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Michael Nugent speaks for Atheism

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 296 ✭✭ Arcus Arrow


    cavedave wrote: »
    Your claim here is that you could not make the statement "atheists believe the sun emits light" when I believe someone could make that statement.

    CaveDave, you need to address what I actually said which was nobody can make a statement as pompous as "We atheists will..[do/not do, A or B]. The article is not about atheists since it shows little or no understanding of what an atheist is. The article if anything might be about professed atheists or the so called "New" atheists but it's not about atheists.
    cavedave wrote: »
    Arcus Arrow your claim seems to be that someone who is an atheist but claims not to be.
    They do not believe in personal forces but pretends to. How does that make this statement false? They still believe in impersonal forces and still recognise goodness as a human experience

    You can be an atheist without ever having to claim you're not. The whole planet is not pre-occupied with the implications of the god question which result from the realisation that there ain't no one out there.

    All an atheist is is someone who does not believe in gods.

    That's it.

    That an individual does not believe in gods doesn't mean they have any particular interest or belief in something else by virtue of the fact other atheists do. They don't even have to spend any time pondering about the wonders of the universe or the falsehoods of religious faith. They don't even have to engage in time trying to describe the human race. They can be completely occupied only with their own advancement and if you get in the way, all factors being in place, they'll kill you.

    All you can say about an atheist is what they don't believe. Making statements like "Atheists agree..." are overblown nonsense born of smug convenience. To claim that what, on the one hand, is sometimes represented as the ever questioning atheist mindset and then to make sweeping all inclusive arrogant statements falls into the same category of dishonesty as PR sound bytes designed to misshape reality.

    Professed atheists who don't question atheism fall into the same channel as religious believers who question other religions but not their own.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,038 sponsoredwalk


    The article is wrong after the first 3 words of the title "We atheists will....".

    Arcus it would have helped if you'd taken the time to actually read past
    the title before condemning the article:
    Why are atheists so certain that gods do not exist? Actually, most of us aren’t. We merely reject the assertion that one or more gods do exist, based on the best currently available evidence.


    We would change our minds if we were given new and credible evidence that we are mistaken.
    I know it'll be hard to re-read that passage without instantly assuming
    all the fluff you've propped yourself up on but to any unbiased reader
    it's as clear as day that the "We" follows on from the "most of us", so
    already the self-promotional overarching grandiosity of the "We" claim
    you'd love to have existed just isn't there (where did it come from? ;)).
    Context is a bitch, but if you really want to string this out then I think
    your argument is with the "most of us", despite any 8 year old knowing
    what is meant by the sentences being used. In any case the "We"'ness
    you're striving for makes no sense if you actually read beyond the title.
    All that follows is based on the delusion that anyone can quantify or represent people based on what they do not believe.

    It would have been great if you'd quoted some sentences to show us the
    logical link between this delusion & the actual sentences, some quotes
    to back up the self-promotional qualities of the article would have been
    nice too.
    The article is not about atheists since it shows little or no understanding of what an atheist is.

    Again, it would be great if you'd offer up some quotes as evidence,
    preferably ones in context or (at least) full sentences if what you're
    quoting makes sense on it's own (these things require triple checking
    sometimes).
    The article if anything might be about professed atheists or the so called "New" atheists but it's not about atheists.

    Is this an "I was atheist before it was cool" steam reliever or can you
    actually justify, by means of quotations, that the article is just about
    these central bank good charlotte rockers new atheists?
    smug

    lol
    Why don't you put on your profile upfront that you're a member of AI. Is this part of building an "ethical" society?

    I see that a (voluntary, of course) public mark displayed on those things
    you despise would have a place in your "ethical" society.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 873 ed2hands


    Interesting article and nice it was published; personally felt it was a tad pompous, presumptuous and shrill though.

    Far too many generalised statements of fact and about atheism and athiests.

