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Author Topic: Taking advantage of VT to 'promote' faith
King of Men
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Yes, well, the douchebags and the scum we will always have with us. Fortunately there are articulate atheists to give the other side. This is powerful writing.
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Chris Bridges
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It is indeed. Although the first writer wsan't so much promoting faith as denigrating the lack of it.
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King of Men
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Hence my quote-thingies.
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Liz B
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Thanks for the link.
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dkw
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That is indeed beautiful writing. And the person he is responding to is indeed a twit.

Although unfortunately not the worst of them I've heard on this theme in the last few days.

[Frown]

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Teshi
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quote:
That is why we have science, and novels, and friendships, and poetry, and practical jokes, and photography, and a sense of awe at the immensity of time and the planetís natural history, and walks with loved ones along the Huckleberry Trail, and atheist friends who keep kosher because, well just because, and passionate reverence for both those heroes who believed and those who did not, and have all this without needing a god to stitch together the tapestry of life.
[Smile]

We need more writing like this.

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Samprimary
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Dinesh D'Souza is an idiot, and I half expected this to be about the Scientology brigade.
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stihl1
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I would just like to break up this back patting, self congratulatory session to say that I couldn't disagree more. Try not to break your arms.

[Big Grin]

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rollainm
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Uh huh...
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Rakeesh
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Well the plain and simple truth is, theism has something to offer-whether it's True or Not-in situations like this, but atheism, in and of itself, has nothing to offer at all.

But I've always been more interested in what kind of person a theist is, than in what kind of theist a person is if you catch my drift. The same is true for me in regards to atheists.

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Leonide
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Well, atheism doesn't claim to "offer" anything. It's just a belief that there is no god. Most theisms, though, claim there is a purpose, and a divine one. Unfortunately, a lot of times that *doesn't* instill a sense of peace in the ones left behind after a tragedy like this. Just because there's "something to offer" doesn't mean that something is useful or helpful, or enough for certain people.

But generally I agree with you, and I especially like your last statement [Smile]

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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

But I've always been more interested in what kind of person a theist is, than in what kind of theist a person is if you catch my drift. The same is true for me in regards to atheists.

Yep; and this gets to the crux of the issue.

Atheists are so often thought of as people who reject religion, period. Nothing else; their rejection of religion is the sum total of their thinking and morality. Not so.

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Euripides
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And I don't remember Dawkins ever saying that "the main characteristic of the universe is pitiless indifference" or anything like it.
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Rakeesh
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Leonide,

I wasn't trying to fault atheism for not "offering" anything, it was just a statement of fact, and pointing out that in at least one specific area of comparison, theism does something atheism does not: offers something, whether that something is true or not. Just because I point out that tabasco is spicy and whole milk is not, doesn't mean I'm saying that tabasco sauce is superior to whole milk.

I'm not a Dawkins fan, nor have I read much of his work, but if he did say that, I would think it was pretty silly. A system devoid of any intent, purpose, meaning, etc., pick your word, cannot be pitiless, it just is. There has to be the possibility of pity before there can be pitilessness.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Well the plain and simple truth is, theism has something to offer-whether it's True or Not-in situations like this, but atheism, in and of itself, has nothing to offer at all.

This is a false argument, because there are alternatives to religious faith for drawing comfort, meaning, and solace from tragedies great and small. Religion does not hold the corner market on these things, just the corner market on the mouthpiece.
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Rakeesh
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If I said that religious faith was the only means of offering comfort, meaning, and solace in the face of tragedies, you would be right, that would be a false argument.

That is not what I said, though.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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Then it was a straw man.
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Rakeesh
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Jutsa,

No it wasn't. Please read what I have to say more carefully before labeling my posts that way.

Theism can say that in response to a tragedy, it offers some sort of meaning: this too shall pass, they're in Heaven now, God has a plan, many potential responses. Tell me what atheism offers, in and of itself, in response to a tragedy Jutsa. Then label my position a straw man. For my idea to be a straw man, there must first be a misrepresentation of atheism in something I had to say. There was not.

So how's about you taking that back, please?

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Theism can say that in response to a tragedy, it offers some sort of meaning: this too shall pass, they're in Heaven now, God has a plan, many potential responses. Tell me what atheism offers, in and of itself, in response to a tragedy Jutsa.
From the Wikipedia entry on Straw Man:
"Present a misrepresentation of the opponent's position, refute it, and pretend that the opponent's actual position has been refuted."

