Friday Cephalopod: Skulking »« The Kensington forgery

Why I am an atheist – Gary Hill

Last night I had a dream. In this dream I had reason to believe that a room in my house was inhabited by a poltergeist. I couldn’t actually see the entity but I had good reason to believe it was there because inanimate objects were constantly being moved from where I had left them. Of course I also could have been mistaken as to where I had put them. So I conducted an experiment. I left a pair of shoes in the middle of the floor and out loud, informed the poltergeist that “I have left a pair of shoes in the middle of the room and I am now going to leave the room, close the door, and return in 10 minutes. If you want me to believe in your existence I want you to move the shoes to somewhere else in the room”. Then I left. On returning, sure enough, the shoes were neatly placed on the table. In my dream I repeated the procedure several times and each time the shoes ended up on the table.

I imagine I have dreams like this because as a young teen I discovered science fiction and avidly read the entire contents of my high school library. Stalwarts such as John Wyndham, Lester Del Rey and later, the ‘new wave’ of science fiction authors such as Bradbury, Ballard and Ellison became my sustenance. From there it was an easy step into the decidely dodgy world of ESP, ley lines, the mathematical profundity of the pyramids, Erich von Daniken and Lobsang Rampa. You name it, I’ve probably read it.

Looking back on this period, now armed with a PhD in cognitive psychology, I wonder whether reading these books acted as a type of partial wish fulfillment. We all wish the world were different to how it actually is. In my case this was characterised by such thoughts as wouldn’t it be great if telepathy were real? Imagine being able to privately communicate with someone at a great distance without having to worry about dialing codes or whether the battery has enough charge. Excellent! Talking to dead relatives and close friends? Cool! Visitors from outer space in saucer shaped craft? Fantastic! Being able to move objects at a distance? Wow! Curing any emotional ill simply by talking through your feelings, guided by a simple, universal template of human psychological structure? Awesome!

An omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent entity that created the universe (and us, to look just like him!) and responds to all your needs…….

But let’s be honest here. There is no such thing as ESP, telekinesis, reliably effective Freudian analysis, flying saucers etc. How do we know this? Well we’ve observed and experimented, and crunched the numbers. And observed and experimented and crunched the numbers again. And again. And not only formally, in laboratories, but informally, in the field, in our everday observations and thoughts. And as for that omnsicient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent being, or even an omniscient entity of any sort, well again, the numbers, whether from philosphical or empirical investigation, simply don’t add up.

So, in the best tradition of personality psychology in categorising human beings, I observe a psychological continuum between those who perceive the world in terms of wish-fulfillment (believers) and those who perceive the world in terms of evidence (rationalists). Or, in other words, a continuum based on an individual’s existential honesty.

Using my dream as analogy, whether the shoes had moved or not, the rationalist would simply accept the state of things as found and the scientific world-view would be amended accordingly in that the poltergeist hypothesis would gain some support. If the shoes had not moved, however, the poltergeist believer would have their world-view threatened and likely be trying to convince us that the shoes really had moved. Substitute god for poltergeist, and the shoes would have moved in the spiritual dimension, or actually would have moved, if god was willing, or their remains the possibility that the shoes will move, if only we had more faith….

That is why I am an atheist. I simply aspire to perceive the universe in as true a way as possible; which entails being honest about my psychological makeup, i.e., my own wants and wishes, no matter what the data is telling me. It’s not that I don’t believe in god. I simply have yet to see any convincing data (or philosophical argument, for that matter) that the hypothesis is true. Belief just doesn’t come into it.

Gary Hill
United Kingdom

Comments

  1. KG says

    My creativity – Coco the liar

    *chuckle*

    You haven’t shown a spark of creativity or originality in your days-long public wanking session here. Fuck, I heard the same crap more or less word for word nearly 40 years ago, when a friend got hoodwinked by Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Dass). She then went on to worship the chubby-cheeked teenage con artist who called himself Guru Maharaj Ji, and became so boring that I eventually drifted out of contact with her.

  2. says

    And by the way Coco Jumbo, it’s Hawking–no “s”.

    @SallyStrange #362

    Coco, I am having trouble distinguishing your god hypothesis from the Russell’s Teapot hypothesis. Can you please explain how what you’re doing–asserting a god that has not yet been imagined and therefore cannot be disproved–differs substantially from the scenario described in Russell’s Teapot?

    Coco “Mumbo” Jumbo’s god hypothesis is even crazier than Russell’s Teapot. CJ is asserting that there is some untidentified thing out there in the asteroid belt that we don’t know about and won’t know about–but it’s there! When you say, “Looky here, CJ. We found a teapot bobbing around out near the asteroids and were able to take a photograph of it. Is this your god?”, CJ will shake his head, “No.” He’ll never nod affirmatively no matter what we find. At least Russellists know what they are looking for! (A teapot.) :D

  3. Coco Jumbo says

    You haven’t shown a spark of creativity or originality in your days-long public wanking session here. Fuck, I heard the same crap more or less word for word nearly 40 years ago, when a friend got hoodwinked by Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Dass). She then went on to worship the chubby-cheeked teenage con artist who called himself Guru Maharaj Ji, and became so boring that I eventually drifted out of contact with her.

    Hoodwinked by Baba Ramdass? What do you mean by that? I think anyone who tells people to start believing in him and stop believing in others, is actually hood-winking people in one way or another. In other words, anyone who is trying to attract followers is actually hood-winking people into following that person. Why, do you think attracting followers in the name of atheism is something different than attracting followers in the name of religions? How?

    This is something you guys here probably do not recognize at all. You maybe holding a superior position by adhering to atheism and ‘science’, but this ‘superior’ position exist only in your minds. You are superior only to yourself. Those who look inferior to you, for whatever reason, they are probably looking down at you in exactly the same way. You look inferior to them. You are using ‘science’, they are using something else.

    Your friend, who got ‘hood-winked’ by Baba Ramdass, maybe she wanted to get rid of you, because she had become so different. Have you ever considered this possibility?

  4. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Hey, Coco, welcome back. Any chance of you following through on your promise and answering the question? Or was that a lie, too?

  5. Coco Jumbo says

    Hey, Coco, welcome back. Any chance of you following through on your promise and answering the question? Or was that a lie, too?

    Thanks Father. Which premise, if you don’t mind me telling?

  6. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Which pr[e]omise, if you don’t mind me telling asking?

    You have got to be shitting me. You cannot be that dense and still remember to breath, can you? Up at #355 (as has been pointed out numerous times) you responded to

    Why do you believe some God is necessary?

    with this:

    I will pose one to you before I answer that question.

    I, and others, answered your question. Repeatedly. Do you see it up there? Here’s a hint: use the up-arrow key and watch the numbers on the left side until they read “355″ and then read your own fucking post you brain dead moron!

    If you believe God is not necessary, why do you believe God is not necessary? Please do not tell me you got this idea from that book by Hawkings and Mlodinow, The Grand Design or something. Or, from Dawking’s famous statement ‘that God would have created a very different universe than the one we are living in’.

  7. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Damn. Sorry. I just screwed up. Ignore the last paragraph, I didn’t realize that I had copypasta’d that, too.

  8. Coco Jumbo says

    There are many reason. I will discuss one of them. A pretty straight forward one. A bit ‘philosophical, too.

    God is necessary because humans generally feel some kind of relationship with the ‘creator’. They feel they have been created, and not ‘produced’ through happenstance and sheer luck, just because all the right ingredients happened to be at the right spot at the right time. This is why they look for God in religions, in spirituality, in science, and in everywhere. It can’t be helped. I think evolution by natural selection didn’t have to give us this feeling, this urge.

    Turning to atheism, in most cases, is a denial of that urge. The reasons are different for every person.

  9. Coco Jumbo says

    Sorry!

    Turning to atheism, in all cases, is a denial of that urge. The reasons are different for every person.

  10. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    God is necessary because humans generally feel some kind of relationship with the ‘creator’.

    Good point. I do have a close relationship with my parents. This proves the necessity of gods how?

    They feel they have been created, and not ‘produced’ through happenstance and sheer luck, just because all the right ingredients happened to be at the right spot at the right time.

    Prove it. In your own words, no pointing to other writers, prove it. Especially since you claim this applies to all humans.

    This is why they look for God in religions, in spirituality, in science, and in everywhere.

    So, since I do not look for gods in religions, spirituality, science or anywhere, I am not human? Atheists are not actually atheists, we are just in denial? Prove it. In your own words, no pointing at books, prove it.

    I think evolution by natural selection didn’t have to give us this feeling, this urge.

    First, you have to prove that the urge exists in all humans.

    Turning to atheism, in all cases, is a denial of that urge. The reasons are different for every person.

    Heh. Heh. Hehehehe. Bwahahahahahaha!

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have now entered Quantum Tomatoes territory.

  11. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #511 wrote:

    God is necessary because humans generally feel some kind of relationship with the ‘creator’. They feel they have been created, and not ‘produced’ through happenstance and sheer luck, just because all the right ingredients happened to be at the right spot at the right time.

    I’m not sure I understand here what you mean by “necessary.” You don’t seem to be giving a reason why the existence of God is likely to be true. It’s not necessary to an explanation.

    Instead, you seem to be giving a reason why people believe in God and why this belief – this “urge” — might be useful — regardless of whether or not it’s true. Is this right?

  12. Coco Jumbo says

    I’m not sure I understand here what you mean by “necessary.” You don’t seem to be giving a reason why the existence of God is likely to be true. It’s not necessary to an explanation.

    Instead, you seem to be giving a reason why people believe in God and why this belief – this “urge” — might be useful — regardless of whether or not it’s true. Is this right?

    Why people believe in God is the reason why God is necessary. It is easy to brush aside what doesn’t fit into one’s viewpoint, but it is quite important to see ‘why’ people look for God. Why do we have this urge to look for a creator if we are nothing more than bio-mechanical beings — products of evolution by natural selection? Does it help in our evolution to harbour false beliefs, to have false urges?

  13. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Assuming you are an atheist, Father, why do you think you are an atheist?

    Already answered the question. And it was your question I answered.

  14. Sastra says

    If an egocentric tendency to anthropomorphise and ascribe agency to things that are not persons can fit in with evolutionary explanations for a group-dwelling, highly social species, would it really make any difference whether or not this particular proneness to cognitive error was inevitable?

