Home » Anthony Frosh, Recent Posts, Religion and Jewish Thought

The Atheist Delusion

March 17, 2010 – 11:20 pm261 Comments

 

Richard Dawkins - High Priest of the Atheists, and one of only two people to ever appear on the ABC's "Q & A" who were more smug than host Tony Jones

By Anthony Frosh

With the Global Atheist Convention currently taking place in Melbourne, I, like many people, have observed how it is rather unusual to have a conference defined by what you are not.  I don’t much care for beer, and this clearly puts me in the minority in this country.  However, it would never occur to me to organise a convention for people who don’t like beer. Be that as it may, I must admit that if anybody out there wishes to organise one, I promise to make myself available as a guest speaker.

‘Evangelical atheists’ claim that most wars have been fought in the name of religion.  When people point out Nazis, Soviets, etc, then people like Richard Dawkins say that those atheists didn’t commit their atrocities in the name of atheism.

There are two main problems with Dawkins’ argument.  Firstly, Dawkins is plain wrong when he asserts that no atrocities were ever committed in the name of atheism.

Obvious examples are the regimes of Mao and Stalin, who destroyed cultures they perceived to have had a religious basis. Thus their atrocities and human rights violations were committed in the name of atheism.

Secondly, by putting up the defence that those atheistic regimes didn’t commit their atrocities in the name of atheism, this assumes that religious entities that have waged war and committed atrocities have done so in the name of theism.   This has rarely been the case.  Most wars described as religious wars are actually about tribalism and ideology, and not at their core about theology.

The unfortunate thing is that evangelical atheists seem to be spending most of their time denigrating religion.  It might be more interesting if they actually tried to acknowledge some of the great philosophical challenges that atheism presents.

A genuine atheist ought to agree that there is neither anything sacred about a human being, nor any other living thing.  Thus, a living thing is simply a complex arrangement of a bunch of atoms or chemicals, as is a tennis ball, a tin of paint, or a laptop computer.  While I have no reason to believe that atheists in general are devoid of morality and purpose, the question that remains unanswered is “what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?”  Why does a bunch of atoms (regardless of complexity) require a code of ethics and morality?  Furthermore, why would a bunch of chemicals be so concerned if another bunch of chemicals happens to feel that there is some form of metaphysical force that makes certain arrangements of chemicals (living things) sacred?

The answer is that self-described atheists have not fully comprehended the philosophical implication of the complete absence of the metaphysical.  If they had, they’d realise that a bunch of atoms has no need to attend a global convention.

Finally, I suspect that so-called atheists deep down aren’t really atheists at all.  Like most of us, I suspect they are agnostics.  They just lie at the atheistic end of the agnostic spectrum.  Likewise, deep down most God believers lie at the theistic end of that same spectrum.

Print Friendly

261 Comments »

  • Jimmy says:

    What a load of crap! Enough with this “why do they define themselves by what they are not” nonsense. No beer drinker is trying to change the history and science curricula in our schools nor enforce outdated and unconstitutional religious tests for public office, etc.
    Let me summarize for those who don’t want to read this crap:
    Dawkins: “Many atrocities are committed in the name of God, including wars, etc.
    Author: “I know you are but what am I?”

  • Anonymous says:

    Please don’t write on the subject again until you have read at least one book that wasn’t produced, over 2000 years ago, for the benefit of stupified peasants in the greater Jerusalem area.

  • Dur says:

    You suspect that atheists aren’t really atheists but agnostics? Actually, most atheists that I know of are both. I suspect that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    And to say that religous conflicts aren’t due to theology but rather ideology is complete ignorance. Religious ideology IS theology.

    Stalin and Mao didn’t kill in the name of “no-god,” they killed for political reasons. Simply put, religious organizations and churches presented a threat to their political power. Please go get educated before you make more of a fool of yourself.

    And you want to talk about morality? Your version of morality is obidience based on superstition. My version is recognition of humanity using reason and logic. Check mate.

  • HerpDerp says:

    We have morals because we want to further the human race, while you want to hinder it. What you have provided is just another reason to facepalm ourselves for you theists being so ill-informed. I know most Atheists are NOT Agnostics because the idea of a god is just plain silly.
    The reason for this convention is more about supporting other Atheists that are having a hard time because of uninformed theists who harass and discriminate against us for using logic and reasoning capabilities.
    Also, Stalin and Mao, as Dur said, killed for political reasons. If you would research your history books instead of the bible, you would be able to comprehend that. If Christians have “mortality”, then we have a LARGE about of mortality. If you believe stoning gays, committing genocide, killing non-believers, ect are mortality then you are delusional.

  • Anonymous says:

    wow, this is just plain wrong.  obviously this guy has no clue what hes talking about.

  • Victor says:

    “A genuine atheist ought to agree that there is neither anything sacred about a human being, nor any other living thing.  Thus, a living thing is simply a complex arrangement of a bunch of atoms or chemicals, as is a tennis ball, a tin of paint, or a laptop computer.  ”
    I feel that this is a very ignorant remark and not mistaken on a few levels. While we may not choose to use the word “sacred”, we do hold a high regard of life, particularly human life. We just don’t feel that way because a deity told us to. We feel that way because each life is unique and short lived.
    Secondly, do you not believe in atoms? Or chemicals? The base composing materials is not what gives worth to a life. Even from a theistic perspective you must acknowledge that the matter in the universe is composed of something.
    And, it is important to remember that there is a difference between the “sacred” and the “holy”. They are not necessarily one and the same. A nation’s founding papers, like the US constitution, may be sacred, but it most certainly is not holy.

  • Rob says:

    Here we go again. “Defined by what we are not?” I’ll just throw out a few quotes that I’m sure many have seen before to show you how stupid that statement sounds.
    Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. Like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Silly superstitious, deluded fool.  Like others said, try picking up a book that was published in the past 100 years rather than keeping that nose of yours buried in an ancient text written thousands of years ago by scientifically ignorant, mud hut dwelling people. The Bible was pieced together from many other religious texts of the time and it has been translated thousands of times by thousands of cultures  over thousands of years. How much of the Bible do you think is actually worth the paper it is published on? Here’s another one to sit back and ponder. “Science flies people to the moon, religion flies people into buildings.” Atheists have no need of the threat of a hell or the promise of a heaven to be moral. Theists think they can do whatever they want whether it’s morally right or not because in the end all they’ll have to do is ask forgiveness(telepathically) from their imaginary friend in the sky and all will be forgiven. Where’s the morallity/rationallity in that thought process? Re-god-damn-diculous if you ask me. Wake up!

  • Bisho says:

    I’m not surprised at the lack of god-botherers comments to this article.
    It must have sounded stupid even to them.

  • Aaron says:

    Mao and Stalin? Ugh….that one’s been trotted out more times than Phar-Lap’s corpse. Must I drably retort with the inquisition, the crusades, and the conquistadors? Or should I simply point out that communism and politics were not a topic for discussion at the gathering?

    I would have thought religious pundits would have taken the recent gathering with little more than a raised eyebrow but it seems there is a deep lack of security amongst many of the faithfull. 

    “what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?”  Frankly, it never occured to me justify something that is absolutely central to the existence and continuation of the species. Altruism is displayed by a whole variety of animals in nature and reciprocity is a core part of survival.

    Religion has had a good long run of virtually unchallenged dominance in the world and there are many atheists and agnostics who pay lip service (Australian politicians anyone?) to faith just to get along without offending any sensitive god-bods. Anyone with a strong faith in their deity has nothing to fear from a secular challenge to the continuing power of religion but we all know just how many people secretly think religion is total hogwash and aren’t saying so – THAT is what has so many theists so very worried.

    Once we thought the Earth was flat. Now that that hokum has been disproved, it’s time to sort out all this god nonsense. Sorry we took so long.

  • paul fish says:

    “Why does a bunch of atoms (regardless of complexity) require a code of ethics and morality?  Furthermore, why would a bunch of chemicals be so concerned if another bunch of chemicals happens to feel that there is some form of metaphysical force that makes certain arrangements of chemicals (living things) sacred?The answer is that while self-described atheists have not fully comprehended the philosophical implication of the complete absence of the metaphysical.  If they had, they’d realise that a bunch of atoms has no need to attend a global convention.”
     
    HA! What utter codswollop! And a common mistake! Far from removing the meaning of life, removing the belief in the super-natural motivates people to care more about their future; to find out more about their origins and ultimately to concentrate on making the world a better place for tangible living entities. And yes, even atheists believe that the world needs ethics and morals. Ethics and morals that are based on common sense, love of our planet and love of fellow beings . Why do theists have such a hard time getting their heads around that. I have always been agnostic (well, since I could think for myself – thanks to multi-cultural schooling!), but these days I have moved closer to the atheistic view. “Most God believers lie at the theistic end of that same spectrum” a hop and a skip away from religious extremism and blind intollerance. I would much rather be in the Atheists’ camp.
     

  • paul fish says:

    “Why does a bunch of atoms (regardless of complexity) require a code of
    ethics and morality?  Furthermore, why would a bunch of chemicals be so
    concerned if another bunch of chemicals happens to feel that there is
    some form of metaphysical force that makes certain arrangements of
    chemicals (living things) sacred?The answer is that while self-described atheists have not fully
    comprehended the philosophical implication of the complete absence of
    the metaphysical.  If they had, they’d realise that a bunch of atoms has
    no need to attend a global convention.”HA! What utter codswollop! And a common mistake! Far from removing the meaning of life, removing the belief in the super-natural motivates people to care more about their future; to find out more about their origins and ultimately to concentrate on making the world a better place for tangible living entities. And yes, even atheists believe that the world needs ethics and morals. Ethics and morals that are based on common sense, love of our planet and love of fellow beings . Why do theists have such a hard time getting their heads around that. I have always been agnostic (well, since I could think for myself – thanks to multi-cultural schooling!), but these days I have moved closer to the atheistic view. “Most God believers lie at the theistic end of that same spectrum” a hop and a skip away from religious extremism and blind intollerance. I would much rather be in the Atheists’ camp.

  • bgjohnla says:

    Ok. First off Hitler was, in his own words “doing the work of God”. Get your facts right.
    Second. We are all agnostic? Please. Let’s say some whack job makes up a bull shit story about how a bar of soap in his bathroom is a god and created everything and all of us. You don’t believe him. Will that make you a soap Agnostic or will it make him an idiot?
    The entire concept of an invisible man running the show and making everything is completely absurd and illogical. It’s not based in any fact what so ever. Just like the soap god.
    May the power of soap compel you and have a great day.

  • In the name of Logic says:

    Question:  How did the world begin?  How did something come from nothing?
    Darwin & atheists’ theories today still aren’t conclusive.  To think that life came on the back of crystals (which doesnt explain how crystals came from nothing) or that life was “seeded” by aliens or another intelligent extraterrestial life takes just as much faith (and probably more than) as believing that the God of the Bible was the intelligence behind “seeding” life.  Cant we agree that both Atheism & Christianity have an element of faith in them?

    Also if all life did come from one single-celled source, then where does the instinct of right & wrong come from?  

    For example, using Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” logic leads one to conclude that killing another human would be an example of a stronger human killing off a weaker human & thus nature taking its course.  But when we hear that 2 Columbine students killed 13 innocent people we cant help but think there’s no way that is just the result of “survival of the fittest”.  We know it’s wrong… but how? 

    Where does that instinct sense of morality come from?  To think that somewhere along the line of the origin of species that morality just developed out of thin air takes just as much faith (and probably more than) believing God wired humans that way.  Again, both Atheism & Christianity are based on faith.

    Lets be intellectuals here & confess that our human minds dont have it all figured out.  Who is the source of truth?  It cant be ourselves b/c even we cant explain it all! –

  • Michael says:

    For a conference about “nothing”, I thought there was plenty of substance.
    Nazis were atheists? Even if we overlook the religious motifs used by the Nazi leaders and their imagery (which included the idea of a god-given destiny, as well as Aryan mysticism), are you saying most Germans at the time weren’t religious?
    As for why have morality, I assume that if you became convinced tomorrow that there was no reason to believe in a god (or even that there was no god) you’d immediately start looting and pillaging? Also if you think morality has no purpose outside of a god, I invite you to populate a country with sociopaths and live there to see if there might be “other” reasons we are moral.

  • Helen says:

    This article demonstrates a complete ignorance of any study of human behaviour. Futhermore, the majority of assertions you have levelled are technially incorrect.  Pehaps a basic study of relgion, politics, theology, sociology, law, or phillosophy would allow the author to create a comprehensive argument against atheism.  Or at least reach an understanding of what the term means.

  • D Harris says:

    This article appears biaised towards people who believe in religion.
    He’s incorrect in saying atheists are really agnostics.  I know with every atom in my body there is no God.  I never have a moments doubt or disbelief in this.  I know it to the centre of my being, the same way a born again Christian knows the opposite.
    I think a convention has become a bit necessary in the face of the rise of evangelical christians involment in politics.  Someone has to stand up and say NO to Intelligent Design, Family First fools being foistered on us in partiament, and non-stop propaganda like “God Lives” everywhere we travel around time.  The Christians shouldn’t complain when we have reached our saturation point and just want to point it out.  We respect Christians are allowed to have their own point of view, however many Christians don’t respect other people (even other Christians) having a different point of view.

  • victor says:

    BANG!!!! another athiest is born.

    The bigest problem athiests face is not to prove religion is wrong but to prove athiesim is right. I can’t subscribe to the big bang theory although I like the show. Further, why should athiests concern themselves with the opinions of others if it were not for their need to justify their own beliefs. If it were not for religion, athiests would not exist.

  • Si says:

    I used to think I was atheist until this latest convention.
    Now I know for sure that I’m actually an “apathetist”.
    God or no God, I just don’t give a rat’s arse.

  • Owen says:

    Does this make me an agnostic??? I certainly do not believe in God or so-called intelligent design. I do believe that evolution provides the most rational answers for everything we are and what we see around us (including human made objects since evolution gave us the brain and therefore the capacity to create).

    I do not know how the universe was formed and do not believe for a second that anyone does. Especially not those that believe that 1st century writings by men who believed that adulterers should be stoned, or that breaking the sabath should again be punishable by death..and so on and so forth (both Bible and Koran espouse this form of punishment over and over again). Surely these people of all do not have the answer. Atheist conference, how sane and refreshing is that.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ha ha ha , you could only find two examples of atheists like “Mao and Stalin” in what you regard as the 6000 year history of man eh, so all atheists are now morally bankrupt. Do I need to mention the Spanish Inquisition. Also _ “Most wars described as religious wars are actually about tribalism and ideology, and not at their core about theology.” They are actually about my god is better than your god/gods.”
    But I will extend an Invitation to the upcoming, ” I can’t think for myself so I will blindly follow (insert religion here), and I choose to deny over four hundred years of hard science, oh, except when that same science can save my life or make it more comfortable with new electronic gadgets” This Convention is to be held at the steps of heaven on the day of reckoning, and is free to anyone who has sinned. have fun. No beer supplied. wanker

  • Michael says:

    I suggest the author Frosh read. A bunch of  ‘atoms or chemicals’ (read species) developed morals and ethics through a series of small altruistic steps. Read before you write Author please.

  • Peter says:

    I thought this was a very well written article. None of the atheist fundamentalists who came here to punish the unbelieving author have convinced me they are any more sane than religious fundamentalists. Everyone to their own.

  • gerald says:

    how sad. to  do a Global  Convention on what ur not.
    Atheist and gays are alike. both have to tell the world what they are or are not to justifie why there here.
    Yes relgion has brough pain, sorrow  etc to this world.
     But really whats wose.?
     telling us to belive in some thing with hope value moral code.
     or telling us we are nothing more than a bunch of cells with nothing to look forward to after all our hard work on earth?
     Well I for one hope there is aGod. other wise why  care about  any thing?
     for the betterment of mankind? its only been christian values that has stoped us wiping our self out so far. take that way and we will kill each other through lack of love, grace,  because every one is just a cell

  • owen says:

    Communism was practiced as a religion. Morality does not need a reason. It something that people hold to.
    Making stuff  up does not provide an answer to the mystery of the universe.

  • Fred says:

    The author clearly wasn’t trying to write an honest inquiry, because all of the questions he poses have been answered thoroughly by many leading atheists. The falsehoods and logical fallacies that riddle this sloppy diatribe are stupefying. The Nazi’s were atheists? Really? I’d like to know what kind of intellectual credentials this clown has, or whether he ever studied WW2 outside of the theistic tradition. I hope he actually addresses these criticisms, there is enough guerrilla warfare style op-eds floating around.

  • Bright spark says:

    For the last two thousand years Religion has had the monopoly on political power and the oppression 0f free speech. (Blasphemy – is not a crime, it is someone’s opinion which you don’t agree with).  So now a few rational and intelligent people get together to discuss their ideas, and the Theists come out of the woodwork to try to ridicule and denigrate them with such ferocious attacks, any spectator might ask themselves, “what have religions got to be afraid of that they need to attack these people so vehemently?”.
    I find it interesting how it is fine for theists to congregate on mass every Sunday or other religious date (these big event dates in the theist calender have been ripped off from opposing religions they have managed to destroy,  and then have made them their own! ) yet react like this when atheist get together.
    Surely The Theists wouldn’t be afraid of what amounts to the first ever “Atheist Convention” which had 2500 people attend (miniscule, on the world stage) if their faith is so resolutely strong?
    The phrase “tenterhooks” comes to mind.
     
     

  • stephe says:

    Dicky.  What about the wine clubs you attend?  They would be no beer events?
    And surely those who don’t believe in a higher being have as much right to meet as those who believe in a mystical creator or Santa Clause.

  • Almoni says:

    I’ve very surprise by the argument presented here.  It completely misses the point that as sentient human beings, we are very capable of having deep moral feelings, and cultural-historical senses without getting caught up in conventional religion.  We are much more than atoms, because our brains as so amazing, and of course, there may be the one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater* out there in the ether that is even more advanced.
    Dawkins, of course, may make too grand a distinction between his athiesm and the heritage of human kind, coming out of, and evolving from all sorts of religious experiences, but that’s what I am many others, take as the background to our agnosticism and atheism.  Durkheim, Mordechai Kaplan and others understood the power of ‘community’ –communion–, but we don’t all put the G-word in it.
    See what I wrote at http://galusaustralis.com/2009/11/2375/no-need-for-religion/
     
    * ask anyone who grew up in the 1950s or seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_People_Eater

  • E Gonzalez says:

    I am not sure what you were trying to achieve with this article, it is certainly poorly researched and inflammatory. One thing that should be clear, even to you mr Frosh, is that one day we will all die. What happens after that? We will not know until we die.

  • sup says:

    gerald you don’t know what you’re talking about, neither does the author.
    where are nothing but a bunch of cells, but there is plenty to look forward to.
    and to tell people that they have something to look forward to after our “hard work on this world” is plain rubbish. it is giving people false hope, just live your life how you want, believe what you want, but enjoy it while it lasts because you only get one crack at it.

  • Kjic says:

    Try Harder

    If evil “exists”
    It’s truly in man!
    For it lies in the
    despicable deeds done,
    by his hand!

    No entity has ever
    came forward,
    none to arise.
    None has appeared!
    Before our eyes.

    “Stories”
    To scare children
    to bed.
    Like Hanables coming,
    to chop off you head.

    Sinners and saints!
    they’re all in our cast.
    Every one of them,
    “Human” Present and past.

    If we wish to continue,
    We need to release.
    It’s in our hands;
    it’s in a dove,
    Our symbol of peace.

    by kjic
    Religion is all about control over our life and our death, tax free perks and free labour, manipulating the masses for one’s own agenda’s as politicians and religious leaders do every day, why should one have more credibility because of belief! In some people I do see the need to scare them into keeping honest but that too is in our nature. I find it sad that there are so many good humans out there that follow religion for the sake of just trying to be a good person, though misguided by the bias because they feel this need for others to acknowledge their goodness or just to do good. Atheists would have more say and power if they do organise into a political or non profit care groups depending on their ideals and conventions like this with hope will see some better organisation come from it other than belief flogging or petty finger pointing I like most just want a common sense approach rather than this fire brimstone death and destruction or the ever evangelistic extremes as it does lay within our hands and we all have a devil and an angel in us it is just circumstance that feeds either one better.

  • frosh says:

    It seems that some people may not have read the article in a considered manner. A number of people here have clearly misunderstood the point, as evidenced by their visceral reactionary comments.

    I was not arguing for the existence of the metaphysical, nor was I arguing that emotions or morality could not exist without the metaphysical.

    Rather, I was arguing that if one truly understands the implication of there being nothing beyond the physical (and thus we are just a bunch of chemicals), then one has the challenge to explain the justification for maintaining a moral code, and even a purpose. After all, if one is aware that all living things are nothing more than complex arrangements of atoms, then we should disregard all concern for both our own welfare, and the welfare of others.

    Since I am yet to hear of a self-professed atheist who operates like this, then I can only assume that these so called atheists have not understood this implication, or at least do not operate with this implication in mind.

    You may profess to being an atheist, but you operate as an agnostic.

  • Michael says:

    I responded to the alleged lack of justification on a moral code, see comment http://galusaustralis.com/2010/03/2817/the-atheist-delusion/#comment-7269. Others have covered it as well although it’s hard to sift since the post has generated a lot of replies :)

  • frosh says:

    Hello Michael,

     

    To answer your question, if I somehow became convinced tomorrow that there is no metaphysical (let’s leave God out of this, as that is a more specific argument), then no, I probably would not start looting and pillaging.

     

    Firstly, it is impossible to know 100% that there is no metaphysical – how would one prove this?

     

    Secondly, people are hard-wired to act as if there is a purpose to our existence, and thus unable to operate as true atheists. 

     

    Also, to clarify, a true atheist would not necessarily become purely selfish and hedonistic.  Rather, they ought to cease all voluntary actions entirely, as consciousness is recognised to be merely an illusion prolonging a pointless existence. 

  • Nick says:

    “Stupid”
    “IQ of Earthworm Jim”
    “Irrational”
    “Face of a rapist”, and
    “Anyone who doesn’t agree with my view is a idiot”
    There, I’ve learned how to argue like any of the best atheists.

  • Gary says:

    It reminds of the time my lunatic religious boss once said to me when sales were down, “don’t worry God is watching over our company”, I said to him, wow, that’s great but wouldn’t he also be watching over our competitors then – idiot

  • Michael says:

    So let me rephrase that using your language — if you became convinced tomorrow that there was no metaphysical would you then “cease all voluntary actions entirely”?
    Also it’s interesting that in my original comment I said “if you became convinced tomorrow that there was no reason to believe”, but that you interpreted this as if I was saying, if you became 100% certain of something.

  • frosh says:

    Almoni,

    I never once mentioned “conventional religion.”

    Please re-read the article.

  • gklr says:

    Atheism is not a lack of belief, those saying it is do not know what atheism is. Atheism is the belief there is no god. So on that you were right.

    As for people killing in the name of atheism, this article failed on every point it raised. Nazis first off were theists. Mao and Stalin did their business on behalf of communism and not atheism. The French Revolution had many murders “for atheism” no question, and the author apparently had no clue of that. Even so, having had people killed by atheists on behalf of atheism simply does not violate any atheist ethic… there is no hypocricy even when it does happen which is rare. And it is also rare that theists kill for their god, usually it’s for money and power and not for their religion.

    Nontheists simply point out the hypocricy of the theists claim of a  higher moral ground through their religion. It is a counter argument to “atheists have no morals” which of course is untrue. Theists and nontheists get their morals from the same place, their own subjective moral values, no matter what theists claim.

    So good call on the “defining themselves by what they are not”, as what they are not is not what they are. For this reason you probably realize those saying so are not atheists at all (they are nontheist), so your whole article misfires.

    I am gklr at youtube.

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    No I wouldn’t cease all voluntary actions, because (to repeat) we are hard-wired to act as if there is a purpose to our existence, and thus unable to operate as true atheists.

    I doubt very much that I (or anybody else) could overcome this hard-wiring. But one would hope that someone as certain as Richard Dawkins professes to be would at least give it a try :-)

  • frosh says:

    Gklr,

    It is not simply a counter argument to “atheists have no morals.”

    Evangelical atheists routinely put forward the argument that religion is the cause of most/all wars etc, and therefore religion is bad.
    This is a stand alone argument, and not a counter argument.

    While most of Mao and Stalin’s human rights violation were committed simply because they were mad totalitarians, the eradication of religion and religious institutions were committed in the name of anti-religion (I’ll accept that this is a better a term than atheism, in their cases)

  • Fray says:

    i am so over hearing religious people saying “science can’t prove everything, they don’t know it all, so I don’t believe in it” at least Atheists have some proof and are working towards getting the truth. Religion has not one smidge of truth, has god ever visited us? No. If it was left to religion we would still think the earth was flat and monsters roamed the oceans.

    and this bull about morals only come from religion? Religious people have some of the most lax morals in the world! Child molestation shows a big lack of morals, yet religious leaders seem to be doing it enough.

