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Old 11th March 2018, 03:12 PM   #361
Thor 2
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I can recall Richard Dawkins making the claim that it was his acceptance of Darwin's theory that lead to his loss of religious belief. I can't find the actual (I think it was a video of a debate) item now but her is an extract from Wiki:

Quote:
Dawkins was confirmed into the Church of England at the age of 13, but began to grow sceptical of the beliefs. After learning about Darwinism and the scientific reason why living things look as though they have been designed, Dawkins lost the remainder of his religious faith.

Re other scientists?

Well it may be as you say Norseman, that rather than a causative relationship it simply could be correlative, but it is interesting that it is specifically scientists we are talking about not just the highly educated. To find the answer a survey would be required. Mind you I did say:

Quote:
Also the statistics about the very low religiosity of scientists, even in the USA, seems to contradict this claim.
I am not hard and fast on this view.

Not to sure what you are saying here Aridas ^. If it is not an effective strategy it still remains that even if "It's about the only option they have available", as you say. From my observations during discussions with the faithful, I have noticed a lack of interest, in getting into much detail about science/religious fantasy issues. The fall back is consistently onto the "I believe because I believe" because of experiences and just, well feelings.
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:25 PM   #362
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Re other scientists?

Well it may be as you say Norseman, that rather than a causative relationship it simply could be correlative, but it is interesting that it is specifically scientists we are talking about not just the highly educated. To find the answer a survey would be required. Mind you I did say:

I am not hard and fast on this view.
Sure, and I'm not trying to bust your chops or anything. However, I think that there is a similar relationship amongst the higher educated in general and not just highly educated scientists. Is it because they're educated? Or is it because their personality is simply of a kind that questions everything including religious beliefs? Or...?

Still, an interesting path of speculation.
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:46 PM   #363
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Sure, and I'm not trying to bust your chops or anything. However, I think that there is a similar relationship amongst the higher educated in general and not just highly educated scientists. Is it because they're educated? Or is it because their personality is simply of a kind that questions everything including religious beliefs? Or...?

Still, an interesting path of speculation.

Yes well I have read surveys yielding results showing a negative relationship between high education and religiosity, but those figures are much less dramatic than the science/religion figures.

The theists of course try to cloud the issue with spurious claims of scientists with religion. Einstein has been targeted with these assertions for some time and more recently some have made claims that Dawkins is "religious" also.
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Old 11th March 2018, 09:36 PM   #364
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Not to sure what you are saying here Aridas ^. If it is not an effective strategy it still remains that even if "It's about the only option they have available", as you say.
The value of the strategy is less in the specific strategy itself than in the doubt and leeway that it can be used to obtain by the mere fact that there is disagreement. That they only really have bad strategies (if you include the separate appeals to emotion, questionable authority, and so on that are used to prop up the credibility in general) available just makes it weak on serious inspection. For serious inspection to happen, though, tends to require serious motivation and the lack of serious motivation is a major hurdle to cross.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
From my observations during discussions with the faithful, I have noticed a lack of interest, in getting into much detail about science/religious fantasy issues. The fall back is consistently onto the "I believe because I believe" because of experiences and just, well feelings.
There's certainly a lot of that. There's also "nice" sounding arguments that can be found in places like Answers in Genesis for those who are just looking for quick confirmatory and intelligent sounding answers to questions to head off the motivation to seriously inspect.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Yes well I have read surveys yielding results showing a negative relationship between high education and religiosity, but those figures are much less dramatic than the science/religion figures.
Once one internalizes that parsimony is a fine tool for narrowing down what we can say with reasonable confidence and generalizes it, religion ends up with much, much greater hurdles. Once one delves slightly into parasitology and other somewhat nasty areas of study, it's much harder to justify holding the attractive belief in a benevolent god. More could be gone into, but I don't think that there's a need at the moment.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
The theists of course try to cloud the issue with spurious claims of scientists with religion. Einstein has been targeted with these assertions for some time and more recently some have made claims that Dawkins is "religious" also.
Recent? Is this an expansion on some of the older claims of Darwin's deathbed conversion?

