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A Few Pet Peeves

13 October, 2009

(((Wife))) has decided that, should we ever be stupid enough to acquire yet another pet (most likely a cat), the new pet would be named Peeves.  Here are a few random pet peeves of mine (all through personal experience):

  1. Absolutely clueless people are a pet peeve of mine.  Case in point:  as I walked out of Wegmans (a local grocery store), an older woman (most likely around 50) motioned me over and pointed to the back of a Prius.  On the back was a bumper sticker which read “Proud American Atheist.”  She asked of me (and a small group standing around the back of the car), “Why do those atheists force their belief down my throat?”  I looked, pointedly, at the vehicles around the Prius and, quickly, counted three Christian Fish, two variations on  ‘I am saved’, and five church bumper stickers.  I looked at her and said, “Yeah, because Christians would never force their views on atheists like me, right?  And it is, actually, non-belief in gods, not a belief system,”  and walked away.  Clueless.
  2. People who talk on cell phones while driving are another pet peeve.  Sunday, I was cut off by the same BMW 535i three times.  And he was talking on a cell phone.  And, on another device, texting.  And meandering all over the fucking highway.  Eventually, we ended up with about twenty cars keeping their distance behind him while he meandered over both lanes and the breakdown lane.
  3. Conservatives who assume that liberals (or atheists) do not serve peeve me big time.  I know some conservatives.  I do not know any political conservatives under the age of 50 who served in the military.  Very few of them serve their communities save as police officers.  I do not claim to be a paragon of community service, but, unlike Reagan, Bush II, Cheney, et al, I volunteered for the military.  I continue to serve both as a federal civil servant and voluntary assignments to hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and wildland fires.  Yet conservatives consistently claim that liberals hate America and are trying to destroy the nation.

These three pet peeves have all come up either in conversation (or being driven off the road) within the past four days.  I just figured I needed to get it off my chest. 

Consider the comment section as a free rant zone for your pet peeves.  Be creative because between being very busy at work and the nightmares, I ain’t real creative right now.

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59 comments

  1. Hear, hear!

    One of my pet peeves (similar to the “atheists shove their beliefs” peeve):

    “Why do those gay people have to flaunt their sexuality all the time?”

    You mean like when we talk about how we went on that hot date over the weekend? Or how we talked about our wedding for the six months prior to it? Or how we have to tell everyone about how our spouse talks in his/her sleep? Or how we have a photo of our spouse on our desk?

    Awful gays, always flaunting their gayness.


  2. Buffy: I think that one of the things that frightens religious folk the most is that atheists and gays may be just as boring as everyone else, that they talk about the same things, do most of the same things, and are just regular people. It scares the shit out of them.


  3. A bit off topic, Billy, but you mentioned wildland fires. Have you seen this book? Looks right up your alley.


  4. Spanqi: It’s an excellent book and, along with a rather Greek-tragedy-esque narrative, explains the approach we, as a nation, had to wildland fires into the 1980s which, of course, created the fuels for the megafires of the last 20 or so years. We tried to eliminate fire from an ecosystem which depended upon fire. Yet another of my pet peeves: the idea that forest fires are bad.


  5. So you’ve read it already? It looks like it just came out. It also looked very interesting to me. I may have to pick it up.


  6. If it just came out, then it is not the one I was thinking of when I wrote the above comment. One came out a few years ago about the big fires in the early 20th century and how it derailed forest management. I’ll have to try this new one. Thanks for the heads up.


  7. Here’s one for you, (((Billy))). Religio-nuts who say, out loud, that science requires faith.

    I would expand, but I know I’d end up frothing a little.


  8. Along the same lines as postie, the idea that atheism requires as much faith as theism.


  9. Postie: Science does require faith in the honesty of other scientists. Luckily, those who falsify data are found out when the experiment cannot be repeated. Unlike religion, in which there is no way way to tell who is lying.

    Chappie: I think that the world view of many theists just cannot include the idea on non-belief. We have to be god haters, or god denyers, or have been hurt by god, or . . . .


    • Well, there you go. Because of the nature of the scientific method, no faith is required at all. The odds of every, or even most scientists being dis-honest are so low as to be improbable-teetering-on-the-edge-of-impossible.


      • Agreed. The scientific process requires no faith. Dealing with other scientists (and the management) requires at least a little bit. Then again, dealing with any other human being requires an element of faith — I have faith that the other person is being honest until they prove (or give me reason to think) otherwise.


  10. “..it is, actually, non-belief in gods, not a belief system,”

    One of my pet peeves are people who try to slickly reword claims to soften or change their impact. Like you do here: atheism entails positive claims that one must accept to be an atheist. Phrasing your beliefs in the negative doesn’t prove anything other than that you might be a coward who wants to protect his beliefs in a glass box, or avoid doing any intellectual heavy-lifting: “Ah, but I’m the atheist, I don’t have to prove anything, so la-dee-da-dee-da.”

    I could just as easily say, “Theism is just non-belief in metaphysical naturalism, and the burden is on the metaphysical naturalist, so la-dee-da,” but I wouldn’t be accomplishing anything except for shifting shells and sounding coy.

    So, grow some and state your beliefs positively.


    • Er… no. To wear the atheist label one only has to not believe in gods. Period. What “positive claims that one must accept” are involved there?


