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Archive for Saturday, May 6, 2006

Student group inspires Idaho atheists

May 6, 2006

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An offshoot of Kansas University's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics has sprung up in the red state of Idaho.

"We're seeing a positive branching out of our organization," said Andrew Stangl, president of KU's SOMA. "It certainly feels really nice that we've been able to inspire somebody to take the initiative and start a new group."

The KU student group found itself in the midst of controversy late last year when its faculty adviser made disparaging comments about Catholics and religious fundamentalists on the group's Internet discussion board. Months after the firestorm, the group is quietly moving on and increasing its membership.

Students at the University of Idaho have created a similar group based on the KU organization. And as in Kansas, they find themselves somewhat in the minority in a conservative state.

"We do stand out somewhat," said Michael Tuttle, a member and the group's webmaster.

Tuttle said that as the Idaho group, with its 15 to 20 members, makes itself known, it has had problems.

"Signs that we've put up to let people know about the group have been ripped down," Tuttle said. "Some other groups just don't like the idea of us not believing what they believe in, not having their superstitions. It's their way to stop people from hearing about us."


Members of Kansas University's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, from left, are Henry Bernberg, freshman, Paul Youk, graduate student and vice president of SOMA, and Andrew Stangl, junior and SOMA president. A similar campus chapter is starting up Idaho.

Members of Kansas University's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, from left, are Henry Bernberg, freshman, Paul Youk, graduate student and vice president of SOMA, and Andrew Stangl, junior and SOMA president. A similar campus chapter is starting up Idaho.

Members of both groups, which aim to advance a nonreligious worldview and to challenge religious dogma and those who advocate it, said their mere presence was important as a way of adding a voice to the many viewpoints.

SOMA makes a point about the existence of atheists and agnostics, said Stephanie Kirmer, a member of the KU SOMA. But the point isn't to convert anyone, she said.

And the group, which has been called a hate group, aims to dispel myths about nonreligious people.

"We don't kill puppies and eat babies and things like that," said Adrien Yeganeh, a graduate student and member of the KU group.

As some turn out for the National Day of Prayer, SOMA members are staying in. They promote events like Darwin Day and the National Day of Reason, a counterpart to the Day of Prayer.

So long as there isn't an immediate call for prayer in schools, the SOMA members are quiet about the Day of Prayer event.

"We don't really give much thought to it," Stangl said.

Comments

xenophonschild 8 years, 7 months ago

Ignorance is abundant. God is an "It" - not a he or a she. "It" is an abstraction that controls matter through natural physical laws. That is all that we know, at present, about the nature of God.

We also know that the Jews were wrong; God did not "create Man in His own image."

We also know that it is impossible for any human being to have "a personal relationship with God," any more than it is possible for a human being to have a personal relationship with gravity, or electromagnetism.

And Jesus is dead. Has been for two thousand-odd years. He wasn't God when he was alive. Anyone who believes he was God is not a serious thinker.

Have a nice day.

bankboy119 8 years, 7 months ago

"We also know that it is impossible for any human being to have "a personal relationship with God,"

Wrong. We don't know that.

"We also know that the Jews were wrong; God did not "create Man in His own image.""

Wrong again. We don't know that.

mefirst 8 years, 7 months ago

Macon,

Your comment is funny, especially given that this country is run by Christians placed firmly atop your "hierarchy." It never ceases to amaze me how threatened Christians are by the existance of even the tiniest group that might question the Bible or religion. You feel the need to insult and belittle them.

These folks aren't claiming superiority, and they do not travel around the globe trying to convert people because "their way" will bring those people eternal happiness in the afterworld--uh, OKAY!

I love how Christians always play the victim role, like they're being persecuted, even though the have the money and the power. Yes, you're so oppressed!

And, you demonstrate your absolute contempt for education and those who are educated. Why do religious people have such contempt for learning?

John_the_Baptist 8 years, 7 months ago

Some truths from the Bible: 1. Jesus was and still is God 2. Jesus is still alive and is at the right hand of the Father 3. God does want to have a relationship with all of us. Proverbs 3:6 says that "in all thy ways acknowledge him (God) and he will direct thy paths". 4. The book of Genesis teaches us that man was created in God's image

james bush 8 years, 7 months ago

What an inspirational story. Now I suppose Sophia will find us some really interesting news about the Rotarians, Optimists etc. This story inspires sadness.

bthom37 8 years, 7 months ago

Meh. As an atheist, I see no point to joining these folks. Who the heck needs to join a club for this? Of course, the other side of the coin holds true; who needs to join a church if they do believe?

Strontius 8 years, 7 months ago

As the president of SOMA at KU, I really must point out that responses like those coming from Marion and John_the_Baptist are exactly the kinds of things that keep out membership alive and growing.

SOMA does not put forward a worldview or a set of beliefs and values. Each of our members has their own ideas, political and social beliefs, and a host of other concepts that enriches the organization as a whole.