Separately, it's entirely fair for religious people to note that many great advances in science were made by scientists who also embraced religion. That is entirely true, after all, and helps to further emphasize that science is not directly opposed to religions in general. That science inherently undermines most religions by revealing their false and poorly supported claims, that in practice it has provided, by means of increased ease of travel and communication, a much more real sense of the other beliefs out there that are held just like their beliefs, and by many other indirect means is a notably different consideration than whether science is actually in conflict with religion.
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:17 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Sure, and I'm not trying to bust your chops or anything. However, I think that there is a similar relationship amongst the higher educated in general and not just highly educated scientists. Is it because they're educated? Or is it because their personality is simply of a kind that questions everything including religious beliefs? Or...?

Still, an interesting path of speculation.
Oh, I'm reminded of Mormons basically saying "Just let us have our stories! They make us happier and the community that we've built upon them is great! (Who cares if they're factually true?)"
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Old 12th March 2018, 11:06 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Oh, I'm reminded of Mormons basically saying "Just let us have our stories! They make us happier and the community that we've built upon them is great! (Who cares if they're factually true?)"
Strikes me as an interesting version of "the ends justify the means" because being happy and part of a community can occur (and do occur) in non-religious settings as well.
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Old 12th March 2018, 03:28 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
That is not the impression I got from your previous post where you claimed some immunity.

So what caused you to drop theism then?
I don't know. I guess growing up in an environment that didn't try to force me into believing anything in particular, and being able to grow up and make up my own mind about what I believe and why.
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Old 12th March 2018, 11:11 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
I don't know. I guess growing up in an environment that didn't try to force me into believing anything in particular, and being able to grow up and make up my own mind about what I believe and why.
But you did say:

Quote:
But I did drop theism, because I used to believe in God when I was much younger.

So what caused you to drop it?
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Old 13th March 2018, 06:57 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
But you did say:




So what caused you to drop it?
If you're asking for a specific thing/event that caused me to trop theism, there isn't one. At least not one that I can pinpoint. It was just that over the years, being able to think for myself, and read about philosophy, skepticism, science and other subjects helped make up my own mind. Also, observing how other people defended their beliefs in a poor way, constantly contradicting themselves, took away a lot of credibility from their belief system. But I can't tell you a specific book or source that led me to stop believing in God. It was a gradual process.

However, I do remember a key moment in the development (or perhaps, confirmation) of my skeptical thinking.

There used to be a time that I believed in Out of Body Experiences... or to put it better, I wanted to believe in it. But I always used to question things. That said, the idea of being able to exit your body and float and go wherever you wanted, was really cool. So I did a lot of investigation about it and even joined a forum about the subject, where people would share their experiences. But see, I was obsessed with finding out not only how to astrally project, but even more importantly, to confirm that I wasn't just deluding myself. I didn't know anything about science back then, but I was following the same basic principle: To have an honest interest for finding out the truth, and not to delude yourself.

So once I posted on the forum about how I was disappointed because I had just confirmed that what I thought were actual Out Of Body experiences, were nothing but a dream: For months I had been trying to do a very basic experiment: To project out of my body and enter a room or area I had never seen before, and then when I woke up, confirm that it looked the same. And so one night I was in a student dorm and had an OBE and floated out of my body into a room I had never seen before. But then when I woke up and the opportunity to check out the room, I found that it didn't look the same. So I posted on the forum, very disappointed, saying that I had just confirmed that I was just dreaming. But the people in the forum simply said that I was still Astrally Projecting and that the reason I saw the room differently is because when we astrally project out of our bodies, sometimes we're also dreaming, so some of the things we see are part of a dream. But that to me was the moment when I knew I was surrounded by people who were only interested in deluding themselves and continue confirming a belief, regardless of the evidence.

That moment, while not necessarily the moment I became an atheist, is perhaps one of the key moments that influenced my atheism, because I saw how there were basically two kinds of people: Those searching for the truth, and those searching for confirmation bias.
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Old 13th March 2018, 07:58 AM   #370
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I've already answered to some extent here, but I will add that my upbringing appears to have been similar to Ron's, and part of what caused me to drop theism, was, ironically, the good job done by some whose conclusions would not agree with my own, including a very progressive Sunday School teacher who believed strongly that one should arrive at faith not through mere acceptance of others' assertions but through skeptical investigation and thought. He (and a few others along the way) wanted people who asked serious questions, rather than minions who never asked them. They had faith that ultimately those questions could be answered by Christianity, and in that last detail I guess they failed in my case, but in some other sense they succeeded.

