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Nov 19 thelyamhound commented on Can We Maybe Start Talking Seriously About Atheism Again Now?.
@82 - Interesting questions, but not really so threatening to the atheistic worldview as theists seem to think (in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a pantheist with thoughts on the matter somewhere between Bruno and Spinoza with a dash of de Sade, so I'm really not speaking on behalf of my own beliefs). A good many so-called "soft" atheists would say that atheism, or at least their atheism, isn't a positive belief that there is/are no [G/g]od(s), but a lack of positive belief in deity, a default assumption that what cannot be made apparent through empiricism or deductive/inductive reason can safely be assumed not to exist until either evidence arises or a line of deductive/inductive reasoning comes into play that not allows for the possibility, but logically demands it.

There are theories which suggest a universe without beginning; I, for one, am happy to refrain from taking on any position of certainty on matters so rife with guesswork. I do feel safe enough saying that no answer, including "I just don't know," is any less satisfying than the notion of a conscious, morally preoccupied being, as clear as it seems that such attributes only arrived after millions, perhaps billions of years of evolution, and that these attributes are fundamentally inter-subjective (meaning that they only exists by way of the relationship of one organism to another, which suggests that a conscious deity could only develop consciousness or morality in the presence of another of the same ... which begins to suggest another lifeform, another universe, another set of rules, and then we're back to infinite regression).
Nov 19 thelyamhound commented on Can We Maybe Start Talking Seriously About Atheism Again Now?.
@79 - You ask an interesting question at the beginning. I would say that no, atheism isn't comparable to any given religion, since the question of deity is one of presupposition; religion comes at least a step after. Theism, atheism, pantheism, panentheism ... these are intuitive assumptions about how the universe works, all equally unprovable, and while they may be reasoned ex post facto, they tend to be foundations of later beliefs that one might call religious.

I basically agree with what you say, but I do wonder how one can escape abusing a system wherein a conscious, morally preoccupied deity hands down an ethical blueprint and demands belief (which isn't even a volitional act). I don't think you can create a sustainable system for moral reasoning that doesn't leave a margin for epistemic barriers to faith or disagreement with doctrine.
Nov 19 thelyamhound commented on Can We Maybe Start Talking Seriously About Atheism Again Now?.
@74 - Intelligence and validity of talking points are pretty subjective outside of the hard sciences (though one can identify good or bad writing; Liberal_Censorship's is acceptably middling), so I won't argue as to the validity of his particular points. But I fail to see how this ...

"The lefties tell low IQ people to f**k anything in sight (rock and roll! Jezebel! no slut shaming!) and demand that the unhip folks pick up the tab for their kids or HIV."

... amounts to the sort of thing to which one can or should expect reasoned response. That I bother to offer him any is a matter of who I like to think I am, but I can't blame others for lacking similar aspirations.
Nov 19 thelyamhound commented on Can We Maybe Start Talking Seriously About Atheism Again Now?.
@69 - I suspect that Liberal_Censorship is, in fact, the artist formerly known as Mad_at_Dad, whose troll credentials need no vetting. I could be wrong; it really doesn't matter to my point. I have done him the immense kindness of addressing him as an equal, speaking to his points in some detail, and inviting him to speak to what strike me as contradictions and generalizations that undermine his points. There's nothing "harsh" in that.

The ball is in his court.
Nov 19 thelyamhound commented on Morning News: Washington Windstorm Leaves Thousands Without Power, Boko Haram Bombing Kills Dozens in Nigeria.
@6 - You can't seem to get your story straight. Did Judeo-Christian ethics give us Western docracy or not? Is your contention that Western democracy is blindly optimistic and predictably naive, and if so, why ought we to be thankful for it?

Of course, it may be said you fail to understand the core of both Christianity and socialism. Just as Christianity's naiveté belies a dark heart of mistrust in man's fallen nature, to be redeemed only by a savior, socialism could be said to similarly arise from a mistrust in humanity's legacy of Darwinian struggle, to be resolved only by strong social constructs to keep the advantaged from exploiting the disadvantaged.
Nov 18 thelyamhound commented on Can We Maybe Start Talking Seriously About Atheism Again Now?.
@45 - My contention was less that you are a finger-wagging school marm than that you seem to believe that some people can only ever be saved by one - that you either buy into that line of reasoning or you support its use as a regulatory measure. Which is fine, if you limit its application to self-regulation or, where it's not demonstrably oppressive to children (like, say, subjecting them to aversion therapies to "cure" homosexuality or keep them from masturbating, or asking them to disavow their gay or lesbian parents for their apostasy in order to be accepted in the religious community), intra-familial regulation.