When the Christian says "There is a God, and it's Jesus", the SOMA-ite says "Prove it." We are the counter-balance to a culture that accepts the most obscene and ridiculous faith based arguments as fact without making any effort to understand their own beliefs and values. In my own experience, asking a religious person why they believe what they believe creates a crisis of faith. Most of the time, they look at me as though they've never thought about it before.

It's terribly easy to hide behind online posting areas like these and lob attacks at people you've never met as though you were the first person to make the comment:

"so "opened minded" that their brains have fallen out."

Which seems to imply that our members are blank sheets, and not the rich substance I've come to know as president of KU's SOMA group for the last two years.

But asking Christians not to judge the SOMA group's members would be no different than asking them to live by their own holy books. People just want to eat the frosting and try to ignore the cake.

xenophonschild 8 years, 7 months ago

We need to shout from the rooftops: "Jesus is dead! He was not God when he was alive! Death to all the old sky-god religions!"

You adherents remind me of a not-so-bright child whining: "The earth is flat . . . 'cause my mommy told ne so!"

pundit 8 years, 7 months ago

I believe in God. She invented roundabouts.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

You are all incorrect. The Lord and Savior of the Earth is the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

http://www.venganza.org/

You no longer have the excuse that you have not heard of Him, so you are now free to worship Him.

Marion, it was FSM that created puppies, after he created a mountain, a tree, and a midget.

Cast about in the darkness no longer. FSM is Lord. Arrrrrrrr.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

What a radical organization, one that advocates reason and logic and dismisses superstition and dogma. They are dangerous.

In addition to being dangerous, they are a huge buzz-kill. People don't like to be told that Middle Earth never existed and that it was all a fairy tale, let alone their dogmatic superstitious religious beliefs.

Buzz-killers.

bige1030 8 years, 7 months ago

I find Adrien's quote funny. I mean, why are atheists, and not believers, accused of baby eating? After all, the Bible says, "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." (Psalms 137:9) What better reason is there to gain this Biblical happiness than for food?

xenophonschild 8 years, 7 months ago

On a sober note, what the Republican idiots in charge have done to science is an abomination. The Chief Cowoby Idiot and his minions pander to the born-again idiots who constitute the Republican political base. Born-again idiots don't like science; it makes them uncomfortable by challening their beliefs. Unless they, or their children, get cancer. Then they run to scientists and doctors to save their wretched lives. If they survive, they sing paens to their dead Galilean.

Public-funded science has stagnated ever since the Chief Cowboy Idiot took office. NASA's budget has been cut, and several important projects are imperiled. Scientists in general complain of a distancing from them and their work by the current administration.

We cannot afford to sacrifice technological and scientific primacy in the world to satisfy the ignorant in their credulity. We should all work hard to minimize, reduce the power of religion in our public and private lives.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

xeno summed it up quite nicely. This is the most anti-science administration in modern times, as well as the most dogmatic and ignorant of reality.

The Bush administration doesn't only simply ignore science; they attack it. Science tends to conflict with their dogmatic, ideologically-driven views on topics such as Iraq, energy, medicine, and the environment.

Read "The Republican War on Science" for a complete indictment.

adavid 8 years, 7 months ago

why worship a god followed by so many hateful, bitter idiots? western religion blows.

jwmound 8 years, 7 months ago

look how full of life they are in that picture... heh

Confrontation 8 years, 7 months ago

Strontius: It's good to see that there's a really valuable club at KU. After seeing so many sorority and fraternity members, I was beginning to doubt intelligent life existed on campus. Keep up your good work. The religious people in Lawrence and elsewhere will never practice what they preach: "Do unto others...."

james bush 8 years, 7 months ago

I guess SOMA is better than an organization of taliban subscribers!

3e8 8 years, 7 months ago

Nobody will likely ever prove John_the_Baptist wrong. His claims are untestable by the methods of science, another method used to weigh real decisions made by real people in a real world. Belief in God and belief in the scientific method are both matters of faith, neither contradicts the other because the domains of questions that can be properly weighed by either faith do not intersect.

I don't think that believing in nothing is very helpful or productive.

Strontius 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion,

Are you actually suggesting that because there are elements in the universe that I and others can't fully explain, there must be a god? Surely by now we've moved beyond such primitive theology as the "God of the Gaps" argument.

Why do you get a free pass when it comes to your beliefs while the rest of us have to fight tooth and nail just be able to see some glimmer of representation in our own government?

SOMA isn't in the business of telling other people what to think or believe. I think religious institutions have a monopoly on that, and they're welcome to keep it because frankly, I think that's wrong. We are however in the business of challenging beliefs of every kind, even our own. It's important to continuously re-examine even our deepest beliefs in the light of new information and other changes taking place in the world. This is what it means to be "open-minded". Not blank sheets, but open , reasonable people who are comfortable discussing even the most deeply rooted social taboos.

