THESE FORUMS NOW CLOSED (read only)

  • 28 Nov 2023, 11:37
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9   Go Down

Author Topic: Atheist Penelope  (Read 161390 times)

Dotes

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Atheist Penelope
« on: 14 Dec 2008, 21:23 »

Why's Jeph raggin' so hard on crazy atheist Penelope? As an atheist myself it kinda bothers me, especially since the whole "fundamentalist atheist" thing is a big farce. Atheism is about skepticism, not absolutism. I understand that they're just characters and dialogue, but it all comes from somewhere, and I don't like the way some of her views are being treated in the comic.

I know I shouldn't complain and just be happy that Jeph makes such a great comic, but I can't help but be bothered by the latest few Penelope strips. I'm not making a big deal about it though, I just want to see what a few other people think. Are you bothered by it? Or does it seems like a fair portrayal of atheists that you met? Or am I just a crazy person who gets offended by nothing?

Discuss.
Logged

Surgoshan

  • Duck attack survivor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1,801
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #1 on: 14 Dec 2008, 21:26 »

I'm an atheist, but I'm pretty laid back about it.  Once upon a time, such was not the case.  I was an asshole evangelical atheist.  There are all types of atheists.  Some, like Penny, have yet to relax and accept that there is no god and, yes, the world has yet to acknowledge the fact. 

He's riding it because 1)  It's true to character and 2) it's good for a few laughs and PROFIT) it may lead to future character development as the hardcore Penny bounces of the supremely laid back* cast.  And Wil.

*  With one or two exceptions.
Logged

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #2 on: 14 Dec 2008, 21:45 »

Lots of people have opinions on things; if you dare to scratch the surface, what lies beneath might not be to your liking.

"Everyone's nice until you get to know them." ;)
Or something like that.
Maybe "nice" is actually "normal" in the expression, but I think this one works too.

How's this to sum things up:
"Blasphemy is a blast for me."


If someone asks about my religious affiliation, or lack thereof, I'll politely reply that I am without religion. If it takes a turn from there, such as, "Oh, you're going to Hell you know, you'd better convert to the RIGHT religion, which mine happens to be," or, "Wow, I thought all smart people knew that <deity> existed," then I shall return fire with proportional intensity.


Logged

CaseyKoons

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #3 on: 14 Dec 2008, 22:26 »

I have indeed meet atheists like Penelope.
There are atheisms of skepticism, even sincere doubt, that challenge the idea of god.
There are also atheisms of certainty, of faith in there not being a god.

I also agree that it fits what we seen from Penelope. She seems to have defined what she is/isn't likes/dislikes very carefully, and rails violently against that which stands against her norms. That certainly reminds of me of people I know.  :wink:
Logged

Auberon

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #4 on: 14 Dec 2008, 23:30 »

I'm not particularly bothered by it. Truth of it is I sympathize with her and feel the same way. My parents are Catholic, well my mother's a hardcore one and my father's Christian in general in the way that he doesn't believe in any specific denomination, so I really feel the whole being raised under religious indoctrination and feeling that it's all highly irrational. You might say that I'm more of the 'militant' atheist in the way that I'm opposed to things such as teaching irrationality to children, indoctrinating them at an age where they're intellectually defenceless, labeling them under their parent's religion and so forth, but neither do I run around bashing religion and preaching the Gospel of Joe Pesci (kudos to those who get the reference).

Like christians and people of other religion, there are many kinds of atheists and Penelope just happens to be more 'fundamentalist', as you call it. I don't think it really paints atheism under a bad color. If people are so close-minded that they always think of atheism as being that way, then I doubt the personality of a webcomic character will make that much of a diference.
Logged

nastek

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #5 on: 15 Dec 2008, 05:04 »

I have indeed meet atheists like Penelope.
There are atheisms of skepticism, even sincere doubt, that challenge the idea of god.
There are also atheisms of certainty, of faith in there not being a god.

I also agree that it fits what we seen from Penelope. She seems to have defined what she is/isn't likes/dislikes very carefully, and rails violently against that which stands against her norms. That certainly reminds of me of people I know.  :wink:
Excuse me, but isn't god challengin the idea of atheism? If you say sth. exists, you have to prove it, not vice versa. Just a thought...
As atheist I don't usually go out of my way to tell people how I disagree with their believes but have met religious people that act like they are ofended by my opinion... Go figure.
Logged

Susano

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #6 on: 15 Dec 2008, 09:45 »

Granted, every person is different, but strip 1289 is basically the usual silly criticism against outspoken atheists in caricature form. And this does bug me a bit. Personally, I see no reason why us atheists shouldnt be outspoken. We have the weight of arguments on our side, dont we?
Logged

Susano

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #7 on: 15 Dec 2008, 10:42 »

But that is exactly the annoying fact which the strip gets wrong. Sure both sides think they are right - but normally Atehists dont go aroudn screaming "we are right" like christian extremists, do, but rather go "Its likely theres no god because <argument1>, <argument2>, <argument3>". Whereas the theological christian arguments are "Its in this series of book once started by an insignifcant tribe of goat herder some millenia ago" and the philosophcial arguments are all baffling stupid.

Its not about permission to believe silly things. Of course, everybody is free to do so. Its about regognicing them as silly, and not giving SOME silly beliefs a preferred treatment just because they have the word "religion" and some centuries of history to back their silly claims!
Logged

Usopp

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #8 on: 15 Dec 2008, 11:10 »

Quote
Granted, every person is different, but strip 1289 is basically the usual silly criticism against outspoken atheists in caricature form. And this does bug me a bit. Personally, I see no reason why us atheists shouldnt be outspoken. We have the weight of arguments on our side, dont we?

To the best of my knowledge, noone really likes people who are really outspoken about their beliefs, right or wrong. Even Jesus was mostly the kind of passive, listen-if-you-want kind of preacher.

Quote
Its about regognicing them as silly, and not giving SOME silly beliefs a preferred treatment just because they have the word "religion" and some centuries of history to back their silly claims!

