My Plan for World Peace.

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Post by Ironman » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:29 pm

Matt Z wrote:So no one is allowed to disagree with you? Isn't that the point of a forum, to discuss/debate things?
? I never said that.

Matt post 2:
People might classify Atheism like a religion, but it is just the absence of religious belief. It is not believing in something unless it is fallible and has at least some evidence that can be independently verified. Atheists don't force their lack of belief on anyone. However it is true the small group of them will flip out about someone saying "Merry Christmas" or something silly like that. Very few atheists/agnostics do that.

Matt post 3:
Separation of church and state CAN'T go too far. It is part of the constitution. However Students quietly praying together at lunch without involving anyone else has nothing to do with that because nobody is forced and the school isn't sponsoring it.

Religious clothing and jewelry isn't a threat and is protected by the constitution under freedom of religion. I don't see why anyone would object to that. But at the same time I have no problem with profiling. If a woman wearing a burka is 100 times more likely to have a bomb underneath than her non-burka-wearing peers, random security screenings should be slanted that way 100 to 1 in my opinion.

IM:
Promoting belief is fine as long as it is in a constitutional way.

I agree it is due to ignorance. Many religious people think that people without religion spend their time molesting kids and animals, raping, stealing and murdering. Which makes me wonder if they think that because they would do all that if they didn't think God was going to punish them. Because if that is the case they need some serious help!

Now ridiculing someone for having a rosary or other religious item is just plain bigotry and there is no excuse for that. Usually it is a person of a different religion that is more likely to do that though.

Matt 4:
Nothing wrong with saying Merry Christmas. It isn't even religious in some contexts. It is more cultural. It's kind of like, putting up a Christmas tree is ok, but a Nativity scene,not so much. I, for example am a cultural Catholic even though I am Atheist and celebrate those holidays even though they have a different meaning for me. I have an Atheist friend who is culturally Hindu. It's the same way for him, just different holidays.

IM: Nothing wrong with covering all the bases.

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Post by Matt Z » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:58 am

But Atheism is more than just the absence of belief. It's a belief in the non-existence of any higher power. (At least that's the way I've always heard the term used and the way I use it here.)
Last edited by Matt Z on Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Matt Z » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:03 am

The difference is subtle I know, but important. It's like saying "I don't believe in God" vrs saying "There is no God!"

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Post by Ironman » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:26 pm

I think I understand what you are talking about. I used to think of it that way.I was more agnostic because while there is no way to prove there is a God, it is not fallible, there is no way to prove there isn't one.

Let me share Bertrand Russel's celestial teapot analogy. What if I told you that out in space in the asteroid belt, there is a teapot which orbits the sun. You have no way to prove there is no teapot. However it is a virtual impossibility because there is no evidence indicating that there is a teapot there. Same thing with garden gnomes, the spaghetti monster, or even Bigfoot.

Now if you mean an Atheist religion where someone has spiritual beliefs of some sort but does not believe in any gods, that is another story. It is rare but there are religions like that. However the usual Atheism is just treating religion like you would any scientific hypothesis. It's lack of fallibility disqualifies it from becoming a theory.

Or another way to look at it is religion requires faith in something unprovable. Atheism isn't a religion because it is just the name for not having that faith.

But that said I wish you all a happy Easter/Passover/equinox or other holiday.

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Post by Matt Z » Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:38 pm

That's exactly my point. It's impossible to prove the to existance or non-existance of God (or multiple gods). Consequently, if someone told me that there's no evidence of a higher power, I'd have to agree with them. However, if the same person told me that there is no God, then he would be expressing a belief (one which I happen to disagree with). It was in this context that I likened Atheism to a religion.
Last edited by Matt Z on Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Matt Z » Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:43 pm

By the way, how would you define agnostic? I've heard several different definitions and I'm not sure which is the correct one.

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Post by Ironman » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:44 pm

An agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in gods and/or afterlife/spirits. They don't have faith, but they treat the god hypothesis as if it is fallible or they feel fallibility is irrelevant.

An Atheist-agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in after life and/or spirituality but does not believe in god/gods.

A Theist-agnostic believes there is some sort of god/gods but believes we don't know anything about him/her due to lack of evidence. Generally they believe in afterlife and spirits but also think we just don't know the nature of them.

In a nutshell their answer is "insufficient data".

