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About darwinfish

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    Strong Minded
  • Birthday 09/27/1977

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    I'm hiding one in my closet
  1. Yeah, my experience with the devote follows the pattern. Them:"I think X is true. If X is true, that leads to a conclusion Y." Me: "Well, there seems to be no evidence that X is true, and there seems to be a lot of evidence that X is most likely not true." Them: "I'll pray for you." I read S. Pinkers book, The Better Angels of our Nature. I really enjoyed it. I haven't read D. Dennett. But, I probably should. I've heard good things about him. I suppose I've always been an outsider, even within my own family. So, that may play a part in my lack of a strong tribal nature. I've never really understood tribalism in others. But, I can see how that would be a survival instinct. I appreciate everyone's input. Its given me a lot to think about.
  2. Thanks, guys. I guess for me, the hardest thing to understand is why evidence means so little to so many.
  3. I grew up with a steady diet of indoctrination. My family was Catholic, with Jewish ancestry. Although, there was some respect for Jewish traditions, Catholicism was our religion. At least, that’s what I thought. My mom had other plans. I can’t possible explain what my mom was thinking, but she seemed to have wanted to leave the Catholic church for years, but was reluctant because she didn’t want to face her parents. She waited until I finished my 1st communion. And, then very shortly after that we began to attend a Baptist Church. There was no explanation for me. My mom was never one to talk about things like that. One day I was Catholic, the next I’m Baptist. And, I never really felt comfortable with my Jewish background either. I never even knew other Jews. As I had been told about being “Jewish”, you’re considered to be a Jew if your mom is a Jew, not your dad. It follows the maternal linage. But, that’s not necessarily true, either. It’s not like genes or DNA. Whoever came up with these rules, wouldn’t have known about DNA. So, you can also be considered a Jew if you convert. And, if your mom converted before you were born, then you are a Jew. So, how far back in my ancestry is it before I find the woman that converted to Judaism? So, if it’s not DNA, then it’s nothing more than an identity. An identity that someone else chose for me. I didn’t choose it. And, I don’t associate with it. So, am I really a Jew? Perhaps, not. But, my mom still considers me one. I suppose, I never really understood what made me a Catholic or Baptist, either. I didn’t choose to be Catholic or Baptist. Those were my families religions. At 13 I prayed the sinners prayer, like a good little Baptist. And, if you asked me what I thought I was at the time, I would call myself Christian. That is what Baptists and Catholics call themselves. And, that, to me, seemed the best description. I was never “anti-Catholic”, but many Baptists are. And, I suppose that works the other way around. But, I was just trying to understand what religion was all about. And, I never really doubted it, I just didn’t understand it. I think my first real effort to understand it was just after I was married. I read apologetic books, I read through the Bible cover to cover. I listened to sermons on the radio. I did everything I could to make sense of all of this. But, in the end, I only had more doubts. In fact, it was the only time that I began to truly doubt it. I read atheist books, to understand what others had to say about religion. And, after several years of this, I had to admit to myself that I no longer believed any of it. My beliefs are based on what evidence I have available to me. The fact that I never really investigated religion growing up, meant that I never really had evidence for it, but I accepted it. Mainly, because I was indoctrinated into it. But, that wasn’t enough as an adult. I had to have real reasons why we would think these things are true. And, the more I read, and the more I researched, I realized the evidence that exists, personal stories, isn’t enough to support these kinds of claims. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to believe. It’s that I couldn’t believe, not without evidence. So, I’ve explained this as best as I can to my wife, my former pastor, my Christian friends. And, to this date, not one of them sees this problem that I have been seeing. Beliefs without evidence, or weak evidence at best, is non-nonsensical. That’s essentially how I see it. The responses I get confuse me, “I don’t care about evidence.” “The evidence comes only after you believe.” “I prayed something happened. It’s a miracle.” “I prayed something didn’t happen. It’s a God telling me something.” I would try to explain that these sorts of things would never convince these same people to believe in some other religion, or anything else for that matter. So, why are these the reasons they give for believing in their religion? I believe these people are influenced by culture and family, just as I was, and, perhaps indoctrination as well. But, what’s unsatisfying with those sorts of answers. Is that it wasn’t enough for me. So, why is it for them? It just leaves me confused.
  4. Why are politics so religiously motivated

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. florduh


      For the religious, religion is the motivation for everything.

    3. bdp


      There's power in the faithful.