    Just think it's a little counter-productive to make such claims so certainly about what athiests do or do not think about things.
    It's not irrational to deduce that that has been the problem that some have had from certain other organisations. For that reason, it had an element of shot-yourself-in-the-foot for me i'm afraid.


  • Registered Users Posts: 776 Tomk1


    You "hear" there is to be a series of articles? Why wouldn't you since your'e a member of Atheist Ireland and one of it's most dedicated acolytes. It's a bit pathetic to continually go around trying to promote your leader while attempting to mask that fact.

    Ahhh ___ that's not fair calling Nozz ''one of it's most dedicated acolytes.'' what about me, here I am thinking I'm a bigger acolyte than Nozz, putting in 20-30 hrs a week for AI and Atheism. But ___ if you want to give Nozz the award ok.
    Whatever I'll just sulk in the corner if I get the time.

    It's just great to hear someone speaking about atheism from an atheist perspective in the newspapers for a change.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    seamus wrote: »
    There is a popular perception that Atheism is synonymous with being cold, antisocial and looking at the world in a dark and depressing way.

    I think that's because the conclusions atheism draws are cold and dark and depressing for most people. An attempt is made to disguise this ..
    "Hey, look, atheists are just like everyone else; we live, we learn, we laugh, we love. We just don't consider God to be part of the human experience".

    .. but when it comes to the heart of the matter, it's hard for such cheerfulness to find ..er .. traction. At root atheism is concluded as saying:

    - there is nothing after this

    - there is no more point/worth/meaning to this than you can fashion for yourself. There is no god but you.

    - goodness is whatever you personally determine it to be. As is evil.

    - you are alone.


    "Living and laughing and loving" doesn't solve that problem since one can live, laugh and love in a vacuous way.

    It appears to be the case that man, generally, is a spiritual (by that I don't mean 'religious') creature. He longs for a meaning and value and purpose that goes beyond his vacuously saying of himself "I have meaning and value because I say so". So long as man remains that way, atheism will continue to appear depressing to him. Man will prefer a softer agnosticism that parks the issue a distance away from the finality offered by atheism.

    Atheism trying to sound cheerful is like the Roman Catholic church trying to sound remorseful - it is constitutionally beyond them both to be so.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,807 ✭✭✭ CerebralCortex


    I think that's because the conclusions atheism draws are cold and dark and depressing for most people. An attempt is made to disguise this ..



    .. but when it comes to the heart of the matter, it's hard for such cheerfulness to find ..er .. traction. At root atheism is concluded as saying:

    - there is nothing after this

    - there is no more point/worth/meaning to this than you can fashion for yourself. There is no god but you.

    - goodness is whatever you personally determine it to be. As is evil.

    - you are alone.


    "Living and laughing and loving" doesn't solve that problem since one can live, laugh and love in a vacuous way.

    It appears to be the case that man, generally, is a spiritual (by that I don't mean 'religious') creature. He longs for a meaning and value and purpose that goes beyond his vacuously saying of himself "I have meaning and value because I say so". So long as man remains that way, atheism will continue to appear depressing to him. Man will prefer a softer agnosticism that parks the issue a distance away from the finality offered by atheism.

    Atheism trying to sound cheerful is like the Roman Catholic church trying to sound remorseful - it is constitutionally beyond them both to be so.


    But don't you find that freedom from rules thrilling? That you're the master of your own destiny. Tbh I find the idea of being arbitrarily created(and created wrong according to Xtians) just to serve the whims of a being who ought to know better far more dark and depressing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Personally I do not see atheism as being as depressing as depicted above. Nor do I have to look to atheism itself in order to find joy in live. As has been pointed out time and time again, atheism is simply the position of not accepting one particular set of propositions.

    I am put in the mind of people who like to run or walk in their spare time. They drive to a point, say Roundwood in the Wicklow way. They get out of their car, they walk the entire day and they end up back where they started.

