You really, really, really don’t want to read this. »« Resources to think about: black atheists

Hey all you Godless Perverts!

Moderation is a tricky thing.

Yesterday I posted some links on the blog that address issues for black atheists.
I got an extremely off-topic comment from “Joachim,” which was held in moderation.

[…]

I don’t block commenters just for disagreeing. Nor do I think blogs are an indiscriminate “free speech zone.” My general policy is that if somebody is deliberately insulting or trolling in their first post, they are not likely to contribute to worthwhile discussions in the long run. This one was right at the borderline, but in this particular case, I was interested in letting the preceding post stay on topic for anyone who is actually interested in discussing racial issues within the atheist community. I felt that allowing the comment through would have derailed the thread.

However, I was urged on Facebook not to let the comment go to waste, so I’m going to simply repost it here without a response, and let the rest of you have at the post if you enjoy that sort of thing. Joachim, your future comments on this thread will be approved when I see them.

Black Atheists?

You can be anything and be an atheist, that’s the beauty of it.

You can be a Liberal, a Philantropist or Fund Raiser, a Social Worker, a writer, or even a Christian Atheist.

Or you can be a Communist, a Nazi, a child molester, a mass murderer, an illiterate, or a Godless Pervert…they even had a Godless Pervert hour at the atheist convention in Lawrence last weekend, I Kid You Not!

And if you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces, then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.

Your atheism is thus Unfalsifiable and Indestructible!

Comments

  1. says

    I always thought the evidential demonstration of the existence of a god would refute atheism. I mean, it’s just like a single black swan refutes the assertion that all swans are white. The proven, demonstrable existence of a single god (Zeus, YHWH, FSM, Cthulhu, and so on and on) would rather disprove the fundamental assumption of atheism.

    And if you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces, then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.

    I see the problem. Joachim presents an assumption and a conclusion from the assumption — but the conclusion is false. A bit of flippant poor reasoning that borders on presuppositionalism; all bearing no resemblance to logic.

    The quality of trolls has really gone downhill in the last few years. I blame mass-production.

  2. Thorne says

    Started out so promising, then just reverted to the “atheism requires faith” crap.

    then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.

    Actually, yes, there is. Just provide compelling, scientific evidence that a god, or gods, exist. Personally, I won’t even require you to show that these gods actually manifest in our lives, performing healings or saving people. Just prove that they exist, that’s all.

    Your atheism is thus Unfalsifiable and Indestructible!

    Nope, not at all. I do not claim that gods do not exist. I only claim that there is no evidence that they do, and therefore I do not believe that they exist. This can easily be falsified: just prove that they exist.

  3. gralgrathor says

    I see the problem

    Okay… Me, I’m not sure the comment is worth preserving in any way. It’s just another odd non-sequitur.

  4. penguinland says

    “or even a Christian Atheist.”

    This confuses me. I think of a Christian as someone who believes that Jesus was a god (or the son of a god, or something like that), and an atheist as someone who believes that no gods exist (or rather, that if gods exist, there is currently insufficient evidence for them). How can you be both at the same time? What does this mean?

  5. John Kruger says

    If you were to go with naturalism just on assertion, as this Joachim persons seems to put forward, then perhaps

    Your atheism is thus Unfalsifiable and Indestructible!

    Unfortunately, such atheism would also be meaningless.

    Practical, skeptical atheism has all sorts of predictions that can be drawn from it. Efficacy of prayer, validity of supernatural explanations, predictions of wrath based weather patterns, and likely many more I cannot come up with off the top of my head, all stem from skeptical atheism. For an idea to have any practical utility at all, it has to take a risk and predict something. If it can be shown that certain prayers are being answered only by practicing Orthodox Jews, I will have to re-evaluate my atheism that predicts they will have no effect. Until then, atheism is the best fit for the observed world I have encountered when it comes to the idea of gods and their existence.

  6. says

    penguinland:

    How can you be both at the same time? What does this mean?

    I have a friend who is a big part of a local church. He’s a youth advocate (not sure what that is, but it has something to do with representing the young’uns in the church) and assists in keeping the books. It’s a big part of his life.

    He is an atheist. He still self-identifies as a Christian, but admits to his friends he doesn’t believe any god exists.

