Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Sunday morning invitation

Atheism is not another 'faith': it is not a primary; it is a conclusion -- a conclusion based on the absence of evidence for a supernatural world, and abundant evidence for this one.

There are many kinds of atheist and certainly many reasons for being one, but overall it consists in a refusal to accept the supernatural, an unwillingness to place faith above the evidence of one's own senses, a resolve to believing nothing without reasonable evidence, and above all a commitment to the existence of which we know and not to the super-existence of our imagination. Atheism is not primarily negative; it is not primarily anti-supernatural -- it is instead primarily pro-existence, pro-reason, pro-evidence.

That by the way is not faith -- it's simply accepting the fact of existence, and our means of knowing it: Existence exists. There it is. Existence itself is its own evidence. Fairies at the bottom of the garden do not exist, and there is no evidence that either they or imaginary friends do.

Existence itself requires no proof -- it is the very fact of existence upon which all proofs are based: Existence exists. There it is. That's where life and consciousness and all explanation begins.

Existence itself requires no explanation -- existence is a self-sufficient primary: it is not a product of a supernatural dimension or of a supernatural being or of anything else or anyone else. Existence is not a why, it's an is.

Existence itself is simply all that exists -- there is nothing prior to it; nothing antecedent to it; nothing apart from it -- and no alternative to it.

Existence exists -- and only existence exists -- and bOth its existence and its nature are irreducible and unalterable.

By contrast, "gods" as traditionally defined are a systematic contradiction of every form of evidence, and every form of valid logical reasoning -- all gods; all forms of supernatural superpower, from Thor to Wotan to Zeus to Io. No valid argument -- no reason -- will get you from existence to non-existence, or from existence to the supernatural, or from existence to a world contradicting existence. No valid method of inference will enable you to leap from existence to a "super-existence," and nor should it be necessary to try.

Faith -- the means by which one tries to reconcile reason and un-reason, existence and non-existence, evidence and the contradiction of evidence -- is not a means of knowledge, it is a method of rejecting knowledge; it is a means of acting against knowledge, against evidence, against existence.

Faith is not reason. "Faith" designates blind acceptance -- acceptance because it is blind; acceptance because it is unreasonable; acceptance induced in the absence of evidence or even (one might say especially) in contradiction to evidence, in opposition to existence -- acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of either evidence or proof.

Faith is not knowledge, it is an alleged short-cut to knowledge which is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.

As Thomas Jefferson affirmed, " Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

That's my invitation to you this Sunday.
------------------
NB: I should say that in this short spiel I've paraphrased from a number of sources, including Bertrand Russell, Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, particularly from Peikoff's book, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC not all of us are fundamentalists. I believe in God but I fully support sepperation of church and state and I realise that certain aspects of christianity are flawed.

5/06/2007 02:17:00 pm  
Anonymous JC said...

"I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."

Yep, it's that God botherer again, Thomas Jefferson at his second inaugeration.
He appears to have been a Deist who looked with pity at people who could not reason their way to a belief in the existence of a Deity.

JC

5/06/2007 02:35:00 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

"Existence itself is simply all that exists -- there is nothing prior to it; nothing antecedent to it; nothing apart from it -- and no alternative to it."

Here's an alternative: non-existence.

5/06/2007 05:31:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Well, if existence is all that exists, then non-existence would be all that doesn't exist -- which is about as meaningful as a square circle ... or an honest politician.

5/06/2007 05:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Good post jc.

Existance exists is as about as meaningfull as saying today is today or a tree is a tree!
The more I look at Rand, the funnier she gets!
This "Existance exists" has to be one of the most funny trivia's dressed as profound truth!
Nobody really deny's that existance exists, certainly not Christians anyway!
It has no relivance to the attheist/theist debate as the arguement is not over whether existance exists itself, but whether existance has any grounding in God, which is a completely different question.
Even the term 'Supernatural' is meaningless, if you assume it is 'natural' for man to think, have a soul, and to live and die.
In this case God is 'natural' as well!
P.C has impressively said a whole lot of nothing except that he does not believe in God.
In fact he is showing himself a very poor philosopher as he clearly is relying on his sences more than reason!
He's saying "I dont believe in anything I cant see, taste, feel...(execpt of course his pet myth of evolution which he has never witnessed...but liberally gives himself the benefit of the doubt!)
I guess even evolution is a "touchy feely belief" as it seeks to explain the origin of everything by what he can see, touch and feel!
Much like saying a car Must be made by robots, and Robots made by robots Ad Infin!
Reality is however that a supernatural being must have made the first robot, which reason can deduce from the facts, yet which our sences may never grasp!
Atheism is like a robot denying the existance of Man!
P.Cs is saying "reality is it's own explanation"...which it is not!
That is a negation of reason!
A refusal to "bring everything to the great tribunal!"