    4. sdelsolray


      Religion has been a dominant political force throughout human civlization. It is only in recent centuries that this power has begun to wane, and then only in certain socieities.


  5. So long and thanks for all the fish

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. FreeThinkerNZ


      bye illusion, i enjoyed chatting with you

    3. sdelsolray


      What's with the "42" stuff?


    4. Cousin Ricky

      Cousin Ricky

      Read _The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_ and you'll understand.

  6. "I say to you tonight friends the best defense against bullshit is vigilance" -Jon Stewart

  7. ironically, Christians are now afraid that Muslims want to have laws that favor Islam

    1. crazyguy123


      Lol, that is amusing.


    2. Lilith666
    3. Castiel233


      that is funny, almost good to see them get a taste of their own medicine

  8. So, who else feels shoved into a closet by friends and family?

  9. Feel's sort of like I'm the only atheist here.

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Ellinas


      If "here" means "here", this is curious. As a "non atheist" I generally regard myself as the outnumbered one...

    3. florduh


      Perhaps the only True Atheist.

    4. darwinfish


      Sorry, I meant in my city :)


  10. Well, now I have no one left to hide from. Just told everyone on FB I'm an atheist.

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Deidre


      This is really something great. I'm so happy to read this. Often, we hear the antitheses of what you are posting here. You might have a few people who try to lure you back, lol But, stay strong. I'm proud of you that you took such a big step and shared that on FB.

    3. FreeThinkerNZ
    4. darwinfish


      Thanks, I think the more visible we are the easier it becomes for everyone else.