    So, what does it mean? It means people are really really good at compartmentalization.

  7. maudell says

    @ Pinguinland

    I hesitated on that one too. I think he means “cultural Christian”, sort of like being a Jewish atheist.

  8. kestra says

    Regarding “Christian Atheists”: Eh. I don’t think, Christianity being what it is (a massive, multi-denominational movement with very little in common other than some shared texts and traditions) and Judaism being what it is (a religion almost always tied with an ethnic identity which includes specific trans-national language(s) and emphasis on blood-ties, as “Jewishness” is tied to maternity in most communities), no, you can’t really be a “Christian atheist” the way you can sorta be a Jewish atheist.

    When I began my years-long slide into actively identifying as an Atheist, I once said to my father, ca. age 18, that I could no longer call myself a “Christian”. When he inquired as to why, I said, “Well, I really don’t think you can call yourself a Christian if you don’t believe in the Resurrection and Divinity of Christ.” Yes, I still celebrate Christmas (Winter Solstice Ritual!) and usually sometimes Easter (Ham Day!), but I don’t think I’m “culturally Christian”, other than being raised that way. And how much of that culture is really just English-Canadian, rather than “Christian”, really?

  9. Dark_Monkey_316 says

    “You can be a Liberal, a Philantropist or Fund Raiser, a Social Worker, a writer, or even a Christian Atheist.”

    Aside from christian atheist couldn’t a christian be the same?

    “Or you can be a Communist, a Nazi, a child molester, a mass murderer, an illiterate, or a Godless Pervert…”

    Aside from being godless, couldn’t a christian be the same? For any of those you could be any religion/non. It seems like a waste of typing.

    Plus his/her if-then definition doesn’t make any sense. I would like to hear how you can connect those if-then statements, which then puts the conclusion (even on it’s own doesn’t make sense) as another non-logical step.

  10. Lord Narf says

    I only claim that there is no evidence that they do …

    *good/reliable/sufficient evidence

    You have to include those modifiers, man. It’s like Matt’s point about textual evidence for Jesus. There’s no contemporary, extra-biblical accounts of Jesus. That adjective on the front makes all the difference.

    The textual accounts that are within a couple hundred years of the time are also pretty much worthless, but you need to have that discussion.

  11. Lord Narf says

    There’s some wacky cultural Christianity that some atheists claim. It’s like cultural Jews, but … different. Most people chuck the whole nonsense, when they realize the mythology is bullshit, but there are a few who hold on, for some reason.

    It’s such a tiny blip that they’re not really worth mentioning. You can find 0.5% of any group who are doing something screwy, particularly in a group like atheists, who aren’t really a group, just a classification.

  12. Lord Narf says

    … then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.

    When you meet one of those sorts of atheists, introduce me. I’ve never met one. We just tend to have much better standards of evidence than believers. It’s not that there’s no evidence that would convince us; we’re just not gullible enough to accept the weak-ass stuff that all religions have presented, so far.

  13. L.Long says

    “Or you can be a Communist, a Nazi, a child molester, a mass murderer, an illiterate, or a Godless Pervert…”

    Off the top of my head ….
    Communist has nothing to do with atheism or theology. But he probably means what was in Russia or China.
    These were and are NOT communism. They are totalitarian dictatorships that CALL themselves Communists.
    The NAZI killed atheists and were Catlickers for the most part.
    All the child molesters….mass murderers…godless perverts…and illiterates I know about are all RELIGIOUS!

    This dude sounds like your typical illiterate Fascist dimwit who probably has never REALLY read or analyzed what his holey buyBull says.

  14. Lord Narf says

    Monkey … Monkey … come on, man. You’re expecting sense out of the Christians. You should know better than that …

  15. culturesclashing says

    Do we need another reminder that there are many people who really fail at logic and reason?

    “You can be anything and be an atheist, that’s the beauty of it”

    As Matt says “The only way to be a bad atheist is to believe in god” so that’s sorta true…

    There is no requirement in “dictionary atheism” for people to be nice, or hold particular political
    or philosophical views.

