BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

"Gotta Have Faith?

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"Gotta Have Faith" - by AC Grayling

The repetition this week of the weary old canard that atheism is 'a faith proposition' shows that our archbishops need a lesson in semantics.

This is classified in logic as an "informal fallacy" known as a "tu quoque" argument. We understand that the faithful live in an inspissated gloaming of incense and obfuscation, through the swirls of which it is hard to see anything clearly, so a simple lesson in semantics might help to clear the air for them on the meanings of "secular", "humanist" and "atheist". Once they have succeeded in understanding these terms they will grasp that none of them imply "faith" in anything, and that it is not possible to be a "fundamentalist
" with respect to any of them.
~*~
Read more here.
~*~
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain

Faith No More - "Epic"


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Link

59 Comments:

Anonymous remy said...

Another excellent argument against believers. I continue to wonder at the inabilty of theists to find credibility in such well thought out writing.

24/11/06 4:11 pm  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Keep it up....
You are rapidly becoming essential reading.

Benedict

24/11/06 11:47 pm  
Anonymous Comedy-King said...

You can make more funny images on www.ImageGenerator.org :)

PS: I love the alive in wonderland theme! Great looking blogs!

24/11/06 11:51 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Why thank-you benedict and comedy. Would you like a cup of tea? (Mad Hatter's Tea Party)

25/11/06 12:02 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Excellent reading...:)

25/11/06 12:20 pm  
Anonymous Polaterality said...

Even though I'm an atheist,Grayling's article seems to me more of a rhetorical rant against faith as he defines it than as some comments claim, a well argued essay.
He claims that theists claiming that atheists rely on faith is a tu quoque fallacy but there is no evidence that there is an inference from this and that faith exists for the particular theist to the conclusion that therefore faith is not irrational.
He too narrowly defines 'secularism' in it's political but not other senses, and 'humanism' too narrowly in an ethical sense, and misdefines what 'atheism' means to theists in general, equating it with naturalism.
He apparently strawpersons the christian apologiast by claiming they claim that Jesus's physical suffering was extraordinary.
He uses a questionable analogy between repeated disconfirmation by direct perception,of a belief failure and claimed repeated disconfirmation of a belief that is not disconfirmed by direct perception.
I agreed with the rest of his claims although he argued little or not at all for them. I guess it's impossible in a newspaper to give explicit valid arguments for such claims but at least he could have given the structure of, and references to, such arguments, instead of writing what appear to be sophomoric rants. Its all made all the more embarassing because he's actually a well known professional philosopher and some comments below by more astute theists ought to embarass him, although I think their arguments can be evaluated as not proven to be valid.

25/11/06 3:36 pm  
Anonymous Polaterality said...

I also forgot to mention that nowhere does he prove that the terms he attempts to define dont imply having faith, although I do agree with him that they dont. All he seems to do is either to assert this or give their definition and claim they thus dont.

25/11/06 3:46 pm  
Anonymous Polaterality said...

Oh and a correction, the sentence:
He uses a questionable analogy between repeated disconfirmation by direct perception,of a belief failure and claimed repeated disconfirmation of a belief that is not disconfirmed by direct perception.
SHOULD NOT have the word 'failure' in it.

25/11/06 3:48 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE pola:

I think the key to your discontent with his comments, are due to the fact that it is written as a newspaper piece. Meaning - short, sharp and punchy, sells product (newspapers, magazines) better than an indepth analysis of a philosophical argument.

Frankly, I get fed up with theists trying to conflate "atheism" with "belief", "faith" and "religion" It's not a philosophical stance either.

It is like trying to infer that a person who says they are apolitical, really has a deep abiding belief and interest in politics.

I even baulk at theists who want to call naturalism and materialism belief systems as they usually have a very jaudiced idea of what each of those philosophies espouse.

And I do think they play the "tu quoque" argument as nauseum, as if to suggest that if I have a belief, that somehow that validates or invalidates either their argument or mine.

Having said that, I await the next religious fundie as they pop his/her head above the parapet.

25/11/06 10:41 pm  
Anonymous Polaterality said...