Your original statement was the same straw man that Dinesh D'Souza engaged in.

Do you really want to know what else can be offered beyond religious faith? Read the article:
quote:
You can find us next week in the bloodied classrooms of a violated campus, trying to piece our thoughts and lives and studies back together.

With or without a belief in a god, with or without your asinine bigotry, we will make progress, we will breathe life back into our university, I will succeed in explaining this or that point, slowly, eventually, in a ham-handed way, at risk of tears half-way through, my students will come to feel comfortable again in a classroom with no windows or escape route, and hell yes we will prevail.

You see Mr DíSouza, I am an atheist professor at Virginia Tech and a man of great faith. Not faith in your god. Faith in my people.

That is what else is out there. It is in no way connected to or dependant on the existence or lack of a religious faith. Your straw man was in making a highly shortened but essentially same argument D'Souza made.
quote:
So how's about you taking that back, please?
No. [Smile]
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Rakeesh
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Jutsa,

Strange, how you've seen this glaring flaw in my statements and no one else has (or at least hasn't remarked on it yet)...

quote:
Your original statement was the same straw man that Dinesh D'Souza engaged in.
I couldn't say what straw man Dinesh D'Souza engaged in. I haven't read what he wrote. I read what the atheist professor had to say though, and appreciated it.

quote:
That is what else is out there. It is in no way connected to or dependant on the existence or lack of a religious faith. Your straw man was in making a highly shortened but essentially same argument D'Souza made.

You'll have to point where I said that the things you quoted aren't present in atheists. I didn't say that at all. Show me where I said that, Jutsa. Show me. You can't show me, because I didn't say that. "Faith in my people" is something completely seperate from atheism. Atheism has nothing to do with having faith in people whatsoever, so you can hardly bring that up and point to it as something atheism brings to the situation.

Please note, and I point this out to head off a potential 'misunderstanding' of what I said, that I am not saying that someone can have faith in humanity in spite of atheism, or that atheism detracts from virtue.

All I am saying is precisely what I said: atheism, in and of itself, does not offer anything in response to tragedies such as the one which happened at VT. For you to link the professor's atheism to his faith in humanity, does that mean I get to link a theist's faith in humanity to his theism? Hardly.

quote:
But I've always been more interested in what kind of person a theist is, than in what kind of theist a person is if you catch my drift. The same is true for me in regards to atheists.
Read what I actually said. I dare you. Respond to the things I said, for a change.
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

All I am saying is precisely what I said: atheism, in and of itself, does not offer anything in response to tragedies such as the one which happened at VT.

Sure. Atheism is a statement of unbelief, and is really a word which shouldn't even exist.

Why bother saying such a thing though? I can't think of a single person who would disagree with that point.

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Rakeesh
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Why bother? People compare atheism and theism frequently, assigning benefits and drawbacks to each. It's a question of benefits.

Do you feel there is a benefit to having solace in the face of tragedy, whether that solace is founded in truth or not, Euripedes? Please note I'm not asking if you think that it's a good thing to have solace from an untrue basis, just whether or not you feel there is any benefit to it.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
"Faith in my people" is something completely seperate from atheism. Atheism has nothing to do with having faith in people whatsoever,

I agree.
quote:
so you can hardly bring that up and point to it as something atheism brings to the situation.
I didn't bring it up. You did. Hence the strawman.

quote:
All I am saying is precisely what I said: atheism, in and of itself, does not offer anything in response to tragedies such as the one which happened at VT.
And what you are saying is a regurgitated form of what D'Souza said. Hence straw man.

quote:
quote:
But I've always been more interested in what kind of person a theist is, than in what kind of theist a person is if you catch my drift. The same is true for me in regards to atheists.
Read what I actually said. I dare you. Respond to the things I said, for a change.
I suggest you begin thinking about what you say before you say them. For instance:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh on April 21st at 10:07 PM:
Well the plain and simple truth is, theism has something to offer-whether it's True or Not-in situations like this, but atheism, in and of itself, has nothing to offer at all.

[Smile]
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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Do you feel there is a benefit to having solace in the face of tragedy, whether that solace is founded in truth or not, Euripedes? Please note I'm not asking if you think that it's a good thing to have solace from an untrue basis, just whether or not you feel there is any benefit to it.

