In America, atheists are still in the...

In America, atheists are still in the closet

There are 47794 comments on the Spiked story from Apr 11, 2012, titled In America, atheists are still in the closet. In it, Spiked reports that:

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“Life may be sweeter for this”

Since: Nov 08

Fennario

#36597 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
"I am an atheist, and I very rarely weigh the odds against the vastness of the universe. Furthermore, I don't know anybody who does." - Well this is a first for me. So tell me, how do you approach abiogenesis?

All atheists that I know, argue the odds. They argue that the chances of life arising from non life in any particular place are slim, but considering the vastness of the universe, the billions of stars and solar systems, it is hence theoretically possible that at least at some location, life would arise in this way. That is the common atheist argument.
The odds of life? I thought we were talking about "the odds against the vastness of the universe" - its magnitude. Your casual use of language in conversations such as these is an impediment to progress.

But regarding the odds on life, it either arose spontaneously or was made and put here. They both seem possible, the former seems much more likely, but that's the of mathematical analysis: semiquantitative answers, not odds.

What more can you say about odds? That the chances of a god existing uncaused are untold orders of magnitude smaller than the odds of a singularity coming into existence uncaused? Maybe.

That the chances of a omnipotent and loving god that wants to be known still being less obvious than the sun are nil? I can go with that, too.
True Truth wrote:
Atheists don't believe that every single event occurs through chance, but they do believe that life arouse on this particular planet as a result of chance.
That's really not correct. Given the earth and its history, abiogenesis and evolution were probably inevitable, as they likely are on most or all other planets and moons where life is possible.

Is this what you meant by the "vastness of the universe"?
True Truth wrote:
Carl Sagan believed that somehow out of the various lifeless complex molecules, at least one molecule would've begun the process of replication, and thereafter evolved from then on. Is that not basically what you believe?
That's close enough. Is this what you meant by "weigh[ing] the odds against the vastness of the universe." If som there was no way to know that you did.

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#36598 Aug 21, 2012
Aerobatty wrote:
<quoted text>
The Folks Behind the Leak of the “Wedge”
That doesn't constitute a "leak". That constitutes taking someone else's mail and posting it on the internet.

Discovery Institute's “Wedge Document”: How Darwinist Paranoia Fueled an Urban Legend
In 1999 someone posted on the internet an early fundraising proposal for Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Dubbed the “Wedge Document,” this proposal soon took on a life of its own, popping up in all sorts of places and eventually spawning what can only be called a giant urban legend. Among true-believers on the Darwinist fringe the document came to be viewed as evidence for a secret conspiracy to fuse religion with science and impose a theocracy. These claims were so outlandish that for a long time we simply ignored them. But because some credulous Darwinists seem willing to believe almost anything, we decided we should set the record straight.

To raise financial support for the Center, Discovery Institute prepared a fundraising proposal that explained the overall rationale for the Center and why a think tank like Discovery would want to start such an entity in the first place. Like most fundraising proposals, this one included a multi-year budget and a list of goals to be achieved.
2. The Rise of an Urban Legend
That’s when members of the Darwinist fringe began saying rather loopy things.
Barbara Forrest, a Louisiana professor on the board of a group called the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, similarly championed the document as proof positive of a sinister conspiracy to abolish civil liberties and unify church and state. Forrest insisted that the document was “crucially important,” and she played up its supposed secrecy, claiming at one point that its “authenticity…has been neither affirmed nor denied by the Discovery Institute.” Poor Prof. Forrest—if she really wanted to know whether the document was authentic, all she had to do was ask.(She didn’t.)
There were lots of ironies as this urban legend began to grow, but Darwinist true-believers didn’t seem capable of appreciating them:
--Discovery Institute, the supposed mastermind of this “religious” conspiracy, is in fact a secular organization that sponsored programs on a wide array of issues, including mass transit, technology policy, the environment, and national defense.
--At the time the “Wedge Document” was being used by Darwinists to stoke fears about Christian theocracy, the Chairman of Discovery’s Board was Jewish, its President was an Episcopalian, and its various Fellows represented an eclectic range of religious views ranging from Roman Catholic to agnostic. It would have been news to them that they were all part of a fundamentalist cabal.
--Far from promoting a union between church and state, Discovery Institute sponsored for several years a seminar for college students that advocated religious liberty and the separation between church and state.
3. What the Document Actually Says
First and foremost, and contrary to the hysterical claims of some Darwinists, this document does not attack “science” or the “scientific method.” In fact, it is pro-science.
What the document critiques is “scientific materialism,” which is the abuse of genuine science by those who claim that science supports the unscientific philosophy of materialism.