Contrary to what the poster above me says, we can demonstrate quite effectively that lack of religiosity is extremely helpful in society. It has a negative correlation with social ills like crime, poverty, abortion, homicide, suicide, and many others. I would argue this correlation and the subsequent research shows that atheism goes a long way to curing the ills of society. This does not mean people believe in "nothing", but rather they believe in things which can be tested and empirically proven. People who believe in the goodness of humanity and work to that effect are happier and healthier. People are forced to create their own meaning in life rather than seek it in the morally questionable Western religions.

Atheists and other nonreligious people are given a bad rap for no good reason other than a general dislike of people who dare to disagree with the majority. Somehow, Christians have managed to become both the oppressor and the oppressed in American society, and it's terribly unjust to both nonreligious people and the Christians who would never discriminate against someone for their lack of belief.

It's terribly important that we all work together to create a pluralistic society where ideas are met with discussion and debate. We will never advance as a species or a society unless we are willing to discuss our inner most beliefs and ideas with other people.

Some ideas really are superior to others. We all believe this to be true, but we can't make claims about these ideas unless we are willing to sit down and discuss them openly. This is precisely what SOMA does so well, and will continue to do in the future. I've never met finer human beings in my life than those who become involved with SOMA.

3e8 8 years, 7 months ago

"Contrary to what the poster above me says, we can demonstrate quite effectively that lack of religiosity is extremely helpful in society. It has a negative correlation with social ills like crime, poverty, abortion, homicide, suicide, and many others. I would argue this correlation and the subsequent research shows that atheism goes a long way to curing the ills of society."

  1. Quantify "religiosity"
  2. Quote your source and note that correlation alone does not indicate causality.
  3. Support your argument since you are making claims that can be measured.

Does this sort of unsubstantiated rhetoric and hyperbole pass for "an argument" on Mount Oread?

Baille 8 years, 7 months ago

"This of course means that there is something greater and more powerful than they which can and has created these things."

Wow, Marion. You did what Descartes couldn't. You proved God exists.

Kant? Hegel? Kierkegaard? Morons!

Bravo, Marion. Bravo.

;)

anonimiss 8 years, 7 months ago

I myself do not care for religious dogma. I have no idea how a man in an outfit chanting in a different language and waving incense around will make me closer to God. I don't know why you have to go to a gold-encrusted church with relics (body parts of dead saints) to be closer to a God who is everywhere and in us all. But watch one of those haunting shows onetime, the ones with interviews of self-proclaimed atheists moving into a house, only to turn religious when they're view of the world falls apart. Read up on Eistein, who objected to sub-atomic physics by saying "God does not roll dice." Look at the similarities of different religions, of the natives of Central America who had a whiter, bearded god who walked across water from the East, how Islam recognized that Jesus performed miracles. The more you delve into the world around, the less sense atheism makes.

demystifier 8 years, 7 months ago

I think a person can be a naturalist, an atheist, or an agnostic and still think there is "something" greater in the universe than human beings....indeed, when one considers how many religious followers believe in a "special creation" in which human beings are either the goal or the center piece of existence, I think most atheists and agnostics have more thoughful regard and appreciation for the vast wonders of the very real natural universe than do many religious adherents.

Really, which is more intellectually smug-an atheist who sees humanity as a very small but interesting occurance in an overwhelmingly complex and intriguing universe that they seek to scientifically and philosophically understand to the best of their limited abilities or a theist who believes that there is a perfect and all-powerful being who exists and has specifically created humanity (and them as an individual) to be the ultimate creative expression of the universe.

Also Marion, one part ignorance and one part complexity do not make a good argument for the existence of some sort of supernatural or magical creator.

Strontius 8 years, 7 months ago

3e8,

Once again, I've given too much credit to the general population. I thought this was common knowledge, so here is my source from the Journal of Religion and Society:

http://moses.creighton.edu/jrs/2005/2005-11.html

And here is another source discussing the issue:

http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/atheism.html

Responding to each of your points:

  1. If we get into a debate about quantifying religiosity, then we make no progress whatsoever. That's a philosophically dead end argument normally employed as a sort of filibuster. So I'll leave the definition of religiosity to the study above.

  2. I've quoted my source above. It's really nothing more than empirical data. I know correlation doesn't prove causality, but considering the strength of the correlation, some sort of relationship exists here. At the very least, atheism does not cause problems for society.

  3. I think I've supported my argument quite well with both the sources listed above.

I find it both amusing and disturbing that religious people are allowed to lambaste nonreligious people, but their own beliefs are totally off the table. You don't get to exclusively play offense in this little game.