It's also about respect for another's beliefs. Do you think that calling someone a buttfucking-stupid idiot is going to make them any more amenable to your claims? Remember what Jeph taught us about calling someone "irrational" now, and maybe you'll gain some insight.
Logged

Tyrus

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #9 on: 15 Dec 2008, 11:28 »

But that is exactly the annoying fact which the strip gets wrong. Sure both sides think they are right - but normally Atheists don't go around screaming "we are right" like christian extremists, do, but rather go "Its likely theres no god because <argument1>, <argument2>, <argument3>"
A lot of which boil down to "There's not enough evidence, God", as put by Bertrand Russell and paraphrased by Penelope.  And some atheists get very worked up about the fact that some (indeed most) people hold some form of religious belief, like Richard Dawkins and Penelope.  Penelope is just presenting various views with the intent to output some humour at the end of it all, not  intended to represent what "atheists" are, either for or against.

I'd also pay attention to the word normally in your second sentence.  Penelope may not be a "normal" atheist in your sense of the word.

I really wouldn't worry about it.  I found it an interesting twist as Penelope has up to now been more or less displaying all the signs of being a stereotypical raised-as-and-continuing-to-be-Christian girl (at least until the erotic poetry event, in my view).  The revelation about her lack of faith puts a neat spin on her character.
Logged

WriterofAllWrongs

  • Vagina Manifesto
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 685
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #10 on: 15 Dec 2008, 11:46 »

But that is exactly the annoying fact which the strip gets wrong. Sure both sides think they are right - but normally Atehists dont go aroudn screaming "we are right" like christian extremists, do, but rather go "Its likely theres no god because <argument1>, <argument2>, <argument3>".

Yeah, and normally Christians don't go around screaming their balls off about the fact that they are going to heaven when they die and you better come too.  That's why the people who do are known as extremists.  It's considered an extreme viewpoint to discount all else but your beliefs and go around perpetrating overtly obnoxious acts in the name of a book or a quote or a set of logical rules, etc.

Quote
Whereas the theological christian arguments are "Its in this series of book once started by an insignifcant tribe of goat herder some millenia ago" and the philosophcial arguments are all baffling stupid."

Keep in mind that some atheist arguments consist of "There's no way there is a god  because a set of universal rules set by old smart dudes hundreds of years back said so."  Objectively speaking, Christianity and Atheism's definition of the world and afterlife are just as plausible as one another.  It's just as plausible that our chunk of rock in space has grown life because we're placed just right in this particular solar system (which is basically a mathematical impossibility) or because some otherworldly being of all-importance wanted to make us just because.  It's all about the individual's decision of what makes sense.

Honestly, anyone who asserts their viewpoints as wholly correct or above another person's beliefs for whatever reason has lost a bit of perspective.  We're all just individuals in the world, and religion is a way of joining a collective and being something bigger than yourself and connecting with others.  One person doesn't have a right to say that their way is wholly correct, because no one knows.  It's a mystery, and our beliefs are just our way of trying to demystify the world, and propagating your heavenly solution over everyone else's is a bit self-absorbed, and generally just serves to confuse and upset other people.  Discussions on religion are great because you connect with a person over your views of the world in which you both inhabit, but arguments break that connection and just upsets everyone.  What's the use of being TOTALLY CORRECT about something you can't know if that notion only serves to disconnect people from your view?
« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2008, 11:54 by WriterofAllWrongs »
Logged

Is it cold in here?

  • Administrator
  • Awakened
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 25,163
  • He/him/his pronouns
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #11 on: 15 Dec 2008, 11:53 »

... strip 1289 is basically the usual silly criticism against outspoken atheists in caricature form.
It could also be read as simply being characterization of Rhymes-with-antelope Gaines, and that seems more likely given Jeph's own religious orientation. We've seen or heard of Penne-lope equally passionate about De Beers, Hemingway, alphabetizing bookshelves, and calling ex-girlfriends "crazy".

Also, saying something to the effect "But it's different when I say it because *I'm* right" is such a universal human weakness that you don't have to take it as a reflection on the views of whoever's saying it.
Logged
Thank you, Dr. Karikó.

rb4havoc

  • Notorious N.U.R.R.
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #12 on: 15 Dec 2008, 13:21 »

But that is exactly the annoying fact which the strip gets wrong. Sure both sides think they are right - but normally Atehists dont go aroudn screaming "we are right" like christian extremists, do

Atheist "extremists" do! There are Christians who don't bug others about their religion and Chiristians that do, just like there are atheists who don't take potshots at religious folks, and atheists who do. Like I said, people are always individuals, perceiving them as groups whose members all think and act the same way is a dangerous road to go down.

but rather go "Its likely theres no god because <argument1>, <argument2>, <argument3>". Whereas the theological christian arguments are "Its in this series of book once started by an insignifcant tribe of goat herder some millenia ago" and the philosophcial arguments are all baffling stupid.

There is no point in arguing religion with logic, from either side of the argument. It's about faith. Faith has got nothing to do with logic.

Its not about permission to believe silly things. Of course, everybody is free to do so. Its about regognicing them as silly, and not giving SOME silly beliefs a preferred treatment just because they have the word "religion" and some centuries of history to back their silly claims!

How is Christianity any more silly than your world view just because it is based on faith instead of logic?
I honestly think that from either standpoint, from atheism or religion, it's give or take from both faith and logic.  Our world being habitable and then humans coming into existence are prime examples of it.  From a logical point of view, the probability of either happening in mathematical terms is impossible, so help from an outside source to guide the creation process would logically make more sense than just a random bang and random primordial oozes mixing together to make a planet and human life, respectively.  To me, it just seems like there's more faith involved in the latter than the former :laugh:
Logged

Usopp

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #13 on: 15 Dec 2008, 14:51 »

Quote
Our world being habitable and then humans coming into existence are prime examples of it.  From a logical point of view, the probability of either happening in mathematical terms is impossible, so help from an outside source to guide the creation process would logically make more sense than just a random bang and random primordial oozes mixing together to make a planet and human life, respectively.