    To see where morals really come from, look to evolution. The animal kingdom certainly has many moral rules, Albee it less advanced in ours. Lion prides have hierarchies, where different members are treated in certain ways according to status. You don’t see them killing each other for fun, they know that’s wrong. They also know which members eat first in a kill etc. Any animal that lives in a pack (as we do) has some form of moral code, or there is no way a pack could function.  There has to be order, rules and respect. Morals are simply learning what is right and wrong, concepts most animals can basically grasp. Our version, like our brains, is simply more advanced.

    Put simply, moral codes evolve, just like we do, with or without religion. If anything religion has degraded our moral code, since it has been used as a way to take advantage of so many people.

  • Jack says:

    Wow, I can’t believe such a preposterous article has been published, even on the internet.
    I concur with most of the comments that people have already made here and agree that it is nonsensical to write an article about a topic you have quite obviously taken no time to study or understand. There are genuine arguments in favour of religion that are interesting and though provoking but you have failed to bring any of them up. Instead, you have trotted out a bunch of old catch phrases and meaningless rhetoric that have been dealt with extensively in the past. I say again, please engage in some of the literature on this subject before taking the step of writing and publishing an article on atheism.

  • Kristine says:

    Let me start at the beginning ;
    “…unusual to have a conference defined by what you are not…”
    It’s not really that unusual.  Especially considering that they are a minority group who are often discriminated against.  Granted, there is less discrimination against atheists in Australia than in many other countries, but it is still there in subtle ways.
    “…‘Evangelical atheists’ claim that most wars have been fought in the name of religion…”
    You’ve pointed out two examples of atheistic rulers who were atrocities.  How many other disputes would you think lie on the side of theism?   I’ll give you a hint, there are more than two.  I don’t even require you to be coming up with atheistic wars in the name of atheism!  Wars in the name of theism still outnumber them.  That being said, wars are never about religion, wars are about politics and assets.  And by the way, when you mention Nazis… Hitler was a Christian.   Also, I’ve never actually heard this argument come out of an atheists mouth before a theist has attacked them with atrocities in the name of Stalin or Pol-Pot, etc.  And I’ve been in a LOT of these debates online.
    “…A genuine atheist ought to agree that there is neither anything sacred about a human being, nor any other living thing.  Thus, a living thing is simply a complex arrangement of a bunch of atoms or chemicals, as is a tennis ball, a tin of paint, or a laptop computer…”
    Agreed.
    “…’what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?’…”
    Personal gain.  Harmonious relationships with other members of the species.  The Golden Rule isn’t a Christian concept, in fact it was written by many others in many disparate places before Jesus walked the Earth.  It works.  It smooths the path for the individual.  It’s part of our species, in much the same way as a bowerbird is compelled to collect blue things whenever he wants to mate.  People who lack the ‘do unto others’ thing generally find that the world doesn’t work well for them.  If I behave badly to other people, they aren’t going to like me.  They will spread that to others, and pretty soon I’ll have no friends and no support.  It’s not that hard to figure out.
    “…why would a bunch of chemicals be so concerned if another bunch of chemicals happens to feel that there is some form of metaphysical force that makes certain arrangements of chemicals (living things) sacred?”
    Because the first bunch of chemicals (atheists… group A), and the second group of chemicals (theists… group B) have come head to head in a number of places.  Group B has tried to bring ID (an unsupported theory which, from what I’ve read, is generally bad science) into highschool classrooms to compete with evolution.  Because Group B is making headway towards bringing Islamic religious law into force in the UK.  Because taxpayers money gets spent on funding alternative medicines which have never been shown to work beyond placebos.  I could go on, but I just don’t have the time.
    In ending, I have one more thing to say.  Everybody is theistic or atheistic.  If the degree of theism/atheism was a line, agnostic would be the Y-Axis.  It doesn’t even play into the question.
     
     

  • Shane says:

    Deary me – so much venom.  I don’t think Frosh understands athiesm, but as far as I can tell, Dawkins doesn’t understand religion either.  I suggest we just retire to our respective planets and get on with it.

  • D J Wray says:

    You have made some good points. Wars might be fought in the name of religion, but the reality is that wars are started by selfish, territorial, attention-seeking hooligans. These evangelical atheists should lighten up by watching the South Park episode Go God Go.

    But I can’t agree with your claim that living things are just a complex arrangement of a bunch of atoms.  The greatest scientific minds still haven’t produced a definition of consciousness. Do you know something that they don’t?

    D J Wray
    Packaged Evolution: The Intelligent Universe
    http://www.atotalawareness.com/documents/packagedevolution.pps

  • frosh says:

    DJ Wray,

    I have made neither an argument for the existence or the non-existence of the metaphysical.

    I do not claim that all we are is a bunch of atoms. I only claim that this is the logical extension of true atheism.

  • Kjic says:

    Ok you keep talking of war and religion yet no one mentions the fact that the beliefs push toward the fiery end they all want! Or should I say prophesize the two major Abrahamic beliefs want to overtake every other yet most beliefs came from the Sumerian air god El yet no one is taught of their origin? If you are not of faith you are an infidel heathen gentile pagan an irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized person and it wasn’t far back that they thought of blacks the same way nothing better than an animal’s how soon we forget and women in some religions still are no better off than a possession! Let’s not even go into the appalling way that a lot of them treat gay people which by the way is just another birth anomaly which amounts to these so called do gooders picking on a person with a birth defect they might as well start to pick on other birth defect that they all get grants to care for these people while looking like saints for helping? I think there have been some exceptional prophets that gave hope to those who had little and that is noble but to keep following blindly is a waste of all the good lessons learned from past beliefs like the commandments are more of a moral guide line that most of us live by anyway because it makes sense not to hump the neighbours wife or rape steal pillage and plunder but without the radical ideals men of the beliefs add I think it was summed up no better than by Jesus himself when being grilled by the Romans when asked if he was a god I think he tried to give us all a message by telling us Jahh Hayah I am or self exist be? A true son of man nothing more nothing less we can all learn from our past we just have to look through the BS whether we believe or not we just don’t need the overboard extremes.  

  • Pluto Animus says:

    Anthony Frosh: Another believer too stupid to know what Communism is and how it works.

  • Joe America says:

    What is this crazy idea that atheists have no morals?
    Does the author forget we are human like anybody else?
    It feels natural  and good for me to live in peace with my fellow neighbors.
    it feels natural to help others
    it feels natural to feel empathy
    it feels natural to make other people feel good and love.
    it feels natural to make babies laugh.
    Babies are atheists.
    To the author.. …get it yet?
     

  • frosh says:

    Joe America,

    You are just one of many here who have commented without properly reading the article.

    I have specifically said that in general, ‘atheists’ do indeed have morals and ethics.

    Evidently from this comments section, what many atheists do lack are basic reading and comprehension skills.

  • Adam says:

    Yikes, in days gone by you guys would have killed each other in ther name of what you believe, now you just hurt each other with words.  It’s amazing how animals with independent thought and reason  want to impose it on others or ridicule each other for having independant thought that doesn’t agree with their own (I suppose it makes us who we are).  The fact of the matter is that neither end of the thought spectrum can state certainty on many questions in the universe we just use a formula we have created to extrapilate a theory and then we live by it.  The best thing to do is keep an open mind – either way it’s foolish to believe you are right and that you formula is infallible.  Peace guys.

  • Jimmy says:

    Frosh, maybe you should be a little more introspective. You’ve posted many times that we need to re-read the article. Maybe you need to re-write the article. I understood it quite well.
    It’s strange that you go from the played “atheists are like Mao and Stalin” argument to some strange and pointless drivel about not being able to be a true atheist. Who gives a crap if atheism is taken to it’s “logical end” as you say? Reality is that there is/ isn’t a god/gods and morality exists, by god’s hand or not. Me thinks you felt like doing a little atheist bashing.
    Why no response to all the uproar about all the misinformation re: Hitler, Stalin, etc.? Not ready to concede that you don’t know what you are talking about just yet?

  • Papalinton says:

    frosh
    Re:  Rather, I was arguing that if one truly understands the implication of there being nothing beyond the physical (and thus we are just a bunch of chemicals), then one has the challenge to explain the justification for maintaining a moral code, and even a purpose.
    What is the difference between “understand” and “truly understand”?
    Religion;  so many gods, so little reason
    Religion is neither all good nor all bad.   It is all human – and therefore diverse, ambiguous, and contradictory.

  • frosh says:

    Jimmy,

    I will make the kind assumption that you are writing from the USA, and thus not overly aware of the 2010 Global Atheist Convention happening down the road from where I am currently writing.

    I never said “atheists are like Mao and Stalin.” Rather, I made the point that the evangelical atheists at the convention are wrong when they say most wars and atrocities were committed in the name of religion, and that no atrocities were ever committed in the name of atheism.

    I have merely offered some commentary on a well publicised convention taking place in Melbourne (that’s Melbourne, Australia – not Melbourne, Florida).

    Until today, I had no idea that atheists were so thin skinned – nor did I know they had such poor comprehension.

    Anyway, to all our new visitors, welcome to the website, and please feel free to look around. We welcome your comments, but try to read the articles in a considered manner before commenting.

  • Raytheist says:

    Very lame and trite article. First of all, I’m sick of hearing that atheists are defined by believing in nothing. Atheists are defined by something very positive: respect for knowledge, reason and free inquiry unhobbled by irrational taboos and superstition.
    Secondly, Mao, Stalin etc. did not kill in the name of atheism – they killed because they were paranoid megalomaniacs who wanted to destroy any perceived threat to their monopoly on power. Stalin reached an agreement with the Russian orthodox church in 1943 that they would stay out of each other’s way, and he ceased to persecute them after that.
    You seem blissfully ignorant of the irony in claiming, “Most wars described as religious wars are actually about tribalism and ideology.” Excuse me, isn’t that what religion is all about? Religion is the perfect means of arbitrarily dividing people and getting them to hate each other and want to kill each other, when they would otherwise have absolutely no reason to do so. By contrast, atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god or gods. There is no ideology or tribalism inherent in it.
    Finally, to give your ruminations much more attention than they deserve, you are incorrect in saying: “A genuine atheist ought to agree that there is neither anything sacred about a human being, nor any other living thing.” There is nothing inherently sacred in anything – it’s a question of what we as humans choose to hold sacred. And your condescending remarks about atheists being ignorant of the philosophical implications of atheism are flat-out wrong. There is a long and voluminous literature by atheist philosophers on this subject. It’s just that they base their philosophy on reason and the human instinct to empathize with one’s fellow  humans, rather than claiming to have a hotline to some old man with a beard in the sky via some ancient dusty scroll.

  • Person says:

    i would never normally reply to such crap as what is written here, but this time im going to make an exception.
    how about you dickheads stop crying about whos right and whos wrong, just live your pathetic little lives and at least try to enjoy yourself. even if your mediocre existence is as a ‘child of god’.

    you all make me sick.
     
    excuse me for a minute. i might go kill a bunch of people, and then try and force my outrageous beliefs on others.
     
    good day.

  • Hairo says:

    @Frosh – It isn’t quite accurate to say that atheists are defined by a lack of belief, the  ‘evangelical atheists’ such as Dawkins clearly show faith in their worship (for lack of a better word) of what they call “science” (perhaps more accurately called oro-ence) and hence, of the source of science, humans. So the term atheist is a true misnomer, they are much more usefully labelled as being humanists.

    Furthermore, it is quite clear that any kind of discussion surrounding ‘who made more wars?’ is only going to be pointlessly petty. Far more sensible to copy this to the clipboard and paste it wherever necessary – “This person does not represent theists.” Because, as much as evil may claim to be from God, or sometimes, claim to be God, you will know both good and evil by their fruit.

    On the point of a source of atheistic morality, you assert a valid point, but unfortunately, in the same way as the answer for

  • Hairo says:

    @Frosh – It isn’t quite accurate to say that atheists are defined by a lack of belief, the  ‘evangelical atheists’ such as Dawkins clearly show faith in their worship (for lack of a better word) of what they call “science” (perhaps more accurately called oro-ence) and hence, of the source of science, humans. So the term atheist is a true misnomer, they are much more usefully labelled as being humanists.

    Furthermore, it is quite clear that any kind of discussion surrounding ‘who made more wars?’ is only going to be pointlessly petty. Far more sensible to copy this to the clipboard and paste it wherever necessary – “This person does not represent theists.” Because, as much as evil may claim to be from God, or sometimes, claim to be God, you will know both good and evil by their fruit.

    On the point of a source of atheistic morality, you assert a valid point, but unfortunately, in the same way as the answer for “why does the universe/people exist?” is invariably given as “bigbang/evolution”, the answer will always be “quod est, est”, (“that which is, is”), followed by a oro-entific argument as to the how. Every self-proclaimed atheist I know of has the same doublethink deeply embedded in them, and it comes from an unresolved cognitive dissonance of living as though various things matter but saying there is no purpose to them.

  • Sara says:

    Wonderful article Frosh. As they say,  religion doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

  • Bren says:

    As an atheist, I thought Frosh’s article was well-written, concise and logical.
    I’m appalled at the incomprehension and ad hominem attacks in the replies, but that just underlines the author’s point: people who are not theists have no uniting organisation or ideology, don’t necessarily have anything in common with each other, and are not represented by Richard Dawkins or any self-appointed convention of atheists.
     
    Religion, like or not, is culture, history and humanity. Everything that is wrong with religion is innate to humans, as Dawkins has demonstrated many times in his wonderful genetics books.
    If you remove religion, you will not – cannot – remove these human traits. You will however remove a large body of philosophy and outspoken public moral leadership. What will replace this? is a reasonable question, and a challenge for atheists.
     
    Philosopher Peter Singer, one of the delegates, reportedly recognises this and is contributing , but the results so far are puny

  • ariel says:

    First of all, the Bible (Torah) was revolutionary 3000 years ago. Every law in there went against the grain of what most of the rest of society deemed acceptable behaviour: incest, murder, theft, brutal slavery, transvestitude and paedophelia, too name but a few. It seems from society today, that many of us wish to return to the “good old days”. Well my friends, as King Solomon said, “there’s nothing new under the sun”.
     
    Now, Dawkins has his banter down pat, believing – like a true atheist – that he is more intelligent than everyone else and we won’t see the flaws in his logic.
     
    His favourite equation that you can draw a straight line from religion to war, but not from atheism to destruction is a furfy. There is a direct line, but some choose not to see it. It goes like this:
     
    There is no God –> Humans are it, the highest of (at least) the planet –> Some humans are higher than others (survival of the strongest) –> I myself as Leader/Fuerher am the highest of all –> Everyone else who is not like my and my kind must be destroyed
     
    The other question that evangelical atheists refuse to consider with an open mind is: “how did something come from nothing?” where did the first sub atomic then atomic particles come from?
    Dismissing such questions as blasfemy against  science and logic is a tactic of Catholic and other extremists who don’t allow questioning of any kind. Thankfully, this is a website run by and primarily catering towards Jews and questioning is a fundamental principle of Judaism. One can say that the more questions a Jew asks, the more fundamentalist he/she is!!

  • Michelle Z says:

    Hi Frosh,
    I think there are several issues with your argument from the perspective of a scientist and an atheist.
    I agree with your statement that ‘a living thing is simply a complex arrangement of a bunch of atoms’. However scientifically the particular arrangement of these atoms into a human being creates a brain that for reasons not yet understood by science makes most humans predisposed to living a life of purpose and morality, as you say ‘hard-wired’.
    You believe that these things are metaphysical. However from a scientific evidence point of view they are a not yet well understood property of the physical arrangement of atoms that make up the human brain and which evolved through natural selection for reasons also not yet understood; thus physical not metaphysical.
    Just because science does not yet understand everything about why and how our minds evolved to want purpose and meaning in our lives and how the physical arrangement of atoms causes this does not mean there is no physical reason for it.
    Therefore just because atheists do not believe in a metaphysical God does not mean that there is no reason for them to have morality and purpose, being an atheist only means a person has no belief in God not that they can have no purpose in life. A person who does not believe in a higher-being is free to choose whether they have a purpose or not, which most do. A bunch of atoms does not require a code of ethics and morality, but the particular bunch of atoms making up a person can choose to make their own, just as they can choose to go to a convention.
    Your argument ” that self-described atheists have not fully comprehended the philosophical implication of the complete absence of the metaphysical.  If they had, they’d realise that a bunch of atoms has no need to attend a global convention”  is based on your own belief that morality and purpose must be driven by a higher being whereas there is no evidence that this is so, all evidence suggests it is simply a physical property of the human brain.
    Regards,
    Michelle

  • Beau says:

    I’m genuinely stunned at the first few critical comments to this very well put article especially as an agnostic/unitarian universalists.  And to the idea that god is silly, something must’ve started it, whether it’s “God” or something unexplainable, science will never get to the end of it as every answer brings thousands of new questions.
    I grew up as a passionate atheist slowly becoming more agnostic and now I just look at these comments and think that was me in year 7.

  • frosh says:

    Firstly, let me note that the last few comments or so from ‘atheists’ have been polite and considered, and I thank them for returning the conversation back to a cordial level.

    Michelle Z,

    I appreciated your well written response. I think you may have misunderstood one of my points, and perhaps this is because I have not been able to communicate it as well as I would have liked.

    You write that I believe that the source of morality and ethics is metaphysical. Actually, I do not necessarily hold this view. I accept the possibility that these virtues could have evolved through natural selection. For the purposes of this argument, I am an agnostic. What I have been trying to say is not that these virtues are necessarily of divine origin, but rather that if one fully believes that there is no metaphysical, then one ought to see consciousness (and thus consciousness’ desire for virtue) as an illusion.

    Once someone fully believes that we are nothing but a bunch of atoms, then consciousness must be seen as simply the product of a chemical reaction, no more special than an acid reacting with a alkaline, albeit more complex and mysterious. One then ought to strive to overcome the illusion of consciousness.

    To use a more simple (but far from perfect) example, let us agree that humans have evolved to desire sugar. This desire served us a well when we were hunter-gatherers running around in the wild. Now that we have office jobs and buy our food from the supermarket, this hard-wired desire for sugar works against us, and in fact leads to numerous health problems. Those of us who recognise this unfortunate hangover from our evolution, try to resist the desire for sugar, and many manage to do this successfully. The apparent need for sugar is identified as an illusion and is overcome.

    Now, if we take another seemingly natural human desire – the desire to procreate and care about one’s children – this could presumably be explained by an atheist as our genes having evolved to propagate themselves. Even if atheists do not strive to overcome consciousness (as it is too difficult), an atheist at least ought to strive to think the following: I am a bunch of chemicals, my children are just another bunch of chemicals. Investing all my time in this bunch of chemicals (called my children) is a waste of time, and is simply the product of a trick/illusion that another bunch of chemicals (my genes) are playing on me.

    And yet, this never happens. Why not?

  • SJ says:

    Poor Frosh. Surely he couldn’t predict the avalanche of responses, many of which don’t come from Australia, but I gather from the US (unless of course a few insomniacs from 1.45am to 5.00am blogged their comments on the site).
    I for one looked at the Athiest convention web-site in Melbourne and read the press reports regarding the conference and it did strike me that the so called rationalists that the atheist see themselves, had a remarkable envagelical zeal about them. If you saw that the so called “comedian” Catherine Deveney on Q&A this week, fresh from the athiest convention, she sounded with her snide remarks on religion, as someone mindlessly repeating what she heard at the convention. Anyone informed has known that Dawkins has been sprouting his positions for years, ever since he published the Selfish Gene in the 1970’s, yet its only in the last few years since the release of the God Delusion that he seems to have become the ”high priest’ of atheism. Or perhaps a more Jewish analogy, the Chabad of atheism.
    I agree with Frosh re: wars have been caused by societies founded upon an athiest ideology. No amount of sophisticated sophistry can get the atheist out of this whole. Atheism is not some minor aspect of Marxism but a  central part to it. Remember Politics 100 – religion is the superstructure of the the society according to marxism, and society moves through a materialist dialectic.

    I query, however, that a secular idea of morality can not be created. Perhaps it not objective in some absolute sense, but secular ethics, have gone very far in areas such as woman rights for example. Its religious ethics which have tended to fall behind in these areas.

  • ariel says:

    Beau, I think the problem is not only that people argue like their in year 7, but that they have a 7-yr-old’s view of G-d.
     
    When people tell me they don’t believe in G-d because XYZ, I usually am able to say “well the god you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.”
     
    Whilst not boxing you in to this category at all (i don’t know you), I notice that you say “something must’ve started it, whether it’s “God” or something unexplainable”. To most gnostics, that “something unexplainable” is G-d. In fact, one of the prophets in Hebrew Scripture tells of the future when all humans will “know G-d”. This can mean that one day will will truly uncover the secrets of the universe…

  • Rodge says:

    I rarely bother to weight in on these discussions. I do wonder about the seen and the unseen.
    Things I see are easy to define. In recent history we have learnt there are many things around be that we have no natural awareness of – including radio, magnetic, uv and gamma rays  to mention but a few.
    To me, I think it’s possible that there is much yet to discover, seen and unseen, known and unknown.  Science for me reveals the greatness of Creation, and the incredible wonder of Life.

  • William Hazlitt says:

    what a complete croc. Same old BS pedaled out thousands of times. At least try and get a bit more creative.

  • Faith says:

    A very good article, I have nothing but pity for self-proclaimed atheists. Their intellectual pride backfires on them, their arguments reducing themselves to objects & commodities without dignity.
    Tennis balls indeed.

  • Zed Strange says:

    Well written article Anthony,  and you have certainly dragged the Atheists out of the woodworks, most of whom have nothing to say except insults and arguments from personal incredulity.
     

  • Jimmy says:

    Frosh, I’m well aware of the convention, thank you. We have this thing called the internet over here in the States.

  • Byron says:

    I think, that if you look at the heart of religion, its about love. If people misinterpret that, its not religion’s fault.

  • pk says:

    “Firstly, it is impossible to know 100% that there is no metaphysical – how would one prove this?”
    I could not agree more.  We need to get the point across the metaphysical (a proxy for God) is impossible to disprove, just like the tooth fairy, pixies and the easter bunny.  My kids believe in them 100%.  For them it is as real as God is to the pope. I would not wish to burst their imagination, wishes, hopes and dreams. 

    God be with you.

  • Paul says:

    Its called meme’s, that is exactly why people from all cultures including untouched tribes in the middle of africa have exactly the same basic morals and ethics as the western world.
    Please answer this great quote too.  I put it to you that we are both athiests, i just believe in one less god than you do.  When you understand why you reject all other gods you will understand why i reject yours

  • Veronique says:


    “Firstly, Dawkins is plain wrong when he asserts that no atrocities were ever committed in the name of atheism.”

    Rubbish. Your examples of Mao and Stalin wash not at all. “
    Thus their atrocities and human rights violations were clearly committed in the name of atheism. More cant. Mao and Stalin WERE their OWN religions and ideologues. Both set themselves up as the arbiters of their own ideology and appropriate behaviours. They both killed to rid themselves of dissenters and intellectuals (ie, smarter than they were and able to see the horrors they were committing in their own names).


    “Most wars described as religious wars are actually about tribalism and ideology, and not at their core about theology.” Utter tosh! Wars have been waged in the name of religions cobbled together with territorialism and resource theft. And please don’t try to tell us that the Inquisition was waged by tribalism. Ideology yes, theological ideology; Roman Catholic religious ideology to be exact. Punitive, appallingly barbaric death for those who were arbitrarily condemned by vicious and superstitious ‘believers’ in a perfect god. Please don’t try to tell us that the Christian Crusades were not underpinned by religious fervour.


    Evangelicalism Christian theological view emphasizing personal faith and the authority of the Bible.

    Evangelism – Christian proselytism

    These descriptions are only from Wikipedia but they serve the purpose of definitions for our purpose. You are being deliberately inflammatory in misusing a word that is known to have religious connotations.

    How many times do you people have to be told that atheism is a lack of belief in the supernatural. It, by definition, cannot be a religion. It has no tenets, no ideology, no holy text and no belief structure. Get over it, please.
    Stop attempting to misrepresent something you either wilfully misunderstand or, conversely, have never troubled to educate yourself about.

    Atheists do assert that there is nothing sacred about anything in the universe. And, of course, at a physical level, all things are complex (some more than others) arrangements of atoms and (not or) chemicals. This is the science of physics and chemistry including biochemistry. Didn’t you realise that?