In my recollection, the thing that most stuck in my craw as a kid, and which did the most to keep me from diving into theism, was the idea of prayer. I simply could never make the mental contortion that's required to believe prayer does anything beyond whatever personal benefit one might find in the doing of it. The idea of a "personal god" just never made sense, and while deism was a convenient sort of half-step, it was more a social than a philosophical stance, a god of the gaps, or a place holder for questions not answered. As I've gotten older, I've found it much easier simply to acknowledge that there are some things I'll never know the answer to, and that making one up contributes no more to peace of mind than saying I don't know.

So, in answer to the original question, I think that the science success/theism fail issue is about evenly divided. Most of the theists I knew in my youth were accepting of science, and presumed, as many do, that somehow it would all reconcile eventually - the non-overlapping magisteria would resolve in some way if we knew how to do it. But my initial doubts had their basis in the irreconcilability of physical common sense with theistic presumption, so it's tossup how you read theism's inability to make sense.
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Old 15th March 2018, 05:41 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Is your atheism predominantly a science success or a theism fail?
For me, the former led to the latter.
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Old 25th November 2018, 11:33 AM   #372
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A critical thinking success in my case. I don't think it's science, alone. It's logic and epistemology to a great extent. Sure, general knowledge on evolution and physics helps a great deal, considering theism was built upon assumptions that were refuted by scientific discoveries later on, but the pervasive idea of God goes away with other tools, not just scientific facts. Otherwise, we're left with believing these scientific facts at face value, which is not much different from believing any other thing. Tools, thinking tools.

If anything, theism failed to make any significant impact in my childhood. I was baptized, but I wasn't raised a Christian. My parents always said to me that I was welcome to make up my own mind. I did, and I ignored God completely. From very early, I came to the conclusion that religion is stupid. That was my stance until my late teenage years, when I started to develop an interest which, in hindsight, revolved around metaphysics, morality and epistemology (and aesthetics, I should add) in a deeper way, and became exposed to the more mystical side of Jung, Taoism and that sort of 'alternative' things, to the point that I started using the word 'God' in a very metaphorical, word soup way. Until some people, especially on the internet, reminded me of the importance of logic, consistency and clarity, about which I hadn't been aware enough until then. Those objections had a great impact in me and cemented the way I think about ontological claims and any type of claim in general.
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Old 26th November 2018, 08:00 PM   #373
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Sure, and I'm not trying to bust your chops or anything. However, I think that there is a similar relationship amongst the higher educated in general and not just highly educated scientists. Is it because they're educated? Or is it because their personality is simply of a kind that questions everything including religious beliefs? Or...?

Still, an interesting path of speculation.
Could just be that their thinking - their epistemology - is better.

Many/Most/All academic subjects require research and investigation. In academia you need to provide reasons for ideas, propositions and theories. You wont get far by pulling them out of your rear end.

So perhaps people who have gone through some training of how to think in a reasoned and rational way naturally fall out of faith (if they had it in the first place).

Though cognitive dissonance is still quite possible and does occur of course. Sometimes the brain washing and social conditioning is too hard to overcome.
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Old 27th November 2018, 02:34 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by Dani View Post
A critical thinking success in my case. I don't think it's science, alone. It's logic and epistemology to a great extent. Sure, general knowledge on evolution and physics helps a great deal, considering theism was built upon assumptions that were refuted by scientific discoveries later on, but the pervasive idea of God goes away with other tools, not just scientific facts. Otherwise, we're left with believing these scientific facts at face value, which is not much different from believing any other thing. Tools, thinking tools.

If anything, theism failed to make any significant impact in my childhood. I was baptized, but I wasn't raised a Christian. My parents always said to me that I was welcome to make up my own mind. I did, and I ignored God completely. From very early, I came to the conclusion that religion is stupid. That was my stance until my late teenage years, when I started to develop an interest which, in hindsight, revolved around metaphysics, morality and epistemology (and aesthetics, I should add) in a deeper way, and became exposed to the more mystical side of Jung, Taoism and that sort of 'alternative' things, to the point that I started using the word 'God' in a very metaphorical, word soup way. Until some people, especially on the internet, reminded me of the importance of logic, consistency and clarity, about which I hadn't been aware enough until then. Those objections had a great impact in me and cemented the way I think about ontological claims and any type of claim in general.

Good to see this thread resurrected from the dead. A topic inviting meaty comment rather than the sniping going on elsewhere.

