Sunday, December 25, 2011

Some Holiday Reading for the Grumpy People

Honshui's error-filled post, followed by further error-filled comments, makes obvious the need for some remedial reading.

Austin Cline, has this to say about agnosticism, the "eminently reasonable" position put forth by Honshui.

"Many people who adopt the label of agnostic reject the label of atheist — there is a common perception that agnosticism is a more “reasonable” position while atheism is more “dogmatic,” ultimately indistinguishable from theism except in the details. This is not a valid position to adopt because it misrepresents or misunderstands everything involved: atheism, theism, agnosticism, and the nature of belief itself. It also happens to reinforce popular prejudice against atheists"

Austin was a Regional Director for the Council for Secular Humanism and a former Publicity Coordinator for the Campus Freethought Alliance. So it might be a good idea for Honshui and Fugle to read up a bit, so at least we can all be reading from the same page, and not having to constantly correct them on their sincere, but plainly wrong, assertions.

And that's, one to grow on.


  1. Anonymous6:10 PM

    So now atheists are persecuted? This gets better by the post!

  2. Non believers have always been persecuted. Jews in catholic spain and indeed in communist Russia. Moslems in Bosnia, Orthodox xians in the Balkans by again the catholics during WW2. Cathars in the Languedoc, xians in Nigeria etc.
    If you don't sing from the established hymn sheet, then you will be thought of as a threat and dealt with as such.
    The difference with these persecutions and those that atheists face is that they are atheists about all supernatural claims, whereas the above unbelievers reserve a special place for one version of the supernatural.
    If you truly believe that atheists are treated just like any other segment of society, then this should interest you.

  3. Anonymous3:44 PM

    What is wrong with believing in the supernatural, or even the imaginary? If it makes you feel good, then why is is bad?

    I think I have a way of framing this discussion:

    From Lewis Carroll:

    "how old are you?'

    'I'm seven and a half, exactly.'

    'You needn't say "exactly",' the Queen remarked. 'I can believe it without that. Now I'll give you something to believe. I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'

    'I can't believe that!' said Alice.

    'Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

    Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one can't believe impossible things.'

    'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

  4. Nothing is wrong with fantasising about stuff, it's when you insist that the stuff your fantasising about is real that problems start creeping in. Once you are convinced your made up stuff is real then you have no real benchmark by which to judge truth from wishful thinking.
    Homeopathy, chiros and all the other so called "alternative medicine" crowd love these fuzzy boundaries and profit from them. Likewise those who wish to apply their religious standards to everybody else's behaviour.
    When laws are formulated by appeal to fantasy (actually one particular form of fantasy) then there is a problem.
    If folk behaved like trekies and treated their fantasies as a hobby it would all be cool; but religious folk don't and they insist the rest of us should take that position seriously too.

  5. J. Fugle2:16 PM

    "It also happens to reinforce popular prejudice against atheists."

    So he doesn't like it because it helps those that would criticize his religion. That isn't a real reason to not make the comparison Honshui made.

  6. Late to the discussion but let me just list a few notions.
    First, "atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby" belongs on a t-shirt.
    Second, a "belief" that there is no supernatural world based on available evidence is not quite the same as a belief that Jehovah exists based on available evidence. While it is true that one cannot definitively prove that there is no such thing as an afterlife, angels, ghosts, the devil, etc etc, it does not logically follow that they therefore must exist.
    One cannot prove a negative assertion, that's why scientific theories are always phrased in the affirmative when subjecting them to proof by experimentation.