    “…the question that remains unanswered is “what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?” Why should that a question? If, and it appears that it is a BIG IF, you understood anything about evolution, you would understand that altruism is the vested interest of species to propagate its species into the future. That’s what species do.

    And tell us, why do you insist on anthropomorphising atoms and chemicals? Are you intentionally dense or merely inflammatory, yet again. Seems to be a failing of your writing (I can’t quite call it journalistic) style.

    Mr Frosh, I presume you are a Jew of sorts. The history of the Jews has been peppered with social and political ostracism, murder, denial of social rights, ghetto diasporas and whatever else you like to bring up. And yet, you have the gall to say something like this:


    “… while self-described atheists have not fully comprehended the philosophical implication of the complete absence of the metaphysical.  If they had, they’d realise that a bunch of atoms has no need to attend a global convention.”

    Every time I read about the Hasidic Jews I see the Amish as well. Locked, self-affirming groups that don’t interact unless necessary with the wider world and certainly don’t welcome anyone into their communities. Is this or any other atheistic convention so exclusive, deliberately close-doored and fearful of criticism. A resounding NO, thank you very much.

    I honestly don’t know how to seriously treat such smart-alec remarks. Obviously, you realised that many people would read this apologetic of yours and comment with more or less vociferousness. Well you got it, mister.

    Now, educate yourself before you try another one on. Please. Those of us who read whatever comes our way and feel a need to rectify inaccuracies, deliberate, inflammatory or merely thick, sigh (with Dawkins) at having to repeat the same stuff over and over again. It is boring in the extreme, but trust me, we will not go away and we won’t let you get away with tripe that you so obviously are able to pen.

  • WG says:


    @Bren
     
    “Religion, like or not, is culture, history and humanity. Everything that is wrong with religion is innate to humans, as Dawkins has demonstrated many times in his wonderful genetics books.
    If you remove religion, you will not – cannot – remove these human traits. You will however remove a large body of philosophy and outspoken public moral leadership. What will replace this? is a reasonable question, and a challenge for atheists.”
     
    A: They are called laws, follow them or go to jail.  Laws which you may argue a based on christian morals.  But laws evolve to suite societies needs, so they evolve based on discussions and logic.  Not stone the adulterer because I want revenge.
     
    @Frosh

     
     
    “if atheists do not strive to overcome consciousness (as it is too difficult), an atheist at least ought to strive to think the following: I am a bunch of chemicals, my children are just another bunch of chemicals. Investing all my time in this bunch of chemicals (called my children) is a waste of time, and is simply the product of a trick/illusion that another bunch of chemicals (my genes) are playing on me.”
    A: Just because I recognise that my consiousness is made up of the chemicals/atoms in my brain does mean that I am unhappy with that realisation.  That reaction is not a trick or an illusion, it is a reality that is occurring in my brain, because I can feel that emotion.  Why must I think about my existence how you think I should think???  Why should I strive to overcome consiousness?  It is what makes me realise that when people talk about god I know they’re talking BS.  Why can’t I be happy with myself and try to make life as comfortable and enjoyable to my children and friends as possible.  There is no point to life on earth or out in the universe.  Just be thankfull you are alive, and use those chemicals in your brain to create happy thoughts and live your life not as a bastard.
    Just because I realise myself and my children are inconsequential does not mean that I do not want a long healthy and happy life for us all.  You are inconsequential and you hate the thought of it.  So you lie to yourself, your friends and your family about a god and an afterlife so that you can sleep at night.  It is sad.

  • Jacks Back says:

    For over 200 years people have been prophesying the death of religion with the era of rationalism and  science yet it is still here and in many ways bigger and stronger.
     
    People in general are dissatisfied and unfulfilled with science and rationalism as the answer to life. They strive for transcendentalism, whatever form that may take. They want meaning and purpose and belief in a greater good.
     
    There are many studies showing the inverse relationship of skepticism and happiness. Big surprise!
     
    It is a new world of post rationalism. Let the atheists have there 2 seconds of fame and noise. It will pass.  Their elitism and arrogance will be their downfall. Despite increasing education and knowledge the average person still believes in God because it is not about intelligence nor education it is what they want.
     
    In the end atheism  is just another  belief system.
     

  • WG says:

    @Jack
    “In the end atheism  is just another  belief system”

    Correct.  It is the belief in the rational, the logic, science, fact.  It is the non-belief of fiction, god, make-believe.  Nothing wrong with a belief system :)

  • Mark says:

    I find Mr Frosh’s view to be quite arrogant.
    “Rather, I was arguing that if one truly understands the implication of there being nothing beyond the physical (and thus we are just a bunch of chemicals), then one has the challenge to explain the justification for maintaining a moral code, and even a purpose. After all, if one is aware that all living things are nothing more than complex arrangements of atoms, then we should disregard all concern for both our own welfare, and the welfare of others.”
    1/   “..if one truly understands the implication …”   he implies that his understanding is the understanding when it is not.
    2/  “..the challenge to explain the justification for…moral code. ..”  I prefer to use the word ethics. Ethics is the foundation of civilisation [ the foundation is not religion].  We rely absolutely upon ethics because we EXIST, and we exist together, and we need each other because no social being can be someone who is …, without the existence and recognition of others who are. [Notice that G/god/ess sing/pl do not figure in this. ] Furthermore the benefits which accrue to us from working in mutual cooperation far outweigh the our capabilities as isolated individuals because we are creatures who can learn; we are cultural beings.
    This was always true, even when our hairy ancestors hadn’t learned to talk. In this modern era it is massively more so. We in developed modern societies each depend always on [I’d say] about a thousand other people to be doing the right thing at any moment, most of whom we don’t see let alone get to know them. This is the marvel of civilisation. The survival of our species now is dependent upon the survival of modern civilisation.
    3/  “all living things are nothing more than complex arrangements of atoms  ….”
    What the hell is this “nothing more than”?  Oh foolish man!  You talk about the outcome of several thousand million years of evolution as if it is meaningless, as if it has no intrinsic value! How blind can you be!? Evolution has involved the trial and error accretion of useful [= helpful = which sustain existence and duration] “arrangements of atoms”.  Jeeeez Mr Frosh!      Try thinking about how many creatures died [how many species have died out] who missed out on being our ancestors. THAT is the price that was paid for us to be here now!  Mr Frosh seems happy to spit on them all – I wonder if he and I have the same understanding of “compassion”? … I fear not.
    4/  ” … we should disregard all concern for both our own welfare …. and … of others.”
    This is a complete and utter non-sequitur.
    Never mind.
    Let me finish on a positive note:
    If you want to be useful, make sure your projects and the organisations you work for all embody and manifest these four things: compassion, democracy, ethics, and scientific method. It is no longer safe or “good” to rely only on concepts from the pre-scientific universe.

  • The Man says:

    ChiefRabbi
     
    @WG  Science is about proof. It does not negate that which has not been proven nor dis-proven.
     

  • Mick says:

    God loves you all. If you are searching for meaning, search in the bible. Like many others I love scientific facts, however on the topic of religion, I have experienced more and cannot refute it.

  • Peter says:

    Anthony Frosh, you are biased, very ignorant and you seem to have the attitude that you’re superior because you believe in one of the world’s oldest Science Fiction/Fantasy stories. You also make stupid excuses for why atheists are totally wrong for not believing in the “invisible man”. You also didn’t mention The Inquisition, which I’d like to here your excuse for the justification of that. Also, we’ve been waiting for Jesus for over 2000 years to make his return yet Santa and the Easter Bunny can drop by once a year and even Elvis is seen reportedly at supermarkets. There are obvious differences between a tennis ball and a human you twit. Just think how technologically and educationally advanced we’d be today if it weren’t for 600 years of the Dark Ages, and still,  that same attitude is holding us back today with things like Stem Cell research. You should keep primitive superstitious opinions to yourself. I could say plenty more but I’ve wasted enough time on this religious rubbish.

  • Name says:

    Wow. The author of this article is nuts.  Stay away from my children.
     

  • JohnnoshArk says:

    Wow, what a load of absolute trash…….seriously why did you bother wasting your time to type this, you don’t understand the point and your logic is flawed in so many ways that it’s sad. Try re-writing this article once you have bothered to actually get some research done, cos clearly you have not done any what so ever!

  • ariel says:

    Mick,
     
    I am a scientist and an observant Jew. The more discoveries that science uncovers into the physical functionality of the universe, the more they are revealing G-d’s Supernal Brilliance in the world. For me, most of the time, science is getting closer and closer to proving G-d’s existence!!
     
    WG,
     
    Do you follow laws simply because you don’t want to go to gaol? How superficial!
    Surely one should obey the law because it’s the right thing to do: Because G-d instructs humanity to build civil societies with courts of justice and put in place police officers to uphold the law (read the Hebrew Bible, if you can read Hebrew). Obeying the laws of civil society is the right thing to do- it should not be done because you’d rather not be in gaol.
     
    In conclusion: science is constantly trying (and often succeeding) to reveal the HOW. It will never be able to reveal the WHY.

  • Chaim says:

    I am glad the atheists have shown their inadequacies and idiocy here.
     
    thank you.
     
     

  • Glenn says:

    Wow. This is a riot. I quite liked the article and thought it was pretty mild actually. But look at the response. Wow. I guess it was a bit provocative title-ing it “Atheist Delusion” but otherwise I didn’t think it was very heavy – yet it sure rattled some cages. Heh heh. The religion of Atheism has its zealots just like the rest. Sheesh. Don’t take it so seriously or so personally guys )and gals).
    Rule to happy living: Never argue politics or religion – you can’t win!

  • Invid says:

    First Atheism is a religion:
    It would be more correct to say that there are movements (I don’t want to say religions as a religion is normally associated with a deity) that have beliefs and an implicit moral code that do not involve a deity of any kind (eg Humanism). They still have philosophical beliefs so they are a religion of sorts.

    Second “what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?”
    Man is a social animal, if we had no morality we would exclude ourselves from society and loose the social connection that (as pack animals) we tend to yearn for. As for purpose we don’t have one except that which we give ourselves. The atheist’s purpose is a lot more sacred than a “religious” purpose, as we have given it to ourselves, it has not been drummed into us by someone speaking on the behalf of a deity they claim to understand. Personally my purpose is simple: Be happy and try to leave things better than I found them, this does often resemble “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but I don’t need someone speaking for a magical sky fairy to tell me this.

    Last the bit about actually being Agnostic:
    I actually think it might be the other way round, I think I might be an atheist that often claims to be agnostic. This is because I don’t see the point in the argument at all. Most believers are more willing to accept that you feel “god” is irrelevant as there is no direct impact on your life regardless of his existence, than they are to accept your outright denial of its existence.

  • Dragon says:

    So many viewpoints, so little understanding.
    These comments are proof that we all believe in many thing differently.
    Many people take articles too seriously, interpreting the information as an affront to their belief.
    I have many beliefs, most are definitely not mainstream. These beliefs are formed by life experiences and changing understanding. One rule I have is that you can believe whatever you want, but don’t force me to. I respect your point of view and will offer my knowledge where it differs from yours. From shared knowledge comes greater understanding, hopefully the insight that there is no one true view.
    Those that say something was done in the name of whatever, are classifying the act for their own benefit, either to justify it or use it to their own agenda.
    The people that have the power to do such things do them because they can. Their actions guided by their beliefs.  They do these things because they believe what they are doing is right, because it benefits them in some way, good or bad.
    No one person belonging to any religion, government party, cult, etc, believes 100% in the mandate of the group. You simply cannot please everyone when a set of rules are imposed.
    I do not believe in God, or A (singular) God. I do believe in the meta-physical though. I acknowledge that there could be an all powerful force as described by all religions, so I can accept what they say as coming from their perception. I absolutely do NOT accept any of it as the one truth.
    A lot of things we accept as truth change throughout life as conflicting evidence and understanding come to light. There are many things we take for granted that we have near to zero understanding about, like Gravity, the Soul, the Heart and Mind.
    The thing is, even though we don’t know how nature works or why, we can interact with it and coexist.

  • Xbitte says:

    Absolute rubbish, fail article.

    You havent convinced me.

  • Had you gone to the conference, ALL of your points would have been clarified/nullified. Fail.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hilarious, atheism is the only true religion – god told me so. 
    A great logical argument can be made with regards to god,(it often offends the deeply religious but is indisputable when following  there own logic. GOD IS AN ALIEN BEING , DOESNT MAKE HIM SPECIAL JUST MORE ADVANCED, and arrogant by the amount of mess he has made.About time the world grew up and saw reilgion for what it is. An Excuse. OR an over exagerated theory for weak minded people

  • Dragon says:

    “Man is a social animal, if we had no morality we would exclude ourselves from society and loose the social connection that (as pack animals) we tend to yearn for.”
    Does this mean people like hermits and Tibetan Monks have no morality? Not likely.
    Social isolation has nothing to do with lack of morals/ethics, or vice versa.
    Morals and ethics are guides to our actions, molded by our experience with society. Since good and evil are perceptions based on understanding of the situation and influenced by our beliefs, the term ‘no morality/ethics’ would mean a total lack of guidance for actions.
    This would lead to someone being capable of using the body, but absolutely no possibility of comprehending the consequence of their actions, therefore having no capability of understanding socially acceptable right/wrong.
    Does this sound familiar? The Autism Spectrum has traits exactly like this.  Would anyone accuse these people of not having morality/ethics? Hell no. Why? Because we now understand why they are how they are, and accept them how they are. In the past attempts were made to ‘fix’ them, but in the end what happened is that they fixed us – taught us to understand ‘why’, to accept it regardless.
    Many parts of sociological history were barbaric by today’s standards. Some have carried through unfortunately, but most have improved, lifting society with it.
    EVERY aspect of humanity is subject to ‘the grey area’ scale. There is no absolute truth, no black and white, or clearly defined classification.
    Look at Facebook, many people sharing likes and dislikes, some agree in part with others, but none exactly the same.

  • Paul says:

    You, sir, are an ignorant boor. Shut up.

  • Pauly says:

    The all powerful Flying Spaghetti Moster shall smite you all non believers.  His 8 “i really wish you wouldn’ts” is all i need for moral guidance

  • Paulsome says:

    Just thought it would be funny like most of the comments here.

  • lori says:

    Lets look at your sugar analogy again. Human beings evolved to like the taste of sugar (a concentrated carbohydrate). Now in modern society in our sedentary office jobs we have found ways to further concentrate the availability of sugar so that the carbohydrate content is even more concentrated while reducing our activity and hence need for it. So an ability that was once beneficial is now turned against us. It is important to note that we still do need carbohydrates though perhaps less to suit our changed lifestyle. It is the EXCESS of carbohydrate in the form of modern concentrated sugar convenience foods that is causing the harm and needs to be ‘overcome’. So in this new environment we must adjust our cultural norms to once again fulfill our needs appropriately.
    Likewise the need for altruism, reciprocity, procreation, emotional fulfillment etc has not gone away. But the social constructs and cultural norms of religion no longer serve that purpose in our changed environment. We no longer need a prescriptive patriarchal (and imaginary) deity to direct us. We are better communicators and exponentially advancing our ability to learn and communicate. What was once (perhaps) a useful tool is now a hinderance. So again, in our changed environment we need to adjust our cultural norms to once again fulfill our needs appropriately.
    Being an atheist simply means that you do not believe that an external ‘all good-all knowing-all powerful’ character who created us, watches over us and is to be worshipped/pleased. This is not a ‘childlike’ interpratetion of the god hypothesis, it is what many poeple actually believe. To me that notion is absurd, hence I am not even an agnostic. But that still leaves plenty of room for further knowledge. There are plenty of more plausible explanations of the universe that I am happy to investigate and pursue through the avenues of science and philosophy. And many modern theories sound downright esoteric, they can be beautiful and meaningful in their own right.
    The study and discussion of consciousness and thought is an important topic and one that is increasingly being encountered in science. I do not believe for one moment that science has even come close to understanding it or for that matter the real nature of the universe. But slowly bit by bit we are advancing our understanding. This does not make these topics metaphysical – they are merely physics that we do not yet understand. Perhaps we will at some point in the future, or perhaps it will take artifical or at least augmented intelligence for us to grasp it. Belief that ‘there is something more’ to the patterns we see around us and in us need not be the sole domain of theists and does not equate to metaphysics.

  • lori says:

    Finding meaning in real life is a challenging task to those who have been indocrinated by fairy tales. But that is no reason to stick one’s head in the sand. Find a way to make reality work for you. It needn’t be meaningless nor depressing. In fact the joy of the full knowledge that it is NOW that you exist and your actual place in the universe (as far as you can fathom) can change your life and make you want to do more with your precious time.

  • WG says:

    @ the man
    “Science is about proof. It does not negate that which has not been proven nor dis-proven”

    Science negates the proven all the time.  By retesting the proven and applying new found information.  That’s how science works.  It can also negate something that has not been proven by making it irrelevant.  Also you can not dis-prove something that has not been proven in the first place.  First provide proof of God so that we can all get busy about disproving it.  O wait, we’ve already done that with most of the stories in the bible.
    One other thing.  Would you go to a doctor who bases they’re practise on 2000 year old technology.  Would you punish people the way people were punished 2000 years ago?  Would you build a family home the way they built a family home 2000 years ago?  I’m not going to do an exhaustive list here, but you should get my point.  Why would you lead your life based on the beliefs of someone based on 2000 year old knowledge and understandings of the world and how things work.  They had a very limited understandings of life/universe, and you are limiting yourself with those narrow limited views.

    @ariel”Do you follow laws simply because you don’t want to go to gaol? How superficial!” “Surely one should obey the law because it’s the right thing to do”

    Of course you should obey the law because it is the right thing to do.  That was implied.  You did read where i said, “don’t live life as a bastard”?  I broke it down to simple cause and effect, not the morality of following the law.  The question I was answering was stupid and I thought that I should keep the answer short .

    @ariel
    In conclusion: science is constantly trying (and often succeeding) to reveal the HOW. It will never be able to reveal the WHY.

    I’m not a scientist, but I’m fairly certain from a science point of view they are the same thing.  You are just playing semantics.  WHY did the apple fall from the tree?  because of gravity.  HOW does gravity work. . . google it.  You can thank science for the answer.

    Just because science is trying to find the answer to where the start point of everything, which is ultimately the WHY (large hadron collider experiments, dark matter, string theory etc) does not mean it is an attack on faith.  You just feel that it is because science keeps providing answers, where all you provide is faith.  Should we not research and advance our understanding because it is blasphemy?

    @Dragon
    ” One rule I have is that you can believe whatever you want, but don’t force me to”

    I agree, but when I am at home with my kids around me and I have two old woman at my door telling me about the virtues of God and faith, then I feel that I am being forced.  If atheists do not react to the 2000 years of BS that keeps getting spread, you are by in-action condoning the fraud that is religion and the belief of God.  See I am not bashing on peoples door regarding atheism and intruding on their private lives.  People are going out of their way to read this forum (free will).  Also, our lives are run by religion in politics and the courts, which is outrageous.  So yeah believe what you want once you get your beliefs out of my face, my representation and my courts.

    If someone said to you that  1 + 1 = 3 would you let them keep believing that.  If that same person had someone over their shoulder telling that they would burn in hell for all eternity if they didn’t believe that 1+1 = 3 would you let that continue?

  • fred smith says:

    saw this article….thought it would help discussion :P

    one of many examples, a common trope among atheists is that religion is the No. 1 cause of wars in history. “If religion were an important element of warmaking, one would expect to find a great deal of text commenting upon it,” Day writes. But you don’t. After reading the great war theorists, from Sun Tzu to Von Clausewitz, Day found pages and pages about perseverance, spies, geometry, inspirational music—but virtually nothing about religion.

    As for the nature of the wars themselves, talk about specific: Day found 123 wars that could validly be claimed to have religion at their heart—a grand total of 6.98 percent of all wars fought. “It’s also interesting to note that more than half of these religious wars, sixty-six in all, were waged by Islamic nations,” Day offers as an aside.

    About 7% of identifiable wars in history war fought for religious reasons. Most of those were initiated by Muslims. This does not justify any war fought for the purpose of advancing Christianity. But it certainly puts the lie to beliefs that Christianity bears the blame for a large part of the violence in world history.
    We might as well add this current item to the point, too: 150 million murdered in the 20th century–by whom?

  • cyanide says:

    this guy needs to read the Selfish gene by dawkins and perhaps stock his bookshelf with some more christopher hitchens.

  • hmmm says:

    “Please don’t write on the subject again until you have read at least one book that wasn’t produced, over 2000 years ago, for the benefit of stupified peasants in the greater Jerusalem area.”
    What kind of comment is that? defensive much?

  • WG says:

    @fred
    “We might as well add this current item to the point, too: 150 million murdered in the 20th century–by whom?”

    I agree with all the athiests posts in response to that distorted article.  The blindly religious ignore facts and try to paint athiests as communists.  Which are two different ideas.  Does that mean if i find a religious communist I can now put the kill count into the religious side of the who killed more people in wars column.  Oh wait it exists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_communism
    The athiest argument stands.  Athiesm has not been used as an excuse to commit murder or wage war, because it does not preach intolerance.  It does not preach anything, so there is nothing to follow.  If someone says, “I killed that man because he was christian and I’m an atheist”, they would have done so based on no compunction espoused by athiesm but by their own flawed sense of logic.

    Atheism is this:  Religion says here is the answer.  We say your wrong.  It is a response – not a way of life.

  • JimG says:

    Most people are agnostic but atheists and theists are at different ends of the spectrum. This is quite insightful and I and Richard Dawkins agree with you. Richard Dawkins has stated that the term Agnostic is a little unfortunate as it muddies the water in reference to Atheism.
    If there was a scale from 1 (I KNOW there is a god) to 7 (I KNOW there is NO god) then Richard Dawkins has said he is about a 6 – he can’t say there is no god because it is very difficult to disprove – but it’s very unlikely. This is also sometimes called teapot atheism – I can’t say there is not teapot floating around Jupiter – but it’s very unlikely.
    I would go a little further and say I KNOW that no current religion on the planet Earth is true because it is so ridiculously implausible that people from an earlier age had a better understanding of the gaps in human knowledge than we do today.
    I disagree with what you said about a lack of morality or metaphysics in Science, or in Atheists. If anything an atheist would value life more than a theist because an atheist doesn’t know what comes after death – or they believe there is nothing after death. Science states that we are all made of stars! How awesome is that! better than a Rib or Dirt or something.

  • I absolutely did not find it thought provoking, sorry. The author is a bit confused and not sure if he believes in God or not and is trying to project his confusion to how society thinks generally.

  • Kjic says:

    Ok here is one remember Hitler remained a formal member of the Catholic Church until his death. What war we are in now! What is it all over and if you say terror and our obligation is to our country and our allies? Then ask why all the leaders of our and other countries that entered this war on terror all did their little photo opps in their churches telling their countries we go to war with the right intentions? this war created by radical Islam bombing innocent people waring and killing throughout the world and making none of our countries safe again,  so why would they disarm a country like ours over Port Arthur then pick a fight with Islam? Also to keep in politics who changes parties in a war? We looked like holly soldiers going to war! Let alone the fact that we had no say as voters no Australian signed to go to war that was done by some Spanish delegate on behalf of Britain request as we are but a state. So did these atheist mentioned go to war, the war I guess it moot because none of the communists were democracies to bring up old fights instead of sticking to ones we are presently in?  Better gauge by who still wages war now, take wars fought over the last sixty years. Because at this rate how long will take to show us heathens and infidels how to stop wars by our enlightened majorities? It will take another three thousand years. Have the communists killed more in past sixty years more than beliefs? Lol Does a black feller love their children any less than a gay or hetro nonbeliever atheist or religious person we all just want better lives for the future of our children the fact we don’t tie bombs to our children or tell them they will burn for eternity and have their flesh ripped from their bodies if they don’t believe or stand up for our beliefs or that we are chosen over everyone else, is the difference, If an atheist said that to their child it would be mental abuse, Dawkins should have said few atrocities were ever committed in the name of democratic atheism? So if you have to go back to the cold war Moa or Stalin’s deaths in war at some 270 million but a third by comparison to the majority of religious deaths of some 809 million it’s a bit laughable Islam is tribal but poke one and they all stand radical or moderate same goes for any belief tribal war is worldwide now though.

  • ariel says:

    WG,
     
    HOW and WHY are not the same thing. Equating them is an excuse for evading tough questions, apart from being a complete distortion of English.
     
    If a ask you “HOW do you open a can of beans?” is that the same as “WHY do you open a can of beans?” ????
     