  11. Keep your word, Postman, and buzz off. Go polish some more jokes or something. I stand by my claim.

    Now, if you want to have an actual exchange, I’m more than willing to start over from scratch with you and grant you the full respect I’d grant a stranger off the street, but we last parted with you insulting me and claiming you’d never engage me again. Not that I care either way, just make up your mind.


  12. From atheism.about.com:

    There is, unfortunately, some disagreement about the definition of atheism. It is interesting to note that most of that disagreement comes from theists — atheists themselves tend to agree on what atheism means. Christians in particular dispute the definition used by atheists and insist that atheism means something very different.

    The broader, and more common, understanding of atheism among atheists is quite simply “not believing in any gods.” No claims or denials are made — an atheist is just a person who does not happen to be a theist. Sometimes this broader understanding is called “weak” or “implicit” atheism. Most good, complete dictionaries readily support this.


  13. Hi ildi.

    I’m not disputing the base definition of atheism. Yes – atheism is lack of belief in God(s). I get that. Most people that aren’t closed-minded Christians get that. What atheists don’t seem to get is that atheism – as a negative belief – necessarily entails positive beliefs that one ABSOLUTELY MUST hold in order to be an atheist. That’s why when an atheist sits there and says any variant of, “Oh no, I’m just an atheist, I lack belief in God(s) and it’s up to theists to prove your case,” they’re playing an rhetorical game, even though the burden of proof rightly falls to the person making the positive claim.

    Theists can play that game too. All we’d have to do is describe ourselves by what we don’t believe. We could say we’re “metaphyiscal anaturalists” or something silly, meaning that, “Oh no, I’m just a metaphysical anaturalist, I lack belief in the claim that every phenomena has a naturally deducible cause,” and then the burden of proof falls to the metaphysical naturalist to make their case.

    So, pet peeves was the topic, and one of my biggest is that many atheists sit there and describe themselves by what they don’t believe, and to an extent I think that’s sort of cowardly. That’s just my opinion, and while my opinion isn’t the basis for my argument, it’s certainly no better than your opinion or anyone else’s.


  14. What atheists don’t seem to get is that atheism – as a negative belief – necessarily entails positive beliefs that one ABSOLUTELY MUST hold in order to be an atheist.

    Utter and complete horse shit.

    (Oh, noes, I’m about to get myself sucked into the cl black hole of yammering nonsense! Full reverse, full reverse!)


  15. I’m about to get myself sucked into the cl black hole of yammering nonsense!

    Just when I thought you’d grown up a bit. No, you’re not gonna get sucked into anything. If you can’t see an obvious truth, I can’t help you, and don’t want to talk to you.

    If anyone is actually interested in discourse as opposed to shooting their flippant mouths off, I’d be glad to explain what I meant in straight-forward terms.


  16. Poof! [cl vanishes]

    Maybe Jim’s incantations can work here, too?


  17. Well, he obviously means that atheist think that nothing suddently popped and produded everything that exists, that the earth and the moon and the stars are umptyump trillions of billions of years old, that entropy is magically reversed by evolution, that a chimpanzee can give birth to a human, and that there are never any consequences. See, the beliefs that any and all atheists must hold in order to believe in their fictitious religion of personal godhood.


    • …he obviously means that atheists think that nothing suddenly popped and produced everything that exists, that the earth and the moon and the stars are umptyump trillions of billions of years old, that entropy is magically reversed by evolution, that a chimpanzee can give birth to a human, and that there are never any consequences.

      umptyump?

      Everything you mention is not something atheists believe. They are cartoon versions of what theists think atheist believe. Theists make these things up, because they believe that belief is important. As Dennett says, you believe in belief.

      But belief is very unimportant. It’s what you do with your belief that is important. If you act like a rational human being, and go about your life in a productive, positive way, without significantly interfering in other lives, then your beliefs are relatively unimportant. They amount to nothing more than your thoughts, which affect nobody. If your beliefs help cause you to be a positive, non-intrusive human being, then they are good beliefs. But from the point of view of the next guy, they don’t exist. I don’t care if your god induces you to walk little old ladies across the street. I only care that you do so.

      If I want to believe that chimpanzees can give birth to humans (they can’t, at least not without some serious scientific intervention) and that causes me to help little old ladies cross the street, why would you care for even a trillionth of a second that I believe that? The answer is you shouldn’t.

      So why would you care whether I believe in Jesus? You shouldn’t, but if you’re honest, you have to admit that you do. It really bothers you that I don’t.

      Get over it.


      • “if you’re honest, you have to admit that you do. It really bothers you that I don’t.”

        No, it bothers me that atheists are trying to take over MY country. God has been driven out of the schools and look at the number of school shootings. God has been driven out of the courts, and the prisons are overcrowded. God has been driven out of our town squares, and our towns are falling apart. God has been driven out of Washington and we have superhi taxis and get nothing for our money. God has been driven out of medicine and now our atheist-loving President wants to make it impossible for health care companies to make money.

        You of course, have the right to pretend you don’t believe in God, but when you try to make the rest of us, the Christian majority, kowtow to your absurdity, I will object and yes, it does bother me.


      • And that is ‘taxes’ not ‘taxis’.


      • Matthew “No, it bothers me that atheists are trying to take over MY country.”
        It’s not your country. It’s our country. Being a part of the Popular Majority doesn’t give you the right to run roughshod on the rights of everyone else. That’s tyranny by ballot. The Constitution/Bill of Rights applies to everyone, not just those you agree with.

