Matthew

Ask an Atheist!

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What is your opinion on this?

 

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/highlight/top-rabbi-explains-jwhy-god-created-atheists/561d7aae8795a20f43000070?cps=gravity_2677_4637867470617191212

 

I thought it was pretty cool, and a nice way to interfaith (or in this case, internonfaith).

 

Nice! Obviously I don't agree with him about the reason for atheists' existence, but hey, at least he thinks his God made atheists for a reason, rather than the more-typical belief that atheists are in rebellion against God's true plan for them.  :D

 

As an atheist, do you believe the movie Idiocracy to be an accurate portrayal of where we are going? Here is a link to the movie's wikipedia if you don't know about it:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

 

I think the movie might also be on netflix, but I'm not sure.

 

I think I've seen it in my Netflix recommendations. I'll put it in my queue of movies and get back to you when I've seen it.  :) However, unless it's specifically about religion, my opinion probably won't come from my atheism so much as the other ideas I've picked up over the years.

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As an atheist, do you believe the movie Idiocracy to be an accurate portrayal of where we are going? Here is a link to the movie's wikipedia if you don't know about it:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

 

I think the movie might also be on netflix, but I'm not sure.

 

I have seen the movie (and really liked it), but I don't see what it has to do with religion or atheism/agnosticism.

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I have seen the movie (and really liked it), but I don't see what it has to do with religion or atheism/agnosticism.

Based off evolution... do you believe that's where we are headed as an atheist?

Christians believe we are going to go to heaven at some point and the end is coming some day.

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Couldn't find the movie on any streaming services, so I just had to go by the Wiki synopsis and the opening scene, which I've seen before.

 

Based off evolution... do you believe that's where we are headed as an atheist?

Christians believe we are going to go to heaven at some point and the end is coming some day.

 

First of all, evolution isn't something I accept due to my atheism; it's because it's the scientific consensus. Evolution has no more to do with religion or lack of religion than say, general relativity. There are many religious people who agree that evolution occurred/is occurring, and it is theoretically possible to be an atheist and disbelieve evolution (though it is probably quite rare, as there's really no reason to doubt evolution if conflict with your religion's holy text is not an issue). I would also say most atheists believe that the end is coming some day, though exactly when varies pretty widely depending on how we're defining "the end" (the end of humanity? life on earth? the earth as a whole? our solar system? our galaxy? the entire universe?). So, I wouldn't say my opinion is "as an atheist," but, like I said, based on other factors.

 

I honestly think that the movie, while clearly comedic social commentary that is valuable in its own way, certainly isn't any sort of genuinely accurate prediction of the future. Humans have existed in their anatomically modern form for about 200,000 years, and have been behaviorally modern for at least the past 50,000. The idea that in 500 years we could somehow "downgrade" into an inherently intellectually inferior species via natural selection is totally absurd.

 

It is true that, perhaps, we could lose much of our accrued cultural knowledge, and therefore "downgrade" in that sense...but even then, the idea that idiots will somehow outbreed and overwhelm intelligent people, even if just via massive cultural anti-intellectualism, is patently absurd. The average IQ has risen so much over the past century that we have to continually make the test more difficult in order to keep the average at 100. More and more people are reaching higher levels of education than ever. Being smart and knowing tons of facts, as well as being nerdy, has become a cool thing in pretty much every metropolitan area. Our entire economy is centered around information and knowledge. Barring some kind of unforeseen, hideous disaster, it's hard to see what kind of incentive there would be for turning around and heading back into the dark ages.

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Is atheism something you find yourself attracted to being? Like the idea that there isn't a god, is that an attractive belief that is part of your atheism or is it something that you find yourself defaulting too because there is "no other logical conclusion."

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Is atheism something you find yourself attracted to being? Like the idea that there isn't a god, is that an attractive belief that is part of your atheism or is it something that you find yourself defaulting too because there is "no other logical conclusion."

 

Little of both, I think. Ultimately I want what I believe to be as close to reality as possible, and my default since becoming an atheist is to disbelieve all the god claims that I know of. I don't want to be attracted to atheism because then I might not be as open to new information as I should be, but ultimately I am susceptible to the same confirmation bias as everyone, and I think that once you settle into a belief or way of thinking, whether it's new or you've always had it, it becomes attractive and preferable to you. But really, I probably find the spirit of skepticism and inquiry to be much more attractive than atheism. 