Strontius 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion,

Are you playing an online puzzle game somewhere?

signless 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion,

First of all, your insistence that nonbelievers be able to spontaneously generate puppies from a vacuum is disturbing all on its own. But we'll deal with that later. Second, atheists and free thinkers merely admit they have very few concrete ideas about the formative causes of the universe we inhabit. Those they do profess are gleaned from scientific investigation and observation of the world which surrounds us. In my opinion, this is the most intellectually, ethically and morally honest position to hold. It's YOU who attribute spectral, special powers to an invisible entity. If we built TWO boxes, and asked you and every other religious person in the world to pray really, really hard for a puppy to appear inside I wonder how long we'd be waiting. Third - while I can't get a puppy to appear in that box, I think I know of a couple of guys who can. I think we may need to write Penn and Teller and see if they're up to the challenge. I think they could also rustle up a feast of loaves and fishes, walking on water, and probably even parting the Red Sea (if they had enough time, and some really BIG mirrors...). Finally, I applaud and encourage the brave young people of the SOMA organization and all their peers. As a person who was born and raised in a religious tradition, and thankfully grown to recognize its inherent repression, oppression and hypocrisy, I am only envious that these young people have found each other, and created an atmosphere of support and encouragement for those who reject the empty promises of the religious. I had to struggle along, seemingly alone, until serendipity would bump me into another who felt the same. Good luck, and keep up the good work, SOMA. And realize, you are NEVER as alone as you may sometimes feel.

puppy4dinner 8 years, 7 months ago

I live out of town in a messy old shack, I drive junky cars and write an internet hack.

I'm a journalist wannabe, with malice and dread, I'm a mirror image and clone of my mentor phred.

I'm a self proclaimed tough-guy, I pack heat, I beat up bad guys in the inner city street.

I rant and rave telling my tall tale, I boast business acumen, but my businesses fail.

I failed as a smoker, I failed as a pawn, I'm a trader now, another bankruptcy con.

I'm ignored and dismissed as a crazy old loon, I'm an idiot, a jackass and a big bafoon.

Who am I...

puppy4dinner 8 years, 7 months ago

ad hominem manipulation is just as fair as counterintuitive strawman "vacuum" challenges.

Strontius 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion,

The assumption that something caused the universe to snap into existence is a logical fallacy in of itself. For all we know, the universe is a "grow your own universe kit" sitting on a desk of some extraterrestrial in a universe beyond our comprehension.

The universe that we are only beginning to examine is a truly wondrous place, and requires us to dismiss our preconceptions in order to truly appreciate everything it has to offer.

I know my place in the universe, and its quite humbling. I make no assumptions about the universe, and require people who put forward ideas to offer evidence for their claims.

Until I see real evidence for the various claims professed by the religions of humanity, I feel no obligation to cater in any way to these superstitions of old.

Ember 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion... just as an aside comment...

if people figure out how to make puppies, then we could make people, eventually, then there would be no use at all for any gods or goddesses...

you SURE you want someone to figure out how to make a puppy?

Baille 8 years, 7 months ago

First we have Schrodinger's Cat. Now we have Marion's puppy.

Look, Marion, you can't prove God exists. It is no big deal. No one has ever been able to prove God exists. And yet why should one have to? Belief in God is based in faith not in logical empiricism.

Sorry for teasing you about it, but you have started a Phil 101 argument that every past participant knows is futile. It is like starting a game of tic-tac-toe and pretending that it is chess.

It really comes down to a few simple points, Marion. While neither I nor the Strontius guy can make a puppy that does not necessarily mean that puppy had to be created by a being if inifite attributes. The fact is once you get past the canine humping, no one knows how the puppy gets created. How did order come from chaos? Crap. I don't know. Neither do you. You want to believe in some supernatural creator, and that is fine. Others would rather just sit back and say "I don't know," and for them that is enough.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

Dogmatic religious conviction negatively correlates with education. This is a simple fact that has been demonstrated again and again, including by the references given above.

Religion is at its best when it accepts progress, science, and education. What we are witnessing today, most dramtically in islam but also in good old american x-tianity, is that religion is placing itself at odds with progress, science, and education.

gr 8 years, 7 months ago

Well said, Marion. I, for one, have remembered your comments (shall we say, "against") God in the past. I see you coming across as a questioning individual who wants to see some support for off-the-wall comments. All you get is attacked for asking questions.

Strontius - "We are the counter-balance to a culture that accepts the most obscene and ridiculous faith based arguments as fact without making any effort to understand their own beliefs and values."

Strontius, surely you see the similarities with the evolutionist's faith.

3e8 8 years, 7 months ago

Strontius: Please cite a peer-reviewed source. I don't believe everything I read on the internet. Unless your goal is simply to wind people up, I'm interested in peer-reviewed studies that back up your claim.

As soon as you mention "religiosity" as being "correlated" with such and such, then you necessarily are implying that religiosity is quantifiable as correlation is a mathematical function that's applied to a set of ordered pairs of numbers.

And again, correlation alone does not imply causality.

signless 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion,

Sorry for any offense, but you came across as strikingly similar in your logic to practically any other theist I've met. In your very first post, you stated (and I paraphrase...)

"Since they cannot create so much as a dandelion; oh, they can fool around with the genetics and the DNA and play games with cross-breeding but they can't create what they would have to start with. This of course means that there is something greater and more powerful than they which can and has created these things."

I hate to tell you that "This of course..." means NO such thing. You merely imply it. You assume that since we haven't been able to do a thing, there must be "something greater and more powerful" than us. This is a pretty big leap on your part.