        “God has been driven out of the schools and look at the number of school shootings.”
        God has not been driven out of schools. School/class mandated prayer has. Don’t conflate the two.

        “God has been driven out of the courts, and the prisons are overcrowded.”
        First Commandment. First Amendment.

        “God has been driven out of our town squares, and our towns are falling apart.”
        Again, wrong. Secular government is neutral on religion. If you want Jesus there, everybody else’s gods (and lack of same) get to join in.

        “God has been driven out of Washington and we have superhi taxis and get nothing for our money.”
        No. God didn’t get driven out. Corporations simply pay better (corporations are considered people under the law. Amoral, immortal billionaire people). Odd that the most godly presidents in recent memory tended to enrich the corporation at the expense of the common man, eh?

        “God has been driven out of medicine…”
        I have no idea what that means. The only God-centric medicine I know of has the side effect of killing its patients.

        “…and now our atheist-loving President wants to make it impossible for health care companies to make money.”
        Wow. I’d call you a Poe, but the problem is that the current Poe is just the next stage of actual lunacy.
        It might help if you try to draw a line between “profit” and “profiteering”. The current system profits at the expense of its customers (who aren’t really customers at all. They’re “revenue streams) rather than profits by providing them good service.
        If Big Insurance has the right to accept your money, they have the responsibility to cover you when you come down with something expensive. Anything else isn’t good business. It’s fraud.

        “You of course, have the right to pretend you don’t believe in God, but when you try to make the rest of us, the Christian majority, kowtow to your absurdity, I will object and yes, it does bother me.”
        Yeah. I admit it. I can’t maintain the sham anymore. Allah is God and Mohammad is his prophet.

        No. Wait. Civil rights apply to everybody. I don’t try to make you “kowtow to my absurdity”. All I ask is that you keep your liberty from infringing on mine. I don’t stop you from reading your bible in public school outside of class time. As long as you don’t try to force me to read it during class time nobody has their liberty infringed upon. You have the right to rule your own life by your interpretation of your version of your holy text. If you want to rule everybody elses lives by the same, you’d better bring facts and reason along with you, ’cause biblical passages don’t cut it in secular law.


      • Modusopereni: Why the absolute and total despising of Biblical passages? The Word of God is the Work of God. Obviously if our limited God-given senses disagree with the Bible then it must be we who are wrong. Our Constitution and laws are based on the Ten Commandments. Our Founding Fathers recognized God, and God’s visible Hand, in the writing of the sacred documents which created our God blessed land of America. Do you think it an accident that America was a vacuum awaiting Christian settlers? Do you think it an accident that until we tried to threw God out of our lives that we were protected by God’s Covenant?

        You have the right to believe in atheism. The government cannot tell you how to worship God. Just do not prevent me from worshipping God the way that He demands from all of His creation.


  18. And yes, cl, they are cowards. They are afrraid of God and his mercy.


  19. My pet peeve? I’m going to gamely try to step away from theists and their bizarre mythologies, and dive back into the real world: members of the general public who have so little basic knowledge of their own government and how it functions that they cannot tell the difference between the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. National Park Service, and their own state’s Department of Natural Resources.


  20. They are afrraid of God and his mercy.

    bwahaha!!!

    There, fixed that for you, Matthew.


  21. What atheists don’t seem to get is that atheism – as a negative belief – necessarily entails positive beliefs that one ABSOLUTELY MUST hold in order to be an atheist.

    Help us get it, cl. By all means, enlighten the ignorant atheists. Do tell us what positive beliefs we must absolutely hold to be an atheist.


  22. More cartoon analysis. Let’s take them one by one, Matthew.

    No, it bothers me that atheists are trying to take over MY country.

    All 2% of us? How long do you think it’ll be before we get to tear down all the churches?

    God has been driven out of the schools and look at the number of school shootings.

    This is just silly. And stupid. First, god has not been driven out of the schools, if by that you mean the school prayer cases. No one is prevented from praying in schools. Get that? No one. Your kids want to pray, they can pray. You want to talk to god on school property, ain’t nobody going to stop you. You’re god hears silent prayer, right? The only thing you’re not allowed to do is force everyone in class to pray. Voluntary prayer is perfectly fine. Do you understand that? Because your claim seems to indicate that you don’t.

    Second, show me the casual effect between what you claim and school shootings. Good luck on that. There is none.

    God has been driven out of the courts, and the prisons are overcrowded.

    Really? When did this occur, and why wasn’t I informed? Last I looked, god was never “in the courts”, whatever that means. And the overcrowded prison are predominantly professed Christians. What’s with that?

    God has been driven out of our town squares, and our towns are falling apart. God has been driven out of Washington and we have superhi taxis and get nothing for our money. God has been driven out of medicine and now our atheist-loving President wants to make it impossible for health care companies to make money.

    I’m really at a loss as how to even address such idiocy. God has been driven out of medicine? Is that when we started using science, rather than witch doctors and prayer healing? Is that what you’re referring to? Back in the good old days when life expectancy was about 40?

    And we have an atheist-loving president trying to keep those wonderful corporations from making money? When did this happen? I though he was a Christian. And last I looked he’s throwing money like all hell into the economy. Where do you get your material? From your preacher? Not a good source, it’s seems to be blocking normal brain function.