I agree that it's probably the main problem with the article. But what he could have done is a much better job of defining the terms and proving that they dont necessarily imply faith in the religious sense,in anything, instead of digress to other topics which he did. I wouldnt want to sacrifice intellectual rigour for the purpose of making sound bytes in this case.MAybe I will do just what he should have done in his articlein my next post in the near future.

25/11/06 11:37 pm  
Blogger an average patriot said...

I have to agree with Mark twain."Faith is believing what you know ain't so" That speaks volumes! WOW!
Beep Beep
I saw someone's comment where they said you are rapidly becoming a must see read. I agree! I was going to make sure you saw my reply to your comment but do not want to cloud this up. Have a nice day!

26/11/06 2:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant again Beep...and I would agree that you are a must read in these wingnut times. I've learned a lot of things I didn't know. Like the tu quoque argument.Now all I've got to do is learn how to pronounce it!! Is it like croquet or coo-oh cue or kwoke? :)Although I knew what it meant in my gut... Like when the evil religious freak homophobes persecute us. And then accuse us of persecuting them...oh never mind...(sigh) All this mumbo jumbo and superstitious nonsense will eventually wreck itself on the rocks of science. And earthly necessity. We just can't afford this ju ju anymore. Either the bullshit goes...or the planet does...

26/11/06 11:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grayling simply made a mistake. See my blog for details. Professor Grayling actually commented on my post but sadly didn't make a counterargument.

26/11/06 11:24 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: agkyra

"Atheism" is a faith in the same way that bald is a hair colour.

RE: simon

That is my fear also. That people will do virtually anything to help their "omnipotent god". (Which is just so weird.) How does an omnipotent being need the help of anyone or anything?

26/11/06 12:23 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

agkyra:
Grayling did no such thing. It IS Tu Quoque. Definition is as follows: "A retort accusing an accuser of a similar offense or similar behavior."
This is in response to the common foolishness of 'well, you have faith too!' & before you twist it all out of true, look at the latter, operative phrase: 'a similar behavior'.
Your denial of the negative proof fallacy has no logical bearing whatsoever.
In short, you're retrofitting fallacies to suit your particular needs.

26/11/06 5:37 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

KA:

Similar behaviour indeed...

agkyra:

Turning "I do not belive in the existance of god" into "I believe in the non-existance of god" won't get you anywhere. It's so old and is so ridiculous as to be almost laughable.

26/11/06 10:11 pm  
Anonymous remy said...

Yet again one finds a theist determined to define words so as to fit his argument. If you don't agree you are lacking. It is beyond belief.

27/11/06 6:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are so boastful and contemptful. Why the personal acrimony? I've taken nothing but unmerited personal abuse from people on this blog. When people pose questions on my blog, they are taken seriously and treated with respect.

It would be great if you could make some arguments. Ka says I'm retrofitting fallacies to suit my needs. He doesn't explain how I'm doing that. Ted says that one of my arguments is old, ridiculous, and almost laughable. I'm making my arguments in all seriousness. How does that merit your laughter and ridicule? If you disagree, why don't you take the time to lead me through your argument. Explain your train of thought as you proceed through these questions, and help me to get on board to reach your conclusion. Maybe you can persuade me and then we can laugh together at how foolish I used to be.

Ka, you say, "Your denial of the negative proof fallacy has no logical bearing whatsoever." I don't even know what that means. What is the negative proof fallacy? What is "logical bearing"?

Remy, where have I redefined words? How is my argument "beyond belief"?

Arguments, people. Atheism is supposed to be rational, isn't it? Then why the personal insults?

27/11/06 11:13 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Yeah, we continually boast about our god. OOps, sorry, that is the other side.

27/11/06 12:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh???

27/11/06 2:07 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Ted says that one of my arguments is old, ridiculous, and almost laughable. I'm making my arguments in all seriousness.

Indeed I do but you can't possibly be serious. The main reason I say that is because it isn't an argument at all, it's a fallacy. You've taken what was said by your opponent and twisted it to suit your purpose. If more explanation is required, it's the bit about believing non-existance as opposed to having no belief that's irksome. By extending that logic, we could also say that one of my hobbies is "not collecting stamps" which would be utterly ridiculous, as I have absolutely no interest in stamps other than they're required to get my letter from point a to point b.

So, "No belief" means just exactly that when I say it. "I believe in the non-existence" implies, as you say, that I believe in something else. I don't!

