Atheism

AlchoPwn

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I also find zealous atheists framing issues regarding disabilities and similar in moral terms equally nauseating.
I have never heard any atheist seriously touting eugenics in this day and age. It is ethically and scientifically discredited, for which we can thank Uncle Adolph and his cunning and extensive post-war social liberalization initiative. Amazing that he managed it while both dead and utterly discredited.
 

Mythopoeika

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Have a look at the Autistic Dark Web and their support for removing autistic people from teh species.
Unfortunately, such an act would kill all scientific and technical development stone dead. Most of the geeks have Asperger's.
 

Mikefule

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I have never heard any atheist seriously touting eugenics in this day and age.
That may say reassuring things about your essential virtue, rather than useful things about atheists and supporters of eugenics.

There are people who seriously tout eugenics. If I were to meet one, I might be so shocked by their touting of eugenics that I forgot to enquire whether they were also atheist. Perhaps you might respond in the same way. :)
 
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I'm agnostic...though I have been interested in eastern religious ideas and ideologies ( did various forms of Hindu and Zen meditation for years..) since college back in 1969.
At any rate...the idea that the Universe just came into being on it's own is as knotty philosophically as it gets...imho. If some 'entity' didn't help create all of this then where did it all come from? To me that's the knotty question.
The universe coming into existence on its own may be problematic philosophically but what has that to do with anything? There are probable physical processes that allow this universe to come into being as long as there is a space-time: and space and time had to exist because a deity has to occupy a space and time is required to allow an action to occur (time before the action, time of the action and time following the action. Claims that a deity can exist outside of all space and all time is not just philosophically knotty it is philosophically incoherent.
 
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I see the point you're making, but I think you've oversimplified St Anselm's argument and done his opponents a disservice (ho ho!).

1) God is the greatest thing that is imaginable.
2) A thing that is imagined to exist and exists is necessarily greater than a thing that is imagined to exist but does not exist.
3) Therefore, the greatest thing imaginable exists.
4) Therefore God exists.

There are so many things wrong with this that he had to hide his sleight of hand with expressions such as "That than which no greater can be imagined."

1) Is only one possible definition of God.
2) Is sort of true, but in the way he interpreted it, in 3) he more or less asserted that the imagination of its existence was sufficient to necessitate its existence, which is cobblers.
4) IMHO is unproven.
Anselm's ontological argument was re-stated far more cogently by Platinga but it still fails because of the undefined term "greatest thing." Essentially any being who creates a universe is immediately less than "maximally great" because such a being could be "greater" by the inclusion of the universe just created
 

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I'm not understanding the linkage between atheism and eugenics that's seemingly being presumed here.
there is a growing lobby who see autism as totally negative and dangerous - and autistics in the same way. It's a lot to do with teh vax=autism canard and the "search for a cure" movement.

Hanging around with "autism moms" - who can be of any sex and are not the same as "people who are parents to an autistic child" - measn I see a lot of it. :(
 

EnolaGaia

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there is a growing lobby who see autism as totally negative and dangerous - and autistics in the same way. It's a lot to do with teh vax=autism canard and the "search for a cure" movement. ...
OK, fine ... But what is it that obviously or necessarily connects atheism with such negative attitude(s) toward autistics?
 

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But what is it that obviously or necessarily connects atheism with such negative attitude(s) toward autistics?
The ones I have direct experience of, if they are the religious extremists they tend to see us their cross to bear. The eugenics come from atheists, possibly partly because one of their main methods is to develop a pre-birth test and then to abort us.

NB there are perfect;y reasonable people in both groups.
 

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Essentially any being who creates a universe is immediately less than "maximally great" because such a being could be "greater" by the inclusion of the universe just created
I don't know what that last phrase means.

In what could the universe just created be included in order to make this very powerful being still more powerful?
 

