What kind of Atheist are you?
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15-01-2012, 06:21 PM (This post was last modified: 15-01-2012 08:20 PM by scientician.)
What kind of Atheist are you?
Came across this blog post awhile ago. What are your thoughts?

http://bit.ly/w6Vdxf

Attitudes an atheist might take to the theoretical side of a religion

1. Religious belief has no serious intellectual content at all. It is and always has been little more than superstition, the arguments offered in its defense have always been feeble rationalizations, and its claims are easily refuted.

2. Religious belief does have serious intellectual content, has been developed in interesting and sophisticated ways by philosophers and theologians, and was defensible given the scientific and philosophical knowledge available to previous generations. But advances in science and philosophy have now more or less decisively refuted it. Though we can respect the intelligence of an Aquinas or a Maimonides, we can no longer take their views seriously as live options.

3. Religious belief is still intellectually defensible today, but not as defensible as atheism. An intelligent and well-informed person could be persuaded by the arguments presented by the most sophisticated contemporary proponents of a religion, but the arguments of atheists are at the end of the day more plausible.

Attitudes an atheist might take toward the practical side of a religion:

A. Religious practice is mostly or entirely contemptible and something we would all be well rid of. The ritual side of religion is just crude and pointless superstition. Religious morality, where it differs from secular morality, is sheer bigotry. Even where certain moral principles associated with a particular religion have value, their association with the religion is merely an accident of history. Moreover, such principles tend to be distorted by the religious context. They certainly do not in any way depend on religion for their justification.

B. Religious practice has a certain admirable gravitas and it is possible that its ritual and moral aspects fulfill a real human need for some people. We can treat it respectfully, the way an anthropologist might treat the practices of a culture he is studying. But it does not fulfill any universal human need, and the most intelligent, well educated, and morally sophisticated human beings certainly have no need for it.

C. Religious practice fulfills a truly universal or nearly universal human need, but unfortunately it has no rational foundation and its metaphysical presuppositions are probably false. This is a tragedy, for the loss of religious belief will make human life shallower and in other ways leave a gaping void in our lives which cannot plausibly be filled by anything else. It may even have grave social consequences. But it is something we must find a way to live with, for atheism is intellectually unavoidable.

I think I am a B2 for what it's worth. I am only a 2 in terms of the intellectual case for the existence of a god. I am most definitely a 1 in terms of the truth of any present or past religion. There are absolutely no convincing arguments for the truth of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc.

In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

--Stephen Jay Gould
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15-01-2012, 06:59 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
I'm A1.
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15-01-2012, 07:29 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
Yup. A1.

I was tempted to grant a more moderate view, but I simply can't. Every good thing resulted from religion can be accomplished just as well, if not better, without religion. However, I strongly believe that some of the horrors in human history were absolutely conditioned by religion.

This leads me to believe that the great minds, the humanitarian projects, the wonderful art and all the other good things happened despite the religious context, not because of it.

The door-to-door salesmen offer you some of their best and kindest smiles, but it's rarely more than a selling strategy. During our communist years, if you wanted a beer, you had to go to a restaurant and the restaurants never sold you beer unless you accepted to buy some of their very shitty food too. Same with religion. We give you schools and humanitarian projects, but in exchange you give us your money and we get to decide how you should live and, more importantly, what to die for and whom to kill. We will decide the people you should love and the huge list of people you should hate.

Fuck that. A1.

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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15-01-2012, 07:46 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
A2. Are you all surprised?

NEW AND IMPROVED!
Twice the anger, Half the space!
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15-01-2012, 07:50 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
Gah, I'm indecisive. At first I thought A1, but then I read more, and I could be B2. Maybe I'm somewhere inbetween. Or it could depend on my mood. xD
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15-01-2012, 10:14 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
I was B1 until I thought of Buddha.
I'm B2.
****
I thought last bit was interesting:

A1 atheism is pretty much exactly the sort of ill-informed bigotry and wish-fulfillment A1 atheists like to attribute to religious believers.

And here’s the thing: If there is anything new about the New Atheism, it is the greater prominence of atheists who at least approximate the A1 stripe. In Walter Kaufmann’s day, A1 atheism was represented by marginal, vulgar cranks like Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Now, equally vulgar cranks like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Myers, and Coyne are by no means marginal, but widely regarded as Serious Thinkers. This is the reverse of intellectual progress.
***
Hmm... I think this is the point AbdelZ was trying to make.
This guy just didn't use his equal signs to his advantage. = Dodgy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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15-01-2012, 10:28 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
(15-01-2012 10:14 PM)kim Wrote:  Hmm... I think this is the point AbdelZ was trying to make.
This guy just didn't use his equal signs to his advantage. = Dodgy

I would have said the same thing. If you read any of the past blog posts you'll see much of the same. Dawkins is petty because he won't debate Craig, Hitchens is crass, ya da ya da. Ad hominems, as if they actually speak to the truth of Atheism.

To me it seems like a philosopher who can't come up with anything better than the KCA is fading as loudly as possible. Who can blame him though when fewer people show up to church on Sunday and more and more people are becoming non-religious. It's funny as well how quick his commenters are to label New Atheism as a cult following DDHH when they hold William Lane Craig as a Saint for dragging Thomas Aquinas from the Dark Ages.

In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

--Stephen Jay Gould
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15-01-2012, 10:28 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
Sorry, I simply don't see how "A1 atheism is pretty much exactly the sort of ill-informed bigotry and wish-fulfillment A1 atheists like to attribute to religious believers."

I'm not ill-informed, because I've been Christian for 90% of my life. I know and understand theology quite well and I've spent the past year reading on the subject. Yet I still don't see how most religion has any serious intellectual content over secularism. I suppose here it would be better to say that I am somewhere between 1 and 2. I think some religious people have had some good ideas with good intellectual content, but I simply don't see how religion helped them form their ideas over secular thinking.

I don't think I'm bigoted, though of course that's a tough thing for anyone to judge of themselves. I don't want to outlaw religion or use any form of violence or force, but I do believe that reason will eventually prevail. I don't think all religious people are idiots, I think the majority of them have been indoctrinated and I know faith's a tough maze to find your way out of. I think of them as victims rather than idiots. I respect people but I can't respect an irrational belief.

As for wish-fulfillment, I'm not sure what he means here. If he's suggesting I've arrived at my position because of wishful thinking, I disagree with that as well. My deconversion was a long and difficult process and becoming in atheist in a Christian community has some serious long-term consequences. It was not something I did because it made me feel good. Besides, I would simply love to believe in immortality (Especially reincarnation, that idea sounds particularly fun to me, if equally irrational).
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16-01-2012, 08:56 AM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
i dont think there is enough options in the spectrum to represent my atheism
if i had to put a label on it, it would be A1 but there is a big difference between culture and superstition
that is why i cannot compare an anthropologists situation with the religious one.

As for my culture and heritage, yeah sure im prepared to slaughter a cow or a sheep
in the "Eid el Adha" and give out its meat to the poor *for all of the long-term good it will do*not*, i see it as a nice gesture,
but i dont feel the need to attach superstition to it
And sure i will celebrate Ramadan with my future family maybe without the rigorous fasting while leaving in it
the message of solidarity with the needy that goes with it
the family and air of celebration of that month for me is like christmas for the former christian atheists.
Culture should be celebrated, its nice to gather as a family and community to celebrate for its own sake
and not to please some primitive desert bronze age spectre.

"Yeah, good idea. Make them buy your invisible apple. Insist that they do. Market it properly and don't stop until they pay for it." -Malleus
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16-01-2012, 12:19 PM
RE: What kind of Atheist are you?
A1 for me.
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