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Showing Visitor Messages 1 to 20 of 338
  1. Saul
    Today 12:20 PM
    Deists may be right, but there is no reason to think that they are, and you don't operate your life using this kind of logic (at least I hope). You also can't disprove someone who claims ghosts exists, or alien abductions and probings have occurred. If the burden of proof is not on the person making the claim, then every form of snake-oil medicine should be assumed to work until there is evidence against it, etc. If you continue further with this sort reasoning, I have some magic beans, tarot cards, witching rods, magic crystals and a magnetic bracelet to sell you You see, your aura is out of alignment, and your chakras are in need of attention.

    I would say that I was a deist when I was a child, because I didn't believe what people told me about God. I saw prayer as absurd and saw no effects in the world from it, the stories and bible didn't make sense and were contradictory, I didn't believe the Catholic church and what I would call "goodness" lined up. I was uncomfortable with the odd symbolism and zombie manner in which everyone there sat, kneeled, stood up, etc...

    However, I thought at the core of it, there must be some sort of deity, since I was aware of the complexity and diversity of life and my own consciousness. When your mind pieces the universe together as having "purpose" but disbelieve other human beings about what that purpose is, then you are a deist, I suppose.

    Once you realize that what you are seeing is best described as coincidence, it's easy to go from deist to atheist. The patterns of harm seen in other religions start to apply to all religions once you aren't treating any religions preferentially, and so I went from merely anti-Islamic to anti-theistic... Islam is still the most disgusting religion, but the others still go up on the chart
  2. Saul
    Yesterday 11:16 PM
    You can't really go off of what a few people claim. It's not a question that's easy to ask - imagine asking why people are Christians. I bet you wouldn't even get the correct answer from an honest person regarding their own belief. The way I look at it is in the array of possible reasons to believe in something. Even if they believe for the wrong reasons but there is a valid reason to believe, then it is a defensible position. If I don't see any possible reasons to believe, then I assert that it's an irrational position.

    I do think that a lot of people leave religions and become deists before they become atheists, though I am not suggesting deism is simply the path to atheism, it was the path for me. It's hard to say though - I don't think I can ever say I was a Christian, since while sometimes I felt watched out for I never felt that something could 'hear' my prayers. So I think the best description for me would have been as a deist - I believed there was _something_ there to explain life, even if it had no contact with us.

    Before I understood evolution, mind you. The idea that life came to be without a creator was absurd. Now it's obvious that there isn't an alternative.

    I also don't think I'm comparing apples to oranges. I completely disagree that to "know it existed" requires there to have been an "it". Otherwise, the entire genre of science fiction is impossible (they're philosophers in their own way too!). For a real example, all the details Mormonism adds is impossible without it having existed, when we know he was a fraud. The claims for God, ghosts, bigfoot, leprechauns, unicorns and aliens is all the same. Some people claimed to have seen things, and some people claim things with other explanations - like crop circles, coincidences and an abundance of stories/claims.
  3. Saul
    Yesterday 10:07 PM
    How would a ghost leave physical evidence? Perhaps a ghost can only be seen in the mind, or perhaps can see/hear us but we cannot see or hear it? A ghost doesn't need to interact or have interacted with the physical world - a deity would have had to have created everything, so everything in existence should be an indicator of a deity in some way.
  4. Saul
    Yesterday 10:06 PM
    Far more people have been looking for God far more sincerely and for many more years. Disproving ghosts is impossible as well. People who believe they are Napoleon think they have good reasons also. The reality of subjectivism doesn't touch our systems of determining truth, as we all at least presume our senses to be true.
  5. Saul
    Yesterday 08:01 PM
    I don't know that there's so far never been a person to give good reasons for a deity or a ghost? The world is waiting to hear...
  6. Saul
    Yesterday 07:52 PM
    You're getting away with a valid argument by leaving out the premises, which are always certainly the problem. There isn't an argument for God in the same way that there isn't an argument for Ghosts. Anything filled into X/Y/Z will be explainable through other means such as coincidence or misinterpretation of evidence. If X/Y/Z were "good reasons" I would be a Deist as well, or a ... Ghostist or what not
  7. Saul
    Yesterday 07:23 PM
    But would it make sense to say that "ghosts exist, but I'm open to the possibility that they don't" - why is this ok for God, but stupid for ghosts?
  8. Saul
    Yesterday 06:35 PM
    Arguments like those of natural laws having to come from somewhere are a bit stupid. The laws are invented by men to explain certain phenomena observed under particular conditions. People who use them for theistic/deistic arguments are usually then acting as though these laws have somehow become absolute truth.