    However to be an atheist (or anything else) for good reasons you need to be logical and rational
    and scientifically skeptical… And if you are those things then the constraints of our reality will
    tend to impose certain positions on you.
    You can’t be fully rational if you, for example, believe in homoeopathy… Because it doesn’t work…

    “…Or you can be a Communist, a Nazi, a child molester, a mass murderer, an illiterate, or a Godless Pervert…”

    And you can be a Communist, Nazi, Child Molester, Mass Murderer, Illiterate, or Pervert if you do believe in
    a god… Did you have a point?

    “…they even had a Godless Pervert hour at the atheist convention in Lawrence last weekend, I Kid You Not!”

    I didn’t go to this convention (wrong continent) but I suspect that this was a humorous take on what
    many religions in their backwards sex obsessed ‘moralities’ consider to be ‘perverted’.

    i.e. that people can have healthy sex outside of (and inside of) marriage and enjoy it without being
    immoral…
    among other things.

    I suspect that Joachim managed to miss the point… however as I wasn’t their I am open to be corrected
    on this.

    “And if you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces, then
    there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.”

    Non-sequiter…

    logic / rationality… “You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Atheism is most broadly the lack of belief in gods.

    If rationally convincing evidence were supplied that gods exist, then the atheist stance would be logically
    and rationally untenable… It would be refuted.

    Whether or not it would be reasonable (or moral) to worship the gods who’s existence was demonstrated
    is a separate question… But it would no-longer be reasonable not to believe in their existence… and thus
    no longer reasonable to be an atheist.

    Why Joachim thought this was a good post in response to the original blog post…. It eludes me…

    But then Joachim appears to be using a different kind of ‘logic’ and ‘rationality’ than those I am familiar with…

    Also I like .’s I think they look lonely all alone so I like to give them company… If you think they should have to go
    out all on their own you can be the one to break their little hearts and tell them…

    EDIT: I originally tried to post when there were no other comments… had an error and am now trying again.
    Thus if anything is invalidated or irrelevant due to subsequent posts that is why… Apologies if that is the case.

  16. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    And if you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces, then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.

    Your atheism is thus Unfalsifiable and Indestructible!

    I just don’t get this one. Atheism is the position that you are ignorant or undecided if any god exists, or accept as true to some degree of certainty that no gods exist. It is sometimes accompanied by an acceptance of “materialism” and “naturalism”, though I would prefer the term physics reductionism – the idea that all observable phenomena in our shared reality have accurate predict models which are computationally reducible to the models of physics, aka of mindless forces acting “pairwise” on microscopic particles.

    Now, how in the hell does that lead to the conclusion that it could not be demonstrated that there is a very powerful creature responsible for some of the historical events in the christian bible, and who cares about who I sleep with and in what position, etc.? It would be very easy to demonstrate to me the existence of such a creature. For example, it might be like a goa’uld.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa%27uld
    Aliens, and aliens with very powerful technology, are well within my understanding of reality. It would be very easy to demonstrate one. And furthermore note that the christian bible talks about other gods, frequently talks as if god can forget (“rainbows”), and is not all knowing, and is not all powerful (“iron chariots”).

    But even then, if you mean that I could never accept the existence of a nigh all powerful, nigh all knowing creature responsible for our local big bang? That’s also doable. I’d suggest as a good start the this thing come down to Earth, and start breaking physics in laboratory conditions, on demand, to our specifications, and be completely open to any and all investigation. That would be a good start. Start predicting purportedly random quantum events. Start sending signals faster than the speed of light. Start teleporting ala Star Trek. Start replicating stuff ala Star Trek.

    Of course, I have to admit that in my model dependent view of reality, I could not distinguish between such a creature and a goa’uld with sufficiently good mind-rape technology, or The Matrix. But at the very least, I probably wouldn’t use the word “atheist” to describe myself any more. I’d still be an anti-theist, and like the protagonists of Stargate SG-1, I would seek ways to destroy the evil gods. I mean – how could I be an atheist if I am seeking out ways to destroy the evil gods? I of course couldn’t.

