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ATHEISM: A Reader 
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Post ATHEISM: A Reader
As a hard-core atheist, I'm predisposed to like/approve/agree with S. T. Joshi. I was taken aback by the second paragraph of the introduction
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The overwhelming majority of people on this earth [. . .] are, quite literally, incapable of comprehending the issues at stake. It is not merely that they are unable to conduct a course of logical reasoning on this (or any other) matter; it is that even if the scientific and philosophical evidence were presented to them in a form they could understand,. . .
Is this level of mud-slinging really necessary?




Mon Feb 17, 2003 10:33 pm
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Post Re: ATHEISM: A Reader
Ever been to a philosophy class?

Either everyone's an idiot and can't comprehend the topic, or they're all too busy with other (more insignificant) topics, or they're clearly retarded for holding (inane caricature of) idea X.

It irks me to sit in on my elective every day I go....but it seems that mud-slinging is the norm when you're a great and towering mind :\

Jeremy, I know you hated the selections, but please at least give the book a try. The essays chosen are pretty decent, at the least.

Edited by: ZachSylvanus at: 2/18/03 2:15:50 am



Tue Feb 18, 2003 3:15 am
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Post Re: ATHEISM: A Reader
Zach
Quote:
Jeremy, I know you hated the selections, but please at least give the book a try. The essays chosen are pretty decent, at the least.
You misunderstand me: it was the list itself that I took exception to, not any item on it. When I criticize something it doesn't necessarily mean I "hate" it!
BTW in "suggestions" I posted an article where the author



Tue Feb 18, 2003 8:16 am
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Post Re: ATHEISM: A Reader
Jeremy,

I agree with your original post. That quote does seem to go overboard. Just because a person is a theist does not mean that they lack the capacity to understand the issues involved. I have met quite a few theists who I think would fit into that category being as they can't comprehend a very basic logical argument. However, I don't think that would constitute the "overwhelming majority" of people.

I think a lot of atheists underestimate what is involved for a theist, at least one of strong conviction, to change their thinking. If they have believed all their life that a god exists, and all the information that they have taken in throughout their life seems to confirm its existence, you can't simply present the information and expect them to get it. They have to actually start thinking about the concepts in a whole new way. They have to grasp that reason and logical consistency are important and that faith is not good enough. It takes a lot of mental effort.

I think it's much more true that the overwhelming majority of theists lack the desire to contemplate the issues deeply rather than the ability (although I have met quite a few who seem to lack the ability as well).

Cheryl

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/30/05 4:41 pm



Tue Feb 18, 2003 9:14 am
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Post AGNOSTICISM, BY PROF. THOMAS H. HUXLEY
Yesterday I read the abridged T. Huxley, Agnosticism in Joshi. I found this fabulous essay so inspiring that I located and read the complete text -- Agnosticism, Unabridged. It turns out, I may be an agnostic after all! As Huxley explains it, agnosticism is a general tool, a methodology, not necessarily a point of view on the god thingy. I have railed against agnosticism, on the wrong impression that it involves "special pleading" for the god fantasy: "One cannot know whether there is or is not a god"; to which Jeremy self-righteously answers, "but why pick that unlikely, implausible human construct to be 'agnostic' about?"

What Huxley is actually proposing is that all the myriad things that we don't know or can't know, we simply leave as unknown. His argument (as I understand it) isn't that, "I don't know if there is a god or not, and neither do you", but rather that religion does not answer the questions which it claims to answer. "God created the universe" "You don't know how the universe came to be, and neither do I; however your specific hypothesis, that there is a god and that it created something, is implausible to the extent that I reject it"

So



Tue Feb 18, 2003 3:57 pm
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Post Re: AGNOSTICISM, BY PROF. THOMAS H. HUXLEY
Jeremy!

Quote:
So



Tue Feb 18, 2003 4:19 pm
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Post Re: AGNOSTICISM, BY PROF. THOMAS H. HUXLEY
Once the forum is created for Atheism: A Reader we'll move this thread over there. Jeremy gets so damn excited he is going to finish the book before most of us even order it! :lol

Jeremy - who do you want as a chat guest for this book? Antony Flew? Darwin? Please don't pick Darwin. :rolleyes

Chris

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/30/05 4:41 pm



Tue Feb 18, 2003 11:12 pm
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Post Guest?
Joseph Smith would be nice




Wed Feb 19, 2003 12:42 am
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Post Re: Guest?
Ummm...Joseph Smith as in the dead Mormon prophet? Nice choice. I'll get to work on contacting him right away.

Or is there actually a Joseph Smith in that book from more contemporary times?

Chris

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/30/05 4:42 pm



Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:25 pm
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Post Lucretius
Amazing! In 60 BCE, scholars had already figured out that immortality is impossible... yet people still pratle on about it.




Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:22 am
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Post Re: ATHEISM: A Reader - FLEW
As best I can understand it, Flew's argument is that we can't really imagine ourselves outside our own dead bodies. The logic has to do with identifying who is watching and who is in the coffin. Since we can't really imagine it nor really identify the watcher, this proves that there is no such thing as an incorporeal "me".

I find the whole argument confusing and unconvincing. This probably simply means that I don't really understand it. I'm inclined to go with Hobbes on this; when people talk about "souls" and "afterlife", they are not wrong, they are simply saying words that have no meaning.




Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:28 am
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Post Re: Pick an essay?
Damn good question...but I am only on Ch. 3 so I can't answer yet! Maybe we eventually need a poll in this forum to ask everyone which essay was their favorite or most similar in belief to their own.

Chris

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/30/05 4:40 pm



Sun Mar 02, 2003 7:16 pm
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