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Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
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26-09-2016, 02:06 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(26-09-2016 01:29 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(26-09-2016 12:40 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  @RocketSurgeon

62 million for Stalin? I think that you might have switched him with Mao as Stalin death count is lower going by what Timothy Snyder wrote*. Oleg Khlevniuk estimate (Stalin: new biography of a dictator) is higher in regard to Great Hunger if I recall correctly but numbers still don't add; they would fit better with Mao and his Great Leap death toll of which is estimated by Frank Dikotter (Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62) as circa 45 million**.

*http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/03/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

**http://mobile.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/opinion/16iht-eddikotter16.html

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That's very interesting. I did not realize the numbers had been revised downward so sharply. I mean, 6-9 million people killed by Stalin's regime is still monstrous, but it's nowhere near the figures we estimated during the Cold War, and which Christians have put into "memetic repeat mode" in order to bash us.


Figures estimated during Cold War aren't relly trustworthy. From what I read Snyder numbers are at lowest end and Khlevniuk would be somewhere in the middle.

Of course it also depends on how you count.

But per Richard Overy (Dictators) GULag was not meant to be death camp even if individual accounts (Shalamov, Margolin) disagrees.

Quote: That's part of the problem with this calculation, though... how do we determine which deaths are "due to ideology" and which deaths are "due to apathy and/or incompetence".


I would say that all deaths have ideological undertones. At the very least ideology was responsible for revolution.

As you can guess interpretations vary from claims about genocide to well meaning gov being sabotaged. If memory don't cheat me then Ukrainians are pushing genocide angle in case of hunger.

Quote: It particularly matters if you count death by starvation in the wake of a collapsed system and official apathy toward "outsider" groups (like what Stalin did to the Ukranians when he took their wheat and sealed their borders, not realizing it would kill so many), and to what degree you count those deaths as part of a genocide campaign. If you eliminate "death by hunger and/or disease" from those numbers, you get a much smaller total of "executed in the name of communist atheism" by both Mao and Stalin.


Again, interpretation differs, though Khlevniuk one I find convincing.

You can't eliminate death from hunger from total number of victims I would say. No matter the circumstances ultimate blame can be laid on the feet of the system. Question of fault - incompetence, inefficency, clearly defined genocidal policy - remains.

Quote: My point before was simply that when you take the actions of these guys, even at their worst estimates, you still get an impact on the overall population in about equal proportion to religious warfare, not a greater impact as suggested by most Christians when they bring this up.

I don't quite agree as I see marxsism-leninism as another religion.

Quote: That's the whole problem with this (favored) line of argument from Christians, with their "100 million deaths due to atheism" argument... because if we start counting those sorts of deaths in the total, as opposed to just "lined 'em up and shot 'em" executions done in the name of the state-religion of communism, then we'd have to also count the starvation and deprivation deaths of every Native American that the "good Christians" allowed to sicken, starve, and even marched across the entire country on the way to concentration camps Reservations if they wouldn't adopt Christianity and assimilate into our culture. We could also count the deaths of Chinese and Mexican laborers in the "American Southwest", which we captured in our invasion of the Mexican Empire. It's how we built our empire, and it's how the Soviets and Red Chinese built theirs.


It's total number that count I would say. It may be not someone intention to kill but neglect also can be deadly. This thesis is illuminatingly ilustrated in Alan Rosenbaum Is the Holocaust Unique. I highly reccomend it even if I'm not trully sold on all points book mention.

Quote: The real question is... when will the "You atheists killed 100 million people!!" idiotic trope die out? *sigh*

Never I'm afraid. It's to usefull.




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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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26-09-2016, 02:10 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
I'll wager a tenner that Rugbug:

A. Ignores all the above and comes back with an entirely different track.

B. Tries to refute your reputations with reiterations of stuff you have already refuted.

C. Never comes back here at all but carries on the same track elsewhere.

The only other option, that he gives in, agrees we are right and becomes an atheist? Odds beyond calculation!

Disappears in a flash of rationality? Naw.

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26-09-2016, 02:13 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(26-09-2016 02:10 PM)Gloucester Wrote:  I'll wager a tenner that Rugbug:

A. Ignores all the above and comes back with an entirely different track.

B. Tries to refute your reputations with reiterations of stuff you have already refuted.

C. Never comes back here at all but carries on the same track elsewhere.

The only other option, that he gives in, agrees we are right and becomes an atheist? Odds beyond calculation!

