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Comments by Aaron

Go to: Debate - Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D'Souza, Wright

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by Aaron

I'm trying to stream from YouTube to my iPhone and for some reason I can't hear any of the audio...not even the raving loudmouths Boteach and D'Souza!

Mon, 16 Nov 2009 13:29:00 UTC | #413811

Go to: Orangutan attempts to hunt fish with spear

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Aaron

I for one welcome our new orangutan overlords.

Mon, 28 Apr 2008 09:54:00 UTC | #162610

Go to: Anti-gay Okla. lawmaker attracts 1,000 backers

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by Aaron

Frankus1122 on April 3, 2008 at 11:51 am

Aaron I like this idea but does it lend legitimacy to the Bible just by allowing it to be studied?


The legitimacy of the bible decreases the more I study it. I'm pretty sure I take an honest and open approach to it too.


What about the Koran?
What about other 'sacred' texts?


I was just applying the idea to the current subject but I think it should apply to any religious claim or any other claim for that matter.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 12:25:00 UTC | #146798

Go to: Anti-gay Okla. lawmaker attracts 1,000 backers

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by Aaron

Kern was cheered Wednesday when she told the crowd at the state Capitol that their support affirmed the rights of conservative Christians "who want to stand up for the truth of God's word."


If I were president of the US my first act would be to have the public vote on one issue: whether or not to have an international group of top biblical scholars, textual critics, and scientists get together to officially decide what the Bible is, what is says, and if there is any other guide that could be followed to ensure a moral society. I really don't see why we don't do this. When the government needs to make a decision it has committees like those that figure out which foods and drugs are acceptable for public consumption, which safety measures must be put in automobiles, how houses can be constructed, etc. If politicians like Kern really believe what they believe they should be pushing for something like this too. I think we need to push them back on their heels by threatening to call their bluffs.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 10:40:00 UTC | #146726

Go to: Beware the Believers

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Aaron

Werd

Fri, 28 Mar 2008 23:22:00 UTC | #143867

Go to: Religion 'linked to happy life'

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Aaron

Religious believers are like children around a fire on a cold evening. They lean in to benefit from its warmth. They stare at the flame, wonder at the power and elegance and begin to contemplate eternity. We atheists and skeptics are the unforunate parents who must tend the fire and keep it from spreading. Maybe believers are more content than we atheists because while they are benefitting from the fire we are trying to keep the entire world from burning.

Tue, 18 Mar 2008 15:09:00 UTC | #138641

Go to: Richard Dawkins' US Tour begins this week

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Aaron

Dr. Dawkins, please...for the love of science, COME TO SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI!!!!!!!!!

Mon, 03 Mar 2008 18:46:00 UTC | #130956

Go to: Why Darwin matters

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Aaron

Teratornis,

Although zebras and lions share a common ancestor they haven't evolved to rely on each other's cooperation in society. We have. There's the difference.

Fri, 08 Feb 2008 15:58:00 UTC | #118078

Go to: Why Darwin matters

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Aaron

Copernic,

When most people think of fittest in the context of evolution they think of the fastest cheetah that is more apt to catching and eating animals.

We need to start stressing that in the context of evolution of social animals fit means the best adapted to the society which in part means being moral and good.

I agree with you. Instead of tapdancing around a valid term we need to stress the importance in this other context to give people a better understanding of what it means.

Fri, 08 Feb 2008 11:35:00 UTC | #118004

Go to: Why Darwin matters

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Aaron

I think Darwin matters because the theory of evolution gives humans something in common that can unify us all. The fact that we all share a common ancestor and evolved into a social species that relies on evolved morality to perpetuate a peaceful society can be something that we can all know and understand equally. We cannot get that from religion. One believer's god is slightly different than the god of his neighbor and very much more different than the god of his neighboring country. Believers are never on common ground even when they sit in the same church pews.

We have the ability to say morality is not what is deemed by the god of one's choosing but and evolved sense of what benefits individuals by creating a healthy environment in which we and our offspring can survive. We just need to keep saying it...they'll listen eventually.

Fri, 08 Feb 2008 11:14:00 UTC | #117997

Go to: 'Irrational Atheist' trounces God-deniers

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Aaron

Reading this diatribe of strawmen and other logical fallacies actually made my nonbelief in god(s) stronger. Thanks, Vox Day! Keep writing nonsense and RD.net will keep posting it for our amusement.

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 05:26:00 UTC | #111982

Go to: Launch of 'Atheists in Foxholes' Book Anthology

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Aaron

Ian Bamlett and Deepthought,

I was in the military. I don't give a fuck about a flag. We put the American flag on our postage stamps which are licked, fondled, burned, scribbled on, etc. Flags are useless. When I was in the military I had an allegience to something much more powerful and dear to me: the defense of the Constitution.

I didn't want to hurt anyone. I just wanted to make sure what is written on that piece of paper isn't ignored.