    I’m not trying to offend you, Matthew, but in a thread dealing with beliefs, yours are exceedingly unsupportable, and you look like an idiot maintaining them.

    You of course, have the right to pretend you don’t believe in God, but when you try to make the rest of us, the Christian majority, kowtow to your absurdity, I will object and yes, it does bother me.

    Pretend? I’m pretending to disbelieve? You really think that? Seriously, go read up on the subject of atheism. Don’t take your congregation’s explanation as gospel truth, because they’re leading you down the primrose path. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about, and anyone with any intelligence will not take you seriously, until you can show that you do.

    But thank you for your honesty.


  23. Matthew,

    No offense to you, but I disagree with nearly everything you said. You’ve mischaracterized the atheist position pretty badly, as SI noted, and I don’t think it’s fair to say that atheists are cowards. In fact, many atheists are people who once had the courage to believe, and for that they should be commended. Many deconverts are people who’ve been deeply hurt by the inanity of the church. It would behoove us to understand this. You will fare much better if you can give others the benefit of the doubt, and learn to see the deeper things at work in those who have the courage to doubt.

    SI,

    “Help us get it, cl. By all means, enlighten the ignorant atheists. Do tell us what positive beliefs we must absolutely hold to be an atheist.”

    I didn’t say any atheists here were ignorant, and since you’re putting words into my mouth, I don’t see any point of discourse. [poof! cl vanishes]

    However, if you really want to know the answer to what you asked me, just think about it rationally for a little bit. Matthew was on the right track, even despite the mischaracterization.


  24. cl: Could it be that atheists truly are cowards because when hurt, when challenged, when faced with inanity they retreated rather than facing the challenge like thinking and believing human beings? Instead they put tail between their legs and run faster than the French army in every war since Napoleaon. Doubting does not take courage. Doubting is surrender.

    Spanish Inquisitor: Science has shown again and again that belief in God is programmed into the human genome and part of us. Genetics shows that God is present in the mind of all humans so unless you want to argue that atheists are not human then yes you are pretending to desbelieve.


    • Genetics shows that God is present in the mind of all humans so unless you want to argue that atheists are not human then yes you are pretending to desbelieve.

      And you don’t understand the science either. A genetic predisposition to believe supernatural explanations for apparently unexplainable natural phenomena inherited from our ancestors who didn’t have the knowledge or ability to suss it all out, is not the same thing as “god being present in our minds”. I now have that ability, and I have access to natural explanations, so I don’t have to pretend to disbelieve. I merely disbelieve.

      There is no point in believing that god creates lightning, when we know how it is created. Disbelief in the god of lighting, therefor, is not pretense.


    • “Science has shown again and again that belief in God is programmed into the human genome and part of us.”
      Really? I thought that our talent for puzzle-solving and predisposition to attributing agency to agency-free acts explained it better.


  25. I didn’t say any atheists here were ignorant, and since you’re putting words into my mouth, I don’t see any point of discourse. [poof! cl vanishes]

    So if you don’t use the word “ignorant” or the word “liar”, even though the combination of words you do use say “ignorant” or “liar”, we’re supposed to what? Play your little semantic games? Sorry. My mistake.

    Let me know when you [poof!] actually answer my question.


  26. Spanish Inquisitor: Science has shown again and again that belief in God is programmed into the human genome and part of us. Genetics shows that God is present in the mind of all humans so unless you want to argue that atheists are not human then yes you are pretending to desbelieve.

    The secret is out SI; we are programmed to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. His noodliness is present in the mind: SCIENCE has SHOWN that the brain looks just like a big dish of noodles – case closed! You’re just DENYING what you truly know you really do BELIEVE because you’ve been deeply scarred by being served a really bad pasta dish as a child, and now you want to be able to eat SALAD and BEEF without SUFFERING the CONSEQUENCES!!!111!!elevnty!!


  27. My pet peeve is people on the internet who are wrong.


  28. SI,

    “Let me know when you [poof!] actually answer my question.”

    What, you deaf? I told you I wasn’t gonna. Figure it out. Every negative entails a positive and vice-versa. As far as your lame accusations, it’s you who plays the word games by introducing words I didn’t even use, like “ignorant” and “liar” which add nothing cogent to the discussion but certainly furnish some rhetorical leverage on your behalf. See SI, all you had to say was something like, “what do you mean, cl” and I would’ve given you a reasoned response like a reasoned adult you’d talk to in the halls where you work. As it is though, you come with more of the same, and I’ve been there, done that. Write a new argument on your own blog and quit accosting me here. You can’t even be cool when I stick up for you to a theist. Real “Grateful Dead” of ya.

    Matthew,

    “Could it be that atheists truly are cowards because when hurt, when challenged, when faced with inanity they retreated rather than facing the challenge like thinking and believing human beings? Instead they put tail between their legs and run faster than the French army in every war since Napoleaon. Doubting does not take courage. Doubting is surrender.”