    On the face of it… what a pointless exercise. If you had just stayed in the car you would have gotten to your destination easier. Why leave the car at all when you are essentially spending the whole day getting back to it?

    The catchphrase such people often quote at me however is “The journey itself is the destination”. I apply much the same thought process to life itself. Users like the one above might want to argue that on the face of it, just like the walking in the hills, life itself is just a pointless exercise under Atheism because there is nothing “after” it. I see no reason to require something after it to enjoy it now however and the journey for me very much is the destination.

    And, like gold, life is made precious and special by it’s rarity. I feel the idea of an after life cheapens the life we have now by paling it into abundance and insignificance. What value can life have if it is eternal if you compare it to asking how valuable would gold be if it was massively abundant?

    Maybe such people are looking for an objective reason to enjoy life. Enjoyment itself is subjective however and I have no issue with living my life on the back of subjective reasons for enjoying it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    But don't you find that freedom from rules thrilling?

    I did find it that way for a time. Then I noticed that every games enjoyment is enhanced by the constraints imposed by it's rules.

    Sure, you can decide to move the goalposts any which way you want but it a nonsense of the game of football.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,240 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Atheism trying to sound cheerful
    Uh, I don't want to have to point out the crushingly obvious, but atheism isn't about cheerfulness. It's about the absence of gods.

    I don't recall anything amazingly cheerful about gravity either, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a pretty accurate description of things.

    Have you considered that your apparent need to have "cheerful" notions about the universe might be causing you to believe things that are specifically designed to appear cheerful?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Dades


    - there is nothing after this
    I think you could narrow your post down to this one line, tbh.

    The life of a Christian or an atheist are completely interchangeable in their earthly existence. We live in the same society, go to school, work, maybe have a family and eventually drop dead. But like JimiTime's thread from last week, what some people really can't handle is death being the end.

    Unfortunately, even if you do find this notion a bit grim, it doesn't mean you can just believe some fluffy notion just to make you feel better. At least for some of us.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,807 ✭✭✭ CerebralCortex


    I did find it that way for a time. Then I noticed that every games enjoyment is enhanced by the constraints imposed by it's rules.

    Sure, you can decide to move the goalposts any which way you want but it a nonsense of the game of football.

    So life is a game? I think not.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 31,970 Sarky


    Meh, I'm pretty ok with death being the end. I'd prefer to have done most or all of the things I want to do, but there's no getting away from death, so why worry about something you have little control over. Might as well enjoy life and do interesting things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    So life is a game? I think not.

    But the idea that constraints add to rather than subtract from lifes enjoyment is inescapable. There'll always be a Howard Huges type to argue differently but he isn't the norm. Or normal.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Dades wrote: »
    I think you could narrow your post down to this one line, tbh.

    You'll notice I didn't


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    robindch wrote: »
    Uh, I don't want to have to point out the crushingly obvious, but atheism isn't about cheerfulness. It's about the absence of gods.

    I was dealing with Seamus' indication that an atheist could be as cheerful about life as anyone else. I was pointing out that most folk* wouldn't see it that way since the logical outworking of the atheist position is depressing if follows to a conclusion.

    *I was assuming most folk giving at least an unconscious/unexamined nod to the transcendent values they bow to in order to provide meaningful anchor to their lives.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,240 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    I was dealing with Seamus' indication that an atheist could be as cheerful about life as anyone else.
    Yes, in my experience atheists are much more cheerful than religious people, and have much more fun too. But you said that atheism is cheerless. Why mix up the idea that there aren't deities, with the people who believe that there aren't deities.

    Are you able to distinguish between the two?
    the logical outworking of the atheist position is depressing if follows to a conclusion.
    Uh, why? All atheism says is that there isn't, for example, a malevolent deity in some parallel dimension who pretends to love people only so long as they claim he exists. And who will burn people who don't believe he exists.