  • Kjic says:

    So why and who? I am the son of a Jew baptised methodise instructed on religion by the salvation army, I am an atheist, I believe god is a great tool for someone to talk to when there is no one left or any WHO gives a toss but if it helps people to deal with life great but like anything it shouldn’t be their crutch! If belief is all so abiding by laws and dripping with honest maybe they should be like atheists doing good just because it the right thing to do fear of the long are of the law is a bit like the Damocles sword hanging over every belief? But it is obvious they don’t fear god enough judging by the way they keep reoffending as the Catholics! How is it that the Catholic Church thinks it can circumvent the laws of our countries by letting child molesters go free to molest again and again and think praying is good enough punishment for their sins? So everyone else can be accountable for these crimes in our countries but not the people of the cloth? How is it that the Jewish people keep provoking Islam by building on land that is under dispute and has been from day 1? We all need to search our souls because it’s hard to play the victim when oppressing others?

  • Hairo says:

     WG says: “Would you go to a doctor who bases they’re practise on 2000 year old technology.  Would you punish people the way people were punished 2000 years ago?  Would you build a family home the way they built a family home 2000 years ago?”

    You’re absolutely right, I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone who used a wheel, or a screw, and levers have been extinct for centuries now, right? (Sarcasm+10)

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Hairo:

    Would you use a wheel from centuries past, or a modern day pneumatic tyre? And would your levers be crudely designed from immature wood, or would you use thermoset plastics as is commonly used today? And what of your screws? Would you use the finely precisioned threads, toleranced to the nearest 0.01 of a mm available now, or the crude nails of the 18th century?

    :)

  • ariel says:

    Daniel,
     
    Roman infrastructure still stands after thousands of years.
    Show me one group of architects, builders and engineers who build such sturdy structures today?
    Give me a solid stone or double-brick home any day that also maximises sunlight intake like the Romans did. Sustainable development before anyone had even heard of the term!

  • WG says:

    @ariel
    “Sustainable development before anyone had even heard of the term!”

    lol – that’s all they had- dirt, shit and rock

  • ariel says:

    WG – thanks for not answering the question in an intelligent fashion, proving that atheists have rocks in their heads (as though the majority of respondents to this article hadn’t proved it already)

  • WG says:

    @arielIn conclusion: science is constantly trying (and often succeeding) to reveal the HOW. It will never be able to reveal the WHY.

    Ok ariel, I’ll play:  When you know HOW something works it becomes self explanatory WHY.  Ummm . . .  in science i think they call it cause and effect.

    @ariel
    “Show me one group of architects, builders and engineers who build such sturdy structures today?”

    Go build your double-brick or stone house using 2000 year old techniques on a seismic fault line please.  I’ll let darwins “thoery” take over my argument.

  • WG says:

    @ariel
    WG – thanks for not answering the question in an intelligent fashion

    am i talking to a wall here?  dirt, shit and rock.    That . . . . . . .is. ..  . . . . .all. . . . . . .. they. . . . . . . . had. . . . .  . . .for . . . . . . . .building . . . . . . . . . materials.

    Just because they built their buildings out of rock doesn’t make them great thinkers in architecture, per se.  Just lucky.  If we built our houses out of rock our houses would be here in 2000 years as well.  Think about what I am saying, so i don’t have to spell it out for you.

  • JimG says:

    I have to say that as with most posts of this kind there are lots of irrelevant comments. There is no benefit in arguing semantics or trying to proove your point with a false synergism:
    – Stalin was an Atheist and Stalin was bad therefore Atheists are bad.
    – Herod was a Jew and Herod was bad therefore Jews are bad.
    The how vs why argument suffers from the same problem – you are just arguing your definition of the word why. “Why do we exist?” Atheists believe in purely physical reasons. Non-atheists believe in some other reason that (by design in my opinion) can never be disproved.
    Or can it? In the book “The Mind of God” the author puts forward that the realms of what couldn’t be explained in physical terms has been where religion has always stepped in, filling the gaps of our knowledge with an explanation.
    – “Why does the sun rise and set every day?”
    – “Because the Sun God makes it so.”
    Throughout history this God of the Gaps has slowly been loosing Territory until only the really big and hard questions are left. We know what the Sun now, no-one questions Science here. Some topics are hot at the moment, but we know, I repeat KNOW that the planet is much older than people used to believe, we know, I repeat KNOW that evolution is the best working model we have. This gap that has been filled but some people are in denial.

  • Hairo says:

    Daniel Levy says: “Would you use a wheel from centuries past, or a modern day pneumatic tyre? And would your levers be crudely designed from immature wood, or would you use thermoset plastics as is commonly used today? And what of your screws? Would you use the finely precisioned threads, toleranced to the nearest 0.01 of a mm available now, or the crude nails of the 18th century?”

    1. ‘Argument from analogy’ is but one step above ‘argument from “your mom”‘, so I’m not going to waste my time working out how far this analogy stretches before it breaks. (If you are pointlessly petty, feel free to give a small victory cheer here, you win by having more time to argue uselessly on the blagonet)
    2.Would you choose the purpose of your existence based on a fad that just came out a few years ago, or would you take the advice of the person who created the universe, and you. And who has been making himself known since then.
    3. You know what’s newer  than atheism? creation ‘science’. So that’s better, right? Surely you should be jumping onto the next bandwagon by now.
    4. your mom. (couldn’t help it, sorry)

  • Hairo says:

    JimG says:  “In the book “The Mind of God” the author puts forward that the realms of what couldn’t be explained in physical terms has been where religion has always stepped in, filling the gaps of our knowledge with an explanation.”

    I haven’t read the book, but it’s wrong. The point of a belief in God is not centred on explaining HOW everything in the universe works. The point is to explain WHY it works.
    -“Why does the sun rise and set every day?”
    – Because God is awesome.
    Malachi 1:11 – “My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting sun”
    Not in the Bible – “And the Lord said to Moses, the sun does not actually rise, it is but the rotation of the earth on it’s axis, to which Moses replied, Huh?”

    If the Bible WAS written to explain every scientific mystery, it would take all the fun out of science. And God likes fun.

  • Hairo says:

    Just a hint, rather than use HOW, and WHY, try using the words MECHANISM and PURPOSE, respectively. It becomes a lot less ambiguous.

  • WG says:

    @Hairo
    “‘Argument from analogy’ is but one step above ‘argument from ”your mom”‘, so I’m not going to waste my time working out how far this analogy stretches before it breaks”

    Hairo, I agree.  Debating semantics and using analogies is not going to change anyone’s mind if they are set on believing in God or not believing.  I doubt that any ground is gained on either side of the opinion when it comes to a blog debate.

    However, this article is inviting debate by attacking atheists who have decided to have a conference.  Maybe we should have one every Sunday and then that way we could be just as organised as the religious communities.  A reason this article got so much attention is because it was so inaccurate and the number of already disproved arguments that it contained.  It is just uninformed with old arguments and had nothing new to offer, except contempt.

    The have faith in god argument, “just because”, amounts to as much practicality as a child pulling a sheet over their head and claiming loudly that because they can’t see you, you can’t see them.

    I will leave you to the last post.  I am done with bashing my head against a wall here.  At least I now know why I never bothered to teach primary school students.

  • ariel says:

    WG,
     
    I will assume you live in a wooden house in the middle of bushfire territory because you don’t care how long your house will last, nor your life, seeing as you believe the only reason you’re here is because your parents happened to mate, rather than because your needed on this planet to fulfil a purpose that benefits others and not yourself. HOW = WHY = my parents mated. Rather than HOW = my parents mated; WHY = to put my talents to good use for humanity.
     
    The Romans knew how to build them to last and I wish they built like that quality now rather than sell us the flimsy crap they flob off on us that falls apart after  6 months.

  • Kjic says:

    What gets me is the belief floggers always resort to sprouting some scripture to cover any intelligent debate it was never beliefs that built the great things in the world it was human kind manipulated by oppressors. If humans were specially created by God less than 10,000 years ago, from little more than some dirt and a rib. Yet Homo habilis and Homo erectus is two million years ago. In Ethiopia, a stone tool dated 2.5 million years ago, these are proven facts with no help from the beliefs forever trying to cover science fact to save their fiction you can only BS people for so long before they wake but it has never been hard to find sheep for your flock that can’t handle the thought of their own mortality and that’s all your flogging is hot air for happy deaths something more lmao let’s face it if you put a cream on the market that told people if you use this when you die it would direct your spirit straight to god they would buy that too but everything offered has a death clause and no one has come back to complain so they can’t take your BS to consumer protection! So the modern day beliefs are very young in the field of life and it is beliefs that have kept us back through there superstition and doctrine so they can manipulate the populous, brain washing generation after generation trouble is they are finding it harder and harder to scare new generations into believing a single book and not to look at histories of where these beliefs originates from or about all the other beliefs, also written by humans the time is grow shorter for beliefs as people are getting better educated it’s harder for the brain washed parents to  force feed doctrine from birth good job too. Maybe atheist should start to get tax exemptions and peddle life after death policies? Christian science got it!

  • ariel says:

    Kjic,

    Bible criticism is a wasteful hobby/profession. All  your possible questions were addressed and answered hundreds of (if not a couple of thousand) years ago by the greatest scholars. You just need to know which books to read. Many are available in English.

  • Kjic says:

    Same ol BS same ol day and never any answers apart BS in other language like Hebrew or Latin just to ape another’s words and look important, one book they must all be rocket scientist with the enlightenment lol we can read that easy too with an online interpreter don’t need some toss pot in red boots or a dress or rug over their head thinking he is the be all end all just for that!

  • Kjic says:

    Look I wouldn’t pick on any group for their past indiscretions but when they keep perpetuating onto generations too, we have a standard for living worldwide recognised human rights! Black white bridal gay cripple old and young xy and the alphabet? Have an equal right to life no one better or worse or chosen! We are all in the same bucket so to speak from the lowest of dunks homeless to starving and oppressed to god president damn queen king or slapper pure and simple we are in 2010 right we do live in Australia even if I came from the bush I couldn’t put it planer why do we keep doing business with anyone who doesn’t obey a simple law of the land and recognised code of ethics we are well past the language barriers and cultures thank France and USA for that beginning now some 220y before that MagnaCarta and they call us cave dwellers I don’t won’t to be in a rush to see true human rights but it sad we can’t see it in our life time? How long did it take to get them damn monkeys out of those trees lol

  • Veronique says:

    @WG.
    I agree with you although maybe your argument to Hairo was a little tongue in cheek. However, I think that regular meetings with regular lectures, seminars etc on all manner of topics would be salutary. It’s the mobilisation, as I see it; plus diligent attention.
    We have always been accused as being so disparate from each other with the exception of a common thread of anti-theism to which we all subscribe. This, of course has led to the disparaging remark that we are like cats and unable to be herded.
    Well, I think we have more in common than just anti-theism. To my mind, atheism is the default position that rational people take having learnt how to think critically and logically. An education in basic science and basic logic enhances one’s ability to see more clearly. The clouds of superstitious belief waft away under the clear, bright light of knowledge.
    I contend that all religion is in its final death throes and within 100 years, the demise of religious superstition will be complete.
    Unfortunately, most of us with a life span of about 70 – 80 years are impatient with the idea of a century and would gain immense satisfaction from being instrumental in reducing the gap (hahaha).
    By combating the influence of religion in the educational, political and social fabric of our society, we can only aid and abet the final struggles of the religious victim as it’s strangulation by education is completed.
    Your frustration is evident as is it with all of us. I am posting to buck your and my spirits up a bit!! My first post to this rubbishy article written in a deliberately inflammatory manner by a wilfully ignorant Jew of sorts actually sated my angst with this kind of article, at least until next time.
    Education is the key. Getting rid of religious influence in curricula formation is important. You are right, of course, as the Jesuits knew. Indoctrinate a child until he is seven and the rest is a painful journey as the child learns reason. But don’t stop, ever.
    Regards

  • Kjic says:

    One conciliation is that any beliefs that has humour even at their own expense is part way there, it is only one that make me have worry and wish to see rights for all in a lifetime. As most have adapted with the times, human rights struggles, Jews know well.  I still remember well my grandmother having tablets to kill the children if occupied. But what struggle do we go back to just the ones that touched our lives. It is like a dog that won’t give you back the ball. Yes it is great to be proud of heritage and knowing where you came from but it is another to see where it is all taking us by treading the same roads leading to nowhere fast. I am hoping for the apocalyptic path of nature over human with any luck the Mayans did know a bit and we are heading for a reverse polarity. I take my chances with luck and it might thin a few out to give us a better shot. A nature cleansing  before we screwing it up by blowing it up beyond recovery rendering it inhabitable until cockroaches rule lol it like any ride though no one knows for sure but anyone can prophesize lol

  • Hairo says:

    Kjic says: “What gets me is the belief floggers always resort to sprouting some scripture to cover any intelligent debate”

    The thing is, the bible is THE basis of the christian faith, and the Torah (approx. = old testament) is more or less the same with Judaism. Therefore, even if you don’t believe it to be true, you have to take this and little else as the fundamental definition of what these respective people believe. As such, if you argue with any particular idea or event (for example: The inquisition, the crusades, corrupt church leaders, creation ‘scientists’ etc.) , without reference to these scriptures, you are most likely arguing with a sect, a cult or a loud-mouthed outlier. When you do this, the easiest way to show what it is that is believed is by quoting scripture.

    Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the bible, (particularly NT) is THE SINGLEMOST reliable (from a scholarly, historic perspective. virtually undisputed) collection of ancient documents. This means that the Genesis you read is the same as it was when it was written, translated directly from the hebrew and aramaic texts, and that the gospels you read are identical to those original copies dictated by the apostles.

  • ariel says:

    Veronique,

    I wonder if you have ever looked at something under an electron microscope or studied science beyond Year 9. People with open minds – who go into a lab believing anything is possible and not believing that the only thing that is right is what their own brains can fathom – will realise that science and religion (at least, some religions) go hand in hand and complement one another.

    Kjic,

    Do you know how disconcerting it is to try to argue with someone who can’t speak any recognisable language? It’s almost as hard as trying to argue with a naked man in the gym showers (see incident in US Congress last week).

  • Kjic says:

    Our enemy’s enemy is our friend but how does logic come from a fairytale where the asylums inmate are out lol. I can sympathise with prophets that believe in healing caring and love that dedicated their lives to the pursuit of the greater good but draw a line at rape pillage plunder and oppression, like a broken record an echo through time.

  • Nathan says:

    Posted up a reply blog comment rant to Anthony over at:
    http://nathan-lee.com/blog/2010/03/22/the-not-so-delusional-atheist/
    Basically: the age old habit of thinking that without god you can have no morality without god (a universal dictator) is ridiculous, as is thinking that you can (like religion) find justification for great evil by not believing.
    Nathan

  • Michael says:

    I still don’t understand how you think “true atheism” makes it seem more logical to cease all action — can you help me out here because I’ve never even heard of this claim before amongst the writings of hundreds of atheists and theists.

  • frosh says:

    Nathan,

    Like many of the commenters, you have a problem with reading and comprehension.

    1) Where in the article have I said that I am a believer? Whether or not I am one remains unstated in the article.

    2) You confuse mechanism with purpose. No where do I say that the metaphysical is required to explain the mechanism of consciousness or any other process.

    3) I have merely stated that the challenge for atheists is to find a purpose for existence. So far, I don’t think any atheists on this thread have tried to meet that challenger.

  • Kristine says:

    Sorry, Mr Frosh, but I’ve looked three times through these comments and can’t find one by anyone calling themselves Nathan.  Can you give the date/time of his post so I can track back to it?

    And I’m confused.  Why does existence need any purpose?  I am content simply to be here and to experience, I don’t find a need to ascribe a purpose.  In fact, I don’t even think religion answers that question satisfactorily either.  What would be the purpose behind a God creating people?

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    Thank you – I guess that means I have made an original argument. From memory, when I had an email dialogue with Peter Singer several years ago, he had a similar reaction to my arguments as you have had – although you have displayed far more openness to contemplate other’s ideas, so a sincere kol hakavod to you.

    Science (and I consider myself a scientist) may well have offered good explanations for how humans evolved from single cell organisms to the point where we are today. Science will even continue to try to offer explanations for the mechanism of consciousness – one day it may even achieve a good one.

    However, the problem for atheists (and atheists should not act like they have a monopoly on science – many great scientists have and are self-professed believers or agnostics) is not so much in explaining the mechanisms. The more challenging problem is explaining the purpose.

    Atheism has thus offered little in the way of explaining purpose, short of propagating one’s genes. This is a purpose devoid of any spiritual significance, and I do not think that provides people with a meaningful enough reason to continue their existence. It is also arguable that propagating ones genes is better classified as a mechanism than as a purpose

    Once an entity, now matter how great their mechanisms and capabilities, becomes aware that they have no purpose, what justification do they have for continuing to desire to exist? Unfortunately, it does not seem that any atheists I have encountered thus far have reached this level of self awareness.

  • Kristine says:

    Please ignore my request for Nathan’s post.  After refreshing my page, his post appeared above Michaels  where it had been missing beforehand.

  • Nathan says:

    Hi Anthony (Frosh),
    1. perhaps I leaned into the assumption of religious belief that someone writing on a “Jewish life in the Atipodes” website and expressing views about atheists that sound very much like someone who only has the religious viewpoint of a very fundamentalist atheism (e.g. “atheists are perhaps agnostics” which is not news to anyone generally described as atheists, certainly not to people like Richard Dawkins who have always adopted the position that evidence based reasoning is king).
    You also talk about atheists from a very non atheistic view: “While I have no reason to believe that atheists in general are devoid of morality and purpose“..”the question that remains unanswered is “what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?”” The only group of people that would think that question is “unanswered” is those who are extremely ignorant of it. Richard Dawkins has answered this very question a number of times (including in the Q and A programme where he talked about where morals come from in response to one of the dopey politicians stating the bible was the basis).
    So if I erred in that assumption, my apologies: if you are indeed an atheist/agnostic/humanist/non believer then you really should think about your position more if these questions are truly unanswered.
    2. I confuse mechanism with purpose? Your question why atoms need motivation for things is what I was responding to. I think I was making a valid point about the whole vs the parts.
    If you don’t see that the motivation or reason behind conscious thought can be explained via purely earthly/biological ones (which was the point I was making). Non violent, cohesive behaviour is easily explained by observing groups of any species: mutual gain through fairer behaviour.
    3. ” I have merely stated that the challenge for atheists is to find a purpose for existence.
    Well, I think your reasons for doubting this are bizarre. If you think that because atheists don’t believe in a global dictator that they have no purpose.. well I presume you’re already packed and on the way to North Korea? Living in a democracy with leaders that can change, laws that can change, political process/morals/laws that come from within the society must be hell on Earth.
    What if the answer is that there is no purpose for existence beyond just living and experiencing the world. We have certain standard biological needs/desires that might motivate us (food, water, shelter, sex). Certain motivations driven by stimulus/response in our brains (e.g. need for companionship/recognition, hugs/cuddles/snuggles producing chemical responses in our brains).
    Going right down to it: it’s a question that sits on the assumption that there is some universal reason for us to all be here. It’s also like saying that the sky is blue because it is pleasant to our eyes rather than it’s there because of the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. Like insisting waves make gentle sounds while breaking on the shore because it is calming to listen to rather than as a result of the tides/water/gravity/wind/sand etc.
    The answer most likely is that the purpose for being is something we conjure up in our minds. To some their “purpose” is to be the fastest sprinter on the planet. To others it might be to be a mother. To some: devotion to a religion (ranging from cruising around in the popemobile to strapping on a suicide vest). Others: to work hard, be good to their mothers and enjoy a beer on the weekends.
    Can I ask do any of the other species have a reason for existence (without a notion or knowledge of god)?
    Can other religions not find reason to exist if they are “wrong”?
    Did polytheistic believers have too many reasons to live because they have many supernatural beings?
    Kristine is onto something: the real question that should be asked is to ask whether that’s a valid question. If believers can take it on faith certain unanswerable bits of their religion: why not skip the religion (with its many more unanswerable bits) and accept (or better yet reason/think and come to the conclusion) that we have no reason other than reason we (and our friends/families and situation) make for ourselves.

  • Nathan says:

    Frosh said: “Atheism has thus offered little in the way of explaining purpose, short of propagating one’s genes. This is a purpose devoid of any spiritual significance, and I do not think that provides people with a meaningful enough reason to continue their existence. It is also arguable that propagating ones genes is better classified as a mechanism than as a purpose
    Once an entity, now matter how great their mechanisms and capabilities, becomes aware that they have no purpose, what reason do they have for continuing to desire to exists? Unfortunately, it does not seem that any atheists I have encountered thus far have reached this level of self awareness.
    Atheism is not science, they’re two mutually exclusive concepts, it’s just an absence of belief in magic powers from skygods playing a part. So what it has done is provide you a clear path to ask, reason and resolve such issues where a religion might claim to provide absolute answers when it actually has none. If I thought for a second that the purpose of our life was to spend life praising god, suffering and begging forgiveness for sins which we always commit (or bear responsibility for some ancestor chick taking an apple) no matter what in the hope that we’ll avoid eternal torture and get to praise god with a smaller batch of people for all eternity with everyone else tortured” I’d shoot myself in the head right now. What a god awful (no pun intended) view of  “purpose”.
    A life free of belief in gods is not a life free of spirituality either. It’s a life free of superstition perhaps, but not spirituality. Perhaps you should watch some talks by Sam Harris as he talks a lot about such things.
    My spiritual experiences are most definitely not found inside a church on Sunday, but more likely sitting on a mountain watching the sun come up, marvelling about something in nature or next to a friend having a great conversation about life/the universe and everything. Having some religious leader recite bits of tired old scripture is about the least spiritual way I can think of!
    I’ve found that Christians for instance are some of the least spiritual people out there: it’s like the McDonalds of spirituality to say that because you believe in Jesus that you’re spiritual. The Islam/Christianity/Judaism camp are extremely non-spiritual compared to eastern religions for instance which demand a great deal of self examination and revolve around examination of self/consciousness and lots of cycles of questioning and refining.
    It’s pretty arrogant for you to assume that atheists haven’t thought long and hard about such things or else they’d have realised there’s no purpose. Clinging to ridiculous fairytales because the thought of death, or acknowledging what a load of rubbish the fairytales are scares you too much shows a very low level of self awareness and thought in my opinion (perhaps why religions have the notion of it being a sin or “thought crime” to question the word of god or doubt, even in your head because god listens to that also right?).

  • Kjic says:

    One can only see as far as ones dreams and I have a great imagination or let science fact allow it to expand that as well as other credible fact, other than that I am pretty open at any given point in time? Belief is a program shared but just a belief. I didn’t make the word or it’s connotation but until god show up on one of the beliefs time schedules in anyone I know lifetime! If someone was on the pot I would tell to piss show cause or get off, Science will get me through with a big chunk of fact till then, day at a time I am pretty much happy just to wake up daily. Hey if you have the big fella’s ear I would only be too happy for you to put in a word, as I tell all my religious friends as my big white telephone is on the blink. I believe in many things one is that the mind is more powerful than we credit it, there may always be another dimension?  With the earth oceans space and time and a human lust to know secrets will unfold before beliefs time is done and until they are proven wrong on so many levels they can and will not let that damn ball go lol and maybe off themselves like a cult rather than be wrong or evaporate into the wood work time the only teller. How many strikes in a game before out lol if it was baseball I’d take me bat and ball and go home lol Just a question I pose is it a programmed effect a faith thing or do you hear voices too just curious? You know there are drugs for the latter? Surely an educated person would be able to psycho analyse themselves just a smig. How much depends on lateral thinking?

  • ariel says:

    As frosh and I keep saying, there are scientists who believe in G-d and Scripture and don’t believe the two contradict one another:
    http://geraldschroeder.com/AgeUniverse.aspx

    Kristine,

    If you have no purpose then am I to assume that you go about fulfilling every urge you have no matter how unhealthy to you and others? Do you only consider how to satisfy your desires and to survive from day to day trampling on everyone who gets in your way?

  • Reality Check says:

    Ever considered that just like love and hate, belief in something  is a similar feeling, need, emotion.

    4000 years ago there were stone idols, then God came along and later false messiahs. I suspect there were atheists around before the advent of science, although science challenges religion e.g. the age of the world and that humans evolved from less intellegent life forms, and so on.

    Medical scientists have discoved the god spot (actually 3) in the human brain. These things evolved over time. I reckon religion is a reaction to the enviroment in which man evolved and it has served many purposes. Aethists these days recognize this and choose no to believe in a God. Anthony chooses to believe that everyone believes even just a little bit, even when they claim not to.

    Science and religion, well they just do not mix. It’s like a fortune teller using our knowledge of biology to explain the future.

