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Comments by anonquick

Go to: Daniel Dennett Debates Dinesh D'Souza

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 259 by anonquick

When "Distort D'Newza" first talked after Dennett he was PANICKED. Anyone who has seen him in other debates would have noticed. I suspect that this was because Dennett's opening was full of points for the affirmative "God is a manmade invention." If you have seen the other debates you will have noticed that "Distort D'Newza" desperately moved away from the content of Dennett's opening and moved onto ground he was more comfortable on.

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT WORKED!!!! Dennett was so flustered by all the army of straw men that "Distort D'Newza" created that the debate shift onto the negative side of the assertion "God is a manmade invention", and hardly touched on the affirmative.

Am I the only one who sees that forcefully and articulately presenting the affirmative for the assertion "God is a manmade invention" is far more important than attacking the weaknesses in the arguments on the negative side?

This is a debate, the strategy has to match!

The challenges have to all end with something simple and "on message" such as "and that exactly what you would expect when the Christian God is imaginary", or "what Stalin shows is the danger of ideas. Do you get that God is an idea, and invention like Sherlock Holmes?"

Sun, 02 Dec 2007 09:36:00 UTC | #88840

Go to: Turkey probes atheist's 'God' book

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 90 by anonquick

How do you insult a value, sacred or otherwise?

Thu, 29 Nov 2007 07:41:00 UTC | #87539

Go to: Why Science Will Triumph Only When Theory Becomes Law

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by anonquick

People like levels, grades, or scales.

The fact of evolution should graded the highest level, and this level should mean something like 'certainty'. 'The earth is 6000 years old should be graded in the level which means something like 'completely rejected because it is no where near the truth'.

Evolution by natural selection should get a grade that means something like: "Everyone agrees that this is the truth, we are now fighting over some of the details".

What do people think?

Thu, 15 Nov 2007 04:53:00 UTC | #84160

Go to: Can we at least demand 'Secular Communion'?

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by anonquick

Great article. The Mediocre as well as the Extreme can be a valid target of criticism.

This site needs to evolve to the next level - a platform that helps the proponents of reason perform COLLECTIVE acts of reason.

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 18:59:00 UTC | #83018

Go to: The good that comes from belief

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by anonquick

This post is for the more philosophical in the audience, you Godless evil doers.

There is an ape on the planet that can use language to:
1. Think.
2. Communicate.
3. Do things.

I think this is useful for thinking about beliefs, thoughts, memes, etc. (particularly 1 and 3).

Various religious communities have a body of thinking, the the individual tenets can be put before the rational mind and interrogated for truth or falsity. That is ONE thing you can do.

Another thing you can do is look at how these tenets individually and collectively modulate and drive behaviour.

I think you can do the same thing with the threads or the fabrics of secular thinking - look at them for determine their truth value, or you can judge them in terms of action.

So you unbelieving devils! Who is with me in demanding that the Richard Dawkins Centre for Science and Reason organised us cats to give money to good causes and do good works?

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 03:37:00 UTC | #82807

Go to: Religion is not incompatible with Science: 'Non-Overlapping Magisteria'

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by anonquick

The Gist: Not true, here are some examples of how science treads on the tuft of religion.

meat inspectors - not done by priests.

morality - moral psychology.

witch doctors vs real doctors.


counsellors vs priests.

marriage celebrants vs priests.

Lateral thought - take the next step, stop interpreting the bible, and start interpreting, LIFE.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 01:39:00 UTC | #80550

Go to: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. were atheists, and they were terrible! Answer that!

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 92 by anonquick

Gist: Ideology is the problem. Which includes what YOU think.

Admit that Stalin and Hitler did bad things, but then go into how they did.

Core tenet: Religions are man-made.

Christian thought is just that - THOUGHTS. Thoughts are influence behaviour.

Some thoughts are dangerous. Some thoughts drive people to do bad things.

Charles Taylor, a philosopher of religion and secularism, has a good talk on this called "Religion and Violence".

Use the opportunity to push home the point that religions are man-made, AND that because secular thought is just that - thoughts - you need to distinguish between harmful and harmless secular thoughts, just like we all have to with religious beliefs/ religious sects.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 01:34:00 UTC | #80549

Go to: That's not MY God or Religion you're criticising

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by anonquick

The Gist: Your God is man-made. There are as many Gods as they are people. Let's talk about 5 specific things.

What are the five things that every Christian believes but is really quite sick?

E.G. Do you have to believe in him? Does that mean you think your son or wife is going to hell (if they don't believe?)

Go through famous good people like Einstein(?) does the debater think they are in hell?

Better - nobel prize winners for peace or medicine that are non-christian.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 01:08:00 UTC | #80545

Go to: Atheism is a religion and you're as bad as the fundamentalists

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by anonquick

The Gist: Reasonably admit that that can sometimes be the case. Then use it against them.

Core tenet: the problem is ideology.
Core tenet: Ideology is man made.
Core tenet: Religions are man-made ideologies.

