Help with an annoying theist friend?
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03-07-2013, 10:19 AM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
That argument your friend is trying to make needs to be separated into at least two parts. Your friend makes a lot of claims about atheist that have nothing to do with atheism and those incorrect claims need to be separated from what an atheist is.

Quite simply, an atheist does not believe in deities. That's it. It actually doesn't go any further than that. Your friend’s points about evolution, origin of the cosmos, abiogenist, absolute morality, or whatever else actually have nothing to do with atheism. Again, the only single thing that an atheist is is a person who does not believe in deities. That's all. Atheism says nothing about anything else.
As an atheist you can believe or not believe anything else you want or don’t want to, as long as that belief doesn’t include deities. Also as an atheist, because it is not dogmatic, you can later decide to believe in a or multiple deities if you want. You just wouldn’t meet the definition of an atheist anymore, and there for not be an atheist. I suspect there are a lot more religious people than we realize that are actually atheist because they don’t really believe in a deity, they just don’t want to be bothered with thinking about it.

An atheist can accept evolution as true, or reject it, accept the big bang as true, or reject it, accept that there is absolute morality, or reject it. You can be an atheist and believe that the world is flat, was created in 6 days, 6,000 years ago, that dinosaurs live at the same time as man, that the earth is the center of the universe, that we all came from an original two people, and you can even believe that the man came from dirt and the woman from his rib. You just can’t believe that there was a god or gods that existed or had anything to do with it. Now as an atheist, not believing in God, obviously makes believing these things problematic, because if God didn’t make the first man out of dirt and pull to rib from the man then how did nature do it? Because without a God it needed to have some sort of natural cause. As an atheist you could care about this answer, or not give a shit, as long as you don’t believe that it was a God. Atheist tend to accept the evolution as true because it’s a far better explanation than either dirt came together on its own to form the first human being, or that God brought dirt together to do the same thing. Both are far less satisfying answers than evolution. But technically as an atheist you still don’t have to believe in evolution, and you can still believe in any ridiculous thing you wish, as long as it doesn’t involve god.

But technically being an atheist only means not believing in God. Anything else is on the table. It’s just that without being bended to the God concept, one is free to look at reality. Again, the only single thing that an atheist is is a person who does not believe in deities. That's all. Atheism says nothing about anything else. The rest is for you to decide based on your own reason, or not. But that’s up to the individual, not a dogmatic belief system that tells one what to believe.

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03-07-2013, 10:20 AM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
I do realize, by the way, that that is not really your question. But I do think it’s important, when talking to a Theist, to make the distinction of what Atheism is and what it isn’t. If they think that Atheism is evolution and the big bang, then they think Atheism itself is a thing…an “ism”. It’s not.

Evolution, and the Big Bang, and whatever else are different things, and should be understood and examined on their own. Not by the lens of Atheism, or the filter of religion, but on its own merits alone. Whenever someone tries to attack my Atheistic lack of belief by attacking my belief in science, I make it very clear that science stands or falls, apart from Atheism. Science is not Atheistic dogma, and they need to learn that distinction.

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03-07-2013, 10:31 AM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
(03-07-2013 10:20 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  ...Evolution, and the Big Bang, and whatever else are different things, and should be understood and examined on their own. Not by the lens of Atheism, or the filter of religion, but on its own merits alone...

I'm responding to myself now, but I wanted to expound upon this thought. If you "remove the lens of Atheism, or the filter of religion" then you are simply looking at things objectively. But it's kind of unfair to include the "atheism lens" with the "religion filter" because the difference is that Atheism has no lens. Atheism is actually just a removal of the religion filter. Atheism itself is the lack of a religious filter. This is why Atheist have a greater tendency to accept the big bang and evolution, because there are just examining reality without a filter to view and screen it through.

When you examine reality as reality, you tend to see what is really happening, and that's is why atheist are more likely to accept these things.

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03-07-2013, 03:06 PM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
I have a problem with something that was previously said, so let me ask: how can an atheist not believe in evolution? What's the non-theistic alternative to the origin of life on earth?
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03-07-2013, 04:55 PM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
Quote:Atheism is based on something coming from nothing as it's foundation is based on the Darwinian logic of evolution.
Atheism isn't based on science - (it just happens most atheists know a good amount of science to back up their reasoning) it's on the absent of faith, you don't need evolution to NOT believe I have a magical unicorn in my freezer.
Quote: Relativistic rationalism to try to define truth, justice, and right or wrong
Don't understand the wording, is Relativistic rationalism being used to define it? Is it a group? it's worded oddly.
Quote:from their perspective is comical when fact is, they do not believe in absolutes or in a higher truth than their own vain imagination clothed in the idea of survival of the fittest.

Wouldn't that be asinine? Having to rely on a stranger's view on morality rather than discover your own meaning? And survival of the fittest isn't vain, it's the truth. Take a history or science class.
Quote:of something coming from nothing from a time plus chance hyper-evoltionary process, then by logical conclusion
take a science class
Quote:they have no right to advoacte anything as true or not true, values and justice are merely self-delusional rationalism[quote] Christians use the bible which was written by old men who by today's standards have lower education value than a Middle schooler, so they can STFU too.
[quote]You can not have a value system that originates from something coming from nothing.
Where did god come from? Where did the matter he used to make the earth come from?