This is not dependant on whether one believes in a god or gods. Solace in the face of tragedy is not dependent on theism or lack thereof. You keep rewording the same straw man.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
We atheists do not believe in gods, or angels, or demons, or souls that endure, or a meeting place after all is said and done where more can be said and done and the point of it all revealed. We donít believe in the possibility of redemption after our lives, but the necessity of compassion in our lives. We believe in people, in their joys and pains, in their good ideas and their wit and wisdom. We believe in human rights and dignity, and we know what it is for those to be trampled on by brutes and vandals. We may believe that the universe is pitilessly indifferent but we know that friends and strangers alike most certainly are not. We despise atrocity, not because a god tells us that it is wrong, but because if not massacre then nothing could be wrong.

-mapantsula

This serves as another answer to your question, Euripedes. If as you say atheism is a statement of unbelief, then how can it possibly also be something that helps people to despise atrocity, believe in people, believe in compassion?

An atheist can believe in all of those things. I know many who do, who believe strongly and act consistently on those beliefs. Not in spite of their atheism, but certainly not because of it either. Atheists must, like everyone else, find their own meaning to life. Just as a theist might find some meaning to their life by choosing to believe in a system of theism, so too might find some meaning to their life by choosing to believe in things like compassion and mercy as virtues in and of themselves.

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Rakeesh
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Jutsa,

No, I didn't bring it up. See my 2:16am EST post. manpantsula brought it up before I did. I was replying in a thread about his remarks.

quote:
And what you are saying is a regurgitated form of what D'Souza said. Hence straw man
No, it's not. See above.

quote:
This is not dependant on whether one believes in a god or gods. Solace in the face of tragedy is not dependent on theism or lack thereof. You keep rewording the same straw man.
Who said I thought that solace in the face of tragedy was dependant on gods or gods? I didn't say that. I said that atheism is not in the business of offering solace to anything. It is, as Euripedes points out, a statement of unbelief.

Repeating the phrase 'straw man' does not make it true (note that I do not say "truer", because it was never true in the first place). Your objections to the statement I made are specious. When you actually examine the things I've said carefully, and what they were in response to, your claims of straw man fall apart.

You don't really have to look very carefully, either. If you did, someone else would have noted it before you.

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Rakeesh
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Let's examine all these claims of straw man carefully, just for fun!

quote:
This is a false argument, because there are alternatives to religious faith for drawing comfort, meaning, and solace from tragedies great and small. Religion does not hold the corner market on these things, just the corner market on the mouthpiece.
--------
If I said that religious faith was the only means of offering comfort, meaning, and solace in the face of tragedies, you would be right, that would be a false argument.

That is not what I said, though.
--------
Then it was a straw man.

I did not misrepresent anyone's position with my posts.

quote:
That is what else is out there. It is in no way connected to or dependant on the existence or lack of a religious faith. Your straw man was in making a highly shortened but essentially same argument D'Souza made.

I did not claim there was nothing else out there, I made a simple comparison between theism and atheism. No more, no less. If I say that an orange has more vitamin C than a potato, that doesn't mean I hate potatoes.

quote:
I suggest you begin thinking about what you say before you say them.
Hmmm...perhaps I should complain about a ToS violation!
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

Why bother? People compare atheism and theism frequently, assigning benefits and drawbacks to each. It's a question of benefits.

Well to me, it's firstly a question of truth-value.

I don't know of anyone who have weighed the benefits and drawbacks of theism vs atheism in strictly those terms. There is always the assumption that the atheist possesses the moral framework present in much of civilisation, that they will be a secular humanist, etc.

quote:
Do you feel there is a benefit to having solace in the face of tragedy, whether that solace is founded in truth or not, Euripedes?
Yes. However, if the premise is untrue, I think that benefit is shallow and patronising.

I don't see how this makes the benefit comparison any less faulty, since there are other ways of drawing that comfort. The implication of your post was that this was one of the benefits of theism and the failing of atheism in itself. The comparison is fallacious because those two things shouldn't be compared, since it leads to the incorrect conclusion that only theists enjoy these benefits. It's kind of like comparing the whole of secular ethics with the Christian belief that there are no other gods but Yahweh, or comparing a Mercedes to an Aston Martin steering wheel.

[Edit: typo]

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
]Who said I thought that solace in the face of tragedy was dependant on gods or gods? I didn't say that.

You did.
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh on April 21st at 10:07 PM:
Well the plain and simple truth is, theism has something to offer-whether it's True or Not-in situations like this, but atheism, in and of itself, has nothing to offer at all.