“The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized.” It’s shocking but true—Discovery Institute actually promised to publicize the work of its scholars in the broader culture! What’s more, it wanted to engage Darwinists in academic debates at colleges and universities! We are happy to say that we still believe in vigorous and open discussion of our ideas, and we still do whatever we can to publicize the work of those we support. So much for the “secret” part of our supposed “conspiracy.”

“Life may be sweeter for this”

Since: Nov 08

Fennario

#36599 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
It is not about anthropomorphic arguments for me. I'm not an animist.
I don't think you understand what anthropomorphosizing means. It's not an argument.

And animism would be only one form of it. Theism is another. And so are concepts like Father Time and Lady Luck.
True Truth wrote:
Your statements about the growing number of unbelievers, as well as religious rituals and laws are of no relevance to what we are discussing.
You said, "that [order] reveals a plan," and I said, "Not to me, nor to a rapidly growing contingent calling themselves unbelievers. You pretty much have to assume that there is a god to attribute the regularities in nature to it."

If my reply is irrelevant, then your claim that order reveals a plan is irrelevant. They're two opposite opinions. And of them, yours is the existential claim, earning you the burden of proof to raise your words above the level of personal opinion.

“Life may be sweeter for this”

Since: Nov 08

Fennario

#36600 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
We are discussing the bottom line: Is there something which has caused and propagates life, or has life happened by a freakish event of the convergence of the laws of the universe suitable for life to form?
I have trouble with your language. That's not my bottom line, unless you mean did life arise spontaneously or was it deliberately fashioned. Where does "freakish" come in? Why stick it on the naturalistic side of the question? I think that the possibility of a god existing may be freakishly low. Maybe we should ask if life arose perforce, or did a god come into existence in some freakish manner and create it?
True Truth wrote:
Were these laws created by some kind of creator, or did they conveniently always exist? That is the bottom line.
I think that the bottom line is, did a replicator manage to self-assemble then evolve after eons on a Goldilocks planet - perhaps inevitably - or did some creator conveniently pop into existence and then conveniently "poof" life into existence?

The language matters, doesn't it?

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#36601 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
When scientists attribute certain phenomena to the existence of atoms, they were not dismissed because they didn't prove the atoms existence at the time.
Because that was a hypothesis that allowed for specific predictions of a large collection of observed data about chemistry. The actual existence of atoms was hotly debated until the early 20th century *because* they hadn't been observed. Some (like Ernst mach) thought they were simply convenient calculational gimmics.
When scientists attributed phenomena to the Higg-Boson particle without proof of existence, they were not dismissed.
In this case, also, it was because it was part of a larger hypothesis that explained a very large collection of observed phenomena. Also, until the actual verification of existence, that hypothesis was held as tentative and not definitive.
Scientists still attribute phenomena to dark energy and dark matter, which have have not as yet been able to detect, yet they are not dismissed for doing so.
We do have detection of dark matter--via its gravitational effects. We do not yet know what it is actually composed of, but we do have detection. Similarly for dark energy.
There is order all around us, laws of matter and energy that have resulted in complex nature around us, and I attribute that to a Creator, a God which I believe in. Why do you scrutinise such a belief, yet when scientists do the same thing, you would regard it as noble and courageous and advancing?
But scientists *do* scrutinize the scientific proposals. If a hypothesis is not required for an explanation, it is eliminated. If it does not give measureable, testable predictions, it is eliminated. If a simpler alternative is found that explains the details just as well, the more complicated explanation is eliminated. The important aspects are: testable detailed predictions, as few assumptions are possible, and as broad of an explanation of detailed observations as possible.