    But here’s the key. I will never, ever, be a christian. If being a christian requires submitting oneself to slavery, accepting a celestial zombie Jew as my lord and master, then I will never be a christian. I may accept that the christian god exists, but I will never be a christian. My modern western morality and values demand it. My modern western morality and values stands in stark contradiction to your ancient outdated “christian” morality. “Islam” means submission, to the will of their god, and you submit to your god. I submit to no one. I could be friends with a good god, and thankful, but I will never be a slave, and I will never worship. “Give me liberty or give me death.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Give_me_Liberty,_or_give_me_Death!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Henry

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Err, sorry, a couple quick additions I should have included. The reason why I like “physics reductionism” is that it clearly specifies that the reduction is not of “material” or “parts”. The reduction is a computational reduction, from one model to another, in the formal sense of theory of computation. It’s phrased precisely this way to get around the annoying objects of “but qualia isn’t physical”, as such objections miss the point of what Hawkings calls model dependent realism. It’s about the computational reducibility of models and predictions, not some sort of “substance reductionism”.

    Oh, and I think that Stargate SG-1 is an amazingly apt example. “Give me liberty or give me death!”, a quote from one of the founders of the US. “I die free”, a frequent quote of jaffa when they are facing death, trying to gain their freedom from their oppressive goa’uld lords. If some creature fits the legends of the christian bible, I see no reason why we should treat it any differently than how the fictional heroes of SG-1 treated the goa’uld and the ascended Ori and their followers.

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    I agree. The closest philosophy with a popular name which embodies this idea seems to be the logical positivists, but they had their own extra baggage which caused issues. Is there some name for this kind of philosophy, that untestable claims about our shared reality about things with material causal power are both useless and unknowable – unknowable precisely because they’re not testable? I dare say that “scientism” and “physicalism” almost mean that, but those also have annoying baggage, like “prove you love your wife” nonsense. (Of course I can demonstrate that I love someone, just like I can demonstrate that my favorite color is blue … NO YELLOW-W-W-W!)

  19. says

    Actually, yes, there is. Just provide compelling, scientific evidence that a god, or gods, exist.

    We’re basically Null Hypothesis incarnate… i.e. “Null Hypothezoids”

  20. changerofbits says

    Talk about projection (9 substitutions, can you find them or does it actually work better when flipped?):

    Black Theists?

    You can be anything and be a theist, that’s the beauty of it.

    You can be a Liberal, a Philantropist or Fund Raiser, a Social Worker, a writer, or even a Christian Theist.

    Or you can be a Communist, a Nazi, a child molester, a mass murderer, an illiterate, or a Warrior for Christ…they even had a Warrior for Christ hour at the bible convention in Lawrence last weekend, I Kid You Not!

    And if you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of god, then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of theism.

    Your theism is thus Unfalsifiable and Indestructible!

  21. Aaroninmelbourne says

    Oh I see, he has presumed that atheism is a premise rather than a conclusion; and has thus presumed that, like himself on his own religious faith, atheists start by beginning with a conclusion, and then end with that conclusion without considering evidence.
    Well sorry (not really) but my atheism was a result of investigation of the available evidence and I came fairly and squarely to the conclusion that there is no Yahweh, there are no all-powerful or all-knowing deities, and that if there are deities with “supernatural” powers, they are limited in some form and thus would require real, supporting evidence for any claims they make… just like everything else.

  22. changerofbits says

    The Ori could demonstrate their “supernatural” power, whereas the Goa’uld were just technically advanced posers. Actually, the Ori (and other folk who ascended) seemed to have some rules/limitations that had some tie to our natural universe. Maybe the ascended realm was just another “dimension”, for lack of a netter term, that would some day just be considered part of nature. I miss SG…

  23. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Well, SG-1 is the best television show ever made, so that’s to be expected. (Except the first season.)

  24. mike says

    “You can find 0.5% of any group who are doing something screwy” – That’s too funny, and its so accurately true, too lol

  25. John Kruger says

    There are those who consider Jesus a great philosophical teacher, and adhere to his teachings without considering him a god. (I personally consider Jesus’ teachings to be obvious and mundane at their best, and horribly vile at their worst). Thomas Jefferson is a famous example of this, and even wrote a bible that removed all the supernatural parts from the traditional text. One could call such people “atheist Christians” and still be relatively coherent.

    Of course, at this point the definition of “Christian” is getting stretched pretty far from normal usage. The traditional definition I usually run into is that a Christian is someone who accepts Jesus’ substitutional atonement for their sins, which cannot really be separated from a god belief.

  26. yiab says

    For any of those you could be any religion/non

    I have a slight suspicion that there are few if any Jewish Nazis. Other than that, I agree.

