Thursday, January 1, 2015

557: Introducing a new project: A Philosopher looks at Atheism

Lean back and listen to this: ^_^
Atheism is a vigorous and a courageous philosophy. It is not afraid to face the problems of life, and it is not afraid to confess that there are problems yet to be solved. 
It does not claim that it has solved all the questions of the universe, but it does claim that it has discovered the approach, and learned the method, of solving them. 
Atheism is a self-reliant philosophy. It makes one intellectually free. He is thrilled to enthusiasm by his mental emancipation and he faces the universe without fear of ghosts or gods. 
It teaches man that unless he devotes his energies and applies himself wholeheartedly to the task he wishes to achieve, the accomplishment will not be made. 
It warns him that any reliance upon prayers, or "divine" help, will prove a bitter disappointment. 
To the philosophy of Atheism belongs the credit of robbing Death of its horror and its terror. It brought about the abolition of Hell.-  END QUOTE -
These are the words of Joseph Lewis  (1889 – 1968), an American freethinker and atheist activist, During the mid-twentieth century, he was one of America’s most conspicuous public atheists, the other being Emanuel Haldeman-Julius.
It was an  address delivered February 20, 1960,
over radio station WIME, Miami, Florida, USA.
The text is a bit hilarious in my opinion. Replace the word “Atheism” with “McDonnald’s” or “Buddhism” or “Microsoft”and it still sounds appealing.
But it misses my point of this project completely. At least I hope, that at the end of this project, you might come to the conclusion, that atheism isn’t such a philosophy at all.
The title of my new project is deliberately “A Philosopher looks at Atheism”. As a philosopher I wonder about the world.
And in this case about the mental behavior of homo sapiens and what it means. On the one hand there are those who BELIEVE.
On the other hand there are those who do not BELIEVE. Within this context known as theists and atheist, where the title ‘atheist’ in many places has a negative connotation.
Of course there are many explanations for this unequal dichotomy, but from a logical or rational point of view, I find it peculiar, worth investigating,
because you have  Believers and Unbelievers and ME, for I do not feel at home with either of the two. Certainly not if you take Joseph Lewis as an example of the Unbeliever.
So this project is not intended to enjoy religion bashing, but it wants to question the phenomenon itself, analyze its arguments. Take for instance Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.
The basic question is that we are aware of what we call “knowledge” and what we call “belief”. Knowledge and belief are the two ingredients of our mind.
When is some thought, put to words in a statement, which can be true or false, a belief?When do we call  it knowledge?
We have factual truth, when I say “We are in Second Life here”. We KNOW this. We not just believe it. Just think about the question: Can a belief be true too? 
So I ask you to joint me and LOOK at Atheism in a philosophical way, which demands only rationality as the source of your arguments in debates.
To quote Betrand Russell:
The question is how to arrive at your opinions and not what your opinions are. The thing in which we believe is the supremacy of reason. 
If reason should lead you to orthodox conclusions, well and good; you are still a Rationalist. To my mind the essential thing is that one should base one's arguments upon the kind of grounds that are accepted in science, 
and one should not regard anything that one accepts as quite certain, but only as probable in a greater or a less degree. 
Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Thank you… feel free to take the floor.. ^_^

