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Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
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13-09-2016, 12:31 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(12-09-2016 11:56 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Personally, I find atheism a much more comforting belief than theism.

Rolleyes Because belief is all about *comfort*, not about truth. What's so uncomfortable about theism? You get to talk up a load of manure and write books which are accepted by an uncritical audience.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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13-09-2016, 12:35 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(10-09-2016 10:53 AM)Paleophyte Wrote:  We are fond of stating that a hypothesis stands or falls regardless of it's author. The theory of evolution would stand if Darwin had stated that every last word was poppycock. Einstein's theories of relativity would be no less valid had they been written in an asylum. Consequently, Randy's mutation-induced atheopathy stands or falls regardless of whether he is a dishonest creationist trying to peddle his latest book.

As much fun as I'm sure it will be insulting Randy for his numerous and deliberate falsehoods, let us pause for a moment and examine his hypothesis rather than its author.

(07-09-2016 10:12 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Here is my hypothesis:

1. Our starting assumption is not that a god exists or doesn't exist but that its existence is outside of the purview of science. We will not consider supernatural or non-natural explanations.

While this statement is considered axiomatic in most scientific works it is probably advisable given the nature of the material. It would be more effective if it clearly stated that the topic of discussion is the capacity for belief in a deity, not the existence of that deity.

(07-09-2016 10:12 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  2. Theism is the default position. We are all born believers. Evolution has caused us to be this way due to its survival advantage.

There are several problems with this statement:

- The statement is based upon a hypothesis by Michael Shermer regarding the possible origins of religion in a hypersensitive flight reflexing our species' evolutionary ancestors. Basing one hypothesis upon another is permissable but ill-advised. If Shermer's hypothesis falls so must yours.

- Flight reflexes are typically well-calibrated by evolution. Too flighty and your bunny never gets to do what bunnies do best. Not flighty enough and the wolf gets to do what it does best. Either way the bunny's flight reflex genes never get passed on.

- Shermer's hypothesis gets you as far as supersition and a predisposition for religious belief. This is a very long way from being born a theist. This is much like saying that a predisposition for coronary disease means you will be still-born. Predisposition gets you nowhere, though I am certain that the field of child psychology will be stunned to learn that children have a propensity for believing fairytales.

Since this is the linchpin of the hypothesis it fails here.

(07-09-2016 10:12 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  3. Atheopaths lack a belief in God. They are "born that way." Their "agency detector" is broken. Studies have, in fact, demonstrated that theists see patterns that don't exist and atheists miss patterns that do exist. Their "pattern recognition software," so to speak, has been corrupted.

Many atheists convert later in life, an observation that is completely at odds with this point. Randy will probably carry on about how he isn't talking about all atheists, but please see the title of his book "Why Atheists Exist" for a bit of unintended honesty.

(07-09-2016 10:12 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  4. One mechanism that we know of which tends to break things and corrupt information is genetic mutation.

5. So, my testable, falsifiable prediction is that one or more genetic mutations are responsible for atheopathy.

A genetic mutation or mutations should be slow spreading, changing in frequency slightly with each subsequent generation. It should be inheritable, passed from one generation to the next. It might cluster within certain ethnic group by should not respect geopolitical boundaries or socio-economic factors.

By contrast, we observe a sharp, sudden increase in atheism over the last hundred years or so. This cannot be explained by hereditable genetic mutations as the gene(s) would have had to lie virtually dormant for the preceding two millenia only to explode into the population now. An appeal to de novo mutation is even more improbable, requiring either a mutation rate that would leave us all quivering masses of tumors and failed homeoesis or a mutagen so selective and precise that it belongs in the annals of science fiction alongside the X-Men.

Similarly, we observe a strong correlation between religiosity and education, poverty and similar socio-economic condition. This contradicts a genetic origin while supporting an environmental cause.

Religiosity also shows geographical patterns: less religous in Scandanavia, more religious toward Rome, more secular in Canada compared to a more religious USA. Within the US, religiosity shows strong patterns, being highly concentrated in the well-documented "bible belt" compared to the much less religious northeast and west coasts.

A genetic cause for atheism fails to explain any of these patterns.

In summary, Randy's hypothesis is based on a another hypothesis, manages to come unstrung from that and then fails to explain simple observations about atheism. His testable hypothesis has been teted.

[Image: Top-10-Reasons-Why-LMS-Implementation-Fail.png]

And now we can get back to pointing and laughing at Randy for honesty on par with a 2016 US Election candidate.

Clearly, you did not understand the hypothesis. I might deserve some blame for that for being unclear in my original post. But since the it had been clarified now ad nauseam, the blame for misunderstanding is now all yours. Thanks for the valiant effort though. Wink

And just to correct you on one point, the bunny thing does not originate with Michael Shermer. He uses that example but the idea behind it of pattern-seeking as a survival advantage leading to religion is not his.
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13-09-2016, 12:35 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(12-09-2016 11:50 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  You said:

"It was not their theism that made them great scientists."