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Post by TheHeb » Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:58 am

Ironman wrote:But at the same time I have no problem with profiling. If a woman wearing a burka is 100 times more likely to have a bomb underneath than her non-burka-wearing peers, random security screenings should be slanted that way 100 to 1 in my opinion.
Sorry could you clarify? Statistically speaking, a black person is more likely to commit a crime than a white person. Should cops or shop-owners profile black people in this manner?

The analogy here is not great because one chooses to wear a burka, while one has no choice over race. I think you would probably make that distinction, but I'm just curious.


As far as the agnostic/atheist thing, I learned it a little differently.

Using the teapot example:
A religious person would say, "Yes, I believe the invisible teapot exists and it orbits the sun!"
An agnostic would say, "Who cares? We can neither prove nor disprove the existence of the teapot, so why even waste time arguing? It is indefeasible."
An atheist would say, "Invisible teapot? That seems silly. The teapot does not exist."

So the way I learned it, the the agnostic is the one who takes feasibility into account, while the religious person and the atheist don't.

The religious person is saying, "It exists!" Which is indefeasible.
And the atheist is saying, "It doesn't exist!" Which is also indefeasible.

At least that's the way I've always understood it.

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Post by Matt Z » Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:29 am

I've also heard it described that way. I wonder what the actual dictionary definition is?

PS.) There were several cases recently of non-Muslim MEN in Philadelphia wearing burkas and posing as Muslim women to commit armed robberys.

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Post by Ironman » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:43 pm

A black person being more likely to commit a crime than a white person is a VERY misleading statistic. People of a particular socio-economic group commit 90%+ of conventional crime (aka excluding "white collar" crime). There is simply a greater percentage of those kind of people in the black population than the white population. It has everything to do with the way people are raised and NOTHING to do with race. This is likely rooted in their past inequality, so this should even out in time. People who are called "ghetto" are very similar to people called "redneck" despite being of different ethnicities. It has everything to do with ignorance (as in lack of education), and nothing to do with genetics. Excluding metal illness of course.

So the burka argument is valid. We should be looking for sagging pants and gold teeth, not indiscriminant profiling of the black race. For whites it might be having a car on blocks, a transmission, half a truck and random garbage scattered across the yard, or mullets and missing teeth. For Hispanics, it's the people they call "cholos".

So while profiling is a must, RACIAL profiling is a bad idea for many reasons.

Your teapot example is basic but accurate.

Atheists take fallibility into account. Since it is not fallible it is not a valid hypothesis. Agnostics are like "fallible schmallible, we don't know 100%." Now coming at it from the opposite way, the subtle shade of difference between virtual impossibility and absolute impossibility matter to agnostics, but not to Atheists.

I think I am close to the dictionary definition. The dictionary definition is probably pretty basic though. Mine is more verbose. An encyclopedia entry would be pretty good. I've read a lot of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennet, Stenger and agree with their definitions.

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Post by TheHeb » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:52 am

Yeah I know that the black/white crime statistic comes from socio-economic disparities, but because on average a black person has less money and comes from a worse neighborhood, there is a correlation. I am not saying that black people commit crimes because of race, but there is a correlation between race and crimes due to social/economics inequalities. Maybe my example would work better if I asked if we should profile poor people, including 'rednecks'.

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Post by TimD » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:16 am

Where I come from, if we profiled rednecks, we'd all be in Jail, LOL.
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Post by Ironman » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:37 pm

Like I said in the previous post, it has to due with the past mistreatment of blacks and nothing to do with race. It has not been that long since they were treated as 2nd class citizens. Once more time has passed this will even out.

We should NOT target the poor. There is a social aspect to this, as in culture. That's why it's socio-economic and not just economic. Targeting working class people has the same inherent problems as targeting blacks. It's a cultural thing, not racial and not by class.

Besides that there is a big difference in being a southern gentleman and being a redneck. Maybe there are more rednecks in rural areas because people in those areas are more likely to be uneducated. However that doesn't mean they are ALL like that.

Additionally even if you DO profile people, that still doesn't negate constitutional protections. Or at least it shouldn't...... There is that whole Patriot act thing..........

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Post by corless319_ » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:52 pm

I love this thread. What happens when you ...well me a white male with ok education with ok money marries a rich black chick we have kids and we move to the suburbs and dont believe a god exists because there isnt proof? haha what would my kids be called haha i dont know nvm this one just keep going.

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Post by Ironman » Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:04 pm

In this day and age most people accept multi-racial people, but it wasn't that long ago when they would have had a hard way to go in school. Keep a lid on the Atheism though. People don't take too kindly to that. "Godless heathens" is usually what we are called I suppose.

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