The bit about this arguement that always amuses me is the fact that IF things were just random, and it all happened spontaneously, the only place that would have the potential to argue about whether or not it was truly random is the place where the exeption just proved the rule.
Logged

rb4havoc

  • Notorious N.U.R.R.
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #14 on: 15 Dec 2008, 15:41 »

Yeah, but then the spontaneity would have had to occur over and over again, hundreds of millions of times, and wouldn't truly be random, but rather a pattern :wink:
Logged

psion

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #15 on: 15 Dec 2008, 16:55 »

Yeah, but then the spontaneity would have had to occur over and over again, hundreds of millions of times, and wouldn't truly be random, but rather a pattern :wink:

There are never random occurrences.  Only patterns.  It's in the math. 
Logged

Usopp

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #16 on: 15 Dec 2008, 17:56 »

Quote
Yeah, but then the spontaneity would have had to occur over and over again, hundreds of millions of times, and wouldn't truly be random, but rather a pattern

The point is, the odds say it'll happen eventually, and the only ones who get to question it are the ones who the odds favor. 10000 coin flips resulting in heads in a row is highly unlikely, but the odds say it'll happen.
Logged

sofiabailote

  • Larger than most fish
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 106
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #17 on: 15 Dec 2008, 18:25 »

If I believe am invisible space monkey that grants immortality is in my bedroom closet then I am in my full right to believe so. Crazy? Sure! But to me, it's just as crazy not to believe in the monkey. To me, the monkey is a very real thing. Why shouldn't I be allowed to believe in the monkey? Just because you don't believe in it doesn't mean I don't.
but then, when you die, what happens to the monkey?  :wink:
Logged

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #18 on: 15 Dec 2008, 20:01 »

Yeah, but then the spontaneity would have had to occur over and over again, hundreds of millions of times, and wouldn't truly be random, but rather a pattern :wink:

There are never random occurrences.  Only patterns.  It's in the math. 
Once you get down to the quantum level though, predictability pretty much breaks down.


I honestly think that from either standpoint, from atheism or religion, it's give or take from both faith and logic.  Our world being habitable and then humans coming into existence are prime examples of it.  From a logical point of view, the probability of either happening in mathematical terms is impossible, so help from an outside source to guide the creation process would logically make more sense than just a random bang and random primordial oozes mixing together to make a planet and human life, respectively.  To me, it just seems like there's more faith involved in the latter than the former :laugh:
Invariably, Occam's Razor comes up. Possibilities:
- A finite universe, with a finite quantity of matter and energy, and a finite, but large, number of possibilities.
- An infinitely powerful, infinitely complex deity.

Finite complexity would seem more likely.

And there's always the question of, who created the creator? By the same reasoning of creating a complex Universe, a more complex creator would need to exist. And from there, it's just turtles all the way down.

If <deity> is exempt from the laws of spacetime, why not exempt the Big Bang singularity from it as well? Stephen Hawking said that asking "what came before the Big Bang" is like asking "What's south of the south pole?" As best as we can figure, space, energy, and time erupted from the Big Bang singularity. There was a "before," but not in any terms we can quantify, because we exist within space and time. What is there when space and time don't exist? I can merely quantify it as "something," but I can not be any more specific.


There's also the Anthropic Principle: If the Universe wasn't hospitable to any sentient life forms, then there wouldn't be anyone around to ask, "Why does the Universe hate life?"
Though indeed, 99.99999.......% of the volume of the Universe is inhospitable to us, and portions of it are utterly hostile. One of those good burps of gamma radiation that are occasionally spotted here and there could quite severely damage life on Earth - since gamma rays are just another wavelength of light, our only warning would come when sensors detected a really bright flash of gamma rays, coupled with the shedding of a large portion of the ozone layer, and possibly more of the atmosphere, depending on how powerful the blast is.
Heck, even our charming home planet has plenty of environments that would kill us pretty darn quickly.



"I believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn. I logically know it is invisible because I cannot see it, and I know it is pink because I have faith."

« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2008, 20:15 by Jeff7 »
Logged

JacobSnickers

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #19 on: 15 Dec 2008, 20:18 »

Check out this David Wong article on the subject. It does a really good job of describing how similar all belief systems are, and he really does make some interesting points. Definitely good reading.

"Ten Things Christians and Atheists Can (and must) Agree On"
« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2008, 20:27 by JacobSnickers »
Logged

nastek

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #20 on: 15 Dec 2008, 23:44 »

It bugs me every time someone says "<person> is not an accurate depiction of <stereotype>" - they're not supposed to be. Do you think Jeph based Penelope on the way he thinks every atheist ever behaves? Of course not. Penelope is a character, not a type of character.

edit because I just read this:

As atheist I don't usually go out of my way to tell people how I disagree with their believes but have met religious people that act like they are ofended by my opinion... Go figure.

Dangerous thinking, mate. There are atheists who are right dicks about their (non)-beliefs too. Don't label people based on something as arbitrary as what religion they were raised into, there are good Christians and bad Christians just like there are good atheists and bad atheists. If you must judge people, judge individuals, and judge them after you've come to know them.
Yeah, I know there are unrational atheists too. I haven't written that this goes for all the atheist/religious people, it is just my experience - and even in my experience I have met dfferent kinds of people. So your response is not really in conntection with what I said.
What bothers me is that some religious people start discusing my opinion (it's not belief, I'm rational atheist so it has nothing to do with believing) but think that I shouldn't discuss their belifs - because it's private, sacred or whatever. Well, then they shouldn't go into this debate, should they.
Logged

Dotes

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #21 on: 16 Dec 2008, 00:11 »

Wow, great discussion everybody. A lot of great talking points and debate. I honestly didn't expect (but I was hoping for) this to happen. I was afraid I'd just get flamed. I'll just comment on a few things and then be on my way.

Quote
I have indeed meet atheists like Penelope.
There are atheisms of skepticism, even sincere doubt, that challenge the idea of god.
There are also atheisms of certainty, of faith in there not being a god.

I also agree that it fits what we seen from Penelope. She seems to have defined what she is/isn't likes/dislikes very carefully, and rails violently against that which stands against her norms. That certainly reminds of me of people I know.  wink

I had forgotten about Penelope's personality quirks, and you're right, now that I think about it, it is somewhat a part of her personality. The strips make a lot more sense now.

Quote
I'm not particularly bothered by it. Truth of it is I sympathize with her and feel the same way. My parents are Catholic, well my mother's a hardcore one and my father's Christian in general in the way that he doesn't believe in any specific denomination, so I really feel the whole being raised under religious indoctrination and feeling that it's all highly irrational. You might say that I'm more of the 'militant' atheist in the way that I'm opposed to things such as teaching irrationality to children, indoctrinating them at an age where they're intellectually defenceless, labeling them under their parent's religion and so forth, but neither do I run around bashing religion and preaching the Gospel of Joe Pesci (kudos to those who get the reference).

