Thursday, January 24, 2008

Strawman Alert

My understanding of a strawman is that it is a logical fallacy where one side inaccurately represents the opponent's position and then proves the distortion false and claims victory. I googled the term and found the link above and that my paraphrase is... sufficient.

It showed up on an old post of mine, "religious indoctrination = child abuse". In that post I listed 10 (though I accidentally skipped the number 9 and listed 11)examples of the evil concepts espoused by religion.

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, we've got another fundy on my blog who doesn't have the slightest idea what it means to be an atheist. But, they have pulled their very own list of "evil concepts espoused by atheism" straight from their sphincter and in a show of maturity copied my missing 9 and numbered it through 11. Not only that but this fundy has the temerity to misquote my dear Thump in a dramatically obnoxious fashion.

Without further ado... behold... a fundy revealing the true depths of their ignorance of what it means to be an atheist.

Evil Concepts Espoused by Atheism:

1- accidental origin- you are an accident and any love anyone has for you is also an accident

2- no afterlife- all of your strivings are dust and the horrendously evil go to the same oblivion as the generously good

3- no justice- the horrible things you see will never be redressed. Never.

4- might makes right - there is no one who can decide what is right or wrong that doesn't back it up with force

5- solipsism- you can never now anything else is real. your family, your friends, they could all be meaningless manufacturing of your own mind. You can't know for sure.

6- meaninglessness- nothing you do ever means anything. you can artificially ascribe it meaning, but deep down inside you know it's a lie.

7- selfishness- everyone else is less important than you, take from them all that they have, all that they are

8- objective human value is non existent- you are worthless, all that you are comes from nothing

10- there is no good or evil- whatever others tell you is good or bad is only a matter of opinion and their ability to enforce it.

11- superiority complex - you are superior to all those foolish religious people who believe in fables

THAT is what is meant when a religious person says, "atheist indoctrination of children is child abuse." Atheist indoctrination abuses a young and developing mind, warping and twisting it at its most vulnerable, and setting up mental habits that can take a lifetime to overcome.

As Thumb said, “The whole idea of atheist indoctrination is abuse, to stifle morality and meaning cannot, in my mind, be considered anything else.”


Will you take the opportunity?

Notice that this fundy has also declared himself the winner of the argument and to not bother fisking his 10 pseudoconcepts. Poor deluded fundy. He takes especial exception to the cannibal issue I addressed as did several other fundies.

Jesus said, "This is my body, broken for you. TAKE AND EAT!" And also, "This is my blood, shed for you. TAKE AND DRINK!" Hello! Jesus, whom they believe is the human son of God who would shortly be tortured to death, die and be raised from the dead is saying EAT ME! Cannibalism is the consumption of one of your own. Jesus was human. Jesus wants you to eat him. Communion is representative cannibalism. Get over it.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

There is no such thing as Atheist indoctrination. Indoctrination is the teaching of people to accept doctrines uncritically.

And to make a broad generalisation if one thing can be stated to be common thread amongst atheists is the use of reason and a focus on critical thinking.

And here is where I an atheist disagree with dawkins about the child abuse label. I think that "indoctination" is a suffciently negative term to use when talking about religious teaching of children/and or adults for that matter.

Quite frankly the fundi posting is an idiot. And he can take my ad homninum attack and insert it.

Fiery said...

And he can take my ad homninum attack and insert it.


Johnny would say "he can jam it sideways".

I would say "he can sit on it and spin".

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Atheism isn't a religion. It's a personal relationship with reality. The ability of the brain to look at things logically is built in; the only way to alter it is to heavily indoctrinate youngsters very early in their lives so that they lose the ability to be rational and logical.

Threatening children with hell isn’t my idea of justice! Religion does not require thinking, just belief in the supernatural, no proof required, just blind belief, no need to think for yourself - ugh how awful, how cruel!

Religion works by controlling your sexuality, money and fear of death and in return promises eternal life or burning in hell, for which there is also no proof - what kind of stupid deal is that?

Stop lying to children and break the cycle of religion! The family who prays together is really brainwashing children, no other way of looking at it!

There is no such thing as Atheist indoctrination buddy, Atheism is myth-understood! Get it, MYTH, oh sorry I forgot, you are basing your whole existence on supernatural myths taken from a dusty old book written by goat herders ha what a dolt!! :-D

Poodles said...

And on the 8th day Jesus said, "EAT ME" and they did and it was NASTY! MMMM Jesus tastes like bleach. :)

Carla said...

you people are freakin' hilarious. I love it! I wish I had half the witty humor you can all dish out.