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Couldn't find the movie on any streaming services, so I just had to go by the Wiki synopsis and the opening scene, which I've seen before.

 

 

First of all, evolution isn't something I accept due to my atheism; it's because it's the scientific consensus. Evolution has no more to do with religion or lack of religion than say, general relativity. There are many religious people who agree that evolution occurred/is occurring, and it is theoretically possible to be an atheist and disbelieve evolution (though it is probably quite rare, as there's really no reason to doubt evolution if conflict with your religion's holy text is not an issue). I would also say most atheists believe that the end is coming some day, though exactly when varies pretty widely depending on how we're defining "the end" (the end of humanity? life on earth? the earth as a whole? our solar system? our galaxy? the entire universe?). So, I wouldn't say my opinion is "as an atheist," but, like I said, based on other factors.

 

I honestly think that the movie, while clearly comedic social commentary that is valuable in its own way, certainly isn't any sort of genuinely accurate prediction of the future. Humans have existed in their anatomically modern form for about 200,000 years, and have been behaviorally modern for at least the past 50,000. The idea that in 500 years we could somehow "downgrade" into an inherently intellectually inferior species via natural selection is totally absurd.

 

It is true that, perhaps, we could lose much of our accrued cultural knowledge, and therefore "downgrade" in that sense...but even then, the idea that idiots will somehow outbreed and overwhelm intelligent people, even if just via massive cultural anti-intellectualism, is patently absurd. The average IQ has risen so much over the past century that we have to continually make the test more difficult in order to keep the average at 100. More and more people are reaching higher levels of education than ever. Being smart and knowing tons of facts, as well as being nerdy, has become a cool thing in pretty much every metropolitan area. Our entire economy is centered around information and knowledge. Barring some kind of unforeseen, hideous disaster, it's hard to see what kind of incentive there would be for turning around and heading back into the dark ages.

If you believe in evolution because it's believed by the consensus of scientific experts on evolution then you must be consistent in your beliefs and concede that near death experiences are real and compelling evidence for the afterlife because the overwhelmingly by majority of Ned scientists who are experts in the field of nde research who have published peer reviewed scientific studies on ndes almost all believe that their are compelling scientific evidence for the soul and afterlife .

Do you concede this also or will you go against the very post you just made claiming you believe in evolution because the scientific consensus also believes it to be true ?

Tough question ay ;)

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If you believe in evolution because it's believed by the consensus of scientific experts on evolution then you must be consistent in your beliefs and concede that near death experiences are real and compelling evidence for the afterlife because the overwhelmingly by majority of Ned scientists who are experts in the field of nde research who have published peer reviewed scientific studies on ndes almost all believe that their are compelling scientific evidence for the soul and afterlife .

Do you concede this also or will you go against the very post you just made claiming you believe in evolution because the scientific consensus also believes it to be true ?

Tough question ay ;)

 

Um, what? Near death experiences are not anywhere near as throughly researched as things like evolution, but from what I have read of them, they are generally considered to be a hallucinatory state caused by various physiological and psychological factors -- not evidence of an afterlife. If you go to the Wikipedia article you can find tons and tons of different studies that suggest NDEs have nothing to do with life after death, though it seems as if there is no consensus yet as to what their exact cause is (of course, there may not be just one cause).

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Clarify "Atheist"

 

Are you saying that you don't think there is a creator?

 

Are you saying "I just don't know"? I have no way to know either way therefore I'm not going live my life or worry about things I can never know for sure? (which is really being agnostic which you didn't say you were).

 

I guess what I'm wanting to clarify is that many people I encounter when they say they are "atheists" they really end up being agnostic. They don't really "KNOW" there is no creator to the universe they just have no way to know and don't really worry about it. If it can't be proven to them scientifically one way or the other than it is just irrelevant.

 

Are you truly an atheist...you KNOW there is no creator or are you really agnostic?

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Clarify "Atheist"

 

Are you saying that you don't think there is a creator?

 

Are you saying "I just don't know"? I have no way to know either way therefore I'm not going live my life or worry about things I can never know for sure? (which is really being agnostic which you didn't say you were).