AlchoPwn

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Or as one Fundamentalist on Twitter informed me "Atheists have Satan protecting them"
LOL. Satan doesn't protect anyone; it isn't in his nature according to scripture. I rather like the argument that "Power corrupts. Ultimate Power corrupts ultimately. God is Ultimately powerful and therefore ultimately corrupt. Thus God would be indistinguishable from Satan, were it not for allowing neutral voices of dissent. Thus God's plan for atheists is to keep himself, his doctrine, and his worship honest, by providing a non-Satanic alternative perspective."
 

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there is a growing lobby who see autism as totally negative and dangerous - and autistics in the same way. It's a lot to do with teh vax=autism canard and the "search for a cure" movement.

Hanging around with "autism moms" - who can be of any sex and are not the same as "people who are parents to an autistic child" - measn I see a lot of it. :(
It's not at all clear to me how autism came into a discussion of atheism and eugenics. My understanding is that autism has complex causes including possibly the interaction of several genes. It would be one of the more difficult things to eliminate from the gene pool, even if someone wanted to do so, which I doubt.

That said, I certainly don't notice a "growing lobby" seeing autism as totally negative and dangerous. What I see is an increased level of public understanding and compassion towards autistic people, and a recognition that some kinds of autism may even be beneficial to society.

If proof were needed, it is in the number of people who take pride in half-jokingly referring to themselves as "a bit autistic" or "on the spectrum" when all they mean is they pay attention to detail, or they like things to be tidy, or they have an inflated idea of the importance of apostrophes in the grand scheme of things.

The "autism mom" has become A Thing, even in the UK where we say "mum" or "mam" — or did until recently. On the one hand, autism moms say, correctly, that their child should not be defined by his or her syndrome; but on the other hand, they define themselves by their child's syndrome.

There is a danger that going on about it as much as some of them do will be counterproductive and lose them sympathy.

But back to St Anselm and his ontological argument:

St Anselm said that "God is the greatest thing imaginable."

In most translations, this is expressed as "God is that than which no greater can be imagined." This always struck me as adding complexity and obscurity in order to give spurious credibility to the rest of the argument.

Being "the greatest thing imaginable" is one of many characteristics of the Christian God. I suggest that it is somewhere down most people's lists, below creator of the universe, creator of mankind, omnipotent, omnipresent, benevolent, etc.

It is also an inferred characteristic rather than an inherent one: what is "imaginable" surely depends on the strength of the imagination, rather than on what is being imagined.

St Anselm takes this one small part of the description of God and turns it into a definition. For the rest of his argument, he sets out to prove that the "Greatest thing imaginable" exists. Then when he believes he has done so, he works backwards from his questionable definition to prove that, therefore, God exists.

A comparison: Plato set out to define man and came up with, "Man is a featherless biped."

This is an accurate description of man, but it is a lousy definition. He is defining the species by two incidental characteristics. Not all men are bipeds, and not all featherless things are men.

Diogenese then presented Plato with a plucked chicken and said, "Behold, your man!" 1–0 to Diogenese.

The next step of St Anselm's argument is that the greatest thing imaginable must exist, because if we imagine two identical things, but one exists and the other doesn't, then the one that exists is "greater".

I imagine a 40 metre crocodile that I acknowledge is imaginary, and I imagine a 40 metre crocodile and imagine that it "exists".

A 40 metre crocodile that exists is certainly a scarier proposition than one that doesn't, and I suppose we could call it "greater". However, the fact that I imagine that it exists does not mean that it does.

In St Anselm's argument, imagining that something exists somehow makes it necessary that it exists. I call BS.

In fact, many (most?) theologically inclined Christians would probably argue that God is so great that His entire majesty and power is beyond the scope of human imagination. To these people, I suggest that God is not "the greatest thing imaginable" but that God is "a being so great that we cannot adequately imagine Him."

St Anselm's argument is a typical example of a clever man setting out to prove what he already believes. It is a specious argument, disguised with pseudo philosophical language. It does not prove that God exists, but, equally, demolishing the argument does not prove that God does not exist.

