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."

 

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.

secularm0nk asked
These demographics are not surprising at all, although they are extremely depressing. Conservative atheists are an odd group. Very uncommon, and I think your theory has a lot of merit. Joining MRM gives them a community of support for their misogyny. It's a way to continue their cognitive dissonance. MRM just has no feet to stand on, and this further proves that. It's a straight white male conservative movement to disguise misogyny by playing the victim.

In reference to this

gayheathen:

carry-on-my-wayward-butt:

total-queer-move:

LOOK. IT’S EVERY SINGLE STEREOTYPE ABOUT MEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS PUT INTO ONE HANDY-DANDY DEMOGRAPHICS SURVEY SO IT CAN BE STATISTICALLY VALIDATED!! [x]

THANKS R/MENSRIGHTS!!

sweet fucking lord

*sigh*

It’s interesting to see how they’re both mostly strongly conservative and mostly non-religious. Most non-religious people tend to be liberal, so clearly MRAs are a minority of non-religious people, but I expect that at least someone will use these statistics to villainize atheists.

I have this pet theory that misogynistic guys only join the MRM if they don’t have a religion to justify their sexism instead. Religious conservatives are clearly anti-woman, but they don’t bother with the MRM because they can advocate the same things but with more credibility (credibility by the definition that it looks like they know what they’re talking about- doesn’t mean that they actually do) if they use their religion.

ramblingsarcasm:

limited-probabilities:

skepticalavenger:

via Ultimate Atheism

No, but you’re forgetting that God is supposed to be omniscent. Obviously Christianity has successfully spread around, right? So the strategy worked even though it was unlikely. If God was omniscent, he would know that the unlikely strategy would work, so it wouldn’t be an unlikely one as far as he was concerned, it would be the strategy he knew would work.
Also, don’t you think that Jesus would get lost in the crowd if he had been born somewhere where there was a larger population? It seems to me that being in a place with a smaller population increased his chances of being noticed in the small population, and once famous with the small population the chances of the fame continuing into the larger populations would increase.
I’m still an atheist, it’s just that this isn’t the best argument.

It hasn’t really been as successful as it wants to be, though, has it? Christianity the most popular religion in the world, sure, but there are still billions of people who are not Christians and millions, if not around a billion (though missionaries are trying their damndest), who have never heard of it. Additionally, Christianity is massively splintered, almost to the point of being a religious fractal. Much of this splintering, historically, has occurred because the New Testament is so self-contradictory. If Jesus had been born somewhere where the citizens were more interested in writing down his actions while he was alive, this might not be the case.
On the subject of him being lost in the crowd, I can think of two counter-arguments. They contradict one another, so take your pick. First, since I’ve been reading a ton of Kierkegaard, I can tell you that he would say Jesus should have gotten lost in the crowd. Jesus standing out makes it too easy to follow him and him having this spectacular life with all of these miracles and a memorable death all makes Christianity easier and easier. True Christianity is an obscure group of rebels who are constantly being hunted and persecuted for their beliefs and it requires a genuine acknowledgement that this doctrine is impossible to understand, which is the requirement for a leap of faith (or a leap to faith, to use his actual term, but they’re more or less synonymous at this point). So if you said, “Not as many people would have followed Jesus!”, he would reply, “Good!” Then he would write a massive pseudonymous book calling Hegel an asshole. (The part of Philosophical Fragments about the ease of the contemporary follower, a lot of the second third of Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and all of Attack Upon “Christendom” are good sources for this kind of philosophy.)
And then, second, let’s contradict Kierkegaard just for fun. Like you said, God is omniscient. But you left out another one of God’s characteristics: God is omnipotent. So Jesus only would have been lost in the crowd if God wanted him to get lost. He would be ignored only if God wanted him to be ignored. God can change people’s hearts to be receptive or to be unreceptive, so even if he can’t force them to believe in Jesus he can at least get them to notice Jesus. With this line of thinking, wherever Jesus was born, he would have been as famous as that region would allow him to be.
Plus, imagine if a baby were born in, say, China, at that time. This baby grows up and somehow has complete knowledge of Jewish scripture despite never being introduced to it. Of course, with Jesus being born in Jerusalem, he studied the Hebrew texts for his whole childhood. Presumably in China, this wouldn’t have been the case. So he would have this miraculous knowledge of another culture with which he had absolutely no contact. That would certainly get him put in some sort of record and, if he was able to get famous enough there that people in Europe heard about his vast, impossible knowledge, Jesus followers would have skyrocketed. Maybe an emperor becomes Christian even before Constantine.