As someone married and holding down multiple jobs, I have no issue with wanting that for any loved one, of whatever IQ ... if the person in question is fundamentally capable of being happy in such a situation. But I don't think that contraception, STD testing, and such are beyond the median level of intelligence; nor do I think universal healthcare that includes access to family planning services and comprehensive sex education are unreasonable amenities for society to provide.
Nov 18 thelyamhound commented on Jay Rodne, Republican State House Representative from Snoqualmie, Agrees With ISIS.
@25 & 30 - Why, in your opinion, should we imagine Islam to be more intrinsically resistant to reform than Judaism or Christianity? Only someone unfamiliar with the over 600 points of Mosaic law would suggest the difference lies in doctrine. I generally agree that Reform Jews, followed by, oh, say, Episcopalians or Quakers represent the most peaceful expressions of anthropomorphic monotheism, but I would say that represents the degree to which they have rejected their foundational texts. Why would Muslims be unable to do something similar? I'm genuinely interested in anyone's thoughts on this.

I can appreciate that Christianity created some great things, including the empiricism that is slowly revealing its essential premises to be flawed when not outright false. I think it's best products have been Spinozan pantheism and Bruno's panpsychism. Then again, I see certain parallels in Sufism. I defend only the notion that a religiously pluralistic society with a secular core is a net good, to be achieved by opposing actions, not beliefs.
Nov 18 thelyamhound commented on Can We Maybe Start Talking Seriously About Atheism Again Now?.
@2 - Presumes that humility, peace, and forgiveness are the lessons most Christians have taken from Christianity. One could argue that more censorious impulses and anxiety regarding the "other" have won out when it comes to contemporary religious expression.

As a religious practitioner who believes in no deity or afterlife, I agree, actually, that religion has a net-positive role to play in the way we understand the universe, and if I had a lot of time, I might get into that here ... except, by and large, the free exercise of religion (or, by extension, irreligion) is more threatened by anthropomorphic monotheists, or even by neo-Christian social constructivists like you, than by atheists.

@7 - I think celebrity worship, when it isn't simply honest admiration of artistic merit, is borne more of our lack of monarchy than lack of religion. We seem wired to desire an elevated caste, being a naturally hierarchical animal. And again, the notion that Christianity preaches love and forgiveness ignores that it elevates belief, which is not volitional, over works; that this forgiveness comes at the cost of accepting a definition of sin that offers no recourse to reason or negotiate its ethical chains of causation; and that the flip side of forgiveness is damnation.

@10 - Only shows that an atheocracy is just as dangerous as a theocracy. I support neither.

@19 - Please; in economic terms, the right is just as enamored of instant gratification as is the left. They just frame it in terms of property, where the left will tend to frame it in terms of pleasure. Both have their drawbacks and limitations, and I agree that we could all afford to think more deeply about consequences, but facile moralizing like yours, borne of finger-wagging school marms, is as much the enemy as licentious hedonism, as it draws a hard line between traditional strictures that can never serce everyone and thoughtless, amoral licentiousness, without any recourse to nuance, moderation, informed consent, or experimentation (without which my own nearly 20 year marriage would be awfully boring).
Nov 12 thelyamhound commented on Mormon Church Nostalgic for Days When Homophobia Just Hurt Homos.
@4 - So far as religions are sets of truth posits, sure, they're all equally without recourse to empirical checking. Of course, so is belief in justice, or in being loved by one's friends or spouse, or in the power or importance of art. Sometimes we make guesses as to what lies behind phenomena when their results have meaning; sometimes those guesses are based on nothing but intuition or hunch. That's not a problem in itself.

So far as religion is a set of practices and rituals, I think we can certainly suggest that some religious practices are more objectively harmful than others.
Nov 12 thelyamhound commented on The Second-Best Feeling in the World: Jujitsu.
@1 - I, for one, didn't realize it was a race. I've been studying various martial arts for over 30 years. It never occurred to me that there was an expiration date for writing about one's experiences with same.