This blog is about atheism. My personal blog about everything else is linked somewhere below.

Elizabeth, 21, USA (WA more specifically), agnostic atheist, radical feminist (as opposed to the liberal feminism that is most common on this website, although I do lean politically liberal by the colloquial use of the term), in college double majoring in philosophy and music (vocal performance), minoring in theatre and English. If I don't post much, blame my crazy schedule.

Famous atheists I like: Bertrand Russell, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Douglas Adams, and more!

Famous atheists I don't like: Richard Dawkins, TheAmazingAtheist, and more!

I only argue with believers if they post on the #atheism tag.

Friendly reminder: Ad hominems are not a legitimate argument tactic.

I don't believe in "New Atheism."

 

Anonymous asked
I was the one who sent the first message about Bill Maher and I completely agree, Ayaan is nothing like Bill. I don't think Bill is good at articulating his opinions tbh. Sam Harris was better at articulating what Bill was trying to say because he actually does his research on these things unlike Bill. I actually like his show and enjoyed Religulous but everytime he talks about Islam I kind of want to bang my head on a table. Religulous actually isn't as bad as a lot of people think it would

be, and the worst of the mocking is towards the creation museum.

Yeah, I haven’t actually seen Religulous, so I know I’m not really qualified to judge it.

Anonymous asked
It seems peculiar to support Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but not Bill Maher, at least as far as atheism goes. If you like her, you'd probably enjoy Religulous. He's made some misogynistic comments, but not in that movie.

It’s not at all peculiar. I assume you’re talking about the fact that they both focus on Islam quite a bit?

They’re completely different. Ali is a woman who was raised Muslim in an area where Islam was the dominant religion. When she speaks against Islam, she is speaking truth to what in her experience is power. Maher is a straight white guy in America.  When Maher speaks against Islam, he is speaking against something that the dominant culture is already pushing us all to be against. I appreciate Ali because of the struggles she’s been through, because of her selfless advocacy for women, and because there are good reasons to believe that she knows what the hell she’s talking about. Scrolling through Maher’s Wikipedia page, I see none of that. 

One thing that I do know about Religulous is that the main point is to mock religion. I don’t think mocking religion is the right thing to do. I mean, I’m all for criticizing it, but there needs to be some degree of respect or it’s just hurtful and not at all productive. My views have been ridiculed before and it never made me consider another viewpoint or learn something new or anything good, it only made me angry with the person/people who were ridiculing my position. Why should I expect anything different from other people? 

goodreasonnews:

limited-probabilities:

missdoodle:

blackandgreyrainbow:

Real Christians aren’t assholes

In High School I had a friend who was super religious, her whole family was. Despite this, she was pro-marriage equality, pro-choice, and never once tried to convert me or make me feel bad about my own religious decisions (I was and still am an agnostic). She was always kind, and treated everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, or orientation. For her the heart and soul of being a Christian was to love others and treat others with dignity. She was a real Christian. 

This would be the No True Scotsman fallacy. No, there are good Christians and there are bad Christians and both are just as much Christians.

Except the Christians who discriminate against homosexuals are following the Bible more closely and more accurately than the ones who embrace homosexuals.

If someone has to follow the Bible 100% in order to count as a real Christian then there are no real Christians.
Considering that the Bible is contradictory and contains both pro-social and oppressive  statements, both the nice Christians and the bullshit-supporting ones are probably following about the same percentage of what it says. The main difference is that, for the oppressive ones, the Bible is often the only reason for them to hold certain of their opinions, whereas for the nice ones, there are reasons outside the Bible to love thy neighbor or whatever.

goodreasonnews:

limited-probabilities:

missdoodle:

blackandgreyrainbow:

Real Christians aren’t assholes

In High School I had a friend who was super religious, her whole family was. Despite this, she was pro-marriage equality, pro-choice, and never once tried to convert me or make me feel bad about my own religious decisions (I was and still am an agnostic). She was always kind, and treated everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, or orientation. For her the heart and soul of being a Christian was to love others and treat others with dignity. She was a real Christian. 

This would be the No True Scotsman fallacy. No, there are good Christians and there are bad Christians and both are just as much Christians.