5/06/2007 06:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Ah, Tim - I love you to bits, but I wish to God my fellow travellers (of sorts); including both Anon & JC; could spell! :)

PC, I don't join this argument as a rule; (really can't be bothered; too busy with statists!); but I disagree with you on one particular point.

One of my brothers-in-law is an atheist. I've always maintained that he requires as much *faith* to be believe that to be true, as those of us who think differently.

Short argument: I define faith to be belief (in/of whatever) without evidence.

5/07/2007 10:42:00 am  
Blogger Julian said...

Sus said:
"Short argument: I define faith to be belief (in/of whatever) without evidence."

Short question Susan. What is the definition of an athiest?

Julian D

5/07/2007 11:25:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Tim Wikiriwhi said...
P.C has impressively said a whole lot of nothing except that he does not believe in God.
In fact he is showing himself a very poor philosopher as he clearly is relying on his sences more than reason!


Tim, if you don't use your senses then what on earth could possibly give you reason? What is the difference in believing in God, in which you dismissed using sense to detect its existence and believing in people whom they claim to posses psychic ability such as Jeanette Wilson? I have to point out that if you believe in God, then you MUST be willing to believe in Jeanette's claim that she is able to talk to the dead? The two (God & Psychic) are exactly the same in that our senses and perceptions don't detect their existence? Whatever the most sophisticated piece of electronic gadget that could be produced here on earth for the detection of God & Psychic ability, it would never ever be possible. The reason is that God & Psychic ability exist only in ones imagination, while physical instrumentations do exist in the real world, where there is no way that something in physical existence (instrumentations) can be used to detect imaginary entities as God or dead people's spirit.

I would be very surprised if you come back with an answer saying that God exists but psychic ability does not, since they are 2 sides of the same coin.

5/07/2007 11:26:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

"Short question Susan. What is the definition of an athiest?"

Hi JD. Don't know about athiest - :) - but definition of atheist?

Short answer: rejection of belief in God.

5/07/2007 12:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rude Pundit says it better than any of you:

If you're trying to get your head around the idea of non-belief in deities or religions being a religion, then welcome to looking-glass America. Logic is illogical, science is faith, and faith is science, and, oh, shit, the Rude Pundit's brain just exploded.

And he paraphrases Peikoff:

The other strategy is the most common to the goodly, godly in our nation: it's a kind of numbing, brainwashing repetition. The whole thing goes like this: find some tangential way to push your fundamentalist Christian agenda, disguise it like a street whore in a nun outfit so no one's sure what the fuck's going on, repeat the same lines over and over until most of the citizenry is so sick of hearing it that their attitudes become, "Okay, okay, whatever you want, just shut the fuck up," and then you can smile and know that one more step has been taken towards the uber-goal of complete takeover.

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2005/05/christ-weary-of-creationists-heres.html

5/07/2007 02:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Falafulu fisi,
Senses have their limited place, but the mind transcends the senses, which is why you have no trouble *conceiving* atoms etc, which the *senses* cannot.
There is so much *more* to existence than what your senses reveal, in fact they only reveal the most shallow and animalistic realities which are *below* mans true calling and Reason!

I have just got back from watching 'the 500' on the big screen, and it was near a spiritual experience!
Every Libertarian should go see it!
It was of biblical proportions in it's notions regarding such things as *Freedom* *Justice* and showing the essence of life is not life itself but living for these *mystical* concepts!
These concepts are transcendental...that is there is no basis for them in materialism or the senses.
The traitors were the 'objectivists!', those who put *my life and My wealth* ahead of these *mystical* concepts!
Thus I realized that the atheist notion of mysticism as being anti reason is a falce dichotomy and that the objectivist is a slave to his own mortality!
I left proud of who I am, as a believer in God Almighty!
The author of these glorious mystical truths that give life it's value!
I wrote a speech for the Libz agm, that never made the free rad, yet I am so proud of myself for saying it any way!
Praise the Lord!
He has giving me such blessings of the soul!
I say this in self esteem not vanity or ego.
I say it to reveal my reward from God, so that others may seek after him and receive the same blessing!
I ask the new Editor of the Free Rad to honor the promise of the old editor to print that speech of mine.
Not to do so exposes him as an objectivist who prefers to hide the criticisms of His religion!
And that is what objectivism is...a pathetic shallow religion which puts people like Leighton Smith off from joining the Libz party and one of my reasons for leaving it!