    Don’t get me wrong; yes, a decent subset of atheists are straight-up cowards who deny evidence and cling to doubt as their epistemological security blanket just like any other fundy. And I enjoyed your French Army analogy, as I visualize a good many of my detractors longing for the comfort of fine cheese and wine over the trenches of rigorous intellectual debate. My point was, many of these atheists who you just insulted were once people who either really did believe or really wanted to believe in God. Many of these people have been intellectually or emotionally let down by their churches, their fellow Christians and their families, and when they deconvert, how can you call them cowards, especially when the God you believe in longs for their souls? I can only call them brave. After all, they’re knowingly rejecting the one thing that offers their liferaft. The stuff really doesn’t make sense to them, so despite the consequences, the stick to their rational guns. Again, don’t get me wrong; yes, a decent subset of atheists are straight-up cowards in that they refuse to squarely address that which challenges their worldviews; but this is because the atheists in that subset are scared of being hurt or duped again.

    All I’m saying to you is two things: when we insult them we’re no better than those of them who insult us, and get to understand what they actually believe before pinning it to them which just makes you look ignorant by casting strawman representations of their beliefs – IOW – spend a little more time studying science and asking atheists questions.

    If you want my personal opinion, this blog is a terrible place for theists to ask atheists questions. It’s mostly about assertion of superiority and mockery here.


    • cl:

      All I’m saying to you is two things: when we insult them we’re no better than those of them who insult us, and get to understand what they actually believe before pinning it to them which just makes you look ignorant by casting strawman representations of their beliefs – IOW – spend a little more time studying science and asking atheists questions.

      Is an accurate description of absurdity an insult? These people look at a rock, decide that the rock is a ‘fossil’, and then say that God does not exist. Denying God insults God’s Creation.

      As for studying science, why? The only Book God has given to Creation is the Bible. If any other Book were needed, God would provide. If science says one thing, and God says another, a Christian must trust in God. To give the religion of science, a religion created by Satan the bringer of the light of reason, any credence at all is to mock God.

      You, cl, are not, by any definition of the word, a Christian. You are lukewarm and shall be spat from the mouth of God.


  29. What, you deaf? I told you I wasn’t gonna. Figure it out.

    You make a positive claim, we ask you to back it up, twice, at least flesh it out and tell us what it is, you refuse. In my book, that makes you full of shit.

    Thanks for confirming it.


  30. In my book, that makes you full of shit.

    Gee what a big surprise, right? Like you hadn’t come to that conclusion months ago, right? You say this every time you can’t get your way with one of my arguments – which is quite often.

    SI, you dismiss claims and insult those who make them for hundreds of comments without even understanding the claims: “Are you saying that they actually shot across the room, as if thrown?” That, after hundreds of comments dismissing me and claiming you understood the argument! This is undeniable, too, as your own words have proven it on your own blog, right here, where you got all mad and closed the comment thread after I pointed this out. And who’s beliefs are insular?

    As for “not backing up my claim,” I did 70% of the work for you, and I’m no longer interested in shouting matches with slothful inductors, taunters, or those whose dislike of their interlocutor interferes with the processes of clear reasoning – all of which apply to you. Nonetheless, I’m not the least bit surprised that you refuse to even try to see if you could figure it out.

    So, you want me to hit you over the head with it? Fine. Unless they wish to redefine God as an unconscious entity, every atheist must believe that inorganic, unconscious matter + time -> consciousness. There’s one thing right there.

    Yes, the base definition of “atheism” is lack of belief in Gods, nothing more, nothing less – but it is incorrect to say that aside from lack of belief in God(s), atheism doesn’t have any positions one must hold to be an atheist.


  31. So what is this atheist’s Nicene Creed and where do I get mine?


  32. So I am coming into the conversation late, ill-informed, a rare commenter, and half drunk. Nonetheless…

    cl: you claim that abiogenesis requires faith? I will cede that, in part, to you. The difference is that faith in abiogenesis is faith in the scientific method and scientific methodology. We know, via experiment, that life (in the very initial stages sense) can be induced in a lab in proto-earth conditions (see Urey, etc).

    My “faith” in the beginnings of life stems from my “faith” in scientific methodology. I would argue that if one does not accept this same scientific methodology then one should certainly not be commenting on the internet. The internet, and the computer and the fiber-optic lines and the support systems in place, are products of this same methodology. Denying science, not that I am claiming you are, is denying what we (in the US) use on a daily basis for living.

    I would further argue that acceptance of this same methodology that allows me my current lifestyle (of rare commenting on the internet…) is tacit acceptance of this scientific methodology. Which is the same methodology that provides abiogensis concepts. Which are rejected by the religions because the science does not conform to their particular religious myth.

    You do not get to have it both ways. Either science and the scientific methodology work (and you get the internets) or they do not and the bible (or pick your favorite religious tome) are correct. Can’t be both. Your claim of my “faith” is, if I read you correctly, that I have faith in things being as they seem and as we can measure and scientifically infer. Scientific inference has provided humans with immense wealth. Religious inference has not.

    (((Billy))): sorry for the long comment, just been lurking. The whole “you believe in something even if you’re an atheist” argument bugs the shit out of me. And I want my atheist Nicene creed too.


    • So true, Gareth, but cl won’t agree with you. He’ll most likely say that he never used the word faith, that you’re putting words in his mouth, etc. etc. yada yada {yawn}.

      Then he’ll tell me to butt out, this is between him and you.

      Then he’ll tell you that, contrary to his last comment, he still agrees with you and appreciates your civility, and wouldn’t it be nice if all the atheists, like SI and Jim, were as nice to him. Especially that SI, who refuses to believe his floating video game story, simply because he has a history of bullshit.

      What he won’t do is explain how

      inorganic, unconscious matter + time -> consciousness.

      is an absolutely necessary tenet of atheism; that one can’t be an atheist without that belief.