Except the Christians who discriminate against homosexuals are following the Bible more closely and more accurately than the ones who embrace homosexuals.

If someone has to follow the Bible 100% in order to count as a real Christian then there are no real Christians.

Considering that the Bible is contradictory and contains both pro-social and oppressive  statements, both the nice Christians and the bullshit-supporting ones are probably following about the same percentage of what it says. The main difference is that, for the oppressive ones, the Bible is often the only reason for them to hold certain of their opinions, whereas for the nice ones, there are reasons outside the Bible to love thy neighbor or whatever.

Anonymous asked
How do you feel about Bill Maher? I feel like he is on par with Richard Dawkins as far as assholery goes.

I’m not really familiar with Bill Maher. I mean, I’ve definitely heard the name, and I’ve heard of Religulous, but that’s about it. Given what I’ve heard about Religulous, I highly doubt if I’d like him.

Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. It’s so weird to think that there are communities where this courtship thing is normal. Overall, I think that this guy’s ideas make progress from his starting point, but he could question further.

What’s the most interesting to me is to look at which aspects of courtship and dating he doesn’t think to question even though the whole point of the article is to question and think through possibilities. Like, he doesn’t question at all the norm of men asking out women and not the other way around. He doesn’t question men paying for dates either. Those are the things that are being sorted out in the communities I spend my time in so it’s weird to see them going unquestioned.

Ugh, I’m trying to write an essay for my English class comparing the “charitable” behavior of two fictitious clergymen to what the Bible actually says about charity. You’d think that since a large number of people spend every Sunday of their lives studying the one book I could just Google something like “bible on charity” and find a website that’s cataloged every relevant section of the bible, right? But no, I can find websites that list individual verses that sound pretty and mention charity and I can find people’s individual conclusions about Christian charity that cite certain Bible verses, but I cannot find anything straightforwardly telling me where all the sections on charity are.

It’s almost like they don’t want people to go back to the source material and draw their own conclusions. At least not without slogging through the entire Bible, which I don’t have time for.

I might just use Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine for my comparison and ignore the actual Bible since there’s definitely an online pdf of On Christian Doctrine where I can just ctrl+f and search “charity.” That’s acceptable for an English essay, right?

Could These Be God’s Bones?

tannermiller asked
agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. One has to do with beliefs, one has to do with knowledge.

academicatheism:

Look up agnosticism and atheism. Then look up agnostic atheism. Seriously, this is basic. It’s a waste of time trying to explain something so basic to obstinate people. It can’t be this hard to change an opinion. This is like a day old already. You’re wrong. Get over it. The fact that another person agrees with your idiotic opinion doesn’t change the fact that it’s an idiotic opinion. Agnosticism and (a)theism are not mutually exclusive.

I think his confusion has to do with the meaning of “mutually exclusive.” They are not mutually exclusive partially because they have to do with different things. “Mutually exclusive” means that it would be contradictory for someone to be both. It’s not contradictoy for someone to lack a belief in a god without claiming to know that there is no god, so they aren’t mutually exclusive.

missdoodle:

blackandgreyrainbow:

Real Christians aren’t assholes

In High School I had a friend who was super religious, her whole family was. Despite this, she was pro-marriage equality, pro-choice, and never once tried to convert me or make me feel bad about my own religious decisions (I was and still am an agnostic). She was always kind, and treated everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, or orientation. For her the heart and soul of being a Christian was to love others and treat others with dignity. She was a real Christian. 

This would be the No True Scotsman fallacy. No, there are good Christians and there are bad Christians and both are just as much Christians.

missdoodle:

blackandgreyrainbow:

Real Christians aren’t assholes

In High School I had a friend who was super religious, her whole family was. Despite this, she was pro-marriage equality, pro-choice, and never once tried to convert me or make me feel bad about my own religious decisions (I was and still am an agnostic). She was always kind, and treated everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, or orientation. For her the heart and soul of being a Christian was to love others and treat others with dignity. She was a real Christian. 

This would be the No True Scotsman fallacy. No, there are good Christians and there are bad Christians and both are just as much Christians.

atheistjack:

via David G. McAfee
?

