I wanted to put this question out there to see how strongly everyone feels on this subject. Being that most of us trust in scientific fact and reasoning, I was wondering if everyone is absolutely, undeniably, 100% sure that a god doesn't exist.  I personally take into account that there is no proof of any cosmic creator so therefore I am about 99.9999% sure that there is no god. However we all agree that science is an ever evolving field and I don't think that there will ever be any proof to support the existence of a supreme being, but I can't be 100% sure until there is concrete proof against one. I would like to know what all of your thoughts on this.  

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Jason,

The Mike Wallace interviews were my very first introduction to AR actually. And I was very impressed with her intellectual honesty.  And her appeal to reason instead of emotion. And I agree with almost everything she says in those videos. Most people's arguments against her stem on how she is mean and selfish. They call her, or her characters narcissistic, egomaniacal and so on. Her opponents rail in insult from her being swinish to selfish to uncaring as if she created suffering and is responsible for it. I understand that life can be painful, but doing more harm after that, by frocefully, yes under the very real threat of incarceration, forcefully taking money from those who make the world a better place. Her opponents appeal to compassion really is simply just a demonstration of negative emotions that stem from not being able to integrate the proper meaning of selfishness.

A narcissistic person has a personality disorder and the problem is that they think of themselves only and not in how they relate to others. They are unaware of their disorder. The proper objective understanding of the concepts of selfishness and rational self-interest are within a contextual framework that involves fair interaction with other people. That's the whole point. People are most moral, free, happy, when they are not forced to do anything by others. Free trade is based on the relationship between individuals and why the government just can't help, morally and actually. Objectivism explicitly delineates its rational self-interested nature, it is not narcissistic.

I think what you understand about the socioeconomic issues in an emergency room could probably just about fit into the Grand Canyon. First of all, every walk of life at some point enters the emergency room. Those who take care of themselves, whose parents decided to get an education or financial stability before having ten kids, who brush their teeth daily, who have medical insurance, who go to their follow up appointments, who have a primary care doctor, likely come less, but they do come. I originally went into emergency medicine for the emergencies, which these people come in with, regardless of their moral choices in life or how fortunate they are. You can't avoid going to the ER. And then there is a very large group of people, empowered by the US government, to use this system to make their own lives worse, because they can and don't know any better. We are literally paying millions of Americans to sit on their asses and make bad choices. There is no need for a prospective double-blinded randomized study to accurately assert that this colossal fail is because of bad governmental policy. I am a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians and have spent time in many ER's throughout the country and have been to conferences throughout the country as well, where it is openly discussed as a drain on society. So, I know that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in every town in America that is bigger than a bread-basket. That's what you people are buying with my money. I am not saying that there aren't a few thousand people who do good with whatever support is stolen from the hard-working people of this country, but that it doesn't matter. It is institutionalized aggression.

You do not have the higher moral ground, when it is you, the socialist, that must, first and foremost, violate the rights of one person to give to another. It is most certainly theft, institutionalized, sure, but theft nonetheless, at a very real threat of violence.

I am not for feudalism. I am for a small government that is only concerned with individual rights. It is there to uphold them. Every single individual's rights as an individual. You don't get more points for being part of a particular group. It is the institution of monopolization of retaliatory force. It is very clearly not feudalism and not anarchy. Maybe you need to learn a little bit more about egoism and capitalism. Because, so far, I'm 'hearing' that AR's ideas are mean, people with money are mean and corporations are mean because you think you can divide groups of people arbitrarily and say that it is the the producers fault and responsibility to do something about the arbitrary dichotomies you make. People will be mean sometimes, that's one thing, institutionalizing the government's ability to rape the rich and then 'get into bed' with some other rich people/corporation while claiming it is a lack of taxes that is the cause of the people's misery and not the government itself, is just corrupt and immoral, but apparently a perfect smoke screen for people like you.

These groups of people you claim the producers are standing on the shoulders of are abstract and metaphorical, not real like every single individual. There is no hive mind, that is an oxymoron, there is no social consciousness, that to makes no sense. Only individuals think and decide, not groups. The shoulder metaphor is just that. The teachers and whoever got paid for their work. They don't get more pay, because you think they should have it. Economic interaction entails making agreements and then honoring them. You want whoever is less successful in life to get more than their fair share of the trade. You'll agree to work for a wage and then demand more from other people that earned more. It is pathetic and we humans, well some of us, are better than that and don't need the government to foster the size of groups of large numbers of need and 'entitled' people. It does not matter that they are needed to purchase the goods the producer makes, they got the goods, when they bought them, they don't morally get more after because they are a consumer. Feudalism, anarchy, classes, all arbitrary metaphorical likes, not actual descriptions of anything but, government by land owner, no government at all and simple statistics, classes don't exist like people do.

Oppressive are such only through government assistance, not because of fair trade. People will, by definition, always be unequal. The only way to make as fair as possible is to respect everyone's rights the same, not some more than others dependent on their need and ability.