As to it's age, a quick search turns up debates on this from as early as 1988. As Prof Grayling said; "This is a weary old canard...."

27/11/06 2:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Beep. That last comment of yours is a textbook example of tu quoque. Instead of answering my charge, you pointed the finger back at me.

27/11/06 2:20 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "You guys are so boastful and contemptful."

A classic case of projection if I ever saw one.

27/11/06 3:18 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Ted:

RE : "One of my hobbies is not collecting stamps."

Don't you know that there is an obvious default if you do not spend your time collecting stamps like all the other good citizens?

It means you obviously have idle hands and idle hands is the work of the demonically possessed post office worker.

Off to the unclaimed postage office for you and take your non-collection of non-stamps with you. ;)

27/11/06 3:24 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "By the way, Beep. That last comment of yours is a textbook example of tu quoque. Instead of answering my charge, you pointed the finger back at me."

Actually, no - you started with an ad hominem attack and I just took up the sword fight with a parry and thrust of my own.

Let me refresh your memory as to the beginning of your post.

"You guys are so boastful and contemptful."

Yup, looks like an ad hominem attack to me.

I am an australian, I can "out hominem" the best of them - there, that is an example of pride if you are searching for one. :)

27/11/06 3:36 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Beep:

It means you obviously have idle hands and idle hands is the work of the demonically possessed post office worker.

I often run into this sort of thinking. I admit that my aphilatelic tendancies have led to problems in the past, but I think you'd be surprised how it's growing in acceptance...;)

27/11/06 4:15 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

agkyra:
You guys are so boastful and contemptful. Why the personal acrimony? I've taken nothing but unmerited personal abuse from people on this blog. When people pose questions on my blog, they are taken seriously and treated with respect.
Wow, you're obviously new at this.
Look around: does this LOOK like your blog? You come waltzing in here, telling us all how we're getting it all wrong: is that good psychology?
Your OPINION is being ridiculed: get used to it, as you're in the minority here.
Ka says I'm retrofitting fallacies to suit my needs. He doesn't explain how I'm doing that.
Your self honesty isn't my lookout. Try actually looking up the definition. That's how I pointed it out to you. You willfully ignored that.
Ted says that one of my arguments is old, ridiculous, and almost laughable. I'm making my arguments in all seriousness. How does that merit your laughter and ridicule? If you disagree, why don't you take the time to lead me through your argument.
It may have something to do w/your condescending tone.
Explain your train of thought as you proceed through these questions, and help me to get on board to reach your conclusion. Maybe you can persuade me and then we can laugh together at how foolish I used to be.
Wow, this from the guy who told me I needed to learn how to debate?
Do try to keep up.
Ka, you say, "Your denial of the negative proof fallacy has no logical bearing whatsoever." I don't even know what that means.
In other words, it makes no sense. Did anyone else have a problem understanding that? Seriously: I'm open to correction.
What is the negative proof fallacy? What is "logical bearing"?
"Non-fallacious ways to prove something include the use of logical syllogisms and/or the incorporation of empirical observations. But it is not logical to argue that something exists simply because there is no proof to the contrary; one cannot say, "No one has proven that aliens do not exist. Therefore, based on that alone, they must exist, notwithstanding that I have no evidence that they do exist". Given (as it is above) that it was not proven that aliens do not exist, they might exist, but this alone does not prove them to exist."
Oops. Used it wrong. Sorry. Consider that a pre-emptive strike.
Arguments, people. Atheism is supposed to be rational, isn't it? Then why the personal insults?
I don't believe anyone's called you a name, have they? (At least not on this blog).
I respect your right to have an opinion. By no means does that mean I have to respect the opinion itself. If it is foolish, I shall call it such as I deem fit.
I suppose now we'll be subjected to your particular definition of 'rational'? Or does it mean the same thing to you as it does to us?
Most of the laughter is due to irreverence, & the fact that most of us have walked down this road multiple times, while it seems you have not. Skeptics are an irreverant lot: best to grow a thicker skin, is my advice.
You're gonna need it.

27/11/06 5:58 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Insert thought bubble here - ("This isn't how they told me it would be in theology school..")

27/11/06 6:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, beep. You say I've made an ad hominem against you all by saying, "You guys are so boastful and contemptful."