When I was a kid, I had one of those children’s Bibles, and I made my mom read the entire thing to me while she was pregnant with my sister. She’d nod off between pages, so each time I turned the page I’d have to point at it and be like “read that!” I bet she wished I had been an atheist as a toddler.

atheistjack:

via David G. McAfee

?

When I was a kid, I had one of those children’s Bibles, and I made my mom read the entire thing to me while she was pregnant with my sister. She’d nod off between pages, so each time I turned the page I’d have to point at it and be like “read that!” I bet she wished I had been an atheist as a toddler.

goodreasonnews:

The Character Missing from All Disney Movies: God

atheistassessment:

Why have Disney and Pixar had so much success in their movies? In part, it’s because they never really broach the subject of religion. While movies like Frozen can be twisted to suggest Christian themes, the only supernatural ideas you’ll see in their movies involve magic, not God. In an…

What about Prince of Egypt?

Prince of Egypt is Dreamworks. What about Hunchback Of Notre Dame?

"Salvaging Pascal’s Wager"

thethousandthcat:

limited-probabilities:

thethousandthcat:

limited-probabilities:

Last Sunday I went to a philosophy conference and saw a presentation titled “Salvaging Pascal’s Wager” by Liz Jackson and Andy Rogers. Naturally I was skeptical as the standard version of Pascal’s Wager is such a bad argument that it seemed beyond salvaging.

The way Pascal’s wager is usually framed is by saying that since you’ll burn in hell if you disbelieve in Christianity and it’s true and nothing bad will happen if you believe in Christianity and it’s false then you’re better off believing in Christianity. The main flaw in this argument is that it doesn’t account for the fact that there are far more options than just Christianity and atheism.

The way Jackson and Rogers went about “salvaging” it was by coming up with a mathematical system where you give each religion (or worldview in the case of atheism) a credibility rating, then you find the pleasure each will give you through the afterlife if you believe it and it’s true, then you find the pain each will give you if you disbelieve it and it’s true. Finally you math it all together (my math major boyfriend who I dragged (not really) to the conference called it decision theory) and end up with a graph of which is the most optimal at what point of time (because afterlives in some religions expire), and a ranking of which is most optimal in the long term. Jackson and Rogers were ambiguous about what should be done with this system.

My response is that it’s a useful tool if expected pleasure and pain are part of your criteria for deciding a religion, but it’s not useful at all if you just want to know the fact of the matter.

It’s funny that I saw this presentation when I had just done the reading for my Theory Of Knowledge II class, which was focusing on intellectual courage as an intellectual virtue. Since I value intellectual courage, I will disregard the risks and potential losses of remaining an agnostic atheist and only change if evidence and good arguments lead me to it (converting to a religion would also require intellectual courage since admitting that one was passionately wrong for an extended period of time is a gigantic blow to the ego, but I would do it if the evidence led me there- I also value open-mindedness).

…but how do they assign “credibility ratings?” That seems like an important first step.

It looked like the idea was that the individual using the method would decide the numbers for themselves. In their example they named the person giving credibility ratings Peter.

But isn’t that fantastically subjective and arbitrary?  I mean, my numbers would be Atheism = 100% credible, all others 0% credible (maybe with a few points thrown to Taoism and Buddhism, because are they really even super dependent on supernatural stuff? but whatever); meanwhile, hardcore Southern Baptists are gonna assign their religion 100%, other Christian sects probably a little lower, and then non-Christian religions like Hinduism and Islam probably like 0%… Isn’t that sort of self-selection bias or something? How is that actually useful?

Isn’t that just I guess I don’t understand the point of this.  Also, are they positing this as an actual attempt to “fix” Pascal’s wager, or is it just kind of an exercise in logic or philosophy, or…?

Yeah, I don’t know what exactly they were trying to accomplish with their system. It seems like it would mostly just be useful for people with a specific type of indecisiveness and fears. It’s not useful to me mostly because I lack the fears, it’s not useful to you because you lack the indecisiveness. There’s probably someone out there who’s like “aaaah, there are all these religions that I find somewhat credible and I don’t want to go to hell, help!” and this system would probably be helpful for them, but mainly in a soothing way. 