How does your hypothesis of a creator stack up? You claim the creator gave us the laws of physics and chemistry, which produces the observed complexity around us. OK, why not simply have the laws themselves? What testable prediction does your hypothesis make that is not already made by the mere existence of the phsyical laws? If you can give none, then in good scientific tradiation, that hypothesis shoudl be eliminated.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#36602 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, it seems we have different perceptions of order. To me, anything that is predictable, is displaying order. To me, order need not have any function. The blue in the flame may serve no purpose, but it is a product of different molecular vibrations absorbing certain frequencies of light and allowing others to pass through, during combustion. All of that depends on the different atoms constituting the molecule, their mass and electronegativity, which is the same everytime. The blue flame is the product of a series of physical and quantum laws, never broken, always observed and obeyed. In other words it is a product of order.
It would burn in that way every single time, and if there was true chaos and randomness, it simply would not do that.
OK, so we both agree there are physical laws. Why is the additional assumption of a creator required?

“Life may be sweeter for this”

Since: Nov 08

Fennario

#36603 Aug 21, 2012
Buck Crick wrote:
Barbara Forest and her band of hooligans got hold of it because it was sent out in the mail in a fundraiser. Regular U.S. Mail. It was not registered, required no signature, and no oath of secrecy. Futher, it contained the same information they had made known publicly in a variety of forums.
It aint necessarily so wrote:
How is that an argument against the Wedge Document having been a private internal document that was leaked? Are you implying that this letter to Barbara Forrest, which is news of no apparent import to me, was the initial viewing of this letter by a Discovery Institute outsider?
Buck Crick wrote:
By showing it was neither "private" nor "leaked".
You didn't do that. You claimed that the Discovery institute published its Wedge Strategy, but not that it hadn't been a "TOP SECRET" internal memo that had already been leaked by Matt Duss and Tim Rhodes around January 1999). What month and year(s) are you referring to here?
Buck Crick wrote:
That is not a "leaked document". Anyone making the claim is lying.

[QUOTE who="It aint necessarily so"]So you say. Where is your support for these claims?
[crickets chirping]

“Blue Collar Philosopher”

Since: Nov 08

Texas, USA

#36604 Aug 21, 2012
Buck Crick wrote:
<quoted text>
For something that doesn't exist, you have a lot of opinions about it.
A large number of people have gone through considerable effort to convince me otherwise. My opinions reflect, as at least a dim echo, current scientific perceptions.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#36605 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
So you are telling me, that looking for evidence of a god, entails finding a pattern that can only be explained by "positing an intelligent, deliberative, and potent designer.". <snip>

As an atheist, you should know how ridiculous it is when theists cannot explain things and conclude "God done it!", and yet that is the same criterion you are using when discussing a god.
Wrong. The 'god of the gaps' argument boils down to 'there is no current explanation, so godditit'. What we want is a definite prediction of a future observation that is not explained by the current physical theory and *is* explained by the existence of a creator. That is how we would show the existence of anything else in science, from the Higg's boson, to supersymmetric matter, to a black hole.
"I am an atheist, and I very rarely weigh the odds against the vastness of the universe. Furthermore, I don't know anybody who does." - Well this is a first for me. So tell me, how do you approach abiogenesis?
I frst look at what life is: a collection of intertwined chemical reactions. I then look at what the basic bulding blocks for those reactions are. Then I consider whether those building blocks are available in the universe. Then I see if there are plausible mechanisms for going from the chemicals and reactions we know occur to the chemicals and reactions required for life.
All atheists that I know, argue the odds. They argue that the chances of life arising from non life in any particular place are slim, but considering the vastness of the universe, the billions of stars and solar systems, it is hence theoretically possible that at least at some location, life would arise in this way. That is the common atheist argument.
I would argue slightly differently. The basic building blocks for life are fairly common in the universe: amino acids, sugars, etc. The main question is what the exact environment is that leads to the development of life. At this stage we do not know that piece of the puzzle. But we do know that life developeed very early on this planet.
Atheists don't believe that every single event occurs through chance, but they do believe that life arouse on this particular planet as a result of chance.
No, I believe it arose through the workings of the laws of physics and chemistry. That the appropriate precursors were her eis a matter of chance, but not the development from those precursors.
Even though the laws of physics exist throughout this universe, it is at this particular solar system that the laws resulted in creating a planet suitable for life (as far as we know at this point). And even when the chances of life arising from a particular pool are slim, there were many pools, hence increasing the odds in life's favour. Is that not the general atheist argument? Is that not the general atheist belief?
We do not know what the conditions are for the development of life, so it is impossible to determine the probabilities involved. At this point, the evidence is that it is actually fairly easy to produce life (given how fast it happened on earth), so I would actually *guess* that it is common for bacterial life to exist in other locations.
Renowned atheist, Carl Sagan believed that somehow out of the various lifeless complex molecules, at least one molecule would've begun the process of replication, and thereafter evolved from then on. Is that not basically what you believe? You may state abiogenesis as the cause and technically that would be correct, but its evolution right from then on.
Right, once we have life, we have evolution. it isn't evolution until we have life. Evolution is supported by the evidence even if life got started by divine intervention.