 

I guess what I'm wanting to clarify is that many people I encounter when they say they are "atheists" they really end up being agnostic. They don't really "KNOW" their is no creator to the universe they just have no way to know and don't really worry about it. If it can't be proven to them scientifically one way or the other than it is just irrelevant.

 

Are you truly an atheist...you KNOW there is no creator or are you really agnostic?

 

Heh, in my experience, I've encountered a lot of agnostics who I would say are actually atheists.

 

What does "know" mean in this context? If you asked me whether the statement "there is no God" is true or false, I would say it is true. But if compelling evidence to the contrary came along, I would change my mind. Since I leave room open to have my mind changed one day, I suppose by your definition I could be agnostic...but I really don't think it's ever going to happen.

 

I've used this metaphor elsewhere in the forum, but I'd say I "know" there's no God the same way I "know" that my pencil won't float upwards when I drop it. Based on my cumulative experiences of my pencil falling to the ground every time I let it go, and taking into account the scientific theories related to gravity, why would I ever think that maybe, one day, my pencil will float upwards? Perhaps my pencil will float one day, and then, of course, I will change my ideas about gravity based on that experience. In the meantime, I'm going to keep on standing by my conviction that my pencil is gonna fall to the ground each time I let it go.

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Heh, in my experience, I've encountered a lot of agnostics who I would say are actually atheists.

 

What does "know" mean in this context? If you asked me whether the statement "there is no God" is true or false, I would say it is true. But if compelling evidence to the contrary came along, I would change my mind. Since I leave room open to have my mind changed one day, I suppose by your definition I could be agnostic...but I really don't think it's ever going to happen.

 

I've used this metaphor elsewhere in the forum, but I'd say I "know" there's no God the same way I "know" that my pencil won't float upwards when I drop it. Based on my cumulative experiences of my pencil falling to the ground every time I let it go, and taking into account the scientific theories related to gravity, why would I ever think that maybe, one day, my pencil will float upwards? Perhaps my pencil will float one day, and then, of course, I will change my ideas about gravity based on that experience. In the meantime, I'm going to keep on standing by my conviction that my pencil is gonna fall to the ground each time I let it go.

 

 

I don't get it. I don't get your analogy. I don't really follow how the very visible, beyond the shadow of doubt effects of gravity that everyone experiences and sees with their own eyes every moment of every day has anything to do whatsoever with a universe no one saw created, no one has seen or proven or disproven how such incredibly complex systems and orderly laws came to govern the universe, galaxy, stars and planets, cells, DNA, reproduction, flight in birds, radar in bats, camera lens eyeballs, eardrums, two sexes, mutual attraction etc., etc.

 

I get you are trying to make a slam dunk analogy but I couldn't imagine a more apples to oranges analogy than being able to physically see gravity work vs. knowing that no God created all matter even though no one has any idea how all matter came to be and how it was set in motion. No one has ever seen that or has any idea how all matter and life came into existence and you are analogizing that with a basic law everyone can see every moment.

 

That is a terrible analogy. Terrible. Find a better one because that one doesn't work.

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I don't really follow how the very visible, beyond the shadow of doubt effects of gravity that everyone experiences and sees with their own eyes every moment of every day has anything to do whatsoever with a universe no one saw created, no one has seen or proven or disproven how such incredibly complex systems and orderly laws came to govern the universe, galaxy, stars and planets, cells, DNA, reproduction, flight in birds, radar in bats, camera lens eyeballs, eardrums, two sexes, mutual attraction etc., etc.

 

There are tons of scientific theories related to how the universe, galaxies, stars, planets, DNA, cells, flight, eyes, sexual reproduction, etc, have come about. Tons. Sure, we still have plenty to learn, and we will probably never understand it all. I see no reason to default to "an all-powerful deity did it," when I come up against something I don't know the answer to, since I don't think there is evidence of that either.

 

I get you are trying to make a slam dunk analogy but I couldn't imagine a more apples to oranges analogy than being able to physically see gravity work vs. knowing that no God created all matter even though no one has any idea how all matter came to be and how it was set in motion. No one has ever seen that or has any idea how all matter and life came into existence and you are analogizing that with a basic law everyone can see every moment.