Disappears in a flash of rationality? Naw.

He'll come back with another link to some study in a psych journal which he'll desperately try to make out implies some support for his vague bullshit "hypothesis" (which has never been properly stated or taken falsifiable form as far as I can tell despite his claim made in the OP).

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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26-09-2016, 02:17 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
@BuckyBall

Saying that Germans elected Hitler is not entirely true. He was chosen to be Chancellor based on his party popularity but also cause elites thought him easy to manipulate. It does not mean that he didn't had a wide support among populace though. Issue with Stalin being "permitted to lead" also is more complicated.

As for Stalin personal death counts - he was responsible for (quite?) few deaths as claimed by Montefiore in "Young Stalin". There is also matter of executions which he personally approved.

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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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26-09-2016, 03:49 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
Szuchow - I certainly agree with you that the cult of Lenin was as much a religion as any theology, and your points are well-taken.

On the other hand, we can't just count what Stalin did; all the actions of communist fanatics count in this total, from private groups to state-sponsored killings.

And the Gulags were definitely not meant to be death camps; the overwhelming majority of people sent to them got out and went home again.

But, yeah, the 100 million figure is just too useful as a simple, round number for simpletons to grasp when they're incapable of understanding nuance and are looking for someone to feel superior to... like bigots of all stripes since the dawn of man, I reckon.

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26-09-2016, 09:26 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(26-09-2016 03:49 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Szuchow - I certainly agree with you that the cult of Lenin was as much a religion as any theology, and your points are well-taken.


I agree though I would call it cult of the leader, as Lenin was beong increasingly sidelined during Stalin reign, though he never completely fallen from grace as main saint and founder of new religion.

One could say that Stalin was his prophet, only one capable of interpreting his words right.

Quote: On the other hand, we can't just count what Stalin did; all the actions of communist fanatics count in this total, from private groups to state-sponsored killings.


Yes, but weren't you writing specificaly about Stalin? If one will count civil war amd hunger after it then number of deaths certainly will rise.

Quote: And the Gulags were definitely not meant to be death camps; the overwhelming majority of people sent to them got out and went home again.


I agree, though inmates sometimes - unsurprisingly - perceived things differently.

Quote: But, yeah, the 100 million figure is just too useful as a simple, round number for simpletons to grasp when they're incapable of understanding nuance and are looking for someone to feel superior to... like bigots of all stripes since the dawn of man, I reckon.

Exactly.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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26-09-2016, 10:18 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
How in hell does the genetic origins bullshit make any sense, when people both join and leave believing communities all the time, and change their positions ? If anything had a biological basis, that would not be happening, AND the rapid decline in religious belief would not be happening, AND the absence of it, (in such a rapid manner) in the Northern European countries could not possibly be explained by the absence of a biological basis, when they HAD it (supposedly), just 100 years ago. Evolution doesn't work that way.

What a stupid notion.

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27-09-2016, 12:49 AM (This post was last modified: 27-09-2016 12:59 AM by Gloucester.)
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(26-09-2016 10:18 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  How in hell does the genetic origins bullshit make any sense, when people both join and leave believing communities all the time, and change their positions ? If anything had a biological basis, that would not be happening, AND the rapid decline in religious belief would not be happening, AND the absence of it, (in such a rapid manner) in the Northern European countries could not possibly be explained by the absence of a biological basis, when they HAD it (supposedly), just 100 years ago. Evolution doesn't work that way.

What a stupid notion.

Playing "devil's advocate", BB, there are, perhaps, counters to some of your points.

Those who leave religious groups are really "atheopaths" who found themselves in the "wrong place" due to external factors (familial or cultural). The reverse also applies to those who join at a later age. Thus, all are born with or without the "belief gene" turned on.

Suppose the frequency of those with with the unabled gene has been constant but its effects "hidden" because of cultural imperatives? Supposing you were born to a working class, or even peasant or feudal villien, family in a time when the culture was 100% religious and, as happened in Europe, going to church was a legal requirement. The culture was useful to the aristocracy because it helped keep the peasants cowed.

Later the imposition was lifted, the democratically free people are able to make up their own mind on religion. The turned off state of the gene can now be "expressed" through free will.