What you are now doing is a different term than 'straw man'. It is called 'backpedaling'. [Smile]
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
We atheists do not believe in gods, or angels, or demons, or souls that endure, or a meeting place after all is said and done where more can be said and done and the point of it all revealed. We donít believe in the possibility of redemption after our lives, but the necessity of compassion in our lives. We believe in people, in their joys and pains, in their good ideas and their wit and wisdom. We believe in human rights and dignity, and we know what it is for those to be trampled on by brutes and vandals. We may believe that the universe is pitilessly indifferent but we know that friends and strangers alike most certainly are not. We despise atrocity, not because a god tells us that it is wrong, but because if not massacre then nothing could be wrong.

-mapantsula

This serves as another answer to your question, Euripedes. If as you say atheism is a statement of unbelief, then how can it possibly also be something that helps people to despise atrocity, believe in people, believe in compassion?
It isn't; well, it can free you from religious misconceptions which might otherwise lead to immoral consequences, but that's it for atheism itself.

The post author starts, "We atheists do not believe..." and then adds, but "We do believe..." He never said that atheism in and of itself led atheists to believe those things.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Hmmm...perhaps I should complain about a ToS violation!

Personal insults, no matter how obliquely referenced, are not going to make your statements any more valid. [Smile]
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Rakeesh
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Euripedes,

Heh, I remembered your opinions on truth-value, which was why I was so careful to add qualifiers. [Smile]

quote:
I don't know of anyone who have weighed the benefits and drawbacks of theism vs atheism in strictly those terms. There is always the assumption that the atheist possesses the moral framework present in much of civilisation, that they will be a secular humanist, etc.
As I quoted from his own words, mapantsula himself was comparing theism and atheism in terms of its response to tragedy. Or at the very least, proposings atheism's benefits in those terms. Now, granted, he was doing so responsively...but so was I.

quote:
Yes. However, if the premise is untrue, I think that benefit is shallow and patronising.

I disagree, because I do not believe that something must be true to be deep, or that if untrue it is automatically shallow. I also think that for there to be patronizing, there must be intent, something neither of us can judge at all. I do agree, though, that if it is untrue, the benefit is of course much, much, much smaller, just by nature of being untrue.

quote:
The implication of your post was that this was one of the benefits of theism and the failing of atheism in itself. The comparison is fallacious between those two things shouldn't be compared, since it leads to the incorrect conclusion that only theists enjoy these benefits.
I agree that one could read that implication into my post...if one ignored the rest of my post, where I said that it was more important to me the kind of person someone is, atheist or theist, that that has more meaning and importance.

quote:
It's kind of like comparing the whole of secular ethics with the Christian belief that there are no other gods but Yahweh, or comparing a Mercedes to an Aston Martin steering wheel.
Of course. The steering wheel is not meant to be a whole car, whereas the Mercedes is. Thus-if you're just asking the question, "Which is a better means of transportation?" your answer will obviously be the Mercedes and not the steering wheel. But if someone comes along and says, like mapantslan did, that the steering wheel offers a host of benefits that it clearly doesn't--such as internal combustion--then there's a problem.
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Rakeesh
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Jutsa,

Show me where I have said that solace in response to tragedy depends on gods. Quote me. You can't, because I didn't. Oh, wait, I get it now. You must think that I believe that there are only two ways to view the world, either atheist or theist! Well, now I can understand where you're drawing your erroneous conclusions about what I've said.

Because I do not believe, nor have I ever said, that there are only two ways to view the world.

Oh, and I wasn't being oblique.

-------

Euripedes,

quote:
He never said that atheism in and of itself led atheists to believe those things.
Are you the only one who gets to respond based on implication, then? [Smile]

J4

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
The implication of your post was that this was one of the benefits of theism and the failing of atheism in itself. The comparison is fallacious between those two things shouldn't be compared, since it leads to the incorrect conclusion that only theists enjoy these benefits.
I agree that one could read that implication into my post...if one ignored the rest of my post, where I said that it was more important to me the kind of person someone is, atheist or theist, that that has more meaning and importance.
The "kind of person someone is" is also separate from their belief in a deity, hence separate from your statement preceding it. Also hence my statement that you should keep watch on your own wording. So, either what you meant and what you said were two different things, or you are continuing to backpedal.

