This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by J Mac

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 275 by J Mac

Hmm, it seems no one will see my point, so I will just make it in the most clear way I can and be on my way:

I think it is disgraceful and cowardly to measure religion by its worst adherents rather than giving it the benefit of the doubt to analyze what it should be while simultaneously only measuring atheism by what it should be and ignoring its worst adherents.

It is not a fair measure.

I am not one to defend theists in most circumstances, however if those who call themselves atheists are not acting fairly and rationally I will point it out. I need not skew the evidence in favor of atheism to not believe in god; the truth is sufficient.

In a debate between Hitchens and D'Sousa all the atheists applaud Hitchens and conclude that he "won" the debate while all the theists applaud D'Sousa and think he "won." Neither side is looking for the truth, they are both engaging in a confirmation bias. The last debate with Hitchens and D'Sousa I saw was disappointing, I was impressed with D'Sousa who made many good points, of course not changing my mind, but rather than address those points Hitchens played childishly assuming he was right regardless of what evidence was presented.

Such tactics are shameful. If we refuse to give our opponents arguments the same credit and weight that we give our own then we have no grounds on which to call ourselves the rational thinkers or clear thinkers. If we balk at any criticism of our views rather than address them fairly we will not sway any theists.

I'm rather sick of watching atheists pat each other on the back while they grow complacent in their perceived superiority. It is childish and disgraceful.

And on that heart warming note I think I will be leaving this group for a while.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 10:12:00 UTC | #228183

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 269 by J Mac

"Unless you can come up with doctrines and motivations that arise from atheism"

No matter what someone responds to that challenge you will undoubtedly say that it is not a doctrine or motivation of true atheism.

The fact that the similarity to the theist tactic of claiming that those who fight wars in the name of religion are not following the true doctrine of religion, the fact that this similarity eludes you is sad.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 10:02:00 UTC | #228174

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 267 by J Mac

Apathy, I think you framed my view fairly.

"'Can someone act, purely in the name of atheism?' "

They SHOULDN'T no. But CAN they? Yes people certainly can, as the satirical future in south park demonstrated.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:59:00 UTC | #228171

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 266 by J Mac

Yes Steve, but in responding to someone singling out blondes as the violent ones it is reasonable to point out that brown haired people are just the same.

John Locke:
"atheists dont commit crimes, start wars etc in the name of atheism but for other reasons, so thereby atheism isnt the area up for criticism."

Now your missing the starting point of the discussion. It came out of an episode of South Park where various atheist factions DID start a war in the name of atheism. Of course it was satire and not factual. But to say that they have no grounds to make a satire warning of possible futures is crazy.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:57:00 UTC | #228170

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 262 by J Mac

My overall point in this thread recently has been that atheists will thrown stones at religions saying that religion causes war and suffering, but as soon as someone says that atheists will fight wars in the absence or religion suddenly some atheists call foul saying that atheism is immune to such criticism.

That is a cheap and disingenuous way out of a debate against religion, it is a cowardly tactic that does not put rationality first.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:53:00 UTC | #228166

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 260 by J Mac

Yes but if someone were going around saying "blondes are violent, blondes fight over everything. There will never be peace in the world until we eliminate all the blondes" then a blonde would be more than justified in pointing out that "even without blondes brown haired people would find something to fight about."

Christopher Hitchens makes his entire debates about the evils of religions and works to attribute all the worlds atrocities to religion. Whether he is right or wrong is irrelevant to the fact that it is fair game for someone to point out that atheists would fight too.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:50:00 UTC | #228164

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 256 by J Mac

Does it make sense?

Well it depends on the context. If someone might believe that people with brown hair don't like apples then yes, it makes perfect sense.

Could you imagine a brown haired person, even if they didn't know the context, getting offended at such a statement and feeling the need to fight against it? I can't.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:44:00 UTC | #228159

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 254 by J Mac

I hope that no one thinks I am just trying to pick a fight, but I think this is a worthy area of discourse. I did not imagine in a million years that my initial statement would be met with such hostility.

I think it is worth asking where that hostility comes from. Why does having the word atheist in the same sentence with fighting get everyone all pissy about definitions?