    In any case, an argument necessitating a creator to explain the existence of anything is circular. If a creator is absolutely necessary to explain the origins of laws or matter, then a creator's creator is necessary to explain the creator, ad nauseum.
  9. Saul
    Yesterday 06:31 PM
    I don't think it's quite that simple. I think in the past before DNA, it was far more difficult to accept that life not only is, but even could be natural. So, even following the rules of logic, it would have been difficult to arrive at atheism. Today, as pattern-seeking mammals, it still isn't strange to intuit that there might (or must) be some grand designer behind life, physics or the universe. I think either the lack of understanding of the rules of logic and how we come to determine truth, or the ignorance of evolution lean what would otherwise be an atheist towards being a deist.
  10. scorpiomover
    Yesterday 03:00 PM
    One is glad to be of service.
  11. Saul
    Yesterday 02:52 PM
    I didn't, but I did point out that they are more rational than theists. If Theism were the belief in Santa Claus, Deism would be the belief that "some sort of supernatural entity" comes and distributes presents. Perhaps it is a fairy, a magical gnome, simply a spirit, perhaps one or two details of the Santa Claus as described. The description of what is accomplishing the task, logically, must be a great deal different than a fat old man on a flying sled in order to justify the speed the task is accomplished, the fact that he's never witnessed, that he fits down chimneys, etc.

    Now, with regards to logic and reason, all of the tools humanity has determined as reliable means to reach truth must be used when reaching any conclusion. The problem of a God can be used for any situation - "I lost my keys" - 'God took them" - "My mom got cancer / her cancer went away" - "God did it" etc. It's a cheap writer's trick, and any other trick could be exchanged in: we're actually dreaming, aliens did it, the ghost of my dead grandfather did it....

    While deism is logical enough not to make impossible claims, it (God) remains an argument from ignorance - claims require evidence. If it were logically valid to make an exception for God, it would be for leprechauns and bigfoot.

    The "most likely" position, given lack of evidence, is atheism. It's not assertion that no God exists, but rather that if there is one we have no evidence for one, so we have to work on the assumption that there isn't. Much like we would say there are no leprechauns, but that if someone were to nail you down on it you might say "okay, there's a chance there are leprechauns, but I think it unlikely."
  12. Saul
    Yesterday 03:01 AM
    I really couldn't speak for him. I haven't heard enough of him to be certain. I can say for myself, that there is a danger when choosing to ignore logic and reason, but that it's certainly a more reasonable position than many others.
  13. Saul
    07-26-2014 07:23 PM
    I think it would be far better to do what you personally can do with what you have.
  14. Saul
    07-26-2014 06:35 PM
    If you google, you'll find Gallup polls showing Americans would be less likely, statistically, to vote for an Atheist for president than a Muslim or a Mormon. This demonization of Atheists was achieved through propaganda. It's not surprising then that a few billboards was all that it took to reverse the trend. It's going to take something equal and opposite (like a TV channel) to swing this the other way
  15. Saul
    07-26-2014 06:14 PM
    If you poke around youtube, you can find a video where David Silverman (president of American Atheists) goes over changes in statistics after each of their campaigns, and he lines up the data precisely with when the campaigns occurred. There has been more search for atheism-related topics on the internet right after each campaign, the minimum # of searches for atheism has risen after each campaign, and the public opinion about atheists has gone from about equal to rapists to a little better
  16. Saul
    07-26-2014 06:12 PM
    I didn't actually look at the promo. I don't have any interest in someone else controlling what I see and when, I won't likely ever watch the channel (I don't even have basic cable). I simply think that it will do a world of good for the masses of people who eat up only what comes out of their TVs, because their whim is what drives a great deal of policy making.
  17. Saul
    07-26-2014 05:52 PM
    I watch it for entertainment, not for any sort of philosophical reason. I really suggest checking out Sam Harris, if you haven't already - it seems to me that the latest things you've been talking about are on the nose with regards to many of his thoughts. He's mature enough to be respectful and is concerned with the direction we're headed in as a species.
  18. Saul
    07-26-2014 05:42 PM
    I think the problem is just how clear reality is for an atheist - just how many mountains for the religious can be seen over. It's easy to understand the entire viewpoints of other people and understand just how silly it is to have such viewpoints. It's entirely analogous to becoming an adult, and the natural responses are the same. If a child earnestly asks you a question with the appropriate respect for an elder, a 'decent conversation' is easy. If they come to tell you that you're wrong and aren't really listening then they appear to you as a shitty child, it's really tough to respond with kindness and respect. All that being said, I don't think it excuses their behavior so much - if they want to be a public figure, they'll need to behave in an extremely mature way. Again, I might not be capable of it, so I'm trying to avoid being judgmental here, but I didn't choose the job.
  19. Saul
    07-26-2014 05:28 PM
    Like I said, they're all kind of asses - laughing is a good example. I'm not sure I wouldn't laugh or get tired of the kind of idiots that tend to call in, though, so it is difficult to be too judgmental. My problem with them is only that I don't like their personalities, not that I have a problem with what they're doing, particularly.
  20. Saul
    07-26-2014 04:57 PM
    Fundamentalism means to be most concerned with the fundamentals. The fundamentals of Christianity are scripture, the fundamentals of atheism is non-belief. Matt is an atheist *and* something else, sure. How do you feel he wants people to see Christians and the world? What do you mean by baiting?

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    Grew up in Alaska, briefy studied Mechanical Engineering, currently self-employed Watch Repair
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