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Tags atheism , citizenship

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Old 20th March 2008, 01:15 PM   #81
godless dave
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
A theist can hold that some people are superior to others and that these "inferiors" deserve less rights.
And throughout history many theists have. The kings of Europe, including the one the US declared independence from, derived their authority over others from the Christian God.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:15 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Gate2501 View Post
Once again. Circular reasoning.

You are basing your entire argument on this mans semantics and ideas. Neuhaus is a bigoted, social conservative, with a whip to crack. He is an adviser to Pres. Bush, and a very politically active Catholic priest.

Yes, if you predicate the basis for right and wrong in your argument on the views of this man, you are correct within that framework. I am also correct in my above post that 2+2 = 2501 using this same brand of reasoning.
Ad hominem

Guilt by association
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:16 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
No, we would be doing philosophy.

If you have a philosophical point to make, and cannot make it without using the explicit reasoning and arguments set forth by this man, then YOU do not have a point at all.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:17 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by godless dave View Post
And throughout history many theists have. The kings of Europe, including the one the US declared independence from, derived their authority over others from the Christian God.
Let's just clear this one up. I forget what it's called, but an argument that says, for instance, that atheists are always wrong isn't the same as saying that theists are never wrong.

A theist who is wrong disproves the argument that theists are never wrong and not the arguments that atheists are always wrong.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:19 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
Ad hominem

Guilt by association
You are reduced to this? Just spitting out fallacies in defense of your own circular argument that has been explained to you numerous times? My calling Neuhaus a bigot is not even an Ad Hom. Go back and look at the article by him that I linked where he thinks that crimes against gays should not count as a "hate crime". And calling him a social conservative is simply true.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:19 PM   #86
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Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:19 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
Let's just clear this one up. I forget what it's called, but an argument that says, for instance, that atheists are always wrong isn't the same as saying that theists are never wrong.

A theist who is wrong disproves the argument that theists are never wrong and not the arguments that atheists are always wrong.
And an atheist who is a good citizen disproves the argument that atheists cannot be good citizens. I'm glad we cleared that all up.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:20 PM   #88
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Quote:
Can an atheist, especially one who relies heavily on a verification theory of meaning, give an accounting, a justification, of the self-evident truth of the proposition that all men are created equal, as found in the Declaration of Independence?

Axiomatic truths, are not, if I'm not mistaken, the same as scientific truths.
Can atheists realize that humans should be treated well and not discriminated against?

[Edit to elaborate:] As is evident by the freedoms and rights enjoyed by minority groups, such as homosexuals and immigrants, in atheist countries such as Iceland, yes. Next question?
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:20 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
The Constitution refers to the establishment of a "more perfect union", leading one to believe that there was a less perfect union already in existence.
Perfect is perfect. The most it could properly say is a "more nearly perfect union." Either way, it's little more than empty rhetoric. Unless there is still room for improvement, we should just send the Congress home.

This has nothing to do with whether atheists can be good citizens.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:21 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Gate2501 View Post
If you have a philosophical point to make, and cannot make it without using the explicit reasoning and arguments set forth by this man, then YOU do not have a point at all.
Sure, I would. I could make an argument that shows how on its own terms, his argument either doesn't follow, has various unpleasant and unintended consequences, is trivial, isn't a thorough thinking out of the problem, or commits some fallacy of one kind of another.

When you read a philosophical paper, half the time the author is trying to make the argument he is against stronger so that his counter-argument is that much more authoritative.

Read some of Michael Martin's papers. He's usually very fair in this way.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:24 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Gate2501 View Post
You are reduced to this? Just spitting out fallacies in defense of your own circular argument that has been explained to you numerous times? My calling Neuhaus a bigot is not even an Ad Hom. Go back and look at the article by him that I linked where he thinks that crimes against gays should not count as a "hate crime". And calling him a social conservative is simply true.
Oh yes, I forgot about that. Listen, if you're going to make arguments from consequences without going into arguments or reasons, then why try and justify anything? Why do you disagree with him, why do you think is argument is flawed?

It's a rhetorical fallacy on your part.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:25 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by bokonon View Post
Perfect is perfect. The most it could properly say is a "more nearly perfect union." Either way, it's little more than empty rhetoric. Unless there is still room for improvement, we should just send the Congress home.

This has nothing to do with whether atheists can be good citizens.
It has everything to do with whether the Declaration of Independence is important or not and the status of the documents that came before.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:25 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
Let's just clear this one up. I forget what it's called, but an argument that says, for instance, that atheists are always wrong isn't the same as saying that theists are never wrong.