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:38:00 UTC | #228157

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 253 by J Mac

So should we deny the truth value of true statements just so we can avoid giving Robertson ammunition?

I wont. I don't have any chills or shivers in reading or saying the statement "without religion atheists would still fight" versus "without religion people would still fight". I suspect I don't because I don't elevate "atheist" above what it is. I don't claim that atheists are any different than other people or are immune to human nature.

Aside from a desire to deny that atheists are just as human as anyone else I cannot imagine why the first of the above two statements would cause any discomfort.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:33:00 UTC | #228156

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 251 by J Mac

Saying "Without fairies Afairieists would still fight" is a valid statement.

It does not link afairiests with fighting, it undoes the necessary and sufficient linkage between fairies and fighting.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:28:00 UTC | #228153

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 249 by J Mac

Peace make up your mind. You just above said that the rule I referred to that the position that was immune to criticism was the definition of atheism. Now you agree with my definition.

Can't have it both ways.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:25:00 UTC | #228151

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 246 by J Mac

If you agree that the statement is true but you object to using the word atheists in it then you are the one hanging additional meaning on the word.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:23:00 UTC | #228148

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 244 by J Mac

"They pointed out that even without religion atheists would still fight."

Do you doubt the truth of that statement? Or just its construction?

If I said: "Without religion people would still fight" Would you have a problem with that?

Well guess what, people without religion are called atheist. Therefore "without religion [people without religion who can rightly be called] atheists would still fight"

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:21:00 UTC | #228145

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 243 by J Mac

I don't give a damn about proscribed behaviors, where did that crap come from?

"It's the definition of atheism." The definition of atheism is that it is a position that is immune to criticism?

Holy shit, this whole time I thought it meant I didn't believe in any deities or supernatural powers. Turns out it means I'm an arrogant prick. I guess I'm not an atheist.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:18:00 UTC | #228144

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 240 by J Mac

Steve you have earn a good amount of respect from me, but yes if you believe that I'd apply it to you as well.

How can anyone enter into rational argument against a theist when you come in with your own rule that your position is immune to criticism? It's a one way shoot out, you get to criticize theists but they are not justified in criticizing you?

If thats the case I say it is cowardly. Logical discourse will lead us to truth, and if your view is so fragile that it cannot be subjected to scrutiny then I want no part in it. I am open to being proven wrong, anyone who is not is as dogmatic as any theist.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:08:00 UTC | #228138

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 237 by J Mac

Peace your a coward.

You're worse than theists. You DEFINE atheism as something that cannot be criticized. It is above our outside of a reality that can be discussed or criticized.

Perhaps I am not an atheist then, I am a critical thinker; and if you are unable or unwilling to self evaluate and critique your own views then you are either a liar or deluded, or both. You have defined atheism as something that can never be criticized as a means of fighting of any criticism with a cheap "thats not about atheism" excuse.

You use atheism as more of a crutch than the religious use god. If you cannot meet critique with logic I have nothing more to say to you.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:55:00 UTC | #228130

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 232 by J Mac

"Atheism is a simple concept: the absence of belief in any god. How any atheist acts says nothing about the truth or falsity of this position."

Yeah heres another simple concept:

Atheists still fight in the absence of religion. An observable fact. I never claimed that that said anything about Atheism as a doctrine or whatever the hell you may want to call it. I just observed that it was a fact.

I am not in the habit of covering up facts because some two faced scum bag theist might be hanging in the shadows watching what I say.

Grow a spine and don't live in fear of a moron's criticism. Personally I have nothing to hide.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:36:00 UTC | #228123

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 230 by J Mac

So we have to pretend that atheists are perfect so that a moron will not have crap to put in his book?

Fuck that, I will not defend your ideology with lies. Stop making a religion out of atheism.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:27:00 UTC | #228120

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 228 by J Mac

Well by that logic no point could ever be made against atheism.

Geesh, don't read so much into it. They pointed out that even without religion atheists would still fight. That is an observable fact.

It says nothing about "atheism" because your making a negative definition out of atheism just like theists do with the "not my god" excuse.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:22:00 UTC | #228116

Go to: Atheists: The Last Political Outcasts

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 655 by J Mac

...managed to escape that state. I simply don't think that our residual instincts are, on their own, enough to have got us this far. It was our reason that did that.