But maybe God is just pretending to be omnipotent in order to intimidate but he’s actually bound to the rules of causation like everyone else.

ramblingsarcasm:

limited-probabilities:

skepticalavenger:

via Ultimate Atheism

No, but you’re forgetting that God is supposed to be omniscent. Obviously Christianity has successfully spread around, right? So the strategy worked even though it was unlikely. If God was omniscent, he would know that the unlikely strategy would work, so it wouldn’t be an unlikely one as far as he was concerned, it would be the strategy he knew would work.

Also, don’t you think that Jesus would get lost in the crowd if he had been born somewhere where there was a larger population? It seems to me that being in a place with a smaller population increased his chances of being noticed in the small population, and once famous with the small population the chances of the fame continuing into the larger populations would increase.

I’m still an atheist, it’s just that this isn’t the best argument.

It hasn’t really been as successful as it wants to be, though, has it? Christianity the most popular religion in the world, sure, but there are still billions of people who are not Christians and millions, if not around a billion (though missionaries are trying their damndest), who have never heard of it. Additionally, Christianity is massively splintered, almost to the point of being a religious fractal. Much of this splintering, historically, has occurred because the New Testament is so self-contradictory. If Jesus had been born somewhere where the citizens were more interested in writing down his actions while he was alive, this might not be the case.

On the subject of him being lost in the crowd, I can think of two counter-arguments. They contradict one another, so take your pick. First, since I’ve been reading a ton of Kierkegaard, I can tell you that he would say Jesus should have gotten lost in the crowd. Jesus standing out makes it too easy to follow him and him having this spectacular life with all of these miracles and a memorable death all makes Christianity easier and easier. True Christianity is an obscure group of rebels who are constantly being hunted and persecuted for their beliefs and it requires a genuine acknowledgement that this doctrine is impossible to understand, which is the requirement for a leap of faith (or a leap to faith, to use his actual term, but they’re more or less synonymous at this point). So if you said, “Not as many people would have followed Jesus!”, he would reply, “Good!” Then he would write a massive pseudonymous book calling Hegel an asshole. (The part of Philosophical Fragments about the ease of the contemporary follower, a lot of the second third of Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and all of Attack Upon “Christendom” are good sources for this kind of philosophy.)

And then, second, let’s contradict Kierkegaard just for fun. Like you said, God is omniscient. But you left out another one of God’s characteristics: God is omnipotent. So Jesus only would have been lost in the crowd if God wanted him to get lost. He would be ignored only if God wanted him to be ignored. God can change people’s hearts to be receptive or to be unreceptive, so even if he can’t force them to believe in Jesus he can at least get them to notice Jesus. With this line of thinking, wherever Jesus was born, he would have been as famous as that region would allow him to be.

Plus, imagine if a baby were born in, say, China, at that time. This baby grows up and somehow has complete knowledge of Jewish scripture despite never being introduced to it. Of course, with Jesus being born in Jerusalem, he studied the Hebrew texts for his whole childhood. Presumably in China, this wouldn’t have been the case. So he would have this miraculous knowledge of another culture with which he had absolutely no contact. That would certainly get him put in some sort of record and, if he was able to get famous enough there that people in Europe heard about his vast, impossible knowledge, Jesus followers would have skyrocketed. Maybe an emperor becomes Christian even before Constantine.

But maybe God is just pretending to be omnipotent in order to intimidate but he’s actually bound to the rules of causation like everyone else.