Own position: I'm an atheist based on an analysis derived from a logical positivist approach. If God is omnipotent and ineffable, as theologians would have us believe, then there is no set of circumstances that could not be explained by the existence of God. A hypothesis that could be used to explain every conceivable set of experimental results or observed data is neither right nor wrong, just meaningless.
 

Mythopoeika

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LOL. Satan doesn't protect anyone; it isn't in his nature according to scripture. I rather like the argument that "Power corrupts. Ultimate Power corrupts ultimately. God is Ultimately powerful and therefore ultimately corrupt. Thus God would be indistinguishable from Satan, were it not for allowing neutral voices of dissent. Thus God's plan for atheists is to keep himself, his doctrine, and his worship honest, by providing a non-Satanic alternative perspective."
God and Satan may in fact be 2 sides of one coin.
 
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Well, OK, most that I have worked with seem to have Asperger's.
I’ve worked as an electronic designer engineer for about 25 years - I’ve probably worked alongside 100+ design engineers in that time, hardware and firmware, and I would say that probably only a couple might have been ND in any noticeable way and one of those was the product of a very odd upbringing, so it can’t be readily said that he was ND. In general, most of these colleagues past and present are introverted, which is generally the case for complex detailed-oriented work that requires long periods of concentration.

It may well be the case that ND's are over represented in the technical/science trades – the case for the emergence of electronic and radio technology essentially enabling ND’s is beautifully expounded in the rather nice book ‘Neurotribes’ and it does a far better job than I can.

However, it is very far from the case that all, or even a majority of those, are ND’s or that ND's are generally 'technical wizards'. There is a societal trope suggesting that one can’t be smart without some corresponding behavioural quirk or social awkwardness, but that’s all it is, a trope. It’s made up, simply to appeal to a broad audience.

Recent studies show (NT) folk with high intelligence tend to learn the people skills they need, if they were deficient in the first place, and the supposed inverse link between intelligence and social skills simply doesn’t exist.

Shows such as the faintly patronising “Big Bang Theory” are way off the mark for the most part. It’s especially patronising when such folk are labelled as ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ by people who are not able to carry out such roles or even appreciate them. Like all such stereotypes, they exist in the service of control and social dominance and we ought perhaps to stop carrying them forward.
 

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I was at a local library once, and some autism organisation had put up a giant poster, showing historical characters with autism. They seemed to have just decided to pick every smart guy in history. Who knows how they diagnosed them.
 
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I don't know what that last phrase means.

In what could the universe just created be included in order to make this very powerful being still more powerful?
By definition, anything that the creator produces that is independent of itself is not of itself hence that creator is not maximally great.

Of course, you highlight the other problem: that the term "maximally great" is not defined.

Then there is the logical problem that an abstract concept is being defined into existence without providing a mechanism for this.
 

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By definition, anything that the creator produces that is independent of itself is not of itself hence that creator is not maximally great.

Of course, you highlight the other problem: that the term "maximally great" is not defined.

Then there is the logical problem that an abstract concept is being defined into existence without providing a mechanism for this.
All right.

First, I don't accept the ontological argument, but let's be clear that Anselm was not defending any old god, he was setting out to prove the existence of the God of western Christianity who is, canonically speaking, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal. 'Great' is shorthand for mighty and capable in all these respects--we're not talking about mere quantities of matter of substance. I mean to say that a God that creates some fluff under the sofa is no greater or less great than one who does not, although the capacity to create may well be a facet of greatness.

I would argue that being able to produce something that is independent of oneself is a more consequential feat than producing something from oneself that still relies on oneself for its continued existence (and, indeed, far more impressive than lacking the power to produce anything at all).

Therefore, if we accept the argument that only a being possessed of a nature than cannot be conceived of as mightier is worthy of the title 'God', any 'God' that exists must be capable of bringing into existence independent entities, because a being that could not do so could be conceived of as mightier and so could not be titled 'God'.

The actual problem is not this, it's the use of existence, possible existence and necessary existence as predicates that an entity has or does not have. It is an accident of language (perhaps not all languages) that existence and non-existence can be discussed using similar grammatical structures to those of number, colour, size, nature etc.