    Science describes the world and must be able to test, at least in theory, test in an objective manner those discriptions. Religion is about believing in God and trying to understand His will.

    But no self respecting scientist can take the Bible literally and belief the world is 6000 years old and God created it in six days.

  • Nathan says:

    Ariel:
    So are you saying you need a purpose (given by god) in order to be considerate to others? I humbly disagree: religious purpose probably means something between mildly weird (e.g. celibate devotee to praising god) to the most outrageous crimes against fellow man (e.g. witch burnings, stonings, persecution, imprisonment, torture, genocide).
    I think that we can easily think of some very religious people who were given a purpose from god (Allah) which resulted in some pretty unhealthy result for a bunch of people. Can also point to some pretty distasteful scumbags who have “god given purpose” to picket funerals of military dead or homosexuals screaming obscenities.
    What about the Pope’s purpose, arguably one of the highest religious figures, supposedly given the “purpose” of being god’s word for the catholic church who has very little regard for the rights/opinions or health of millions worldwide (e.g. it’s better to get AIDS than use condoms). How’s that one for “purpose”?
    People’s views on purpose are ones they’ve made themselves. They may say it’s one chosen by god but really: it’s their own one they’ve hatched by interpreting their environment.
    Some reading advice: Epicurus. The notion of “rational hedonism” if you like. e.g. pursue pleasure but mindful of the consequences/impacts on other people. So hedonism with the golden rule essentially. I reckon that’s a far superior way of thinking compared to “obey some backward rules, majority of which I’ll ignore anyhow because I’m scared of torture or else mindful of someone always watching me from above”.
    You don’t have to be a pawn of a deity to have purpose and you don’t need some grand unfathomable/unreasonable purpose to be a good person and lead a happy life. What if you just tended the land, were friendly to your neighbours. Purpose changes often between “survive” (e.g. victim of natural disaster/”act of god” hehe)  through to “devote my life to changing the developing world for the better by improving health/education” (e.g. bill gates, an atheist and one of the most generous philanthropists in the world).
    Let’s take Bill gates: Bill might have always had that purpose or it might have been in the past:  “to build a company selling software that most of the world’s computers run on”. Before that it might have been “sell enough software to afford instant noodles for dinner.
    I think you’re just under the delusion that the world was created specifically around you to play out some pre-defined path. I prefer “make your own destiny”/lead your own life, seek out fun things and be good to people and don’t worry about imaginary supernatural beings.  Dunno if that’s “purpose”, but it sure as hell didn’t come from religion and my life’s pretty good, I’m good to people I meet and I don’t generally harm anyone if I can help it.

  • Michael says:

    Frosh, I’m not sure what you mean about an openness since I don’t think you’ve made an argument yet, you’ve implied (I think) that without a god the most logical action is to do nothing but I haven’t seen what counts as an argument for me.
    I think the problem is that the word “purpose” brings in a lot of hidden assumptions. Can you rephrase it without using purpose? For instance, if I say that the purpose of my email to a friend is to organise a dinner with them, this can be rephrased to a purely factual statement like “when Michael emailed his friend, his intent was to organise a dinner”. Then this second statement can I think fully be explained by science according to you (since you think it might explain consciousness).
    But I don’t think this rephrasing can be done with the universe as a whole or life or anything like that. When we speak of purpose we generally talk of the intentions of a thinking being to achieve something — so asking this about the universe presupposes a being in the first place. Saying “if there’s no god the universe doesn’t have a purpose” is saying that the universe wasn’t created by someone with the intent of fulfilling some task — this is true but I think trivial and irrelevant to our lives. Similarly saying “if we weren’t created by someone we have no purpose” is simply saying that nobody intended anything specific. I don’t see how this relates to our reasons for action. Furthermore, even if someone created a thinking being for a purpose, this does not mean much as the being can overthrow this purpose. For instance if a married couple has a child in order to sacrifice them at age 18, if the child rebelled we wouldn’t say they’re now living a “purposeless” life since they thwarted the original purpose that brought him/her into being. It’s the same with a god, I don’t see how the intentions of a real being in creating us (or the lack of intentions from a non-existent being) have anything to do with our reasons for action.

  • Michael says:

    Oops, I pasted your response into the textbox to keep track of it, ignore everything past the line break in my prev comment.

    [Eds: Thanks for letting us know. We’ve sorted it out]

  • Hairo says:

    Reality Check says: “Medical scientists have discoved the god spot (actually 3) in the human brain.”

    [Citation needed].

  • frosh says:

    Kristine,

    Whether religion does a good job in giving people a purpose will clearly be highly subjective.

    That you don’t require a purpose could be due to your level of self-awareness.

    What would you do if tomorrow you woke up and were suddenly self aware that you were either

    – A robot with artificial intelligence, like in Blade Runner (1982) or A.I. (2001).

    Or alternatively

    – Living in The Matrix (1999)

    Would either of those scenarios change your self concept?

    I am particularly interested in the robot question.

    If we exclude the possibility of the metaphysical, then it ought not to make much of a difference to your self concept if you are a carbon based life-form or a silicon based life-form replica.

  • ariel says:

    Nathan,
     
    I’m not saying anything that has anything to do with what you claim I’m saying.
     
    Please stop putting words in my mouth in order to create a strawman that you can tear down. You and others on this site are constantly arguing against things that my “religion” and G-d are also against. As I said in an earlier comment, the god you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.
     
    I am a Jew and therefore, I don’t believe in prosletysing; I’m not trying to convert anyone to Judaism. Judaism believes all human beings, regardless of race, creed or religion are worthy. Judaism is for Jews and we don’t forcibly convert “infidels”.
    However, I do think it is necessary that people understand our point of view rather than assume we have certain beliefs.
     
    I think you should read a few books on the subject of purpose, with an open mind. One example (among many you can look at) is Toward a Meaningful Life by Simon Jacobson. It comes to mind because I just finished reading it.
     
    For more snippets of information which may explain more about what I’m trying to convey:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3kTIo53krc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjfHSqEXtZ4
     

  • Kristine says:

    @Ariel:  No.  Why do you expect that I need a purpose to behave in a healthy and civilised manner?  Do you have a purpose?  If so, what is it?
    I have much the same sort of life as anyone else.  I am considerate to the people I meet and I treat them the way I would like to be treated if I were in the same position.  I lose nothing by responding to people in this way, and gain a lot, because that’s the way that society works.  I don’t fulfil every urge, as most of the urges I have are impossible to fulfil when I have them.  Thus by the simple expedient of not buying masses of chocolate when I shop, I can quite easily go without it, even when I have the urge to eat it.  I expect that it’s much the same for most people.  Besides, a lack of purpose does not equate to a lack of reasoning.  I know what will make me feel ill.  If I avoid it, I am better off.
    @Frosh:  I’ve actually considered the two possibilities previously.  I have a problem with my temporal lobe which causes me occasional visual and auditory hallucinations.  So I can give you a definitive answer here.  Discovering that I had faulty data intake changed my entire life.  Previously having a (supposed) intimate connection with God, with visual “proof”, I was forced into the realisation at the age of 28 that my “proof” was simply a knock on the head I got when I was 9.  I went from being a rabid theist to an atheist almost overnight.

    I’ve considered the Matrix scenario much more than the android scenario, as my reality is far from consistent due to my temporal lobe problem, however I think finding out I was an android would be a relief.  Mainly because I have suffered chronic polyarthritis since I was a teen, and being an android means that replacement parts would be available.  I don’t think it would change my self concept at all, I would remain myself.  If I were in a position that I couldn’t deny I had a maker i.e. being a robot or android, that doesn’t offer that maker any qualities other than being a really bad engineer.  That maker would still not be God, and has shown me no reason to offer them fealty or to believe they had any grand “purpose” for my being.  If I do have a purpose (still going with the A.I. scenario), that doesn’t mean it is necessarily a purpose to my benefit.  Thus it may not be in my best interest to follow a purpose laid out for me by another.

  • Joe America says:

    Why the claims that atheists have no purpose? How very simplistic.
    Even though I am atheist, I feel “spiritualy” connected to my surroundings
    It comes natural to me to feel empathy, compassion towards others, and it makes me feel good to help another when they ask for it. I feel purpose by just doing what Fate has given me…and that is being human. I feel purpose when I overcome a personal struggle or when I achieve a goal.  I wouldnt act any other way if I did believe in God.
    There is no conflict between the intellectual honesty of atheism, and the naturaly occuring  emotions of feeling ” spiritual” that many atheists feel.
    Claiming atheists have no purpose is such a simplistic illogical claim its not even worth argueing about.

  • frosh says:

    Joe,

    I never said atheists have no purpose. I said atheists lack a justification for a purpose.

    These are different concepts. The fact that commenters such as you and Nathan keep commenting having failed to comprehend the central point (despite numerous reiterations) says that you either are not taking the time to read what I have written, or you lack the intellectual sophistication to comprehend the distinction.

  • Joe America says:

    ”  Atheists lack  a justification for  purpose.”
    Its easy.
    I am homo-sapian, my biological drives motivate me to reproduce, protect the children, eat good food, provide security for loved ones, ask big questions, and learn, and so on….. and along for the ride comes the positive emotional spiritual feelings of purpose.
    When are other animals at their happiest and finding purpose? When they are  doing the things their evolved  bodies were meant to do in the environment their body was designed to live in.
    Isnt this a valid justification?
    Isnt  atheists  own humanity justification enough for purpose?
     
     

  • frosh says:

    Nathan,

    You seem not to understand that this issue is not about any religion. Accepting the possibility that there is something metaphysical in the universe does not necessarily involve accepting the doctrine of any recognised religion.

    The fact that you say you routinely have spiritual experiences suggests to me that you are not a true atheist, but rather, you don’t like religion.

  • Veronique says:

    @Ariel
    You make not an argument but a stance. To sate your curiosity, yes, I have looked at microbes within hospital labs under electron microscopes and my science education is continuing and will continue to develop as I enter my 67th year. I come from an academic scientific family with a background in logic and research biochemistry, public health and medicine.
    So, don’t make assumptions about posters here in an attempt to legitimise your belief stance. It is insulting to everyone’s intelligence and you embarrass yourself. You have tried to convince posters that you are a scientist and a practicing Jew. Good for you. I couldn’t care less what you believe; just keep away from the educational, political and social policy arenas of our societies.
    The sort of cognitive dissonance needed to maintain two basically antithetical stances is a bit beyond me, but never mind. I have been reading your interminable posts on this thread and am indifferent to you. The fact that others keep trying to engage you is admirable but ultimately a wasted exercise.
    The statement of yours:
    As frosh and I keep saying, there are scientists who believe in G-d and Scripture and don’t believe the two contradict one another
    Merely aligning yourself with the name of the person who wrote this wilfully misleading and misinformed article does not give your statement any more validity than appealing to a comrade to back you up. Sorry, doesn’t mean anything to me. Frosh’s article hasn’t developed any more credibility because of that alignment and neither have your posts.
    @Frosh
    Atheism has thus offered little in the way of explaining purpose, short of propagating one’s genes. This is a purpose devoid of any spiritual significance, and I do not think that provides people with a meaningful enough reason to continue their existence. It is also arguable that propagating ones genes is better classified as a mechanism than as a purpose
    Once an entity, now(sic) matter how great their(sic) mechanisms and capabilities, becomes aware that they have no purpose, what justification do they have for continuing to desire to exist? Unfortunately, it does not seem that any atheists I have encountered thus far have reached this level of self awareness.
    Your arrogance is breathtaking. YOU haven’t encountered any atheists who can give purpose and desire to their existence – so they don’t exist?? That tells me far more about you than any atheist you may have met.
    People are capable of living a purpose-driven life without recourse to the supernatural – the numinous can be sufficient – as Nathan is trying to point out.
    There is no reason to assume there is a challenge for atheists is to find a purpose for existence. You are making a statement that emanates from your own misunderstanding of atheism. In my first post, I intimated that atheism is the default position after having adopted critical thinking and pursued the desire for evidence-based knowledge.
    Atheism is a disbelief in superstition. Meaningful purpose in existence for a human being with a massive cortex is an entirely different concept altogether.
    For the few (very few) religious scientists since Darwin who have contributed to the continuing bank of human knowledge, you cannot help but find real scientists who, unhampered by ancient superstition and apologetics, have contributed truly extraordinary thought and testing of hypotheses to that bank.
    The vast majority of the greatest scientists of the 20th Century, e.g. Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, both Jews incidentally, were non religious. In excess of 90% of the fellows of the Royal Society in the UK and the NAS in the US are non-religious. As you may be aware, any scientist elected as a member of either of those bodies is recognised as having excelled in his/her field.
    So, I am sorry, the total of your unstated number of religious scientists is miniscule compared with your ‘arguments’.
    Indeed, I know of only one good scientist – Francis Collins – whose feat of cognitive dissonance dumbfounds both myself and indeed his fellow scientists. He is currently in an administrative position and doesn’t seem to be participating in any more pure scientific research.
    As an example f one of your so-called religious scientists, I cite Kurt Wise, a man who earned a Ph.D. in geology (of all disciplines!) from Harvard, no less, and who studied under Stephen Jay Gould and believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible that the Earth must be less than 10,000 years old.
    Clearly any sane person understanding what science is about cannot call this man a scientist. This is a man who studied for a degree purely as a means to try and give credibility to himself and his creationist organisation Truett-McConnell College

  • ariel says:

    Veronique,

    I’m wondering whether you read the link I posted earlier from geraldschroder.com or watched the videos of the Rabbi trying to explain the Jewish concept of G-d…As I keep saying, the god you don’t believe in I don’t believe in either.

    I’m not trying to convert you. I’m merely trying to explain that if one attempts to have a mature understanding, then the existence of G-d can make sense and not all believers are fruitcakes. I would say that the fruitcake believers are the ones who believe in the god that both you and I don’t believe in; the god who tells them that they have the only truth and everyone who doesn’t accept it is an infidel who should be killed or forcibly converted.

    It is intersting that no one has answered the question in the article: why do people live good honest lives if there’s no reason for it?…

  • ariel says:

    Kristine,

    There are two aspects to purpose. One is general, the other specific.

    You and I have the same general purpose: to be nice to each other and lead honest lives thereby transforming Earth into Heaven. You seem to be well on the way to accomplishing this by what you have described to me as your daily goings on. [In fact, dare I say, you have proven that you are created in the Divine Image. By being kind and considerate and postponing gratification, you immitate the Divine…]

    However, we do have different specific purposes to fulfil which benefit humanity in some distinct way. I don’t know what yours is, that’s for you to figure out. I’m still working on my own. What I am sure of though, is that it has something to do with using your specific talents and intelligence and applying them to the betterment of your family, community and planet. Perhaps you are an accomplished pianist? Then it may be your role to bring joy and inspiration to others through music thereby awakening their own inner desires to do good for others.
    For more information, see Toward a Meaningful Life which I mentioned earlier.

  • frosh says:

    Veronique,

    Non-religious does NOT equal atheist. This is true for all peoples, and is especially true for the Jewish people. Most Jews I know are fairly secular. However, very few of these non-religious Jews would describe themselves as atheists.

    Like most of the self-described atheists on this thread, you seem incapable of removing yourself from the simplistic dichotomy that characterises people as either religious or atheists.

    Einstein was, as you have said, not at all religious. However, he was also on record as NOT being an atheist (see quote from Einstein below):

    I’m not an atheist [my emphasis] and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.

  • Joe Kool says:

    Quoting Arial..It is intersting that no one has answered the question in the article: why do people live good honest lives if there’s no reason for it?… end quote.
    People live “good honest lives” because its biological and natural and a result of higher brain functioning because they have the wisdom to recognize the long term negative effects of self destructive or anti social behaviour.. Probably good honest people get  some kind of endorphin brain reward out of living good honest lives, and acting in a way consistant with a personal philosophy and behaviour that contributes to the survival and well being of Humanity.

  • Kristine says:

    Ariel,
    The general purpose  you describe doesn’t actually seem to be a purpose.  It’s more like a lubricant.
     
    As for the specific purpose you mentioned (which you seem to be unsure of):  why would a creator give me a purpose which doesn’t directly benefit him/her/it?  If I, for example, build a toaster, it has a custom built purpose.  It benefits me by enabling me to make toast.  It’s fairly obvious what a toaster is for, you shove a flat thing in and it heats it up.  Many toasters may look different, but they all serve the same function.  This is what I mean by a purpose.  If one human has a purpose, it’s a purpose that’s consistent with all humans.  We’re all the same implement, just different models.
    If I go by the Old Testament (sorry, I haven’t read the Torah) it seems to me that man’s purpose is to wage war, have babies, and generally just be things for God to own.  In Genesis 1:28 it’s fairly clear, as we’re told that man’s purpose is to subde the earth that God just made.  It’s like building a sandcastle, then building a robot specifically so it can destroy that sandcastle.  The only net gain from that equation is amusement.  We’re entertainment, going by that book.  We’re not here to be nice, or to be a coherent society.  The Old Testament God is a bloodthirsty creature who not only likes us to be nasty to each other, he encourages it and helps us out when we wage war.
    I don’t much like that purpose.  I don’t think the God of that book is working in my best interests, or in the best interests of humanity as a whole.
    So even if I believed that we had a purpose, even if I believed there was a god, I would choose to either believe in a different god to yours, or I would actively seek to disrupt the purpose given to me by that god.

  • Anonymous says:

    Kristine:

    The old testament is only one simple and poorly translated aspect of Judaism. It does not relate what G-d is nor his visions and desires as we as Jews understand it. It is also poorly translated and misinterpreted. 

    Like Ariel said: you clearly do not understand what the “Jewish G-d” is.

    You can not intellectually denigrate nor negate something you do not understand unless you are a fool.

  • Reality Check says:

    Hairo, I read about it years ago in regard to epilepsy. Google, however Melanie Phillips, get on to here piece that was published in The Autralian 16/3 re: Richard Dawkins, which itself is, well I don’t want to be sued for defamation, and there you will find a link. Happy reading.

  • ariel says:

    Thank you Anonymous.

    Kristine,
    You said you haven’t read the Torah. The Old Testament is the fundamental part of the Torah, but was written IN HEBREW. As Anonymous says, you can’t understand deep and profound concepts by glossing over a badly translated version of a small part of a book.

    G-d doesn’t need us to do anything for It. It needs us to do everything for ourselves and each other. That’s what makes G-d “happy”, as our “Parent” so to speak.

    At the risk of getting even deeper, G-d isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. The main word used to describe that entity which in English we call G-d, is G-d’s ineffable Name which is a contraction of the Hebrew words “WAS”, “IS”, and “WILL BE”, i.e. Eternal Existence, above time and space and ultimately beyond human comprehension.

  • frosh says:

    Here is a concise and well written article published today on the ABC Radio National website that explains that study of religious texts, religious practice, and belief in a divine being, are all separate concepts and should not be confounded.

     

    http://blogs.radionational.net.au/atheistconvention/?p=692

  • Kristine says:

    Ariel,
    If my interpretation of the purpose of humanity is in error, can you please explain to me how?  I am given a premise of a purpose by this blog, and I am looking for it.  Doing everything for ourselves and for each other doesn’t require any form of a god, thus why would it matter if I believed in a god or not?  And I certainly don’t believe that doing everything for myself and other people constitutes a purpose.

  • Chaim says:

    The question is can faith change your outlook on yourself, others, the world in general in a positive way than no having that faith?
     
    Can the belief in something bigger than yourself but that your are part of and communicate with (in essence a partner) change and make your actions, relationships better for everyone and everything?
    The answer is – yes it can.
    An analogy is love. Does it exist or is it a delusion? Somebody who believes in love definitely has a more stable, giving, trusting relationship with another than someone who does not because ultimately they will lack commitment.
     
    Similarly without faith – you can and will fall short. I am not going to make excuses for people that claim faith or religion and persecute and harm others. I do not believe they have a true faith but rather use it a a power tool and a means to get what they want. it is about the ability to self sacrifice for a better good not just your own.

  • ariel says:

    Kristine,
    But that is exactly what I am presenting to you. The entire purpose is to create Paradise on Earth. This can be achieved by everyone contributing their G-d-given endowments to make this place better for all. Of course there’s more to it, as described in countless books by people far more intelligent and articulate than myself, but essentially that is it in my puny understanding.
    G-d is not out to get you or me nor anyone else. G-d is also not “over there somewhere”; G-d is the very life-force holding your molecular body together. As the analogy goes, if G-d were the sun, we would be rays of Its light. Why else do you think you’re so inclined to be courteous? To help others for no explicable reason? To exercise free choice in not eating lots of chocolate even though you crave it? That part of us which gives us these traits IS inherent G-dliness. It’s called a soul. The body is materialistic and craves chocolate; the soul (via the intellect and the heart) says “wait a minute, that might not be such a good idea right now…perhaps I should put my chocolate money in the charity box at the cash register”….
    This is a very simply summarised Jewish approach to G-d (shared by others as well). It is too complex for me to continue explaining it as I am not knowledgable enough. Please don’t rely on my understanding as it is inadequate, but I have tried to express just a “taste” of my beliefs.

  • Kjic says:

    Circumstance opportunity situation education, in life not necessary school, family good and bad all give purpose set paths of action but it is all in the interpretation that decides our response, so many variants though with anger lust greed loathing hate love jealousy pride ego mental issues down to chemicals in day to day life that react with our own ph birth anomalies this that inhabit our genes that have sway over the action, tide the moon down to the cosmic pull chemical reaction by endorphins dopamine on neurotransmitters who is to say which way the cat may swing. All the good mentoring in the world religious or atheist can’t help a faulty system, chemistry and science can help and have provided just like natures kitchen has for thousands of years. Belief has and still holds us back with superstition to go beyond what they believe, there is no disputing there are religious scientists most have a reasonable gauge on moral dos and don’ts but does their bias allow their real potential because of their mental barriers with the god spot therapy and heaps of drugs we might get you normal again don’t panic! Lol The air gods were the perfect choice because you can’t kill it and it only take two to create the belief I gave up on fairy tales and the tooth fairy but having a burning bush party all the greats will be there just bring you vivid imagination and gate fee.lol Can’t join them flog it to them ghost in a bottle some people are so gullible it a crime.

  • Nathan says:

    Ariel, I don’t think you get the idea (that several people have taken time to logically, clearly lay out)  that our “purpose” is what we decide it is and can change. I mentioned in my blog specifically about why we’d come up with morals/laws etc out of survival and progress reasons alone.
    On this purpose idea: perhaps you’re assuming that there’s always a bigger picture than what you can actually assume.
    Accepting the possibility that there is something metaphysical in the universe does not necessarily involve accepting the doctrine of any recognised religion.
    Well, I agree we can all make up imaginary stuff without religious texts. In fact: that’s how religions are invented. Judaism/christianity (for instance) was particularly lazy and plagiarised a lot of stuff from earlier mythology.
    Where did you get your childish notion that to write down “god” was a sin or something to be avoided if not from a religion?
    You may have a desire to achieve something, that doesn’t in any way mean that that’s your purpose. Look at all the failed rockstars, movies stars etc.
    Some people prefer to outsource their own decisions about what you should be doing (or inability to make decisions) to an imaginary being. When it all goes wrong: purpose must have been to test or suffer.
    Some people are good at various things: that doesn’t mean they are pawns/puppets running along some supernaturally determined route. They’re more likely running along a genetically determined route.
    Your notion of “my god is not the god you say” rubbish smacks of the “Intelligent” design types who insist their creationist stuff isn’t about god or religion, but can be any higher/sentient power that you like.. Same thing! Just arguing about the “emperor’s new clothes”.
    Your invisible-made up-no proof-vague-sentient-supernatural being/divine force can be wearing a hat or not, be based on bible/qur’an/torah/flying spaghetti monster manual.. It makes no difference for the sake of this argument. Call it god, g-d, allah, magical life force, the divine, big arse turtle with the universe on its back.. All just like insisting the emperor is wearing buttons vs zips, sandals vs boots: when they’re all unverifiable/in your head and happen to bear a will with remarkable resemblance to the opinion of the owner of said head..
    The fact that you say you routinely have spiritual experiences suggests to me that you are not a true atheist, but rather, you don’t like religion.
    Our definitions of “spiritual” differ. Mine does not rely on passing responsibility for my mental progression off to a 3rd party: I am responsible for the realisations in response to the situation.
    Perhaps I should say instead “enlightening personal experience” not “I succumbed to superstitious flights of fancy”.

  • frosh says:

    Nathan,

    You seem incapable of focussing on the key concepts concerning a justification for a purpose. Instead, you descend into irrelevant attacks on religion.

    Given your supreme dislike of religion, it is ironic that the your name is Nathan (which directly comes from the Hebrew “Natan”) which is translated as “God has given”.