A theist who is wrong disproves the argument that theists are never wrong and not the arguments that atheists are always wrong.
But no one is making the argument that theists are always wrong. The argument is that appealing to a god to justify one's political beliefs is useless. One can just as easily use belief in a god to justify a belief that some people have authority over others as to justify a belief that all people are equal.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:27 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
Sure, I would. I could make an argument that shows how on its own terms, his argument either doesn't follow, has various unpleasant and unintended consequences, is trivial, isn't a thorough thinking out of the problem, or commits some fallacy of one kind of another.

When you read a philosophical paper, half the time the author is trying to make the argument he is against stronger so that his counter-argument is that much more authoritative.

Read some of Michael Martin's papers. He's usually very fair in this way.
The point I was trying to make is that Neuhaus's argument was destroyed on page 1 by people proving that yes, "an atheist can be a good citizen" using the conventional definitions of all words involved.

It was also pointed out that Neahaus's entire reasoning is based on religion being the source of morality in men. This is hogwash.

After his logic was proven faulty, you simply began saying " But using Neahaus's logic atheists cannot be good citizens ".

As we have pointed out, this is circular and you do not have an argument to make. You are just repeating the words of this man and appealing to them even after they have been shredded.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:27 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
The Constitution refers to the establishment of a "more perfect union", leading one to believe that there was a less perfect union already in existence. What created this less perfect union? According to Abraham Lincoln is was the Articles of Association, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation.
If Abraham Lincoln really said that, he was wrong. The less perfect union was the one created by the Articles of Confederation. The Declaration of Independence does not create a union at all, nor does it specify a form of government for any of the states.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:28 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
Ad hominem

Guilt by association
the fallacy by fallacy
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:30 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
...snip... Why do you disagree with him, why do you think is argument is flawed?

...snip...
Evidence.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:31 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
If you don't believe that the claims are true and important than you cannot defend it on its own terms.
Thanks for that meaningless assessment.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:38 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
It has everything to do with whether the Declaration of Independence is important or not and the status of the documents that came before.
It's obviously important, as its creation was a watershed event in the formation of our country.

That document, and the documents which preceded it, can be discussed by good citizens without requiring belief in a deity.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:38 PM   #100
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The article is meaningless anyhow, as it's a philosophical writeup rather than actual anthropology/psychology. You don't use philosophy to analyze the behaviour of real-world groups, you use simple observation. A mere glance at statistics tells you atheists can be, and in fact most of the time are, good citizens. Why write a several pages long philosophical essay when you can look at the HDI and compare it to the religious adherence of each nation, for example (hint: the atheist and secular nations dominate the HDI)?

I think a better question would be:
Quote:
Why are you so full of hatred towards atheists?
Really. Are you merely jumping on the anti-atheist bandwagon, or is it something more personal?
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:45 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Why write a several pages long philosophical essay when you can look at the HDI and compare it to the religious adherence of each nation, for example (hint: the atheist and secular nations dominate the HDI)?
Because the article wishes to define a good citizen as one who believes in god, to therefore prove that atheists cannot be good citizens by definition. It is a nasty piece of political rhetoric masquerading as philosophy.
The author has no intention of letting reality get in the way of his bigotry.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:48 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by bokonon View Post
That document, and the documents which preceded it, can be discussed by good citizens without requiring belief in a deity.
But can they be understood as fundamentally true, without that belief?
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:51 PM   #103
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God as useful lie

I think that in this example, questions around Neuhaus's political activity, and the sponsor of the paper, the Bradley Foundation, are not fallacious. The reason is because they have a vested financial interest in defining "good citizen" in a particular way that is indeed circular. "Good citizen", to their point of view, includes character that is malleable to serving their purposes in the name of God. If you are not willing to be so sent, you are not a "good citizen" in their view.

Neuhaus does hit one nail pretty good - God, whether or not he exists, is at least a useful lie or tool - a virtual point people are directed toward or work for.

But of course he exists, because he is our tool. Your God would not exist if he did not serve our purposes. This is dizzyingly circular.

These kind of papers do raise a question about where religious belief comes from, and who it ultimately serves. Should it surprise anyone to find out that popular theology and beliefs are being influenced (funded) by the munitions industry or certain extremist political viewpoints? There is money and power in it.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:52 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
But can they be understood as fundamentally true, without that belief?
as history shows, they were not understood as fundamentally true with that belief.
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:54 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by godless dave View Post
If Abraham Lincoln really said that, he was wrong. The less perfect union was the one created by the Articles of Confederation. The Declaration of Independence does not create a union at all, nor does it specify a form of government for any of the states.
By July 4, 1776, the signers of the DOI referred to themselves as the "Representatives of the United States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intension, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Independent States..." Independent from Britain, of course, not independent from each other.