    This might be your argument here, but if it is it’s not a good one. IF God existed, then we would naturally be superstitious. We are naturally superstitious. Thus, God exists. In addition to the inference in the premise being doubtful, the form is invalid, of course.

    But that might not be what you mean.

  15. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Does it help in our evolution to harbour false beliefs, to have false urges?

    Yes, it does. Those harbouring false beliefs in the Middle Ages were far more likely to continue living and reproduce than those who refused to drink the KoolAid.

  16. Coco Jumbo says

    Already answered the question. And it was your question I answered.

    I don’t know about that. But I ask a different question now. If you are an atheist, were you a believer before you turned yourself into an atheist?

  17. Coco Jumbo says

    If an egocentric tendency to anthropomorphise and ascribe agency to things that are not persons can fit in with evolutionary explanations for a group-dwelling, highly social species, would it really make any difference whether or not this particular proneness to cognitive error was inevitable?

    I don’t understand this. You seem to have switched from English to some variant of English.

  18. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    If you are an atheist, were you a believer before you turned yourself into an atheist?

    I was baptized in the Episopal Church. Never attended other than that. By high school I was a universal deist. Later, an agnostic. Been honest about my atheism for about five years. And what the fuck does that have to do with you telling me that, since I do not seek gods, I am not human?

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    God is necessary because humans generally feel some kind of relationship with the ‘creator’.

    Tell that to the gnu atheists and “non-religious”. Bullshit sophistry by a baaaaddddd sophist.

  20. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #516 wrote:

    Why people believe in God is the reason why God is necessary.

    Could you be a little clearer here, please? The term “necessary” — do you mean belief in God is useful or belief in God is justified? I’m still not sure.

    Why do we have this urge to look for a creator if we are nothing more than bio-mechanical beings — products of evolution by natural selection? Does it help in our evolution to harbour false beliefs, to have false urges?

    Short answer, yes. If the tendency to harbor false beliefs of some sort doesn’t hamper reproduction and survival — for whatever reason — then there’s no reason it would be selected out.

    I think the “urge to look for a creator” is a bit narrow: it’s a subset of a more general tendency to analyze natural events and objects in terms of agency and social interactions. Small children and primitive people tend to enfold events and objects into human-centric stories. The volcano erupted when it did because it’s angry, or has a message, or some other psychological or social reason. That’s just “common sense.” The event was significant to us, so it must be closely connected to our concerns.

    But I don’t think it’s reasonable to draw on these sloppy habits of thought to conclude that yes indeed volcanoes are agents. In fact, I think it’s unreasonable. We can think deeper than that.

  21. Coco Jumbo says

    I was baptized in the Episopal Church. Never attended other than that. By high school I was a universal deist. Later, an agnostic. Been honest about my atheism for about five years. And what the fuck does that have to do with you telling me that, since I do not seek gods, I am not human?

    But you were seeking gods before you became an atheist, weren’t you? You had a urge to seek gods before, but now you have now suppressed that urge by turning to atheism. That’s the whole point. Isn’t this what I said before?

  22. KG says

    Why do we have this urge to look for a creator if we are nothing more than bio-mechanical beings — products of evolution by natural selection? Does it help in our evolution to harbour false beliefs, to have false urges? – Coco the fuckwit

    Are you really this stupid and unimaginative? I can think of three classes of explanation (not necessarily exclusive) that don’t involve the existence of anything godlike, off the top of my head:

    1) Such false beliefs act to enhance within-group social solidarity. We know most religious beliefs must be false, as they contradict each other, but we observe that they do indeed act to bind social groups together in opposition to outsiders, and to encourage helping fellow-believers.
    2) Such false beliefs may be byproducts of cognitive features that have survival value for the individual. It is often remarked that we have hyper-sensitive “agency detectors” – we tend to see agency when it is not present, and this error may be less costly than the opposite error, of failing to see agency where it is present. Natural selection does not in general produce perfection – it produces a good enough compromise between different types of error.
    3) Such false beliefs may simply be cognitive parasites, which spread because they have features that make them good at spreading. Many religions obviously do have such features, notably the instructions they include to “spread the word”, to respond to doubts with efforts to reinforce the doubter’s belief, and to be intolerant of rival beliefs.

    No wonder you were so reluctant to produce your supposed argument for the necessity of a god.

    Looking at it from the opposite point of view, how does it follow that if there is a god, we should have an urge to look for it? If whatever god exists wanted us to know about it, it would surely find it simple enough to tell us it exists, and what it wants, in a straightforward fashion. Why is it so incompetent that most people get its nature entirely wrong?

  23. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, another bbbbaaaadddd presuppossitionalist pseudophilosopher. A real philosopher wouldn’t make such nonsense public, as it would embarrass them.

  24. Coco Jumbo says

    Short answer, yes. If the tendency to harbor false beliefs of some sort doesn’t hamper reproduction and survival — for whatever reason — then there’s no reason it would be selected out.

    Selected out? Who is talking about ‘selecting out’? I am asking why we have this urge in the first place? What was the use that it was ‘selected in’?

  25. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    But you were seeking gods before you became an atheist, weren’t you?

    No.

    You had a urge to seek gods before, but now you have now suppressed that urge by turning to atheism.

    No. I was baptized before I was a year old. I was seeking nothing except food and warmth. Opening my mind to reality is not suppression.

    That’s the whole point. Isn’t this what I said before?

    No, it isn’t. You claim that the concept of gods means that gods are necessary for all humans. Which is bullshit. Are you really so limited that you cannot comprehend what atheism actually is? It is not turning away from gods. It is not being angry at gods. It is not denying gods. Don’t you get this?

    And now, I have to bow out for a while for dinner with Wife.

  26. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #521 wrote:

    I don’t understand this. You seem to have switched from English to some variant of English.

    I’ll try to state it more simply. You said that human beings didn’t have to have evolved the cognitive tendency to think nature must have been made by a creator. The implication is that the fact that this tendency wasn’t necessary is suspicious. Perhaps it was placed into our brains on purpose, by a Creator or Creative Force?

    But I don’t think the randomness of evolution makes anything that evolved seem “fishy” just because it wasn’t inevitable. None of it is inevitable. Elephants didn’t HAVE to evolve trunks. We cannot conclude from that that Someone or Some Force must have steered the development of pachyderms towards trunks on purpose.

    I hope that is clearer.

  27. KG says

    This is why they look for God in religions, in spirituality, in science, and in everywhere. It can’t be helped. – Coco the fuckwit

    So are you denying atheists exist? This tends to be the last resort of the terminally stupid believer, a kind of “Ner-ner-ne-ner-ner. If you say you don’t believe in God, I’ll say I don’t believe in atheists. So sucks to you and no returns!”. If (as appears later), you’re not saying this, then the mere existence of atheists refutes your idiocy.

    blockquote>But you were seeking gods before you became an atheist, weren’t you?

    No. I was told there was a god as a young child, but by the age of 12, had realised it was all bullshit. Just like realising there wasn’t really a Santa. But you’ve still not grown up that far, have you?

  28. KG says

    We cannot conclude from that that Someone or Some Force must have steered the development of pachyderms towards trunks on purpose. – Sastra

    I’m sure if there were pachydermal theologians or gurus, they would have proved exactly this to their own satisfaction.

  29. Coco Jumbo says

    But I don’t think the randomness of evolution makes anything that evolved seem “fishy” just because it wasn’t inevitable. None of it is inevitable. Elephants didn’t HAVE to evolve trunks. We cannot conclude from that that Someone or Some Force must have steered the development of pachyderms towards trunks on purpose.

    I hope that is clearer.

    Yes. This is clearer. But my position is: Since we have this urge to look for God, every human does, we have every reason to doubt evolution by natural selection, unless of course, we are able to find some conclusive answers about why we have this urge. At the moment, it appears nothing more than guesswork.

  30. Coco Jumbo says

    No. I was told there was a god as a young child, but by the age of 12, had realised it was all bullshit. Just like realising there wasn’t really a Santa. But you’ve still not grown up that far, have you?

    And you don’t see the problem here? You have merely shifted from one belief to another. How do you know your ‘realization’ was not another kind bullshit? A young child of 12 is in no position to make such important decisions.

  31. KG says

    I don’t understand this. You seem to have switched from English to some variant of English. – Coco the fuckwit

    This is probably a consequence of your fuckwitted belief that you should avoid learning from those more intelligent and better-informed than you, in order to preserve a “creativity” of which you show no sign whatever. What Sastra said is readily understandable to any moderately well-educated English-speaker.

  32. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #528 wrote:

    I am asking why we have this urge in the first place? What was the use that it was ‘selected in’?

    The tendency to believe that things are made by agents comes from our evolution as agents in a social setting with other agents. Many things ARE made by people. You’re really asking why this tendency often runs amok.

    My response is: because it feels familiar.

    We rational humans are sloppy thinkers. As children grow older and cultures become more sophisticated and disciplined they often lose most of the superficial egocentric illusions. The ones that are kept are usually the ones which are specifically encouraged to be kept.

    I think you are going to get little value out of the idea that simplistic child-like intuitions like “who made the moon?” somehow point to deep truths that the moon was actually made by a “who.”

  33. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Does it help in our evolution to harbour false beliefs, to have false urges?

    Yes. The human tendency to perceive patterns where there are none, and to attribute agency where there is none, originally functioned as a useful evolutionary trait. Shermer describes it thusly in his book, The Believing Brain, which I recommend for the summary of the (more or less) current state of research on cognitive neuroscience, though not for the generalizations about political parties and stances:

    Imagine a human walking through the tall grass of the Savannah. The grass rustles. Is it the wind, or a hungry lion?

    The human whose brain leaps first to “hungry lion” leaps to attention, whirls around, her adrenaline spikes, causing her heart rate to spike, her pupils to dilate, and blood to rush to her muscles. In other words, she has a fight or flight response.

    The human whose brain leaps first to “just the wind” continues to walk along in a relaxed manner, without the heightened awareness that comes with a fight-or-flight adrenaline spike.

    Consider the consequences if the person who assumes it’s a hungry lion is wrong. Actually, it’s just the wind, and she continues on her way, her heart rate slowly slowing.

    Now consider the consequences if the person who assumes it’s just the wind is wrong. Actually, it’s a hungry lion, and she is eaten. She does not reproduce, and thus evolution has selected for the genetic pattern that codes for a brain that it more likely to see a pattern (rustle in the grass –> hungry lion), even when there is no pattern, than it is to assume that there is no pattern (rustle in the grass –> just a rustle in the grass).