Which of the following statements would you also classify as ad hominem? This is a serious question.

Mother to son: "That was naughty of you."
"Ted Haggard is a hypocrite."
"My, you look lovely today."
"You're a very mean-spirited person."
"You're ugly."

All of them? Some of them? Which ones and why?

Anyone else is free to answer, but this is mainly intended to disabuse Beep of her mistaken notion of what the ad hominem is specifically and what a fallacy is generally.

BTW, on the (erroneous) supposition that my statement was an ad hominem, a tu quoque is a fallacy, period. How is it rational to oppose a fallacy with a fallacy?

27/11/06 11:48 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Let me see, you step into a room, this blog, and you commence your argument with "You guys are so boastful and contemptful" and people are not supposed to take that as a direct attack on their character?

Having settled the nature of our characters, in your mind, you then proceed to complain about how badly YOU have been treated.

You led with a punch, and then expect people to say sorry?

I don't think so.

28/11/06 12:39 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

A tu quoque is an informal fallacy. It can also be considered an ad hominem argument, since it focuses on the person or opposition, rather than their position.

Also, an ad hominem in common language, is ANY personal attack, regardless of whether it is part of an argument.

28/11/06 1:01 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beep:

You say that I "led with a punch." Isn't that exactly what's at issue, whether I did, in fact, lead with a punch, or whether I was punched? (Hint: you're begging the question, as usual.)

All I did was make a claim ("Grayling made a mistake"), supported by argument (to be found on my own blog). The atheist response didn't take the form of counterargument. It took the form of dismissal and ridicule.

On your reasoning, if one party commits a fallacy, the other party then has carte blanche to commit any number of fallacies in return. The problem is, why would you want to argue fallaciously, if you're rational that is?

On your reasoning, any of the following would have been legitimate responses to my statement that "You guys are so boastful and contemptful":

"Your mother is a communist."
"I like toast."
"5 = 7"
"All people must therefore be boastful and contemptful"
"You apparently believe that 'You guys are scoundrels and scalawags.'"

All of those are fallacious responses to an ad hominem. The only proper response to a fallacy is to expose it, not to commit fallacies yourself.

Also, since you have now added petitio principii to your previous tu quoque, am I therefore entitled to start making all kinds of fallacies myself and talking nonsense? No. Instead, I'm trying to help you understand better what a fallacy is and come to realize how you repeatedly misidentify them. Would you like it if, on the basis of my belief that you have committed fallacies, I started talking nonsense and mumbo-jumbo? Or, when I think you've made a fallacy, is that just my belief, but when you think I've made a fallacy, that's just the objective and logical fact-of-the-matter?

Very ironically, given the nature of your original post, you committed tu quoque. There is no question about it. An allusion to sword-fighting is no excuse. My alleged ad hominem is no excuse. There is no rational excuse. A fallacy in argument is never, under any circumstances, anything other than a fallacy. Get it?

So, if it wouldn't be terribly inconvenient, you still haven't answered my question. Which of those statements is an ad hominem, and why? Don't you know the answer?

28/11/06 1:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beep:

One more quick thing. You say, "an ad hominem in common language, is ANY personal attack, regardless of whether it is part of an argument." If you're right about that (you're not), then any statement about a person is always fallacious. In other words, all of those sentences I gave you just a while ago are fallacious all the time. In other words, they can never be rationally uttered. It is always irrational to say, "You are boastful." It is always irrational to say, "That sweater looks nice" (because giving compliments is also fallacious as part of an argument). It is always irrational for a mother to say to her son, "Your clothes look terrible."

If you disagree, why? If "You are boastful" is an ad hominem in all circumstances, which means that it is fallacious, and a fallacy is never rational by definition, then how can we ever rationally make claims about people? Is the light beginning to dawn?

28/11/06 1:43 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
Also, an ad hominem in common language, is ANY personal attack, regardless of whether it is part of an argument.
Err, ummm...no.
http://www.candleinthedark.com/logic
"Simply being insulted by your opponent is NOT ad hominem. It's an INSULT."
Also, John Locke posited that ad hominem is a valid form of debate on the proviso that the target is the sole originator of the theory.
So if said proponent is an advocate of say, Apollo actually existed, & was an alien endomorph from planet Centauri (& any other fabulous trappings), sky's the limit, ad hom & away!