The cat is ginger, friendly and hungry--oh, and it exists.

Or.

The cat doesn't exist, but is ginger friend and hungry.

Both are extremely odd constructions. We already know the cat exists because we named it and referred to it with speech. We further listed the properties of which it partook. As Russel and Frege would have it: existence precedes predication. It seems tautological to start saying that the thing you're describing also exists or doesn't actually exist. Take the opposite approach: you want to introduce a child to the character of, say, Sherlock Holmes. The very first thing you tell them is that 'He is a fictional detective' before later moving on to explain for what, in the realm of fiction, he is famous.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existence/#FreRusExiNotProInd
 
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It's not at all clear to me how autism came into a discussion of atheism and eugenics.
That would be these, and earlier, posts on a possible positive link between atheism and eugenics.

I'm not understanding the linkage between atheism and eugenics that's seemingly being presumed here.
I have never heard any atheist seriously touting eugenics in this day and age.
If this becomes about autism per se, rather than about data to be considered in a discussion of atheism, we can snip and re-site it.

That said, I certainly don't notice a "growing lobby" seeing autism as totally negative and dangerous. What I see is an increased level of public understanding and compassion towards autistic people, and a recognition that some kinds of autism may even be beneficial to society.
Why could the two things not exist together? It isn't an either/or, as you seem to be suggesting. I'm interested in your exposure to the various strands of the autism "thing"? What are you using to arrive at your opinion? Happy to state my qualifications if it would be helpful.

If proof were needed, it is in the number of people who take pride in half-jokingly referring to themselves as "a bit autistic" or "on the spectrum" when all they mean is they pay attention to detail, or they like things to be tidy, or they have an inflated idea of the importance of apostrophes in the grand scheme of things.
You are saying that the above is proof that there isn't a growing lobby as I have described? I'm not seeing how the logic works here, sorry. Yes, it's common for things to become fashionable verbiage - look at the way schizophrenia, bi-polar and leprosy have been and are being used. OCD, psycopathy and narcissism are also being thrown about at the moment with similarly mostly erroneous ideas. Note also that this is often done about other people - and it isn't done nicely any more than overt self-deprecation is more than using real deprecation in a social context which means you are not to be taken seriously.

The "autism mom" has become A Thing, even in the UK where we say "mum" or "mam" — or did until recently. On the one hand, autism moms say, correctly, that their child should not be defined by his or her syndrome; but on the other hand, they define themselves by their child's syndrome.

There is a danger that going on about it as much as some of them do will be counterproductive and lose them sympathy.
"Autism Mom" isn't defined by not defining anyone by a syndrome. And even in the wilds of Scotland we tend to use "mum" :rollingw: which might suggest that ""Autism Mom" is indeed A Thing as I said, the prime characteristic being that the narrative centres on the individual parent and their heroic struggle.

Mod note: leaving this here pending discussion on which thread to move it, or bits of it to!
 

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"Autism Mom" isn't defined by not defining anyone by a syndrome.

Mod note: leaving this here pending discussion on which thread to move it, or bits of it to!
My point was that although it is a common (and entirely correct) thing for so-called "Autism Moms" to say that their child is not defined by their condition, they see no irony in defining themselves by their child's condition.

To paraphrase the apparent thought process:
  • "My child is a child who happens to be autistic, but he is still a child first and foremost." (I absolutely agree.)
  • "My child is autistic, therefore I am an autism mom." (Rather than, I am a mum whose child happens to be autistic.)
It has rapidly become a phenomenon. I do not hear about "Downs moms" or "epileptic moms" or "ADHD moms" (etc.) It is as if the community of mothers with children who have autism have agreed on a "brand" in order to promote awareness. If so, the idea is a good one, but if overdone it may be counterproductive.

I have no relevant professional qualifications, but I have close friends (closer than most of my family) who are parents of autistic children.
 

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.."Atheists have Satan protecting them" ..