    Perhaps you should be channelling your anger toward those who named you, and not the commenters on this site who prefer to have polite and respectful discussion.

  • Chaim says:

    Look at all the comments and see which group is tolerant and compassionate to others and which is vitriolic and  offensive.

  • Hairo says:

    Nathan says: “Your invisible-made up-no proof-vague-sentient-supernatural being” etc.

    Virtually Undisputed Historical Facts:
    1. There was born, and lived, a man who is today known worldwide as Jesus Christ.
    2. This man was executed by the method crucifixion, at the hands of the Roman Empire.
    3. Some time later, Jesus’ closest followers attested to his being resurrected from the dead.   (the validity, but not the reliability, of this is diputed)
    4. 10 of the original apostles were killed for standing by their beliefs, despite being asked to retract their statements in public roman and jewish courts on numerous occasions.

    I have yet to hear of any reasonable and logical explanation as to this turn of events, save that Jesus was that who he claimed to be.

  • Veronique says:

    @Ariel

    I have now looked at Shroeder’s wiki entry. What are you trying to prove? I have already talked about ‘scientists’ who are apologists for religion. I need to listen to another one?? I don’t think so.

    And a Rabbi ‘trying’ to explain the Jewish concept of G-d. He can try as much as he likes. Oh yes! The Jews! They still have a ‘special relationship’ with the god they don’t believe in, yes? They have a different concept of god, so that’s all right??

    Listen: There IS no degree of ‘goddity’. You either believe in god or you don’t. I don’t. No sane person does.

    There is no evidence for god. No sane person disputes this. Zilch, nada, niente. Personal anecdotes do not amount to evidence.

    There is no need to believe in a god. There is only a need to believe in god if you can’t handle actual reality. The universe is; no guiding life-principle, god or supernatural being.

    ‘…mature understanding, then the existence of god can make sense…’ Rubbish!! You are playing with words that insult the intelligence of the rest of us. You are trying to play the god of the gaps argument; wasted on scientists of any calibre and, indeed, on others who have learnt to think.

    ‘why do people live good honest lives if there’s no reason for it?…’ Stop being disingenuous!

    Quick reply: Homo sapiens is an intelligent, gregarious species that understands that in community is security, communion, friendship and help.

    Why don’t you answer a question for once: why wouldn’t people live ‘good, honest’ lives that benefit the species as a whole both socially and individually? Who said there is no reason for it? Certainly not any sane person. If you live your life well and honestly and don’t understand that morality came before gods, then you need a brain transplant.

    Frosh actually said: ‘“what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?”. Also disingenuous, I might add, and addressed in my first post and, with patient sighs, by every other rationalist, humanist, atheist, agnostic and sane person posting on this thread.

    Morality is an evolutionary imperative and seen within modern Homo sapiens as encompassing a greater good within an ordered, supporting societal structure. Purpose, as Nathan keeps trying to say, is what each individual makes it. There is no need to justify it.

    Then you Ariel, state to Kristine that ‘G-d is the very life-force holding your molecular body together. There are scientific explanations for what you are postulating and ascribing to god. Why do you persist in this irrational and childish fantasy when there is just no need??

    There is no difference between a set of molecules held together by physical forces or alternatively held together by god. So why complicate the simple? Why insert a god unnecessarily into an essentially physical and chemical process. There is only your need, no other.

    I tell you, you are bent and indoctrinated and cannot see past your nose.

    @frosh

    I said that atheism is the default position. You can carry on about the Jews being non-religious and, believe me, I have conversed with Jews (usually Israelis) about this. I shake my head at the smart-arse dissonance and pseudo-intellectualism. Mind you, there was café latte involved and they weren’t trying to be super polite, just superior.

    I can’t believe that from my previous post, all you can do is nit-pick Einstein! Cherry picking will not gain you brownie points. Einstein said a lot over his life – he was human, said things he would have said differently a few years earlier or later. What are you trying to prove? That you can cut and paste a selected quote from hundreds?? That you know what he was trying to say?? That one quote overrides other things that he said? You really are disingenuous, aren’t you?

    You have addressed absolutely nothing from my first post where you were taken to task for blatantly incorrect statements. You have some gall then, to make the following comment:

    ‘Like most of the self-described atheists on this thread, you seem incapable of removing yourself from the simplistic dichotomy that characterises people as either religious or atheists.’

    See above: There IS no degree of ‘goddity’. You either believe in a god or you don’t, religiosity notwithstanding.

    I don’t believe in a god, any god. I do not confuse the belief in a god with the non-belief in a god. You torture the language to try to accommodate that which is essentially unable to be accommodated.

    Religious texts, tenets and rituals notwithstanding, I don’t give a hoot about the man-made religious rules, punishments, and other rubbish. If you don’t either, well and good. If so, why then call your belief god? Why not say the ‘universe is looking after you’?

    Why not just say that you feel uplifted at being alive and your appreciation is enhanced by what you learn about the natural world and its place in the universe? Why bring a man-made concept like god into this? There is no need. This is the 21st Century. The god of the gaps is squeezed so small as to be almost out of sight and out of mind, except for uneducated beings who manufacture explanations based on not knowing other, evidenced explanations.

    You haven’t got that excuse, frosh. I had you pegged at the beginning – you are wilfully inflammatory and wanted yet another useless comment thread so you could pontificate. Well you are getting a run for your money.

    There is no difference between you and the Christian apologists Lane-Craig, Lennox or McGrath. Super polite (well, sort of) and super irrelevant. All of you ascribe incorrect actions to atheists and what you like to call, again incorrectly, ‘atheist regimes.’ All of you think you have something to say about the insertion of a supernatural figure or life-force into a physical world that has no need of such sophistry.

    ‘self-described atheists have not fully comprehended the philosophical implication of the complete absence of the metaphysical.’

    As I have previously stated, your arrogance is breathtaking. Try making that silly and ultimately useless statement to a young (I think he was 11 years old) Yorkshire boy who had eschewed gods and religion, not for their philosophical implications but merely because he couldn’t see the sense of believing in something for which there was no evidence. Just a boy; 11 years old; Yorkshire-born and bred; no tertiary education and certainly no sophistry, no cant, no argument, just quiet insistence that it couldn’t be so.

    So, hop off your pontificating perch and understand that the vast majority of people who eschew gods and religion are pretty ordinary people who would laugh in disbelief at your strutting and fretting your hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.

    On a continuum of scales of economy and the amount of effort expended in useless dialogue, you apologists are B.E.R., otherwise known as Beyond Economic Repair.

    I am so tempted… damn, I will say itJ. We don’t need no stinking post-modernism religite or goddite apologetics no more.

  • Chaim says:

    Veronique: There is that intolerance again. You really make a good case for yourself an atheism with so much hatred. NOT! Clearly you lack certain morals and understanding.

  • Kjic says:

    Well doesn’t that ring true? Reminds me of the last pope he wouldn’t give up that sick of power all that beautiful Latin slurred into a garble I felt sorrow  that someone didn’t call time? Some egos are that great they don’t know when to drop that damn ball,  V eloquent love a good nut roast.

  • Veronique says:

     
    Chaim says:
    March 23, 2010 at 11:49 pm
    Veronique: There is that intolerance again. You really make a good case for yourself an atheism with so much hatred. NOT! Clearly you lack certain morals and understanding.
     
    And you are????? Surely you are not the self-appointed arbiter of intolerance, are you?? Hatred?? Where did that come from?? Ah, self-appointed again, I see.

    I lack morals??? You are pure fairy floss with about as much substance. There’s enough light-weight around here without another one. You have no idea. You can’t even engage anyone with any credibility, let alone an argument.
     
    No one said I should suffer fools gladly and I don’t. No one said I should accept a flawed and unnecessarily inflammatory set of statements about another group of people and keep my mouth shut. No one said I should not rectify deliberately misleading and ill-informed statements.
     
     

  • Chaim says:

    Oh ye’ are an angry one.

  • Joe America says:

    @Hario……..
    Virtually Undisputed Historical Facts:
    1. There was born, and lived, a man who is today known worldwide as Jesus Christ.
    2. This man was executed by the method crucifixion, at the hands of the Roman Empire.
    3. Some time later, Jesus’ closest followers attested to his being resurrected from the dead.   (the validity, but not the reliability, of this is diputed)
    4. 10 of the original apostles were killed for standing by their beliefs, despite being asked to retract their statements in public roman and jewish courts on numerous occasions.
    I have yet to hear of any reasonable and logical explanation as to this turn of events, save that Jesus was that who he claimed to be.
     
     
    Hario,
    Sai Baba of India has literaly millions of followers worldwide who worship him as God. This man raises people from the dead, teleports, manifests gifts and food to his followers out thin air, cures sickness, and turns water into gasoline. this has all been witnessed by thousands of people.
    Dont beleive me google search “Sai Baba Miracles”

  • Chaim says:

    The difference is that while I readily admit to “evil” religious people, groups, ideology even with in my general faith, I can understand that faith in G-d, the metaphysical, Buddha, Allah  or whatever you want to call it has clear benefits to the individual and society. While you do not.
     
    There are also clear (including  medically or clinically evident) benefits to some form of organized religion or group for individuals and communities.
     
    You on other other hand do not admit to limitations in science, rationalism which themselves are evil or can cause evil.
     

    In January 1978, Francis Crick, also a Nobel laureate, was quoted in the Pacific News Service as saying “… no newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment and that if it fails these tests it forfeits the right to live.”
     

    Why exactly are you wasting your time here? Was the convention about education and intellectual discussion or just a front to establish an anti-religious movement to battle those that do believe in G-d?
     
    The fact is at least 90% of all people in the world of which many may  reject any organized religion still believe in the metaphysical of some sort. According to you, they are intellectually inferior or delusional. All it is is arrogance and anger.
     
     
     

  • Chaim says:

    Joe – having personal experience with his followers and his behavior, I can tell you not only is he a charlatan (you can google this for evidence as well) but also a child molester (google this too).

  • Joe America says:

    @ chaim,
    I know,Hario was using the fallacy of” witnesses of miracles” to historically validate the existence of Jesus.
    I was useing Sia Baba as an example of why this is not a valid way to prove miraculous claims like ressurection

  • Chaim says:

    You on other other hand do not admit to limitations in science, rationalism which themselves are evil or can cause evil.

    Clarification: obviously science and  rationalism are not evil themselves but can rather LEAD people to evil without moral and ethical balances.
     
    Joe: Got it.
     
     

  • Veronique says:

    Troll alert!!
     
    Chaim is a troll. Let’s stop feeding him please. I didn’t recognise him early enough and made the mistake of replying to one of his comments.
     
    Now that the troll arrival may have begun, I suspect the thread will just die and probably this is the best thing. It has had a good run.
     
    Goodbye all. I have been on this sort of thread before. Don’t need to persist any more. I have said all I wanted to say anyway.
     
    See you in the soup.

  • Chaim says:

    Veronique. thanks for your kind words.

  • Jack says:

    Actually Veronique, you seem to have only responded to his inflammatory comments with those of your own, ignoring his other comments.

  • Kjic says:

    Ok we will see who the ones clearly lacking in certain morals and understanding all you have to do is draw a cartoon on Mohamed and see how tolerant belief is when you post it on here, see how safe you are by day’s end. It would be a joke if it hadn’t resulted in more than 100 deaths. Countries with freedom of speech and people can still be killed over a cartoon? Depending on what nerve one applies pressure, to get a reaction? It is like denying the holocaust happened to a Jew. How come an atheist is to respect all traditions cultures and beliefs of others but not get any respect back slandered to start just by the names used uneducated infidel heathen barbarian irreverent heretic agitator sceptic and the list goes on, we question looking for facts.

  • Chaim says:

    Kjic
     
    Just to answer to your point. Firstly this is a Jewish website. Secondly  I believe that most people here would not put a cartoon disrespecting Mohammed on this site out of tolerance for diversity rather than fear of death.
     
    I personally have no problem people being atheist. I can see their viewpoint. It is impossible to prove God’s existence philosophically, rationally or scientifically in my opinion.
     
    I do believe that faith in God can lead to a better society but this belief is also clearly abused by many religious and political leaders. Something all believers need to correct rather than stick their head in the sand and ignore the behaviour of their leaders. This is to me more beneficial and productive than to say the belief itself is detrimental since any belief including atheism can lead to “bad or evil” behaviour.
     
    I do think this topic is done… We can all agree on freedom of speech, religion etc.
     
    All the best.
     
    The apparent troll.
     

  • ariel says:

    Kjic,
    1) Read the comments of the atheist contributors here and see how much respect they have for others
    2) This is a topic about G-d not religion so I’m still unsure why people continue to bring up acts of intolerance by members of certain religious groups.

    Veronique,
    Perhaps instead of insulting people you should read some books that elaborate those ideas which many of us have been trying to bring up in this limited forum.
    As a note, people like Schroder (as far as I know) found G-d after years of practicing science not the other way around as you seem so keen to assert.
    I will only say in addition, that it is pure arrogance to believe that human beings hold all the answers; the first step to trying to understand something is to acknowledge that you don’t and may never understand it all.
    Nathan,
    I have read the comments you cite “that our “purpose” is what we decide it is and can change.” Wonderful. What if someone were to decide their purpose was to murder your family? In fact, there are many people who believe their purpose is to become the greatest person in the world, destroy anything in their paths and bugger the consequences, as long as they’re gratified.
    Well, as you point out we see that fame brings depression to many because they’re in it for themselves and don’t see it as an opportunity to help others. The media doesn’t help either by perpetuating the myth that money and fame buy paradise. So you’re right, I do have a desire to achieve something: the betterment of the next generation through education, manners and being thoughtful of each other, ideas which have been neglected in our societies for the last 2 generations. Me, Me, Me; I, I, I; Now, Now, Now; Ipod, Iphone; more, more, more!
     

  • Hairo says:

    Joe America says:
    “@ chaim,
    I know,Hario was using the fallacy of” witnesses of miracles” to historically validate the existence of Jesus.”

    If you re-read my post, you will note, that I accept the statements of witnesses based on their behaviour following their witnessing, which remains otherwise inexplicable. I do not accept the statements of humans as fact without substantiating evidence. That is, the apostles were willing to die because they believed that they saw Jesus resurrected, therefore there are three possibilities:
    – The apostles knew that it was a lie: in which case their deaths make no sense.
    – The apostles did not know, someone tricked them: in which case there must be someone with either motive or means to trick the apostles.
    – The Apostles saw Jesus resurrected: in which case, at the very least, Jesus possessed superhuman abilities.

    As for the comparison with Sia Baba, the fact that you can google and find reasonable evidence to suggest this person is a “charlatan (you can google this for evidence as well) but also a child molester (google this too)”, puts him in a different category to Jesus, who, when taken to court by the Pharisees, was charged only with claiming to be the messiah, and not with fraud, or any other crime.

  • Kjic says:

    But the need of someone feeling like they would do it or have to? Making a point drawing a line? I have as much respect for one as any other that is what I have said all along it is ok to have religious freedom we need also freedom from religion without fear of some dirty killing over a belief Or some mental abuse from to a child from birth the only monsters in this world are humans how many did stand up and heard no more, any oppressor radical or moderate? How many fronts are the Jewish people fighting on now I sympathize with both sides and hope people see reason how anyone can say they’re are not forces in a play within belief are hiding.  Like V this my last, good luck, just turns into a war or death from there and people want to put their kids into that program? Lmao i enjoyed the banter and agree to disagree be good for your own soul.

  • David Trueman says:

    That is one of the most selectively deluded pieces of writing I have seen on the subject by the opposition to atheism. Let him keep going… most of his points are so incredulous he by promotoing them doing the cause of miltant atheism good amongst thinking individuals.

    I barely could contain my laughter.

  • Michael says:

    And now back to what the post itself was saying — I’ve yet to see a justification of how a universe with a god is supposed to provide a purpose that a godless universe doesn’t. As per my comment above, the fact that someone created something with a specific purpose can’t mean that that is its “intrinsic” purpose, otherwise a child conceived for the purpose of human sacrifice can never legitimately overthrow the plan his/her parents had.

  • ariel says:

    Michael,

    Please articulate the purpose of existence if there is no metaphysical aspect to it. If you and I are random collections of atoms and chemicals then why are we here?

    This is the question frosh keeps asking, which no one has answered.

    The probablility of such a complicated universe being created by accident is akin to the probablity of you accidentally spilling ink on a page and it randomly forming into beautiful poetry.

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    “Purpose” should not be understood in the superficial sense. Purpose, in the spiritual sense, is not confined to something specific such as “to become a millionaire, a lawyer, or a doctor, or even a priest etc”

    Purpose, in the spiritual sense, might be something like “to live one’s life committing good deeds and acts of kindness.” While atheists may well live their lives with this purpose, there is no justification for doing so. Yes, I am fully aware of the arguments that altruism may have an evolutionary benefit. This is still just a mechanism for the development of altruism – it is not a justification. After all, a complex bunch of atoms need not give a damn for its own welfare, nor that of the group of similarly arranged atoms. Indeed, if one is nothing more than atoms, they cannot even have a ‘welfare status,’ anymore than a grain of sand can.

    People with poor comprehension skills, such as David Trueman, seem to believe that the point of my article was to oppose atheism and promote religion.

    It was NOT.

    The point was to throw the challenge out to atheists. Atheists only have science (but not a monopoly on it). Science has made a sterling effort at explaining how we got to where we are. Unfortunately, science cannot offer us a justified purpose for how we are to live our lives. This is the domain of spirituality. Whether one’s spiritual beliefs turn out to be correct is inconsequential to the essence of the argument.

  • Michael says:

    I don’t accept that it makes sense to talk of a purpose in a “spiritual” sense or to talk about it in terms of the universe. When I hear “what is the purpose of the universe” or “what is the purpose of our lives” to me that makes as little sense as “what is the marital status of the universe” or “what is the humidity of our lives”. I’ve seen the term purpose have meaning when it describes the intention of an agent in performing an action — I see no reason to grant it any other meaning. If you think there is a meaningful application of purpose outside this scope then I’d like to see some reasons behind it — preferably an explanation that does not circularly reference “purpose” again. If purpose is an authentic concept in terms of our lives or the universe it should be possible to rephrase it without vague words like purpose and meaning which are the main stumbling blocks in the misunderstandings about purpose that I’ve seen in this thread.

  • Reality Check says:

    I haven’t read every word of every letter, but no-one, it appears has yet mentioned the anthropic principle. Simply put, the weak version of the principle has it that the universe and all the laws and all the constants of nature are exactly as they are so to allow humans to exist. Put another way, all the above was put in place for a purpose, being the creation/formation/evolution of humans.

    I, for one, have no time for this principle. It’s the easiest principle to come up with because you can’t prove or dis-prove it. Also, purpose can’t be tested. What? an intelligent being went to all the trouble to create all the laws and constants of nature in order that 15 billion years later humans would evolve, when it all could have been done in 6 days. 

    Than, of course, there were all the chance happenings in the history of the universe, galaxy, solar system and our planet with the ice ages and so on; all needing to have occured in a particulas sequence for intelligent life to come about.

    One is free to belief all this happened for a purpose, but it’s a belief and by no means a truth or even a fact.

    John Barrow and a friend of his (I can’t remember his name) have written alot about this principle. And so has Richard Dawkins.

     

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    Do you have children?

    Do you intend to have children?

    Do you care what happens to your children after you die?

    Do you care what happens to the earth after you die?

    If your answer is yes to either of the latter two questions, I’d have to ask you why?

    Your children are just a bunch of chemicals, no different to a tin of paint; and you are now dead, the physical materials that made you up now decaying ansd scattering. From a philosophical viewpoint, why would you give a damn?

  • Reality Check says:

    It was Frank Tipler, another world renown physicist, and the book is the Cosmological Anthropic Principle. And here’s one for you ariel and Chaim: John Barrow made up the Groucho Marx Effect that said “A universe simple enough to understand is too simple to produce a mind capable of understanding it” Albert Einstein once said that the most remarkable aspect of the universe or the laws of nature is that they were able to create beings  like us capable of contemplating it. He didn’t, however, say understanding it.

  • ariel says:

    Reality Check,
    Einstein is right. I said a couple of posts ago that it is arrogance to assume we are capable of understading it all…

  • Michael says:

    Again, I fail to see the connection. How is whether a person cares about something affected by whether it has a soul or is made of “just” chemicals? (An abuse of the word “just if I ever saw one!)
    It seems you are presuming that nobody should give a damn about anything and saying that it is therefore incumbent on people to prove their right to give a damn.

  • ariel says:

    Michael,
    it’s clear you don’t have an answer to the question or still don’t understand it.
    no one is question your right to give a damn.
    the question is WHY do you give a damn? it’s a simple question.

  • Michael says:

    My reading appears correct — if it’s a simple question of why then there would be no relation to whether something is supposedly a consequence of atheism or not. On the why, the causal explanation would be that people who were born as non-sociopaths and appropriately socialised care about other people. But I still don’t see what this could possibly have to do with whether or not there are gods..

  • Nathan says:

    Ariel: why do you give a damn if you believe in a god. Why do you care if you type like a normal person and write the actual word “god”?
    If you are supposedly now talking about a non religious supernatural being: where’s your guidance on what they expect, are like or care about. Where did you get the notion that an all powerful being cares if you write the word “god”?
    If, as I’ve said I think, you’re just making up a magical being of some sort (which may or may not come from a religion directly, be inspired by or just be holding onto some childhood imaginary plaything or just a bad acid trip you didn’t return from): how is it you know that they have a purpose for you?
    Doesn’t it all seem a bit of a lot of making stuff up: making up a being. Making up an image of what they’re like. Making up their mood and desires that just happen to involve you playing a key role in their universe.
    What if I said that for any supernatural being to be worth their salt: they’d have to be able to be elected/thrown out of the position and replaced by any other sentient being in the universe.. Hey, sounds a lot fairer than one where there’s no voting involved.

  • Nathan says:

    I should be clear, and I speak for probably a good deal of the atheists I’ve ever talked to: trying to separate god (or gods.. monotheism is a new invention don’t forget) from religion is pointless. We can call it all “superstition” if you like, it’s all the same stuff with the same lack of proof and basis of “faith” (which is the ability to accept something without any proof whatsoever and no matter how unlikely or ridiculous it might be).
    So let’s not have you lot argue over whether or not we’re talking religion (which is a collection of beliefs, stories, practices etc around a god or gods) and god (which is the god or gods part). It matters very little to the argument whether someone happens to be religious or superstitious or believes in god. It’s all the same level of irrational based, proof free thought. It’s arguing about the colour of “the emperor’s new clothes”.

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    Do you care more about a living thing (carbon based), or a near perfect replica (silicon based)?

    You ought to care for them the same – they are both a highly complex arrangement of atoms.

    Please answer, and justify your answer.

  • Nathan says:

    And I think you’ve all got plenty of answers why “just a bunch of chemicals” would not only behave morally, but feel they have “purpose” (whatever that means) just not purpose to serve some imaginary god/gods.
    As I said in my blog: if you can’t get that we’re capable of higher thought and capable of more than a bunch of component atoms: I’ll buy your car/house/whatever for its value out of the chemical supplies lab handbook.
    Frosh: saying stuff like this just shows you haven’t taken in any of the arguments supplied which are much more thought out than “god gave me a purpose”:
    Purpose, in the spiritual sense, might be something like “to live one’s life committing good deeds and acts of kindness.” While atheists may well live their lives with this purpose, there is no justification for doing so. Yes, I am fully aware of the arguments that altruism may have an evolutionary benefit. This is still just a mechanism for the development of altruism – it is not a justification. After all, a complex bunch of atoms need not give a damn for its own welfare, nor that of the group of similarly arranged atoms. Indeed, if one is nothing more than atoms, they cannot even have a ‘welfare status,’ anymore than a grain of sand can.
    Your mechanism/justification argument is nonsense.  Maybe YOU are the type of person who is such a prick that you don’t do anything without justification, but don’t label the rest of society with your own shortcomings.
    I can just as easily (and accurately) say “belief in god is just a mechanism for justification”. If you crave justification and aren’t aware enough of our biological/social/brain chemistry/environment formed/genetics determined “justifications/mechanisms/whatever” for being the way we are or doing what we do: then you’re just filling that with a made up construct “god”.
    It’s common to do so and every religious nutcase person from the mild and meek door knockers who waste their lives spreading “the word o the lord” through the type too terrified to write the word “god” through to the (much more ballsy.. though completely insane) types who strap on a suicide vest to lay down their lives for their god given PURPOSE.. All they’re doing is using an imaginary friend (or words written about said imaginary friend) as a reason for doing something. That doesn’t mean that actually IS their purpose, just that they think they’ve communicated with god and he agrees with their own decision.
    Life’s much simpler if you don’t have to assume that there’s an omnipresent being not only watching, reading your thoughts but who has a purpose for you that you have to guess.
    Just live your life, be good to people (or bad to people if that gets you your kicks and you want to wear the consequences.. the world/law/society has a way of sorting those types out one way or another) and stop worrying that you’re being watched/judged/”purposed” by anyone other than yourself, your friends, family and colleagues.
    Not believing in god/gods/spirits/divinity etc or not being part of a religion actually means you’re more likely to work out what’s good and what’s bad through reality based feedback. It also means you aren’t likely to grab some of your morals from times best forgotten from which we’ve (society) progressed thousands of years through trial and error and hard fought out lessons.
    That’s plenty to deal with without introducing the impossible and the imaginary.