The basic idea is then to push how immoral it is to kill people over ideas, whether secular or religious.

Then to use biblical quotes etc to point out how religion puts thoughts before people 'In the beginning there was the word').

Burning a bible can get you killed.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 00:59:00 UTC | #80544

Go to: I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by anonquick

The Gist: They are saying, I have reason for not believing in ANY God. Use that.

Be on the attack.

Say that there are levels or plausibility. You admit Deism is more likely than a Christian God and get them to admit that too.

If they won't go for the: 'See? I have REASONS, not faith for distinguishing between the various logical possibilities the nature of God (is he a Christian God etc), where as you do so by faith.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 00:52:00 UTC | #80543

Go to: A Rational Universe Implies a Creator, Science points towards Theism

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by anonquick

Be humble - admit this relate the the origins problem, so say 'I don't know'.

Tactical retreat. Sacrifice No God for a Deistic God (for the purpose of the Debate), then get the opposition defend why they think their man-made God has anything to do with it.

Push the core-tenet: Your God is man-made, a fictional character.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 00:38:00 UTC | #80539

Go to: Arguments From Design, First Cause, Something Rather Than Nothing, Fundamental Constants

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by anonquick

The Gist: Admit no one knows, then get them to talk about it.

State I don't know.
State that religion is man-made, and religious ideas of genesis are man made, and not knowing the why there is something rather than nothing, doesn't change this view. Use the opportunity to state your wonder at these questions, and say you would love to know.

Then finish by pointing the Christian God is made up and even if there is a God surely has nothing to do with the real God, if there is such a thing, then immediately throw the question back on the other guy and let him expose his view.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 00:11:00 UTC | #80534

Go to: You can't prove that you love someone, so don't expect proof of God

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by anonquick

The Gist: Turn it around: You believe in God because you LOVE him, and THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: LOVE YODA.

The basic idea is attachment theory projected onto an imaginary friend. I have a brain that has evolved to attach to 'attachment figures' - as a baby on to mother, onto my father, later onto my lover. So just like you have have visual experiences without seeing real things (dreams, random noise in your neural system), you can attach onto something that is not there.

Do a thought experiment with the audience. Think about a fictional character like Yoda from Star Wars. Now get them to PROJECT LOVE at Yoda. Really get them going. Then ask them how they feel etc.

Then tell them Jesus is like Yoda.

This pushes the a core tenet: God is man-made, just like Yoda.

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 00:02:00 UTC | #80531

Go to: Science can answer how questions but only religion can answer why questions

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by anonquick

Gist: Hone in on Religion's claim on the why questions.

Use all the time to attack this claim

Core tenet: Religion is man-made.

The sacred books were written by men. The living authorities are men (and women). They are just like you and me. So the why questions from these sources come from men.

Therefore, if religion has answers, they are human answers. We as individual can find out the meaning of life for ourselves and we can MAKE a meaningful life for ourselves.

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 23:48:00 UTC | #80530

Go to: If you don't accept the supernatural, you obviously think life is depressing, meaningless and cold

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by anonquick

The Gist: distinguish the numinous from the supernatural, THEN argue that you can't own that, you can't capture the numinous with your petty beliefs, which are psychological in nature.

Like that Francis Collins, conversion experience. He has this awesome experience of beauty (acknowledge the experience), but its his interpretation that is suspect. I honor the experience, but have to insist that reducing it to some petty like conclusion about Jesus, is destroying one of the primal sources of wonder and experience. Push home the point that the wrong turn was to make the experience about own own beliefs, desires.

A related point - if raised in as a Hindu the experience would not have been of Jesus. Push the man-made nature of belief. There is the numinous experience that is the important thing, not the petty social construct.

If the debater has had there own such experience use that as a starting point.

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 23:39:00 UTC | #80529

Go to: Was religion beneficial to the development of society? Is it now?

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by anonquick

The Gist:the West has de-clawed and de-toothed Christianity. Its a domesticated kitty.

Narrative goes something like this, in Europe power was split between church and nobles. One argument for why priests are celibate is that the church was fighting back against the nobles putting their sons and nephews into positions of power in the church and it was in danger of becoming a play thing of the rich. So there has always been this fight between church power (which is a man made institution), and aristocratic power.

This is different from most cultures where religious power and aristocratic power is fused (ALL men in the Brahmin caste of Hindu society, the highest caste are priests; in Islam you have Theocracy).

There are lots of other examples in European history of this attempt to domesticate religion. The new world - same process.

Then bring in all our structures - Law, the courts, police, law makers, etc and contrast this more primitive times and places - the church was psychotherapist, welfare state, the police, the judge, even the inspector of MEAT! whereas we have secular mechanisms for this.

Then push the idea that Christianity is man-made. We can do better! Yes there is more to life than buying stuff, and making money, but WE all make all that other stuff to. Because its all man-made. We can have individual and collective means that make the world a better place and make society better for us all, and some of that may even look like religion, and WHY SHOULDN'T IT? Religion is just man made, so what ever good things it can do (like inspect meat) we can do without it.