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 12:51:00 UTC | #110593

Go to: The real danger in Darwin is not evolution, but racism

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 223 by Aaron

There is a minutia that is commonly lost in the details with opinions like this. Sure Darwin saw his theory as an explanation of why success differs between species (and maybe even races). He was making a judgment based on the information available to him at the time. Lucky for us science isn't static. It changes as new information is gleaned and thus judgments based on current information is constantly changing. The discovery of genes and DNA completely moved this issue from fitness of species and races to species of genes. Of course Tony Campolo probably doesn't know this because he doesn't care to inform himself.

Based on all current relevant information there is no biological basis for racism. Period. Actually, the study of our DNA and genetics shows how incredibly similar we are underneath our differences.

Maybe someone like Richard Dawkins or Jared Diamond should write a book on this topic as well as the evolutionary sources of morality. I'd definitely read it!

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 09:04:00 UTC | #110046

Go to: Life-Forming Chemicals Found in Distant Galaxy

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Aaron

Methamphetamine??? Get me on a rocket ship right...oh wait. Nevermind.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 10:36:00 UTC | #109074

Go to: Stop House Resolution 888

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Aaron

We need a coalition of the willing to liberate America and cause a regime change. This is getting ridiculous.

Sat, 05 Jan 2008 10:26:00 UTC | #102713

Go to: Sam Harris debate with Rabbi David Wolpe

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Aaron

I watch these debates as much as possible and I'm open to the idea that one of them might contain a convincing argument from the theist point of view but I'll damned if I've yet seen one.

Fri, 04 Jan 2008 15:32:00 UTC | #102433

Go to: 'Christian God is not to blame'

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Aaron

"Babies are vulnerable, more helpless initially than any of the animals...So too was the son of God, but every birth inspires hope, even when it is only hope against hope."

Wait a second. Is this dude saying there was a chance little baby Jesus could have died from some natural cause associated with being born in the bronze age? Doesn't that contradict what the bible says about god sending Jesus specifically to die on the cross?

Sun, 23 Dec 2007 10:42:00 UTC | #97867

Go to: CBC News: Sunday - Richard Dawkins

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Aaron

I have to disagree with Dr. Dawkins on his theory that altruism towards strangers is a misfiring of our moral mechanisms.

I think an argument can be made that the process that articulates morality within the brain starts with senory information about the state of being of any individual and when that state of being is made better our reward centers fire and reinforce the act of making the state of being better for other individuals and that the genes that code for this mechanism and process have been selected because they promote a healthy environment for their propagation within offspring. This means the rule by which this mechanism functions would state something like "Increase the well being of individuals within your environment to ensure it is safe for your offspring."

This idea maintains the selfishness of genes and gets rid of the idea disliked by many (including me) that morality towards strangers is a malfunction of some kind.

Tue, 18 Dec 2007 08:36:00 UTC | #95499

Go to: An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Aaron

Father Johnathan,

As punishment for this nonsense you are to write the following on the chalkboard until you understand it:

Evolution can explain morality without invoking god(s). Normal people are born moral. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc were not normal. Also, I belong to an organization that allows priests to have sex with little boys. That's fucked up.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:53:00 UTC | #92166

Go to: Beyond Belief 07: Enlightenment 2.0

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 99 by Aaron

Is Scott Atran seriously trying to say the recent terror plots should be blamed on soccer?

Sat, 08 Dec 2007 09:37:00 UTC | #91037

Go to: The Pagan Christ

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Aaron

I don't mean to just espouse the middle of the road stance here but couldn't it be that Jesus actually existed and well after his death many of the attributes of the pre-Christian gods were applied to his legacy to strengthen his character as a spiritual leader?

I second Edanator's remarks. I listened to the Infidel Guy interview with Bart Ehrman yesterday. He has said himself he's an agnostic. That coming from a former evangelical to me means he's an atheist. He provided Paul's letters in Galatians which are known to be authentic in which Paul mentions in an off-handed fashion that he met with "James the brother of the lord". To that my atheism replies "Who cares?" There is still zippo for evidence that supports the supernatural claims of his existence.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 05:48:00 UTC | #90635

Go to: Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Aaron

I think Ayaan Hirsi Ali's most enlightening point of view deserved much more than three minutes on this topic. Hopefully she'll get more attention here in the states soon.

Fri, 30 Nov 2007 05:21:00 UTC | #87966

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

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Aaron

I hope the judge can distinguish between human values (equality, justice, honesty, altruism, etc) and religious values (oppression, indoctrination, division, etc). If he (being in Mulsim Turkey the judge is almost guaranteed to be a man which proves my point) can make that distintion I hope he would find the publisher guilty of insulting religious values and championing human values.

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 07:46:00 UTC | #87177

Go to: Science owes its origins to Christianity or Religion

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Aaron

Science and religion have a common origin: human curiosity. Where they part ways is in the carefulness of their methodologies. Science strives to eliminate human bias and confusion from its process of investigation, an act in which religion places no value.