 

That is a terrible analogy. Terrible. Find a better one because that one doesn't work.

 

Considering that most religions include a deity (or deities) that takes a personal interest in the lives of humans...is it so crazy to expect that, if one of those deities existed, I'd have even one instance of interaction with it? Sure, I suppose it could be possible that there is an all-powerful being that has no interest in humanity whatsoever and therefore has not shown itself to us...but again, why would I assume such a creature exists?

 

I don't think either Matthew or I are trying to "slam dunk" anything. I know I certainly have no interest in convincing any of the religious people in this forum that God doesn't exist; I'm simply trying to explain the perspective of an atheist for those people who may find it difficult to imagine or understand. My way of looking at the world doesn't make sense to you -- fine. I'm happy to attempt to further discuss my beliefs with people who engage with me in a polite and friendly manner...so in the future, I would prefer that you don't repeatedly call my personal perspective "terrible," or demand that I explain myself to you in a different way. We are all here by choice, to learn from and support one another.

 
If you would like to try to explain theism to me, I created a thread here so that I might better understand that way of looking at the world.
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Um, what? Near death experiences are not anywhere near as throughly researched as things like evolution, but from what I have read of them, they are generally considered to be a hallucinatory state caused by various physiological and psychological factors -- not evidence of an afterlife. If you go to the Wikipedia article you can find tons and tons of different studies that suggest NDEs have nothing to do with life after death, though it seems as if there is no consensus yet as to what their exact cause is (of course, there may not be just one cause).

A Wikipedia article to explain science and the consensus ?

Please show me just one nde scientist that has done nde studies that sides with your take , just name one . I'm talking about one who has done actual peer reviewed or scholarly studies on nde .

I can bring you many .

In fact 99.9 percent of the nde experts agree with my take , that is nde evidence leans towards the soul and afterlife .

The fact that you form an opinion from acwikipedis article doesn't inspire confidence in me that you are looking for the true consensus of the scientific experts on nde's . I know of only one nde scientist that agrees with your side and his explanation of them disturbance has been totally refuted .

I challenge you to bring me just one nde scientist that agrees with you , just one and I will bring you at least 10 times that that agree with me . I have been studying nde's for 4 years now and I can name many types of nde's that shatter the hallucination explanation of yours .

Let's start with veridical nde's and please explain to me how hallucinations can possibly explain veridical nde's .

Here are some nde scientists that have published nde research

Doctor Pom van lommel former atheist who conveyed away from atheism from his peer reviewed nde study published in the secular medical journal the lancet .

Doctor Jeffrey long former atheist now a pantheist oneness monist that has published the largest prospective global. De research on the commonalities between nde's.

Doctor Sam parnia an agnosti that ran the largest peer reviewed nde study in the world in which one patient was found to have experienced conscious awareness for a full 3 minutes without a functioning brain . Parnia sided with you in 2010 when he said in his interview on skeptiko that he believed that nde's were hallucinations s of the dying brain .

After the aware study results were published in 2014 parnia no longer believes that nde's are hallucinations .

Balls in your court and remember don't bring me the opinions of neuroscientists that haven't done any actual nde studies , and a little friendly warning , like I said I have studied both the con and pro side, there is no research you. Will bring me that I'm not familiar with .

Good luck my friend , and I look forward to seeing you being consistent with what you originally posted , soon based on ur original post u will believe in the soul and afterlife ;)

Best regards

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The fact that you form an opinion from acwikipedis article doesn't inspire confidence in me that you are looking for the true consensus of the scientific experts on nde's .

 

Wikipedia has been demonstrated to be about as accurate as Encyclopaedia Britannica when it comes to its science articles. Yeah, I trust it when I need a comprehensive introduction to an unfamiliar topic, or to verify something I'm already fairly sure I know. Here's the article I skimmed through earlier today. I'll be honest and admit I know very little about it's credentials, but when I was skimming it it appeared to be pretty much in-line with other things I read about NDEs many years ago.

 

It seems that both Lommel and Parnia aren't exactly embraced by the broader scientific community, and the only Jeffery Long I could find was a professor of religious studies, so it makes sense that he believes in an afterlife.

 

If you can provide me a link to some of these peer-reviewed studies that provide evidence that NDEs are truly related to an afterlife, I'd be happy to look them over.