  • Michael says:

    If someone replicated a loved one in a silicon-based form I would like to think I’d treat them the same as the “original” (although of course human beings are flawed and prone to ridiculous outbursts so I’m not guaranteeing it). But again I don’t see what this could have to do with anything. Was the question attempting to get me to say I’d care more about a carbon-based thing? If so what would that show other than the fact that homo sapiens has a chauvinism which is explained by its evolution? Again, the motivations of both theists and atheists are very similar for probably 99% of things they do in life — in both cases they are the evolved responses of our organism to various life situations. I don’t see how an opinion about a god should affect some supposedly “logical” motivation/justification for actions that have evolution as their proximate cause.

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    Cause is irrelevant to our argument. I am no contesting cause. I am contesting self aware justification.

    The ‘replica’ is merely a more advanced version of the laptop computer that I am writing this message on. It’s all ones and zeros. At least you admit that you would treat a computer as well as a human being.

  • Michael says:

    You seem to be running around in circles — when I ask if you’re [unreasonably] expecting me to justify why I should care about something you seem to say you’re not interested in this but only the why. When I speak of why you’re not interested in that but in justification — which is it?

    If you’re not willing to lay out your substantive argument (or what you think I as an atheist am supposed to justify) in a precise way without using words like “purpose” that I do not grant as legitimate to the discussion then I don’t see what we’re talking about.
    As per the replica, yes it’s made of atoms that represent ones and zeros in the same way as our bodies are made of atoms that represent the A, T, G & C of our DNA and other such elements. I don’t see how 0 and 1 are somehow meant to be “worse” then A, T, G & C but if you have a precise argument I’m also interested.

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    I think it’s great that you can admit that you see computer and human life as equal.

    If only other atheists here could come to such a consistent conclusion.

  • Hairo says:

    What I think Mr. Frosh may be suggesting is this:
    Ethical Egotism (Also Egoism) seems, at least to the perception of the theist, to logically follow a physicalist philosophy, While Utilitarianism, though demonstrably successful as a social tool, seems a non-sequitur.

    That is to say, If a person will only experience a single lifetime, with no external judgement on their actions, why should they give when they could take. And if the only reason is due to a combination of social conditioning and genetic predisposition, why should a person not seek to break free from these and enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle?

  • Nathan says:

    Frosh: you’re the one who can’t see that godless individuals are more than just atoms. And if a silicone being (I think you mean a digital computer based simulation of a being rather than a physical replacement of a body’s carbon with silicone.. but no matter) did have the ability to comprehend in the same fashion as a human: then there’s a whole different debate about the rights (if any) that being has. What also if one of the other species evolved to become sentient.. How would that fit in. What about aliens.. What if we appear completely ignorant to them (e.g. they take a look at a church congregation on a sunday and naturally say WTF??)
    Basically I think you need to watch/read a bunch of scifi. This sort of stuff comes up all the time. :)
    Hairo:
    Can you show me somewhere where pure pursuit of hedonistic lifestyle can occur without any negative consequences whatsoever?
    There are always consequences to actions and those who pursue actions that negatively impact on people more often tend to accumulate enemies or find themselves without any friends to help them when they need help. Or simply damage themselves so much from it that they can’t continue.
    Any and all animals who live in groups seem to get this idea in much quicker and more immediate lessons: if you’re the wolf who runs around biting all the other ones: you’ll be either killed or banished from the pack and thus have a much harder time surviving. If you’re a gazelle and you flip out and tstart trampling baby gazelles to death: chances are one of their mothers (or all of them) will fuck you up.
    Society today has different means of this law going on: civilisation and police/court systems make it a bit less of a “law of the jungle” style of organising, but last time I checked it was working reasonably well.
    There doesn’t have to be a God (or G-d for the english retarded) Gods or pink unicorn dispensing post life punishment for people to realise actions have consequences.
    I would also argue that believing there’s another life (a better one?) not only means this life is not seized (due to wishing/abstaining from living this life hoping for the next) but it probably means people don’t treat this one with as much respect as it deserves. There are certainly people in the world who, driven by their perceived PURPOSE given by god, want to spark off nuclear war to bring about Armageddon.  Judaism has some nutjobs who completely and utterly brainwash their children and shelter them from the real world in some sort of training for the messiah. There’s even people paid to wait at the edge of town waiting for some guy on a donkey.  Talk about wasted life because they think they are fulfilling a purpose by doing such stupid things.

  • Joe America says:

    I am atheist, I drive a night shift taxi. More often than not I find myself in ethical situations, and making a ethical choice.
    Last week I drove past a fallen wheel chair,  without thinking I jump out of my cab and bear hug the guy back into his chair.. I stank like the worst BO possible, this guy had not bathed in months. I did this without thinking, it was a completely NATURAL drive to suddenly want to help this guy, even though I was gagging from the smell. this happens quite a bit..its comical the situations I find myself in
    Another ethical choice; as a cabbie I get sexual requests monthly ( oralX mostly)
    Out of dozens and dozens of times, I say no everytime ( except once with a VERY eager very hot chick) This is an ethical choice I make, and I have no problem saying NO, because my ethics outweigh my natural sexual drive.
    How do you explain these ethical choices that are made  coming from an atheist?
    I follow no rule book, but humanist values

  • Anonymous says:

    FYI
     
    “One of the problems atheists have is the unbelievers’ assertion that it is possible to determine what is right and what is wrong without God. They have a fundamental inability to concede that to be effectively absolute a moral code needs to be beyond human power to alter.”
     
    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2010/03/how-i-found-god-and-peace-with-my-atheist-brother.html

  • Michael says:

    What I think Mr. Frosh may be suggesting is this:
    Ethical Egotism (Also Egoism) seems, at least to the perception of the theist, to logically follow a physicalist philosophy, While Utilitarianism, though demonstrably successful as a social tool, seems a non-sequitur.

    You’re probably right — and yet I’ve been asking for some kind of demonstration that this actually “logically” follows from a physicalist philosophy and have yet received bupkis. This sounds similar to the assertion that if evolution is true the “logical conclusion” is that we should kill everyone who gets in our way. But a theory about how things ARE can’t magically have a conclusion about what we should DO without affecting our values or motivations and I’ve never ever seen it shown how why evolution or a godless universe can possibly affect our normal day-to-day values.
    Frosh – obviously I don’t think computer life is equal to carbon-based life in that I’ve probably yet to meet a computer sophisticated enough to be conscious. It’s only if/when there is one that this would apply.

  • Chaim says:

    I am a bit lost..
     
    Is this topic about purpose for an individual atheist or society of atheists or is it about justification for a moral code as an individual atheist or society of atheists? or something different?
     

  • Reality Check says:

    areil, Einstein didn’t say understanding the universe because understanding is not the role of science. In Einstein little quote there is no reference or requirement for a Creator of the laws of nature.

  • ariel says:

    Nathan,
     
     
    I’ll address your questions in some order…
     
     
    1)      I don’t believe in a god, I believe in G-d. The same G-d shared by all monotheists. It’s spelt with a capital like all pronouns. I don’t write it fully because I don’t think it’s appropriate. It’s mark of respect.
    I’m not sure I understand the first part of your first question “why do you give a damn if you believe in a god?”…
     
     
     
     
     
    2)      You pose an interesting question which was asked 2000 years ago by great sages. Is G-d religious? Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can answer this…
    In any case, I know G-d tells me as a Jew how to please It and what It is “like”. The Bible – for one – says itself that the entire Nation of Israel (at least 1.5 million people) heard G-d “speak” – I use quotations deliberately for it was not literal speaking as humans understand it – and passed that message down to their children and grandchildren in an unbroken chain until today. (It was not solely Moses who “magically” received a message and convinced people of it- this is a misconception. Moses was just the administrator of the project).
    As for what G-d expects of others, that’s a different story. You asked how I know what G-d wants from me and that’s how I know. There are myriads of books which contain this knowledge only about 2 of which I’ve actually studied so I’m not even qualified to answer this question professionally.
    Regarding the writing of this particular pronoun, I can ask you where you get the notion that US President Barack Obama cares whether or not people call him “Mr President”, “Mr Obama”, “Barack”, or just “hey you”? The point is that it is a note of respect to call him Mr President. Being in the habit of not referring to the Source of Life in such a casual, non-chalant sense teaches us to show respect. I think our younger generation could a little bit about that subject…
     
     
     
     
     
    3)      “how is it you know that they have a purpose for you?”
     
     
    Nathan, I know you don’t believe in G-d, but that’s okay because G-d believes in you. Otherwise you wouldn’t exist because there’d be no reason for you to be here. If you’re just a random occurrence then there is no reason for you to contribute to anything worthwhile, let alone bother thinking any meaningful thoughts at all. The argument that we help out others because genealogy and evolution (biology) dictate that this is our nature is exactly my argument: there is a reason that our biologies are like this in nature: to enable us to fulfil our very reason for existing. That collective reason is that you and I have something to contribute to this planet that only you and I have the ability to do. Life is a symphony; different people playing different instruments, different notes and different scales – complete diversity! – yet all together it makes a beautiful, single, unique musical masterpiece. Unity from diversity; everyone doing a different task to contribute to the same, ultimate, single outcome of beauty and harmony. The challenge is to find your instrument and your part in the symphony and when you do, you will understand what the meaning of purpose is. (Most of us, including myself, are still working on finding our exact part, but many of us have merited discovering their role and have commenced playing…)
     
     
     
     
     
    4)      See my answer to 2) above. Furthermore, why do human beings create anything? To serve a purpose. A fridge, a car, a computer, a wheel, a pencil, a notepad: they all serve a purpose for us otherwise we would never have created them. The same goes for the Source of all Life. Except G-d can create objects with distinct awareness, the ability to create and above all, free choice. Says the 2000 year old Jewish statement: “Everything is in [the power of] Heaven, except for the fear of Heaven”; in other words G-d can make you do anything It wants, except listen to It.
     
     
     
     
     
    5)      a) As I’ve said in previous posts, G-d is not “somewhere over there”. G-d is simultaneously all-encompassing and all-permeating; at all times and all places simultaneously.
    Why do you think every object on the planet, whether an inanimate chair, a plant, an animal or a human are all made of slightly different collections of the same sub-atomic particles? A chair is a somewhat living thing, albeit far less living than an animal or human. It’s atoms vibrate at high speed; it’s electrons zoom around; yet all we see is an inanimate object because we don’t want to notice that under a super electron microscope every particle of everything on earth looks the same…Ah…science discovers the Unity underlying all of existence!!
    Which leads to frosh’s question of what makes us any different from a chair? The answer is, the amount of life-force in us, which makes us the thinking, speaking, contemplating, ethical beings that we are (or have the ability to become).
     
     

    b) G-d is absolutely Perfect, infinitely beyond any human conception or understanding of perfection. Therefore, there is by definition no other “being” that could be better suited to the role. If something is perfect, then it can’t be topped J

     
     

  • Nathan says:

    Ariel:
    So why just one god and not gods? Monotheism is a relatively new concept (w/ many concepts plagiarised from polytheistic religions) spread in popularity by some pretty barbaric/brutal expansions in history.
    You’re kidding yourself if you think that all monotheistic religions describe the same god. The only common element is that there’s one of them, to describe them as the same god is heresay in a good chunk of their teachings.
    God doesn’t have to believe in me, I am here and I can prove to anyone else in this world that I exist. God (gods) on the other hand seem to be completely unable to provide any proof of their existence, nor has any of their followers and we’ve had how many thousands of years?
     
    On point 3) “ Otherwise you wouldn’t exist because there’d be no reason for you to be here. If you’re just a random occurrence then there is no reason for you to contribute to anything worthwhile, let alone bother thinking any meaningful thoughts at all.
    Aah, so who is it who sits above god in the “needs to exist to drive everything” list?
    Also, why would an all powerful god have any need of humans whatsoever? The primitive thinking behind this idea astounds me (like the concept that god had to create a son, who upon torture and dying let god forgive humanity for various sins).
    You are SO completely unable to get the idea that people can just be good by themselves or contribute (or not) by themselves. How “empty” are you (if I can use the term to describe someone blind to seeing the wonderful richness of the world, people in it and their capacity to achieve much on their own) to need to create this god concept to fill in the gaps that aren’t there?
    Also the idea that we’re all here to contribute is patently wrong. Many are not here to contribute anything good at all, nor form part of any masterpiece. An example is Israel (since we’re on a related website): a bunch of delusional people think they have some sort of god determined right to occupy lands and are the source of much of the friction in the area in order to fulfill this “purpose”. If there was any justice and the religious aspects weren’t in there: by right Israel should have been formed out of Germany post WWII. But that’s a digression.
    Going back to the biology: look at what you’re saying and remove the “god made it that way”. Does it still work? Of course it does and it makes more sense because there are less unanswered questions as a result. Our biological processes (brain function, hormones etc) drive us. There’s no need of god in the equation whatsoever other than to fulfil a desperate need to cling to imaginary superbeings playing us like a big chess set.
     
    4) “why do human beings create anything?”
    Oh are you simple in the head or what? Why do dogs shit on the lawn? Why do beavers build dams, birds build nests? Why do fish swim up river, why do bacteria multiply..?  We’re just doing what our biology/reasoning capabilities drive us to. One of our biological drivers is reasoning/learning capacity. One of our primitive drivers is fear, another is hunger, another is reproduction.. Some of those drivers combined with I presume a religious indoctrination as a child have lead you to superstitious beliefs, some other drivers and different environmental conditions have lead me to demand proof before I believe wild and crazy superstitious crap.
    I’ll quote Epicurus on your ridiculous Jewish quote (basically building in a loophole for explaining the absolute irrelevant nature of those beliefs), a man who shows far more wisdom than you can find in any of that superstituous claptrap (the good bits plagiarised from earlier philosophers):
    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”
    Any and all god/gods have failed on the above.
    5a) Oh dear: “the amount of life-force in us
    You going to use the force now Luke?
    So what’s the difference between Humans and Chimps then? Is our life force the “talking” type of life force? What about humans that can’t talk: did they just miss out? Or humans with brain damage who can do nothing but breathe and blink: can we deduce that the “life force” lives in the human brain? So god’s just holding our brains together? So god can be destroyed by simply not wearing a bicycle helmet and riding recklessly in traffic?
    Or maybe chimps have it, but chairs don’t. Do plants? Do bacteria, since under an electron microscope you can’t tell the difference?
    Or how about that we’re mostly non-human by count of genes in our bodies: we’re 99% non-human content:  from: http://english.pravda.ru/news/science/health/04-03-2010/112470-bacteria_rule_world_humans-0
    More than 99 % of the different types of genes in our bodies are not in fact human, but come from microbes. So cataloging the genetics of bacteria inside of us will improve vastly on the mapping of the human genome, study co-author Jun Wang, a Chinese genomics researcher believes.

    Bacteria “rule this planet, including our body,” study co-author Jeroen Raes, a researcher at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany, said in an e-mail. “I think it’s important that people realize that we are not really human — we are a walking colony of bacteria and they are crucial for our well being and health.”

    Looking at 124 adults, researchers found that most people’s digestive systems have a lot in common. At least 57 species of bacteria were present in just about everybody. Overall, the researchers cataloged about 1,000 different bacteria species and figure there’s another 150 or so they haven’t found.
    So given we’re just walking sacks of bacteria loosly held together with a bit of Human content: is god bacteria perhaps?
    I mean we can go all day with this ridiculous notion that there’s a “life force” and I’ll show you how to snuff it out based on whatever criteria. None of which requires any supernatural intervention.
    If your god determines behaviours and ethical behaviour then it must also follow that barbaric, horrible, evil behaviour is also attributable. Or is that all part of the plan (meaning as Epicurus said: god must be evil).
    If your argument is that atoms have the same sort of structure therefore god exists: ummn, no. That’s like saying because all Easter eggs look the same once you unwrap them that the Easter bunny exists. And I haven’t even started on the “anything you say requires god, substitute gods and explain why that can’t work just as well”.
    5b) Sounds like the PR department of every authoritarian evil dictatorship in history. So when are you moving to North Korea for the equivalent concept (but real). Oh that’s right: because it sucks on Earth and if it is true: I demand democracy instead.

  • Nathan says:

    Hairo (I forgot to respond to this):
    “Nathan says: “Your invisible-made up-no proof-vague-sentient-supernatural being” etc.
    Virtually Undisputed Historical Facts:
    1. There was born, and lived, a man who is today known worldwide as Jesus Christ.
    2. This man was executed by the method crucifixion, at the hands of the Roman Empire.
    3. Some time later, Jesus’ closest followers attested to his being resurrected from the dead.   (the validity, but not the reliability, of this is diputed)
    4. 10 of the original apostles were killed for standing by their beliefs, despite being asked to retract their statements in public roman and jewish courts on numerous occasions.

    I have yet to hear of any reasonable and logical explanation as to this turn of events, save that Jesus was that who he claimed to be.
    Plenty of people dispute the historicity of Jesus and the stories in the bible and for such a great guy: he sure didn’t rate a mention in any history books or historians (except for christian scholars re-writing history), but let’s just assume absolutely everything you say is true: where’s the supernatural part in what you describe? Where’s the proof that anything other than a guy who had followers got executed? There were plenty of near identical stories around that time, you’re just clinging to one of them.
    There’s MUCH MUCH more evidence of Mohammed and the events in his life: does Islam get to claim it is more valid?
    Or how about absolutely EVERY cult with a living deity/leader who claims to perform miracles. They can probably even show you video rather than a dubious account, written well after by people who didn’t even know the guy in question and mutated over the years..
     

  • ariel says:

    Nathan,
    Before we continue this discussion, I’d like to know how many years of your life you have spent studying religion and G-d in religious institutions. I wouldn’t discuss medicine with someone who has read an anatomy book or an atlas of diseases, but never attended medical school…
    In any case:
    I spent an hour or two during breaks at work compiling answers to your questions which were answered a long time ago by highly intelligent people. I decided to cut and paste the main parts of a Q and A from a Jewish website. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s an all-encompassing answer; it’s just a smidgen to provoke some thought…
     

    What Is G‑d?
     
    By Tzvi Freeman

    Question
    Somewhere along the way, I misplaced G‑d. The other day I realized that I hadn’t seen G‑d in quite a while–probably not since childhood. And it’s not just that I can’t find G‑d–I also seem to have lost my sense of what G‑d is… Why did this happen? If I had Him when I was a child, why shouldn’t I have Him now?
    Answer
    You’ve got one clue, but you missed the other. It has to do with your language. Call it “thing-fixation.”
    That’s probably the main disaster of your childhood –not being weaned, not leaving behind pampers for underpants, not sitting in a desk in first grade –but when you learned about things.
    I don’t mean, “you learned about things of the world.” I mean, you learned the idea of things. You learned that the world is made of stuff, objects, material goomp that’s just “out there”. Later in life, you started running after those things, accumulating them, amassing more and more mounds of things to fill your home, your backyard and your driveway. By now, the entire world has been reduced in your mind to nothing but a mass junkyard of thingy stuff. So even G‑d gets defined as a thing –and you’re trying to find the place where He fits. Because, after all, all things fit in places.
    When you woke up to life as a small child, it wasn’t like that. There were no things. There was just the experience of being. Of sensing, of living, of breathing and doing. Screaming, nursing, burping. Those were all real. Those are life. Things are not real. Things are fiction. They don’t exist. We made them up.
    The Birth of Thinginess
    How did things come to be? Here’s my catch on it.
    In the beginning, there were no things. All of humankind knew life as does a small child, even as they grew older and wiser. But then someone got it into his head to draw pictures of all the stuff he had. Eventually, pictures became glyphs, a nifty device for esoteric communication. Glyph-lovers–such as the cult-priests of ancient Egypt–created thousands of glyphs to represent all the stuff Pharaoh was accumulating. Soon the idea seeped into the spoken language, as well: the idea of a “thing”–a static snapshot of a distinct whateveritis in a frozen moment of time. Stuff was born. And the world was never again the same.
    Evidence? Because in ancient, biblical Hebrew, there is no word for stuff. Or thing. Or object or anything similar. In raw, primal Hebrew, you don’t say, “Hey, where’s that thing I put over here?” You say, “Where is the desired (chefetz) that I put here?” You don’t say, “What’s that thing?” –you say, “What’s that word?” That’s the closest you can get to the idea of thing: a word. All of reality is made of words. Look in the creation story: The whole of heaven and earth is nothing but words.
    In fact, in ancient Hebrew, there aren’t really any nouns, either. In languages like English, nouns are the masters and verbs are their slaves, with adjectives and associated forms dancing about to serve them. In Hebrew, verbs rule. Big, little, wise, foolish, king, priest, eye, ear–all of these sound like things, but in Hebrew they are forms of verbs. In fact, according to Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz (1560?-1630), author of the classic Shnei Luchot HaBrit, everything in Hebrew is really a verb. Everything is an event, a happening, a process –flowing, moving, never static. Just like when you were a small child.
    In Hebrew, there is not even a present-tense. There are participles, but the idea of a present tense only arose later. In real Hebrew, nothing ever is–all is movement.
    That fits, because Hebrew was not written in glyphs. Hebrew was the first language we know of to be written with symbols that represent sounds, not things. With the Hebrew alphabet–the mother of all alphabets–you don’t see things, you see sounds. Even the process of reading is different: when you read glyphs, the order doesn’t matter so much. You just sort of look and everything is there. Even modern Chinese glyphs can be written in any direction. With an alphabet, sequence is everything. Nothing has meaning standing on its own. Everything is in the flow.
    Get The Flow
    The flow is real. Things are not real. Ask a physicist: the more we examine stuff–what they call matter–we see that it’s not there. All that’s really there is events: waves, vibrations, fields of energy. Life is a concert, not a museum.
    Think of writing music, as opposed to painting a portrait. The portrait artist stands back and beholds his art, his still rendition of a frozen moment–and he beholds it all at once. Then he politely asks his model to please return to the pose of that which has now become the prime reality, the portrait. A portrait of that which is but never was.
    A composer of music cannot do this. You can’t freeze a moment of music–it vanishes as soon as you attempt to do such. Like the fictional stuff they call matter: Frozen to absolute zero, without energy, without movement, it no longer exists. Because, in truth, all that exists is the flow of being.
    The Name
    The flow of being: now you have found G‑d. In fact, in Hebrew, that’s His name. G‑d’s name is a series of four letters that express all forms of the verb of all verbs, the verb to be: is, was, being, will be, about to be, causing to be, should be –all of these are in those four letters of G‑d’s name. As G‑d told Moses when he asked for His name, “I will be that which I will be.”
    In our modern languages that doesn’t work. We quickly slip into the trap of thingness again. Who is G‑d? We answer, “He is One who was, is and will be.”
    There we go with the “thing that is” business again. No, G‑d is not a thing that is or was or will be. G‑d is isness itself. Oy! The frustration of the language. We need new words: Ising. Isness. Isingness. Isifying. Isifier. In Hebrew you can conjugate the verb to be in all these ways and more. Perhaps in English one day we will do the same. Until then, we are like artists using pastels to imitate Rembrandt; like musicians trying to play middle-eastern strains in tempered C Major.
    And the proof: We ask questions that make sense only in English, but in Hebrew are plainly absurd. Such as, “Does G‑d exist?” In Hebrew, that’s a tautology, somewhat the equivalent of “Does existence exist?”
    There is no need to “believe” in this G‑d–if you know what we are talking about, you just know. You will know, also, that there is nothing else but this G‑d–what is there that stands outside isness?
    As for faith and belief, those are reserved for greater things. Like believing that this great Isness that isifies all that ises cares, knows, has compassion, can be related to. In other words, saying that reality is a caring experience. Which reduces to saying that compassion is real, purpose is real, life is real. That’s something you have to believe. But G‑d’s existence–like most ideas that men argue about–that’s just a matter of semantics.
    Think simple: You wake up in the morning and, even before coffee, there is. Reality. Existence. Not “the things that exist” but existence itself. The flow. The infinite flow of light and energy. Of being, of existence. Of is. Think of all that flow of isingness all in a single, perfectly simple point. Get into it, commune with it, speak to it, become one with it –that is G‑d.

