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Comments by adiroth

Go to: Guidance in turning my children to reason

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by adiroth

Sometime you can do a lot more by not doing. You don't have to drag your kids around with you to undoctrinate them, all you need to do is to be a role model for your kids, showing them that an atheist can be a much better person than the religious lot who only feigns morality out of fear of God.

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:58:29 UTC | #950490

Go to: Rise of religion in Russia

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by adiroth

You have to know that the hook of organised religions is not only the supernatural story they're trying to sell. The most powerful hook they have over the masses is the self-supporting ecosystem they've built to benefit their ingroup. They provide social support, camaraderie, positive reinforcement for expected behaviours, punishment for infractions and many other little things that makes it easy to be part of their organisation. Little sects often take more out of their members than they provide, creating unsustainable conditions, but established religions can usually tend their flock well enough, milking them while growing their population.

Religions are sold in package. If you want to get all the benefits, you will have to buy into the supernatural crap too. Secular organisations, ideas and science, however, are the complete opposite. You don't have to say hail Darwins when you go to hospital or pray to Benjamin Franklin when using electricity. So, you can say that religions are the free riders of scientific progress and secular institutions.

Given a group of relatively rational self-interested population, upon realising that modern conveniences can be taken for granted, the only thing they will worry about is whether the supernatural belief is worth the bonuses in the package. They won't have to sacrifice their iPhones and internet for believing in the supernatural.

If one can disregard the absurdity of the supernatural, in terms of utility, there really is not much to lose for joining a religion.

More specifically for Russia, I think religion have become popular again because the population have forgotten how corrupt it could be or the majority of the population have never experienced it first hand after all those years of Soviet rule. Give them some time, if the new religious institutions are not learning any new tricks, then Russia will most likely go the way of Europe after a period of religious revival.

However, religion is not going down without a fight, it's going to be a drawn out process, because in comparison, secular organisations in general do not actively attack them despite the religious right's fantasies.

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 17:50:44 UTC | #950315

Go to: Refuting supernatural

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 122 by adiroth

Agreed. The greatest miracle of all time would be the transition of inaminate matter into a living organism by "random" and/or "blind" forces in harsh conditions. By far this possibility is astronomically more unlikely than any "miracle" referred to in the christian bible.

Unlikely means that it's possible because it's only a matter of probability X time. Meanwhile, miracles are claims that needs to be proven.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 12:45:45 UTC | #949410

Go to: Refuting supernatural

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 72 by adiroth

There could be undiscovered features beyond what is known at present, (such as a universe operating to different laws), but this surely would only be an alternative form of "natural".

Yes. It is theorized that there are other dimension with different laws of physics. https://blogs.oracle.com/bblfish/entry/the_10_dimensions_of_reality

However, the laws of physics in our own universe may not be (pardon the pun) universally constant either. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909004112.htm

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 16:45:53 UTC | #949250

Go to: Refuting supernatural

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by adiroth

The supernatural can exist only in the supernatural world or another worlds that's separate from the natural world, one of which is our imagination.

Only 'one of which'?

Yes, only one of which. Because obviously it is possible for the theoretical supernatural worlds to exist beyond our imagination due to unlimited iteration of possibilities AND impossibilities that can exist. Think about it this way, if the supernatural world is not bound by the natural law, the rules of cause & effect, then that world can be anything, everything and nothing. Chaos! Since we live in the natural world, our minds won't be able to truly perceive the endless iteration of chaos.

Simply put, theoretical supernatural worlds can exist without anyone having ever thought about it. Also, there is a difference between concept & form. Just because we might understand the concept of a chaotic world, it does not mean we can perceive every single iteration of these lawless worlds.

On another note, I have something to say about the testability of God.

As long as God can cause change in the physical world, then God can be tested. Even if God lives in a world where natural laws are different, the key to the answer is the bridge between the 2 worlds. For this bridge to exist, it needs to operate on laws consistent to both worlds. When there's a consistent law, then it is possible to devise an overarching law to explain both worlds, like how we explain dimensions with different laws of physics.

So, if theists says that God can cause miracles, then he God is testable. However, to prove that the so-called miracle is caused by God, theists need to prove that gods exist first through other means, otherwise, they'll just be committing circular reasoning.

One last thing I want to comment on before I finish.

What is the difference between an extremely powerful wizard and God? We are led to believe that we owe God the debt of creation, so God is supposed to be like a father to us. That's why when atheists insult God, theists get their panties in a twist. But before they get angry, they should get the proverbial paternity test first by proving God's existence.