  33. Hi Gareth.

    So I am coming into the conversation late, ill-informed, a rare commenter, and half drunk. Nonetheless…

    Right on! I say more power to you, glad I could be an inspiration even if we don’t necessarily agree, and I admire your candor, but I’m about to hand you your own ass, if you don’t mind.

    ..you claim that abiogenesis requires faith? I will cede that, in part, to you.

    Well thanks for the concession, but no, that’s not what I claimed at all. Abiogenesis requires, well.. scientists require lots of complex things to get from inorganic matter to a LUCA – but faith is not one of them.

    As far as “see Urey,” are you aware their experiment did NOT confirm that “life in its very initial stages” can be induced in the lab? The conditions initially used were not today’s accepted proto-Earth conditions, and the amino acids created were 100% incapable of leading to a LUCA because they were a racemic mixture. Were you aware of any of that? Or did you just assume I was a science-denier who didn’t know anything about the pertinent topics?

    Either science and the scientific methodology work (and you get the internets) or they do not and the bible (or pick your favorite religious tome) are correct. Can’t be both.

    That’s absolutely false, my friend. Science, and the “scientific methodology” work, and they work regardless of whether the Bible’s true or not. You’ve constructed a textbook either/or fallacy, I’m afraid., and the words “either” and “or” should’ve been your first clue. Also, I don’t categorically deny abiogenesis, or science, or the internet, or any derivatives of any of those things.

    Your claim of my “faith” is, if I read you correctly, that I have faith in things being as they seem and as we can measure and scientifically infer.

    I’ve said no such thing in this thread. I’ve said that in addition to the non-existence of God(s), atheists must also believe certain positive claims: for example, that inorganic, unconscious matter + time -> consciousness. If you think about that closely, that is not the same thing as what scientists are doing with abiogenesis research.

    Scientific inference has provided humans with immense wealth. Religious inference has not.

    Surely you can do better than such a pathetically cherry-picked argument, right? Your claim that religious inference has not provided humans with immense wealth is entirely arbitrary and demonstrably false, for one. Even if we rejected the ontological validity of all religions a priori, we’re still left with profound influences and advances in arts and the architecture that pale in comparison to say, Frank Lloyd Wright and Photoshop (if you’ll permit me an arbitrary claim of my own). Also, you conveniently omit that scientific inference has blessed us with an immense wealth of disaster, death and pollution to mankind as well, to the extent our very existence itself hangs in the balance. Atom bomb? Extinction of species? Global warming? Do we really need to go on there?

    The whole “you believe in something even if you’re an atheist” argument bugs the shit out of me.

    As it ought to! While we’re at it, here’s some more contradictory inanity you must accept if you’re an atheist who believes consciousness ceases upon death: on the one hand, your Nicene creed is to “believe in that which is scientifically demonstrable, damnit!” yet your own position is not scientifically demonstrable nor could it ever possibly be. It’s the ultimate irony: in the final analysis, you believe in something as veridically worthless as Carl Sagan’s hypothetical dragon – something that can never be tested, known or experienced – QED. That’s gotta suck.

    SI,

    What he won’t do is explain how inorganic, unconscious matter + time -> consciousness.

    Let’s cut to the chase, because like I said, you really do have trouble following arguments: according to conventional wisdom, inorganic matter preceded organic matter on planet Earth by about 1.6 billion years or so, correct? Do you honestly not understand how “inorganic, unconscious matter + time -> consciousness” is an unavoidable conclusion of the view that there are no God(s), and that all forms of consciousness are just mere by-products of biological evolution over billions of years of time?

    Granted, a more complete equation would be something like, “inorganic, unconscious matter + time + natural selection + time + genetic drift + time + isolation + time + catastrophe event (eventually) -> consciousness,” but the fact of the matter is that you believe inorganic matter became self-aware in time, somehow all of its own volition.


    • cl

      atheism – as a negative belief – necessarily entails positive beliefs that one ABSOLUTELY MUST hold in order to be an atheist.

      That’s your basic claim.

      If I read you correctly, you’re saying because I find no evidence for gods, I must agree that consciousness came from inert matter, with no divine or supernatural intervention. And If I agree with that then that becomes a necessary part of atheism.

      Sorry. I don’t buy that.

      Why does consciousness have to come from inert matter? Why could there not be a presently unknown mechanism, wholly natural, that explains it? What’s wrong with saying “We don’t know”?

      You (theists) are not comfortable with a lack of knowledge, and when atheists say they are, you have to jump in and ascribe to us the same demands you put on yourselves.

      Atheism, as you acknowledge, is simply a lack of belief. It’s a vacuum waiting to be filled. If you want to fill it with god, we’re open to that, just give us the convincing evidence.

      But you already know that. We’ve been round and round on this before. If it makes you feel comfortable to ascribe acceptances of positive scientific theories to atheists, have fun with that. Our acceptance may be motivated by our worldview and attempt at rationality, but it has nothing to do with atheism.

      Actually, the chicken/egg argument fits here. We are rationalists first. The positive beliefs we have comes from that, as does our atheism. Just because we have one positive belief, and a lack of belief doesn’t mean one comes from the other.

      Correlation/causation. You know better than that.