  11. During my deconversion process, I had given up the idea that the Bible was without error. There was contradictions, not just within the text itself, but within the content, as well. Claiming the Bible was inerrant, became increasingly difficult for me to accept. I came to the decision that God did not pass along a perfect document, but maybe there was still truth that you can get from it. The Bible seemed more like it was a collection of various thoughts and interactions with God. And, if that was true, than I could still get something from it. I had given up any beliefs of a young Earth, a true Adam and Eve, the Biblical story about the Earth's origins, Noah's Flood ...etc. I had given up quite a lot. All these things had an enormous amount of evidence to demonstrate that the Bible was inaccurate. But, the one thing I had clung to was the argument of the Prime Mover. God must exist because there would be no other way for the universe or life to come into existence on it's own. It was around this time that I began to discover the logical fallacies. If you look up the logical fallacies online there are giant lists of them. In practice, there seems to be only a handful that are used over and over again. The most common ones are: Argument from Ignorance, Argument, from Antiquity, Straw man Fallacy, Ad Hominem, Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, Appeal to Authority, Appeal to Complexity, Appeal to Popularity, Appeal to Emotion, No True Scotsman, and the Slippery Slope Argument. These are the logical fallacies that I run into, pretty much, on the daily basis. Logical fallacies can only be fallacies when they point to a flaw in reasoning. There may be some cases when an argument may seem like a fallacy, but is not actually flawed reasoning. For example, an appeal to popularity, doesn't demonstrate something is true or valid, but appealing to popularity maybe valid if you are only interested in what is common to that group. Christianity is the most common religion in America, so I am more likely to run into a Christian in American than not. I am not claiming that Christianity is true, only that it's popular in America. The flaw in my reasoning about the origins of the universe and life is that I was making an Argument from Ignorance. Another way to state my argument above is, "We don't know or understand how the universe or life began, therefore it must have been a God." The first half the statement is in contradiction to the second half. By claiming ignorance, it is then illogical to claim to know how these origins began. I find the Argument from Ignorance used most often when a theist is claiming that science can't explain something, and therefore it's acceptable to believe that their belief is true. Each truth claim must be supported by it's own evidence. The lack of evidence for one truth claim doesn't then validate another. If someone has a belief that some God-like entity is responsible for some event, the existence of this entity would first have to be demonstrated, and then they would also have to provide evidence that this entity is capable of doing the things that they are claiming it has done. Without the evidence, the claim is unreasonable to accept. Simply saying. "You don't have an answer, so my answer is true" is flawed reasoning. And, that is the Argument from Ignorance fallacy.
  12. Thanks for your kind words, and some interesting thoughts. I have no doubt that scientists have egos. I think it would be a mistake to accept a single scientist's theories. The more evidence that is collected by multiple sources the stronger these theories seem to be. You may be correct that a true "nothingness" is an impossibility. Although, Krauss used the term "nothing" when he was referring to the potentiality for particle and antiparticle emergence, it would be inaccurate to think that Krauss was arguing for an emergence of matter from an absolute nothingness. What he would argue is that this potentiality exists in what we would have previously understood to be nothing. For clarification, I wouldn't use the term nothing to make that same argument. I believe it would be too easy for others to be confused by the terminology. When I made the statement that the universe is proven to have had a beginning. I am limiting my usage of the term "universe" to the universe that we currently exist in. I think that the existence of previous universes or multiverses existing concurrently are still very much possible, but we still lack solid evidence to be certain of their existence. The proof of our universe's beginning that I am aware of is the Big Bang Cosmological model, which seems to have the expansion of the universe and the cosmic background radiation as the evidence for this model. Although, you're right this this is a theory, that isn't a good reason to dismiss it as "unproven". Theories that continue to stand up to scientific investigation can be relied on. But, a theory is only as strong as the evidence that supports it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I find this kind of thinking fascinating.
  13. Why does anything exist? I remember asking that question at a very young age. Of course, I was given the answer that God made everything. I remember sitting there thinking diligently, "What if God didn't exist?" Then nothing would have ever been made. That means for all eternity, there would just be nothing. The idea of non-existence was something that I wasn't ready to handle at the time. I was able to suppress any fears that I might have had about not existing, because, let's face it. I do exist. So, there must be a God. I mean. without a God where could it all come from? St. Augustine would argue that there must have been a prime mover to initiate all things. But, what made the "prime mover"? If we were to say that someone, or something else made the "prime mover", than it wouldn't be a "prime mover", now would it? So, the answer then is the "prime mover" would have always existed. I remember the first time I heard this part of the argument, my first thought was, "Then why didn't God make everything sooner than He did?" It seems like a silly question, but the more I think about it, it's not silly at all. If we were to consider time as we know it, and something existed into an infinite past, when could God begin creation? I've had a few years to ruminate on this, and now I don't believe in such a thing as an infinite past. It's as nonsensical as dividing an object up infinitely. When the Greeks thought about this they thought there must be one piece that is indivisible, one basic building block to all matter. They called this the "atom". It seems to me that time, too, must have a beginning, some starting point that you cannot go beyond. Lawrence Krauss would seem to agree with me. In his book, A Universe From Nothing, he describes time itself as beginning at the Big Bang. This does seem to get a bit heady, I know. But, an infinite past seems to be completely illogical. I have to think that our understanding of time itself must be flawed. The more I've thought about this, I've considered how we measure time. Time, really, is measured by how matter or energy changes. In an existence before a universe, nothing exists to change, would there be any way to measure the passage of time? The more I think about the concepts of time, I feel like the idea that time has a beginning makes more sense than the concept of an infinite past. My second thought on this is that It seems to me the concept of a "prime mover" would require time. If God can think, each thought would be a different energy state than the a previous thought. If God could change, at all, it would require the passage of time. So, wouldn't the concept of an eternal God require the existence of an infinite past? At some point, our universe began. I am not considering other universes before ours or elsewhere in a multiverse. It has been proven that our universe did have a beginning. I believe that one fact is agreed upon by theists and non-theists alike. They might argue about how long ago this occurred and in what fashion. But, we all seem to agree that it did have a beginning. So, all we're arguing about is whether or not it would require an intelligence. Following Occam's Razor, I believe that a non-thinking, universe causing potentiality, is just as likely to have existed in any state that a Christian might argue a God to exist in before the" creation". Lawrence Krauss argues that there is physical evidence that such a potentiality does exist, which is more than we have to demonstrate the existence of a God. A thinking entity is a more complicated solution than a non-thinking potentiality. And, Occam's Razor would say that the simpler solution that can explain all the facts tends to be the correct one. This is why I am unimpressed by Christian arguments for God that are based off the existence of the universe. But, let's be honest. We're just speculating. We don't actually know. I'm certainly not saying that I KNOW whether this potentiality is in fact responsible for the beginnings of our universe or if there's something else that we haven't even begun to think of. But, Christians are saying that they KNOW that God is what created the universe. How do they know? They read it in a book? Reading something and verifying it objectively isn't the same thing. Christian's have just as much evidence as we do, and yet they claim to KNOW something that cannot be verified. Without a way to verify a claim, "I don't know" is still the most honest answer. Everything else is just speculation.
  14. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

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