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Hullo! My first post.
#1
Hullo! My first post.
Hello. First time poster. I’ve been atheist for about 25 years. This is actually my first time interacting on an atheist site. Early on I assumed visiting sites like this would be a case of me preaching my newfound faithlessness to the choir. And more recently, up till now, I assumed it would probably be a case of sitting in the choir box, attending some very well meant preaching of which I am already convinced.
 
Hence I have been a ravenous consumer of atheist media, but I have been much more active at religious community sites to learn “man in the street” Christian, etc., perspectives on matters which to me seem altogether obvious and consistent with an atheist worldview. Along the way I have come to realize I prefer some fairly different approaches to certain epistemological questions than many of my non-religious heroes. So today I would like to share some of these with you, and see what you think.
 
DISCLAIMER: For simplicity, I speak here as if I assume all readers subscribe to my own convictions. I do not. To the extent my thinking is at all different from yours, I think that’s just hunky dory. And I would relish the chance to discuss those difference. So, please don’t be shy speaking up.
 
1. Faith.
If I waste one more hour of my life patiently waiting while one theist and one atheist debate or argue over the definition of faith, I think I may plunge both my ears out with an ice pick. When anyone proclaims that I unknowingly have faith in any number of things, I stop them right there and explain to them, no matter what definition of faith they use, I have “faith” in absolutely nothing. Not even in the fact of my own existence. I have reasonable cause to think I exist. Just as I have reasonable cause to expect the sun will come up tomorrow. But I have absolutely no faith in tomorrow’s sunrise. Even when brilliant debaters like Matt Dillahunty articulate this understanding of faith, they often allow the theist to redirect the conversation for several more pointless moments on the matter. Ugh.
 
2. Evolution by natural selection v. Abiogenesis
In my experience, evolution is almost only ever raised during theist/atheist dialogue by the theists. I have never first broached the subject myself. Though, being a big fan of Darwinian evolution, I am only too happy to dive in if someone else brings it up. Then, all too often, both parties show their imperfect understanding of the concept when the theist asks, “Then how do you explain where life came from?“ And the atheist responds, “You’re talking about the origin of life, or ‘abiogenesis.’ That has nothing to do with evolution.“
 
Wrong. 
 
Every single hypothesis I have ever seen for abiogenesis is undeniably some case of natural selection. It just so happens that the early stages of any hypothetical process treat of organic, but non-living, materials. But there is always some postulated process which conserves transformations of that material, edging it closer and closer to life. That IS evolution. 
 
This perspective is born out by the fact that as the theoretical understanding of LUCA (last universal common ancestor) becomes more and more refined, it seems the “speciation events” that set us apart from prokaryotes and archaea occurred when neither of those ancestors would have met any of today’s scientific definitions for “life.“ Even as an atheist this concept blows my mind. But I do not doubt it. And I do think it’s awesome.
 
Insisting to theists that abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution is sometimes good enough to shut them up on the subject. But I am convinced the day will come when we will have to revise that “maxim,” and theists will use that revision to our understanding of natural law as a cudgel to “prove“ how unreliable science is.
 
Moreover, correctly or not, it seems to betray a certain lack in the strength of our convictions. If this is a material universe, governed by natural laws, the natural laws do not recognize any meaningful difference between “living“ and “non-living” matter. I think it’s usually assumed, on the atheist’s part, that ultimately abiogenesis will have to be formally coupled to evolution by natural selection. But to the outside, religious observer, it’s smacks of trying to avoid some large issue which religion addresses but which we think evolution does not.
 
3. Evolution and morality
In 2008 Richard Dawkins (blessings be upon him) interviewed creationist Wendy Wright of Concerned Women of America. Highly uncharacteristic for him, there is a moment in the interview where he inadvertently (and needlessly) conceded a point to Wright (though she is so pitifully inept she failed to notice). She asserted that Darwinist evolution is a purely immoral or amoral concept, one that gives rise to pernicious, evil philosophies and societies.
 
Dawkins responded, “I’ll tell you quite freely that a society based on Darwinian principles is exactly the sort of society I do not wish to live in. It would be a terrible society…”
 
I THINK I know what he meant. I’ve never seen him questioned about the interaction, but I feel certain, if queried on it, he would have given a much different answer.
 
To illustrate why, think of some society in nature that does behave according to strict Darwinian principles. Say, ant colonies. The life of an ant is brutal, rigid and utterly unfulfilling in any human sense. But ant colonies are highly successful, in no small part thanks to the Darwinian evolution of their social structure.
 
What would a HUMAN society evolved by those same Darwinian principles look like? Surprise! It looks exactly like the society we have today. Because THAT’s how we got them. In her bungling way, Wright led Dawkins to take on board the patently specious canard that “survival of the fittest” means “survival of the strongest and the most selfish.” The “law of the jungle.” This is positively asinine. “Survival of the fittest,” means survival of the most ADAPTABLE. Humans are not the only animals that demonstrate evolved behaviors of empathy, compassion, justice (fairness) and altruism. But they do arguably exhibit these attributes in their most sophisticated forms. And if social animals like capuchin monkeys, wolves, chimps and killer whales have evolved any amount of “proto”-morals, then so too did the ancestors of modern humans. And the proof of the survival advantage of that pudding is definitely in the tasting: As I understand it, no species of large mammal (like us, as opposed to small mammals like mice) has ever come even CLOSE to a global population of 7 BILLION(!). Don’t ever let anybody tell you you can’t get morals or “good” or “evil” from the laws of nature. It’s the only place they DO come from.
 