    That’s patterns. And when it comes to assuming an agent where there is no agent, well, it’s a natural thing to think when you are a conscious, self-aware agent yourself, but this tendency is reinforced by the fact that we are an obligate social species who cannot survive in isolation. Because our survival is so heavily dependent on the cooperation of others, we have developed an extremely keen capacity to imagine what is going on in another person’s mind, something that’s called, in the neuroscience jargon, a “theory of mind.” And I believe you owe me $10 now, Coco, because I linked to the Wikipedia page explaining the theory of mind a while back, and also wagered $10 that you wouldn’t click on the link, being the arrogant, incurious, pretentious wanker that you are. Anyway, because we have so much of our intelligence bound up in trying to figure out what the heck is going on with that intelligence over there, it’s a natural tendency, in the absence of other (i.e., scientific) explanations, to assume that there is an intelligence behind not only the actions of our fellow humans, but also behind the actions of the clouds, the rain, the sun, the wind, the large predators that stalk us, and the seasonal growing and dying back of the plant life that sustains us.

    Science explains WHY humans have a tendency to see agents where there is no agent, and patterns where there is no pattern. Therefore it is not unreasonable to deduce that the impulse to imagine we were created by an intelligence greater than ourselves is an artifact of the conditions of our early evolution. There are also many reasons why religion as an institution helped early humans survive and reproduce–these mostly have to do with tribal affinity and encouraging a willingness to subsume self-interest to the interests of the in-group (while simultaneously heightening willingness to exhibit extreme hostility to members of an out-group). However, since there have been at least a small percentage of atheists ever since people have had religion, or at least since they’ve been writing things down about religion, we can safely assume that these tendencies are not as universal as you claim.

    You’re welcome.

  34. Ing says

    Am I the only one picking up a cult recruiter doublethink/gaslighting tactics in Coco’s rhetoric? Trying to berate and bully people into questioning their motivations and thoughts and view on reality and surrender it over to him?

  35. KG says

    And you don’t see the problem here? You have merely shifted from one belief to another. How do you know your ‘realization’ was not another kind bullshit? A young child of 12 is in no position to make such important decisions.

    You probably were too stupid at that age, as indeed you are now. But I was well able to see that what I was told was based on no sound reasoning or evidence at all – I contrasted it with what I already knew about mathematics, science and history – and was primarily a means of social control. Of course if I had been given such evidence or reasoning subsequently, I would have needed to reconsider, but I was not – despite many hours of arguing with believers, both Christians and your sort of shit-brained wooist, and a university course in philosophy of religion.

  36. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Selected out? Who is talking about ‘selecting out’? I am asking why we have this urge in the first place? What was the use that it was ‘selected in’?

    You are, since you asked why evolution would lead to humans having the urge to ask who created them. But apparently you don’t really understand what evolution is? It’s natural selection over time leading to shifts in allele frequencies such that the phenotype of a given population changes.

    Also, you keep saying that all humans have a tendency to believe in god or ask who created them. The fact that every religion that has been invented so far has warned humans against disbelief is strong evidence that not all humans feel this way, consistently through time.

  37. KG says

    In any case, if you were right about everyone being preprogrammed to “seek God”, how could I possibly have come to be an atheist at such a young age, and against the efforts of all the adults around me?

  38. Owlmirror says

    Since we have this urge to look for God, every human does,

    The second clause of this premise is false. It is not the case that every human has this putative urge. Some are apathetic; some reject the concept as nonsensical early.

    we have every reason to doubt evolution by natural selection, unless of course, we are able to find some conclusive answers about why we have this urge. At the moment, it appears nothing more than guesswork.

    This is an argument from purest ignorance.

    If the putative “urge” is nothing more than a psychological misfire, there is no more reason to doubt that it is ultimately the contingent result of evolution than there is to doubt that our tendency to see bunnies and other shapes in clouds is.

  39. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Am I the only one picking up a cult recruiter doublethink/gaslighting tactics in Coco’s rhetoric? Trying to berate and bully people into questioning their motivations and thoughts and view on reality and surrender it over to him?

    Yes, now that you point it out, he does do this.

    The thing is, he’s so utterly inept that I barely noticed it.

    It is extremely rude and manipulative to phrase question as “Why do you THINK you’re an atheist,” as if Coco knows better than the person he’s talking to what that person actually thinks.

    On the other hand, I also think he’s a raging narcissist whose theory of mind fails, like, constantly. So it could be an artifact of that rather than a deliberate attempt to manipulate.

  40. Coco Jumbo says

    This is probably a consequence of your fuckwitted belief that you should avoid learning from those more intelligent and better-informed than you, in order to preserve a “creativity” of which you show no sign whatever. What Sastra said is readily understandable to any moderately well-educated English-speaker.

    I am not moderately well-educated English speaker. I stopped learning English after year 10. Is this a problem? When you don’t understand, you ask for explanation. He/she wasn’t using ordinary language. This is why I asked for explanation.

  41. KG says

    Since we have this urge to look for God, every human does – Coco the fuckwit

    You keep making this assertion, but you have no grounds for it whatsoever. Repeating it again and again doesn’t make it any more true.

  42. Owlmirror says

    And you don’t see the problem here? You have merely shifted from one belief to another. How do you know your ‘realization’ was not another kind bullshit? A young child of 12 is in no position to make such important decisions.

    Why would you consider the descision that there is no invisible person with magical superpowers to be important?

    What age would you place the point when that descision should be made, and why?

  43. KG says

    I am not moderately well-educated English speaker. I stopped learning English after year 10. – Coco the clown

    Then for that, and that alone, I apologise.

  44. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #533 wrote:

    But my position is: Since we have this urge to look for God, every human does, we have every reason to doubt evolution by natural selection, unless of course, we are able to find some conclusive answers about why we have this urge. At the moment, it appears nothing more than guesswork.

    My rebuttal to your position is:

    1.) We (as in human beings as a species) do not have an “urge to look for God.” That’s only specific to certain groups and, as you know, the versions of “God” range all over. In general, human beings have a tendency to over attribute agency to things which are not agents. We also have an egocentric tendency towards magical thinking and understanding every event as being somehow about ourselves: we are story-tellers and seek control. Superstitions abound. However, not every human does this — unless you’re counting small children who think their stuffed animals are alive and the thunder is mad at them.

    2.) There is no reason at all to ‘doubt’ that this tendency would be selected naturally. Other primates and animals with strong social habits have been seen to misattribute agency as well. It’s not only highly plausible that we evolved social instincts that can easily be misplaced, but it’s the reasonable default over a supernatural explanation.

  45. Coco Jumbo says

    You probably were too stupid at that age, as indeed you are now.

    But I was well able to see that what I was told was based on no sound reasoning or evidence at all – I contrasted it with what I already knew about mathematics, science and history – and was primarily a means of social control. Of course if I had been given such evidence or reasoning subsequently, I would have needed to reconsider, but I was not – despite many hours of arguing with believers, both Christians and your sort of shit-brained wooist, and a university course in philosophy of religion.

    As a 12 year old child, you needed an excuse to reject God because you weren’t happy with God for some reasons. Maybe you saw too many child-abusing priests, maybe you saw something wrong somewhere else. Anyway, this whole “scientific evidence” thing for God became your excuse to reject God. Deep down you knew well you would never be able to find any ‘scientific evidence’ for God, because you knew it wasn’t simply possible. And this gave you deep satisfaction, because you knew no one would ever be able to prove you wrong on the stance you took. Now, how is this for being Sherlock Holmes?

  46. Ichthyic says

    As a 12 year old child, you needed an excuse to reject God because you weren’t happy with God for some reasons.

    the reason being 12 is around the age when most kids finally give up the last of their imaginary friends from early childhood.

  47. Coco Jumbo says

    Then for that, and that alone, I apologise.

    Why do you apologize? I felt ecstatic when I realized I didn’t have to read and understand Shakespeare anymore. He was the reason I had to sit in the back rows.

  48. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I don’t understand. Is English your first language? Did you drop out of school at age ten? Why did you take that as a cue to stop learning anything at all, period? Some sort of trauma with a teacher who humiliated you in class? Parents beat you for asking questions?

    It’s no less reasonable than positing that KG’s realization at 12 that the god hypothesis was bullshit was due to some traumatic interaction with a priest or preacher.

  49. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #549 wrote:

    Anyway, this whole “scientific evidence” thing for God became your excuse to reject God. Deep down you knew well you would never be able to find any ‘scientific evidence’ for God, because you knew it wasn’t simply possible.

    Ok, this is strange. Most people who insist that “everyone knows there’s a God” and think that atheists turn themselves into knots to try to find a reason to reject God believe in a God which has a lot of rules and regulations which the atheists don’t want to follow. Atheists want to sin.

    But you’ve been promoting the vague impersonal sorts of mystical versions of God put forward by people like Gibran and Ken Wilber. This God is a sort of creative force, a progressive tendencies working its way through evolution. There aren’t any restrictive prescriptions and proscriptions except things like ‘love one another’ and ‘flourish.’

    So I have to ask you here: why do you think atheists would try to find a way to reject this kind of God?

    It only makes sense to me to say that it’s because we don’t think it’s true. I’m a former Transcendentalist. Why the hell would I not “want” it to be true to the point where I invent ways to avoid the fact that I know it IS true?

    This makes no sense. It’s a fundamentalist argument — and you’ve been at such pains to assure us you’re nothing at all like a fundamentalist.

  50. KG says

    As a 12 year old child, you needed an excuse to reject God because you weren’t happy with God for some reasons. Maybe you saw too many child-abusing priests, maybe you saw something wrong somewhere else. Deep down you knew well you would never be able to find any ‘scientific evidence’ for God, because you knew it wasn’t simply possible. And this gave you deep satisfaction, because you knew no one would ever be able to prove you wrong on the stance you took. Now, how is this for being Sherlock Holmes? – Coco the fuckwit

    Crappy. I didn’t say no “scientific evidence”, I said “no sound reasoning or evidence at all”. I wasn’t unhappy with God, becuase I never had any experience that would lead me to think such a thing existed, apart from being told so by adults. Once I reached the age when I realised adults could be wrong, it was natural to start thinking for myself and realise they had never given me any reason to believe what they said in this case. I did find religious services boring, but then I found Latin boring, which did not lead me to doubt the existence of the Roman Empire. As for you being Sherlock Holmes, you’re more like Conan Doyle, who believed in fairies on the basis of obviously faked photographs.