Again, a single molecule will not be alive; it is a system of interacting molecules that maintains homeostasis and can replicate in some environment that is alive.

“Waytogo”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#36606 Aug 21, 2012
Atheist e there belief because christains are so nasty mena evil and vilenet and atheist dont want to be attacked by foaming mouth chisrtiantalibans...
1 post removed

“Life may be sweeter for this”

Since: Nov 08

Fennario

#36608 Aug 21, 2012
http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/atheism/T...
Buck Crick wrote:
That doesn't constitute a "leak". That constitutes taking someone else's mail and posting it on the internet.
If the document says "TOP SECRET and "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION" on it, and somebody distributes it without permission, that's a leak. Here is the material Aerobatty posted from http://www.seattleweekly.com/2006-02-01/news/...

I haven't seen your comment on its claims that the memo was leaked other than you saying it wasn't. What do you say about the claim that Duss and Rhodes leaked a top secret internal document which contained material that the DI had not previously released, and was not aware was being published publicly?
Buck Crick wrote:
"In 1999 someone posted on the internet an early fundraising proposal for Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Dubbed the “Wedge Document,”

"To raise financial support for the Center, Discovery Institute prepared a fundraising proposal that explained the overall rationale for the Center and why a think tank like Discovery would want to start such an entity in the first place. Like most fundraising proposals, this one included a multi-year budget and a list of goals to be achieved."
Can you show us a copy of this fundraising letter? It doesn't seem to exist, according my Google searches, unless somebody is claiming that the Wedge Document itself was a fundraising letter. Clearly, it is not. Those usually begin with a salutation like "Dear yadda," not the word "INTRODUCTION": http://www.churchofvirus.org/virus.1Q99/0510....

“Life may be sweeter for this”

Since: Nov 08

Fennario

#36609 Aug 21, 2012
Buck Crick wrote:
What the Document Actually Says

"First and foremost, and contrary to the hysterical claims of some Darwinists, this document does not attack “science” or the “scientific method.” In fact, it is pro-science.
What the document critiques is “scientific materialism,” which is the abuse of genuine science by those who claim that science supports the unscientific philosophy of materialism."
This description of the Wedge Document above is pure fantasy. The letter announces a frontal assault on science and the scientific method with its stated goal,

"To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies" and "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"

Buck - these people have zero credibility with skeptics who are aware of all of this. And you tarnish your own credibility arguing for them. It's really a mystery to me why you would fight this battle here any longer.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#36610 Aug 21, 2012
It aint necessarily so wrote:
<quoted text>
... It's really a mystery to me why you would fight this battle here any longer.
Same reason he argued against the Earth being round.

“I see quantum effects”

Since: Jan 11

In the macro world.

#36611 Aug 21, 2012
Buck Crick wrote:
<quoted text>For something that doesn't exist, you have a lot of opinions about it.
Good ones, too.

“I see quantum effects”

Since: Jan 11

In the macro world.

#36612 Aug 21, 2012
Buck Crick wrote:
<quoted text>By showing it was neither "private" nor "leaked".
It sure as hell didn't show up in my mailbox.