Like christians and people of other religion, there are many kinds of atheists and Penelope just happens to be more 'fundamentalist', as you call it. I don't think it really paints atheism under a bad color. If people are so close-minded that they always think of atheism as being that way, then I doubt the personality of a webcomic character will make that much of a diference.

Yeah, I'd say my view on religion is pretty similar to yours.  And you make a good point about closed-mindedness.

Quote
It bugs me every time someone says "<person> is not an accurate depiction of <stereotype>" - they're not supposed to be. Do you think Jeph based Penelope on the way he thinks every atheist ever behaves? Of course not. Penelope is a character, not a type of character.

I understand your complaint, but I my attention was drawn to it because it's similar to that same argument gets thrown around too often about the "fundamental atheist." It's a negative stereotype and it's not fair. Typically, when atheists are being belligerent, it's in the name of secularism, or some kind of attempt to maintain a separation of church and state (especially in the U.S.) I've rarely met an argument from an atheist claiming to know that God does not exist, but rather that God should stay out of our system of government. I'm getting a little off-topic, but what I'm really trying to say is that while people like Penelope may exist, I'd wager they're not nearly as common as they are often portrayed, and I guess it just bothers me how often that stereotype is used. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. It's not Jeph's fault, though, and I hope I haven't offended anybody with my thread.

Quote
Granted, every person is different, but strip 1289 is basically the usual silly criticism against outspoken atheists in caricature form. And this does bug me a bit. Personally, I see no reason why us atheists shouldnt be outspoken. We have the weight of arguments on our side, dont we?

This pretty well sums up my point, about the silly criticism that is.

Quote
But that is exactly the annoying fact which the strip gets wrong. Sure both sides think they are right - but normally Atehists dont go aroudn screaming "we are right" like christian extremists, do, but rather go "Its likely theres no god because <argument1>, <argument2>, <argument3>". Whereas the theological christian arguments are "Its in this series of book once started by an insignifcant tribe of goat herder some millenia ago" and the philosophcial arguments are all baffling stupid.

Its not about permission to believe silly things. Of course, everybody is free to do so. Its about regognicing them as silly, and not giving SOME silly beliefs a preferred treatment just because they have the word "religion" and some centuries of history to back their silly claims!

That's not really a fair characterization of the Christian argument. I personally don't find the concept of a Judeo-Christian god to be intellectually tenable, I believe that with a certain degree of skepticism someone can reasonably believe in the possibility of a deity and develop a worldview or a lifestyle based on that.

Ok. I'm not going to comment on any more of the posts, 'cause it's late, but I appreciate all of your thoughts and opinions.

Oh, and the cracked list. I don't agree with all of the things on that list. In fact, I find the implication that Stalin killed religious people because he was an atheist to be a wee bit offensive. Also, the article just isn't very well-written. Cracked has done far better. The writer just seems to have a severe misunderstanding of an atheist mindset, and I didn't even have to get to the part where he disclosed his religion to figure out he's a Christian. I dunno, I didn't like it.
Logged

Surgoshan

  • Duck attack survivor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1,801
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #22 on: 16 Dec 2008, 03:23 »

I honestly think that from either standpoint, from atheism or religion, it's give or take from both faith and logic.  Our world being habitable and then humans coming into existence are prime examples of it.  From a logical point of view, the probability of either happening in mathematical terms is impossible, so help from an outside source to guide the creation process would logically make more sense than just a random bang and random primordial oozes mixing together to make a planet and human life, respectively.  To me, it just seems like there's more faith involved in the latter than the former :laugh:

A:  If there was an outside being shaping us, why did it take nearly 14 billion years for us to show up?

B:  Conversely, if there was not an outside being, why did it take nearly 14 billion years for us to show up?

A:  Um... because he's careful and deliberate.

B:  Because the collection of events required for our existence was very improbable and required a very great deal of time and space before they occurred.

Yeah, faith is the reasonable position there.
Logged

Usopp

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #23 on: 16 Dec 2008, 08:28 »

Quote
A:  If there was an outside being shaping us, why did it take nearly 14 billion years for us to show up?

A:  Um... because he's careful and deliberate.

Don't you know that the fossil record and gradually evolving species were just sent by god to test our faith?  :evil:
Logged

WriterofAllWrongs

  • Vagina Manifesto
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 685
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #24 on: 16 Dec 2008, 09:37 »

A:  If there was an outside being shaping us, why did it take nearly 14 billion years for us to show up?

B:  Conversely, if there was not an outside being, why did it take nearly 14 billion years for us to show up?

A:  Um... because he's careful and deliberate.

B:  Because the collection of events required for our existence was very improbable and required a very great deal of time and space before they occurred.

Yeah, faith is the reasonable position there.

But see, this is where atheists and more religious folks are always going to disagree.  Some people don't identify with reason, they want something larger to believe in.  Atheism could be seen by a lot of religious sects as in too much of a hurry to get everything explained away, just as a lot of atheists find the idea of being blindly faithful in an idea that is explained by what is, to them, silly folklore preposterous.  Some people don't like the idea of us just being here, because chemical chance and scientific miracles guys.  Some people want a reason to exist, and a spiritual purpose.  I myself can't really agree with the notion that we're here for no reason, but I don't discount it either, because it's just as possible as anything else.

Another thing is, what scientific explanations are for atheists, the religious texts are for the religious.  Saying that "Oh we've got science on our side" while it does help to explain a lot about the world, it will just not be a viable answer for those who believe in a supernatural being, as it is vice versa. 
Logged

Dotes

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #25 on: 16 Dec 2008, 11:46 »

Quote
But see, this is where atheists and more religious folks are always going to disagree.  Some people don't identify with reason, they want something larger to believe in.  Atheism could be seen by a lot of religious sects as in too much of a hurry to get everything explained away, just as a lot of atheists find the idea of being blindly faithful in an idea that is explained by what is, to them, silly folklore preposterous.  Some people don't like the idea of us just being here, because chemical chance and scientific miracles guys.  Some people want a reason to exist, and a spiritual purpose.  I myself can't really agree with the notion that we're here for no reason, but I don't discount it either, because it's just as possible as anything else.