      Let’s cut to the chase,

      It’s nice to see you can respond to some prodding, if only reverse psychology. 8)


  34. I don’t understand how natural happenings having natural causes is an act of faith. If there is evidence exists for a process then no faith is involved. For instance I see evolution as an acceptable theory for life on earth given the fossil and genetic evidence. I have faith that my beloved Raiders will someday be a good football team despite no evidence that our current owner even has a functioning brain and he only hires people dumber then a brick to manage the team.


  35. In breaking news… atheists believe the earth is round!


  36. Artie,

    I don’t understand how natural happenings having natural causes is an act of faith. If there is evidence exists for a process then no faith is involved.

    I agree. If you were referring to me here, let me point out that I never said otherwise: such was the argument Gareth attributed to me when he was drunk.

    I have faith that my beloved Raiders will someday be a good football team despite no evidence that our current owner even has a functioning brain and he only hires people dumber then a brick to manage the team.

    I’m thinking the same thing about my Lions.

    SI,

    Why does consciousness have to come from inert matter?

    Because if it didn’t, then everything you currently believe about the origins of life woud be utterly demolished.

    What’s wrong with saying “We don’t know”?

    I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the people that write the textbooks that will tell my child he or she (and by extrapolation his or her consciousness) came from billions of years of biological evolution?

    You (theists) are not comfortable with a lack of knowledge, and when atheists say they are, you have to jump in and ascribe to us the same demands you put on yourselves.

    I’m actually quite comfortable with intellectual limits, SI, and I don’t put any demands on myself such that I could ascribe them to you. The only thing I’ve ever demanded from you was a fair shake when discussing evidence, but c’est la vie there. I understand the logic: there aren’t analogs for Mormon or Buddhist or Calvinist in atheism. There’s no official Bible. We all get that. But when atheists come across like, “Oh no, we don’t have to necessarily believe anything else to be an atheist other than that we only have to lack belief in God(s),” that’s absurd. I guess there is one sense in which it is true, however: if one does not care about being an intellectually fulfilled atheist, then yeah, you’re free to hold no positive opinions regarding existence and merely exist in an ideological vacuum, I guess. Is that what you do? If so, does it satisfy you?

    If you want to fill it with god, we’re open to that, just give us the convincing evidence.

    Nice try, but as far as you and I are concerned, the burden’s on you. Why don’t you give me a convincing rebuttal to the (literally over a dozen) various evidences already given? Where’s your acceptable response to the video game incident? Asserting an earthquake with no evidence is superstition by definition SI. Are you superstitious? Or do you actually have evidence to back up your hypothesis? What about your response to my latest posts on Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover argument? See, you ask for evidence, but refuse to even read my blog. You demand that nuanced arguments and lengthy articles be brought to your own blog. It’s your way or the highway, but you will only have yourself to blame if my position is true and God says He tried to give you evidence but you refused to look. Just another crazy thought from cl, I’m sure, but man wouldn’t that suck. All I’d be able to say is that I tried.

    Though I’ll always respond to your inquiries, I’ll never make the mistake of engaging you in a discussion about evidence again. Why should I? So you and your buddies can dismiss it for hundreds of comments, name-call, curse like a baby and then close the thread? No thanks SI, I’m done playing that game. No more patience for denialist moderation or censorship. I’m on a mission over at my own blog; if you’re really interested, you can come test my data for yourself. You say you’re this big open-minded seeker, right?

    Lastly, I don’t want – nor am I able – to fill your intellectual gap with anything. The intellectual heavy lifting is your own responsibility, and even if you agreed you had one, I’m sure you could also agree that your own spiritual destiny is not my responsibility, either. If you or ildi or (((Billy))) or anyone else with a mouth wants to see structured evidence and arguments for God, I’d love to see any of you try to offer rational explanations for some of the things I’ve been discussing lately, as well as those we’ll introduce in upcoming weeks.


  37. I expect that the thread is dead, but…(and my HTML is old and unused, apologies)

    cl: Well thanks for the concession, but no, that’s not what I claimed at all.

    How so? What is the difference between ambiogenesis and what you are claiming (atheists believe [have faith] that “inorganic, unconscious matter + time -> consciousness”)?

    The Urey reference was more analogous than anything else, I know that the Urey experiments do not replicate proto-earth conditions (though more work has been done in that area), however they were the first (that I know) to demonstrate that life can come from inorganic unconscious matter. As such they set quite the precedent.

    The science/religion either/or comparison is not false. Assertion – yes I know. My assertion relies on my definitions of both science and religion. Science relies on scientific methodology, religion relies on unfounded faith. As I (thought I had) explained above, scientific “faith” is not the same thing. Science is more than happy to change its collective mind. Religion is not happy with interpretation and seemingly abhors change. Perceptions of mine therefore irrelevant to the discussion. Consider them free. You are correct that science works whether the christian bible is true or not, but the christian bible does not work if science is correct. That is the crux of the science/religion divide.

    Regarding the scientific inference and wealth piece: yep, science gave us the bomb (atomic and not). Tough shit. Science did not tell humans what to do with the results of scientific inquiry. Yes, not we bring in the sociology and pathology and psychology etc to this. People are…arguments. Whatever. Bottom line: there is not some giant scrawling in the sky that says “do not kill other people, especially with atom bombs!” Yes, loads of religious tracts do state that, in one form or another. But so do loads of secular tracts. We do what we do with scientific results – you cannot blame the end state on the method, we own responsibility for our decisions as humans. Yet another assertion.