28/11/06 2:02 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

You led with a punch - be a man and admit it.

Grayling didn't make a mistake. The mistake you made was by adopting a tu quoque argument as the crux of your article.

You don't seem to be able to understand that "atheism" is a negative position due to disbelief in a positive claim. As a lack of belief in specific claims, it is NOT, by default, a belief in something else.

The positive claim is that a god, at least one of them, exists. An atheist merely says, based on the information provided - "I don't believe it."

The tu quoque fallacy you made was when you put forward the proposition in your argument that "naturalism was a faith".

Aparts from being unable, to substantiate the claim satisfactorily, it is based on the tu quoque fallacy of "and you too."

It points the finger at another position, in this case naturalism, as a way to defend your own untenable position, rather than dealing with WHY some people do not have faith in your religion.

If you read about the tu quoque fallacy as described in the Nuremberg trials you might understand this better.

It was considered inadmissible for the nazis to claim that everyone committed war crimes as part of their defence.

This line of defence was not considered, as a "and you too", or a tu quoque argument, would not have dealt with the issue of nazi war crimes.

Your tu quoque argument, that naturalism is a faith, does not deal with the issue that some of us do not accept religious faith.

It doesn't deal with the issue that many of us do not accept faith as a valid test for the veracity of anything.

Your tu quoque argument ("you too argument"), that "naturalism is a faith" also does not deal with the issue that "religion is based on faith"; but merely serves as a diversionary tactic away from the inadequacies of your own faith based position.

By claiming that naturalism is a faith also, you want to imply that therefore religious faith is either as valid or as relevant as the "faith of naturalism."

Very naughty of you - smack smack.

28/11/06 2:34 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Let me see now, faith according to the bible is: -

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

So faith is evidence of things NOT SEEN.

Methodological naturalism concerns itself with OBSERVABLE events in nature. It explains these events WITHOUT assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural.

In other words, it does not require FAITH in the evidence of things NOT seen, (not observable), and it does not assume the existence or the non-existence of said things through faith.

28/11/06 2:52 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Linguistically:

"In common language, any personal attack, regardless of whether it is part of an argument, is often referred to as ad hominem."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

I realise that this is contentious, nevertheless, in common usage it applies.

"The expression now also has a looser use in referring to any personal attack, whether or not it is part of an argument."

http://www.bartleby.com/61/71/A0087100.html

28/11/06 2:59 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Either way, he led with a punch, and assumed that he wouldn't be punched back. :)

28/11/06 3:06 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Futhermore, I hope he won't consider it an ad hominem when I say that because he has no substantial evidence except faith, that I consider him to be a charlatan and a snake oil saleman.

28/11/06 3:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"5 = 7"

28/11/06 6:03 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Well I'm happy. I'm assuming his lack of a response means he agrees with me...:)

28/11/06 6:47 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE agkyra:

I seem unable to be able to post comments on your site. Perhaps this is your intention? If so, no matter, I will post my reply here.

RE: hebrews

It doesn't matter whether I consider the words to be one thing because regardless of what the book says, you will say it means something else if it doesn't comply with what you want it to mean.

What is interesting to me is the assumption how "holy books" cannot apparently be taken on their merits like any other book.

In other words, there is the requiremnet of faith in their contents literally before, during or after the contents are read.

Any other books or written text does not come with this inbuilt "faith requirement."

They stand on their merits, and do not, by default, require that the reader assume that the book has a position of truth before, after or during the reading process.

Perhaps I am an atheist because I have read the bible "without faith" in its contents. In the same way that I read ANY book without a preconceived faith in their contents either.

And I find this to be the major sticking point between atheists and theists.

One is prepared to have faith before they read it, and therefore read the words through what I would consider to be a veil of belief, and the other is prepared to read it and see if they believe it when they have finished it.

Those who are prepared to believe the words and have faith in the words, prior to the commencement of reading it, are of course, not reading it in the same way that they may read any other book which purports to contain information relevant to human existence.

In other words, believers, (and I include people from all religions), read their books from a position of bias, or a position of bias towards belief in the contents of the book.