Another thing is, what scientific explanations are for atheists, the religious texts are for the religious.  Saying that "Oh we've got science on our side" while it does help to explain a lot about the world, it will just not be a viable answer for those who believe in a supernatural being, as it is vice versa.

I really don't want to get into too much of an argument over atheism vs. religion, but I feel compelled to respond to a few of these statements. I agree that some people need to believe that there is a higher purpose, and while I don't, I understand why people do. But to say that atheism is seen as a something that is in a hurry to explain everything away, I can't help but feel is a disappointing misunderstanding. What is a faster way to explain something than to say "God did it?" And then, there's the baffling connotation that somehow all atheists view science as their religion, and I really hate how that's the case. There is no link between atheism and science; atheism is just about a denial of the existence of a deity. I hate it when people say that atheists view science as a religion also because science is not religion. The only thing the two have in common is their attempt to explain natural phenomenon. And, between the two, science is far better and discerning objective truth, primarily because it is falsifiable. Scientific theories only stand until they are proven false, while religious theories... well, they can last a few extra centuries. (okay, cheap shot, I know)

Well, that's all I can say for now, I have a final I have to take in ten minutes.  :cry:
Logged

Loungehound

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #26 on: 17 Dec 2008, 12:15 »


There are Christians who don't bug others about their religion and Chiristians that do,


Being from the south, I know lots of Christians that would vehemently disagree with you. According to their way of thinking, you aren't a Christian if you aren't constantly trying to convert anyone who's not a Christian. In fact it's why it's called Evangelical. Yes, I know there are lots of proselytising (sp?) atheists, but they aren't recquired  to do so by The Big Book Of Atheist Rules.

Please note I've not stated my own beliefs at all...
Logged

Loungehound

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #27 on: 17 Dec 2008, 12:29 »

I didn't say they weren't told to, I said they don't do it. Which they don't. I don't see what you're getting at.
You just said it yourself. Many (maybe most, I have no clue) Christians would argue that you are not a Christian if you aren't proselytising. Is that any clearer? Maybe my sentence structure was fucked up in my previous post. And dammit, I'm still not sure if I spelled "proselytising" correctly.
Logged

Jackie Blue

  • BANNED
  • Born in a Nalgene bottle
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,438
  • oh hi
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #28 on: 17 Dec 2008, 13:08 »

I think this thread makes atheists look a lot worse than Penelope does.

Jens, I love you but you're wasting your breath here.  Someone has already declared that rationally deciding there is no God is totally separate from believing there is no God.  Nothing good will come of this.
Logged
Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.

Alex C

  • comeback tour!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,915
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #29 on: 17 Dec 2008, 15:16 »

Jens, he's saying they're not really living up to the label of Orthodox Christians, which is true. Virtually all of my relatives are Christians of some form or another. Many are Catholic, my mother turned Protestant and there's a smattering of Evangelicals as well. They are all religious, but their religions are different. Some religions hold spreading the faith as one of their central tenants. Whether individuals fail to do so or not is another matter, and says more about them than it does their faith. For example, if you're raised a Jehovah's Witness and you don't go proselytizing, that's in spite of what you've been taught, not because of it, since a certain amount of preaching is actively considered a duty. Religions are partly personal relationships, but a label ceases to be useful once it no longer really applies. A person isn't necessarily less spiritual for not holding to a certain set of tenants, but after a certain point what they're doing is rather seperate from the mainstream of a given faith.


Anyway, yeah, hardcore atheists and hardcore religious wackos won't stop arguing anytime soon. That's because neither side really believes the other mindset is this truly benign and personal fantasy Jens cooked up. For example, I'm sure there's atheists out there who blame the Christian majority for supporting Prop 8 or point at the Muslims and the terrorism in the Middle East. Meanwhile, most cultures use religion as a bastion of their moral and ethical thought and often blame a lack of faith for sinfulness and cruelty or otherwise do not see how one could be ethical without being spiritual. To take us back to proselytizing, some religions basically believe that not bothering to convert someone is roughly equivalent to not bothering to help a drowning man. The hardcore atheists aren't just annoyed that someone might believe in the space monkey, they're worried some wacko will start printing out a newsletter about how to curry the monkey's favor and before you know it there's millions of peoplel voting straight ticket Immortality Party. The religious zealots are worried that the atheists will start doing whatever the fuck they want because they just don't give a damn about anything. And frankly, I'm not sure either position is all that much more naive than truly believing that people don't make decisions according to things so central to their ideology.
« Last Edit: 17 Dec 2008, 15:53 by Alex C »
Logged
the ship has Dr. Pepper but not Mr. Pibb; it's an absolute goddamned travesty

Tropylium

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #30 on: 17 Dec 2008, 16:53 »

If <deity> is exempt from the laws of spacetime, why not exempt the Big Bang singularity from it as well? Stephen Hawking said that asking "what came before the Big Bang" is like asking "What's south of the south pole?" As best as we can figure, space, energy, and time erupted from the Big Bang singularity. There was a "before," but not in any terms we can quantify, because we exist within space and time. What is there when space and time don't exist?

BTW
The Big Bang Singularity only exists as a mathematical limit, it's not anything we have direct evidence on. For starters, the entire "back in time" concept is not 100% sound. Remember that relativity tells us there is no absolute time. When things get hotter, particles moov faster, which makes their "personal" time pass slo'er - so any single thing that comes from a Big Bang would be infinitely old to begin with. The "14 billion years" is calculated with respect to a generalized coordinate system averaged over galaxy groups - which are surprizingly static with respect to one another. This however is largely explainable by the Cosmic Inflation phase (the proper "bang" part) which flatten'd out any differences across the observable universe. It really makes little sense to then "interpolate to the beginning of time". It's not even like asking what's south of the South Pole, it's like asking how far beyond the horizon do the railroad tracks meet, and what do they do after having cross'd one another?

But apparently it is easier to explain all this in a science-as-religion fashion as absolute beginning of all existence…
Logged

Loungehound

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #31 on: 17 Dec 2008, 17:24 »

Jens, he's saying they're not really living up to the label of Orthodox Christians, which is true.

and

To take us back to proselytizing, some religions basically believe that not bothering to convert someone is roughly equivalent to not bothering to help a drowning man.