  27. doublereed says

    Eh. Jews are also considered an ethnicity, both by other Jews and by Anti-Semites. I don’t see the way Christianity could claim to be an ethnicity in the same way, but who knows.

  28. Lord Narf says

    Someone somewhere has discovered a way to rationalize it to himself, I’m sure. ^.^

  29. Lord Narf says

    Never underestimate the power of rebellion against your parents. Can you think of a better way (okay, I don’t mean “better”; I mean more extreme) for a kid to rebel against his Jewish parents? Some stupid kid somewhere has probably done it.

  30. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, but that 0.5% is so often held up as representative of the whole. Of course, when you’re talking about the Republican Party, we’ve got something more like 30% who have gone off the deep end, and a significant chunk of the other 70% are listening to them.

  31. jacobfromlost says

    “then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.”

    Atheism isn’t a claim.

    How far might we get if we said something like, “If you think that Santa isn’t real until given evidence that he actually does…and Santa actually doesn’t exist…then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of Santa not existing.”

    Sure, I guess. But making that argument is an acknowledgement that there is no evidence for Santa, and never will be because SANTA DOESN’T EXIST!

    If you scan that very same argument to the god claim, then…

    Sure, IF the person making this argument against “atheism” actually thinks there is no evidence of a god and can be no evidence of a god BECAUSE HE DOESN’T EXIST, then “there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.”

    Sure, I guess, but that argument only works if even the believer starts with the conclusion that a god doesn’t exist! A very odd way to argue against “atheism”, any way you define it.

    Since X doesn’t exist, you will never get any evidence for it, and thus you will never be compelled to drop your lack of belief in it! How unfair and biased of you! How can we supply evidence to you of something that doesn’t exist in order for you to believe that it does exist?

    It’s as if rationalists just aren’t playing fair. lol

  32. says

    “You can be anything and be an atheist, that’s the beauty of it. You can be a Liberal, a Philantropist or Fund Raiser, a Social Worker, a writer, or even a Christian Atheist.”

    Obviously written by someone who hasn’t spent any time in the black community. Religiosity is pervasive and religion is seen to be the only alternative to “street” values. This goes for both Christianity and Islam. Being a black atheist is in no way comparable to being an atheist *and* anything else. The pressure to conform is extremely strong, and the brand of Christianity is very very fundamentalist. The devil and voodoo hold much more sway in the black psyche than in the white community. Even in non-Pentacostal denominations there’s an element of belief in being taken over by the Holy Spirit… and if you don’t let the holy spirit enter, the door is open for the Devil to getcha!

    Also, the black church is indeed the source of much good work in the community. An out atheist (or gay man, for that matter) can expect ostracization from some and heavy prosletyzing from others, and acceptance from very very few.

    …and the rest of the message is just too incomprehensible to reply to

  33. joachim says

    An evidential explanation would demonstrate that, but if you hold to my premise…and notice I had said IF…then there is no evidence that you would logically be compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism.

    That is, IF you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces (as, say, J.T. Eberhard does) then there is no evidence that fits your criteria for the Refutation of Atheism.

    Of course, if you hold to some position, such as there being a non material or even spiritual intelligence operative in the universe…as say Jack Krebs of the Kansas Citizens For Science Evolution Wars in Kansas did, or as Sam Harris does in some respects…then that is another story.

    But lets say you do accept the position that mindless forces explain it all.

    Then your atheism is…Voila!…Unfalsifiable.

    But hey, I could be wrong.

    So, IF you think mindless forces can explain it all, then give me an example…at least In Principle…that there is some evidence you would accept.

    And then I will show that you would not be logically compelled to do so and your Atheism is safe!

    And Unfalsifiable.

  34. joachim says

    By the way, the atheists at KU really did call themselves “Godless Perverts”; I guess they thought it was funny…it was, sort of…but a lot of students were grossed out or laughing at them.

    The whole thing was hilarious and I had a good time! If they want to call themselves that, go for it!

    I wonder what Freud would say? …snicker…

  35. joachim says

    Given my premise…and notice that I said IF you hold that position…what evidence would you accept, or be logically be compelled to accept?

    My position that is is none, no matter what it was.

    Go ahead, give me an example.