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 03:03:11 UTC | #949151

Go to: Refugee visa for Alexander Aan?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by adiroth

Comment 6 by VrijVlinder : Are all atheists communists ? Is the ideology even similar? I dislike when they throw em together.

Glad you picked that up. It's a glib underhanded method to lump them together & demonise atheists because Indonesia hasn't gotten past its Red Scare.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 02:31:40 UTC | #949030

Go to: Refuting supernatural

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by adiroth

  1. Nothing can both exist and be outside of nature, as nature is the sum of everything in existence.

  2. Nothing that exists can defy the laws of nature. The subjects existence is proof that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent it from existing. The subjects existence is proof that it complies with the laws of nature.

  3. Any assertion of truth in regards to the subjects existence is a claim for its natural existence.

  4. The title of supernatural is given to the subject if it is beyond current scientific understanding and the known laws of nature, provided the available evidence was demonstrated to be unreliable or inaccurate.

  5. The title of natural is given upon the subjects proven existence. Our understanding of the laws of nature must change to comply with the subjects proven existence. The laws of nature themselves continue to remain in harmony with the subject.

  6. Either modification of the known laws of nature or a rewritten definition of the supernatural subject being discussed is required for the subject to exist.

Point 1 through 3 would be the points of contention for someone arguing for the supernatural.

  1. By its definition, "nature" is the physical world, while "supernatural" is whatever beyond it. It is conceptually consistent, though it does not mean that such thing can exist physically, like invisible pink unicorns.

  2. Nothing that exists IN nature can defy the laws of nature. If it's supernatural, it won't be bound by the laws of nature as long as it does not cross into the natural world.

  3. If you consider truth to be existence in the natural world then you're right. But if the supernatural object only exists in the supernatural realm, then you can't apply the rules of the natural world to it.

So, a supernatural object can only exist in a supernatural world, but once it crosses into the natural world it has to play by the natural world's rules. However, the fact that it is possible to cross or affect the natural world would mean that the supernatural object's world is part of the natural world in the first place, because if a connection can be established, then the supernatural is not SUPER(above or beyond)natural anymore.

Therefore, the point is: The supernatural cannot exist or affect the natural world, or it would lose its very definition. The supernatural can exist only in the supernatural world or another worlds that's separate from the natural world, one of which is our imagination.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 16:01:49 UTC | #948976

Go to: Teaching Primary Aged Children

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by adiroth

I don't know what R.E. (religious education) is like in Australia, but it's the teaching of a particular religion right? Unlike Religious Studies, where different religious beliefs are compared?

Personally, I think any adventure stories are ok, even Harry Potter if they're not too young for it. Just give them the room to imagine and exercise their minds freely so that they'll eventually find the restrictive and unimaginative nature of religious narratives to be incompatible to their intellectual habits.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:38:12 UTC | #948968

Go to: Refugee visa for Alexander Aan?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by adiroth

Here's an update:

The whole religious situation is getting even more ridiculous in Indonesia. A Shia cleric has been convicted of blasphemy and is sentenced to 2 years of jail. The country has gone from religious intolerance to sectarianism. At this rate, by the end of the year, they're going to jail people for misquoting a line from the Quran.

Currently, Angela Merkel's visiting Indonesia to talk up some trade deals and cooperation initiatives, she managed to bring up the religious intolerance topic and all she got in return is a slimy diplomatic response from the Constitutional Court chief.

“Since its inception, the Constitutional Court has guaranteed the freedom of atheists and communists in this country, as long as they do not disturb the freedom of people of other religions. Freedom is equality.” Mahfud said, as quoted by kompas.com.

It's effectively the Atheist version of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:26:17 UTC | #948967

Go to: A past Muslim . . . now an atheist in Pakistan

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by adiroth

At this moment, I have to agree that your best course of action is to leave the country first. I know that it's not easy, because of all the tests & requirements and really long waiting period you need to go through, but at least there's a glimmer of hope for you out there. (Migrating to European countries is not that easy you know)

Also, try to see if you can apply for a refugee status as an Atheist living in Pakistan.

Tue, 10 Jul 2012 16:58:58 UTC | #948853

Go to: Prayer at a working lunch?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by adiroth

Wow, by your condescending account of Christians, I really doubt you like everybody, xmaseveeve. I have no special feelings for them, but not all of them are barbarians at the gate.

