Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
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15-11-2010, 11:38 AM
 
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
(14-11-2010 07:38 PM)Mindprowler Wrote:  No there's no obligation to understand evolution if you are an atheist.
But it's fucking interesting, so why not learn about it.

Agreed. I'm just now starting to fully grasp the concept of evolution. Of course, I didn't exactly have to best teachers (Thanks, State of Kansas.)
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15-11-2010, 11:44 AM
 
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
(14-11-2010 02:56 PM)rsteve Wrote:  If an atheist is atheist by philosophy alone, do you think he/she is not a proper atheist? e.g. Someone isn't educated on evolution, but is atheist because they don't believe that religion is right.

I think we're in trouble and no better than those who speak in terms of, "true" Christians, etc... when we think there's such a thing as having to live up to an image that pertains to a criteria for "proper" atheist.
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15-11-2010, 11:44 AM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
Great point Ghost. Thankyou. (I'll punch the atheist who told me that)

As the vast majority of humans developed independently, in a lot of cases, some sort of spiritual observance, maybe something can be inferred from that. Given time I'd expect to see a progression from the ferule person into language development and spiritual observance. Then the atheist tendencies of the developed world could indicate some sort of progression, or maybe regression.

I think there is provision in Christianity for those that haven't heard the 'message'. The way I view the faith is that it's simply a construct to get the most out of life: to live right with a god is to live in the most productive way a human can. If it's not then there's something very wrong surely?
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15-11-2010, 07:50 PM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
Quote:Just pointing out something ridiculous. Not knowing ANYTHING is the default position at birth. Not being able to use language is the default position. Not knowing how to take a dump in the toilet is the default position.

Correct, and why is that? I'm no sociologist but I suspect the reason is the things that we are not intuitively born with are things that were developed for our convenience and betterment, but are not automatically required for the survival of the species. These are all man made construct and our default position is not to know anything about them. Doesn't it stand to reason that if an all knowing, all loving God who offered us eternal salvation if only we recognized him would hard wire us to do just that? And yet we don't, we have to be taught about him because it's not inherent. And, the definition of him and what he is depends very specifically on where you were born in the world. If you are born in Saudi Arabia you will learn one version and a very different version again in Israel and a very different version again in Italy. And, in the US and Canada there is an endless supply of choices. Then you move to parts of Asia where "none of the above" becomes an answer and you can chose from all the Eastern religions. How can these be anything but man made constructs then?

Quote:But fortunately, up until recently, religion was a universal trait among human societies. So the default for tens of thousands of years was actually that humans were taught some sort of spiritual understanding (Animism for most of our history but also Shamanism, Polytheism, Monotheism, Pantheism, Deism...).

Yes, but, again, that was a human construct to explain the world we live in. Tell me, Ghost, are you an agnostic about Zeus? How about Mars and Venus? What about Apollo? What about the pagan gods? What about the gods of ancient Egypt? Do they they maybe exist? Can we not be sure?

The worship of gods is culture specific and, to some extent, time specific. There were gods that were worshiped for thousands of years before the advent of Christianity and no one believes those are real. We call them "mythology" today and realize they were all man made constructs. So, on what basis do we treat modern religions any differently?

Quote:Also, the Christian God DID reveal himself according the the Catholics at least.

Well, that's the point then, isn't it? And, I think I explained the problem with this above.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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15-11-2010, 10:26 PM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
(15-11-2010 11:05 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Just pointing out something ridiculous. Not knowing ANYTHING is the default position at birth. Not being able to use language is the default position. Not knowing how to take a dump in the toilet is the default position.

I bring this up becaue this is not the first time that I've heard the notion that Atheism is the default position.

It's absolutely correct that if a person was raised by wolves that they'd have no belief in God. Neither would they be able to speak (unless you thought Nell was compelling evidence to the contrary. If so, "hay lay bo chickipay."). But fortunately, up until recently, religion was a universal trait among human societies. So the default for tens of thousands of years was actually that humans were taught some sort of spiritual understanding (Animism for most of our history but also Shamanism, Polytheism, Monotheism, Pantheism, Deism...).

I agree, humans will not learn a language unless they are taught it. We have the capacity to learn every human language there ever was because we have the capacity to make every possible speech sound in the human language up to a certain age. The neurons that don't get used in producing sounds die off, and that is what produces accents in adults who learn another language. What is the point of this? That humans have the capacity to learn any religion; we simply adopt the one that is taught to us. However, there is a critical point: children, even if they are not taught a language, as long as they are exposed to one, they have the chance to develop it. Now, the child won't speak nearly as well as one who's been taught it, but the same goes for religion. Even if a child is not taught to follow any specific religion by their parents, they are still exposed to it in their community/culture. Will their faith be as strong as if they are taught it by their parents? Probably not.

(15-11-2010 11:05 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Even today, Atheist children aren't taught NOTHING. They're taught to not believe in God. Any way you slice it, some sort of relationship with and knowledge of God is the default.

