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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  10:46:11  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What Atheists Can't Answer.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Obey your evolutionary instincts" because those instincts are conflicted. "Respect your brain chemistry" or "follow your mental wiring" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I'm going to do whatever I please." C.S. Lewis put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains."

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  11:02:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

What Atheists Can't Answer.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Obey your evolutionary instincts" because those instincts are conflicted. "Respect your brain chemistry" or "follow your mental wiring" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I'm going to do whatever I please." C.S. Lewis put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains."

Same old crap, complete with a convenient failure to address to fact that religion doesn't "cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it." Religion cultivates people who do whatever they're told their god requires, including killing, maiming, raping, bombing, slaughtering, and committing genocide.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/13/2007 11:04:06
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1886 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  11:13:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And I suspect that a certain kind of skeptic would remain skeptical even after a squadron of angels landed on his front lawn.
It would not take a squadron to get me to change my mind. I'll let you know when they have landed.

Some people are very good at the self-centered exploitation of others. Many get away with it their whole lives. By exercising the will to power, they are maximizing one element of their human nature.
Equally applicable to successful members of the clergy.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  12:02:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The word "empathy" doesn't even appear once in the whole article. And considering that the author thinks that theists "long for love, harmony and sympathy because we are intended by a Creator to find them," it's no wonder. Gerson can't see past his Divine programming.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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BigPapaSmurf
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3192 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  12:03:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This totally discounts the fact that we are sentient beings capable of ignoring and overcoming instincts, now if they want to refer to a clan of feral atheists, then this may apply.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  12:42:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This form of "liberation" is like liberating a plant from the soil or a whale from the ocean. In this kind of freedom, something dies.


What dies? A fear of reality, and a need for illusion.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  12:51:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When asked how we choose between good and bad, the most honest answer may be, "I don't know." Is there some kind of fundamental difference in goodness and badness between theists and atheists? Apparently nobody is able to demonstrate such a difference. When the theist proposes that his sense of goodness and badness is divinely inspired, the burden of proof becomes his.

So it seems to boil down to an issue of what theists can't answer... Prove that your sense of good and bad comes from "long[ing] for love, harmony and sympathy because [you] are intended by a Creator to find them." And of course that proof would require proving the existence of that creator. Many have tried, but none have succeeded.
None of this amounts to proof of God's existence. But it clarifies a point of agreement -- which reveals an even deeper division. Atheists and theists seem to agree that human beings have an innate desire for morality and purpose. For the theist, this is perfectly understandable: We long for love, harmony and sympathy because we are intended by a Creator to find them. In a world without God, however, this desire for love and purpose is a cruel joke of nature -- imprinted by evolution, but destined for disappointment, just as we are destined for oblivion, on a planet that will be consumed by fire before the sun grows dim and cold.
Straw man. Atheism is the default position, free from those silly burdens imposed by ancient superstitions. Destined for oblivion? How about those theists who believe, and teach their children to believe, that everyone is a sinner and must kowtow to the whims of some imaginary being or be thrown forever into the fiery pit of hell? Now there's a life that smacks of dismal desperation.

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  13:08:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In a world without God, however, this desire for love and purpose is a cruel joke of nature -- imprinted by evolution, but destined for disappointment, just as we are destined for oblivion, on a planet that will be consumed by fire before the sun grows dim and cold.


In other words, since he doesn't think his life is worth very much, he thinks he needs to create a wild fantasy which doesn't really help him with anything at all.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  13:29:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In a world without God, however, this desire for love and purpose is a cruel joke of nature -- imprinted by evolution, but destined for disappointment, just as we are destined for oblivion, on a planet that will be consumed by fire before the sun grows dim and cold.
Even if this were true, so? How does the fact that reality isn't to his liking change reality? Like so many god-botherers, he is confusing what is with how he wants things to be.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/13/2007 13:29:40
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dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  15:32:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rephrased from the OP to apply the same arguments to car manufacture and repair. My changes in bold.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad parts for our cars? Faith based mechanics, for over twenty minutes now, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better parts for our cars because the car fairy we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Non-faith based mechanics provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Choose parts that enhance the car's funtions" because those functions are conflicted. "Learn about car mechanics" or "Respect basic electrical principles" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with wiring specs and mechanical principles, I'm going to do whatever I please." Some guy put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good enough' has been debunked, what says 'Let's build a better car' remains."


Just a little fun.
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  17:23:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The OP might as well read:

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism can't give an answer: With an infinite supply of potential gods, our choice of one that says that we should cultivate the better angels of our nature, is entirely arbitrary. It would be perfectly theological for someone to respond: "To hell with god X, I'm going to do whatever god Y demands."

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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marfknox
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USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  17:35:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
C.W. Lewis makes the idiotic statement: "When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains."

Idiotic because there are plenty o' theists who think killing is good, and plenty of atheists who want to be nice to each other.

Susan B. Anthony - an agnostic Quaker - makes the much more intelligent statement: "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

Edited for clarity

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 07/13/2007 17:36:38
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marfknox
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USA
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Posted - 07/13/2007 :  17:39:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I swear, the more I think about this stupid, age-old argument, the more I think that people who subscribe to it must deep down hate themselves. I mean, what, they can't attribute their desire to live a life which includes kindness toward others and self-respect to their own conscience? Instead they have to pretend they are only doing it for God? No wonder so many theists are in denial of the existence of friendly neighborhood atheists.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Valiant Dancer
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USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  19:28:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

What Atheists Can't Answer.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Obey your evolutionary instincts" because those instincts are conflicted. "Respect your brain chemistry" or "follow your mental wiring" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I'm going to do whatever I please." C.S. Lewis put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains."



OK, so the author insists that without divine intervention, man would quickly denegrate to the basest insticts of survival and pleasure.

What the author ignores is the inherent benefit of stability and security that being nice to others provides. A benefit which is borne of a natural empathy for others. Hatred of others who are different is only partially instinct. It is more of a learned response. Empathy drives some of the most basic urges of pairbonding (also instinctual) and socialization.

Assuming instead that humans are pack or herd critters and that empathy plays an important role in forging and sustaining a society, the existance of religion becomes irrelevant to societal norms.

Ergo, athiests have the same drive to be nice to others based on their inherent natures to the same degree as theists who are not following a charismatic leader bent on subjugating his flock to his will.

Short, sweet, to the point. To muss it up, you need a struggle for power which necessatates the subjugation of a population.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Edited by - Valiant Dancer on 07/13/2007 19:29:22
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  20:40:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We can just ignore the obvious evolutionary advantages that come from cooperation and living in communities. This particular trait has propelled humans to the top of the food chain (figuratively speaking) in the blink of the evolution-eye.

Much better to ignore evidence and just claim that some diety is responsible for all morality.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2007 :  20:47:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by dv82matt

Rephrased from the OP to apply the same arguments to car manufacture and repair. My changes in bold.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad parts for our cars? Faith based mechanics, for over twenty minutes now, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better parts for our cars because the car fairy we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Non-faith based mechanics provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Choose parts that enhance the car's funtions" because those functions are conflicted. "Learn about car mechanics" or "Respect basic electrical principles" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with wiring specs and mechanical principles, I'm going to do whatever I please." Some guy put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good enough' has been debunked, what says 'Let's build a better car' remains."


Just a little fun.
Absolutely, hilariously devastating! Thank you so much for that logical exercise.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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