The idea that the guy Liebore is dealing with won't be as forgiving and pragmatic is just a speculation. What happened to innocent until proven guilty eh? It seems that you just love to be offended and can find offense in the slightest thing.

Also, what Liebore wrote about his supplier wouldn't wanting to talk about religion if Liebore had Jewish/Jewish sounding name is pretty clear.

Let me clarify that. I meant what Liebore said is clear. If he had Jewish/Arabic name, his supplier wouldn't have even asked him if it's OK to pray and would've done it anyway, showing less respect.

Tue, 10 Jul 2012 02:20:49 UTC | #948818

Go to: Prayer at a working lunch?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by adiroth

Comment 35 by xmaseveeve :

Comment 34, adiroth,

I agree with the post which you are trying to refute. Business ethics should tell you that it is unacceptable to compromise people by discussing religion during a business meeting. It's worse than using a mobile phone. At least in that case the person on the other end usually exists and is the same person to everyone. It's not 'courteous' to ask if you may pray. It's plain rude. Would 'God' not know which food he meant, if he thanked 'Him' before he went out?

No one was accusing the Bible-basher of being a racist. The poster's reference to an Arab or Jewish-sounding name, was, of course, making the point that the other person may have been a Muslim. I can't see this fisher of men getting his rod out in public under those circumstances, can you? This seller was taking advantage of the buyer's politeness. This was an imposition.

Well, that person might have been unprofessional for talking about religion at work, but at least he did ask about it. It's awkward, but talking about religion is not a crime and neither is talking about atheism. Liebore could've just denied him by changing the subject to business, but he was just too scared to rock the boat.

Also, what Liebore wrote about his supplier wouldn't wanting to talk about religion if Liebore had Jewish/Jewish sounding name is pretty clear.

Mon, 09 Jul 2012 07:42:05 UTC | #948793

Go to: Prayer at a working lunch?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by adiroth

Adiroth, #21, I have to disagree with you. I do not believe it is "courteous" to ask someone if is OK if you openly pray in such a setting. It is presumptive, and forces the other party to either acquiesce or enter into an unnecessary and uncomfortable confrontation (however small, though certainly not guaranteed to be small). I can't help but wonder if he would have made the same request if I had an overtly Jewish or Arabic last name. Furthermore, as I might imagine he would rightfully take offense if I asked him to listen silently while I waxed poetic about how greatful we both were that no god was presiding over our meal or conversation, I feel I am well within my right to find the experience offensive.

Now you're the one being overly suspicious here, attributing racist qualities to him and accusing the guy as a bigot without any proof.

As you've said, practically no one knows that you're an Atheist, so it's unlikely that the guy does his religious tirade to personally spite you. Most likely he's just one of those people who can't stop talking about the stuff he's interested in. I personally know some people who just can't stop talking about guns and race cars and they' find any reason or chance to just talk about it.

Sure, these people are annoying, but you should not be offended as an atheist just because some religious people happen to be socially awkward. Just steer the conversation to something else.

Sun, 08 Jul 2012 11:22:27 UTC | #948756

Go to: Prayer at a working lunch?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by adiroth

Look, the guy asked out of courtesy & you gave him the permission. You don't have any right to complain because you forfeited that right already. Be an adult, if his prayers bothers you so much, just politely mention it to him the next time.

I know you don't want to out yourself, but how can anyone seriously be offended by a prayer (the prayer was not about saving your soul from eternal hellfire I presume)? Last time I checked, Atheists are not vampires.

Fri, 06 Jul 2012 17:31:25 UTC | #948693

Go to: My Journey

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by adiroth

Honestly, I find this kind of poetic musing on the loss of religion & faith to be interesting. Maybe it's because of my secular upbringing which I have taken for granted.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:19:03 UTC | #947036

Go to: An Asian Origin for Human Ancestors?

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by adiroth

Comment 2 by Robert Firth :

"Petite primates" from Myanmar? I could have told you that - we get about 20 or 30 every year joining our diploma course.

Seriously, though - a great find. Makes one wonder just how hard or easy long-distance migrations were back then.

Just what's that first sentence supposed to mean? I'm curious.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 06:51:05 UTC | #945648

Go to: Moody Bible Radio Discovers 'The Clergy Project' - interview with Teresa MacBain

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by adiroth

It's fascinating how those who belong to groups that claim to be compassionate and loving are always the opposite.