I see no such reason to attribute our lack of understanding - or our short-lived existence in this universe - as proof of the existence of some superior power.

The reason I get my hackles up about statements such as yours is the insidiously attractive false logic which underlies it.

And sorry...but you DID insist there was something greater than us out there, and you did so with not one shred of proof. Remember, that the absence of evidence (our inability to create puppies), is not the evidence of absence (our potential to do so at some time in the future). As an atheist, I make no special claims about any being or force in the universe. The burden of proof lies squarely upon the shoulders of those who insist such a being or force exists.

And sorry, again...you DID attribute special powers to something - that indefinable "something" you mentioned which obviously created puppies in the first place.

And sorry, again...I am NOT fearful of admitting the existence of something greater than myself. When proof exists (something more than mere semantic philosophical nattering...), I will be more than happy to observe its existence. I AM, however, fearful of people who attribute supernatural explanations to things which are simply unexplained. Those are the same people who tend to tie people to large piles of kindling and set them on fire.

This is the entire reason why most atheists and humanists simply admit their ignorance when it comes to the causitive element of cosmology. We pay attention to what we discover, not to what can simply be attributed to our ancient fear of the dark.

I wish you the sincerest luck in your search for answers. I only hope you don't fall into the quagmire of mystical mumbo-jumbo that seems to surround us these days.

Strontius 8 years, 7 months ago

3e8,

The links were to a published, peer-reviewed journal article and a chapter from a published book.

From the Journal of Religion and Society: "All submissions to the journal will be subject to blind peer review."

Maybe next time you should actually read the links before passing judgement upon them.

As I said in my previous post, I left quantifying religosity to the journal article. And I am quite aware, as I said before, that correlation doesn't prove causation, but it show a strong relationship that deserves attention.

Please actually read my posts before responding to them.

Baille 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion,

I have not ignored anything you have said, although I just skipped all the new stuff.

But you can't just plead agnostic now. You don't say " I don't know." You say "I have simply suggested that since we humans cannot create a universe that something greatear and more powerful than ourselves did."

You say "Something, whatever that something may be, set the whole thing into motion."

The only thing you don't seem to "know" is what to call "It." For example, "Call it God, The Great Spirit, Supreme Being or The Mice; it makes no difference; we do not know, cannot know and most likely will never know."

The problem is that you think you have proven there is an "It." You have not. You have articulated - kind of - a solid basis for belief in an It, but you have not proved it. Again, no one has. Didn't expect that you might be the One.

"You consistently try to place me in the category of the fundamentalist Christian when I have said repeatedly that I am not a Christian."

Huh-uh. I don't care how you label yourself. I just thought it odd that you felt you proved the necessary existence of a supernatural creator/force with your puppy thing.

"I have simply suggested that since we humans cannot create a universe that something greatear and more powerful than ourselves did."

I know. You aren't the first. Again - a good basis for belief, but it ain't proof.

"It may well really be that "Phil 101" simple!"

Only for the C students. :)

Baille 8 years, 7 months ago

What?

You did, too!

You said because there is X, there must be Y.

"Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist or an Einstein to figure out that none of them can create the babies that they don't eat or the puppies that they don't kill.

"Since they cannot create so much as a dandelion; oh, they can fool around with the genetics and the DNA and play games with cross-breeding but they can't create what they would have to start with.

"This of course means that there is something greater and more powerful than they which can and has created these things."

That is a proof! It is fundamentally flawed proof, but it is a proof nonetheless.

You haven't simply asked the question. (And a fine question it is - one well worth asking.) But you have provided an answer as well.

"I've been comfortable with my conclusions which have been reached quite logically. Something, whatever that something may be, set the whole thing into motion."

Your answer may well be right, but if it is it is by serendipity and not logic.

I have not asked you for "proof." I have consistently said that proving the existence of a supernatural being, force or creator is impossible. At least by us mere mortals.

I think it is funny that you think I am the one in empty cognitive exercises. I simply jumped in to point out your attempt at proving a creator was inherently futile and pointless. I don't know a better definition of the phrase "mental masturbation" than trying to prove the existence of God by pointing at your new puppy.

Good stuff, Marion. Keep it going. Don't give up now.

Baille 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion:

YES!

"I have in no way attemtped to prove the existence of "God" but merely suggested that there is indeed something greater and more powerful than ourselves which should be obvious to anyone who merely takes a look around."

Why are you so hung up on labels? I don't care if you call it God, Vishnu, Linguini Monster, or Mice, you are postulating a proof of a supernatural creator. Moreover, you criticized a group of students who don't agree that your "proof" adds up to what you think it does. Rather than argue the points with them (they who would have far more patience with your "proofs" than I and far more passion for engaging in such discourse), you would rather fall back on semantics and tired, long-discredited proofs of a supernatural creator. Believe what you will, Marion, but don't think you have proved what your philosophical forebears could not.

Man you kill me. "All I said was that there is snomething greater and more powerful than us. I did not specify what that something is and in fact went so far as to say that I do not believe that the answer can be known."