Exactly. And to take us back to labels, some some self identified Christians claim the right to determine who may label themself Christian. As in, "You're not a Christian unless you do X." That is not inherently negative. "Sorry, we don't really believe you're a Christian if you're actively murdering people."
Logged

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #32 on: 17 Dec 2008, 17:27 »

...were a whole bunch of posts removed from this conversation?  I'll assume that the discussion was getting a tad heated.   :-D

I wanted to throw in my handful of pennies, though; a few things to chew on from my now many years of arguing about religion with family & whoever else starts the discussion:
Some reasons why some atheists get so wound up:
* To reject the faith of your parents and often community can be a wrenching experience -- my parents and relatives were quite mild on the religious scale (and Catholic, not evangelical or anything where the entire community was focused on religion...) but I have still spent hundreds of painful hours of my life arguing the subject.  On the nastier end of the spectrum, people are disowned, shunned by their community, etc. etc..  Because they've been told that they're "losing their child to Satan", some parents will try damned near anything to force their child to stay with the faith.
* Check out this poll (scroll down to the numbers): http://www.gallup.com/poll/26611/Some-Americans-Reluctant-Vote-Mormon-72YearOld-Presidential-Candidates.aspx  If their political party nominated an otherwise well-qualified candidate who was atheist, 53% of Americans would refuse to vote for them.  We all know how homophobic the average American is -- but notice that only 43% would refuse to vote for a homosexual.
* The fight to break down the wall between church & state is being fought constantly by some highly organized religious groups (obviously atheists are nowhere near as organized), and they're succeeding on many fronts.  Anyone know how many extra people died of AIDS in Africa because Bush wouldn't fund programs that distributed condoms (only abstinence education is God-approved... regardless of what actually works)?  It's not just about freedom of religion; people are dying & lives are destroyed because of religious intrusions into government.

I personally spend a decent amount of time & money in these various related causes, so I'm sure I'm more sensitized to the issue.  Seriously, it grates like nails on a chalkboard every time a politician wraps "God" around everything, and they do it all the friggin' time.

I also got a mildly negative vibe from the strip, since that stereotype is pushed so very hard by the people trying to smear atheists -- i.e., "they claim we're irrational, but they're clearly far more unhinged... and they're just worshiping blindly in their own wacked belief system!".  I wouldn't say it's unrealistic -- there are plenty of Penelopes around -- but it's sort of a milder version of how it'd be a dicey if you had a Jewish character who happened to talk frequently about money.  You know, I'm probably overstating my case (this stereotype isn't as famous) -- but I personally got a jolt from it.  If I'd been standing there in front of them I'd have really wanted to jump into the conversation.

I technically have no problem with religion in many of its forms -- plenty of people go to some kind of service every once in a while, spend a little time thinking about how to be a bit nicer, and go about their business; that's excellent.  If you ask them, "what's something you absolutely know to be unquestionably, absolutely true?" they won't even think of brandishing a Bible at you.  So those aren't the people I'm fighting; unfortunately, many of them don't even realize the fight is happening... so when they get caught in the crossfire somewhere along the way, it's all that much easier for them to think they've just met a raving atheist, and the rumors were true.

@Tropylium, and in regards to the discussion of the Big Bang, etc. etc. -- science is an endless endeavor (dunno how certain we'll ever be about the origins of the universe, but new breakthroughs continue to be made regularly on dark matter, etc.), and there are various different theories that still integrate the most up-to-date observations and science.  I think Jeff7's main point was that we have no idea what came before the big bang, and we'll probably never know.

The important point: this is where science says "these are the limits of what we know, and here are our current best ideas for explanation that account for all of the latest observations".  Religion says "we know for sure", but the holy books contain answers based on the best scientific observations and ideas of two thousand years ago (if that recent).  Obviously this assumes you don't take the various religious texts as collections of fables & instructive moral tales, I should say....  I personally think there's plenty of interest in them, but only if you believe there was no supernatural provenance.

**Edit: I read your post again.  Now I'm not even clear that you're disagreeing with Jeff7 -- you're both saying the "time" before the big bang is basically meaningless and/or beyond possible investigation anyway.  This is what threw me off the most: "But apparently it is easier to explain all this in a science-as-religion fashion as absolute beginning of all existence…"  What did you mean by that?**
« Last Edit: 17 Dec 2008, 17:36 by jtheory »
Logged

Dotes

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #33 on: 17 Dec 2008, 20:31 »

Excellent post jtheory, that's a great summation of an atheist viewpoint, and a great response to a number of topics. That Gallup poll is interesting, I'd read something similar in the book The God Delusion, but I was hoping those statistics would be different than the ones posted in the book - from 1999, I believe.
Logged

Loungehound

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #34 on: 18 Dec 2008, 02:26 »

...were a whole bunch of posts removed from this conversation?  I'll assume that the discussion was getting a tad heated.   :-D

I think I offended someone- nothing new there, but it certainly wasn't my intention, and nothing heated on my part for sure. So some folks removed ther posts, I guess, immediately after I quoted and responded to their post. What did I say that was so egregious?
Logged

pwhodges

  • Admin emeritus
  • Awakened
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 17,241
  • I'll only say this once...
    • My home page
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #35 on: 18 Dec 2008, 02:28 »

we have no idea what came before the big bang, and we'll probably never know.

If there even was a "before".  The big bang happened at time zero; but plot time on a log scale, and zero disappears infinitely far to the left, which may be a more understandable representation of it.
Logged
"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

Noman Peopled

  • Notorious N.U.R.R.
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #36 on: 18 Dec 2008, 05:21 »

Quote from: Susano
Granted, every person is different, but strip 1289 is basically the usual silly criticism against outspoken atheists in caricature form.
I was about to post this. Any atheist should be smarter than uttering what Penelope said.
Two differing views aren't equally substantial just because they're both views.

In that vein, I don't see how being an atheist can seriously be called religious as it sometimes is. Is it a belief? What does that even mean? The semantics of the word allow it, yes. Still, believing in what I can see, reproduce, calculate, deduce, etc seems a better way to get to grips with the world than a world view thousands of year old and ill-equipped to deal with modern problems.
Can God's nonexistance be proven? No. Neither can I disprove faeries, Russel's teapot, Sagan's invisible Dragon, dolphin channeling, etc. So why believe in god if so many things that are not disprovable are available? Because I was born in a society that happens to be heavily influenced by an ancient Empire that adopted a middle-eastern religion influenced in turn by countless other local religions for political reasons?