5/07/2007 04:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

I am such a dick some times...the movie is called "the 300" not the 500!!!!! and I should have also said that such things as Love, duty, respect for reason and the rule of Law, are all transcendental/ mystical realities of the soul.
That our brain may give us a endorphinic physical buzz as a reward, does not make these things products of the senses, but shows us why God gave us physical bodies.

Falafulu fisi, as an evolutionist You are on thin ground saying Psychic powers are impossible as we now have telecommunications which prove information can be ‘transmitted’, and so by evolutionary logic, all it would take for ESP etc to happen is for man to evolve the relevant transmitters/ receivers.
Eyes and Ears are such a brilliant receivers yet because you take these amazing realities for granted you fail to appreciate their true glory!
Ultimately atheism is a blindness!

5/07/2007 06:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

P.C said...
Atheism is not another 'faith': it is not a primary; it is a conclusion.

By this definition Theism is not *a faith* either...but a conclusion!
Again P.C you have said nothing to rescue your unproven/ improvable faith!
B.T.W I still love you P.C!
But it behooves us to love truth more!
What I miss about the liberty loop is the arguments!
They were painful at times, yet when deep down you have faith in each others integrity, you know they were truth seeking devises more that personal jibs (which the heat of the moment has a way of bringing out!)
When that faith is eroded, then it legitimately becomes personal!

5/07/2007 06:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Tim said...
Falafulu fisi, as an evolutionist You are on thin ground saying Psychic powers are impossible...

Tim, can you show me a test that has shown that Psychic powers are possible?

5/07/2007 09:17:00 pm  
Blogger Greg Bourke said...

Only two points:

1. no-one beleives in reason so the whole theist debate is irrelevant. Society believes in Gramsci, in French po-mo bullshit, and Ophra level gnosis. Sadly, you might as well be a street preacher as promote reason!

2. is the movie "300" an objectivist allegory?

I enjoyed 300 and wonder if anyone else thought similar?

5/07/2007 09:45:00 pm  
Blogger Greg Bourke said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/07/2007 10:00:00 pm  
Blogger Greg Bourke said...

Definition of an atheist:
"someone who is so intrigued by 'faith' that they can't resist starting or jumping into arguments about the existence of god." ho ho ho!
or
"someone who holds a proposition of absence has sufficient substance."
(will also accept Venn diagram of not-Stalin, not-Pol Pot, not-Mao, not-anybody, or so I'm told)

I wouldn't say "300" was 'spiritual' just that the script adored the sovereign individual and there were enough heroic torsos to adorn 1,000 covers of Atlas Shrugged.

5/07/2007 10:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Falafulu fisi,
I am not arguing that humans psychic powers exist, but that your theory of evolution suggests that it is possible.
As a 'tek head' you ought to be aware that machines are being developed that can read minds. These show the possibilities of the principle.
As a creationist I say psychic powers Cant exist as God has not built the requisite tools into our bodies, yet as an evolutionist you believe that dead matter can become living with any help, that fish grow legs and walk on dry land, that terrestrial critters can evolve wings and fly, and that a living being can evolve "the tek" to read minds!
Evolution is such a monstrous joke that by it such a thing is *guaranteed* as long as we don’t wipe out the earth for a few more millennia!
These are arguments from Dawkins himself!
Thus my Creationism is far more reasonable than evolution, saves me from your preposterous theory!
You must entertain the idea of ET!
I dont!

5/07/2007 10:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Tim said...
As a 'tek head' you ought to be aware that machines are being developed that can read minds

Could you point me out to any link to such machines or to people who are developing them?

5/07/2007 10:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Actually Falafulu fisi let me confess that I don’t have any reason to deny the possibility of
Jeanette Wilson speaking with the dead, whether she actually does this or not I don’t know.
I do know she wont get a brass razoo out of me!
I would approach this with the same skepticism as you would, yet would be willing to test this notion somehow.
As a Christian I am forbidden to indulge in the occult, and I cannot ask you to submit yourself to it either for the same reasons, yet any skeptic who does not hold my ethics might submit themselves to personally investigate her claims.
I (like you) would not be surprised if she was a phoney yet the only way to be half/sure is by some sort of test.
I say only half sure as a negative result would not necessarily prove she was a fake, but only that she failed one test as evil entities may have their own reasons for making her look like a fake when it suits their purpose to do so.
I confess to having a serious distaste for the whole business, and I refuse to submit myself to psychics, and reject all they stand for on different principles than you hold.
I have no fear of the occult, as my faith in God is greater!
I will admit to you that my position does not deny the possibility of Necromancy, and I can also understand how your belief that the soul does not survive death, means you must reject such an Idea in principle.
Both of us are actually relying on other assumptions as to the probability of her actually being valid.
Neither of us has any proof that she is a phoney, though I may be very skeptical, and you reject it outright. (my previous arguments re evolution don’t apply to necromancy but to mind reading)
This i say is the true situation.
Your disbelief is an assumption based upon your other beliefs, whereas my skepticism is a much healthier and scientific approach.
My beliefs don’t rule out the idea, but they don’t blindly endorse this necromancer either.
While I hate the reality of this situation, I can honestly say my approach is still superior to your unscientific assumptions.