Skyhook alert!

Humans have not "escaped" evolution or our instincts, we have just developed new ones. Our "reason" is not a magical gift from sky-gods or fairies, it is part of our evolved nature.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:20:00 UTC | #228114

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 226 by J Mac

Makes sense. I didn't see it as a straw-man as I did not see them satirizing the same argument as you.

You seem to think they were satirizing the idea that no religion means no war. I simply saw them pointing out the fact that even without religion we'd still find reasons to kill each other. A subtle difference yes, but I didn't see that they were making the assumption about an atheist's argument.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:14:00 UTC | #228110

Go to: Secularists have a right to maintain their ethos

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by J Mac

"Ethics should be a collaboration, not a personal assertion"

Can we have that put in the text books? Well said.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:12:00 UTC | #228109

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 224 by J Mac

"If they made at least ONE valid point against RD and atheism"

I dunno about their points on RD, but on atheism: Wasn't that the episode with the various atheist groups in the future fighting wars about nonsense?

If we get rid of religion atheists will still find other banal ideas to fight about. Just browse through the other threads here, I'm involved in several such arguments.

If that was the same episode I'd say they did make one valid point against atheism.

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 08:07:00 UTC | #228107

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 145 by J Mac

You get what you pay for.

Other lobbies have interest groups funding them. Did any of you contribute to the secular america lobby? If you did then you can complain.

"our lobbyist is stiff..."

Our? She's not my lobbyist. Don't get me wrong I'm glad she's out there doing what she does, but I don't sign her checks.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 19:43:00 UTC | #227895

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 133 by J Mac

"I agree with others that say it makes you look rather petty."

Wow. I must look REALLY petty then.

"So why are you arguing so vociferously?"

He has actually seemed fairly reserved and polite in his questions about whether this should be considered funny.

Personally I'm with you on Colbert being a satirical genus, and I disagree with RD's criticisms, but saying they make him look petty and vociferous? Damn, its his website, why should he refrain from chiming in with his views when we have all been pretty unrestrained in expressing ours?

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 18:14:00 UTC | #227876

Go to: Atheists: The Last Political Outcasts

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 649 by J Mac

"meme theory is nothing more than a useful metaphor, an interpretational device...it's not science"

*Sigh of relief*

I'm glad someone else brought that up. I'm rather tired of fighting that battle.

Very useful metaphor indeed, but not science.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 17:46:00 UTC | #227870

Go to: Friend or Foe? Crows Never Forget a Face, It Seems

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by J Mac

If crows are so d--- smart, why do they

mistake a scarecrow for a real person?


They don't.

People are likely more often fooled by scarecrows than crows.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 17:42:00 UTC | #227869

Go to: Atheists: The Last Political Outcasts

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 647 by J Mac

Decius,

You answered my concern well, thank you.

Your earlier post did not seem clear as it seemed to claim that science alone could prescribe that one ought not engage in incest or that incest was bad.

"Isn't it most likely uncontroversial, by now, that health is preferable to sickness, or are the philosophers still debating over that one? "

I'd agree that is uncontroversial, but I will point out that the preference of health to sickness cannot be made (only informed) by science. Science can tell us what the consequences of various actions or decisions may be; it cannot tell us which consequences should be sought after.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 16:46:00 UTC | #227855

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 124 by J Mac

Gregonomic,

I think you posted the wrong link. That wasn't a theist and Colbert didn't make him look foolish. In fact that guest seemed to get the most in and stood up well to Colbert.

EDIT: When I clicked the same link again I got a different video.... This seems to be the one you were referring to.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 16:40:00 UTC | #227853

Go to: Better Know a Lobby - Atheism

J Mac's Avatar Jump to comment 99 by J Mac

Debacles I'd agree with your analysis of my hatred of dane cook. He's the guy at the bar who's convinced his shit don't stink even when everyone can smell him coming a mile away.

As opposed to the greats like Carlin, who's main idea is that EVERYONE'S shit stinks. Were all the same, we're all human.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 15:20:00 UTC | #227822