Quote from: Usopp
It's also about respect for another's beliefs. Do you think that calling someone a buttfucking-stupid idiot is going to make them any more amenable to your claims?
Of course not, that'd be counterproductive. But religion doesn't deserve respect just because it's religion. (That's actually what Russel was illustrating with his teapot, iirc.) Also, disrespecting someone's beliefs is vastly different from disrespecting the person.

Quote from: WriterofAllWrongs
"There's no way there is a god  because a set of universal rules set by old smart dudes hundreds of years back said so."  Objectively speaking, Christianity and Atheism's definition of the world and afterlife are just as plausible as one another.  It's just as plausible that our chunk of rock in space has grown life because we're placed just right in this particular solar system (which is basically a mathematical impossibility) or because some otherworldly being of all-importance wanted to make us just because.  It's all about the individual's decision of what makes sense.
@ first statement:
There may be some slight variations in the methodology employed. Nobody really believes in the gravitational law because some dude said it. We believe in it because it seems to describe one specific part of the universe with a precision that allows for moon landings.
Many of those old dudes never said there wasn't a god, either.
@ second statement:
It is not as plausible. Science has meticulously erected a system of what appears to be correct. Correct enough for now to put up quantifiable results both in describing how (not why) the universe works. There are gaping holes in those descriptions, yeah, and many may prove wrong or insufficently accurate, but the part of it that works has put men on the moon, developped readily available and cheap cures for diseases that routinely eradicated countrysides, and given humankind the way to kill itself a dozen times over. Am I "religious" in preferring to trust such a system than one that has given us, at best, some moral guidelines?
If believing in the sacredness of cows or monkeys (or playing WoW 16 hours a day, or shooting heroin, or casting curses) makes sense to me, is it therefore valid? More importantly, should I be preaching it to others, passing it on to my children?

Note that I am not asserting I am wholly correct. But I do assert that being correct 30% is better than being correct 10%.

Quote from: Jeff7
Invariably, Occam's Razor comes up.
I'm not trying to undermine your argument here, but you might want to be careful when invoking Occam. The version most often used boils down to "simple explanations are more likely to apply". Here's what Occam actually said:
"Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It has nothing to do with differing explanations being correct at all. All it states is that a description should be brokn down to its simplest terms (4x=8x-4 should be expressed as x=1) and is a rule of thumb in any case as a needlessly complex explanation can be as correct as a simple one.

Quote from: JackieBlue
I think this thread makes atheists look a lot worse than Penelope does.
How so? Penelope said the dumbest thing she possible could've under the circumstance, while there are several good points n this thread.



I should really mention that I tried to be concise and if I come across less than friendly, that's the likely reason (plus, English is my third language, so ...).
I'd like to stress again that there is a great difference between holding an untenable belief (whatever it is) and being an idiot, and that disrespecting some facet of someone doesn't mean disrespecting him (although he/she might interpret it that way).
But I strongly disagree that everyone should just do whatever works best for them if that means passing it on, especially to children. Believing (or not) in an afterlife will have a tremendous impact on how someone lives their life. Telling your kids there's no macro-evolution means they're less likely to believe a new kind of pandemic is possible. Those kids will become scientists that are less observant of empiricism and thus work less efficiently than those in, say, China. The list goes on.
Logged

WriterofAllWrongs

  • Vagina Manifesto
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 685
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #37 on: 18 Dec 2008, 09:08 »

What I dislike about this thread is that it seemed to start out on the issue of people being outspoken about their metaphysical beliefs and the depiction of atheists in a comic strip, and has led to a whole lot of people saying "Well atheism just makes more sense!"  We've had people giving examples of why it makes more sense, and it sort of ignores the fact that people who believe something different are probably going to disagree regardless of how much sense their point makes.
« Last Edit: 18 Dec 2008, 13:16 by WriterofAllWrongs »
Logged

Jackie Blue

  • BANNED
  • Born in a Nalgene bottle
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,438
  • oh hi
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #38 on: 18 Dec 2008, 12:13 »

What I dislike about this thread is that it seemed to start out on the issue of people being outspoken about their metaphysical beliefs and the depiction of atheists in a comic strip, and has led to a whole lot of people saying "Well atheism just makes more sense!" 



There are people in this thread who are angry about Penelope's depiction while still basically exhibiting the exact same mindset that she is.

 :-D
Logged
Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.

Alex C

  • comeback tour!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,915
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #39 on: 18 Dec 2008, 13:02 »

I'm fine with people being strident in their beliefs, I just think it's silly not to expect other people to be offended by it. When it comes right down to it, most people would rather avoid making waves than further their ideology. Hence the irony of Christians who pretend they're not home when a Jehovah's Witness stops by; most people in the US are ostensibly Christians, yet the idea that we should all just keep this to ourselves most of the time is still surprisingly common.
Logged
the ship has Dr. Pepper but not Mr. Pibb; it's an absolute goddamned travesty

slaufer

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #40 on: 18 Dec 2008, 20:20 »

i'm not really liking either side of the argument here.

the theist says that there is a god, he knows there is a god, there must be a god because he knows it.

the athiest says that there is not a god, he knows there is not a god, and there must not be a god because he knows it.

is there any room for agnosticism here? i know that i don't know whether or not there is some superior power, or what exactly would define any given being as a god, but i do know that i have insufficient information to make a judgement as to whether or not one exists.

i mean sure, the bible ranks pretty high on my bullshitometer, but what if one day jesus christ and the prophet mohammad materialize out of thin air and say "okay guys, the point of all those books was vote no on prop 8" and they want to get married in california. oh and xenu is performing the ceremony.
Logged

Aurjay

  • The German Chancellory building
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 499
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #41 on: 18 Dec 2008, 20:51 »

I agree with Agnosticism. Fence sitting metaphysically is always the best simply noone knows for sure either way and i'd hate to be wrong either way. 
Logged
Your mind is like a parachute. It only works when it's open.

pwhodges

  • Admin emeritus
  • Awakened
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 17,241
  • I'll only say this once...
    • My home page
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #42 on: 19 Dec 2008, 00:22 »

Fence sitting?  What fence?  I see no fence!
Logged
"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

Saints

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #43 on: 19 Dec 2008, 03:13 »

Science does not refute the idea of god. It doesn't attempt to. It doesn't want to. It just attempts to explain our world. That is it.