  51. Coco Jumbo says

    I don’t understand. Is English your first language? Did you drop out of school at age ten? Why did you take that as a cue to stop learning anything at all, period? Some sort of trauma with a teacher who humiliated you in class? Parents beat you for asking questions?

    It’s no less reasonable than positing that KG’s realization at 12 that the god hypothesis was bullshit was due to some traumatic interaction with a priest or preacher.

    You have asked many questions, Sally. I’ll answer the important ones.

    English is not my first language. But, surprisingly, it is also not my second language. It falls somewhere between the first and the second language. And, I dropped out of many schools many times, at many ages. But how is this important? I stopped learning English because I thought it was a very dry language. Unlike those ‘romantic’ languages.

  52. ahs ॐ says

    God is necessary because humans generally feel some kind of relationship with the ‘creator’. They feel they have been created, and not ‘produced’ through happenstance and sheer luck, just because all the right ingredients happened to be at the right spot at the right time. This is why they look for God in religions, in spirituality, in science, and in everywhere. It can’t be helped. I think evolution by natural selection didn’t have to give us this feeling, this urge.

    Again, I have a book I’d like to recommend to you, Coco Jumbo:

    Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought, by Pascal Boyer.

    Something different for a change.

    Here is a link that will help you find it in all major online bookstores as well as almost any library on Earth:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0465006965

  53. Coco Jumbo says

    Crappy. I didn’t say no “scientific evidence”, I said “no sound reasoning or evidence at all”. I wasn’t unhappy with God, becuase I never had any experience that would lead me to think such a thing existed, apart from being told so by adults. Once I reached the age when I realised adults could be wrong, it was natural to start thinking for myself and realise they had never given me any reason to believe what they said in this case. I did find religious services boring, but then I found Latin boring, which did not lead me to doubt the existence of the Roman Empire. As for you being Sherlock Holmes, you’re more like Conan Doyle, who believed in fairies on the basis of obviously faked photographs.

    So, what exactly is the problem now? Isn’t this what I have been saying from the start? That we all tend to look for the creator? That it is an urge that is present is every human being? That atheism is just a denial of that urge? A suppression of that urge for whatever reasons?

    You are telling me how you became an atheist. You are so convinced about you being ‘right’ and others being ‘wrong’, that it is now impossible for you to even consider the possibility of being ‘wrong’ yourself. I don’t blame you. I think you have been harbouring this belief for more than a few decades now. You can’t afford to be wrong now. You have got too much at stake now. Am I ‘wrong’?

  54. KG says

    I should perhaps say that neither my parents, nor those who taught me religion in school, sunday school and church, abused me in any way, apart from feeding me a lot of nonsense about God. Oddly enough, the first time I went public to an adult as an atheist, he said more or less exactly what Coco the clown said above – that at 12 I was too young to make such a decision (he didn’t, of course, say the same to those who proclaimed their Christianity). That was my first experience of religious hypocrisy, but it can’t have been the cause of my turn to atheism, as it followed rather than preceding it. Rather, I had learned enough about the world by then to be sure that no, people didn’t come back to life once they were dead, and five loaves and two fishes would not have fed 5,000 people.

  55. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    It’s not surprising at all that English falls somewhere between your second and third language. Once people get past one language, it’s not that unusual for them to pick up three or four other ones as well. It just wasn’t clear whether you were saying that you stopped learning “English” as in “English literature” or “English” as in “English as a second language.” Though I am baffled as to why anyone thought it was a good idea to teach Shakespeare to a ten-year-old who was learning English as a foreign language.

  56. Owlmirror says

    Deep down you knew well you would never be able to find any ‘scientific evidence’ for God, because you knew it wasn’t simply possible.

    So… if it isn’t possible to find any scientific evidence for an invisible person with magical superpowers, why would it ever be reasonable to conclude that this invisible person with magical superpowers exists?

    Wouldn’t the conclusion that an invisible person with magical superpowers does not exist makes perfect sense?

  57. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #560 wrote:

    You are so convinced about you being ‘right’ and others being ‘wrong’, that it is now impossible for you to even consider the possibility of being ‘wrong’ yourself.

    Answer these 2 questions please:

    1.) Might you be wrong about God?

    2.) If you are mistaken and God does not exist, and never has existed, what would change your mind?

    Thank you.

  58. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    So, what exactly is the problem now?

    Same as it’s always been–you’re so self-absorbed that you fail to accurately perceive what other people are saying to you.

    Isn’t this what I have been saying from the start?

    At the start, you refused to say anything at all. Folks pretty much had to pry it out of you.

    That we all tend to look for the creator?

    We all don’t tend to look for a creator. I don’t. KG doesn’t. Throughout history you will find evidence that there have always been at least a small number of people who experienced no urge to seek god/gods and no reason to believe in god/gods.

    That it is an urge that is present is every human being?

    Again, this is easily demonstrated to be empirically false.

    That atheism is just a denial of that urge?

    The universality of the urge is a delusional belief you have.

    A suppression of that urge for whatever reasons?

    Those who do not possess the urge have no reason to possess it. You need to come to terms with the empirical fact that this urge is not as universal as you claim it is.

    You are telling me how you became an atheist. You are so convinced about you being ‘right’ and others being ‘wrong’, that it is now impossible for you to even consider the possibility of being ‘wrong’ yourself.

    KG already said that he would be forced to reconsider if he were confronted with evidence for the existence of god/gods, but that evidence has not been forthcoming. Again, you are unable to accurately perceive what others are communicating to you, because you are too wrapped up in your narcissistic worldview.

    I don’t blame you.

    What a relief, KG: Coco doesn’t blame you for thinking you’re right about there being no god or gods.

    I think you have been harbouring this belief for more than a few decades now.

    Again, you demonstrate how your narcissism interferes with your theory of mind. Apparently you can’t imagine that other people simply think in different ways than you do. Which is odd, because that ability–the ability to imagine that other people think quite differently from yourself–is usually sharply enhanced by the acquisition of foreign languages. Say, what is your first language? And your second and fourth or whatever?

    You can’t afford to be wrong now.

    Again, assuming facts not in evidence, because you are literally incapable of imagining what it’s like to think like KG instead of Coco.

    You have got too much at stake now. Am I ‘wrong’?

    Entirely wrong. As usual.

  59. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Correction:

    Those who do not possess the urge have no reason to possess suppress it.

    Carry on.

  60. Coco Jumbo says

    It’s not surprising at all that English falls somewhere between your second and third language. Once people get past one language, it’s not that unusual for them to pick up three or four other ones as well. It just wasn’t clear whether you were saying that you stopped learning “English” as in “English literature” or “English” as in “English as a second language.” Though I am baffled as to why anyone thought it was a good idea to teach Shakespeare to a ten-year-old who was learning English as a foreign language.

    A few corrections:

    First, not second and third. First and Second
    Second, I wasn’t 10 years old. I was in YEAR 10. I was like 16 years old when I finished year 10.

    I stopped learning English as English Literature. They didn’t teach English as a second or foreign language in that school. English was just English.

  61. Coco Jumbo says

    Sally, if you want me to read your posts, please keep them short. However, if I am not one of your intended audience, then by all means, might as well write a book here.

  62. KG says

    So, what exactly is the problem now? Isn’t this what I have been saying from the start? That we all tend to look for the creator? That it is an urge that is present is every human being? That atheism is just a denial of that urge? A suppression of that urge for whatever reasons?

    Where do you get that from what I’ve said? I have no reason to believe I’ve ever had such an urge; rather, as I’ve said, the belief in God came from outside – something I was told was true and initially accepted, just as I accepted other things adults told me, both true and false.

    You are telling me how you became an atheist. You are so convinced about you being ‘right’ and others being ‘wrong’, that it is now impossible for you to even consider the possibility of being ‘wrong’ yourself.

    On the contrary, provide sufficient evidence or sound reasoning and I’ll accept it, as I have many other things I once disbelieved. I changed my mind in my mid-thirties about the political belief – anarchism – that I adopted not long after I became an atheist. Accepting the necessity of the state meant a huge change to my self-image as well as my ideas. I’ve changed my mind about the existence of the yeti and other “unknown animals” – I was fascinated by Bernard Heuvelmans’ On The Track of Unknown Animals and convinced by his arguments. I believed in contracausal free will for many years before becoming a compatibilist. I gave up the belief that I could be a great poet, novelist or (more recently) scientist, recognising that in the first two cases I don’t have the talent and in the third, lack the necessary single-mindedness. My doctorate is in artificial intelligence, and I thought for a long time that intelligent and conscious machines could be produced by designing sufficiently sophisticated symbol-manipulating systems, which I now do not believe (it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what this means). Above all, I have abandoned the idea that I might live long enough for medical science to conquer ageing and allow me an indefinite lifespan: I have accepted that yes, I too will die, I will be no more and in time, I will be completely forgotten, as if I had never been. That’s a hell of a lot harder than accepting I was wrong about God would be – indeed, the latter would allow me to revive the fantasy that I will not be utterly extinguished.

    Also, you should ask yourself the inverse question. It’s obvious to all of us, if not to you, that you are massively ego-involved in your own belief system – to the extent that you feel driven to assert without the slightest evidence that really, everyone shares it, and atheists are just in denial. You even take an alcoholic conman like Alan Watts seriously, FFS!

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Again, you are unable to accurately perceive what others are communicating to you, because you are too wrapped up in your narcissistic worldview.

    Evidence doesn’t come from the OPINIONS of others, but rather from solid and conclusive physical evidence. Like an eternally burning bush, or equivalent. Have that in your back pocket? If not, you have nothing to convince the gnu atheists….

  64. Coco Jumbo says

    1.) Might you be wrong about God?

    2.) If you are mistaken and God does not exist, and never has existed, what would change your mind?

    Thank you.

    Wrong on God? I have no particular position on God. I am just saying why we need to consider the ‘possibility’ of God. We may consider this possibility now, but who knows what answers we get in the future? But atheism, it turns out, refuses to consider such a possibility. Atheists are already too sure.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Alan Watts, AGW deniar, and you expect such a self professed liar and bullshitter to be credible evidence???? What a sophist loser.