    I wouldn't like to be stuck here with such a nutty belief and I'd absolutely hate to be stuck for all eternity with some insane, grasping entity like that! Sounds awful!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,933 ✭✭✭ Logical Fallacy


    I did find it that way for a time. Then I noticed that every games enjoyment is enhanced by the constraints imposed by it's rules.

    Clearly you have never played the War On Terror boardgame.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,873 ✭✭✭✭ Penn


    I was dealing with Seamus' indication that an atheist could be as cheerful about life as anyone else. I was pointing out that most folk* wouldn't see it that way since the logical outworking of the atheist position is depressing if follows to a conclusion.

    How so? Anyone can find beauty in what another finds depressing, regardless of whether they have a "meaningful anchor" in their lives, even people who generally believe the same thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    At root atheism is concluded as saying:

    - there is nothing after this

    - there is no more point/worth/meaning to this than you can fashion for yourself. There is no god but you.

    - goodness is whatever you personally determine it to be. As is evil.

    - you are alone.

    That’s not what atheism concludes, it is what you conclude. What I conclude about the issues that you raise is quite different.

    - There is so much to experience during this.

    - There is as much point/worth/meaning to this as we can collectively fashion.

    - There are no gods, and we are not gods.

    - Goodness is how we collectively help each other to flourish.

    - Evil is how we collectively cause each other to needlessly suffer.

    - We are sharing this unique experience with about seven billion humans and countless other living beings.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 42,408 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Beruthiel


    I was pointing out that most folk* wouldn't see it that way since the logical outworking of the atheist position is depressing if follows to a conclusion.

    You see it that way.
    I see it in a completely different way.
    I got to live.
    Out of all the bazillion sperm/cells that never produced anything, I got to be one that did.
    No matter what the length of my life is, I am one damn lucky individual and I know it.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    ed2hands wrote: »
    Interesting article and nice it was published; personally felt it was a tad pompous, presumptuous and shrill though.

    Far too many generalised statements of fact and about atheism and athiests.

    Just think it's a little counter-productive to make such claims so certainly about what athiests do or do not think about things.
    It's not irrational to deduce that that has been the problem that some have had from certain other organisations. For that reason, it had an element of shot-yourself-in-the-foot for me i'm afraid.
    Thanks for that feedback. I tried to use qualifiers like ‘some’, ‘many’ and ‘most’ when it seemed appropriate, and to stress that most atheists do not make claims of certainty, and to only leave out qualifying words when I was making what I thought were uncontroversial observations.

    However, I do agree that it is a valid issue, and I am always open to improving how I communicate my ideas. Which generalised statements specifically in the article do you suggest that I should qualify in future?

    Also, there are broadly two ways to approach addressing this, and I’d welcome feedback as to which is the best way:

    One way is to qualify every noun with a suitable adjective, which would make articles more precise but harder to read, particularly for general readers who have to ‘get’ the basics before they can consider all of the nuances.

    Another is to start articles with an early disclaimer (or finish them with a late disclaimer) to the effect that some generalisations are made that have implied exceptions.

    Any thoughts on which approach would be most effective?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    But the idea that constraints add to rather than subtract from lifes enjoyment is inescapable.
    If that is the case, then the constraint of there being no god must add to life's enjoyment.

    Actually I think some constraints add, and other constraints subtract, from life's enjoyment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Clearly you have never played the War On Terror boardgame.

    No I haven't. I see that you can download the rules though. Or constraints .. as they are commonly known.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,370 ✭✭✭ Knasher


    But the idea that constraints add to rather than subtract from lifes enjoyment is inescapable. There'll always be a Howard Huges type to argue differently but he isn't the norm. Or normal.

    True to a point but no further. I'd agree that the constraints placed on people by their own sense of morality (regardless of where you want to attribute that morality) are absolutely imperative to allow us to function in a society, and therefore increase the enjoyment of life.

    But seeing as you placed no limits on the types of constraints and said it was an inescapable idea that it adds to the enjoyment of life, then that leaves it open for me to take it to extremes and say it must mean that if additional constraints were placed on your freedom and you were imprisoned, your enjoyment of life would only increase.