Fiery said...

Hi Carla! Welcome to my blog! Humor is present in nearly every discussion! :D I'm glad you had a good chuckle!

Richard said...

TTEyes, "supernatural myths taken from a dusty old book written by goat herders", LOL.

Actually they were/are worse than just goat herders, they were shallow men who sought to boost their little egos by herding sheeple, even if it only meant treating their poor kids as those sheep.

Honest goat herders at least produce foot and leather!!

TTEyes, please allow me to qualify this one comment you made: "The ability of the brain to look at things logically is built in".

The ability to see Nature, as the senses provide it, is built in, but the ability to interpret it logically can only go so far. Thereupon, it requires introspection on what thinking procedures make the interpretations valid. Those procedures get increasingly complex in direct proportion to how abstract they become. They can be reinvented by each individual, or they can be learned from other individuals who have figured out certain steps.

Aristotle was one of the greatest of those individuals, but we have a tiny sprinkling of great minds among billions. That sprinkling includes, but is not limited to, Socrates, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Locke, Jefferson, Hutton, Darwin, Adam Smith, and most recently Ayn Rand.

On a percentage basis the number of such great minds is scarily minute. They are heroes (not idiots like Popes, Saints incl. 'Mother' Theresa, Mel Gibson, or even Superman--sorry comic fans:)

Reason, logic, proper concept formation, and their use just isn't "built in". It would be so easy if it was, and we wouldn't have some idiot fundy calling himself "actualstuff" arguing that:

NOTactualstuff IS actualstuff.

That contradiction, by the way, is a direct contradiction of Aristotle's most basic law, The Law of Identity, which says "A IS A".

Reg Golb said...

"1- accidental origin- you are an accident" Where is he wrong?

"and any love anyone has for you is also an accident."
So what is the alternative to this if your origin was accidental?

Two questions. Will I get an answer? (opps that is three)

Fiery said...

A reply to the creationist whinge about "accidental evolution."

Read me!

A group of replies to the creationist whinge that love comes only from god.

Read me too!

Thump Thump Eyes said...

***Those procedures get increasingly complex in direct proportion to how abstract they become. They can be reinvented by each individual, or they can be learned from other individuals who have figured out certain steps***

Thank you Richard, I didn’t think that through properly and you are right…interpreting and learning complex procedure’s requires teaching.

As you say, great thinkers have been sprinkled throughout our history; their knowledge is still with us and forms the basis of much thought today. Although you say those great minds of history are few and far between, in 2008 it appears to me that there are now many individuals on the planet who have acquired the ability to understand and teach such valuable knowledge (I would count you amongst them, and if it were possible I would come to your class everyday :) and as an 'old dog' I know I am capable of learning new tricks, it may be that many others feel the same way and are willing to try, just as you are willing to teach ;-D

Lots of thoughts, but no answers!

Reg Golb said...

"A reply to the creationist whinge about "accidental evolution." The original concept dealt with origin.

We are here and our origin must be one of the following

1. Something or someone made us (or made our precursor)

2. Life is an accident, a random occurance.

3. life made itself, before it existed.

Since your option can only be 2, the question still remains, How can someone love you except by chance? (example, they ran into you at Wasted Acres Mall and fell in love at first site.)

Fiery said...

Look everyone, the resident fundy has provided us with an excellent example of the logical fallacy- false alternative.

See how he gives us 3 choices, but none contain the right answer? Not only that, but he picks #2 for us, completely disregarding everything previously said about evolution and even love on this blog.

He also didn't read or comprehend the links I provided.

Poor deluded fundy.
Still wrong.

Reg Golb said...

I read it, even the author says the following

"It is my view that physical things are determinate - which means that if event A happens, result B will follow (although B may be a statistical distribution)."

He clearly states that it is his view. I really can't believe you are arguing this point. What word would you like instead of accident?

"There's no general reason why a certain mutation had to happen"

Again the author is reiterating the point made in #1. A mutation that is beneficial (a questionable proposition to begin with) has to be something, if not an accident Fiery, what word would you like instead?

Poodles said...

I think Reg might be right... not all mutations are beneficial...look at fundies.

Reg Golb said...

I recognize that as humor. But since you believe you evolved after the fundies, then what does that make you.

Fiery said...

that makes us a step forward

and that makes you,glob,a dinosaur.

Now do the world a favor and go extinct.

Poodles said...

Blog Hi-Five for Fiery!

