Author Topic: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities  (Read 3225 times)

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Offline GodSlayer

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2017, 07:54:28 PM »
Quote
Atheism doesn’t have a moral code, they will say, it’s nothing but the absence of a supernatural moral authority. That’s what they tell themselves, anyway, but it’s all a lie — they’re humans, and they’re simply loaded with moral assumptions.

Americans are loaded with assumptions, too. does that mean being an American necessarily means more than just being a citizen of the United States? astronauts have moral assumptions, too. I guess being an astronaut is a moral position, too.

skeptics reaaaaaaally need to stop getting their philosophy from scientists.
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2017, 08:30:18 PM »
Beats getting your science from philosophers.
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Offline GodSlayer

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2017, 08:48:06 PM »
Beats getting your science from philosophers.

who does that?
Quote from: Nietzsche
the inequality of rights is essential to the existence of any rights at all.--A right is a privilege.
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One cringes to hear scientists cooing over the universe or any part thereof like schoolgirls over-heated by their first crush.

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 09:01:39 PM »
Beats getting your science from philosophers.

who does that?

You're forgetting that I had a brief stint with Objectivism.
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Offline GodSlayer

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 09:03:58 PM »
Beats getting your science from philosophers.

who does that?

You're forgetting that I had a brief stint with Objectivism.

naa, I had no idea objectivists had inherent scientific stances, I guess that's part of the culty aspect of it, because the stated ideals would run contrary to that.
Quote from: Nietzsche
the inequality of rights is essential to the existence of any rights at all.--A right is a privilege.
Quote from: Ligotti
One cringes to hear scientists cooing over the universe or any part thereof like schoolgirls over-heated by their first crush.

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2017, 09:09:18 PM »
Beats getting your science from philosophers.

who does that?

You're forgetting that I had a brief stint with Objectivism.

naa, I had no idea objectivists had inherent scientific stances, I guess that's part of the culty aspect of it, because the stated ideals would run contrary to that.

There's actually a split based partially on it.  The issue is two fold, quantum mechanics does not play nice with Objectivism so long as it can only be modelled probabilistically, and Ayn Rand got a little senile at the end there.  But that's another topic.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2017, 11:13:19 AM »
I've never defined atheism as simply a lack of belief in any gods to give myself moral superiority.  I've done it first because I believe that's the correct definition, and second because there is no monolith of atheism like there are with most religions.  People who call themselves atheists have an exceedingly wide and varied set of beliefs and quite often don't agree on much at all.  "Atheism is solely a lack of belief in gods," serves to explain why comparing atheism to a religion makes no sense, as does trying to say we are hypocrites for abandoning percieved atheist dogma. 

Sorry PZ, but just because a thought or belief system has atheism at its core does not make identical to atheism and the concept of a well known atheist essentially prescribing atheistic dogma to the rest of us is so wrong and off base it's sadly hilarious.

I agree with most of your post, except that most religions are not monoliths. Most religions are divided by numerous schisms into sub-categories that often wage horrible wars against each other, and even within each narrow denomination there are often disagreements. The preacher tries to enforce his own dogma on his flock, but there are nearly always disagreements which eventually create new schisms or cause churches to divide.
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2017, 11:21:38 AM »
I think that there are different mental states with Atheism depending on how much you have thought about it and exposure. Babies don't believe that the world is flat and neither do I but I have a different mental state on the subject.

Instead of trying to avoid the word "belief" I think that people need to just point out the stupidity of the argument, "Well you have a belief too!" "Well yes but it is an educated belief and here is why..." Just because something is default doesn't mean that it is correct.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2017, 01:30:46 PM »

Exactly. PZ Myers committed a non-sequitur.

That's exactly what he's doing. I just can't understand how he can make this argument. He's smart enough to know that atheists aren't claiming that atheism is some kind of basis for their morality. At least none I've talked to. It makes me wonder if he genuinely believes what he's saying here or just trying to get his fan base worked up while hoping to trick someone into thinking this makes sense in the process. I mean he even goes as far as to say we're lying when we say how we define atheism. Not that we're mistaken, we know he's right and we're lying?

I think that guy has closed himself off in his own little echo-chamber too long to be sensible anymore.

His way of thinking about atheism makes very little sense in an American context, even less so outside of it.

That's true but I still wonder if he believes what he's saying or if it's just for his audience. His argument isn't clever or convincing even at a glance. For some reason it always bothers me to no end not knowing if someone has managed to bullshit themselves or if they're just bullshitting others. I also suspect for PZ it's sometimes about poking the bee hive to get some kind of reaction.

That's true, his argument is not even beginning to be persuasive. But from the comments it seems like a lot of his readers don't agree with him, and are dreaded "dictionary atheists". And I might be wrong here, but hasn't his audience shrunk dramatically during the last few years?
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2017, 03:10:37 PM »
I've never defined atheism as simply a lack of belief in any gods to give myself moral superiority.  I've done it first because I believe that's the correct definition, and second because there is no monolith of atheism like there are with most religions.  People who call themselves atheists have an exceedingly wide and varied set of beliefs and quite often don't agree on much at all.  "Atheism is solely a lack of belief in gods," serves to explain why comparing atheism to a religion makes no sense, as does trying to say we are hypocrites for abandoning percieved atheist dogma. 

