "assumptions and inconsistencies" with dating methods (and I don't), no, it doesn't. Even if everything we know scientifically is wrong, how much progress would be made towards demonstrating God or the Bible?


Why? Saying that it's either the current scientific knowledge or the Biblical account is a False Dichotomy. Any claim has to be positively demonstrated, and the burden lies on the person making the claim.
Where do you suppose those missing links have gone into hiding?
What missing links? Fossilization makes up a small fraction of total evidence supporting evolution. Genetics alone has a bulk of confirmations for common ancestry.
Surely the atheist sees the folly and hopelessness of believing that everything came from nothing.
Sure, I would think that's folly, especially when it's not justified by evidence... kind of like how God and universe-creating pixies aren't supported by evidence either. Hopelessness? Are we going back to telling me how I should feel again? Screw you.

Then again, I don't believe that everything came from nothing - the straw man continues, apparently.

I have no belief on the topic due to insufficient evidence, just like his position should be if he was even remotely rational.
In fact, why would an atheist care to live one moment longer in a broken universe where one is merely rearranged pond scum and all you have to look forward to is . . . death
I didn't choose to become alive, but while I'm here, I may as well enjoy it. Why not? Also, maybe I have this bizarre tendency to care about others, and part of what I do is altruistic?

Maybe this guy can explain it with better visual aids.

I don't have to justify why I decide to live my life to this person. I have decided my own purpose and meaning merely by the sheer power of my own mind. Nothing else is required. This is the only necessary step. I don't have to account for existence or the origins of logic to decide what I'm going to do with my weekend, nor do I have to account for these things to decide what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.
which can be around any corner? And in 467 trillion years, no one will care one iota about what you did or who you were or how and when you died.
Once again, this diatribe against atheism appears to be nothing more than a question of attitude. I can care about the here and now, viewing it as important, without worrying about where we'll be in 467 trillion years.

This doesn't bother me. Why should it?

Is this all the author has? An Argument from Eore?
—because death is the ultimate “hero” in an atheistic, evolutionary worldview.
The heck?

No, evolution is not doctrine. The Theory of Evolution is not a guide that tells us what to do. We don't worship death. You do. We're more interested in living the one and only life we know we have.
Of course, as a Christian I disagree, and I have a basis to see you as having value
Yes, I know you think you have a basis.

I am not so pathetically weak-minded and fearful of the harshness of reality that I have to make up wild fantasies to delude myself into thinking these realities don't exist.

I deal with reality on reality's terms. I don't need a security blanket.

I decide you have value as a human being, because I choose to. That's the only "basis" that's needed. I don't need to defer to a sex-obsessed chameleon thought-police officer in the sky to establish that basis.

This is where the incoherent rant ends, where the next section, entitled "Invitation" starts with...
I invite you to reconsider that the false religion of atheism is simply that. I’m here to tell you that atheism is a lie 

The heck...

Atheism is not a religion. "I don't believe you" is not a religion. Religion is the organized worship of a supernatural thing or things. "I don't believe you" cannot be a lie unless I actually believe you.

It's no wonder why this guy's argumentation is so impotent. It's arguing against one big walloping misrepresenting straw man.

Author then blurts out a bunch of Bible quotes that are not important to me.

Looking back through what I've covered so far, I have an assessment about the author's argument.

100% fractally wrong.

Virtually every single statement the author made is embarrassingly in error, whether they're massive misconceptions, malevolent misrepresentations, limitless logical fallacies, painful presumptions and a curious crevasse of critical considerations.

Sorry, but you failed to convert me, Author. Not only were you not within the ballpark, you weren't within the correct universe.

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