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Atheism as explained by Ricky Gervais

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  • Atheism as explained by Ricky Gervais

    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/...im-an-atheist/

    I don't know that I would be as confrontational about is... but I think I agree with most everything he said.

  • #2
    Delete please?

    Or move to Qward....

    What happened to the self deleting option?

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    • #3
      I still need to finish watching that special.
      The Best Comic Site Ever!!!

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      • #4
        hmm, very interesting read. I agree with him on many points, however, there is one argument he made and one I always call atheists out on. There is no burden of proof on the believers, or non-believers. If the existence of God were put into the American justice system there wouldn't be enough proof to send the case to trial. God is a metaphysical being. There's no proof that we know of on Earth or in the cosmos that can either A.) Prove that God exists, or B.) Prove that he doesn't exist.

        This generally is an argument killer so I usually only bust it out when shouting ensues from the other side. My other argument against seeing science as the bringer of truth is that science itself can be subjective. A group of ten can witness an event, and analyze the evidence and come up with ten different theories based on the evidence. At the end of the day it still comes down to human understanding.

        That and everything we know about science is continually changing, therefore the truths found within it are in constant flux (a point Gervais makes in his article), though many atheists don't see it this way.
        JohnnyV
        Pictionary Master
        Last edited by JohnnyV; 12-21-2010, 02:14 PM.


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        • #5
          That was a great read. I agree with just about everything in it.
          I LOVE conspiracy theorists. They are like human versions of the cymbal clapping, dancing monkeys. No one takes them all that seriously and they get bored with them after about 10 minutes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JohnnyV View Post
            My other argument against seeing science as the bringer of truth is that science itself can be subjective. A group of ten can witness an event, and analyze the evidence and come up with ten different theories based on the evidence.
            I see your point, but it's a bit misleading. What you're describing is simple observation, not science. Scientific research is subject to the scientific method (hence the name), and thus requires rigorous testing. If you get wildly different theories out of that, then someone is incorrectly implementing the method. If ten people see a blue sky, and one claims it's red, that's not human understanding, it's factually wrong.

            I think the reason most see the burden of proof on the believers is because for millennia, believers have claimed a monopoly on virtue and goodness, when in reality no mythology is actually required to behave that way. In this case, it's simply a question of, "If your God says we need to do these things, then we need proof of this mystery man behind the curtain." Therefore, the nonbelievers are absolutely correct in demanding proof.
            The last fan of 1990s comics
            Read my Green Lantern blog The Indigo Tribe

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            • #7
              To my mind, the burden of proof will always lie with the person who is insisting that their IS proof for their position. So any religious person that insists that there IS proof of God's existence, that their belief is founded on demonstrable evidence, has the burden on them to show that. Conversely, any atheist that claims that their view that there is no God is actually evidence based, rather than simply a matter of faith, has the burden of proof on THEM to show THAT. The agnostic, of course, has no burden of proof, since their whole position is that they don't know the answer, and are therefore unwilling to commit themselves one way or the other, mainly BECAUSE of a lack of proof on either side.

              Conversely, and religious person that isn't claiming that demonstrable proof of God exists, but is rather claiming that it is a matter of faith for them, has no burden of proof, as they are making no attempt to claim that proof exists. And any atheist who does NOT claim that their lack of faith is strictly evidence based also has no burden of proof.

              To simplify, the burden of proof rests, logically, with anybody that is TRYING to prove something, or at least claiming such proof exists.

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              • #8
                Yeah, I like your explanation better.
                The last fan of 1990s comics
                Read my Green Lantern blog The Indigo Tribe

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SD80MAC View Post
                  I see your point, but it's a bit misleading. What you're describing is simple observation, not science. Scientific research is subject to the scientific method (hence the name), and thus requires rigorous testing. If you get wildly different theories out of that, then someone is incorrectly implementing the method. If ten people see a blue sky, and one claims it's red, that's not human understanding, it's factually wrong.
                  I think the reason most see the burden of proof on the believers is because for millennia, believers have claimed a monopoly on virtue and goodness, when in reality no mythology is actually required to behave that way. In this case, it's simply a question of, "If your God says we need to do these things, then we need proof of this mystery man behind the curtain." Therefore, the nonbelievers are absolutely correct in demanding proof.
                  This assumes a neutrality that doesn't exist. Both Atheism and Christianity start with a matter of faith. Atheism is another religion whereby the atheist had made a god unto himself/herself: they are the ultimate arbiter of truth and reality. The atheist then asks the Christian to abandon his or her presupposition (that God is the Creator who has revealed Himself in a certain way) while they don't abandon their presupposition.
                  Or to step a moment into the Christian perspective: I live in a world created by God yet fallen, sinful. That world and its laws reflect the being of its Creator. In my sin I cannot interpret that world correctly. The atheist asks me to assume he's right from the start and that we can know this world independent of a Creator. But to me that would be equivalent to starting the debate assuming the neither debater exits or that they can even think. It's an impossibility.

                  But I'd so much rather talk about GL. This is why I don't even go to Qward

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                  • #10
                    Any atheist would find that line of reasoning highly insulting. (No offense!) Atheism is by definition a lack of belief or religion, not a belief or religion of its own. I've never met an atheist anywhere, or even heard of one, who believes that they are "god." (We call folks like that "crazy.")
                    The last fan of 1990s comics
                    Read my Green Lantern blog The Indigo Tribe

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                    • #11
                      "Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SD80MAC View Post
                        Any atheist would find that line of reasoning highly insulting. (No offense!) Atheism is by definition a lack of belief or religion, not a belief or religion of its own. I've never met an atheist anywhere, or even heard of one, who believes that they are "god." (We call folks like that "crazy.")
                        Actually it IS a belief of its own. By taking the step of saying that there is definitively NO God (rather than that one simply does not see convincing evidence of God), a proposition that is unprovable, an atheist is espousing a belief. (That doesn't mean they literally think they are God, though (unless they ARE crazy), simply that they, in the view of believers, usurp some of God's prerogatives for themselves.)

                        Not that that's a problem, IMHO. We live in a universe where there is very little certainty, and even among propositions that ARE provable, most will accept the majority of them on faith rather than go to the trouble of proving them personally. There simply isn't enough time in the day for people to accept NOTHING on faith. They'd never get anything done.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SD80MAC View Post
                          Any atheist would find that line of reasoning highly insulting. (No offense!) Atheism is by definition a lack of belief or religion, not a belief or religion of its own. I've never met an atheist anywhere, or even heard of one, who believes that they are "god." (We call folks like that "crazy.")
                          Of course not as in creator/sustainer. I gave the definition there: as arbiter of reality, the ultimate decider of truth. That is a core belief of the atheist, which they presuppose. It's a tenant of faith to which they adhere as all belief systems do, whether they call it religion or not. If you don't like the words, take it as presupposition. But all systems of thought begin with them including atheism and agnosticism.
                          The Christian, on the other hand, should (not all are) be insulted at the very idea that one can be neutral or that one can sit in judgment of God.
                          That being said, it's a friendly debate to me, which is why I'd much rather do this in-person over a nice lager than on a GL message board, but I didn't want to leave that unsaid.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by plastroncafe View Post
                            "Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby."
                            No, not collecting stamps is neutral. Atheism would be more comparable to making a hobby of intentionally destroying stamps. (Not to say atheism is destructive, I'm just trying to fit the analogy to an actual NEGATIVE position on stamp collecting, rather than simply neutral.)

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                            • #15
                              How is Atheism not neutral also?

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