Satan is part if theology. Theology by definition requires a God.

But atheists, also by definition, say there is no God. They do not support theology.

So, no God = no Satan.

How can this non existent Satan be protecting people who don't believe he exists ; and why would this Satan wish to do it ?

INT21.
 

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I maintain that Atheism isn’t really the opposite of belief in God. If you don’t believe in something it really doesn’t form part of your daily routine. Even the Samoan version of Creation.
People of faith seem desperate to fill the God-Shaped hole they find inherent in atheists using the only terms of reference they feel comfortable with.
 

Mythopoeika

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Unless Satan exists, and is not a god, just a very naughty non-god.
Satan's not a god in the first place (one of the angels). Yet, somehow, he has enough power to oppose God.
How can that be? Unless... God is also not a god? Or it's another inconsistency in the Bible and/or the religion itself?
 

EnolaGaia

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... People of faith seem desperate to fill the God-Shaped hole they find inherent in atheists using the only terms of reference they feel comfortable with.
Indeed ... As I've mentioned earlier, the entire notion of 'atheism' obtains meaning only in relation to deism / theism. It's the result of a rigged terminological gambit that effectively drags non-believers into the theologian's own self-defined arena and therefore subordinates them to a thematic context they don't recognize in the first place.
 
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... canonically speaking, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal. 'Great' is shorthand for mighty and capable in all these respects--we're not talking about mere quantities of matter of substance
But matter and substance are included in the term maximally great, because if not included then maximal greatness is not maximal

I would argue that being able to produce something that is independent of oneself is a more consequential feat than producing something from oneself that still relies on oneself for its continued existence
Whether it is more or less consequential is irrelevant to the argument regarding maximal greatness

Therefore, if we accept the argument that only a being possessed of a nature than (sic ... SdV) cannot be conceived of as mightier is worthy of the title 'God', any 'God' that exists must be capable of bringing into existence independent entities, because a being that could not do so could be conceived of as mightier and so could not be titled 'God'.
I am not talking about what is or is not worthy of the title God, only about the description "maximally great"

The actual problem is not this, it's the use of existence, possible existence and necessary existence as predicates that an entity has or does not have. It is an accident of language (perhaps not all languages) that existence and non-existence can be discussed using similar grammatical structures to those of number, colour, size, nature etc.
This merely demonstrates that philosophy (which itself is predicated on the use of language) is an ineffective tool

Both are extremely odd constructions. We already know the cat exists because we named it and referred to it with speech
Sorry, we do NOT know the cat exists, the cat could have existence or it could be fantasy. Only if you specify that the cat has existence a priori can we discuss the meaning of the words used. It seems that Lewis Carrol was making a similar point about philosophical constructions when he was writing about the Cheshire Cat

We further listed the properties of which it partook.
These qualities logically incomprehensible. The problems associated with omnipotence, omniscience and omniprescence as well as with the term "maximally great" are only resolved by introducing special pleading, insisting on special definitions of these terms.
 

Mythopoeika

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Indeed ... As I've mentioned earlier, the entire notion of 'atheism' obtains meaning only in relation to deism / theism. It's the result of a rigged terminological gambit that effectively drags non-believers into the theologian's own self-defined arena and therefore subordinates them to a thematic context they don't recognize in the first place.
To me:
Atheism/no religion = natural state
Religion= infection with mind virus
 
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I maintain that Atheism isn’t really the opposite of belief in God. If you don’t believe in something it really doesn’t form part of your daily routine. Even the Samoan version of Creation.
People of faith seem desperate to fill the God-Shaped hole they find inherent in atheists using the only terms of reference they feel comfortable with.
It is incredibly difficult to describe to some believers what not having such belief means.

You can point to "Off" not being a TV channel or say that "no opinion" is not an opinion but still they cannot grasp the idea of not holding a belief in any deity.

My personal understanding is that atheism is a null hypothesis, a hypothesis that stands in the absence of evidence. Present me with evidence of a contradiction to that null hypothesis and I will change my stance
 
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