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MrSpooky

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About MrSpooky

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    Skeptic

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Atheist

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  1. In my experience it seems like the first thing that really gets most people to deconvert is emotional motivation. They realize the world of Christianity isn't as ideal as they thought, ideals are crushed, illusions are dispelled and the stark, horrifying truth of their religion comes to light. And it isn't pretty. This is the easy track, really, and with good reason. It takes time, effort, and an open mind to look critically at the philosophical problems of the existence of God, something that few convicted believers have when it comes to the other side. The emotional shock is the first step, the intellectual is the next if they really want to explore a critical look at God's existence. Atheism isn't all about criticizing evangelists for their stubbornness or their occasional outright stupidity. The solid core of it is a strong understanding of epistemology and metaphysics that underlie what makes one perspective on God's (non)existence true and the other false. From there things get a lot easier, and much more stable.
  2. Some aspects of agnosticism are philosophically untenable or meaningless. These include epistemological skepticism or the fence-sitting approach. On certain definitions of god I'm unsure if I'm an agnostic atheist or not, but I feel that if the existence/nature of God is unknowable then the issue is irrelevant to the human condition. Lots of questions with answers unknowable a priori can be asked, such as "What is it like outside of your mind?" but they have no impact on life at all. Note that this is different from things supposedly unknowable or undoable a posteriori like "Can man travel faster than light?" These are legitimate problems that we can hopefully circumvent someday with the right discovery. My main qualm is that the claim "I'm an agnostic, not an atheist" kinda misses the point since these are two answers to two very different questions. Apples and oranges really. Epistemology VS Metaphysics. There are thus two main brands of agnosticism that exist. In my view, the brand of agnosticism that says "well we don't know anything so let's just pick what we want to believe and be happy" is untenable, while the brand that says "the question is unknowable, let's not concern ourselves about that" just reduces to a form of negative atheism. There are probably some more abstract versions out there though.
  3. Well aren't you a sweetie. I tell ya though, the last semester was a real bitch, with a whole buttload of hard science courses impacted into fourteen weeks. Just curious - have you ever found a religious debate web site that isn't? I don't expect I ever will, but I do hope that it's possible to set one up. The good thing about ExC is that it's very clear-cut in hammering out the bullshit, whereas softer approaches are more tolerant of unjustified aspects of agnosticism and postmodern approaches.
  4. Oh you kidder. You know they're just bachelor's degrees.
  5. It's been a while since I last posted. A year at least. I've been gone for a while and I do hope that the old gang is still around. Me, I finished my last year at Berkeley a few months ago and I got my degrees in genetics and cognitive science. Now skepticism of religion is and has always been a very important thing for me ever since I de-converted from wicca and noticed how HUGE of an impact Christianity had on western politics and society, which is why I joined ExC. It was a glorious age for me, since you guys helped coax me out of agnosticism and eventually on my own I studied philosophy and religion and became a full-blown Positive Atheist. I taught a philosophy course on atheism, talked religion with others, and all in all had a good time. The only thing that really bugged me was the fact that ExC is rather harsh and grating in terms of its debators. Certainly there's a good reason as to why so many atheists go out of their way to mock and offend Christianity and other forms of organized religion: most ExC's have been duped since childhood and feel like they've wasted a lot of their lives on a lie. A good deal of the smarm is to help break away from the allure of faith, and clear away the emotional attachments to it that still drag people down. It's therapeutic. I'm a negotiator, though, or at least practicing to be one, and had to get away from the polarizing effects of ExC, where Christians are the icky-bad ignorami on one side and the Atheists are bastions of truth on the other. If I wanted to convince others I couldn't stand in opposition to them: no one wants to trust the word or reasoning of someone they see as an enemy. Still, I care about you guys, so I'm back and gonna try to check up a little more often on ExC news. I hope all you guys are doing well!
  6. Factual belief is not a matter of volition: it's a matter of honesty. You don't believe in the Pythagorean theorem because you've willed or chosen it to be true, you believe in it because the facts are laid bare before you and there is only one possible conclusion. If you believe the contrary, it is either ignorance or self-deception, and I doubt a swanky fella like God would respect either. I believe there is no god (yeah, I'm a positive atheist) because the facts have been laid bare before me and there is only one possible conclusion. God doesn't exist.
  7. Hey Joe, nice to meet you! I'm reading your anti-testimony right now. I'm pretty surprised that you were able to get through Smith and remain unconvinced though. What about Smith did you not find compelling and how did you excuse your belief from his stronger points?
  8. I like how the format of that website is exactly the same as that of those emails that try to sell you herbal supplements to make your small penis swell to a gargantuon woman-pleasing size. It's fitting because they both make me feel very, very sad.
  9. There really is a scale of how much of a human being you are. If you have a 95% chance of saving a life with a 50% chance of ending one there seems to be some utilitarian justification for the matter. Especially if the former life is a true biological and psychological being, wheras the latter is not.
  10. Pshaw. This coming from someone who's a genuine philosophy major instead of a novice like me. ^___^ You know, I don't recall putting my picture up here.
  11. LOL, sorry, some of the stuff I talk about in regards to philosophy can definitely be a bit esoteric. I still feel like a newbie when I go through the field, though, so we're ALL learning here. Heck, I learn something new about philosophy quite frequently.
  12. No prob. Any more questions on evolutionary biology, by all means, take them to the Science forum. We've got some terrific experts here on the matter.
  13. Oh yeah, talkorigins.org is the BEST source for evolutionary biology stuff, especially in how it addresses Creationist arguments.
  14. Some kinds of minerals make stalactites and stalagmites quickly. Other kinds of minerals make them very very very slowly. Creationists using these arguments choose the former, but ignore the latter.
  15. Careful not to commit the fallacy of the middle ground. Sometimes people tend to think that a compromise between two views is automatically the best one. In some cases this is true, but in science this usually is not the case at all.
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