Both nature and nurture have their part to play, of course, and my experience seems to indicate that there are many "in the wrong place"; overly religious - through external influence - "offers" who are too afraid to express their true state and defend religion vociferously in order to hide their conflict even from themselves. Perhaps Randy is one such, the cracks being evident in his attempts at a "scientific" basis for his ideas, his acceptance that the universe may be over 6000 years old, his shift from strict creationism etc.

Added: now the question is; does he have the courage to face the fears of rejection by a culture he has hung on to, for whatever reason, for a long time? Can he accept the irrationality of an unreliable construct of the evolution of the human mind being held as a creator of anything other than human actions, both good and bad, that also apply to the non-religious?

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27-09-2016, 10:26 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(26-09-2016 10:18 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  How in hell does the genetic origins bullshit make any sense, when people both join and leave believing communities all the time, and change their positions ? If anything had a biological basis, that would not be happening, AND the rapid decline in religious belief would not be happening, AND the absence of it, (in such a rapid manner) in the Northern European countries could not possibly be explained by the absence of a biological basis, when they HAD it (supposedly), just 100 years ago. Evolution doesn't work that way.

What a stupid notion.

Let's be fair.

I think his hypothesis is that there's a genetic component of an "ability" to sense that supernatural things are real (in the case of a theist, a god or gods), which the group he calls "mind-blind" atheists simply don't possess. He readily acknowledges that this is only one group out of four types of atheist, so his idea (as I read it) would be that the others you mentioned do in fact have the "belief gene" but choose to override it for reasons unrelated to their ability to sense it.

There are two problems that I see in all this. The first is that, as we've repeatedly pointed out, that it's a huge leap from "agency detection plus psychological Projection plus cultural training" (the apparent basis of religious belief) to "humans are born theists, and those who cannot even potentially be theists have something wrong with them"... thus the loaded language he keeps employing. The term "mind-blind" is loaded with the presupposition that sight is the natural state, and blindness is the aberration. No one has even come close to establishing that the human propensity to make up and believe ridiculous shit is an inborn sense of god, rather than just a coagulation of factors that evolved for other contexts.

The second problem is that it's apparent that he seems to imply, by his title and cover, that the single category of atheists are the dominant/prevalent one, which is why it purports to answer the question "Why are there atheists?" Unless this is only a single chapter in a much larger book about the various reasons people walk away from the faith-culture in which they were raised, and/or fail to believe the stories they are being told in the first place, then it's not really what it claims to be-- rather, it's simple anti-atheist propaganda masquerading as science. In other words, it's apparently YET ANOTHER book of religion-inspired pseudoscience.

My worry is that he'll publish, that idiots just as credulous as he is will believe that their ridiculous beliefs about atheists have a scientific basis, and we'll have yet another category of bullshit to endlessly debunk from each new theist member that joins. (Right along with the "atheists killed 100 million people last century" trope he also espouses, and all the others with which we're forced to deal almost daily.)

The real question, to me, centers around the word I used above: credulous.

The only genetic/epigenetic issue I can see would be one of credulousness. To what degree is that person predisposed to accept the crap they're being told about the world around them, even when it conflicts with testable reality or has zero basis for belief other than "it's a good story, and lots of people believe it". The word is defined as follows:

cred·u·lous
ˈkrejələs
adjective

* having or showing too great a readiness to believe things.

Sums it up in a nutshell. Undecided

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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27-09-2016, 10:36 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(27-09-2016 10:26 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Let's be fair.

I think his hypothesis is that there's a genetic component of an "ability" to sense that supernatural things are real (in the case of a theist, a god or gods), which the group he calls "mind-blind" atheists simply don't possess. He readily acknowledges that this is only one group out of four types of atheist, so his idea (as I read it) would be that the others you mentioned do in fact have the "belief gene" but choose to override it for reasons unrelated to their ability to sense it.

As far as I'm concerned, if this hypothesis was proven credible, it would disprove Christianity. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Christianity hold that you must "believe" to be "saved"?

I'm not sure what Christianity says about freewill, but KC's Christianity aside, if you're genetically incapable of belief, then you were denied salvation from birth. Isn't the point of Christianity that they have to sell it to people to get them to believe? I thought they say that anyone can be saved if they just believe.
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