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If you believe in evolution because it's believed by the consensus of scientific experts on evolution then you must be consistent in your beliefs and concede that near death experiences are real and compelling evidence for the afterlife because the overwhelmingly by majority of Ned scientists who are experts in the field of nde research who have published peer reviewed scientific studies on ndes almost all believe that their are compelling scientific evidence for the soul and afterlife .

Do you concede this also or will you go against the very post you just made claiming you believe in evolution because the scientific consensus also believes it to be true ?

Tough question ay ;)

A Wikipedia article to explain science and the consensus ?

Please show me just one nde scientist that has done nde studies that sides with your take , just name one . I'm talking about one who has done actual peer reviewed or scholarly studies on nde .

I can bring you many .

In fact 99.9 percent of the nde experts agree with my take , that is nde evidence leans towards the soul and afterlife .

The fact that you form an opinion from acwikipedis article doesn't inspire confidence in me that you are looking for the true consensus of the scientific experts on nde's . I know of only one nde scientist that agrees with your side and his explanation of them disturbance has been totally refuted .

I challenge you to bring me just one nde scientist that agrees with you , just one and I will bring you at least 10 times that that agree with me . I have been studying nde's for 4 years now and I can name many types of nde's that shatter the hallucination explanation of yours .

Let's start with veridical nde's and please explain to me how hallucinations can possibly explain veridical nde's .

Here are some nde scientists that have published nde research

Doctor Pom van lommel former atheist who conveyed away from atheism from his peer reviewed nde study published in the secular medical journal the lancet .

Doctor Jeffrey long former atheist now a pantheist oneness monist that has published the largest prospective global. De research on the commonalities between nde's.

Doctor Sam parnia an agnosti that ran the largest peer reviewed nde study in the world in which one patient was found to have experienced conscious awareness for a full 3 minutes without a functioning brain . Parnia sided with you in 2010 when he said in his interview on skeptiko that he believed that nde's were hallucinations s of the dying brain .

After the aware study results were published in 2014 parnia no longer believes that nde's are hallucinations .

Balls in your court and remember don't bring me the opinions of neuroscientists that haven't done any actual nde studies , and a little friendly warning , like I said I have studied both the con and pro side, there is no research you. Will bring me that I'm not familiar with .

Good luck my friend , and I look forward to seeing you being consistent with what you originally posted , soon based on ur original post u will believe in the soul and afterlife ;)

Best regards

Please stop taunting. This is not a debate thread, but a thread for theists to ask questions to better understand the beliefs and perspectives of atheists and agnostics. If you want a thorough debate about NDEs, feel free to start a topic to focus on it.

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Please stop taunting. This is not a debate thread, but a thread for theists to ask questions to better understand the beliefs and perspectives of atheists and agnostics. If you want a thorough debate about NDEs, feel free to start a topic to focus on it.

Actually I was trying to show that you are not consistent with what you posted , and I know for a fact that the nde scientific community agrees overwhelmingly with me on this , therefore by your own post you must agree with the scientific consensus about them . And ok I will open up a separate thread on them now

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Actually I was trying to show that you are not consistent with what you posted , and I know for a fact that the nde scientific community agrees overwhelmingly with me on this , therefore by your own post you must agree with the scientific consensus about them . And ok I will open up a separate thread on them now

Wrong person. You've been discussing this with Steadfast Madcap. But anyway, cool.

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Oops my apologies Mathew I thought you were both the same person, so you do t need to answer the thread if you don't want to.

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my questions are

 

1.how do you find meaning in a purposeless universe that happened by chance?

if literally everything dies in the end, and no one is here to remember the impact of our actions/ our struggles. they won't have anyone or anything to remember them by, then isn't any meaning we give life just a delusion? Religions included?

 

 

 

 

 

2. what is your opinion of the fermi paradox?

and the quote  ''There are only two options: either we are alone in this universe or we aren't. Both are equally terrifying.''

 

 

 

3. If electrons change their behavior simply when being observed and at the moment we are really the only things that ''observe'' anything

have we unintentionally been influencing electrons from the start? or is something more at work here?

 

 4. do you think the universe is fine tuned for life?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

 

5. if i made an ask a ___________ what should it be called?

 

 

 

 

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