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."

 

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.

blacksentai:

readyokaygo:

Atheists realize that very few wars are actually dogmatically fought for a religion, right? If any at all. Most “religious wars” are actually power struggles or imperialist ventures where religion is used by a state, movement, or actor as a vessel, tool for social mobilization, or political opportunity to wage a war.

they don’t atually know that. Because they are hawkins’ fundamentalists

Hawkins? Is that a combination of “Hitchins” and “Dawkins” or is there yet another famous atheist that we’re all supposedly following now? At least this accusation of fundamentalism isn’t pretending that “atheist fundamentalism” can possibly be a thing.

Not all atheists are anti-theists. Many of us lack a belief in gods because we lack a reason to believe in a god rather than because we’re against religion. I think your atheist is a straw man.

Over memorial day weekend I’ll be going to a philosophy conference and I’m hopefully going to see a lecture where someone tries to salvage pascal’s wager. That should be fun. I might make a post about that.

I know I haven’t been very attentive to this blog. It’s sad how the new-ish tag system seems to have made a lot of atheism blogs disappear.

Four Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

jlgrace:

Four Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

670pxatheism_symbol-svg_

Calling all atheists and agnostics. May I ask you a question?

Okay, maybe four.

What do, or who do, you believe in since you don’t believe in God?

Is it hard to accept the death of a loved one?

Was there ever a time in your life when you believed in God, or in a higher power?

If so, what happened?Did you just grow out of believing, or did something/someone disappoint or hurt you? You may be as…

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What do, or who do, you believe in since you don’t believe in God?

Depends on what you mean by “believe in.” When people ask that question I suspect that they’re talking about a very specific type of belief that is god-specific- a kind that entails all sorts of things like inspiration and worship and trust. Obviously I don’t believe in a god, so of course I don’t believe in anything in the sense that one would believe in a god. I think you’re trying to feel out my god-shaped hole or see what I’ve put in it. The thing is, I’m not missing anything in my life by not having a god. There’s no hole to consciously try to fill. It seems to me that belief in god is like corn in the American diet: it’s useful fills a lot of functions (high fructose corn syrup, feed for the cows that later turn to beef), but it’s entirely possible to have a healthy diet without it and you won’t even feel the lack of it. Granted, it takes effort to avoid corn in food since it’s infiltrated the food system so thoroughly, it doesn’t really take effort to avoid believing in gods.

Is it hard to accept the death of a loved one?

It’s hard for anyone to accept the death of a loved one regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof. I don’t think believing in a god would make it any easier.

Was there ever a time in your life when you believed in God, or in a higher power?

I went through a period of fanatical belief when I was about 9, then I got over it. My parents dragged me to a Presbyterian church every Sunday until I was about 14, so it’s not like I haven’t been exposed to religion.

If so, what happened?

First I lost interest, then I found out that just not believing in any gods was an option, then I realized that I didn’t have any particular reason to believe in a god. I’ve done my research to figure out if there is a compelling reason to believe in a god, but all the arguments in favor of there being a god that I’ve been exposed to have been pretty flimsy.