I am willing to accept that you misspoke, if that helps. [Smile]

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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Oh, and I wasn't being oblique.

So you were directly insulting? Okay, whistled.
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Well, now I can understand where you're drawing your erroneous conclusions about what I've said.

And yet Euripides has read your statement the same as I have. You are the one who gave atheism and theism as the only two choices. As of this point, I have not brought it up except to point out the error of your own two dimensional scenario.
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Rakeesh
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It's not seperate at all, because--and this is the last time I'll say this--I never said nor did I imply that the theist/atheist divide was the only thing about a person that could help lend solace to a tragedy.

You can be willing to accept whatever you like, Jutsa. It has no bearing on what I actually said, and you can only infer my meaning based on your (very flawed) interpretation of what I meant.

On an unrelated note, should I whistle you for the smilies? Clearly sarcastic and abusive. Hmmmmm.

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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

quote:
I don't know of anyone who have weighed the benefits and drawbacks of theism vs atheism in strictly those terms. There is always the assumption that the atheist possesses the moral framework present in much of civilisation, that they will be a secular humanist, etc.
As I quoted from his own words, mapantsula himself was comparing theism and atheism in terms of its response to tragedy. Or at the very least, proposings atheism's benefits in those terms. Now, granted, he was doing so responsively...but so was I.
That's really not what he was doing. He was comparing atheists to theists in their response to tragedy. Essentially, he was saying that unbelievers are just as horrified by Virginia Tech as theists are, and do have ways of responding thoughtfully and respectfully to the tragedy; that they have means of securing emotional comfort and confidence from other sources.

quote:
quote:
The implication of your post was that this was one of the benefits of theism and the failing of atheism in itself. The comparison is fallacious between those two things shouldn't be compared, since it leads to the incorrect conclusion that only theists enjoy these benefits.
I agree that one could read that implication into my post...if one ignored the rest of my post, where I said that it was more important to me the kind of person someone is, atheist or theist, that that has more meaning and importance.
I didn't ignore that bit; I quoted it just to agree. [Smile]

It's not an implication that is hard to read into the post; since there's really no other useful conclusion that could arise from it. I wanted to set the record straight, because the implied statement leads directly to the erroneous conclusion that D'Souza was espousing.

quote:
quote:
It's kind of like comparing the whole of secular ethics with the Christian belief that there are no other gods but Yahweh, or comparing a Mercedes to an Aston Martin steering wheel.
Of course. The steering wheel is not meant to be a whole car, whereas the Mercedes is. Thus-if you're just asking the question, "Which is a better means of transportation?" your answer will obviously be the Mercedes and not the steering wheel. But if someone comes along and says, like mapantslan did, that the steering wheel offers a host of benefits that it clearly doesn't--such as internal combustion--then there's a problem.
Sure. Yet I don't see where the author did that. He was talking about atheists and the way they respond to tragedy and suffering, not just atheism.
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quote:
And yet Euripides has read your statement the same as I have. You are the one who gave atheism and theism as the only two choices. As of this point, I have not brought it up except to point out the error of your own two dimensional scenario.
No, he hasn't. He said that atheism/theism should not be compared as I compared them, which was one of the points I was trying to make in the first place. Just because I compared atheism and theism with regards to solace in tragedy, doesn't mean I feel they're the only two choices.

This is not remotely a difficult concept to grasp. Just because I compared the two, does not mean I feel they're the only two.

And ironically, I had made my remark about your sarcastic smilies before I read your post about whistling me for my insult. But now it's even more appropriate [Smile]

I guess that's just what I'm like, a mean-spirited Fox News fan.

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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
He never said that atheism in and of itself led atheists to believe those things.
Are you the only one who gets to respond based on implication, then? [Smile]
Ah, but the implied message of the essay, I believe, was 'Atheists can be good, decent, respectful people too, and have ways of responding to tragedy.'
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
It's not seperate at all, because--and this is the last time I'll say this--I never said nor did I imply that the theist/atheist divide was the only thing about a person that could help lend solace to a tragedy.