My indoctrination was a little more than yours I think Dani although not severe. Always had a distaste for churches and devotional activity, but did not have the intellectual savvy to reject it until my mid teens.

Interesting that my brother, who had the same degree of indoctrination as myself, finally embraced Christianity and became a "born again" dude. I recall he did show a willingness to go to church in his early years in contrast to my reluctance.

Reasonably intelligent, but guarded in willingness to bring logic to bear on faith and scripture, my brother seemed to emerge bloodied after our many exchanges. This was my prejudiced observation of course, he may have assessed it differently.

This makes an interesting case study I think. Two brothers with identical upbringing choosing diametrically opposite roads.
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Old 28th November 2018, 04:12 AM   #375
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Hi ynot and Thor 2

As for the question as in the headline of the thread.
Neither.
I was a professional soldier forced to listen to the regimental priest bless us and the weapons with which, we would kill the enemy. Since I am a cultural Christian in the sense of "love thy enemy", because he is also a human, I reject that version and went with the humanism of "Jesus-lite". In that process I figure out I didn't need organized religion. I could do it on my own and still be a humanist.
So no, science had nothing to do with it and it is not a failure of religion. It was a failure of organized religion, that is something else.
I am still a Christian in cultural sense of "Jesus-lite" and yes, the Bible is a set of stories. Not the only one, there are others. But science didn't teach me morality, it can't.

Yes, I am atheist. But so what? That tells you nothing about my morality.

BTW It is a loaded question.
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Old 28th November 2018, 12:51 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
Hi ynot and Thor 2

As for the question as in the headline of the thread.
Neither.
I was a professional soldier forced to listen to the regimental priest bless us and the weapons with which, we would kill the enemy. Since I am a cultural Christian in the sense of "love thy enemy", because he is also a human, I reject that version and went with the humanism of "Jesus-lite". In that process I figure out I didn't need organized religion. I could do it on my own and still be a humanist.
So no, science had nothing to do with it and it is not a failure of religion. It was a failure of organized religion, that is something else.
I am still a Christian in cultural sense of "Jesus-lite" and yes, the Bible is a set of stories. Not the only one, there are others. But science didn't teach me morality, it can't.

Yes, I am atheist. But so what? That tells you nothing about my morality.

BTW It is a loaded question.

So it was not a failure of disorganised religion then?
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Old 28th November 2018, 12:57 PM   #377
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
So it was not a failure of disorganised religion then?
Good one.
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Old 28th November 2018, 09:31 PM   #378
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Stalking Dani here...

I don't worry much about the label, but I don't self-define as an atheist. But when I explain my views, people say I'm an atheist. Anyway...

Science. My dad was a physicist*. He 'taught' me the fundamentals of critical thinking starting when I was in diapers, in an open-minded way that didn't force anything on me. I learned Occam at age 4 or so. Not formal teaching. We'd talk about the universe. Both parents and all four grandparents operated in a range of not religious to anti-religious. Never been in a church, at least not for the reasons that people generally go to church. I admire people who break out of early indoctrination.

* That was his degree. He worked in aerospace at Lockheed for most of my childhood. His work was classified and he never talked about it (except for hilarious stories about the people). I always assumed he was a rocket scientist. It was really surprising a few years ago when he told me what he actually did. He created war game what-if simulations, involving nukes I assume.
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Old 28th November 2018, 09:39 PM   #379
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
Stalking Dani here...

I don't worry much about the label, but I don't self-define as an atheist. But when I explain my views, people say I'm an atheist. Anyway...
Unless you DO believe in god(s) you're not a theist, and that means you're an atheist.

I like the sound of your family
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Old 29th November 2018, 08:25 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Unless you DO believe in god(s) you're not a theist, and that means you're an atheist.

I like the sound of your family
It sounds better than it was/is. Except my dad who is an amazing person in many respects. Genius, hilarious, kind. A real trifecta.
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Old 30th November 2018, 01:37 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Unless you DO believe in god(s) you're not a theist, and that means you're an atheist.

I like the sound of your family

I find it interesting that many seem reluctant to adopt the term atheist to describe themselves. It's almost as if they see this as distasteful. I can recall Richard Dawkins describing a conversation between a mother and her daughter, who self identified as atheist.