Uh, yes it was. Try read a book on the history of science. Even prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins have conceded this point. [...]

Your conclusions re this statement are erroneous. Their religious viewpoint had absolutely no causational effect upon their scientific viewpoints. Neither one influenced the other in any practical sense. In fact, their science prospered in spite of their religion—or at the very least alongside it.

UK scientist and philosopher John W Draper (d.1882) postulated a "conflict thesis", maintaining that religion and science have been in conflict factually, methodologically, and politically throughout history. This thesis is supported by several contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and the late Carl Sagan.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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13-09-2016, 12:44 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
And using the word "theory" for simplicity on the cover and then explaining inside what a scientific theory really is and that this is a hypothesis is not dishonest in any sense. What is dishonest is what Lawrence Krauss did with his book "A Universe from Nothing" where he uses the word "nothing" on the cover and then redefines nothing inside so that it is not really nothing at all. That is blatant deception. But Krauss has a habit of lying as evidenced in this video I made.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWybky4Sf18
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13-09-2016, 01:04 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
At work.

(O_o)

Um..... not being in any way, shape or form a Physicist, I have read Mr Krauss' book and listened to his video on said matter.

He doesn't 'Redefine' the word but goes to reasonable pains to explain the concept(s) behind the word........ Not just the Dictionary meaning.
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13-09-2016, 01:07 AM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2016 01:11 AM by Gloucester.)
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 12:27 AM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  
(10-09-2016 10:11 AM)Gloucester Wrote:  [Image: 258mftl.jpg]

Worth looking into this book using Amazon's preview system.

Found some of the quotations from the "reputable scientists". Some seem to be from strongly theist people, so almost certainly not unbiased.

Others could well be out of context quotations, a popular tool in the creationist fantasy bag:


But...


[My bold]
A fine example of a partial quotation well out if context. Wonder how many more?

That one instance would discredit the hook in my eyes, not even fit for the charity shop, some silly sod might believe it. Bin job!

All your own work, Randy? Or was this a different, lying by omission, Randy Ruggels altogether?

I would happily wager there are more like this, been here so often . . .

[Damn, snips at the crucial point!]

The quote by Darwin, "Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy [which he spelled phantasy]" is not taken out of context. He was admitting he had doubts because he was an honest scientist. I wouldn't trust a scientist - or anyone for that matter - who didn't have doubts.

Darwin even said, "But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" This became known as Darwin's doubt. No one is suggesting, by this, that he repudiated his theory of evolution by natural selection or had a deathbed conversion or anything like that.

Oh, very clever Randy! In the way those quotations, and your one on this forum from Bruce Hood were used are definitely taken out of context.

They are being used to ''prove'' something that they did not support. Yes, Darwin expressed that he had his doubts, but then (the part the book missed out) said that he had resolved those doubts. Yes, Leakey quoted a friend who cracked a joke - not stated a fact.

By now claiming that the use to which the partial quotation was used was to illustate that Darwin was an ''honest'' scientist just compounds the misuse of the facts. The full quotation does not support the books contention. This is the typical and deliberate misrepresentation of the truth so often found in creationist literature and on their websites. Known as lying by most people and certainly not in the ''Christian spirit'' one might have thought.

Professor Hood, as referenced in this forum, was merely reminiscing when he exoressed his interest in the supernatural per se, it seems he now considers belief in it as merely another function of the mind, a thing to be studied - like the need for some to tell lies or inflate their weak personality by acting superior to others?

Could it be that you are tacitly admitting to be the author of ''Evolution: Fact or Fiction? - The Secret Truth Darwinists Don't Want You to Know ''? Or merely defending the work of a name-sake who also happens to have a similar agenda to yourself? There are several ''Randy Ruggles'' on line in several fields, chances of two with similar aims?

So, since we do not seem able to offer you our trust or respect on this forum please give us a token, answer the question:

Yet onvce again I ask the question, did you write the book-
Evolution: Fact or Fiction? - The Secret Truth Darwinists Don't Want You to Know
or not?

Without a definitive answer a, simple, ''Yes'' or ''No'' I beleive that we are entitled to accept that you did and are evading something that will be embarrassing to your current stance.

Not that your stance has anything but a load of unstable rocks under its feet in what appears to be the collect opinion of the members of this forum.

PS, I have not yet read all today's posts, pardon me if you have already answered the question fully, in terms of ''Yes'' or ''No''.

Later: no, can't find anything definitive in your posts, Randy.

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.
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13-09-2016, 01:47 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 12:44 AM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  [...] What is dishonest is what Lawrence Krauss did with his book "A Universe from Nothing" where he uses the word "nothing" on the cover and then redefines nothing inside so that it is not really nothing at all. That is blatant deception. But Krauss has a habit of lying as evidenced in this video I made.