Bury me with my guns on, so when I reach the other side - I can show him what it feels like to die.
Bury me with my guns on, so when I'm cast out of the sky, I can shoot the devil right between the eyes.
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03-07-2013, 04:59 PM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
(03-07-2013 03:06 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  I have a problem with something that was previously said, so let me ask: how can an atheist not believe in evolution? What's the non-theistic alternative to the origin of life on earth?

Lots and lots and lots of possiblities.

(1) Big bang, abiogenesis, and evolution, which is typical but not required.
(2) It just poofed into existence at some point. No first cause, no gods, no reason whatsoever.
(3) There's this egg which hatches every 60 trillion years, and it contains the cosmos. But it's not a god.
(4) None of this really exists. We're in a different universe and we're dreaming. But again, no gods.
(5) Plants and animals were intelligently designed by alien genetic engineers, who seeded earth with both their creations and a phony fossil record. But again, not gods.
(6) The universe hasn't poofed into existence yet (as in 2), but when it WILL, a false history will also poof into existence, and that false history will contain us arguing religion on the internet. So we're really not here, but we can't tell because we've got no "really here" to compare it with.
(7) Unknown laws of metaphysics actually mandate the development of certain life forms in exactly the manner we've seen, and we're misinterpreting it as evolution. No god declaring it to be so, just a natural processes, albeit DIFFERENT ones than we'd thought.
(8) Spirits, which we may regard as distinct from deities, fashioned living things so they may experience the world more directly.

Now I'm not saying that all of these are equally plausible, or even logically consistent. But they're all (except for 1) alternatives to evolution that an atheist could believe in and still be an atheist.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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03-07-2013, 05:28 PM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
(03-07-2013 04:59 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(03-07-2013 03:06 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  I have a problem with something that was previously said, so let me ask: how can an atheist not believe in evolution? What's the non-theistic alternative to the origin of life on earth?

Lots and lots and lots of possiblities.

(1) Big bang, abiogenesis, and evolution, which is typical but not required.
(2) It just poofed into existence at some point. No first cause, no gods, no reason whatsoever.
(3) There's this egg which hatches every 60 trillion years, and it contains the cosmos. But it's not a god.
(4) None of this really exists. We're in a different universe and we're dreaming. But again, no gods.
(5) Plants and animals were intelligently designed by alien genetic engineers, who seeded earth with both their creations and a phony fossil record. But again, not gods.
(6) The universe hasn't poofed into existence yet (as in 2), but when it WILL, a false history will also poof into existence, and that false history will contain us arguing religion on the internet. So we're really not here, but we can't tell because we've got no "really here" to compare it with.
(7) Unknown laws of metaphysics actually mandate the development of certain life forms in exactly the manner we've seen, and we're misinterpreting it as evolution. No god declaring it to be so, just a natural processes, albeit DIFFERENT ones than we'd thought.
(8) Spirits, which we may regard as distinct from deities, fashioned living things so they may experience the world more directly.

Now I'm not saying that all of these are equally plausible, or even logically consistent. But they're all (except for 1) alternatives to evolution that an atheist could believe in and still be an atheist.

Exactly the point. The only reason atheist trend toward accepting evolution as true, is because it has a shit ton of evidence to support it. Free of religious dogma, atheist are more likely than theist to accept the evidence as it does not clash with what they are predetermined to believe. If any one of those examples above 1-8 was some sort of dogma attached to something else and an atheist decide it was already true for whatever reason, and needed to fit reality to that belief, then maybe they would choose one of those.

Outside of religion though most people don't realistically have some preconceived idea that they need to convince themselves to be true about development of life on earth, so free of such constraints as most atheist are, it's left up to the facts to sort out. Evolution just happens to have a shit ton of evidence to support it, and there is no evidence to support any alternative view, so there for most Atheist accept evolution as true. But it absolutely is not a requirement.

It’s really a testament to how strong the evidence for evolution actually is that so many atheist accept it. If there were stronger evidence for some other cause of life on earth, and very poor or no evidence for evolutions than most atheist would believe the thing that had the most evidence for it. Atheist don’t accept evolution to be true because then need to, most do simply because that’s what the evidence shows, and they are free to accept the truth of it without being scolded not to.

Point is, if it weren’t for religion and only based on facts, most all people would accept evolutions.

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03-07-2013, 09:08 PM
RE: Help with an annoying theist friend?
(03-07-2013 06:10 AM)Rauri Wrote:  Thank you all for the input. I'd had a lot of those ideas down, but the wording was escaping me. Including the "new friends" bit! :-D I've known the guy forever and it's only since he remarried he's gotten this annoying, but yea. Probably time to send him a bday card once a year and ignore him otherwise. BryanS, reading that thread now, thank you.

Might consider having an on-point discussion about it. Something like,

"Hey dude, it used to be pretty cool hanging out and talking about you. But now it seems like you're mostly interested in giving me grief about not believing the same stuff you do. What changed? Where's all this coming from? Why were you able to let it be back then, but not now?"

If that don't go right, you've still got the bday card option.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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