  66. Coco Jumbo says

    KG

    I am not trying to convince you here. Your beliefs are you own. I am just explaining my position here. You can choose to accept or reject it, as it pleases you.

  67. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I have no particular position on God.

    Except that you think some sort of god is “necessary.”

    So, were you lying then, or are you lying now?

    By the way, you quite clearly stated that you stopped learning English WHEN YOU WERE TEN, not “in year ten.”

    I’m starting to think you’re lying about that too.

  68. KG says

    We all don’t tend to look for a creator. I don’t. KG doesn’t. – SallyStrange

    If we can trust the testimony of some other regulars here, there are people who never credited that the adults around them really believed in God – as far back as they remember, they thought this was just an elaborate game people played, like talking about Santa and the Tooth Fairy – and were surprised when they realised that no, people really did believe this nonsense.

  69. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #571 wrote:

    But atheism, it turns out, refuses to consider such a possibility. Atheists are already too sure.

    I disagree. I think atheists do consider the possibility. In fact, we considered the possibility seriously. That is why our conclusion is both provisional — and negative.

    You are too sure of what atheists are like.

    Now, could you help me reconcile this?

    Wrong on God? I have no particular position on God.

    and

    I am just explaining my position here. You can choose to accept or reject it, as it pleases you.

    Do you or don’t you have a position?

  70. KG says

    Wrong on God? I have no particular position on God. – Coco the Liar

    That really is an outright lie. Do you actually think you can get away with it, after days of spewing religious bullshit over us?

  71. Sastra says

    Nerd @ 572

    Coco brought up Alan Watts, and your link is to an Anthony Watts. Not the same person.

  72. Owlmirror says

    Wrong on God? I have no particular position on God.

    Do you also have no particular position on Santa Claus, or on fairies, or on ghosts?

    If you don’t have a position on those, or on God, what exactly would prompt you to take a position?

    I am just saying why we need to consider the ‘possibility’ of God.

    What sort of possibility? Logical possibility, or physical possibility?

    I think that an invisible person with magical superpowers, by some definitions, is logically possible, but that does not entail actual existence, after all.

    We may consider this possibility now, but who knows what answers we get in the future?

    You mean at some point, an invisible person with magical superpowers may demonstrate its existence at some point in the future?

    But atheism, it turns out, refuses to consider such a possibility.

    Well, some consider the possibility, and acknowledge that an invisible person with magical superpowers may demonstrate its existence in the future, but would refuse to call such a thing “God”, preferring to label it as a powerful alien being, or similar.

    How would you define a God, such that you would recognize it if it demonstrated its existence?

    Atheists are already too sure.

    Perhaps you are too sure of your certainty that atheists are too sure.

  73. Owlmirror says

    Do you or don’t you have a position?

    Coco’s position may be that no-one should have a position on God.

    Sort of an anti-missionary position. As it were.

    Ahem.

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Coco brought up Alan Watts, and your link is to an Anthony Watts. Not the same person.

    *Salutes Sastra*

  75. KG says

    Here is Alan Watts’ own explanation of his method of conning people. Amazing that he could actually write it down and idiots like Coco still take him seriously. He’ll have some excuse for this, too. Here is a pen-portrait by an admirer, who nonetheless is honest enough to recount his alcoholism and habit of leaving wives to look after his children once he got bored with them.

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But atheism, it turns out, refuses to consider such a possibility. Atheists are already too sure.

    Show conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity Coco Jumbo. Evidence with that will convince scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Or shut the fuck up as a liar and bullshitter. Your turn Cricket. Equivalent of an eternally burning bush, or shut the fuck up if you have any honesty and integrity. And if you don’t, you are simply another liar and bullshitter….

  77. John Morales says

    [OT]

    SallyStrange,

    It’s natural selection over time leading to shifts in allele frequencies such that the phenotype of a given population changes.

    Genotype, not phenotype.

  78. KG says

    But atheism, it turns out, refuses to consider such a possibility. Atheists are already too sure. – Coco the clown

    You know fuck-all about atheists and atheism – or indeed, much else. I take back my apology with regard to your English – since it is your first language, your earlier failure to understand Sastra does indeed show that you are stunningly ignorant; and your dismissal of Russell as “recycled garbage” shows considerable determination to remain that way.

    With regard to gods in general, I am an atheist in exactly the same sense as I’m an aleprechaunist and an awerewolfist – there existence is logically possible, but there’s no reason at all to believe in them. But contrary to your claim, there is no reason there could not be scientific evidence of a god’s existence if it did exist. This is yet another assertion of yours for which you have given no reason to believe it true.

  79. Sastra says

    KG @583:

    Heh. That was an interesting link. I don’t know enough about Watts to figure out if it’s satire or hiding in plain sight.

  80. John Morales says

    Coco Nut:

    Isn’t this what I have been saying from the start? That we all tend to look for the creator?

    No, it wasn’t, at best, you implied you did — and more to the point, I didn’t and don’t.

    You are shown wrong by counter-example.

  81. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    It’s natural selection over time leading to shifts in allele frequencies such that the phenotype of a given population changes.

    Genotype, not phenotype.

    Right. Thanks for the correction, John.

  82. says

    How the fuck did Coco manage to make himself sound even more fucking stupid? How is that even possible?

    And you can add me to the list of people who never had any sort of “urge” with regard to any sort of god. I was raised in a churchgoing Catholic family, and was bored to tears until I started reading the family’s hoard of religious instructional materials starting at age 8. One day I was reading some Vatican-approved book for the young people , and I suddenly realized why I didn’t care about any of that crap – none of it was real. End of story.

  83. Coco Jumbo says

    With regard to gods in general, I am an atheist in exactly the same sense as I’m an aleprechaunist and an awerewolfist – there existence is logically possible, but there’s no reason at all to believe in them. But contrary to your claim, there is no reason there could not be scientific evidence of a god’s existence if it did exist. This is yet another assertion of yours for which you have given no reason to believe it true.

    You have got it exactly right. You are an atheist in response to man-made deities. You should be. I am one too. But this still doesn’t answer the question why we have the urge to look for the creator. It only tells us that some people, through the course of history, constructed some deities in response to that urge. Don’t say you don’t have this urge, because all of you are atheists precisely because you have this urge, and you wanted to suppress that urge for some reasons. Atheism was your answer. Why else do you think you are an atheist?

  84. John Morales says

    Coco the Oblivious:

    But this still doesn’t answer the question why we have the urge to look for the creator.

    This, despite multiple people (including myself) explicitly denying we have such an urge.

    How many of you know some basic psychology?

    <snicker>

  85. Coco Jumbo says

    This, despite multiple people (including myself) explicitly denying we have such an urge.

    Exactly right. ‘Denying’ is the right word. ‘Denial’ is the state you are in at the moment.

  86. John Morales says

    Coco Nut:

    Why else do you think you are an atheist?

    This, in one of an ongoing series of posts entitled “Why I am an atheist”, and despite the fact that the quotation you’ve employed explicitly answers that question.

    (TSTKTS)

  87. Ichthyic says

    ‘Denial’ is the state you are in at the moment.

    ‘projecting’ is exactly the state you are in, since you came here.

    fuck off.

  88. John Morales says

    Coco Clueless:

    ‘Denial’ is the state you are in at the moment.

    So, if I deny I’m a camel, I’m in denial that I’m in fact a camel?

    If I deny I have pincer-tipped tentacles, I have pincer-tipped tentacles?

    (LOL)

  89. ahs ॐ says

    Coco, are you going to put my book suggestion on your reading list?

    It is largely about cognitive science.

  90. Owlmirror says

    You have got it exactly right. You are an atheist in response to man-made deities. You should be. I am one too.

    So what, exactly, are you arguing for or about?

    And would you not agree that all deities are indeed man-made? The universe is what it is. It is not an invisible person with magical superpowers. Calling the universe by the same term as a man-made fictional invisible person with magical superpowers leads only to deep confusion.

    But this still doesn’t answer the question why we have the urge to look for the creator.

    As suggested above, it certainly looks like any putative “urge” is a cognitive mistake; a psychological glitch.

    It only tells us that some people, through the course of history, constructed some deities in response to that urge.

    Since you agree that those constructed were a mistake, why would you not conclude that the urge was indeed a glitch?

    Don’t say you don’t have this urge, because all of you are atheists precisely because you have this urge, and you wanted to suppress that urge for some reasons.

    No, I don’t think you get away with claiming what we do and do not feel. Some might have such an urge and suppress it, but others don’t have the urge, or they lose it.

    Atheism was your answer. Why else do you think you are an atheist?

    Because I do have an urge towards a consistent epistemology. I don’t see how you could call “a consistent epistemology” the same thing as “God”, though. An epistemology is not an invisible person with magical superpowers.

  91. Coco Jumbo says

    This, in one of an ongoing series of posts entitled “Why I am an atheist”, and despite the fact that the quotation you’ve employed explicitly answers that question.

    This is why I asked the question about psychology. If you knew even a little bit of psychology, then you would know how you are quite literally unaware of your unconscious beliefs. If you are close to 50, then those things you accepted and rejected as a very young child, as a kid, as a teenager, as a young man, are still buried deep within your mind. They are still very much a part of you. They haven’t gone anywhere, even if you thought you had gotten rid of them. If you believed in God as a kid, then a part of you still believes in God. Only you won’t be not aware of at the conscious level. Having said this, this talk of accepting and denying is not so meaningful if you were not even aware of your own beliefs.

  92. Ichthyic says

    I dropped out of many schools many times, at many ages. But how is this important?

    because the only thing people in this thread are still curious about is what explains your extreme ignorance and stupidity.

    that you’re a repeated dropout goes a long way towards explaining why you are such an idiot.

    What’s funny, if not uncommon these days unfortunately, is that you actually appear to enjoy it.

    you’re like a 2 year old, who just learned their first word, trying to educate a Harvard English lit professor on the importance of the word: “Daddy”.

    seriously, I (not speaking for any others who want to play games with you) have NO respect for you.

    don’t you get that?

    you are accomplishing nothing by remaining here.

    nothing.

  93. Therrin says

    You are so convinced about you being ‘right’ and others being ‘wrong’, that it is now impossible for you to even consider the possibility of being ‘wrong’ yourself.

    Coco, meet mirror. Mirror, Coco.

    Sally, if you want me to read your posts, please keep them short.

    And no bills more than three pages long.