  36. joachim says

    Yeah, it is wacky. but it exists. Richard Dawkins seems to have some sympathy for it!

  37. hypatiasdaughter says

    #16 Well, duh! jacobfromlost, if you look under EVERY rock in the Universe and don’t find God , then you have supplied the evidence that He doesn’t exist.

  38. Thorne says

    So, IF you think mindless forces can explain it all, then give me an example…at least In Principle…that there is some evidence you would accept.

    It’s quite simple, really. Show me the evidence, real evidence, falsifiable evidence, that something other than mindless forces are responsible. Show me the evidence for this “non material or even spiritual intelligence”. All of the evidence that science has gathered, even when gathered by religious scientists, points to there being no such intelligence. Proving the existence of that intelligence would falsify my atheism, wouldn’t it?

  39. francesc says

    I can understand Joachim’s statement and, to some extent, it’s true.
    Assume that god itself gives a strong evidence of its existence. For example, it arranges the stars so that we can read: “I’m God and I do Exist”; of course, in modern english and random capitalization.
    There may be several explanations, some of them:
    1.- Air ballons with lights
    2.- Someone spiked my drink or I’m getting crazy
    3.- Aliens
    4.- We are living in the Matrix
    5.- Like, uh, God
    Well, in a naturilistic/rationalist view, the first four answers are more plausible that the existence of god. Because we know that airballons and lights do exist; we know that some people hallucinate, so we may be one of those; as there are rational beings in this planet there may be also in other planets; and as we are developing artificial intelligence we could be part of a computer simulation -wich is probably run by google.
    On the other hand, we have no experience with an almighty being who created the universe. I understand then that it will be at least really hard to prove god’s existence to myself.

    From a christian point of view, it’s an irrefutable proof ot the existence of a god and that gays are condemned to eternal torture.

    Now, let’s look at the examples a second time. Specifically the 4th one is a cheat. I mean, it’s not really naturalistic. Religious people tend to imply that either everything follows physic’s rules or else, God. That’s an unfair split, giving the impression that both sides have similar weights. Appart from number 4, let’s see other non-naturalistic explanations:
    6.- FSM
    7.- Faeries, dragons…
    8.- Magic
    9.- We are in a pocket universe
    10.- Our mind can change the universe
    11.- You are the only thing that really exist and everything else is product of your mind
    12, 13, 14, 15… any other god different that your own.
    It’s obvious that the explanations in this second batch have all similar amounts of evidences in their favour.

  40. joachim says

    Not at all. You could claim that the intelligence was simply an alien intelligence.

    Thus your atheism can never be falsified, even in prinicple, IF you believe that all existence is explained by mindless forces.

  41. joachim says

    That’s not quite correct; Communism, as expressed in the 20th Century, and on into our own time, is based on Dialectical Materialism.

    Thus Lenin and Trotsky’s atheism and desire to eliminate religion.

    You can’t accurately say that atheism had nothing to do with Communism.

    Face it. Deal with it. It did.

  42. joachim says

    I love that “Zombie Jew” term; not only a Straw Man but smacks of Anti Semitism.

    And you goys don’t even see it.

  43. Greta Christina says

    This may be a little off-topic, but as one of the hosts/ organizers of the Godless Perverts event being discussed, I feel like I should explain what exactly that’s about.

    The Godless Perverts are actually based in San Francisco, not Lawrence, KS. We host readings/ performance events, social gatherings, and panel discussions looking at sex and sexuality from an atheist perspective: looking at the intersection of sex and sexuality with atheism, skepticism, materialism, science, etc., as well as looking at religion and sexuality from an atheist perspective.

    In April, we took the show on the road for the first time, and hosted a Godless Perverts Story Hour event at the Reasonfest conference in Lawrence. The name was chosen (a) to be funny and entertaining, and (b) as part of reclaiming the words “godless” and “pervert” — both of which get used as marginalizing words, to marginalize atheists and sexual minorities (kinky people, poly people, LGBT people, etc.).

    All of which makes it seem somewhat stuffy, so I’ll assure you that it isn’t: the Godless Perverts Story Hour readings/ performance events can get pretty wild. Good times. And I’m still scratching my head over the idea that our existence proves that atheism is unfalsifiable. m-/

  44. Lord Narf says

    Actually, no, its not. I think one of your biggest problems is a basic misunderstanding of the word atheism.