The Discussion

[13:16] Fitch WoodrunnerFitch Woodrunner picks up the rug and floorboards and runs away
[13:16] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:16] herman Bergsonherman Bergson grins
[13:16] Bejiita Imako: hahaa, put those back!
[13:16] Dawn Rhiannyr: thank you Herman :)
[13:16] Corona Anatine: Your penultimate statement indicates that those who are certain about god are not rational
[13:16] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:16] Merlin Saxondale: Well on the subject of certainty, Aleister Crowley wrote a great little pamphlet called "The Soldier and the Hunchback"
[13:16] Fitch Woodrunner: Thank you Herman, you answered a lot of questions I was going to ask
[13:17] Corona Anatine: lol good ol Crow
[13:17] Roger Amdahl: not sure what to discuss right now ..
[13:17] Fitch Woodrunner: specifically about the nature of Belief and Knowledge
[13:17] herman Bergson: Oh that is going to be our primary subject of investigation
[13:17] Corona Anatine: and what did Perdurobo have to say Jakey
[13:17] Gemma Cleanslate: wonders about corona's statement
[13:17] herman Bergson: Tricky one, Gemma :-))
[13:18] Gemma Cleanslate: right
[13:18] herman Bergson: so I just don't say anything yet :-)
[13:18] herman Bergson: That statement is running way ahead of the crowd at the moment....
[13:19] Vigos Lyric: I think that it is true that one who holds a belief to be absolutely true is not approaching that belief rationally, by definition
[13:19] Fitch Woodrunner: If this is the beginning of a series, I'll look forward to the future lectures and hold my questions until then
[13:19] Corona Anatine: wel it would the crowd seems fairly stationary as far as chat is going
[13:19] Gemma Cleanslate: just the beginning
[13:19] herman Bergson: Yes vigos.....
[13:19] Bejiita Imako:
[13:20] herman Bergson: Which means that we have to look into Belief and rationality......
[13:20] herman Bergson: and into the axiom of the primacy of rationality
[13:20] Corona Anatine: ok going back further - where beleif is concerend - how do we arrive at beleif
[13:20] Fitch Woodrunner: hmm, we should be careful here, tread lightly, so as not to disrespect the various belief systems in the world
[13:21] herman Bergson: No Corona...that is for lecturesto come....
[13:21] Corona Anatine: ok
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: that is so right jakey
[13:21] Corona Anatine: i was just trying to folowo from yout earlier notes
[13:21] herman Bergson: No Fitch....we are NOT criticizing beleif systems....
[13:22] Corona Anatine: I show the belief systems of the world the same respect as they sho wto me
[13:22] herman Bergson: that is why I talk of a philosopher LOOKING at atheism....
[13:22] Fitch Woodrunner: Herman, I was not implying you were... I was just remarking that some of the comments could go down that road
[13:22] Vigos Lyric: So to approach something rationally, means what exactly? Is it about accepting that all should not be considered absolutely true while observing what physical systems or systems of thought hold up against scrutiny?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Our primary goal is to evaluate the situation we are in today.....
[13:22] Fitch Woodrunner: agreed
[13:23] Corona Anatine: i would but Herman said i would have to use only half my keyboard if i did
[13:23] herman Bergson: Rationality is an important issue now....yes
[13:23] Corona Anatine: ok then how about - why belief in god but not say fairys or magic
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you look at me previous project on Science...
[13:24] Corona Anatine: what make one belief happen and not antoher
[13:24] herman Bergson: you might assume that scientific thinking is an example of rationality...
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:24] Vigos Lyric: Ideally, I would think so. In practice, perhaps not
[13:24] Vigos Lyric: *not always
[13:24] herman Bergson: And I like to interpret it from a biological and evolutionary point of view
[13:25] herman Bergson: No....the homo sapiens is NOT a rationality driven individual....maybe even far from that....
[13:25] Fitch Woodrunner: "My god has a bigger dick than your god!" -George Carlin
[13:25] Corona Anatine: tho it could be said that science has defined what rationality is
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: good old george
[13:25] herman Bergson: But he HAS the gift of rationality......and that seems to work.....
[13:26] Nymf Hathaway: Loves George Carlin
[13:26] Corona Anatine: that would be a belief too jakey
[13:26] herman Bergson: Science...seen as an axiomatic system, is also based on belief, Corona..
[13:26] Vigos Lyric: If we look at this from a biological perspective, I would say rationality is only a tool that can be used and developed, one of many of our tools as a species to cognitively process the world
[13:26] Corona Anatine: and a small working dick would still be better than a non working large one
[13:27] herman Bergson: I agree Vigos....
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:27] herman Bergson: plz Corona....stick to the subject :-)
[13:27] Corona Anatine: okok
[13:28] Corona Anatine: what other cognitive tools do you suggest exist
[13:28] herman Bergson: Rationality is a tool of the mind in our interaction with our environment
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: a tool that sometimes is not used
[13:28] herman Bergson: I was wonder about that myself too, Corona :-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: Seems you pity that, Gemma :-))
[13:29] Vigos Lyric: So it leads me to consider that rationality and beliefs are not superior to each other but only tools And that the resulting conclusion drawn with those tools (sole one or both in some degree) is simply an interpretation of information, such as: "God exists because I dreamt he came to me." To them, they belief God was in their dreams and attribute that experience to a larger belief system
[13:29] Fitch Woodrunner: and that is the overall problem and why I feel Atheism is a religion, because it is putting its belief in science, which we are still not 100% sure is fact, it is observable reality, it has more umph because you can touch and see the things Science digs up, but there is still doubt. Science is still built on faith that the theory is correct
[13:30] herman Bergson: Gentelmen.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: one point of order....
[13:30] Corona Anatine: so do you favour the 'swiss armyknife ' concept of cognitive mind?
[13:30] herman Bergson: plz read the little sigh at the bottom of this lectern :-)
[13:31] Vigos Lyric: Ahh, apologies
[13:31] Vigos Lyric: Habit of mine to type in large blocks