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 23:28:00 UTC | #80526

Go to: The US is a Christian Nation

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by anonquick

The Gist: Make a public bet "I bet $100,000 that Jefferson wasn't, another $100,000 this person wasn't etc.

This wholly depends on how good the historical record is. Autobiographies are good. If you going to use this one, bet big and get the help of the best experts you can find who are willing to help.

If nothing else it will get publicity.

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 23:09:00 UTC | #80523

Go to: Atheists don't believe in anything

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by anonquick

The Gist: Reject it. Say yes we belief in stuff. Just not that stuff, and we are better for it.

Core tenet: Beliefs are psychological in nature.

Be aggressive, force the other side to admit that. Once they do, you have forced them into the secular world, which includes brains and cognition.

Even if they don't admit, it proclaim it yourself. Say I have beliefs, they are part of this secular word, nothing to do with your silly thoughts (just thoughts!), I prefer to have my thought do do with reality, and with potential realities (i.e. making the future a better than the present).

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 23:03:00 UTC | #80521

Go to: What's the evolutionary advantage of offering your place to an old woman on a bus?

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by anonquick

The Gist: point out the difference between proximate and ultimate causes. Compare moral instinct to an instinct more easily seen as part of our animal nature.

What's the evolutionary advantage of being turned on by pornography?

Evolution builds organisms that can do these things for ultimate reasons (spreading genes). Likewise, evolution can build brains that offer seats on the bus to old ladies ALONG WITH all the rest of the moral stuff, just like people get turned on by pornography ALONG with being turned on by flesh and blood people.

THEN, move on the attack. Offer a positive account of morality. Ask what's the Christian reason for offering the seat?

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 22:57:00 UTC | #80519

Go to: Science owes its origins to Christianity or Religion

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by anonquick

The Gist: Thanks, but we don't it any more.

Acknowledge it - acknowledge that Science owes its origins to Christianity. Then say so what? Religion is man made, science is man-made. Science grew out of (man-made) Christian culture, it doesn't need it any more.

Remember the core tenet: Religion is man-made. My re framing the question in terms of religion is man-made then you can acknowledge that Christianity had a part to play as the best Historians of Science argue, and then say in Hybridized with Greek thinking, AND that during that time NEW social and psychological changes occurred (for example at various times the call for measurement and empiricism).

If you keep the core tenet in mind - religion is man made you can emphasise that WE did, human individuals and human culture did it.

This is the trojan horse. How many times in the debates do people bring up "religion makes people good" or some other objective claim. That's the weakness - claim it. Claim that what every good comes of religion, that good is man-made, and a secular variant can be produced (and often already has).

A nice lateral shift can be made into the increased numbers of atheists in the National Academy of Science etc.

The Gist: Thanks, but we don't it anymore.

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 22:45:00 UTC | #80516

Go to: You can't be moral without God!

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 62 by anonquick

We all to take our own claims seriously. Religion is man made. I think debaters are always putting themselves in the shoes of the believers - as they should - but after a while gets very confusing and saps their clear thinking. The debaters need to keep firmly in mind at all times core tenets they have accepted.

I will give an example of how keeping theses core tenet in mind can help with this specific challenge (i.e. You can't be moral without God), with the hope that people (including the debaters) can generalise this approach.

Relevant core tenet: Religion is man-made.

"I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam -- good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system."
Gore Vidal

There you go - Historical example that proves the point, and you can elaborate on it.

For example I just watched a hitchens vs DeSouza where DeSouza insists on the importance of Christian value. Fine acknowledge them. Say "I like those values" But its man made. I can, and have, plucked it out from the superstition and the barbarity. Because the west is in the process of domesticating Christianity.

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 22:30:00 UTC | #80512

Go to: Sam Harris at AAI 07

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 68 by anonquick

Harris is right. Maybe there is jiggle room to accommodate other view points (pragmatic concerns etc) but he is basically right.
A present Exhibit A: Richard on the Fox News Show, Bill O'Reilly.
Here is the link:
Please watch it with the following purpose: watch for Bill doing exactly what Sam Harris is talking about, that is pigeon hole Richard as an atheist. "I'll stick with my side (Catholics), you stick with your side".

Those who are familiar with Fox News know that they are conscious and deliberate in the use of strategy and tactics. We should be real worried if Fox News is eager to label Richard an atheist. I think that this was THE major objective of having Richard on the air. I say again, Sam is right.

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 21:33:00 UTC | #78440

Go to: Atheists aren't a bad lot

anonquick's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by anonquick

I'm glad to see this biological account of morality is becoming more widely discussed.

At a talk at uni called 'The Dawkins Delusion' (he stole that from some other boring, unoriginal hack), I brought this this notion of a 'moral organ' similar to a chomskyian 'language organ' and it really shocked the room full of Christians. They were really used to science staying out of the realm of ethics.

It really, really scared them.

Mon, 22 Oct 2007 00:47:00 UTC | #76764