    Atheism isn’t a claim that no gods exist. It’s the rejection of the claim that gods do exist. There’s a very important logical difference between the two statements. The idea of the falsification of atheism is incoherent, at best, because atheism isn’t a positive claim.

    You could do the equivalent of falsifying atheism, to use your inaccurate terms, by providing sufficient evidence for your god claims. You haven’t done this, and neither has anyone else making a god claim. If they had, we wouldn’t be atheists.

    Elsewhere in this comment section, you made other statements:

    Not at all. You could claim that the intelligence was simply an alien intelligence.

    This is the fault of the creationists, for creating their Trojan horse, Intelligent Design. If you’re making generic Intelligent Design arguments, then yes, an alien intelligence that was a product of biological evolution would fit the parameters laid out by the Intelligent Design proponents.

    If you’re sticking to theistic arguments, then you’re a little better off, but it’s still tough for you. The vast majority of theistic arguments culminate in a huge cluster-fuck of an Argument from Ignorance fallacy. When your argument ends up with, “I can’t think of any naturalistic way this could have happened, so it must have been X,” it leaves everyone else free to stick whatever other silly explanation they want into the variable, and they’ll be as justified as you are.

    Thus your atheism can never be falsified, even in prinicple, IF you believe that all existence is explained by mindless forces.

    Your understanding of naturalism is a little off. People generally make use of methodological naturalism, not philosophical naturalism. It’s a simple application of Occam’s Razor. We have evidence of natural things happening. If something makes sense within a naturalistic framework, it’s silly to start inserting supernatural (whatever the hell that means; the term is always very poorly defined) elements.

    When a process comprised of testable components is sufficient, it’s madness to start inserting components that are by their very nature (many would say devised to be) untestable. You’d destroy any chance of you making any scientific progress, if you tried to do experiments that included untestable integral components.

  45. changerofbits says

    Yea, you’re right, it is Anti Semitic to remind those of Jewish heritage that this Christian problem seems to have some shared history. I like to use “Zombie Carpenter” colloquially, since it describes a real profession (before the whole vagabond period anyway). But, lest that also be a straw man, “Carpenter Lich” works even better. We all know that he didn’t try to directly eat the brains of the living (as long as you don’t consider the figurative brain eating) and retained a personality as one of the undead. But, unfortunately, that point is often lost on the average Christian.

  46. changerofbits says

    IN other words your atheism is Unfalsifiable.

    In other words, our skepticism is going to apply to any extraordinary claim or unexplained phenomenon, and well it should. Hell, if prayer really worked, I’d probably start believing again. But, there is just no good evidence for a god.

  47. Lord Narf says

    You’re going a little too far into political correctness there. You can’t avoid any reference to Jews, just because of the Holocaust. If you’re actually referencing modern Jews with an insult, then you need to stop and think about it, yeah. The attachment to Jews, in this case, is only incidental. King of the Jews, etc.

    It’s not antisemitic, any more than calling someone a little idiot is slandering all short people. The chosen modifier is appropriate and incidental, and it’s not a global slur.

  48. changerofbits says

    No worries, I was just reaching for a justification that included a jab at Christianity.

  49. Thorne says

    You might want to reconsider. You just might have stumbled onto a movie set.

  50. DavidK says

    I’m a bit late to the party, just been rereading the blog posts, but here are my thoughts.

    Your wrong.

    Your right by your own concepts, but only because you’ve set up your definitions so you are right. Your defining something into existence, in this case the lack of acceptance.

    if you hold that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces

    Defines the theoretical individual’s beliefs so that they can not accept any evidence which would point to a force with a ‘mind’.

    then there is no evidence that you would ever be logically compelled to accept as a refutation of atheism

    If they do accept the evidence then you just point out that it’s contrary to your definition. How convenient, plus what would humans count as, don’t we have minds?

    Your argument is wrong as I don’t need to stick to your concepts.

    A problem with your argument is that you don’t define a god but you make the assumption that god must have a mind.

    If you take the example sometimes used on the show, and define a tree as god, then your argument is incorrect.

    The tree does not have a mind, but it’s existence can be proven, thereby avoiding your argument’s requirement for a mind and opening the possibility of acceptance of the tree as god.

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