The idea of god is NOT irrational because of scientific evidence. Science has offered absolutely no evidence that suggests a god doesn't exist.

It's offered no evidence that the Christian God doesn't exist.

Do not assume that you are a more rational person because you are an atheist. Do not assume that rationality holds no sway in deist/theists/Christian/Jew/whatever's life.
Logged

pwhodges

  • Admin emeritus
  • Awakened
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 17,241
  • I'll only say this once...
    • My home page
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #44 on: 19 Dec 2008, 04:11 »

So the idea of fairies is not irrational; Russell's teapot is fine; and there's a pig flying behind that cloud?  Oh, and there's this other world that science does not attempt to explain...

We've been there (in the Discuss forum).  Simply saying that something can't be disproved doesn't make it true, nor does it even provide a basis for believing in it.
Logged
"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

Surgoshan

  • Duck attack survivor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1,801
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #45 on: 19 Dec 2008, 05:43 »

Science does not refute the idea of god. It doesn't attempt to. It doesn't want to. It just attempts to explain our world. That is it.

The idea of god is NOT irrational because of scientific evidence. Science has offered absolutely no evidence that suggests a god doesn't exist.

It's offered no evidence that the Christian God doesn't exist.

Do not assume that you are a more rational person because you are an atheist. Do not assume that rationality holds no sway in deist/theists/Christian/Jew/whatever's life.

The god that most people believe in is an overwhelmingly interventionist god.  It interacts with the universe on a minute-to-minute basis, altering things for the benefit of its believers.  It helps football players score touchdowns, it alters traffic to get believers to work on time, it opens up parking spaces, it heals the sick, it watches out for children, etc.

Anything that interacts with the world must be observable due to the fact that it's interacting with things we can observe.  Time and time again, there has been a complete lack of observation.

Try this analogy.


Anna and Kate are walking down the street when they come to an empty lot. 

"Look at that beautiful garden!" cries Anna, "It must be tended by a particularly skillful gardener!"

"What are you talking about?  It's an empty lot full of weeds!  It couldn't possibly be tended by a gardener." is Kate's reply.

"He must tend it to grow that way."

"I have never once seen a gardener there."

"You must have simply missed him.  He must come only at night, when you don't walk by here."

So Anna and Kate decide to watch the garden.  They keep watch for days, and don't spot a gardener.

Kate shrugs and says, "I guess there's no gardener."

"He must be invisible."

"... invisible?"

"Yes, that's why we couldn't see him."

So Anna and Kate build a fence.  When Anna suggests he might be able to fly, they put a net over the fence.  When Anna suggests he might be very small, they put a solid dome over the entire plot.  Then Anna suggests he might be intangible.  Kate gets fed up.

"You've got an invisible, intangible, flying gardener whose garden looks exactly like there isn't a gardener.  What's the difference between that and a gardener who doesn't exist?"



In strict, deductive logic, absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.  But in life we mostly deal with inductive logic.  Thousands of years of observation have completely failed to turn up evidence of the invisible gardener.  Absence of evidence, when one would expect evidence, is evidence of absence.  There is no gardener.
Logged

Dotes

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #46 on: 19 Dec 2008, 06:34 »

I really wasn't hoping to open Pandora's Box, here, with all this arguing about atheism vs. religion. There are arguments to be had, but far too often they're wasted on deaf ears as neither side tends to be convinced. This certainly isn't the place for them.

The original topic was about the perceptions of atheists, and how they are often caricatured. I'm certainly not any kind of moderator, and don't intend to be, but can we play nice? Pretty please?
Logged

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #47 on: 19 Dec 2008, 10:42 »

...
The original topic was about the perceptions of atheists, and how they are often caricatured. I'm certainly not any kind of moderator, and don't intend to be, but can we play nice? Pretty please?

This is nice. :)
Visit 4chan /b/ sometime, if you dare. The religion arguments there are fun.  :laugh:

I'm not responsible for any horrific trauma you may incur in the process. There's some nasty stuff there. Also some extremely funny stuff.

This is surprisingly civil thus far.


Logged

Tropylium

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #48 on: 19 Dec 2008, 11:50 »

we have no idea what came before the big bang, and we'll probably never know.

If there even was a "before".  The big bang happened at time zero; but plot time on a log scale, and zero disappears infinitely far to the left, which may be a more understandable representation of it.

And I was basically saying that you don't even need a logarithm there; sure you can make up a coordinate system where Big Bang = zero, but this is one of the same kind of coordinate systems where "everything gets frozen forever into the event horizon of a black hole". Heck, you can even make up a "last Thursday = zero" coordinate system easily. (= Something that comes in at lightspeed last Thursday, and sharply decelerates from there.)

As for the "science as religion" quip, I mean going with "Big Bang, end of story" even if one hasn't the foggiest idea about how Big Bang or modern cosmology in general works. The thought process needed to get to that kind of a conclusion resembles in some crucial parts the one needed to go with "God made it, end of story". Everyone who has ever advocated a scientific result as "true" without hirself understanding how it was discover'd is believing in something in part because an authority said so. (Note however that Big Bang / God are not automatically equally sensical or or nonsensical scenarios. Science appears to work a lot better.)

This is what I see Penelope basically doing. I wouldn't berate her for that. Humans seem to have an innate need for an "official" explanation. (But yes, she could use some tact.)

Someone with a truly open mind will however admit "I dunno for sure, but the experts say that X." I'll call myself an atheist in casual conversation, after all, I do not believe in any god. If we go deeper stuff however, I'm what you don't call an extreme agnostic; I believe I do not, and cannot, kno anything at all about reality with certainty. (Well, okay, it exists…) But that's okay, 99.99999999% certainty is just fine for me. If one feels the need to distinguish this from "atheist", the the term is "boolean".
Logged

Jackie Blue

  • BANNED
  • Born in a Nalgene bottle
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,438
  • oh hi
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #49 on: 19 Dec 2008, 14:41 »

Simply saying that something can't be disproved doesn't make it true, nor does it even provide a basis for believing in it.

No serious theist or theologian would argue that it does.
Logged
Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9   Go Up