Now a quick comment on "atheism" and whether it asserts a positive position.

"Atheism" as far as I am concerned, in the state of being an atheist. The state of being an atheist is lack of belief in the existence of gods.

Do atheists by default proffer a positive position?

I would say no. Though there are of course atheists who proffer a positive position because of their confidence in philosophical position other than god belief.

Consequently, there are atheists who are humanists, even though "atheism" is not a requirement of humanism.

To ellucidate a little more about this concept.

To assume that atheists and agnostics have a belief system which they find preferable to theism, which is why they are not theists, would suggest that people are born with god belief.

After being born with god belief, or knowledge of god, they then go on to reject this belief or knowledge in favour of some other belief which they consider to be preferable.

Evidence does not suggest that this is the case. Evidence does not suggest that people are born either with a knowledge of a god, or a belief in a god or gods.

As with other human beliefs, whether they are political. social or religious, we are not born with these beliefs, but with an ability to learn, accept or not accept a belief.

So, it would seem to me that we are born without god belief and we are born without a knowledge of any god or a knowledge of any religion.

We are not born this way because we are born with a "different belief", merely that none of us, are born with beliefs. We are born with the ability to learn beliefs, and to accept or reject them.

Like most young children, I went to sunday school for a number of years where it was hoped that I would learn to believe in the christian god.

Did I as a young child find the story of jesus and god to be unsatisfactory because I already held a belief system which conflicted with it? No.

The claims made by the belief system did not seem true to me, no more than the claims that gnomes existed.

A "talking snake"? I had never seen a snake talk. I was aware that snakes talked in books, but that these books were considered fairy tales.

Then I was told that well, the snakes in the other books don't talk, but the snake in this one does. You need to believe that it does and to have faith that it does. The book cannot be questioned, it must be believed. You must take it on faith that the snake talked.

So, if you are looking for a reason as to why I didn't believe, it might be based in the inability to believe that no snakes talk except one, under special circumstances.

But a more pertinent question as far as I can see is, why did YOU believe that the snake talked or any of the other claims in the bible for that matter?

Did you have experience with talking animals before? Or were you willing to set aside your doubts because of the emotional and psychological payoffs you received from accepting it as true?

Perhaps the benefits you received from parental approval were enough for you to lay your doubts aside. I don't know. What I do know is that there ARE payoffs from belief and that some of these "payoffs" come with societal approval.

These payoffs exist whether what is believed is true or not.

It didn't make sense to me that it would be only considered true in that book, but not in any other book.

This certainly wasn't because I had adopted some other belief system, merely that the claims of this particular book did not appear to be true based on what I had experienced as a living, breathing human being.

And, as I have always done, I am prepared to forfeit the possible emotional and pyschological "dangling carrots" that belief offer, in order to try and get a glimpse of what might NOT be prejudicial information.

A child does not reject the claims of a book because they have developed or embraced some other belief system in preference to the beliefs in one book, over the claims in another.

They reject them because they are not believable. Sufficient indoctrination, though, will of course, make anything virtually believable.

Perhaps I was born with a specifically genetically coded prescriptor which meant I was not as susceptible to believing in things which seemed untrue. I don't know if this is the case or not.

Suffice it to say, many children probably do not believe for the same reasons I didn't. The claims didn't seem truthful to me as a child and they don't seem truthful to me as an adult.

Of course some children and people will believe virtually anything given the right amount of proding, bullying, emotional appeals and coersive techniques which human beings seem to specialise in.

Would a child brought up in a "godless society" automatically create a god belief?

Many might as a means to explain what is seen to them to be the inexplicable, but I doubt that they would re-create the christian god, the muslim god, the jewish god or the hindu god.

If they created a god, they will create one which suited their social, cultural structure.

Do I believe that allah or jesus would make themselves known to the child in a "godless society" without the human intervention of those who already believe in their existence? No.

Left without intervention, the child would not construct a religious belief system based in any of the religious beliefs of which we are familar today.

They may or may not construct beliefs which attempted to explain the unknown, but they would not construct identical beliefs to those many people share today.

Belief in gods and the subsequent religious beliefs originate under specific conditions. They were culturally, societally, politically and geographically specific.