Wed, 30 May 2012 10:10:02 UTC | #944431

Go to: The Right’s Righteous Frauds

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by adiroth

Goodness, please don't even mention Bristol. Her opinion doesn't even matter. Addressing it only gives her the undeserved attention she wants.

Fri, 18 May 2012 07:02:20 UTC | #942148

Go to: More African-Americans leaving religious faiths

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by adiroth

I think we've already discussed this.

Wed, 16 May 2012 02:24:36 UTC | #941750

Go to: More African-Americans leaving religious faiths

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by adiroth

Obviously, for survival. It's bad enough being slaves, I don't think the threat of getting burned as an infidel is something they want to deal with on top of that.

On another note, I find this to be a very welcome news, because it is a sign that the African American population has become more educated and has enough opportunity to become financially independent enough to question the conservative community that had traditionally provided them a safety net.

Tue, 15 May 2012 06:21:35 UTC | #941540

Go to: Secularism, priorities, Islam, and Waleed Aly

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by adiroth

I have not personally read Waleed's work, but drawing from Russel's post, I get the impression that Waleed perceives democracy to be nothing more than a process where self-interested individuals and parties jostle for the chance to stand on the hill and call the shots. I won't blame him for thinking that, because that's what democracy has been reduced to nowadays anyway. However, his perception raises the question whether he honestly believes in democracy at all. Because that idea of democracy is the very definition of mob rule, the criticism Socrates levelled at democracy.

If he thinks that democracy is just a battle ground for self-interested parties to push their selfish idea through, then it is consistent with his low regards for separation of church & state. To promote one's own religion is a manifestation of self-interest. Thus, following that line of thought, banning religion is the same as banning self-interest in a war of promoting your self-interest.

Conversely, if he sees democracy as a form of government where different group of people have different opinions on how the government should be run to benefit everyone regardless of their vested interest, then he would definitely see why the separation of church & state makes sense.

Mon, 14 May 2012 07:01:15 UTC | #941356

Go to: Dawkins Foundation: Innovating for a Secular World. A Call to Action by Sean Faircloth, Madison, WI

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by adiroth

Comment 9 by sean faircloth :

adiroth. I suggest that we reject dirty tactics and engage in clean tactics which, in the long run, will be more effective. We should organize, and we should tell the truth -- persuasively.

It's probably just my personal thing, I'm allergic to idea of any serious amount of money spent to promote an issue or drive a certain point. Maybe I'm just jaded after moving into the advertising industry for over a year. It is perfectly possible to communicate facts to one's advantage, but I guess we all have different degree of persuasive flair we are comfortable with using. What I consider unfair, may be perfectly legit to others.

Using memes and appeals to emotions are usually associated with logical fallacies, but it does not mean that everybody else are pedants like me, especially the intended audience of the message. If they think basing their judgement on emotion is acceptable, then is it exploitative for us to capitalise on that or are we just addressing their concern?

Sun, 13 May 2012 01:35:18 UTC | #941249

Go to: Dawkins Foundation: Innovating for a Secular World. A Call to Action by Sean Faircloth, Madison, WI

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by adiroth

I like this. This is great! Sean gives us something what I think the atheist movement has always been lacking, which are rallying point and long term goal.

From watching the video, I get the sense that Sean wanted us to beat the theists by beating them in their own game. The moment I heard that, 2 things popped into my mind.

  1. Is he asking us to fight fire with fire?

  2. does the end justify the mean?

Then, I started to think.

The idea that we have to resort to the church's dirty tactics repulses me, but I cannot deny that they're very effective. We have tried to appeal to reason and educate the people, but all we're doing is fighting a defensive fight while the religious are constantly on the offensive. We can repel them once, twice, and even for many more times, but if we don't do anything, they may eventually get lucky, once twice and perhaps a few more times until our rights are shredded into pieces.

Often, the best defence is offence. So, to prevent the theocrats from taking over, the most logical strategy at this point in time is to launch a counterattack. Sure, there is always a better way, the perfect way of solving a problem, however, until someone can figure out what that is, we should rely on the best course of action before it's too late.

I know that there are many other people who hates the church or may have left the church exactly because they've seen those tactics at work. I think that it's fair for them to disagree, but I know that including myself there would be many others who thinks that that the proposed mean is not unjustifiable.

What I am actually worried about is the future of the movement. After entering the political battleground, there might not be a way out. It also raises the potential for the abuse of power.

