Got into a .. discussion on irc today. It went much like this:
Friend: Dude, I read your journal, hahaha, where you said that religious people were crazy, hahahaha, I’d be offended if I thought you were serious.
JSR: I was serious.
Friend: hahahha lollerskates
JSR: No, really.
…and it kinda went downhill from there. In fact, it got into one of those “atheism is as much a belief system as theism so you’re just like us” things. More craziness, basically. I’m not like you. Science makes sense. And actually delivers.
I must admit, I do feel kinda bad for my crazy religious friends when I say stuff like this, but I gotta call it as I see it. I presumed for a while that Hamymonkey at least wasn’t talking to me because of my take on things, but she commented on my birthday so there’s that xtian forgiveness at least. 🙂
I felt I should at least post a fairly definitive outline of my philosophical standpoints on deistic ontology before I chuck it all in and go back to vastly more important stuff like How Well Annette And I Are Levelling Our WoW Druids, The Kids These Days, and Bacon.
First of all, please, enough of this “Atheism is just like, the flip side of the coin from theism, dude, you’re not so great.” or “Huh, like, science is just a belief system, same as The Baby Jesus, so like, nya” or “HURF DURF HURRICANE ONLY KILLED TWO OF MAH KIDS, T’OTHER FIVE LIVED PRAISE JEEEEEESUS MLAH FLAH”… wait, I’m getting nasty again, must stop that. Anyway. Enough of that. It’s a bollocks argument. Don’t make it. You’re just embarassing yourself.
Atheism, if nothing else, recognises that there are two routes down which humans can go to increase their knowledge of the universe.
The FIRST is through faith and religion. By definition, religions have at their core miracles or unsolvable mysteries that simply cannot be understood or proven by rational, scientific means. If you believe in Jesus of Nazareth as your lord and saviour then you believe in the sacfifice of Christ and his resurrection. You don’t believe in these things because they’ve been carefully documented in Roman recods, it’s possible within our current understanding of physical and biological laws, there’s loads of evidence, it’s experimentally repeatable, etc. No, indeed, you BELIEVE in this stuff with FAITH. And faith by definition exists outside of reason and the scientific method. This is why I stopped arguing with religious people at every turn. You can’t convince them with rational arguments. Their entire belief structure when it comes to God exists outside of rationality.
The SECOND is through reason. Reason is based not on faith, but on data which is accumulated and which can be verified. Rational beliefs are deductive or inductive mental analysis on gathered data. The really important bit (and this is key to that whole “scientific method” thing, also) is that any rational person is open to having their beliefs falsified in the face of convincing arguments or information. Any “belief” is able to be altered or cast aside.
So, in the face of this, please don’t fucking well call atheism “a belief system”, kthx? Atheists don’t believe in Jehova, Father Xmas, Zeus, the FSM, Xenu, the Tooth Fairy, or Mighty Thor because there’s simply not enough proof that they exist.
I’ll never convince a crazy person that God doesn’t watch them masturbate, or that they’re not really Napoleon, or whatever other faith-based unprovable thing they think is true, is not true. And they’ll never convince me that I’m going straight to hell unlesss I _just accept Jesus into my heart without pointing out all the stupid contradictory or downright assholey things in the bible_.
Faith vs Reason. Not two sides of the same coin, but totally different cognitive systems, and totally incompatible with each other.