The states had their own Constitutions. Still do. The U.S. Constitution, which, I believe, has the most to say on this subject, only promises a republican form of government. Hell, until the 14th Amendment, the states could establish their own religions. Some did!
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Last edited by Stone Island; 20th March 2008 at 02:00 PM. Reason: 1776, not 2776
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Old 20th March 2008, 01:55 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by brodski View Post
as history shows, they were not understood as fundamentally true with that belief.
Well, if they are fundamentally true, then the people who acted contrary to them were either wrong, profoundly ignorant, or hypocrites.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:01 PM   #107
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(With nods to KingMerv)

Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:03 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by KingMerv
Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
Originally Posted by bignickel View Post

Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:10 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
Well, if they are fundamentally true, then the people who acted contrary to them were either wrong, profoundly ignorant, or hypocrites.
And if they're not fundamentally true they can still be used equally well as a basis for civil society. The question of whether they are or aren't fundamentally true, indeed whether fundamental truth does or does not even exist are completely irrelevant to the defining good citizenship.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:12 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by KingMerv00 View Post
Perhaps you missed it...

Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
Originally Posted by bignickel View Post
(With nods to KingMerv)

Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
Originally Posted by Jimbo07 View Post
Stone Island,

Can atheists be good citizens?
Stone Island, when you get arround to answering that question, I direct you to FZ's post, which you happened to overlook.

Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
And an atheist who is a good citizen disproves the argument that atheists cannot be good citizens. I'm glad we cleared that all up.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:17 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
But can they be understood as fundamentally true, without that belief?
Just as much as they can be understood as fundamentally true with that belief. In other words, no.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:18 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
By July 4, 1776, the signers of the DOI referred to themselves as the "Representatives of the United States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intension, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Independent States..." Independent from Britain, of course, not independent from each other.
That establishes neither a union nor a government.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:23 PM   #113
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Quote:
But can they be understood as fundamentally true, without that belief?
Begging the question.

Moving the burden over to God to make it more than 'just someone's opinion' doesn't change a thing. It's still just opinion - God's opinion.

Me: Why do you believe people should be respected?
Fundie: Because God says so.
Me: OK, let me rephrase that. Why does He think people should be respected?
Fundie: ...

It's the same logic as this:

Me: How come the Earth doesn't topple or fall, but appears to hang still in space?
Fundie: Because the Titans hold it up, keeping it from falling.
Me: What hold the Titans up, keeping them from falling?
Fundie: ...
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:24 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Stone Island View Post
But can they be understood as fundamentally true, without that belief?
Is it possible to understand
Quote:
[To secure the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
as fundamentally true without a belief in a deity? Certainly.

The better question is whether anything that depends on a belief in a dubious invention that no one has seen can be seen as fundamentally true. It seems to me that anything that depends on such a belief is, by its very nature, fundamentally doubtful.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:26 PM   #115
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Would theists behave as morally as we atheists if they weren't imagining a god spying on them ready to damn them to eternity for bad behavior and give them presents and eternal goodies for "faith" promoting activities?

Would Stone Island be more moral and less bigoted if his brain hadn't been seeped in theism? (studies indicate this is likely: http://moses.creighton.edu/jrs/2005/2005-11.html)

Last edited by articulett; 20th March 2008 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:29 PM   #116
articulett
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Originally Posted by godofpie View Post
Well I read it and the author calls the separation of church and state political atheism. I would call the author anti-american.
And separation of church and state is correctly termed: secularism

It's a position of neutrality so one person invisible savior doesn't have precedence over another's.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:30 PM   #117
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I don't know about you all, but even if God existed and that God said that some humans were designed by Him to have authority over others, I'd still prefer to live under a system of government that treated all humans as equal.
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:34 PM   #118
articulett
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Originally Posted by Shalamar View Post
Hmm..

I'm not a good citizen.

Well.. Depending. I'm Canadian, but I live in the States.

I'm Catholic, but far far from practicing.

So.. Not a Citizen, not a (true) theist, not an athiest.
Maybe you're a "true Scotsman"?
(how do you take your porridge?)

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Old 20th March 2008, 02:39 PM   #119
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Stone Island, can atheists be good citizens?
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Old 20th March 2008, 02:44 PM   #120
Gord_in_Toronto
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Maybe you're a "true Scotsman"?
(how do you take your porridge?)
Eh? Probably like I have mine; with maple syrup.
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