Sorry PZ, but just because a thought or belief system has atheism at its core does not make identical to atheism and the concept of a well known atheist essentially prescribing atheistic dogma to the rest of us is so wrong and off base it's sadly hilarious.

I agree with most of your post, except that most religions are not monoliths. Most religions are divided by numerous schisms into sub-categories that often wage horrible wars against each other, and even within each narrow denomination there are often disagreements. The preacher tries to enforce his own dogma on his flock, but there are nearly always disagreements which eventually create new schisms or cause churches to divide.

Maybe "monolith" is a tad stronger a term than I intended, but the idea I meant to convey was that most religions have a central core of tennants of belief that even among the fringier splinter groups are still held true.  Almost all Christians consider the Bible to be the word of God in some form or another for instance, and while interpretations of said text vary wildly over time and from group to group, that's way more commonality among Christians than among atheists.

Offline Gerbig

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2017, 03:32:34 PM »
I must be a masochist.

If I had the money, I would hire an author to follow this dude around and try to see if he can understand him. Im just more fascinated with him as a person at this point, much more than anything he has to say. I want to know if he knows his shit stinks, and if so, why does he think so.

Offline Nosmas

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2017, 04:32:29 PM »

Exactly. PZ Myers committed a non-sequitur.

That's exactly what he's doing. I just can't understand how he can make this argument. He's smart enough to know that atheists aren't claiming that atheism is some kind of basis for their morality. At least none I've talked to. It makes me wonder if he genuinely believes what he's saying here or just trying to get his fan base worked up while hoping to trick someone into thinking this makes sense in the process. I mean he even goes as far as to say we're lying when we say how we define atheism. Not that we're mistaken, we know he's right and we're lying?

I think that guy has closed himself off in his own little echo-chamber too long to be sensible anymore.

His way of thinking about atheism makes very little sense in an American context, even less so outside of it.

That's true but I still wonder if he believes what he's saying or if it's just for his audience. His argument isn't clever or convincing even at a glance. For some reason it always bothers me to no end not knowing if someone has managed to bullshit themselves or if they're just bullshitting others. I also suspect for PZ it's sometimes about poking the bee hive to get some kind of reaction.

That's true, his argument is not even beginning to be persuasive. But from the comments it seems like a lot of his readers don't agree with him, and are dreaded "dictionary atheists". And I might be wrong here, but hasn't his audience shrunk dramatically during the last few years?

I've never really closely followed PZ. Years ago I would watch some of his videos because "haha Christian young earth believers are stupid" was entertaining. I have heard that his popularity has dropped off a lot and that he comes off as trying to get attention to replace his lost popularity. I don't really visit his site and haven't paid enough attention to him to know how true that is. I do know that in recent years almost everything I see about him makes him seem like an idealogue who enjoys frothing at the mouth from atop his mighty pedestal.
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Offline superdave

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2017, 10:53:55 AM »
I should point out that PZ's post is almost a year old, but man I actually read the post (yeah I should have in the first place..) and I can't really understand his point at all.  His argument seems very circular, like he think atheists should be humanists because humanists are good things to be. 

Offline daniel1948

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2017, 10:56:06 AM »
I've never defined atheism as simply a lack of belief in any gods to give myself moral superiority.  I've done it first because I believe that's the correct definition, and second because there is no monolith of atheism like there are with most religions.  People who call themselves atheists have an exceedingly wide and varied set of beliefs and quite often don't agree on much at all.  "Atheism is solely a lack of belief in gods," serves to explain why comparing atheism to a religion makes no sense, as does trying to say we are hypocrites for abandoning percieved atheist dogma. 

Sorry PZ, but just because a thought or belief system has atheism at its core does not make identical to atheism and the concept of a well known atheist essentially prescribing atheistic dogma to the rest of us is so wrong and off base it's sadly hilarious.

I agree with most of your post, except that most religions are not monoliths. Most religions are divided by numerous schisms into sub-categories that often wage horrible wars against each other, and even within each narrow denomination there are often disagreements. The preacher tries to enforce his own dogma on his flock, but there are nearly always disagreements which eventually create new schisms or cause churches to divide.

Maybe "monolith" is a tad stronger a term than I intended, but the idea I meant to convey was that most religions have a central core of tennants of belief that even among the fringier splinter groups are still held true.  Almost all Christians consider the Bible to be the word of God in some form or another for instance, and while interpretations of said text vary wildly over time and from group to group, that's way more commonality among Christians than among atheists.

I think you give religions too much credit. While sects may agree on certain broad items of dogma, such as "Christ died for our sins" in the case of Christianity, these are only surface similarities. I once witnessed an actual fist fight between a Catholic and a Protestant, over an argument about whether salvation comes through works or through faith. (Both positions can be defended with quotes from the Bible.) FWIW, in this case, the Catholic threw the first punch. Most Christians consider that the Bible has some relation to God, but for some it's the literal Word of God, and for some it was merely "inspired" by God, and for others it is just a testament to the faith of the authors and does not come from God at all. And every sect interprets it differently, and often different priests or pastors in the very same church interpret it differently. Every religion is a mish-mash of conflicting and inconsistent philosophies.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: PZ Myers once more claims that atheism is more than non-belief in deities
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2017, 10:59:22 AM »
There are still some protestants that think the Pope is an anti-christ after all and some "Catholics" that think the Pope is a heretic.