    Don’t say you don’t have this urge, because all of you are atheists precisely because you have this urge, and you wanted to suppress that urge for some reasons.

    Gosh Coco, how is it you know so much about me? I mean, I thought I was only indulging in my urges behind closed doors. *blush*

  94. Therrin says

    Coco,

    If you knew even a little bit of psychology, then you would know how you are quite literally unaware of your unconscious beliefs.

    And yet this very same statement doesn’t apply to you, right?

  95. Coco Jumbo says

    So, if I deny I’m a camel, I’m in denial that I’m in fact a camel?

    If I deny I have pincer-tipped tentacles, I have pincer-tipped tentacles?

    It depends. Are you a human?

  96. Coco Jumbo says

    And yet this very same statement doesn’t apply to you, right?

    Ahmm. Not so much. Because people can choose to examine them, and I really doubt any of have done that. But I could be wrong.

  97. Therrin says

    Ahmm. Not so much. Because people can choose to examine them, and I really doubt any of have done that. But I could be wrong.

    Why would you doubt that? You ought to avoid making assumptions about people you hardly know, especially when they (the assumptions) are the root of your argument.

    Also, focus very hard on that last sentence you wrote.

  98. Therrin says

    Coco,

    Are you a Harvard Professor?

    Is that what is required for someone to get through to you? They must be employed by Harvard?

  99. ahs ॐ says

    Coco, a book recommendation:

    Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought, by Pascal Boyer.

    Something different for a change.

    Here is a link that will help you find it in all major online bookstores as well as almost any library on Earth:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0465006965

    +++++
    Coco, are you going to put my book suggestion on your reading list?

    It is largely about cognitive science.

  100. Ariaflame says

    Denying that the moon is made of cheese does not mean we are in denial about the moon being made of cheese. I do not have the urge to look for a creator. This is merely one of the urges I do not have. You may have urges. You may not. But arrogantly asserting that every human being has the same urges as you is a massive fail.

  101. ahs ॐ says

    If you believed in God as a kid, then a part of you still believes in God.

    This is not particularly useful to contemplate.

    As a child I believed that people could foretell the future and cast magic spells to summon the objects of their desire.

    I no longer consciously believe those things.

    As you would have it, I both believe and disbelieve in magic and divination.

    Okay. What follows from this? It does not appear to be a particularly useful observation.

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you are close to 50, then those things you accepted and rejected as a very young child, as a kid, as a teenager, as a young man, are still buried deep within your mind.

    The imaginary deity I believed even as a teenage acolyte in the Methodist church means nothing to me since my twenties, when I realized and rationalizeded that deities are imaginary. So, what your your sophist point loser….

  103. Coco Jumbo says

    What a stupid question.

    It is not a stupid question. If you say you are a human, then you can’t possibly deny being a camel. Unless, of course, you started imagining yourself being a camel, and then you started denying it. In this case, you would be in a denial of your own creation. This is why I asked that question.

  104. Coco Jumbo says

    Why would you doubt that? You ought to avoid making assumptions about people you hardly know, especially when they (the assumptions) are the root of your argument.

    Also, focus very hard on that last sentence you wrote.

    I had to make that assumption because of the responses I am getting. I know I am not supposed to be doing that, but sometimes … you know, things are so obvious that you can’t help it. But I still said “I could be wrong.” If I am wrong, anyone who has done some introspection can come forward and demand an apology from me.

  105. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It is not a stupid question.

    Every question by you is a stupid question. Intelligence requires the ability to be wrong, which you obviously aren’t equipped to handle, being the sophist loser you are…

  106. Ichthyic says

    But arrogantly asserting that every human being has the same urges as you is a massive fail.

    well, actually it’s pure and simple projection.

    but surely Cookoo Jumbo knows this, being an expert in psychology and all.

    man, the hoops the ignorant will jump through to try and justify remaining ignorant.

    sad.

  107. Ichthyic says

    If I am wrong, anyone who has done some introspection can come forward and demand an apology from me.

    get. in. the.

    foookin’

    sack.

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It is not a stupid question.

    It is a stupid question, an you haven’t proved otherwise with solid an conclusive physical evidence. Hence, you are a loser sophist…

    This is why I asked that question.

    Because, as a presuppositionist sophist, you think fallaciously you have a point. Nope….

  109. Therrin says

    Coco, you should really try having this conversation with someone who is fluent in your primary language. I am a human, therefore I am not a camel, is a perfectly fine to say. I even said it. In fact, I am having an urge to announce my non-camelness to the world. I think I’ll make a T-shirt that says:

    ↑ Not a Camel

    You can’t have one, of course, since you can’t deny you’re not a camel. Or something.

  110. John Morales says

    Coco the Mush-brained:

    If you say you are a human, then you can’t possibly deny being a camel. Unless, of course, you started imagining yourself being a camel, and then you started denying it.

    You think you make sense, doncha? :)

  111. Coco Jumbo says

    This is not particularly useful to contemplate.

    As a child I believed that people could foretell the future and cast magic spells to summon the objects of their desire.

    I no longer consciously believe those things.

    As you would have it, I both believe and disbelieve in magic and divination.

    Okay. What follows from this? It does not appear to be a particularly useful observation.

    Yeah, but you do not know how those beliefs from your childhood are affecting your life now. Maybe they are causing you to have two lives. A private life, and a public life. Or maybe three, or four or five. Things like that, you know. There are many more examples, but I guess I should better avoid them.

  112. Coco Jumbo says

    You think you make sense, doncha? :)

    And you thought you made great sense when you said this:

    So, if I deny I’m a camel, I’m in denial that I’m in fact a camel?

    If I deny I have pincer-tipped tentacles, I have pincer-tipped tentacles?

    (LOL)

    You got the answer that your question deserved. Simple.

  113. Therrin says

    If I am wrong, anyone who has done some introspection can come forward and demand an apology from me.

    Have you missed the hundreds of posts that have said You Are Wrong? Some of them were even short.

    Also, are you like 18 years old? I remember I thought I knew everything back then, too. I’m not much past it relative to some others here, but I’ve become quite aware that I don’t know what I don’t know.

  114. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    It depends. Are you a human?

    By your definition, many of us here are not human. You have states that all humans seek gods.

    It is not a stupid question.

    In normal context, it is a stupid question. In your world, you seem to think that if one is human then one believes in gods, even if that person is denying it. Otherwise, not human, right?

    If you believed in God as a kid, then a part of you still believes in God.

    I also believed in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and reasonable conservatives. There is no evidence that any of them exist, just as there is no evidence that any gods exist now, or have ever existed.

    =======

    Does anyone else have the impression of trying to nail quantum tomatoes to a tree?

  115. Therrin says

    Maybe they are causing you to have two lives. A private life, and a public life. Or maybe three, or four or five.

    Aha, we’re not not-camels, we’re cats! Or not-cats? I’m so confused.

  116. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Father O,

    Does anyone else have the impression of trying to nail quantum tomatoes to a tree?

    I did early on, before it became abundantly clear that Coco is trolling.

  117. Ariaflame says

    Just because somebody denies something does not make the thing they are denying true. That is what the camel and pincers stuff was trying to point out, but I guess Coco doesn’t have the cognitive ability to understand that basic premise.

  118. Coco Jumbo says

    Just because somebody denies something does not make the thing they are denying true. That is what the camel and pincers stuff was trying to point out, but I guess Coco doesn’t have the cognitive ability to understand that basic premise.

    Yeah right. Back to philosophy 101. But I think the door swings both ways. That is, just because somebody denies something does not make the thing they are denying false. So, it was a really really stupid question or whatever. Now tell me where did I make a mistake. It is proving a negative, a double negative, Russle’s pipe or teacup?

  119. ahs ॐ says

    Yeah, but you do not know how those beliefs from your childhood are affecting your life now. Maybe they are causing you to have two lives. A private life, and a public life. Or maybe three, or four or five. Things like that, you know. There are many more examples, but I guess I should better avoid them.

    So as you would have it, I have an unconscious private life in which I believe in magic and divination.

    Okay. What follows from this? It does not appear to be a particularly useful observation.

    +++++
    Coco, are you going to put my book suggestion on your reading list?

    It is largely about cognitive science.

  120. Coco Jumbo says

    So as you would have it, I have an unconscious private life in which I believe in magic and divination.

    Okay. What follows from this? It does not appear to be a particularly useful observation.

    +++++
    Coco, are you going to put my book suggestion on your reading list?

    It is largely about cognitive science.

    Oh no. Not that. You may have a private life in which you ‘liked’ to read books from the fantasy section ‘just for fun’. You didn’t know what made you read those books, so you decided to put it in ‘just for fun’, and ‘no harm done’ category on the conscious level. When, in fact, the real reason you were reading those books was because a part of you still very much believed in them. The magic you denounced was still a part of your life, and was affecting your life without even letting you know about it.

    I will see if I can read your suggested books. Don’t expect me to read them all today. Be patient.

  121. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Does anyone else have the impression of trying to nail quantum tomatoes to a tree?

    Rarely have I seen such a masterful display of tap dancing, hand waving, goalpost moving, and use of smoke and mirrors as Coco has given us in the past three days.

  122. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Wait, what? If I read fantasy books (Discworld?) it is because I am really not an atheist and am looking for gods? Are you fucking insane, Coco?

  123. Therrin says

    When, in fact, the real reason you were reading those books was because a part of you still very much believed in them.

    I’m going to go with freshman undergrad trying to apply psych 101 principles to random web commenters.

    For 500, Alex.

  124. ahs ॐ says

    The magic you denounced was still a part of your life, and was affecting your life without even letting you know about it.

    As a child I had no thoughts whatsoever on the moral implications of creating artificial intelligences. As an adult this is one of my favorite genres (cf Asimov).

    How then do you explain this particular taste of mine as an adult?

  125. ahs ॐ says

    Ok. But allow me at least a few weeks. Even it is just one book.

    Of course. I suggested it without expecting to hear back from you when you’re done anyway (although a response would be welcome). I just figured it would be useful to you, since it addresses some of the things you talk about.

  126. Coco Jumbo says

    As a child I had no thoughts whatsoever on the moral implications of creating artificial intelligences. As an adult this is one of my favorite genres (cf Asimov).

    How then do you explain this particular taste of mine as an adult?