Morality most certainly concerns the individual. Every moral decision ever made was made by an individual and in respect to their perceived self interest. If you were alone on a desert island, you would still need a set of rules to guide your decision making process.

We really can do better than institutionalizing violence. Private business, charity, philanthropy and so on can do anything a government can and should other than keeping the peace, based on our personal freedom.

I do not reject compassion. Respecting everyone's individual rights to their own life is more compassionate that robbing the rich to give to the poor. The poor cannot be helped by giving them little government assistances here and there. They can only achieve their own happiness. It cannot be bought. But their dependence on welfare can be enabled. And as for my job, I went into and still value emergency medicine immensely because of the knowledge, experience and money that I gain in return. It just so happens that I also value greatly the personal fulfillment I get in being able to help many people on a regular basis in the most difficult times in their lives. My patient's emotional well-being is very important to me. This is not a secret to those I work with. I love my job and this is very consistent with an egoistic personal philosophy and a necessarily egoist morality.

Sorry, MCT, but that's all just bullshit rationalization. We have a social contract. Taxation is how we pay for it. In a democracy, we get to help decide how to allocate the taxes. You can call it theft until you're blue in the face, but grownups know it isn't theft. And successful people in any economy very much depend on actual, real people: parents, teachers, customers, employees, etc, etc, etc. Nobody at all gets anywhere in life without lots of help from lots of people, not anywhere close to all of it compensated financially. It is seriously delusional to suggest otherwise. The self-made man is a pure myth.

 

And libertarianism is precisely feudalism. For all the tripe I've heard spewed in defense of libertarian ideals, I've never once heard anybody explain how it would actually work in practice without a powerful government there to enforce contracts, keep the peace, protect individuals and small groups from predation by larger or more powerful individuals or groups, and, hey! That sounds kinda like big government!

 

And again, if libertarianism is such a great idea, so workable in practice, why has it never been observed in the wild? Surely it can't be because of all of us powerless welfare recipient leeches, unworthy to lick the boots of the deserving. No, it has never been observed because it always turns into feudalism. It really is sort of amazing that libertarians refuse to admit that any such system in practice is no more than a collection of fiefdoms with powerful people at the top of each one. All the little guys would have to swear allegiance to one of the big boys or be gobbled up. Government would simply do the bidding of the oligarchs. Come to think of it, that's kinda what we have now. You're just irritable because we actually have instituted your glorious dystopia and you don't like it, because it doesn't work the way you wanted, or because you don't happen to be one of the powerful. I guess you don't deserve it.

 

In any event, this has just about zero to do with the thread topic. Ayn Rand had no rational link from atheism to anarcho-capitalism, and neither do we.

Jason, Oh! Yes!  Clearly, concretely, accurately stated!  Thank you for having the words, understanding and compassion to see the big picture. 

God Michael!  That looks like a real hammering.....  did you have a point to make? :)

Several.

I read it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with certainty - I can always be wrong.... but in the meanwhile - I'm certainly right..... :)

I think there are six fundamental errors of religious thinking based on attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values. Obviously I write from a white, female, USA bias:

anthropocentrism 
A belief that homo sapiens are the most significant entity of the universe that fosters interpreting or regarding the world in terms of human experiences.

 

sexism

A belief that gender is a primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that gender differences produce an inherent superiority of male gender over female and fosters discrimination against women and stereotypes of social roles based on gender.

 

racism
A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race that fosters racial prejudice or discrimination.

 

dominionism

A belief that a person or philosophy has the power to rule and control a country, region, people, individual, resources, etc., and claims the right to have dominion, power and control over all that swims, crawls, and flies. Furthermore, dominionists do strategic-level spiritual warfare to tear down "demonic strongholds" established by Satan and his demons, locally and globally.

 

exceptionalism

A belief that a god or a philosophy is unusual or uncommon or exceptional and results in inherent superiority over others producing a sense of right to have dominion over others or things. 

 

theocentrism

A belief that a specific and particular god is the central interest and ultimate concern of humans  which fosters values that impact their thoughts and actions, justifying dominionism.  

Surely the onus of proof is on those who do believe in something. If I claim to have seen fairies in the bottom of my garden, I cannot expect anyone to believe me unless I produce some proof - undoctored photographs, videos, interviews, third party observers, etc. I see no evidence of any metaphysical being so I don't believe in one. There is no statistical range necessary - until some concrete evidence is produced.

I have never seen proof that is conclusive that there is a god. 

I am 100% sure there is no god. Simple.

Nothing about religion makes any sense whatsoever. I am ashamed of the human race for still believing in feel good stories to explain certain happenings when science has done that and people refuse to acknowledge it.

"An Atheist loves himself and his fellowman instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now -- here on earth -- for all men together to enjoy".

-- Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Madalyn Murray O'Hair paid a heavy price for her thoughts and behaviors, didn't she Sandi.  We have it easy, compared to her pioneering work. 

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