I know. I get it. You think there is a supernatural creator but you can not name it, describe it, characterize it, define it, or even comprehend what it could be. But you do know that it exists. You know this because there exists puppies, combustion, cats in boxes, and other things of an orderly nature that humans can not create from nothing.

So, yes. I speak English. Comprehend it. Read it. Write it. Mangle it now and again. But I usually know my limits as well. You call these SOMA guys empty headed, and then try to show why by inane analogies and meaningless, illogical proofs. Tell you what, while I am getting reacquainted with Star Trek, why don't you get acquainted with SOMA? From all appearances, they look as if they would enjoy having a civil, reasoned discussion with you about all the historical proofs of a supernatural creator that philosophers have long debated. Your Cartesian angle is but one approach and not nearly the most interesting. If you entered into such a discussion willing to listen as much as talk, you just might learn a thing or two.

gr 8 years, 7 months ago

Baille - "You have articulated - kind of - a solid basis for belief in an It, but you have not proved it. "

Do you think there is proof there is NOT something greater than us? Do you even think there is supporting evidence there is NOT something greater than ourselves?

Baille 8 years, 7 months ago

You are asking me to prove a negative when I am asserting that a positive proof cannot be made? That is impossible.

I mean, c'mon. Please prove to me that a Levitating Linguini Monster did NOT create purple and pink Toasters on the Planet Kargash located on the far side of the Mikly Way? What? You can't do it? Well, that's OK. No one can. It is pretty tough proving a negative.

On the other hand, I think there are plenty of good reasons to believe in God (or a god, or several gods). But I separate "reason to believe" from proof. Faith in God (or whatever) is based on belief. God cannot be proven (or disproven for that matter). Or at least no one has been able to do it yet. That's it. That is the summary of my posts on this topic thus far. Marion thought he had an elegant proof of the existence of a creator. I told him he didn't.

CanadianPassport 8 years, 7 months ago

They have every right to hold meetings and deny the existence of God, just don't go there to pick up guys ... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/mar...

wonderhorse 8 years, 7 months ago

"FUNDIE ATHEISTS, Quit forcing your non-religion down our throats. "

Don't know what a fundie atheist is, but when has an atheist forced their non-beliefs down anyone's throat? It's not like they are trying to get laws passed that take away your belief system.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 7 months ago

Wonderhorse:

"Don't know what a fundie atheist is, but when has an atheist forced their non-beliefs down anyone's throat?"

From Merriam Webster Langenscheidt's

"Fundamentalism: a movement or attitude stressing strict adherence to a set of basic principles."

Notice that "strict adherence" alludes to dogmatism, an unwillingness to acknowledge other "belief systems" (or to think others "inferior" without offering reasonable proofs of one's alternative), and an inability to articulate from reason why one holds such a belief system, hence the need to rely more and more on "faith."

I fail to see what is so difficult to grasp in the term.

wonderhorse 8 years, 7 months ago

Lepanto

Because atheists don't stress a strict adherence to a set of basic principles--the term "fundamentalist atheist" is nonsense. I fail to see what is so difficult to grasp about this concept.

wonderhorse 8 years, 7 months ago

c-man

No, it is believers trying to pass laws to force their religious beliefs down everyones throats. Laws should not reflect religious beliefs. A minority cannot oppress a majority, but only the legal system can keep the majority from oppressing the minority. Use a little logic, please. Churches already get tax breaks. Isn't that enough, already? Your illogic is amusing, but I am out of here. Wrestling in the mud with pigs is not my cup of tea.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 7 months ago

So let me get this straight,

Do atheists not deny the existence of a god?

Does the atheist not bind him/herself to the "principles" of chance, purposelessness and randomness.

Do atheists not believe in the principles of reason and empiricism?

Do they not hold these "principles" to a level that can only be regarded as faith "principles" as they are unable to prove their epistemological alternative?

Do not atheists cry (even on this board) for the religious to put aside their mental delusions or outdated principles and replace them with the tenets (principles) their new superior faith?

Do they not believe this "principle" superior to others, even though they have no hope of proving their alternative.

If these are not the binding "principles" of atheism, then what principles would you have us know of the atheist and it retain even a modicum of credibility?

Are principles something for an individual to determine? Are "principles" now known as "opinions?"

Lepanto1571 8 years, 7 months ago

wonderhorse:

"Your illogic is amusing, but I am out of here. Wrestling in the mud with pigs is not my cup of tea."

Thanks for proving my point. That's the dismissive response of someone who possesses a "strict adherence to a set of basic principles."

To recap from the definition above wonderhorse, you are a "fundie."

gr 8 years, 7 months ago

wonderhorse - "Laws should not reflect religious beliefs."

So, should we remove murder from our laws? It is in the 10 commandments.

BOE 8 years, 7 months ago

Posted by conservativeman on May 8, 2006 at 1:51 p.m.