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes Fitch....that will be an intersting subject of one of the coming lectures...
[13:32] herman Bergson: Because here you put religeous faith equal to rational faith (in science)
[13:32] Fitch Woodrunner: sometimes my thoughts come out, I'm not necessarily counting words... I will endavour to hit Enter more often :P
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: tries to think i short spurts
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes Fitch...the enter key is perfect :-))
[13:33] Beertje Beaumont: needs another hours to read all this...
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: right
[13:33] herman Bergson: Ohh talking about hours....
[13:33] herman Bergson: You will have plenty til January.....:-)
[13:34] Bejiita Imako:
[13:34] herman Bergson: Because I have offered myself a nice holidays till then :-)
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: ahhhhhaaaaa
[13:34] Nymf Hathaway: good for you!
[13:34] Roger Amdahl: *smiles .. good one Herman
[13:34] Beertje Beaumont: you deserved it Herman
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: so no classes??? 
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: this can be another interesting topic for sure
[13:34] Vigos Lyric: So to examine Atheism specifically (regardless of any association with science), it is solely one perspective among many, theist, atheist, pantheist, etc
[13:34] herman Bergson: Which means that the real atheist fireworks will go off in January after the Holidays :-)
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: wow
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: nice long break!
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:35] Fitch Woodrunner: so this was a teaser
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: WaaaHaHAhahAHA! AhhhhHAhahhAHhahHAH! haha!
[13:35] Nymf Hathaway: :)))
[13:35] Beertje Beaumont: a big one Jakey:)
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: loads of time to think
[13:35] Dawn Rhiannyr: good teaser for sure with much to think about
[13:35] herman Bergson: You got a point Vigos....
[13:35] Fitch Woodrunner: I might steal the walls too
[13:35] Nymf Hathaway:
[13:36] herman Bergson: Atheism is of course primarily associated with theism....and in particular with Christianity....
[13:36] Nymf Hathaway: do not forget the posters, paintings etc
[13:36] herman Bergson: But that is totally uninteresting for me as a philospher....
[13:36] Vigos Lyric: If we can't be certain of what we know, how can we assert which of those is superior or even correct at all?
[13:36] Fitch Woodrunner: you can keep the art and charts, I already have far too many of both
[13:36] herman Bergson: Oh I have no problem with that Vigos....
[13:37] herman Bergson: Just imagine the next situation....
[13:37] herman Bergson: A huge rock is coming down on you....
[13:37] Vigos Lyric: Nor do I, just positioning the idea of atheism as a concept, a system built on certain presumptions
[13:37] Fitch Woodrunner: why does it need to be superior? are you thinking about declaring war?
[13:37] herman Bergson: One advisor says....pray to god for help
[13:37] herman Bergson: another advisor says....take a few steps aside plz...
[13:38] Merlin Saxondale: Well this sounds like another dilemma.. faith healing
[13:38] Vigos Lyric: Perhaps the application of these different systems are beneficial in different circumstances
[13:38] Vigos Lyric: An atheist might say step away from the point which the rock would collide
[13:38] Merlin Saxondale: and Jehovah's witnesses etc with rules about medical treatment
[13:38] Corona Anatine: there wil always be times when faith healing appears to work
[13:38] herman Bergson: The only thing I want to say here is....that there is a qualitative difference in the advice in relation to surviving
[13:39] Fitch Woodrunner: when it comes to telling a joke in chat, I suggest breaking the bottom rule :)
[13:39] Bejiita Imako:
[13:39] Vigos Lyric: Then a theist would be able to provide a support system to those grieving lost ones, perhaps
[13:39] Fitch Woodrunner: O.o
[13:39] Corona Anatine: only if they shared the same belief
[13:40] Corona Anatine: if one belief was heaven the other incarnation then the level of comfort would be diminished
[13:40] Fitch Woodrunner: if a proverbial rock is about to crush you where you stand... move!
[13:41] Vigos Lyric: Yes, the details vary there. Theists don't all agree on the nature of things
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well..I must idea about the quality of the advise is based on a belief.....!
[13:41] Corona Anatine: ah that explains the fish -you dint move away in time : )
[13:41] Fitch Woodrunner tries to shorten a joke to 2 lines...
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:41] herman Bergson: Namely, that the organism wants to survive
[13:41] Roger Amdahl: sorry ..RL ... thanks Herman , see you all later
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: i have to get back before santa sees i am gone too
[13:42] Vigos Lyric: Do you mean the advice to move out of the way is based on a belief the rock will hit the person?
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ok cu
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: happy holiday everyone
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: thank you hermann
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: have a great holiday herman
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: same to you
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: you too ciska
[13:42] herman Bergson: lol.....YEs that too Vigos!
[13:42] Corona Anatine: is this your last session till new year herman?
[13:42] Fitch Woodrunner: Flood coming, man says god will save him. 3 attempts to rescue him, man says god will save him. He dies. In heaven man askes god, why? God says, I sent you warnings, a boat and a helicopter!
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: happy holidays to all
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: would say happy holidays in the group chat but Herman has it locked!
[13:43] Vigos Lyric: But then a belief can be based on empirical evidence (seeing the rock falling) or...
[13:43] Vigos Lyric: based on thinking it will hit the person?
[13:43] herman Bergson: A nice one Fitch...
[13:43] Nymf Hathaway: Thank you Herman, interesting new subject! Wishes everyone a nice evening :)... vacation even
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye   
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: for now
[13:43] herman Bergson: Thank you all too :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)))
[13:43] Nymf Hathaway:

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