Actually, from what I've gathered, most atheistic parents tend towards letting their children decide for themselves what they choose to believe/not believe. I was raised this way; that's why I'm an atheist. My parents are not atheists (at least, they haven't proclaimed one way or the other), and they took me to church when I was little, but they never forced any opinion upon me. Therefore, being [barely] exposed to religion, but having the freedom to explore, my curious mind eventually led me to decide for myself that atheism was the best option.

I do agree that having some sort of knowledge of god(s) is necessary to be labelled an atheist, otherwise there would be nothing to attach the "a-" prefix to.


Sorry, to answer the thread's question: I don't believe there is such thing as a "proper" or "improper" atheist. Atheists don't believe in god(s); everything else has little effect upon the classification.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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16-11-2010, 11:39 AM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
Quote:Even today, Atheist children aren't taught NOTHING. They're taught to not believe in God. Any way you slice it, some sort of relationship with and knowledge of God is the default.

Dynamite double negative there. I was raised Christian, church every sunday, Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames demonstrations to emotionally scar me into believing, religious family. Then when I reached about 16, my bullsh!t alarms started going off. The Bible reeked of inconsistencies and malevolent acts. I started noticing that religious people had this air of desperation around them, like they knew it wasn't true so they overcompensated with a way too wide smile and an unwillingness to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong.

Then I read Bertrand Russell's "Why I'm Not A Christian" and it was over for me.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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17-11-2010, 02:17 AM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
(16-11-2010 11:39 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  I started noticing that religious people had this air of desperation around them, like they knew it wasn't true so they overcompensated with a way too wide smile and an unwillingness to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong.

I like that observation. I have seen phoniness before but never thought of it in quite that light.
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17-11-2010, 09:44 AM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
(15-11-2010 11:38 AM)tjenkins_1983 Wrote:  
(14-11-2010 07:38 PM)Mindprowler Wrote:  No there's no obligation to understand evolution if you are an atheist.
But it's fucking interesting, so why not learn about it.

Agreed. I'm just now starting to fully grasp the concept of evolution. Of course, I didn't exactly have to best teachers (Thanks, State of Kansas.)

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/ev...ntro.shtml

One of the best free courses out there and it goes rather in depth. By Berkeley university.
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17-11-2010, 03:26 PM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
Atheist are simply people that don't believe in any gods. I don't fully understand evolution, but I understand its main points from science classes that it helps in debates, but I wouldn't believe in god even if I never heard of evolution.
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18-11-2010, 12:34 AM
RE: Does it matter if an Atheist doesn't fully understand evolution?
Hey, BnW.

Quote:Correct, and why is that? I'm no sociologist but I suspect the reason is the things that we are not intuitively born with are things that were developed for our convenience and betterment, but are not automatically required for the survival of the species. These are all man made construct and our default position is not to know anything about them. Doesn't it stand to reason that if an all knowing, all loving God who offered us eternal salvation if only we recognized him would hard wire us to do just that? And yet we don't, we have to be taught about him because it's not inherent. And, the definition of him and what he is depends very specifically on where you were born in the world. If you are born in Saudi Arabia you will learn one version and a very different version again in Israel and a very different version again in Italy. And, in the US and Canada there is an endless supply of choices. Then you move to parts of Asia where "none of the above" becomes an answer and you can chose from all the Eastern religions. How can these be anything but man made constructs then?

1 - We're a memetic species. Memes (and by extension, cultural transmission) ARE required for our survival.

2 - They are all constructs. Socially constructed reality what! Big Grin

3 - If it's all construct, including Atheism, then Atheism CAN'T be a default position because it's a learned construct.

4 - Choice. We have choice. That's the problem. You don't hard wire it if you've given us choice.

5 - We have to be taught about EVERYTHING.

6 - The cultural variation of religions means one of 3 things:
A - There is no God.
B - There is a plurality of understandings that can co-exist.
C - Some or one of them are right and there's a lot of fluff in the way.

7 - Religious plurality is NOT a proof against the supernatural.

Quote:Yes, but, again, that was a human construct to explain the world we live in. Tell me, Ghost, are you an agnostic about Zeus? How about Mars and Venus? What about Apollo? What about the pagan gods? What about the gods of ancient Egypt? Do they they maybe exist? Can we not be sure?

Why do people keep asking me this? Yes I am. Agnostic. Did I stutter?

Quote:The worship of gods is culture specific and, to some extent, time specific. There were gods that were worshiped for thousands of years before the advent of Christianity and no one believes those are real. We call them "mythology" today and realize they were all man made constructs. So, on what basis do we treat modern religions any differently?

That has absolutely nothing to do with the idea that the idea that Atheism is the default position is silly.

Hey, Secular Student.

Quote:Therefore, being [barely] exposed to religion, but having the freedom to explore, my curious mind eventually led me to decide for myself that atheism was the best option.

Exactly. You wound up an Atheist. You didn't begin one.

Hey, Buddy Christ.

Quote:Then I read Bertrand Russell's "Why I'm Not A Christian" and it was over for me.

Exactly. You wound up an Atheist. You didn't begin one.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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