Right now, the secular movement is made up a coalition of people and organisations who believes that there should be separation between church & state, they may not even agree whether god exists or not. To prevent power struggle, disunity and potential abuse of power, I think there must be an exit strategy planned in advance so that no party is shortchanged once the objective is achieved.

Though I don't think that we could ever claim that "Mission Accomplished", we have to be able to let go. While I am an atheist myself, I do not want to see atheists become a permanent political fixture.

Sat, 12 May 2012 17:49:30 UTC | #941209

Go to: Sean Faircloth on The Secular Buddhist podcast

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by adiroth

Most of the Buddhism practiced in the West are the bastardised version made to fit the liberal new age audience. I have the theory that its appeal lies within its malleability and its concessions towards contemporary liberal values, which are just evangelical tactics most new religious would've adopted in order to enter a new market. Early Christianity, for example, was also extremely accommodating to the gentiles.

In Asia, Buddhism has all the trappings of any proper religion & perhaps to the point where it's hilariously tacky. In Taiwan I visited mega temples with Starbucks (serving vegetarian cakes) inside it and the Shaolin temple in China almost became a publicly listed company, run by its "CEO Abbot" who was caught visiting prostitutes (to perform a service for them, as he claimed).

Though they may not appear to be as malevolent as the Catholic Church, I have no doubt that Buddhists are as capable in committing havoc, if given enough power to flaunt.

Thu, 10 May 2012 03:57:38 UTC | #940820

Go to: Doing Good...Without God

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by adiroth

Uuh, it's good that some needy people will get something out of this, but I don't think donating this once-off just to show theists that we can is such well thought out plan.

Without a long term plan & vision, this will only become an exercise of secular ego stroking & it would just fizzle out. We're just going to feed some poor folks for a day. To some of the program's recepients it might've meant live or death, or it could've made a whole world of difference, but in the long run, this campaign won't be able to make significant difference. Additionally, it wouldn't make an effective PR tool for secularism or atheism either, because after receiving aid from those secular organisation, those religious aid groups could just cut in & set up their bread for prayers ponzi schemes. The recepients would end up becoming religious anyway because there are no religious obligations or restrictions set by the secular aid groups. Personally, I hope the latter wouldn't be the greatest factor inspiring the donations.

In my opinion, if we are going down the charity donations route, then we should at least be prepared to make it work by maintaining a steady flow of fund so that a lasting change can be made. We should have a yearly donation drive or something like it if we want to affect some real change.

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 14:53:14 UTC | #933893

Go to: Q&A: Pell vs Dawkins - April 9, Easter Monday night

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by adiroth

Pell, the Anti-Semite. He's not making it easy for people to like him does he?

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 12:44:08 UTC | #933290

Go to: 10 Reasons Why We Should Explore The Deep

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by adiroth

Translation: While it's not directly relevant to science right now, I scientists are glad that some rich bigwigs are spending lots of cash on projects that will result in future scientific discovery.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 21:24:04 UTC | #931018

Go to: Queen highlights Church of England's duty to all faiths

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by adiroth

I'm not a UK citizen, but I kinda like The Queen. She's like the crazy old grandma who occasionally throws the spanner into the establishment created for her.

Also, I don't think there could ever be a legitimate republican movement unless the royals screwed up (pardon the pun) royally somewhere along the line. It's a near impossible scenario too especially when they don't have any political powers to abuse.

Deposing a sovereign for no other reason than "because we don't need them anymore" is just not going to fly. It's not going to serve any purpose either because there aren't going to be any significant changes or improvements. In fact, it will most likely create a legitimacy crisis when a system of government is changed on the whims of a small collective's aesthetic preference.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 02:39:02 UTC | #918322

Go to: Andrew Copson and Anne Atkins discussing 'militant secularism'

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by adiroth

I think Andrew Copson did very well in that interview.

Conversely, Anne was being cowardly for pulling Richard Dawkins who was not present to defend himself into the discussion. When all else fail, pull out the strawman. What a great debate tactic.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:34:05 UTC | #918308

Go to: Petition for evolution to be taught in UK primary schools

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by adiroth

I think children have already received enough exposure to evolution by playing Pokemon.

Joking aside, while I agree to the idea in general, I don't think early primary schoolers could grasp the concept of natural selection. They'd most likely mentally corrupt it into agent directed evolution due to the natural tendency of human to attribute agency to the cause of events.

Mon, 13 Feb 2012 14:16:57 UTC | #917176