A present example of this would be the "cargo cult" of Papua New Guinea where isolated tribes created a god from their observation of big white winged birds, (planes), which dropped goods from the sky.

The human creation of gods continues to this day as a means to explain the inexplicable.

Today, the religious beliefs which are the most successful (successful as in numbers of adherents to the faith, are those which have been able to propogate their belief systems the most successfully and thoroughly.

So, it is unlikely that the religion of the cargo cult will be successful outside of a narrow band of isolated tribes people in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

What is more likely is that their god belief, will be subsumed by a more powerful culture. One that can cross oceans in that big, white flying bird.

One that can terrify them into believing that if they don't believe in jesus or allah, that they will die horrible deaths and live after they are dead in a place of eternal torment.

There will be a number of promises made. Some of which will be kept, and some of which cannot be kept.

Some of the villagers will receive food that they like, with the proviso that they accept the new god over the old.

And for a time they will be happy with the arrival of this new bountiful god which offers so much in the way of worldly goods.

They will see it as beneficial to themselves, so many of them will accept decide to worhip this new god.

It won't be until they realise that they have "the new god" but no rights to their own land, that they may feel cheated and by then, as it always has been, it will be too late for their protests.

By the way, there are interesting debates over at philaletheia ( http://philaletheia.thetruthtree.com/ ) for anyone who is interested.

28/11/06 4:47 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Agkyra:
All I did was make a claim ("Grayling made a mistake"), supported by argument (to be found on my own blog). The atheist response didn't take the form of counterargument. It took the form of dismissal and ridicule.
That, my friend, is a lie. I (& others) amply demonstrated the wrongness of your alleged ‘argument’. Feel free to twist it out of true, as you usually do.
On your reasoning, if one party commits a fallacy, the other party then has carte blanche to commit any number of fallacies in return. The problem is, why would you want to argue fallaciously, if you're rational that is?
Strawman. I’m not even going to bother to demonstrate it: you’re wrapped up in your own little sophistic solipsysm.
Also, since you have now added petitio principii to your previous tu quoque, am I therefore entitled to start making all kinds of fallacies myself and talking nonsense? No. Instead, I'm trying to help you understand better what a fallacy is and come to realize how you repeatedly misidentify them. Would you like it if, on the basis of my belief that you have committed fallacies, I started talking nonsense and mumbo-jumbo? Or, when I think you've made a fallacy, is that just my belief, but when you think I've made a fallacy, that's just the objective and logical fact-of-the-matter?
Is your middle name tu quoque or what? You are talking mumbo-jumbo, buddy-me-boyo. You can talk in as many circles as you like. FACT IS: accusing an atheist of having faith IS the tu quoque.
Don’t bother explaining it to me: I do understand it well enough.
Very ironically, given the nature of your original post, you committed tu quoque. There is no question about it. An allusion to sword-fighting is no excuse. My alleged ad hominem is no excuse. There is no rational excuse. A fallacy in argument is never, under any circumstances, anything other than a fallacy. Get it?
You obviously don’t. Her original post is in no way a tu quoque: this is a pathetic manuever, an effort to reverse the reversal of the charge brought.
Shall I explain that to you as if you were 5 yrs old, hmmm?
So shall I list the score of fallacies you’ve thus far committed?
Poisoning the well (an ad hominem in disguise)
Tu quoque (another ad hominem! What a surprise!)
Appeal to authority
Ispe dixit
Special pleading

I’ll take your little test.
“You’re ugly” isn’t an ad hominem, as I’ve stipulated before.
I might add, that
A. You said you wouldn’t be posting here, and
B. You’re the 1 in need of debating skills.
Do feel free to come back when you learn critical thinking skills that work in the real world, not theology school.
You can interpret my comments as you please (you usually do).

28/11/06 5:32 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Re KA: It may have something to do w/your condescending tone.

I missed that one but never a truer word was written (oops, that'll be disputed)

28/11/06 9:11 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Hehehe...:) I can't comment on his post anymore either. Not very christian of him to invite a discussion then shut the door, I'd have thought.

Re KA:

That, my friend, is a lie.

And there's nothing better than catching a christian in a lie...:)

29/11/06 12:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ka:

I just can't resist responding because you're saying I'm lying! Is this a joke? This was my first comment on here:



Agkyra said...