Wonderhorse,

* " It is reported over and over how atheists are suing the government for granting funding to a Christian organization ..... "

** " One particular group of stupid atheists "Freedom From Religion Foundation" has for their purpose the...... "


" ........some atheists I know are smart but it still doesn't change the fact that atheism is the most closed-minded position you can have. "


" Atheism has its share of fanatics whose number one mission is to ram their beliefs down everyone else's throat. Sometimes Christians make laws to show their beliefs to others (Christians are the majority). Fanatical atheists attempt to force their beliefs upon the majority. "


" The fact that the historic faith of the United States is Christianity is not a mere personal choice. Any honest person, Christian or not, would concede as much. "

===== == ===== .

Attacking America's Christian Heritage
by The Southern Avenger 29 November 2004

* It was reported over the weekend that a group of atheists were suing the federal government for granting funding to a Christian organization....

** The atheists in question call themselves the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" and their explicit purpose.......


........... most atheists I know are fairly intelligent people but it still doesn't change the fact that atheism is the most closed-minded position you can have.


Just like Christianity, atheism has its share of fanatics whose number one mission is to ram their beliefs down everyone's else's throat. Sometimes fanatical Christians make laws to force their beliefs on others. So do fanatical atheists.


To believe or not to believe in God is a personal choice. The fact that the historic faith of the United States is Christianity is not. Any honest person, Christian or not, would concede as much.

http://www.southernavenger.com/82/?form_58.replyids=88&form_58

BOE 8 years, 7 months ago

Posted by conservativeman:

" I don't know how many times I've told you Libtards I don't care what you post. "

====

Okay, okay! You don't care.

;)

thomgreen 8 years, 7 months ago

"Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the truth values of certain claims-particularly theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods, or deities-are unknown, inherently unknowable, or incoherent, and therefore, (some agnostics may go as far to say) irrelevant to life."

It's amazing how threatened people get by someone that stands up to say "I don't know". Do you really have to lash out against someone that has a view different from your's, only because it threatens what you believe? In all reality, I really don't care what you believe in. As long as you don't infringe on my freedom to follow my beliefs (or non-beliefs) as spelled out by our constitution and our laws. But I do have a problem when your beliefs start shaping the laws that I have to follow, the life I have to live, and the life my children (current or potential) are going to live.

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

Once upon a time, there was No Thing... just a vast expanse of unknown emptiness. Then, for some reason we shall call The Great Mystery, out of that No Thing Ness, came Every Thing Ness. Some call it GOD, others GODDESS, others SCIENCE or the Big Bang, and still others don't know what to call it. It spread across the Void like wildfire, making galaxies and stars and planets and animals and humans and who knows what else... maybe even dragons and Elves somewhere (unless someone proposes to know everything about every potential planet in the Universe, you have NO proof it does not exist. True science embraces infinite possibility when exploring the unknown- even Einstein believed that.)... God's plan? Creation? Evolution? It's a miracle, all the same. (For you who appreciate it, the word miracle stems from an Indo-Aryan root that means, "To Smile." And yeah... I kinda like life, so whether science or god, Creation is a miracle.)

Science is as much of a religion as Buddhism, Christianity and "primitive" pagan religions. There IS a dogma to science, and it's called Natural Law. The First Law of Thermodynamics... the Law of Gravity... they are some of the Commandments. And guess what? Throughout the millennia, what used to be proven becomes disproven... one century's magic is another century's science.

I do not believe ANY religion should be forced on ANY one. And I say this as someone who is very much a believer in Science and the scientific process. However, neither do I discount the psychological significance of individual religious experience just because it cannot be empirically proven. I also do not believe teaching ignorance and blind faith are appropriate, particularly in public education. But opening TRULY open minded dialog is critical. I believe this forum proves we are nowhere even close to that.

So long as petty differences keep us from communicating without poorly masked snide superiority or knee-jerk dogmatic opinions, humans will stay exactly where we are as the Universe spins by without us. In any case, tomorrow morning, when the Sun comes up, even though Science has taught me many things about how the Sun was created, and why we spin around it, and that the position of the Earth in the solar system is why life can be sustained here, I will be profoundly... religiously... grateful for being here.

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

I know how laws are made through the Scientific Method... I'm a scientist and a researcher. I didn't say the Law of Gravity was accepted wholly on belief. In fact, I called it a Commandment... in Christianity, these are their Laws. However, instead of suggesting you take a class in reading comprehension, I will suggest you not be so quick to suggest another perspective is ignorant, uneducated, or uninformed simply because it suggests a new way of looking at something. I AM NOT a Christian and I am NOT promoting their perspective. I do not, however, believe that all religious concepts and science are mutually exclusive.

I believe the laws constructed during the Big Bang are amazing and beautiful and absolute... the reason so many laws of science are in place is because of scientists with a spiritual perspective of their science. Don't just read the laws, read about those who developed the laws, and you might learn a lot.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiousity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiousity." Albert Einstein.

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

75x55: " 'I also do not believe teaching ignorance and blind faith are appropriate, particularly in public education.'