"Atheist" the mother exclaimed. "I can accept you not believing in God, but an atheist never!"
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Old 30th November 2018, 05:40 PM   #382
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I'm actually more of an Apatheist. And I consider that a "mankind fail". In short: People (both religious and atheists) perpetually arguing back and forth about God, has finally made me not give a ******* rat's ass about the subject anymore.
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Old 30th November 2018, 07:08 PM   #383
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
I'm actually more of an Apatheist. And I consider that a "mankind fail". In short: People (both religious and atheists) perpetually arguing back and forth about God, has finally made me not give a ******* rat's ass about the subject anymore.
You have at least enough ******* rat's ass to post here.

Do you give a ******* rat's ass about the negative impacts theism has around the world?

How's that book/essay thing coming along?
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Old 30th November 2018, 07:13 PM   #384
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I find it interesting that many seem reluctant to adopt the term atheist to describe themselves. It's almost as if they see this as distasteful. I can recall Richard Dawkins describing a conversation between a mother and her daughter, who self identified as atheist.

"Atheist" the mother exclaimed. "I can accept you not believing in God, but an atheist never!"
Unfortunately "atheist" means different things to different people and always will. Shame there isn't an appropriate word that everyone can agree on. At least I've never found one. I guess using a word to describe what you're not rather than what you are is doomed to failure.

I've come to accept the label of atheist along all the definitions for myself (but not all other atheists). Like all atheists I am one because I'm not a theist. I also claim however that I know gods don't exist other than as belief characters, and I'm happy to defend that claim. I'm not happy that "agnostic" or "undecided" are often claimed to be positions between theism and atheism. I'm not so unhappy however that I feel the need to blow people up or fly planes into buildings full of people. Guess I must be a "weak-atheist" after all
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Last edited by ynot; 30th November 2018 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 30th November 2018, 11:36 PM   #385
Tommy Jeppesen
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
You have at least enough ******* rat's ass to post here.

Do you give a ******* rat's ass about the negative impacts theism has around the world?

How's that book/essay thing coming along?
Yes, I do. But from that doesn't follow what to do about that.
Fact: Theism has negative impacts around the world.
Fact: That is not unique to theism.
Therefore: ?

What follows, ynot?
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Old 1st December 2018, 03:45 AM   #386
Darat
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I find it interesting that many seem reluctant to adopt the term atheist to describe themselves. It's almost as if they see this as distasteful. I can recall Richard Dawkins describing a conversation between a mother and her daughter, who self identified as atheist.

"Atheist" the mother exclaimed. "I can accept you not believing in God, but an atheist never!"
Quentin Crisp had a good anecdote touching on this.

ďWhen I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, 'Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?"
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Old 4th December 2018, 08:12 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
You have at least enough ******* rat's ass to post here.

Do you give a ******* rat's ass about the negative impacts theism has around the world?

How's that book/essay thing coming along?
Oh my, oh my, looks like somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed
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Old 4th December 2018, 11:53 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
You have at least enough ******* rat's ass to post here.

Do you give a ******* rat's ass about the negative impacts theism has around the world?

How's that book/essay thing coming along?
Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Oh my, oh my, looks like somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed
I have no idea how your response applies to my post. Care to explain?
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Old 4th December 2018, 12:31 PM   #389
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I share your frustration ynot.

Not sure if Ron fits into the category, but there are some who post here, who go to great lengths to convey a feeling of warmth and empathy for the religious, and come out strongly in their defence when we attack religion, not the religious. This in spite of the overwhelming evidence we have, that religion is to blame for so much injustice.
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Old 4th December 2018, 12:40 PM   #390
ynot
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I share your frustration ynot.

Not sure if Ron fits into the category, but there are some who post here, who go to great lengths to convey a feeling of warmth and empathy for the religious, and come out strongly in their defence when we attack religion, not the religious. This in spite of the overwhelming evidence we have, that religion is to blame for so much injustice.
I thought Ron somehow took my post as an attack on him. It makes more sense that he took it as an attack on religion. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 14th December 2018, 08:56 PM   #391
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I grew up in a home with a RCC mom and a fundamentalist dad. Both were quick to say the other was so wrong and then give weak reasons based on chosen beliefs.


I had to choose and logic dictated both were right as both were wrong. Neither could prove their faith as the best choice. I had no idea what was right but a grade school science teacher showed we can believe what we could prove and repeat. I chose that as my guide.

Both parents were unhappy with that.

I tend to try to respect the faith of others but have no need of anything church for myself. The exact definition of where I stand eludes me but it is not theist.
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