    So please define the limits for your statement, what additional constraints that only come from religion, inescapably and objectively (seeing as you didn't say they just added to your enjoyment) add to the enjoyment of life?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,863 ✭✭✭ mikhail


    .. but when it comes to the heart of the matter, it's hard for such cheerfulness to find ..er .. traction. At root atheism is concluded as saying:

    - there is nothing after this

    - there is no more point/worth/meaning to this than you can fashion for yourself. There is no god but you.

    - goodness is whatever you personally determine it to be. As is evil.

    - you are alone.
    At its root, Christianity is concluded as saying:

    - this life is a meaningless test.

    - you are a worthless pawn of a capricious god who will not show himself, but who will burn you in fire for eternity if you don't please him.

    - goodness is whatever the church says it is. As is evil.

    - you are being judged.


    Well, that was easy. The hard question is whether you're so afraid of being wrong that you have to be intellectually dishonest, not least with yourself, or you're just not smart enough to troll more subtly. It'd be tragic that it's not possible to tell if I actually cared to know the answer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    That’s not what atheism concludes, it is what you conclude. What I conclude about the issues that you raise is quite different.

    What do you conclude differently about "there is nothing after this"?


    - There is so much to experience during this.


    I wouldn't disagree.

    - There is as much point/worth/meaning to this as we can collectively fashion.

    You don't need a collective to fashion the worth of it all. You can decide to assign whatever worth you like to it. You can decide it's worthless today and worth-full tomorrow if you like.

    Some worth that..

    - There are no gods, and we are not gods.

    In being the final arbitrator of the worth of things you are indeed your own god. It's a small 'g'.

    - Goodness is how we collectively help each other to flourish.

    - Evil is how we collectively cause each other to needlessly suffer.

    I wouldn't say causing others to suffer is a needless thing. You could be fulfilling own need at cost to others. And if you find that good then good it is for you.

    If other atheists want to sacrifice their interests for others and find that that is good for them then fine.

    I can't see the basis for the one who suits himself shouting down another who suits himself. That's what I meant by each atheists good being something that is down to himself.


    - We are sharing this unique experience with about seven billion humans and countless other living beings.

    Indeed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,188 UDP


    I can't see the basis for the one who suits himself shouting down another who suits himself. That's what I meant by each atheists good being something that is down to himself.
    Everybody's good is down to his/herself.

    Its a good thing however that by and large evolution favoured those that were generally good but due to a whole host of reasons e.g. mental illness etc caused genetically and/or environmentally there are a lot of "bad" people out there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Knasher wrote: »
    So please define the limits for your statement, what additional constraints that only come from religion, inescapably and objectively (seeing as you didn't say they just added to your enjoyment) add to the enjoyment of life?

    Utter selflessness (a.k.a. unconditional and sacrificial love).


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    UDP wrote: »
    Everybody's good is down to his/herself.

    Tell Michael Nugent will ya?


    Its a good thing however that by and large evolution favoured those that were generally good but due to a whole host of reasons e.g. mental illness etc caused genetically and/or environmentally there are a lot of "bad" people out there.

    I think the 'bad' people find it good that evolution worked things out that way too. It means there's more opportunity for them.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,370 ✭✭✭ Knasher


    Utter selflessness (a.k.a. unconditional and sacrificial love).

    Interesting answer, I had assumed up to this point that you were a christian but seeing as the christian gods* love is defined as being conditional on you loving him back and also on you obeying his commands this statement obviously doesn't apply to christianity at least, so apologies for that.

    In what religion does the deity offer unconditional love?

    In any case how exactly is unconditional love constraining? If anything I would have thought it definitively un-constraining.


    *I am, of course, assuming that you meant unconditional love from a deity. I think this is a reasonable assumption but please correct me if I'm wrong.


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