Mon, 29 Oct 2007 10:10:00 UTC | #79405

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

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by Aaron

First, Hitler was probably not an atheist but for the sake of this argument I'll consider him as one...it doesn't matter.

The argument has to be followed logically backward before it can be dealt with logically forward. The claim "the atrocities of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. were because of the atheism of those dictators" depends on the argument "without god(s) anything is permissible". This argument, of course, does not work because we know throughout the evolution of our species as we've become more and more social the individuals we have been forced to become more and more moral. This means all people share a sense of morality which varies to different degrees based on a combination of environmental and psychological factors.

So how are the exceptions of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc, explained? Well, if it isn't the subtraction of god(s) maybe it is the addition of other factors such as a history of abuse (Hitler and Stalin), being children of strict disciplinarian parents (Hitler, Stalin, Mao) or mental disorders (likely Hitler, less likely Stalin and/or Mao).

If that is not a convincing enough rebuttal:
The claim "atheism leads to monsters like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc" is clearly rebutted by facts. There have been millions of atheists throughout history and only 3 can be named as monsters.

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 17:17:00 UTC | #79006

Go to: Most religious people are moderate, and don't hurt anybody

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Aaron

My response:
Religions are belief systems that are meant to guarantee a peaceful society. Therefore any religion is unacceptable if, as a result of it, enough people act violently enough to disrupt peace in our global society. Obviously Christianity and to a bigger extent Islam are examples of this. Since both the Koran and Christian Bible contain passages that promote violence, inequality, etc any society that follow either of those texts will contain some violence, inequality, etc. This means Christianity and Islam are unacceptable as belief systems if a peaceful society is the goal.

If it is argued one should blame the interpretations of the passages in the bible or Koran that promote violence, inequality, etc it should be pointed out that to not have violence, inequality, etc as a result is impossible since at least some people will tend to read things literally.

My snarky response:
As an analogy consider a recipe for brownies that contains only 1% feces. It's only 1%, a small minority compared to the rest of the 99% chocolatey goodness. Is it the feces or the recipe that is the problem?

Fri, 26 Oct 2007 10:09:00 UTC | #78659

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

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Aaron

This is a bit of a strawman because no atheist needs proof of god(s)' existence...only evidence. The same goes for love. As an aside, someone demanding proof that their spouse loved them would be an act of insecurity and a demonstration of an inability to have a healthy relationship.

If the argument is reframed in the context of evidence, instead of proof, it can continue logically.

Evidence of someone's love for another is easily seen by the way the person in love interacts with the other (whether the other has reciprocating feelings or not).

As a secondary argument one could ask the opponent if there is evidence that a random stranger pointed out in an audience is in love with him or her. If the opponent says no and upon being asked why not says he or she doesn't even know the person in the audience he or she has proven there are prerequisites for love that can be used as evidence of its existence (familiarity with the person being one of them) and has proven the point for you.

Fri, 26 Oct 2007 09:29:00 UTC | #78643

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

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Aaron

The typical response:
Religion does make scientific claims that can be tested, such as the power of prayer, etc.

My response:
If this were true all religious beliefs, past and present, would be able to be maintained untouched by science. Looking at the history of religious beliefs we can test this hypothesis and clearly see it is false. Take Christianity as only one example. The bible makes several claims that have been disproven by science. The universe and everything in it was not created in 7 days nearly 6,000 years ago, the earth was not created before the sun, the moon does not cast its own light, there was no global flood, humans are not unique from other animals as a result of being specially ensouled, etc.

A true example of non-overlapping magesteria would be a chef trying to use his or her culinary knowledge to describe why the Saint Louis Rams football team hasn't won a game yet this year.

The snarky response:
I agree science and religion maintain non-overlapping magisteria: Science deals with reality and religion deals with everything else.

or

I agree, science deals with what we can postively show to be true and religion deals with what we are biased to hope is true.

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 04:49:00 UTC | #77968

Go to: Ayaan Hirsi Ali at AAI 07

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Aaron

I have so much respect for that woman.

Sat, 13 Oct 2007 14:11:00 UTC | #74862

Go to: Debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

Aaron's Avatar Jump to comment 83 by Aaron

It was so frustrating to hear the same tired arguments from Lennox equally frustrating to hear Dawkins' responses to some of them. Sure Dawkins handled the argument of design of life quite well because he's spent his entire life studying and understanding the complexities of life but it seems he hasn't made an effort to catch himself up the other arguments theists usually make. I think prior to the next debate in which Dawkins participates he should get some material from Steven Weinberg (physicist), Steven Pinker (evolutionary psychologist), Bart Ehrman (scriptural critic), Robert Price (biblical scholar), Daniel Dennett (philosopher), Jared Diamond (anthropologist), etc. There is going to be no single person who is going to fully win this debate when it is addressed from a single discipline.

Fri, 05 Oct 2007 12:58:00 UTC | #72702