    This is different. I never said that you cannot acquire new tastes as an adult. That it happens only when you are a child. What I said was, if you firmly believed in something once, especially as a child, chances are a part of you will continue to believes in it throughout your life, and that part will very much remain a part of your overall personality.

    If as a child you had no thoughts whatsoever on the moral implications of creating artificial intelligence, then your unconsciousness is like a blank state about this topic. If anything, you should be able to understand and appreciate this new taste very quickly as an adult, because you are not going to face any conflicts with your unconscious part.

  127. ahs ॐ says

    This is different. I never said that you cannot acquire new tastes as an adult.

    Why then do you not allow for the possibility that some of the atheists here did not begin to identify as atheists in reaction to themselves and their own childhood beliefs, but rather in response to the manifestations of theism in the world around them as adults?

    I refer you specifically to this comment by KG:

    If we can trust the testimony of some other regulars here, there are people who never credited that the adults around them really believed in God – as far back as they remember, they thought this was just an elaborate game people played, like talking about Santa and the Tooth Fairy – and were surprised when they realised that no, people really did believe this nonsense.

    Why do you not allow for the possibility that these people are identifying as atheists only because of their adult awareness of the social and political implications of other people’s theism?

  128. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What I said was, if you firmly believed in something once, especially as a child, chances are a part of you will continue to believes in it throughout your life, and that part will very much remain a part of your overall personality.

    What part of you are wrong don’t you understand. Apparently, every part of YOU ARE WRONG.… No surprise to anybody with a minimal intelligence…

  129. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo wrote:

    If you believed in God as a kid, then a part of you still believes in God. Only you won’t be not aware of at the conscious level.

    Would this apply to all beliefs across the board — or only God? At the unconscious level, do I still believe my dolls come alive at night, cotton candy is delicious, step on a crack will break my mother’s back, and “Puff the Magic Dragon” is the greatest song ever written?

    By your reasoning, the answer would be “yes.” Which seems to suggest either that people never grow and change their minds — or that our “inner child” still remembers the past. The first claim is extraordinary but false, the second one more or less true — but unremarkable.

    You seem to be dealing in ‘deepities.’

    And there’s nothing special here about the ‘God’ concept.

    You never answered my question about why atheists would try to suppress a deep inner belief in God even when the version of God entails no negative consequences. I think you’re confusing a mature ability to think beyond shallow instincts with some sort of pathological repression.

  130. John Morales says

    Coco the liar tries to backpedal:

    @600:

    If you are close to 50, then those things you accepted and rejected as a very young child, as a kid, as a teenager, as a young man, are still buried deep within your mind. They are still very much a part of you. They haven’t gone anywhere, even if you thought you had gotten rid of them. If you believed in God as a kid, then a part of you still believes in God.

    @647:

    What I said was, if you firmly believed in something once, especially as a child, chances are a part of you will continue to believes in it throughout your life, and that part will very much remain a part of your overall personality.

    (my emphasis)

  131. Coco Jumbo says

    Why then do you not allow for the possibility that some of the atheists here did not begin to identify as atheists in reaction to themselves and their own childhood beliefs, but rather in response to the manifestations of theism in the world around them as adults?

    Why do you not allow for the possibility that these people are identifying as atheists only because of their adult awareness of the social and political implications of other people’s theism?

    And how did these people manage to remain on ‘neutral grounds’ about God throughout their childhood and teenage? A child’s mind is like a sponge. It absorbs everything that comes to it through the senses. You are saying these people never heard their parents, their teachers, their relatives talking about God when they were kids? They never saw anything on TV, read anything in books? Of course they did. Many times. Over and over again. And so they formed beliefs about God, too, like something happening on automatic mode. Only they are not aware that they did.

  132. ahs ॐ says

    If we can trust the testimony of some other regulars here, there are people who never credited that the adults around them really believed in God – as far back as they remember, they thought this was just an elaborate game people played, like talking about Santa and the Tooth Fairy – and were surprised when they realised that no, people really did believe this nonsense.

    Ahem.

    And how did these people manage to remain on ‘neutral grounds’ about God throughout their childhood and teenage?

    I didn’t say that at all. Please, try to read for comprehension.

    A child’s mind is like a sponge. It absorbs everything that comes to it through the senses. You are saying these people never heard their parents, their teachers, their relatives talking about God when they were kids? They never saw anything on TV, read anything in books? Of course they did. Many times. Over and over again.

    It’s redundant now, but I just wanted to take this second opportunity to mock you for being unable to comprehend what I said.

    And so they formed beliefs about God, too, like something happening on automatic mode. Only they are not aware that they did.

    But the belief they formed about God was that God was not real; God was pretend. You do understand that some children never believe in Santa Claus, right? (Even while they might for instance believe in some spooky action at a distance.)

  133. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #654 wrote:

    Many times. Over and over again. And so they formed beliefs about God, too, like something happening on automatic mode. Only they are not aware that they did.

    I don’t understand your basic argument. You’re claiming that God is “necessary” because we all believe in God, and we all believe in God because we were indoctrinated as children?

    How is this an argument for God’s existence? How does this make God necessary?

    It sounds more as if you’re arguing that there will always be a lot of people who believe in God because they formed the habit when they were young — and thinking your way out of childhood beliefs is hard and takes mental work. Which wouldn’t be controversial, as long as its recognized that there are people who never really believed in God even when very young.

    I don’t think this is your point, however, because you don’t seem to be giving atheists any intellectual credit for thinking more deeply and seriously than the person who simply accepts what is intuitive and what is taught. Instead, you’re apparently framing atheism as a superficial denial of ‘what is known.’

    I don’t get it.

  134. Sastra says

    Remember, Coco Jumbo only came in here because, deep down, he recognizes that we atheists are right and his subconscious finds great satisfaction in reading things he’s afraid to say for himself. He’s repressing his atheistic awareness of a godless universe, but can’t resist the secret pleasure of being in Pharyngula.

    This is psychology. Like they do at Harvard.

    Am I right, Coco?

  135. Coco Jumbo says

    ahs

    Hmm. A little misunderstanding. So, what exactly is your point? That kids can really grow up without facing those who believed in God?

  136. Owlmirror says

    In this case, you would be in a denial of your own creation.

    Hm.

    So you must be in denial of believing in man-made deities.

  137. says

    Also, CJ denies he doesn’t have the urge to look for a creator, therefore, according to his logic, CJ doesn’t have an urge to look for a creator.

    Why are you here again, CJ?

  138. Coco Jumbo says

    I don’t understand your basic argument. You’re claiming that God is “necessary” because we all believe in God, and we all believe in God because we were indoctrinated as children?

    No. I am saying we have a deep urge in us to find the creator. This is why most humans believe in God. Why do we have this urge, is the question that should make God a possibility, unless we can find conclusive answer to this question. May God is ‘necessary’ is not the right way to put it. God is a ‘possibility’ sounds more reasonable.

  139. ahs ॐ says

    Hmm. A little misunderstanding. So, what exactly is your point? That kids can really grow up without facing those who believed in God?

    Coco, you said

    God is necessary because humans generally feel some kind of relationship with the ‘creator’. They feel they have been created, and not ‘produced’ through happenstance and sheer luck, just because all the right ingredients happened to be at the right spot at the right time. This is why they look for God in religions, in spirituality, in science, and in everywhere. It can’t be helped.

    Turning to atheism, in all cases, is a denial of that urge. The reasons are different for every person.

    Why people believe in God is the reason why God is necessary. It is easy to brush aside what doesn’t fit into one’s viewpoint, but it is quite important to see ‘why’ people look for God. Why do we have this urge to look for a creator if we are nothing more than bio-mechanical beings — products of evolution by natural selection?

    But you were seeking gods before you became an atheist, weren’t you? You had a urge to seek gods before, but now you have now suppressed that urge by turning to atheism. That’s the whole point. Isn’t this what I said before?

    And so on and so forth.

    But.

    If some people never did believe that God existed, then they can not be said to be “turning to” atheism. Their lives never demonstrated any evidence of an urge to look for a creator.

  140. Ariaflame says

    Your mistake coco was that you asserted that all humans had the urge to look for a god, and when given counter examples of human beings that did not claimed that denying that they had that urge merely meant they were in denial about it. In other words you claim that you know more about what their internal mental landscape is than they do and that they denied this supposed urge proved that it existed.

    All of which is complete garbage.

    Just because a meme is popular and passed on at young ages does not make the meme either true or necessary.

  141. Sastra says

    Coco Jumbo #663 wrote:

    I am saying we have a deep urge in us to find the creator. This is why most humans believe in God.

    No, we do not all have a “deep urge in us to find the creator.” There’s an innate tendency in the human species to attribute agency to non-agents — but this take many different forms, is not strong in all people, often disappears with maturity and learning, and usually is only retained when there is indoctrination and cultural pressures.

    Why do we have this urge, is the question that should make God a possibility, unless we can find conclusive answer to this question.

    A ‘possibility?’ Sure. A good possibility in the absence of a “conclusive” answer from science? No. The study of superstition and the evolved brain puts the issue well under natural explanations. Science provides a compelling answer.

    “God” isn’t a good answer at all. Not only is it unnecessary, it’s too vague. You can’t even begin to get into mechanism and details. And yet you demand an extremely high level on the other side. Tennis without a net.

  142. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am saying we have a deep urge in us to find the creator.

    Maybe you did in your delusional thinking, but I never did. What a loser trying to take your personal credulity into a statement for logical and rational humans….

  143. Mr. Fire says

    No. I am saying we have a deep urge in us to find the creator.

    You could easily have worded this better, but you decided to reveal your question-begging prejudices.

    This is why most humans believe in God. Why do we have this urge, is the question that should make God a possibility, unless we can find conclusive answer to this question.

    You are aware that there exist answers to this question that are far more possible than “God”, are you not?

  144. Mr. Fire says

    Coco, is it possible that I am actually a cat accidentally typing at random as I walk across my owner’s keyboard?

    Why won’t you believe it?

  145. ahs ॐ says

    I am saying we have a deep urge in us to find the creator. This is why most humans believe in God.