    I fail to see where you demonstrate that my position is scientifically non-demonstrable. I would asset that belief is a positive action. Lack of belief is not an action but a lack of action. I believe that science works, I believe this because science has a demonstrated track record of success stretching back for a long damn time. I do not believe in a god or gods. Believing that inorganic unconscious matter became life, now, over time is not a positive belief in ambiogenesis, it is belief that the scientific method is capable of providing a perfectly logical explanation for the beginnings of life on this planet.

    I do not “believe” in something that cannot be tested, science is tested every day. Faith cannot be tested. There is nothing that indicates a requirement for faith in order to live on this planet. Even in our societies and even peacefully. Granted that we do not right now, but that can change. Faith in god(s) is not required for that change.

    My opinion: you did not hand me my ass.


  38. How so?

    Well, you asked me if abiogenesis requires faith. I told you no. Do you really not understand why abiogenesis does not require faith?

    [the Urey experiments] were the first (that I know) to demonstrate that life can come from inorganic unconscious matter.

    Don’t overstate what the evidence permits, Gareth. The amino acids produced in the Urey / Miller experiments were a racemic mixture, 100% incapable of even leading to “life.” I already told you that, yet here you are overstating the facts again.

    My assertion relies on my definitions of both science and religion.

    Then stick to the definitions: my definition of science would be something like, “the systematic study of natural phenomena” and my definition of religion would be “ideas concerning God(s) and the afterlife.” Your “definitions” are really just your own opinions. I get that you value religion as much as your average toiletry; that doesn’t mean you get your biased claims for free.

    Religion is not happy with interpretation and seemingly abhors change.

    Of course not, because religion is not sentient that it might be happy. Learn to argue with personifying your scapegoat.

    You are correct that science works whether the christian bible is true or not, but the christian bible does not work if science is correct. That is the crux of the science/religion divide.

    Do you have anything besides opinion there?

    Regarding the scientific inference and wealth piece: yep, science gave us the bomb (atomic and not). Tough shit. Science did not tell humans what to do with the results of scientific inquiry.

    If science didn’t tell us what to do with the results, why are you bragging about the “wealth” it’s brought us? Get consistent. You can’t just focus on the positives of science when the negatives are many and real.

    I fail to see where you demonstrate that my position is scientifically non-demonstrable.

    Think it through: can you check to see if atheism is correct?

    I do not “believe” in something that cannot be tested

    Nonsense. ALL atheists who believe it’s “lights out” believe in something that cannot be tested.

    Faith cannot be tested.

    I’m afraid you’ve not thought it out, my friend. Faith can be tested. If there is a God and consciousness does survive death, we can most certainly test that. On the other hand, it’s atheism that cannot be tested. You can’t verify or confirm that there are no God(s), that this is just all an arbitrary atomic dance, and that consciousness disperses after death.

    ******

    Look, I believe that “science works” too, and I’m willing to bet you’ve completely misread me when you were drunk. I’m not a science-denier or hater and I really have no idea how you got that impression. You came galloping out sword in hand thinking I was making the, “It takes faith to be an atheist” argument when I wasn’t. So your whole argument began on the wrong foot.

    My opinion: ass handed back to you again. If you still want to pick each other’s brains, let’s do it at my blog.


  39. And I am done. Cl, I did not make claims as to what you think, or I tried not to. Did not, and do not, believe that you are a science denier. Regardless, I am done. Too much to do to try and keep up with this. And I suppose that you’re correct that faith can be tested, you just left out the caveat: you have to be dead.


  40. No problem. I’m done, too, just want to clear up one last thing:

    I did not make claims as to what you think, or I tried not to.

    I can appreciate that perhaps that was your original intention, but Gareth, your whole first comment to me proceeded from the following assumption you opened with,

    you claim that abiogenesis requires faith? I will cede that, in part, to you.

    You then proceeded with three paragraphs following from that assumption, attempting to justify your “faith” in abiogenesis via and the scientific methodology, setting up false dichotomies between the Bible and science, and implying that the Bible and the internet are mutually exclusive, which is totally absurd.

    If you want to know how we got into this mess, you mistook the argument I was having with SI for something more than it was. He and I were arguing about whether or not atheism entails additional positive beliefs. You yanked that right out of context and started veering off about whether atheists require “faith” in believing the scientific method, when nobody was even talking about that or making that claim.


    • Of course science requires faith. All religions require faith. A scientist requires faith to look at a green splat on a rock and claim it is a trillion year old human. A scientist requires faith to look at a bunch of numbers and claim that it proves the age of the earth is trillions of years older than it is. The difference is that a scientists faith is based on the crude lies of Satan while a Christian’s faith is based on the Word of God made Living in the Holy Bible.


      • Adorable! I want to put you in my pocket and keep you and your, frankly, comical YECness warm and safe from the mean coldness of reality forever and ever!


      • A scientist requires faith to look at a green splat on a rock and claim it is a trillion year old human.

        That’s either some really lame sci-fi you’re reading/watching or kickass weed you’re smoking there, dude…

        No, don’t tell me, high on Christ, right?


      • Mock away. At least I have Truth on my side!


  41. You can capitalize “truth” all you want, but it won’t make you any less wrong.


  42. Isn’t Truth that new killer strain of skunk weed coming out of Vinton County?



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