“I Am No One Else”

Since: Apr 12

Seattle

#36613 Aug 21, 2012
It aint necessarily so wrote:
<quoted text>
I see order in chemistry. That's why there is a periodic table, and why there is a mathematical treatment of chemistry possible, as with enzyme kinetics: V = Vmax[S]/Km +[S] and stoichiometry: O2 + 2H2 &#8594; 2H2O
What isn't apparent is purpose or intent.
As I pointed out, predictability is not the type of order which demonstrates an intelligent purpose behind it. The type of order which religious people attempt to posit is purpose and design, specifically, like how a building is ordered or how a circuit board is ordered. The form of order that does exist is one of consequence, or as I call it, predictability of how things operate. That is why I say there is no order, I am speaking on what they are defining order as not on the scientific perception of order.

“I Am No One Else”

Since: Apr 12

Seattle

#36614 Aug 21, 2012
True Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
It is not about anthropomorphic arguments for me. I'm not an animist. Your statements about the growing number of unbelievers, as well as religious rituals and laws are of no relevance to what we are discussing. We are discussing the bottom line: Is there something which has caused and propagates life, or has life happened by a freakish event of the convergence of the laws of the universe suitable for life to form? Were these laws created by some kind of creator, or did they conveniently always exist?
That is the bottom line.
You posit a question which you have no evidence to suggest anything either way then assume that you have the answer without that evidence. Science simply does not work like that.

As for the laws of the universe being suitable, that is completely wrong. First, we don't know the possible sets of laws which would allow life, we know the sets of laws in our universe allows for life because here we are. The universe exists as it does because of the laws, the same way clay can be pushed into a mold to take on that mold's shape. Life likely exists in this universe on the same principle, not because of the laws but instead it exists around the laws. Your backward mode of thinking reverses the entire concept of the universe and how nature works. The laws came first, even in your fairy tale that has to happen, then everything else followed. Which means we exist around the laws, the laws were not required for us to exist.

“The Edge”

Since: Dec 10

Of Tomorow

#36615 Aug 21, 2012
Buck Crick wrote:
<quoted text>
That doesn't constitute a “conspiracy.”
Nixon tried to explain why he was completely innocent too , standing there with his pants around his ankles with a boner.
But we aint falling for a banana in the tail pipe this time knucklehead.

“I see quantum effects”

Since: Jan 11

In the macro world.

#36616 Aug 21, 2012
It aint necessarily so wrote:
<quoted text> http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/atheism/T...

If the document says "TOP SECRET and "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION" on it, and somebody distributes it without permission, that's a leak. Here is the material Aerobatty posted from http://www.seattleweekly.com/2006-02-01/news/...

I haven't seen your comment on its claims that the memo was leaked other than you saying it wasn't. What do you say about the claim that Duss and Rhodes leaked a top secret internal document which contained material that the DI had not previously released, and was not aware was being published publicly?

Buck Crick wrote, ""In 1999 someone posted on the internet an early fundraising proposal for Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Dubbed the “Wedge Document,”

"To raise financial support for the Center, Discovery Institute prepared a fundraising proposal that explained the overall rationale for the Center and why a think tank like Discovery would want to start such an entity in the first place. Like most fundraising proposals, this one included a multi-year budget and a list of goals to be achieved.""

Can you show us a copy of this fundraising letter? It doesn't seem to exist, according my Google searches, unless somebody is claiming that the Wedge Document itself was a fundraising letter. Clearly, it is not. Those usually begin with a salutation like "Dear yadda," not the word "INTRODUCTION": http://www.churchofvirus.org/virus.1Q99/0510....
I get a kick out of this:

"Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth."

While Christianity promises that if you wait around long enough, profess faith in Jesus, and somehow abide by obscure and ambiguous ancient goatherder rules, heaven on Earth will just magically happen.

Only on America.
1 post removed

“The eye has it...”

Since: Jan 12

Russell's teapot.

#36618 Aug 21, 2012
Aerobatty wrote:
<quoted text>
I get a kick out of this:
"Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth."
While Christianity promises that if you wait around long enough, profess faith in Jesus, and somehow abide by obscure and ambiguous ancient goatherder rules, heaven on Earth will just magically happen.
Only on America.
Whatever random thought that flitters through the grey matter in Buck's head IS America.

But only in Buck's head. That's good.

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