Richard said...

To respond toReg, I have already given a detailed explanation of life's origins on this Earth -and it was to address arguments you made. As you can see from that alone, "accident" is not truly the right word. When conditions are right for a change to be advantageous, that change is retained at a molecular (usually genetically) level. Numerous accidents in the wrong conditions achieve nothing, and whatever change they instituted dies with the organism that has it.

The key to Natural Selection is the obvious preference for accidental changes that confer an advantage. This is not just an accident, it is a mechanism!. That mechanism selects benefits from random 'accidents'. To then say that all the benefits are just accidents is to denigrate and evade the significance of the mechanism.

As to 'love' as Reg raises the issue, please see my next comment.

Richard said...

This addresses the nature of love as Reg raised it, and an important, widely misunderstood, aspect of Evolution and Biology discussed in a blog post to which Fiery linked.

The author of the blog post appeals to a view known as Reductionism. In this view, all one needs to know is every detail of an organism's atomic structure and you can then know everything about it.
Although the author credits Aristotle with the approach it is actually from Plato (as Socrates).

The opposite of Reductionism is Holism: one must look at all aspects of the organism in order understand any one part.

Neither idea is incorrect, constituting --you guessed it-- a false alternative.

What both overlook is the amazing principle of Emergent Properties. First, an example:

Consider the evolution of the Bat. It's insectivore ancestors had hearing and a voice, and the two senses were coordinated by cellular structures in the brain.

As insects became increasingly nocturnal, to avoid avian predation, the bat ancestor that could operate after dark succeeded more than its daytime counterparts. In near darkness, accidentally flying into trees is something of an evolutionary disadvantage. The bats that could shout and hear their own echo hit fewer trees in the evening than those that did not. (This is not far fetched... some blind humans have the same ability. The video is well worth watching.)

It is not a great leap to see how bats that spot the odd insect by their echolocation clicks had an advantage over those that could not. Natural selection will favor those adaptations that enhance echolocation.

Bat echolocation is enormously refined, so they don't even get confused in a cave with thousands of other bats! Echolocation is an Emergent Property arising, by Natural Selection, from structures that already existed. [The same is true of the eye -which is often listed by creationists as a feature that could not possibly have evolved.]

My reason for introducing the bat example is to bring us to the greatest Emergent Property that evolution has achieved: the human mind. Not the brain, but the mind and its remarkable, concomitant feature called volition.

Dogs and other animals are capable of "choice" because when confronted with two or more options they have to pick. However, what they pick is not a matter of volition, but a matter of their basic genetic programming plus certain learned pleasures and fears. They cannot help but make the choices they make.

Human volition is another matter. We can choose to go against our pleasures and fears; we can ignore what is good for us, and do things that are bad for us. A moments introspection will reveal to you times when you have thought, "I know I should be doing A, but I'm going to ignore it and do X!" You have volition, period.

Reductionism might, in the extreme, be able to calculate the existence of volition. But that is a ridiculous way to discover it --if ever possible-- when introspection is available.

[There is reason to believe that the mind is more of a field, like an electrical or magnetic field, but based on some other, perhaps unknown natural force. The structure of the field also co-ordinates with the neurons that constitute our subconscious brain.]

So the source Fiery refers to misses the mark on two counts: first on its Reductionist premise, and second on its failure to grasp the nature of human volition.

This should also answer Reg's rather smarmy non-sequitur on the question of how one chooses a lover. That choice is, or should be, no accident. It is a volitional choice.

Now if you read the second link Fiery provided, and consider the role of volition as it ought to be applied, love becomes a really remarkable Emergent 'Property' from volition... except it is not a property/ Love is a judgment made possible by that property. Further, one's love cannot be chosen properly without thoughtful, volitional, highly abstract, decisions based on well-conceived, often automatized, value judgments.

True love, in the romantic sense, is therefore only possible to Man. Done right, it's no accident! Nor is Evolution.

Stardust said...

Atheism isn't a religion. It's a personal relationship with reality.

I love that one.

Richard said...

You know what, I like that one too.

"Atheism isn't a religion, it's a personal relationship with reality."

That describes the essential principle of that oft maligned philosophy (by those who never really examine it) and correctly named as "Objectivism", developed by Ayn Rand.

Hey, even a woman can be a genius. Who would'a thunk it?

Reg Golb said...