Yes you did:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh on April 21st at 10:07 PM:
Well the plain and simple truth is, theism has something to offer-whether it's True or Not-in situations like this, but atheism, in and of itself, has nothing to offer at all.

quote:
On an unrelated note, should I whistle you for the smilies? Clearly sarcastic and abusive. Hmmmmm.
Nope, just smiling to show I mean no malice. [Smile]
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Euripedes,

quote:
Sure. Yet I don't see where the author did that. He was talking about atheists and the way they respond to tragedy and suffering, not just atheism.
Well, he said "we atheists". If I were to say "we Mormons", and then list a variety of behaviors "we Mormons" engaged in, would you think I was just talking about how Mormons behave, or would you also think I was talking about how Mormonism guides Mormons to behave?
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Ahh, I see. So you do believe that if one compares two seperate things and finds one--for the purposes of a very specific comparison--more beneficial, then those are the only two situations that are possible!

So, let me ask you this: if you want something spicy, do you reach for the whole milk, or the Tabasco sauce, Jutsa? Answer carefully!

As for 'malice', I didn't say you were being malicious. I said your use of smilies as sarcastic and abusive. If you say it's not, I'd think you're lying, Jutsa. And don't you dare whistle me on that, you've made almost exactly the same statement to me in the past.

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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
And yet Euripides has read your statement the same as I have. You are the one who gave atheism and theism as the only two choices. As of this point, I have not brought it up except to point out the error of your own two dimensional scenario.
No, he hasn't. He said that atheism/theism should not be compared as I compared them, which was one of the points I was trying to make in the first place. Just because I compared atheism and theism with regards to solace in tragedy, doesn't mean I feel they're the only two choices.
Then say what you mean instead of what you said. What you said only brought up two things. If you mean differently, then you misspoke. Correct?

quote:
This is not remotely a difficult concept to grasp. Just because I compared the two, does not mean I feel they're the only two.
You admit to only comparing the two. Only the two. If you meant differently, do you not think you should have included the others at least in passing with your comparison?

quote:
And ironically, I had made my remark about your sarcastic smilies before I read your post about whistling me for my insult. But now it's even more appropriate [Smile]

I guess that's just what I'm like, a mean-spirited Fox News fan.

Why must you persist in the personal attack? I am not going to fight with you over this.
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I think we're all essentially reasonable people here, and don't want to get into anything remotely resembling a flame war. It would also be sadly ironic after PJ's recent thread; so what do you say that we all--including me--drop any ad homs, whether implied, veiled, sarcastic, or otherwise?

I also think that once we get past the 'what I said was' part, we'll find that we all agree that the comparison D'Souza was making was a fallacious one; that atheists can have ideals and morals, and a way to respond to tragedy, in the absence of a god. And that's really what lies at the crux of this argument.

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Bedtime.
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Ahh, I see. So you do believe that if one compares two seperate things and finds one--for the purposes of a very specific comparison--more beneficial, then those are the only two situations that are possible!

No, I don't believe that. Your statement implied that:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh on April 21st at 10:07 PM:
Well the plain and simple truth is, theism has something to offer-whether it's True or Not-in situations like this, but atheism, in and of itself, has nothing to offer at all.


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Rakeesh
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You haven't made any ad-homs or sarcastic remarks or insults in this thread at all, Euripedes. I'm enjoying talking about this with you. If Jutsa would withdraw his false claims of straw-men and backpedaling, I'd happily leave him alone about this and all else in this thread.

But I didn't put up a straw man, and I'm not backpedaling. Unless, of course, if I were to say I reached for the Tabasco sauce, that clearly means that Tabasco sauce is the only choice for spiciness.

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quote:
Originally posted by Euripides:
I think we're all essentially reasonable people here, and don't want to get into anything remotely resembling a flame war. It would also be sadly ironic after PJ's recent thread; so what do you say that we all--including me--drop any ad homs, whether implied, veiled, sarcastic, or otherwise?

I also think that once we get past the 'what I said was' part, we'll find that we all agree that the comparison D'Souza was making was a fallacious one; that atheists can have ideals and morals, and a way to respond to tragedy, in the absence of a god. And that's really what lies at the crux of this argument.

I agree completely. [Smile]
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Sure. Yet I don't see where the author did that. He was talking about atheists and the way they respond to tragedy and suffering, not just atheism.
Well, he said "we atheists". If I were to say "we Mormons", and then list a variety of behaviors "we Mormons" engaged in, would you think I was just talking about how Mormons behave, or would you also think I was talking about how Mormonism guides Mormons to behave?
I would, yes. I think the key difference is that Mormonism is a specific religion and system of ideas, whereas atheism is essentially a statement to the effect of 'I don't see any good reasons to believe in religion or supernatural entities'.
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