5/07/2007 11:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Falafulu fisi,
I read about these mind reading machines at the beginning of the year in the Waikato times.
I don’t think I kept that article as it displeased me so much!
The reason It displeased me was that I could see this tek as being part of 'Big brother'.
I'll do a net search and if I find the goods I'll get the link to you.
As I am a techno-moron I know less than nothing about this stuff yet I also assumed that helmets were already made that read thoughts some how re combat jet fighters etc
If I am wrong my apology!

5/07/2007 11:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Falafulu fisi.
try this. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18358876/

I typed into google 'mind reading technology' and a whole lot of stuff came up.
It might pay for you to do that too and sift through the results for yourself.

5/07/2007 11:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Falafulu fisi,
this is a better one
http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2004/janfeb/features/neuroethics.html

5/07/2007 11:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Tim, the link you provided for
Mind-reading toys could revolutionize play is not about mind reading. It is called signal pattern matching or signal pattern recognition. The machine can't read thoughts in the players’ minds, such as it can extract meaningful paragraphs, sentences or anything like that from the ones mind. What it does is that it matches the signals emitted from a player's brain and then matches them to a database of signals which have already been known (or classified) as priori.

Here is a quote from that page:
NeuroSky’s prototype measures a person’s baseline brain-wave activity, including signals that relate to concentration, relaxation and anxiety.

See, the signals for concentration, relaxation and anxiety, are already known as priori. They are stored in the memory of the device itself, in which it compares the incoming signal to see if it matches anyone of those stored pattern. It is just a signal template and has got nothing to do with the type of mind reading and ability that Psychics & God driven faith healers do claim to possess.

The signal template matching are already in clinical use at hospitals and critical care emergency services. When a critical care patient is being monitored, his/her brainwave is continually being matched to known types of signals stored in the device or from a database which they each correspond to early symptoms such as seizures, heart failure, etc,... The physician on duty is altered when the incoming (measured) patient's signal is starting to show a high level of matching to one of those conditions (seizures) that are known as priori. This can help the patient by early intervention & treatment in order to avoid further complications. Signal pattern matching is also in use by the military in radar object detection. When objects are detected in radar, the systems tried to match into its database to see what sort of object are they? Are they F-14 fighters? Are they B-52 bombers? Are they Inter-continental Ballistic missiles (ICBM) and so forth? The template signals for those objects are known as apriori. It is important that you know the incoming object as you don't want to send a squadron of F-14s to intercept an ICBM , because by the time they take off, you're already being annihilated.

But the difference between this technology and the claims made by Psychics & God driven faith healers is that signal pattern matching exist, meaning that they are real physical entities (electrical current), which are measurable by physical objects that also exist. Psychics & faith in God are driven by entities that do not exist.

This means that you either believe in real existence or believe in the non-existence. I know which side you take and it is the latter.

5/08/2007 01:00:00 am  
Blogger Julian said...

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion is interviewed on CBC's programme - The Hour

Julian

5/09/2007 05:47:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

PC,

You wrote that "existence itself is simply all that exists -- there is nothing prior to it; nothing antecedent to it; nothing apart from it -- and no alternative to it."

I presume you are aware that this commits you to a Parmenidean block universe picture of reality?

It implies, for example, that the present moment does not have any special status and that the flow of time is an illusion. Past, present, and future moments must be regarded as equally real and timelessly extant. Otherwise you are forced to say that the now extant present moment winks out of existence when it becomes the past and that the not-yet-extant future somehow becomes extant when it becomes the present moment. Clearly, this would be in contradiction to your quoted statement.

It also implies that everything that is physically possible must exist. For if something physically possible is not actually extant in what sense was it ever physically possible?

Taken seriously, then, your position is in essense the multiple universe theory of quantum mechanics. For in this theory everything physically possible exists and all moments are equally real and timelessly extent.

Yet, despite the fact that there is plenty of indirect evidence for multiple universes, you do not take the idea seriously as anything more than a merely useful theoretical device. This implies that at some level, then, you do not have full confidence in your existence axiom or that you are hiding a mass of theory qualifying your axiom, in which case it is no longer axiomatic.

5/11/2007 09:33:00 am  

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