    Nope, it’s not. Evidence:

    It may seem that gods and spirits matter to people mainly because these supernatural agents are described as having special powers. The ancestors can make you sick, or ruin your plantations, God sends people various plagues. On the positive side, gods and spirits are also represented as protectors, guarantors of good crops, social harmony, and so on. But why are supernatural agents construed as having such causal powers? The notion that gods and spirits matter because of their powers does not just beg the question of why they are represented as having such powers. It also creates difficult puzzles. For instance, in many places the most powerful supernatural agents are not the ones that matter most. The Fang of Cameroon and Gabon, among whom I conducted anthropological fieldwork, have all these rituals and complex emotions associated with the possible presence of the ghosts-ancestors. Now the Fang also say that the world (meaning earth and sky and all living things) was created by a god called Mebeghe, vastly more powerful than either the living or the dead. His work was completed by another god, Nzame, who invented all cultural objects: tools, houses, and so on, and taught people how to hunt, domesticate animals, and raise crops. Neither of these gods seems to matter that much. That is, there are no cults or rituals specifically directed at Mebeghe or Nzame, although they are assumed to be around, and they are in fact very rarely mentioned. For a long time, this puzzled many travelers, anthropolo- gists, and, of course, missionaries. Many African people seemed to recognize a Creator in the same sense as the biblical one, yet were remarkably indifferent to Him. We will see below the explanation for this apparent paradox.

    tbc…

  146. ahs ॐ says

    The Fang people do not evince a “deep urge” to find a creator. If you ask them where the world came from, they’ll tell you Mebeghe made it (like if you ask an American child where a tool came from, the child will tell you a person made it), but they do not otherwise care about him (no more than the American child gives a shit about the creator of the tool, until you demand an answer to the question).

    They do not try to contact him. They do not pray to him. They do not rely on him for anything. He is just filler, a way of answering unimportant questions that do not pertain to anyone’s real lives. The important questions are those like “why did my crops fail?” And Mebeghe has nothing to do with the answer, so nobody cares about him.

  147. ahs ॐ says

    ahs: Do you accept that God is not necessary?

    coco: Yes I accept that. But only when we apply the concept of ‘God’ as you see and define God.

    ahs: Do you believe that some God is necessary?

    coco: Yes I believe some God is necessary.

    ahs: Why do you believe some God is necessary?

    coco: I will pose one to you before I answer that question. If you believe God is not necessary, why do you believe God is not necessary?

    horde: [many answers to your question]

    … [much, much, much later] …

    coco: Maybe God is ‘necessary’ is not the right way to put it. God is a ‘possibility’ sounds more reasonable.

  148. ahs ॐ says

    ahs, a long long time ago: “You’ve misunderstood my question. To understand, you must make a distinction between possible and necessary. I am an agnostic atheist, as are many here, I’ll guess about 75%. I think that a god is possible, probably because I have thus far been unable to follow most arguments for the impossibility of a god, as well as noncognitivist arguments; they elude me.”

    Maybe God is ‘necessary’ is not the right way to put it. God is a ‘possibility’ sounds more reasonable.

    Congratulations, Coco. You’re an agnostic atheist.

  149. Coco Jumbo says

    But.

    If some people never did believe that God existed, then they can not be said to be “turning to” atheism. Their lives never demonstrated any evidence of an urge to look for a creator.

    First, I think a child cannot grow up without coming into contact with believers. It is simply not possible. But I think we can imagine these people do exist for the sake of argument.

    If kids are being taught only to deny God, or to not believe in God, they are, in the end, still being taught ‘the God concept’. How do you think a little child can understand what this ‘God concept’ is if he had no urge about God in it? You tell a little child over and over again that his urge is false, that there is no God, then he is going to believe in it. Kids are like that! Pretty much like believing in God.

  150. Ichthyic says

    It is simply not possible

    and so, the ever growing list of things you are ignorant of expands by yet another item.

  151. Coco Jumbo says

    Ahs:

    I am not going to read very lengthy posts. Just to let you know, in case you start complaining that I missed something you posted earlier. Also, put some brakes on sarcasm. You and John Morales seem like first cousin — twice removed.

  152. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    If you believed in God as a kid, then a part of you still believes in God. Only you won’t be not aware of at the conscious level.

    I never believed in god as a child. I was not taught to believe in god. I was, however, given adequate education regarding evolutionary theory and the formation of stars and galaxies (I distinctly remember being irritated with myself for missing a question on a sixth-grade test–that’s about age 11 for those not familiar with USian school system–about the three typical shapes of galaxies).

    I did, however, strongly believe that if I concentrated hard, like Luke Skywalker, I would be able to exercise telekinesis, and cause things to move at a distance using the force of my mind. I actually spent a fair amount of time attempting to use The Force.

  153. ahs ॐ says

    First, I think a child cannot grow up without coming into contact with believers. It is simply not possible. But I think we can imagine these people do exist for the sake of argument.

    You really are exceedingly, astonishingly stupid, Coco.

    I did not say anything of the sort. My patience wears thin with your inability to read for comprehension.

    Here is KG’s comment:

    If we can trust the testimony of some other regulars here, there are people who never credited that the adults around them really believed in God – as far back as they remember, they thought this was just an elaborate game people played, like talking about Santa and the Tooth Fairy – and were surprised when they realised that no, people really did believe this nonsense.

    Do you understand what it being said here? Try rephrasing it in your own words.

    And so they formed beliefs about God, too, like something happening on automatic mode. Only they are not aware that they did.

    But the belief they formed about God was that God was not real; God was pretend. You do understand that some children never believe in Santa Claus, right? (Even while they might for instance believe in some spooky action at a distance.)

    If kids are being taught only to deny God, or to not believe in God, they are, in the end, still being taught ‘the God concept’. How do you think a little child can understand what this ‘God concept’ is if he had no urge about God in it?

    You must therefore be saying also that everyone has an urge to believe in witchcraft, and every modern person has an urge to believe in UFOs.

  154. ahs ॐ says

    Blockquote fail.

    First, I think a child cannot grow up without coming into contact with believers. It is simply not possible. But I think we can imagine these people do exist for the sake of argument.

    You really are exceedingly, astonishingly stupid, Coco.

    I did not say anything of the sort. My patience wears thin with your inability to read for comprehension.

    Here is KG’s comment:

    If we can trust the testimony of some other regulars here, there are people who never credited that the adults around them really believed in God – as far back as they remember, they thought this was just an elaborate game people played, like talking about Santa and the Tooth Fairy – and were surprised when they realised that no, people really did believe this nonsense.

    Do you understand what it being said here? Try rephrasing it in your own words.

    And so they formed beliefs about God, too, like something happening on automatic mode. Only they are not aware that they did.

    But the belief they formed about God was that God was not real; God was pretend. You do understand that some children never believe in Santa Claus, right? (Even while they might for instance believe in some spooky action at a distance.)

    If kids are being taught only to deny God, or to not believe in God, they are, in the end, still being taught ‘the God concept’. How do you think a little child can understand what this ‘God concept’ is if he had no urge about God in it?

    You must therefore be saying also that everyone has an urge to believe in witchcraft, and every modern person has an urge to believe in UFOs.

  155. ahs ॐ says

    Coco

    I am not going to read very lengthy posts.

    Then I suspect you were also lying when you said earlier that you had a reading list, with books on it. I look forward to the day when you come back after actually reading Boyer’s book, and prove me wrong, prove to me that you really can read for comprehension. I don’t believe it anymore. I think you are a stupid liar.

    I am not going to read very lengthy posts.

    You have read a great deal of this thread, which in total has been much longer than any of my comments. Your unwillingness to read my comment, then, is probably due to your small-minded spite.

    If you are not willing to read my comments, such as at #673 and #674, then I will no longer speak to you; there is no point in treating you like someone who is interested in a discussion.

    I have read all your comments. I have given you that much fair treatment.

    From this point forward, unless you demonstrate that you have read all my comments, I will only speak about you, for the sole purpose of mocking you. I urge everyone to do the same.

  156. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    From this point forward, unless you demonstrate that you have read all my comments, I will only speak about you, for the sole purpose of mocking you. I urge everyone to do the same.

    Seconded.

    I, for one, am convinced that Coco is lying about English being his second language.

  157. Coco Jumbo says

    Seconded.

    Seconded. By me too. Now go ahead and show me what you have got. It’s a dare. No a double dare…:)

  158. Ichthyic says

    No a double dare…:)

    just go fucking stick your tongue to a light pole in the middle of an icy winter already.

    you can experiment directly!

    I am not going to read very lengthy posts.

    hey, mine are quite short and directly on point.

    here, I’ll repeat my thesis:

    You are an ignorant dolt suffering from Dunning Kruger syndrome.

    see?

    very short.

  159. Coco Jumbo says

    I am still waiting. Try not to use expressions like ‘you are exceedingly stupid’, or ‘I am going to mock you’. Just a friendly suggestion.

  160. Coco Jumbo says

    Hmm. This is one. Who’s next?

    I am actually waiting for you John Morale or Ahs. Where on earth are you?

  161. Ichthyic says

    Try not to use expressions like ‘you are exceedingly stupid’, or ‘I am going to mock you’. Just a friendly suggestion.

    hey, why use similes when you can use the words directly?

    You ARE exceedingly stupid.

    but, I would say I have no need to mock you, you appear to be doing just fine shooting your own feet out from under you with each successive post.

    oh wait, was that too many words for you?

    damn.

    Maybe I should just stick with “Terminal Victim of Dunning Kruger”

    easier for you to read, and faster to type. Hell, I can just cut and paste.

  162. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    So, Coco, you have stated that gods are possible. Why are they necessary?

  163. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Sorry. That didn’t come out right [drinks some coffee]

    So, Coco, you earlier stated that gods are necessary. When asked why they are necessary, you explained why gods are possible. So, one mor time, with feeling: Why do you, Coco, think that gods are necessary?

  164. Obstruct Tenet says

    Pfft! Cats don’t use italic. I thought everyone knew that.

    I don’t care who you are. That’s funny!

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t think Coco is exceedingly stupid. I think Coco exceeds the very concept of stupidity.

    Ah, he’s found his life’s calling. I hear Buster of the Mythies wants to hire a stunt double…

  166. KG says

    I believed in God as a young child, because I’d been told about him as fact, but I did not find the idea of God or anything connected with it at all interesting – in total contrast to dinosaurs, Australian animals, the planets, the Vikings, prime numbers, old coins, writing stories about animals, sport, my own family’s history… If I’d had some “deep urge” to find the creator, how could this possibly have been the case? Coco Lackwit, why not just accept that you have no evidence whatever that this supposed urge is universal, and that the quirks of your own psychology tell you rather little either about that of other people, or about reality beyond your own head?

Trackbacks