What a load of absolute horseshit. You assert that Krauss has "a habit of lying" but you provide zero evidence for this absurd claim. And your pathetic YouTube video has had a mere 62 views in 6 months, with four times the thumbs down as thumbs up LOL. Shows how seriously people take—or don't take—your opinions.

It's more than obvious you're reverting to the old theist diversionary tactic of ad hominem attacks on anybody of an atheistic mindset—particularly those not in a position to respond to you. Which makes you a moral coward.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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13-09-2016, 01:52 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 01:07 AM)Gloucester Wrote:  Later: no, can't find anything definitive in your posts, Randy.

He's being an evasive weasel. I have no idea why. At this point whether he admits it or not he's already shown himself to be an idiot.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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13-09-2016, 02:13 AM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2016 02:23 AM by Gloucester.)
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 01:52 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(13-09-2016 01:07 AM)Gloucester Wrote:  Later: no, can't find anything definitive in your posts, Randy.

He's being an evasive weasel. I have no idea why. At this point whether he admits it or not he's already shown himself to be an idiot.
I would think that evasion is a ploy to avoid admitting something that may damage one. Could be considered as another example of lying by omission?

I can't be bothered to do a full comparison with the ideas in the book and Randy's current "hypothesis", though my itch tells me there could be points in one that counter the other.

However, the misuse of partial quotations in the hook and Randy's referencing a tabloid report that gets a less than accurate (honest?) angle on what a noted psychologist/neurologist actually said have similarities. Similarities with the many other examples of creationist lack of scientific rigidity, or plain dishonesty, that I and others have met and exposed in other forums over several years.

That and the fact that creation pseudo-science has never withstood (probably never been offered for) true peer review. Having it reviewed only by other creationists is not a true challenge - akin to asking devout Muslims to offer a critique of the q'ran.

Actually quite sad that some obviously intelligent people are so out of touch with reality.

Later:
Quote:At this point whether he admits it or not he's already shown himself to be an idiot.

Ah, but is he an honest, innocent of devious intent, idiot or a consciously dishonest idiot bent on attempting to damage our understanding of reality in favour of his own?

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.
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13-09-2016, 02:25 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(12-09-2016 09:51 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  You said:

"Randy! Our Georgia Tech yellowjacket has returned... boy, I've missed you!"

I have no idea what that means. Please explain.

On one of the two main atheist forums which I frequent (I forget which, but I think it was TTA), we had a well-educated but highly abrasive and somewhat disingenuous Christian theist whose name was Randy. He used the symbol of the Georgia Tech mascot as his avatar. His smarmy "let's talk about this using only science" assertions would usually butcher science to such a heinous degree that I still remember him for having such an impressive degree of chutzpah-- he's the person who inspired me to start using the phrase "Lying for Jesus is still lying."

Thankfully, he no longer comes to whichever board it was he frequented.

Your entire manner of argumentation reminds me of him. The fact that you also were named Randy made me think you were the same guy-- but he was definitely a Son of the South, and you're a Canadian, so I am mistaken about your identity.

(12-09-2016 09:51 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  You said:

"People did not kill in the name of atheism"

And I did not ever say they did. In fact, I said they didn't.

Then why mention it at all, unless your intent is to imply that godlessness equates to a propensity for mass murder (and/or other evils) in the name of Empire?

You have made it clear that you consider people who don't feel "spiritual" are broken, somehow, from the "normal" development of brains that sense external agency in otherwise mundane occurrences. That's why you invented the term atheopathy, to suggest they are deficient in a sensory perception that everyone else is fortunate enough to have.

Except it's not an "either/or" switch because that's not how genetics or neurological/psychological trait expression works, even if your research showed what you think it does, which others have shown you it doesn't.

It's also not true that there's any demonstrable connection between religious belief and moral behavior (or vice-versa), despite studies that have looked for such a connection... in fact, the few studies that have turned up any discrepancy have been against religious people, showing them to tend to be less kind to others and more judgmental, to appear more frequently in prison per capita, and to have children who are less likely to share and be kind to other children. If you are not yet aware of these studies and actually want to read them for yourself, I can happily find you links.

Your premises are flawed on nearly every single level. We have shown you the gaping errors in your premises, methodology, and conclusions... and yet you continue to speak in the exact same tone, as if you have discovered something amazing about the universe which you now get to show everyone.

I strongly suspect you are the Creationist they've highlighted, and are just pretending to agree with evolution because you know that to state otherwise in a room full of people with science degrees would just get you laughed at, and not responded to, in order to quote-mine us for your book. That's the best-case scenario: you really believe what you say... because the option is worse, that you really do know that your ideas are unfounded, but seek to exploit religious fanatics for their credulity-equals-cash gold mine by publishing an anti-atheist book in the same way you published an anti-science book.

You are either a dogmatist or a demagogue, and frankly I'm not sure which option would be worse.

"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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