I'm confused by this obtuse statement. What is it exactly that you are trying to communicate with it? Thanks!"

In my post, in the sentence before that, I had just said, "I do not believe ANY religion should be forced on ANY one. And I say this as someone who is very much a believer in Science and the scientific process. However, neither do I discount the psychological significance of individual religious experience just because it cannot be empirically proven." I was indicating that even though I do not discount all religious experience OR science, I do not think any form of blind faith should be taught in public schools.

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

And can I just say how it blows my freaking MIND how amazingly judgemental some of the supposed scientists who have posted are. And no... not all, and no, I'm not talking about requests for evidence or pointing out real scientific knowledge... I'm talking about namecalling and playground like behavior. I don't believe in god... for all I know when I die, I am worm food. Good! Because how miraculous is that... my WASTE is what produces the SOIL my FOOD grows in... how wonderfully COOL it works that way!! If pure science is so appealing, why are you so afraid of a perspective that believes even what is known- what is SCIENTIFIC- can be miraculous and spiritual?

Have you investigated WHY the mind has not evolved beyond religous thought? If all you have looked at is biology and chemistry, then probably not. Have you truly looked at the role it plays in the little thing we call civilization and culture? NOT any particular religion... but the notion that there is always something Greater to investigate and learn about and strive for. There really are factors that require us to deal with things besides what we can replicate in a lab. If this kind of pure rationalism is where Science would have us evolve, I don't want to be part of that world any more than a world run by Southern Baptists.

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, faith is also "Confident belief in the truth, value, trustworthiness of a certain person, idea, or thing." The linguistic root of the word means, "to persuade." I don't think that implies all faith is blind at all. In fact, I think true faith comes only from testing beliefs over and over again. Blind faith is simply given because you are told to. How many times in public schools are our children told to believe something, just because their teachers / administrators / superiors tell them it's right? I work in public education, and children are taught to regurgitate "facts," not think for themselves.

To give an example of how I see faith as different from dogma... religions teach blind faith in their dogma, or set of religious beliefs and principals. You must believe in these rules, no matter what, but the rules are the dogma, and the belief in them is the faith.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 7 months ago

Das_Ubermime,

You are correct sir. I have given the new atheism entirely too much credit.

The old atheism stood strong and said "There is no God. The new atheism hiding from tangibility, dabbling in agnosticism says, "I am god."

Thanks for the correction.

"Das Ubermime" is a new name, am I correct? Did you not possess a different moniker in the Reader Reaction if MY memory serves?

I seem to recall a few back then with whom I may have stood diametric to in certain things, but found imminently intelligent, reasonable and noble in their outlook.

And as for my tactics, well, some deserve it, I get bored with left vs. right, and at times my keyboard has been known to take over. It's a technical glitch. I'm working on it. You may recall that when approached reasonably I return the same in kind?

Respectfully,

Lepanto

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

I speak of Science is a religion (Am.Her.Dict. "A principle pursued with zeal" ) with a dogma (same source: "An authoritative statement of ideas considered to be absolutely true." ) based on Scientific Laws, such as the ones I mentioned as its Commandments. There have been times even science has been proven wrong, and needed to change its position. Christianity, et.al., are religions based on spiritual laws. They all, including Science, believe they are right and the other is wrong. They all miss pieces of the picture- even Science. They all try to push their beliefs on others and look down on those who see things differently. Insulting my position instead of asking for clarification is exactly what I am saying will leave humans in the evolutionary dust. This demonstrates as well the danger of seeing everything in purely scientific terms- there is no understanding of human perspective or anything that is NOT scientific.

Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton was a Hermeticist and an Alchemist? THE Father of Gravitational Theory...hmmm... In fact, many scientists who have made the greatest contributions and discoveries in science, and math as well, also had very strong mystical and philisophical leanings... I wonder why that is... ? I think it's because they saw endless possibility, and were not afraid to be wrong. They took leaps when others told them, "No, that's just not possible, see, we have this LAW..." They had the guts to move beyond Scientific Fundamentalism and seek the Giant Spaghetti Monster... the Force... the Whatever... They believed God WAS Scientific Law, and their lifetimes were deticated proving as much of it as they could.

My point is NOT that science is wrong... it is that science can also be a very satisfying spiritual endeavor, especially when one is not afraid to admit that there are just things that cannot always be proven with our current level of knowledge.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 7 months ago

Das Ubermime,

Gluey, I thought it was you. I was going to question you with some lame code like: "Did you ever hear the one about the guy who enjoyed consumption of adhesives?," just in case you didn't want to uncloset.

Let it never be said that I won't bend to the reasoned admonishment. I stand corrected for my orc-like behavior.

Glad to hear from an old aquaintance.

Terrapin716 8 years, 7 months ago

No, I'm not from Maryland. I'm from Lawrence. The difference between a religion and a philosophy... I would say they are relatively similar, although there are some philosophers who would not like the notion of their ideas being called "religious," and there are some religious people who unfortunately never once take the time to philosophize, or really think about, their religion.

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