Grayling simply made a mistake. See my blog for details. Professor Grayling actually commented on my post but sadly didn't make a counterargument.

26/11/06 11:24 AM


Let's analyze the three statements. (1) "Grayling simply made a mistake." That's a claim, no more nor less. That's not opening with a punch. That's not twisting words. I'm just making a claim. You got a problem with that?

(2) "See my blog for details." I back up my claim with argument on my own blog. What's the problem with that statement?

(3) "Professor Grayling actually commented on my post but sadly didn't make a counterargument." That's just a simple statement of fact that is easily provable by reading his comment on my blog. Do you dispute that?


Where is the lie exactly?

29/11/06 1:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what, don't answer that -- at least not for my sake. I'm not going to read this blog anymore, so I won't know how you answer anyway!

I have decisively won all the arguments and you clearly have nothing more to offer (not that any of you ever made arguments to begin with). There's no need for me to spend more time here.

We'll see whether there are any more sophisticated atheists out there or if you all are the cream of the crop! The intelligentsia of atheist fundamentalism! Fare well!

29/11/06 1:19 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

agkyra:
All I did was make a claim ("Grayling made a mistake"), supported by argument (to be found on my own blog). The atheist response didn't take the form of counterargument. It took the form of dismissal and ridicule.
Well, you're running away again.
& I wrote (since you seem to cherry-pick whatever suits you): Definition is as follows: "A retort accusing an accuser of a similar offense or similar behavior."
This is in response to the common foolishness of 'well, you have faith too!' & before you twist it all out of true, look at the latter, operative phrase: 'a similar behavior'.

Which is ample refutation. But of course, you ignored it.
None so deaf as those who will not listen.
I have decisively won all the arguments and you clearly have nothing more to offer (not that any of you ever made arguments to begin with). There's no need for me to spend more time here.
Declare false victory & retreat.
We'll see whether there are any more sophisticated atheists out there or if you all are the cream of the crop! The intelligentsia of atheist fundamentalism! Fare well!
agkyra, thy name is tu quoque. Poisoning the well as you leave. It's only obvious that you declared yourself victor BEFORE you began. When the going gets tough, the xtian runs away.
Which isn't a debate. It's a monologue at center stage.
Do get over yourself soon.

ted:
And there's nothing better than catching a christian in a lie...:)
& watching them squirm out of is...a little better.

29/11/06 2:13 am  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

Well, that was a rather interesting conversation.

29/11/06 5:19 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Re KA:

Isn't it though...:)

If anyone's interested, I've managed to engage him in a scriptural debate here. Feel free to wade in. It's been fun so far...

29/11/06 6:12 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

ted:
Yeah, I left a choice epithet or 2 for him.
I've debated a few xtians in my day (a coupla of 'em are friends now), but this guy?
He's the theological equivalent of Rodney Dangerfield: "I don't get no respect!"
I've tried to avoid calling him names, but thus far, he's garnered no respect from my end.

29/11/06 1:15 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ka:

That guy "spacks it" pretty quickly, as we would say here in "convictland." :)

29/11/06 3:38 pm  
Anonymous Polaterality said...

It's a pity that agkyra left the thread since I am going to write up 2 pieces one on whether and in what sense 'atheism is a faith position' and another on whether the author of the report Grayling's article was about committed a tu quoque fallacy and whether Grayling was right and whether agkyra was on his blog about when some atheists claim a tu quoque fallacy has been claimed.

29/11/06 6:32 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
That guy "spacks it" pretty quickly, as we would say here in "convictland." :)
Jeez la-wheez, a flimsier con-man I've not seen since me carny days.
More living proof that some people shouldn't be exposed to allegory. It's like a drug sometimes.

29/11/06 6:37 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted...:)

29/11/06 9:01 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE pola: You can still write them and post them at his blog. I think the comment section is still open. I am sure you would have some pertinent and logical points to make.

29/11/06 11:01 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

He had closed it. I think we shamed him into re-opening it.

1/12/06 8:48 am  
Anonymous ted said...

He picked on Superman. Thought you might like it Beep. Hope you do anyway...:)

1/12/06 9:38 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Thanks for the link, ted. But you know that the phantom is the "real super hero" ;)

2/12/06 2:01 am  

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