    –          Courtesy chabad.org

  • Nathan says:

    The answers to absolutely everything you twits keep bringing up are found in stuff that any of the published atheists mentioned on here have written. Try, oh I don’t know: RICHARD DAWKINS? You guys keep steamrolling over almost everything that is said.
    How long I’ve spent in church or at a religious school is completely irrelevant. I’m tertiary educated, well read, well travelled and successful in my career. Although I began life with a related schooling in fairytales and for a while I did believe in imaginary beings (santa, the easter bunny) though I cottoned on to that pretty young and grew out of them.
    I did get some bible thumpers attempting to indoctrinate me in scripture at school before I managed to get out of that (I spent my time before that asking them childish but too tough questions to get any real answers.. and I was in primary school.. you lot are no more sophisticated than the primitive answers they gave “god is everywhere”, “god doesn’t need a creator, he just is and always has been”, etc etc). Just once in my life I’d like someone to come up with something other than bullshit reasons that aren’t plucked from the “religious person’s guide to fallacious arguments” or pascal’s wager.
    To be brutally honest: anyone who has spent time being indoctrinated at a religious school has had precious moments of their one life that we know for sure taken from them. The worst are the ones who devote their lives to such a cause (greater understanding of the lord/god etc).
    Also: which religion qualifies. If that’s the criteria: have you spent time studying Islam in an Islamic school, Christianity in a Christian school, Buddhism in a Buddhist school, Hindi, Scientology, Raelian, Flying spaghetti monsterism at pirate school, Judaism at a jewish school, Mormonism at a Mormon school, Amish school etc.. If not: sorry, by your criteria I don’t believe you have the authority to speak on religion.
    If the only people who will satisfy your criteria to speak with authority to speak on issues of morality are those who have devoted years of study to RELIGION (hey, didn’t someone say that I was confusing religion and god and that this wasn’t about religion): I think there’s no point continuing with a discussion if that’s your attitude. I guess Richard Dawkins doesn’t qualify either because his study was (like mine) in a secular institution and on a non-religious topic.
    Also: how dare you speak about Atheism if you haven’t spent time studying it in a non-religious/secular institution. The gall!  (see how ridiculous that is).
    Have you actually read Richard Dawkin’s book? Or perhaps something by Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens?
    PS if you think what you pasted up says anything real, you’re kidding yourself. What a load of tripe. Saying god is real because existence (or matter or light or energy) is real is the most retarded logic I’ve heard since last time I talked to a religious nut. Replace “G-d” in your thing with “the gods” and tell me why “the gods” aren’t real and “G-d” is. While you’re at it replace “g-d” with “santa claus” and maybe we can clear this childhood story up..
    Sam Harris clears up some misconceptions about atheism for you lot, since you don’t seem to get it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLIKAyzeIw4
    And I think christopher hitchens sums up things nicely as to why I don’t have any respect for religion/god/gods/g-d/b-llsh-t whatever.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22fvEPsI2JA
    Just please don’t post up “the banana: the atheist’s nightmare” or “peanut butter, the atheist’s nightmare” in response. :)
    Anyhow.. Have fun with your fairytale rubbish, may you quietly waste your life studying every facet of woo and craziness and hopefully abstain from all earthly pleasures lest you realise there’s a world out there that you don’t need an imaginary skygod holding everything together. Hell, I dunno, maybe even get into science and see that the god of gaps has been so pushed away as to be irrelevant.

  • Hairo says:

    Nathan asked: “where’s the supernatural part in what you describe? Where’s the proof that anything other than a guy who had followers got executed?”

    Exactly my point. I carefully selected these facts based on what information is considered by the vast majority of historical scholars to be undisputed. Surprise, surprise, this does not require a belief in the supernatural, as these things do tend to be rather disputed.

    The purpose of my post was to get any atheist or agnostic person to attempt to rationalise the events, in the course of which, I firmly believe they will find it a difficult task. This is because of the consideration which I mentioned in a later post (March 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm), which you may not have noticed, that the apostles did not just get executed, they were asked to stop preaching the gospel, and when they wouldn’t, they let themselves be executed. I have tried to rationalise this behaviour, but have yet to find a reasonable explanation, save one.

  • Nathan says:

    Hairo:
    lots of people are willing to die for all the wrong reasons. Some people die doing noble things, some die doing horrendous things. You can indeed rationalise just about everything IF you have a full enough understanding of all the influencing events (which is a hard thing to do).
    Take that particular time: men enlisted or were conscripted to go off and die for whatever the king said. Soldiers, body guards etc lay down their lives for king and sometimes country. So I’d say if you can talk to a modern day soldier as to why they might be willing to die for their country: perhaps that will give you an answer and those are some of the easier reasons to understand because defending your country is quite easy to rationalise.
    As for back then: well you’re talking completely and utterly ignorant peasants who think that the most impressive way to show off a god’s power was a burning bush. There were always prophets wandering around spouting gibberish and promising they are talking to gods etc.. Nothing’s changed much today: we call them cults if they don’t have enough followers to be a mainstream religion. So when told they aren’t even allowed to THINK doubt, let alone speak doubt and denounce their messiah: it’s no wonder they’re willing to die for such an unlikely and unimpressive story. Talk to the fulangong and ask yourself why you, if living in China, wouldn’t just give it up to stay alive.
    People have died for ideology, religion, rights etc. Many people in the USA died to keep slavery going: hardly a noble cause, yet it was a hard fought war.
    Today we’ve got people screaming threats and protesting in the streets against getting universal healthcare. I mean how insane does that sound? What kind of idiotic logic is it to fight for corporations over people. But if you examine the background, environment, friends/family, tv, literature etc factors you’d probably find some very rational paths to the conclusions they came to.
    Doesn’t make them right, just finds a rational trail. Religious belief a lot of the time comes from authority figures telling things they have no right to state as truths e.g. “god definitely exists and always has”. Absolutely unfounded pure opinion presented to a trusting child as fact.
    Doubts are of course natural because children see through bullshit, but when you add in threats of eternal torture, a constantly watching being who judges you on thoughtcrime: it starts to create mental patterns that reinforce the lie told in the first place.
    Then once that’s cemented in a bit you can start to nudge people towards whatever you like in the name of religion and you get people sacrificing themselves (or their children? One of the great “moral lessons” in some of the books) for the cause. Some of the more extreme ideologies do identical things to religion.

  • Relative says:

    Nathan: You clearly do not hold the same discerning and critical thinking towards science (with its axioms, assumptions and theories taught as fact to children and others) as you do to God and religion. Furthermore you lump religion into one group despite a vast array of and within each religious group. Maybe they are all right to some extent and God has individual relationships with each person.
     
    You can not fathom a relative truth. Yet, you have your own belief system and you are indoctrinated by some spiteful, angry and intolerant people and books.
     
    In the end the only issue is how you as a human being relate to other human beings (past, present and future) not what you believe. That for me decides if you have the truth or even better what the best belief system is to enable a functional, just and compassionate world even if it can not be proven as fact. Yours too does not work (in my humble opinion).
     
     

  • Hairo says:

    Nathan says: “You can indeed rationalise just about everything IF you have a full enough understanding of all the influencing events (which is a hard thing to do).”

    You could  have saved yourself a lot of time/ranting if you just typed IDK.

  • Hairo says:

    Nathan also says: “well you’re talking completely and utterly ignorant peasants”

    Have you met my good friend…. Pythagoras?

  • Kjic says:

    G-d admonishes Israel to distance themselves from ‘charmers’ and ‘observers of times. Just another escape goat a way for the children to put their hands over their ears and not hear a word from the gentiles, the G-d’s chosen people. Plain and simply how we got to this point in time through survival of the fittest and luckiest.  What purpose does a virus have in life! Ask a Stromatolite they have been around some 3.45 billion years bit longer than 10,000 you all say it was created, all in six days you think all the scientist around the world have conspired to say all these thing are older than 10,000 years, what purpose would it all have to live so long without G-d, lol Convinced me your not bias lol.

  • Educate yourself. says:

    Kjic: many orthodox Jew believe the creation story is allegorical.
     
    see here and maybe do some research before you make false conclusions.
     

  • Educate yourself says:

    Kjic For your education. Many religious Jews believe the story of creation was allegorical.

  • ariel says:

    Nathan,
    Thank you for proving you (and Dawkins) have not advanced your powers of deep thought beyond that of a 5 year old. I suspected when I posted the QandA that it would apply to you as one who had a bad experience in religion as a child and therefore threw the baby out with the bath water and became an apostle of the Sith. (You’re the one who equates G-d with religion. I was trying to speak your language).
    Did you have a bad experience as a child where you couldn’t relate to a particular football coach’s training methods? I wonder if you then – like a 5 year old who takes his toys and goes home – decided that football was a fantasy; that people who were involved in it are mentally deficient. Or did you take a break for a while and take up the sport under a different coach with whom you could relate?
     
    BTW, I didn’t realise atheism was supposed to be studied. Isn’t it meant to be an absence of ideology/faith? Like Dawkins says, saying atheism is a religion is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby. So why have a convention about it and worship Dawkins? Will you sacrifice your first born virgin daughter to appease him at the next conference?
     
    It appears we can’t continue a rational conversation, because as Relative points out, you’re filled with blinding anger. Anger is an unhealthy emotion which leads to hate and suffering and eventually into the hands of the Dark Sith; you should use your G-d given free choice and choose not to express it. You’ll live longer and you’ll live with inner peace and content.
     
    Kjic,
    Please refer us to somewhere in this blog where anyone said the world was less than 10,000 years old. I haven’t been able to find it.
    Listen to Educate Yourself.

  • Kjic says:

    No matter what way you dance and sing it is still a way of not listening to facts and ignoring others making a point toward belief not just yours although it did have a big chunk of your flavour, did the first part sting a smig god forbid anyone should say anything true about you. Your posturing over who is smarter or more educated no wonder you can’t communicate with people in the norm it is a wonder you didn’t do PHD’s at ten paces this is always the catch cry of the ones who answer nothing with more procrastination or philosophies and theories that have been flogged to death live for life not for some fake life after this you throw away to many today’s you end up with no tomorrows. If your life expectancy is eighty or so don’t waste a second on rubbish or people that can’t and will never change as you have all the time in the world to bitch about it when dead. I might as well talk to a Stromatolite

  • ariel says:

    I think I worked out the formula.
    Someone tells you what they believe. Then you call them a liar and tell them they really believe in something else, which you don’t like, all so you can continue criticising.
    Ok, you win. I believe there’s a god with a big white beard sitting on a cloud preparing to zap all atheists with a bolt of lightning. There you have it. I confess; like Stern Hu. You may now go home and claim victory to the masses while they continue to starve.

  • Reality Check says:

    O K areil, how old do you believe or think the world is?

  • Michelle Z says:

    Hi Frosh,
    I think an now clear on your point that ‘if one fully believes that there is no metaphysical, then one ought to see consciousness (and thus consciousness’ desire for virtue) as an illusion’ but I’m not sure I agree. Consciousness is a real product of the chemical/electrical signals in a person’s brain. However, I agree atheists should be self-aware enough to recognise that these signals create certain feelings/thoughts (which you from this point of view label an illusion) and be able to decide to act in opposition. But I do not agree that they necessarily OUGHT to strive to overcome the ‘illusion’.
    As demonstrated by your examples. Humans who recognise the desire to consume as much sugar as possible as an evolutionary hangover with adverse outcomes in modern society, can choose to try and act against desire. This then has a positive outcome of losing weight/being healthier. While choosing to act against the desire to procreate and care for one’s children can actually have an adverse outcomes for people, from the most simple and selfish being no one to care for you in your old age to the more complex of losing the pleasure derived from having a child. It is therefore not surprising that this does not happen often. If there is no positive outcome from ignoring the ‘illusions’ why would someone rational choose to do so just because they know it’s an ‘illusion’.
    My point is that a belief that there is no answer to why we are here, except for random accident, doesn’t negate the fact that we are here and are alive and have consciousness that we have to act on in one way or another. From this point of view a person who recognises this should decide to act in ways that make them feel good/happy/fulfilled and not to prove that it’s all an ‘illusion’ (unless of course that somehow benefits them in some way). The justification, whether or not a person would admit it out load, for an atheist’s life purpose, whatever it is – good or bad, therefore should be because it has the positive benefit of making the person feel good/happy/fulfilled.
    Michelle

  • Chaim says:

    It all comes down to experiencing Godliness.  You either have had it or not.
    But true Godliness without a proxy dramatically change a person and his perceptions of the world and himself.

  • Kjic says:

    I would rather talk why does a bunch of atoms (regardless of complexity) require a code of ethics and morality? metaphysical physical anthropology presents balance with a Jewish comedian because he would understand the innuendo or a jib all this intellect to master English and kudos to u, but you have learned little Aussie. Or should I say Aussie atheist, read into, generalize a heap more. Parameters change every day to what we know or how far we can see at any given point in time we don’t sit in the apathy of time. Move on let go, our enemy today are allies or brothers tomorrow make purpose for no other reason than to produce a better one next and survive you can’t convert or kill everyone who doesn’t believe in what anyone of us sells, there is always going to be those who have some prejudice against the past, group or mob mentality not everything is bad about belief  or atheists but it is not the be all end all because we evolve just that little more every day. Thank God lmao

  • Reality Check says:

    Chaim, so what happens to people who do not experience Godliness. That is, how come God created some people who are fervent believers and perform all the mitzphot who will go straight to heaven while others, who are perfectly decent, kind and generous human beings, just don’t or haven’t experienced this Godliness? What happens to them?

  • Jon Cool says:

    Why the obsession with having to find Purpose in everything?
    A Hubble photo of a birthing star, had no Purpose but fails to remove any Beauty of the event.
    Maybe it has no Purpose whatsoever, and we happen to capture its passing photons. Yet its still a majestic almost spiritual picture.

  • ariel says:

    Chaim,
    thank you for your concise yet very deep response. I think you hit the nail on the head.

    Joe Cool,
    The fact that you find a bursting star beautiful may be its sole purpose, i.e. to make you smile or to bring beauty into our lives. Or it may be somthing more.

    Reality Check,
    Suggest you scroll up to an earlier post of mine where I provided this link:
    http://geraldschroeder.com/AgeUniverse.aspx

    I encourage you to read it several times. Please don’t make the mistake of other commenters here and dismiss it outright.

    I share his conceptual understanding.

  • Chaim says:

    RC: you should learn more. Judgment in Judaism is complex. It is very possible that a “perfectly decent, kind and generous human being” who does not believe in Gd can go straight to heaven. In fact all people eventually go there.  It depends on what the intermediate “cleansing” process is.
     
    You may have fervent believers who do “all” the mitzvot and have to go to gehinom first because of some terrible thing they did to another person which was not exactly against one of the 613 halachas.
     
    Anyone theoretically can experience Gdliness – if you meet a truly (not charalatan) holy person of which there are extremely few or you have a particular Gdly experience yourself. After that it takes effort to make a vessel to perceive it.
     
    And then people can deceive themselves either way.
     

  • Geoff B says:

    I didnt realise how well the athiest feathers can get ruffled!
    If there is no God then why not just sit back and relax and not worry about the people who must have got it wrong ? But perhaps they may not have gotten it wrong and perhaps there is a good reason to get ruffled feathers. If you want to deny there is a God – I would worry.

  • Skep says:

    Geoff,
    If it was that easy, just to sit back and relax than I am sure most atheists would opt for that. But the cold hard fact is that religious nuts are everywhere and they influence all our lives, especially when it comes to laws and politics. Oh, but you can’t see it from that perspective. You would rather rant and pretend like the atheists are upset because they secretly adopt your delusion.
     
    Frost,
    “I do not claim that all we are is a bunch of atoms. I only claim that this is the logical extension of true atheism.”
    Except that isn’t the logical extension of atheism. Reducing everything to its components doesn’t devalue existence. A human isn’t “just” a bunch of atoms. We are a system with a consciousness. Your premise of what an atheistic world view should be is complete nonsense and thus your conclusions based on that premise is nonsense.

  • frosh says:

    Skep,

    You write: “Reducing everything to its components doesn’t devalue existence.”

    The problem is that without employing the metaphysical, I am yet to hear a sound explanation of how existence can have any value whatsoever.

  • Deb says:

    “A genuine atheist ought to agree that there is neither anything sacred about a human being, nor any other living thing. Thus, a living thing is simply a complex arrangement of a bunch of atoms or chemicals, as is a tennis ball, a tin of paint, or a laptop computer. While I have no reason to believe that atheists in general are devoid of morality and purpose, the question that remains unanswered is “what is their justification for having a morality and a purpose?” Why does a bunch of atoms (regardless of complexity) require a code of ethics and morality? Furthermore, why would a bunch of chemicals be so concerned if another bunch of chemicals happens to feel that there is some form of metaphysical force that makes certain arrangements of chemicals (living things) sacred?”

    You appear not to have any understanding of secular morality as distinct from religious morality. For an atheist, it is not about sacredness nor what some invisible being is purported to have said. Rather, what is moral is centred around suffering and what is likely to minimise it. What is ‘sacred’ around bunches of atoms is their ability to suffer.

    Further, the lack of a taste from beer is rather different to a shared disbelief in any sort of god, given the nature and vehemence of those respective convictions. One is a mere taste or distaste for something while the other is a carefully thought out philosophical system.

    I’d also like to know where you think you get the authority to speak for all atheists in terming us agnostics. For me and others I know, there is no doubt about it. I’m convinced that there is no god just as I am convinced that there is no such thing as fairies at the bottom of the garden. I actually find it difficult to understand why people such as yourself insist on believing in some invisible sky bully. I can only assume that childhood brainwashing runs deep.

  • Deb says:

    And I should like to add that more atrocities have been, are and will continue to be committed in the name of religion than in the name of atheism. Take a look at the entire Middle East if you have any doubt about this.

  • frosh says:

    Deb,

    Where have I said whether I believe in a metaphysical or not?
    This is not about belief, but about a philosophical framework. I understand that atheist morality revolves around suffering, but this philosophy is incomplete, as it does not explain how this suffering is simply not an illusion of consciousness. I’m not arguing that a metaphysical exists, I’m negating your philosophical framework.

    As for the Mid-East, a separate issue entirely. While someone with only a superficial view might believe these war to be all about religion; however, if one has a deeper understanding of the region, you will see that these wars are really far more about tribalism, politics, and economics, than about religious differences.

  • Hairo says:

    “what is moral is centred around suffering and what is likely to minimise it. ”

    Is suffering bad? How do you know?

  • Confused says:

    “Where have I said whether I believe in a metaphysical or not?
    This is not about belief, but about a philosophical framework. I understand that atheist morality revolves around suffering, but this philosophy is incomplete, as it does not explain how this suffering is simply not an illusion of consciousness. I’m not arguing that a metaphysical exists, I’m negating your philosophical framework.”

    Frosh, do you understand that atheism DOESN’T have a dogma, it’s kind of the point of being atheist.

    Secondly, if anyone is a fan of suffering it’s Yaveh who consistently shows malcontent towards anyone and anything in his way (including women, children, homosexuals, anyone of a different faith, anyone in the land for Israel before the jews got there – i could go on).

    Thirdly, Judaism is ABOUT belief in the metaphysical, if you don’t believe in god and you follow the word of halacha you’re either a hypocrit or entirely disingenuous.

  • Tim Anderson says:

    A lot of intelligent responses here to this misguided article. I don’t care what religion you are from if you leave me alone to be an admirer of Dawkins, but the Australian Labor party takes orders from the The Australian Christian Lobby, in Victoria Bronwyn Pike would not allow the teaching of humanism is public schools. Only 3% of primary school children’s time is spent learning science, they spend more time on a fictional god than on science.The dumb country is run by religious groups.

    Vanity of vanity to think you are made in God’s image, a sickening egotistical notion of being superior. A brief timeline of evolution

    http://www.hereticpress.com/Dogstar/Science/Cosmology.html

  • Marky says:

    “I don’t care what religion you are from if you leave me alone…”

    So then I would advise you to air your concerns re the christian lobby etc. on a christian forum, not here. This is a Jewish forum.

  • Tim Anderson says:

    Thanks Marky, I think it does concern Jewish orthodoxy as well in that there have been attempts in Melbourne by orthodox Jewry to tell one man to “pull his head” in for being critical of the former Brumby government. Menachem Vorchheimer was said to be guilty of Chilul Hashem for being critical of police corruption in Victoria. It is about all religions not just Christianity, any religion that tells people to pull their head in and does not “leave us alone”. Jewish views are not that different, they lobby and campaign and like Mr Frosh are critical of non-believers. A Jewish forum is a good place to raise these questions when the article is related to Richard Dawkins, I think so anyway Marky. What do you think of the Jewish community telling Menachem to pull his head in, the Jewish community is no different to others and the authors Mr Frosh has views of Dawkins and atheists that are not so well informed on humanist views that we are more than the atoms that make up our physical chemistry.

    http://www.hereticpress.com/Editorials/Editorial10.html

  • Marky says:

    First of all no one is stopping you from being an admirer of Dawkins(if that’s what does it for you..)
    I still can’t see how bashing christianity has any place here. There are those Jews who are for Menachem and those against, so don’t just lump it all one way on “the Jewish community”. Everyone has a right to their opinion. There are always those who try to coerce others to their opinion, just as you are trying tell us what to do(or rather not to do)with regards to Menachem. And you(and other atheists) don’t do any lobbying and campaigning?

  • Tim Anderson says:

    No-one is stopping you being Jewish (if that is what does it for you) Your tone is condescending, that is the essence of religion, each group says they know best, they are the chosen people. Your view is typical misguided and arrogant. The orthodox community has been against Menachem, you are a group who lobby fiercely for your own cause and for political friends. We need more atheists conventions and more people willing to advocate science and reason. Thankfully your view is not representing the entire Jewish community.

  • Marky says:

    Yes of course, anyone who disagrees with you is condescending, misguided and arrogant. Your telling me that my religion is fictional, that is arrogant, that you know best.

  • Tim Anderson says:

    It is not worth the effort to try and have a conversation with you anymore Marky, good luck with your imaginary friend.

  • ariel says:

    I’ve caught up on the last few posts and can only say that Tim is doing what most atheists on this thread have done: criticising Judiasm without knowing anything about it; especially the Jewish view of Hashem.

    Tim, you and all other humans are also created in Hashem’s anthropomophic “image”.
    I suggest you do some study as to what that means in the Jewish sense, seeing as this is a Jewish forum.

  • Marky says:

    Tim also demands that we “leave us alone”, when he is the one who comes on to this Jewish forum to attack us. One rule for Tim and another for us….

  • Tim Anderson says:

    Do worry I will not come here again, I will happily leave you with your imaginary friends. There must be some intelligent Jews somewhere else, wrong place to have an article about atheism. Why publish this biased article by Anthony, if you are not willing to discuss anything? I will go to the Richard Dawkins foundation and converse with some people with real knowledge, no wonder people find some Jewish ideas hard to take, you think you are superior on your insular little Jewish forum but you posted an article about atheist that is ridiculous and simple minded, you are vain, egotistical, ignorant and not capable of seeing past you own prejudice and upbringing.

  • Marky says:

    You are asking to have a discussion about something we disagree about. But you want me to first agree to to your point of view. Otherwise I am “egoistical, vain, ignorant, condescending, misguided, arrogant.. etc. So only you and those of your veiws are intelligent. Now that is the height of arrogance and everything else you wrote. But of course you are so blinkered…
    I have no doubt that on atheist sites such as Dawkins, what is said about religion, would make Frosh’s opening article look very tame in comparison.

  • Not Agnostic says:

    Someone much wiser than me once said: the problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are unflinching in their beliefs, but wise people are full of doubt.

    Or words to that effect. And it’s a pearler. The world is far too complex to be put down to a such a simplistic idea as “god’s will”. To accept and stubbornly persevere with the idea of God without entertaining the idea that there isn’t one puts you in the “fools and fanatics” category. (And don’t try to turn that on me. I have entertained the idea that there was a god, all through my childhood and a bit further still. The implausibility of it made my brain hurt.)

    The idea of god may have made sense to ancient civilisations – imagine a person dying of leukaemia 2000 years ago, how would they explain that? Well, there must be a higher purpose, of course. But in no way does such superstitious, simplistic, nonsensical reasoning apply in this day and age.

    Simply, it boils down to Epicurus’ god paradox:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    Well, which is it?

    Ps, another person wiser than myself also said: I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.

    Boom.

2 Pingbacks »

Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.