Too bad you don't REALLY know what will happen when you die. Atheism can't be a relationship with REALITY when no one know what REALLY happens upon death. I know it is REALLY annoying, but REALITY is a relationship. Atheism might be right (bwahahaha) or it might be wrong, you will know when you are wrong and you will never know if you are right. That is a REAL bummer; but that, my friends, is REALITY.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

As we can all see, reg has it all sewn're so boring. In reality I can hardly be bothered with you!

I read that statement...
"Atheism isn't a religion. It's a personal relationship with reality".
somewhere and it stayed with me. Since then I've also seen it as a bumper sticker - spreading the word :)

I looked at Ayn Rands Objectivism Richard, really amazing, and I'll add the four main points of her philosophy here......perhaps glob might smell food for thought, although in reality, I doubt it.

"My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

1.Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
2.Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
3.Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
4.The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."

Richard said...

Thanks for that TTEyes!!! I also forgot to thank you for your kind praise. That is much appreciated!

One thing, in the Objectivism summary that TTEyes provided, may need clarification: the meaning of "sacrifice".

Sacrifice is trading away a greater value to obtain a lesser value.

As an example, consider the woman who says she has made 'sacrifices' to raise her children. She misuses the term. Her children were her higher value, and she sacrificed nothing. Instead she chose the higher value, over the lesser value of fancier clothes or nights out at fancy clubs. She ought to be consciously aware of having done that, and be proud of herself for a good choice.

It is despicable to suggest to one's children that something of lesser value was more important than them, and to hold that out to them as an unearned guilt.

It is the religious and socialist/communist morality of altruism that leads one to think with such upside down logic. Only under altruism is sacrifice seen as a 'good' thing, AND a means to blackmail others to sacrifice values as well.

Wherever there is someone sacrificing, there is always someone there to collect!

What is the status of the collector? Isn't he the irrationally selfish person operating at the level of a fraud artist, seeking to obtained the unearned from whomever he can con? That has me thinking of the church donation tray, of community service requirements for graduation, of Bill Gates' new approach to 'investment', etc..

Richard said...

Reg, You DOknow what happens after death! It is everything you knew of before you were born --a big FAT nothing. You did not exist, and you will cease to exist.

It is this life that matters, and it is the only one you have. Be smart about it, and live as a Man, as a Man by choice, not as a sheep sacrificing itself mentally, emotionally and physically to the demands of a myth promoted by other men seeking power over your soul.

Each human is designed to think for himself, to live wisely and happily for his own sake and, in so doing, adopting the qualities of a Man:
* Rationality
* Productivity
* Independence
* Honesty
* Justice
* Integrity
* Pride

actualstuff said...

How sad.

You took something rhetorical I wrote in response to something you wrote and then presented it as if it was a literal position of mine.

The whole point of my rewrite of your original post was to simply get people to question that maybe, just maybe, their own positions could be applied in an abusive manner in the same way they accuse religious people of doing.

Instead, you represent my comment to your post in isolation of the original discussion. My whole point was that whole thing was ridiculous and you can just plug in any belief system and declare it abusive.

Another thing that speaks volumes about the level of intellectual integrity of many here is that anyone who expresses anything critical of atheism is called a "fundie" when they may have nothing to do with fundamentalist Christianity. It's just a pejorative that is used to dismiss someone. At least when bigots use racial epitaphs, the person their calling them is usually that race.

Fiery said...

It took you 9 months to come up with that particularly uninspiring response?

A fundie- a christian browsing atheist blogs to drop their little shit bombs of idiocy without bothering to defend them on a meaningful level.

If you don't want to get hit with bigotry, stop visiting atheist blogs. Nobody asked you. Nobody is forcing you. Many of us, tired of you and your kind's idiotic beliefs, take great delight in ridiculing fundies. If your words prove you a fundy, then by god, you are a fundy. If you don't care for the label, then stop acting like one.

You are here of your own volition or at your god's bidding. Either way .... make like a tree and leaf. Or make like sheep and flock off.

Or if that isn't obvious enough for you... try this one on for size. Feel free to fuck off permanently by making use of the little red x in the upper right corner of your browser and deleting me from your "favorites".

If you've got something halfways intelligent to say, please feel free to comment again. It would be a refreshing alternative to the typical fundy fare served up here. Christ, Butt Nugget was more interesting than you.

Richard said...

"At least when bigots use racial epitaphs, the person their calling them is usually that race."

Is that fractured English what you call "speaking in tongues"?

What the freakin butt fuck of a ewe is a "racial epitaph"?

Is this it:

"Here lies a Nigger,
All black in his life
They made his hole bigger,
And laid in his wife."