4. The supernatural
Finally, for a while now I have argued, and I am truly of the opinion, that there is no such POSSIBLE thing as the supernatural. Not that the supernatural doesn’t exist, but that by definition it CAN’T exist. If there is a God, if there is a heaven, if there is an astral plane, then they are manifestly features of our cosmos. And mighty important ones at that. I have seen practiced debaters home in on this obvious fallacy, but I haven’t seen many focus on it to their best advantage. Randy is one example who does so brilliantly. Aron Ra and Matt D. Are quite deft with this argument as well. But generally speaking, I don’t think atheists/skeptics/materialists insist that theists take this crushing burden of proof squarely upon their shoulders as they truly deserve. The SUPERnatural in any NATURAL universe simply CAN NOT BE. It’s not even as “real” as human abstract concepts like calculus, love, or Donald Trump’s moral compass. The day that ghosts are convincingly shown to exist, scientists by the drove will be out with actual scientific instruments and genuine protocols to research, define, and describe the NATURAL nature of ghosts. I honestly don’t get how this fact doesn’t show those who believe in the supernatural how silly the idea is, and I am chronically disappointed when skeptics backslide pointing this out.
 
So those are four broad ideas of which I would love to hear any of your opinions. And I am truly looking forward to my participation here.
 
If you’ve read this far, thank you, THANK YOU, for your attention.
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#2
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Hi. I agree, self torture for Magical/Spiritual Artifacts is for chosen few.
[Image: keep-calm-and-praise-the-sun.jpg]
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#3
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Welcome aboard!
[Image: Fenrir-sign.jpg]
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#4
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Welcome aboard.

Quote: I have absolutely no faith in tomorrow’s sunrise.
One of my pet peeves as well.  I hear what a theist describes as their faith.....and regardless of what argument they want to have the truth remains that my "x" in the sun rising tomorrow is not the same thing as their faith in a god.  They can call it the same thing from here until the next sunrise....but that won;t change just because of their insistence or persistence.



Quote:2. Evolution by natural selection v. Abiogenesis
In my experience, evolution is almost only ever raised during theist/atheist dialogue by the theists. I have never first broached the subject myself. Though, being a big fan of Darwinian evolution, I am only too happy to dive in if someone else brings it up. Then, all too often, both parties show their imperfect understanding of the concept when the theist asks, “Then how do you explain where life came from?“ And the atheist responds, “You’re talking about the origin of life, or ‘abiogenesis.’ That has nothing to do with evolution.“
 
Wrong. 
In the face of the constant chorus "life can;t come from nothing!" from people who think they have a problem with evolutionary theory..it;s both accurate and necesarry to inform them that the one has nothing to do with the other.  They have issues with some hypothesis of abiogenesis.  Modern synth is the combination of darwinian selection and mendelian genetics.  While some form of selection may be at play in whatever hypothesis of abiogenesis is true (if any)...mendelian genetics is most certainly not.  Modern synth would stand even if god poofed the first bit of life into existence, just to really drive the futility home.  It stands on it;s own merits, not on the merits of any particular notion of how life initially came to be.  It;s what happens to life, not how life happened.

Truth be told..they usually have a whole basket full of problems with both...but those problems are, ofc, their own problems, lol.  Wink


Quote:Don’t ever let anybody tell you you can’t get morals or “good” or “evil” from the laws of nature. It’s the only place they DO come from.
Agreed, they find their origins and their ultimate observations there...but it;s useful to point out that they don;t find their justification there in an ethical sense.  What is natural is not always right, and what is unnatural ( a slippery term but it gets employed alot) is not always wrong.  It may be more accurate to state that we derive our moral apparatus from evolutionary biology...but that doesnt imply or require that we conform to the strictures of our biological imperatives when we go about setting the rules of the system.   In that sense, we don;t get morals from the laws of nature.

Quote: But generally speaking, I don’t think atheists/skeptics/materialists insist that theists take this crushing burden of proof squarely upon their shoulders as they truly deserve.
You;re gonna like it here, then.  This place ties that rock around the neck of the people who own it and never lets loose, lol.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#5
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Welcome to the forum Smile
Feel free to send me a private message.
Please visit my website here! It's got lots of information about atheism/theism and support for new atheists.

Index of useful threads and discussions
Index of my best videos
Quickstart guide to the forum
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#6
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Goddidit.

Welcome
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#7
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Welcome to AF
(August 21, 2017 at 11:31 pm)KevinM1 Wrote: "I'm not a troll"
Religious Views: He gay

0/10

Hammy Wrote:and we also have a sheep on our bed underneath as well
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#8
RE: Hullo! My first post.
HI , Welcome!
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#9
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Welcome,
Dying to live, living to die.
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#10
RE: Hullo! My first post.
Welcome and thanks for the informative post!
Disclaimer: I am only responsible for what I say, not what you choose to understand. 
(November 14, 2018 at 8:57 pm)The Valkyrie Wrote: Have a good day at work.  If we ever meet in a professional setting, let me answer your question now.  Yes, I DO want fries with that.
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