"Salvaging Pascal’s Wager"

thethousandthcat:

limited-probabilities:

Last Sunday I went to a philosophy conference and saw a presentation titled “Salvaging Pascal’s Wager” by Liz Jackson and Andy Rogers. Naturally I was skeptical as the standard version of Pascal’s Wager is such a bad argument that it seemed beyond salvaging.

The way Pascal’s wager is usually framed is by saying that since you’ll burn in hell if you disbelieve in Christianity and it’s true and nothing bad will happen if you believe in Christianity and it’s false then you’re better off believing in Christianity. The main flaw in this argument is that it doesn’t account for the fact that there are far more options than just Christianity and atheism.

The way Jackson and Rogers went about “salvaging” it was by coming up with a mathematical system where you give each religion (or worldview in the case of atheism) a credibility rating, then you find the pleasure each will give you through the afterlife if you believe it and it’s true, then you find the pain each will give you if you disbelieve it and it’s true. Finally you math it all together (my math major boyfriend who I dragged (not really) to the conference called it decision theory) and end up with a graph of which is the most optimal at what point of time (because afterlives in some religions expire), and a ranking of which is most optimal in the long term. Jackson and Rogers were ambiguous about what should be done with this system.

My response is that it’s a useful tool if expected pleasure and pain are part of your criteria for deciding a religion, but it’s not useful at all if you just want to know the fact of the matter.

It’s funny that I saw this presentation when I had just done the reading for my Theory Of Knowledge II class, which was focusing on intellectual courage as an intellectual virtue. Since I value intellectual courage, I will disregard the risks and potential losses of remaining an agnostic atheist and only change if evidence and good arguments lead me to it (converting to a religion would also require intellectual courage since admitting that one was passionately wrong for an extended period of time is a gigantic blow to the ego, but I would do it if the evidence led me there- I also value open-mindedness).

…but how do they assign “credibility ratings?” That seems like an important first step.

It looked like the idea was that the individual using the method would decide the numbers for themselves. In their example they named the person giving credibility ratings Peter.

"Salvaging Pascal’s Wager"

Last Sunday I went to a philosophy conference and saw a presentation titled “Salvaging Pascal’s Wager” by Liz Jackson and Andy Rogers. Naturally I was skeptical as the standard version of Pascal’s Wager is such a bad argument that it seemed beyond salvaging.

The way Pascal’s wager is usually framed is by saying that since you’ll burn in hell if you disbelieve in Christianity and it’s true and nothing bad will happen if you believe in Christianity and it’s false then you’re better off believing in Christianity. The main flaw in this argument is that it doesn’t account for the fact that there are far more options than just Christianity and atheism.

The way Jackson and Rogers went about “salvaging” it was by coming up with a mathematical system where you give each religion (or worldview in the case of atheism) a credibility rating, then you find the pleasure each will give you through the afterlife if you believe it and it’s true, then you find the pain each will give you if you disbelieve it and it’s true. Finally you math it all together (my math major boyfriend who I dragged (not really) to the conference called it decision theory) and end up with a graph of which is the most optimal at what point of time (because afterlives in some religions expire), and a ranking of which is most optimal in the long term. Jackson and Rogers were ambiguous about what should be done with this system.

My response is that it’s a useful tool if expected pleasure and pain are part of your criteria for deciding a religion, but it’s not useful at all if you just want to know the fact of the matter.

It’s funny that I saw this presentation when I had just done the reading for my Theory Of Knowledge II class, which was focusing on intellectual courage as an intellectual virtue. Since I value intellectual courage, I will disregard the risks and potential losses of remaining an agnostic atheist and only change if evidence and good arguments lead me to it (converting to a religion would also require intellectual courage since admitting that one was passionately wrong for an extended period of time is a gigantic blow to the ego, but I would do it if the evidence led me there- I also value open-mindedness).

limited-probabilities:

Due to stupid scheduling conflicts involving weird choir assignments I had to transfer out of Philosophy of Religion class, so never mind I guess. Now I’m in intermediate logic, which will probably make me happier in the long run.

I was just scrolling back through this blog and HOLY SHIT! I met my current boyfriend in intermediate logic! I got a job as a grader for Intro to Logic based on my performance in intermediate logic! I was so right about it making me happier in the long run.