Friday, May 9, 2008

Homeschool is to atheism as Duggar is to clown car

Michelle "Clown-Car" Duggar had her 17th baby last August. Within 30 minutes she was talking about her eagerness to have another. *gag* And bibidy-BobDidMe-boo she's preggers with number 18. *sigh*

It's interesting to me that the homeschooling issue gets brought up in nearly every single article about the Duggars. Doesn't mention if they are vegan or if they only wear 100% natural fibre clothing or any other potentially unusual practices. But the homeschooling gets a nod each time.

Why?

Because most people not only don't homeschool but don't know anyone who does.

Homeschooling is much like atheism. Knowing a person who homeschools doesn't tell you a damn thing about any other homeschooler.

"I'm an atheist." Oh. You must be like Hitler. You are a moral relativist. What stops you from slitting your neighbors throat? Nup. Being an atheist means I don't believe in god. "Atheist" doesn't tell you anything else about me.

How many of us have heard that load of bollocks tossed our way?

"I'm a homeschooler." Oh. You must be like the Duggars and have a million kids, isolate them socially, and indoctrinate them with your own beliefs. Nup. I am in charge of my child's education. "Homeschooler" doesn't tell you anything else about me.

Attaching the label "homeschooler" to somebody doesn't tell you a thing about their beliefs about education, socialization, morality, or spirituality.

It is very tempting to want to say "there ought to be a law". But that phrase should raise an immediate red flag in your mind. You don't really want the government looking after you. Please tell me that you don't! You really don't want the government being your parent and making sure that you eat healthy, that you take the right vitamins, that you exercise every day, that you read the appropriate books, that you think the appropriate thoughts.

Voltaire is attributed with having said, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ The phrase itself deserves a close look. Freedoms should not be eliminated on the off chance that you won't like what someone does with theirs.

Another thing to keep in mind, even if you get the laws passed that you want preventing the behavior you object to, what happens when the law turns on you and now the behavior you have chosen is outlawed to "protect" you. Will you back that law as staunchly as the one removing freedom you disapproved of from another?

Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

~~~~~~~~~~
This is a comment I put up at Gods4Suckers.com where a post about the Duggar Quiverfulls got on a bit of a tangent about homeschooling.

48 comments:

Xavier Onassis said...

I shared my thoughts about the Duggars and Quiverfulls when they had their 17th demon spawn last year.

http://hipsubwg.blogspot.com/2007/08/more-fundie-christian-insanity.html#links

Fuckin' freaks!

Xavier Onassis said...

Doh! Forgot to click to email me follow-up comments! My bad!

Fiery said...

BWAHAHAA I hate when that happens!!!!

I checked out your post & comments, you were even blessed with a visit from John the fundy fuckstick who's made it his personal mission to defend the Quiverfulls.

"clean up your language". GET FUCKED JOHN!!!!! XO is a particular master of humurous cussin'.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

OMFG they are now expecting their 18th child...are they nuts...oh yes they're baptists' or wtf is this quiverfull crap...oh! mommy is a baby making machine... that explains it...wonder if they've ever thought of the worlds overpopulation problems :)

XO freaks is right...read your old post, totally hilarious, your....
"I'd sooner scoop both my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon and eat them for breakfast"
nearly made me spit my breakfast out over the keyboard...:-D

Traceytreasure said...

Hi Fiery! When I heard this on the news tonight I thought for sure that they were of the Mormon faith. My bad. I homeschool my kids do you think I should have 14 more to catch up to them? I'm only 41!! LOL!! Do me a favor and check out this site:
http://school-is-hell.blogspot.com/
I have found his information to be very interesting! Let me know what you think, if you have time! Thanks and have a great weekend! Oh, and a Happy Mother's Day too!

Stardust said...

They just keep plopping out babies because they believe it’s the Lawd’s will, but what about this “free will” and personal choices that Xians say they have? To me, this is highly irresponsible, and selfish. Why not adopt some of those children out there who need homes if you have so much desire to have children? Why does not their God call them to take in the needy and homeless children of our country instead of mindlessly plopping out more and more of their own?

Maybe it’s not so mindless. Maybe they are doing it for money and publicity? This comment might explain it all:

Duggar has been been pregnant for more than 11 years of her life, and the family is in the process of filming another series for Discovery Health.

I wonder how much they get paid for that?

As for homeschooling, nice rant at GifS...some needed to read that, and I'm not talking about Eve. Eve doesn't like how homeschooling is used by fundies for brainwashing purposes and secluding their children from the outside influence of the real world. You can raise your kids in the world and still teach them to have values. They won't learn unless they experience things.

The problem I have with fundie homeschoolers like the Duggars is that they put the Babble into EVERYTHING. They probably even have Bibles in the bathrooms to read while they are taking a dump. They base everything on their mythology book, do not allow their children free exploration and that is supposed to be what homeschooling is supposed to be about. To escape the constraints of being forced to memorize, regurgitate and to be told there is only one way of doing something.

Fiery made some excellent points about the stereotyping of homeschoolers made by those who don’t know about or understand homeschooling. This is something that my family had to deal with all the time. Our kids had to always defend it…no, we aren’t fundies, no we don’t have a dozen brothers and sisters, yes we get enough socialization outside the home, no we aren’t sheltered…etc. Atheists and others who homeschool for non-relgious reasons are always having to defend it against stereotyping that we are some kind of freaks.

The Duggars ARE insane, and using homeschooling as indoctrination, and almost seems like they are trying to create their own little compound…a little “village” and that is REALLY WEIRD and totally fucked up.

Fiery said...

My comment was not appreciated over at Gods4Suckers. Which is why I rarely, this being an unfortunate exception to the rule, post on alien blogs.

Apparently I offended one, Eve, who read my comment as assuming she was bashing homeschooling.

And RainDogZilla who replied
Incidentally, my comment had less to do with homeschooling pro or con and more to do with exterminating the colony.

Still, I’ve yet to meet a homeschooled kid- fundie or otherwise, who wasn’t socially awkward and just a bit precious for my taste. Regardless of the shortcomings of our public school systems, removing kids from them will be the deathknell for them. And experiencing the wins and losses, the bumps and bruises- both physical and emotional, of the elementary and secondary is essential for a healthy adulthood.
Just sayin....

Fiery said...

My self-censored reply to him is as follows....

Raindogzilla,

"Exterminating the colony"??? Thank you for making my point for me and for showing me how I am guilty of doing exactly what I was writing about.

I assumed that you were an atheist. Not just an atheist, but my idealized version of an atheist as well: someone who approaches the world rationally, who uses reason and intelligence to view a situation, someone who will not let an emotional response cloud an issue, who will examine scientific evidence and not rely on the anecdotal.

But like I wrote, knowing if someone is an atheist doesn't tell you anything else about them other than that they don't believe in a supreme being.

I've talked with fundies about their beliefs and the evil nature of god and ended up with this mental image of a person skipping around the room with their fingers firmly wedged in their ears sing-songing, "La! La! La! I can't hear you! I believe what I want to believe. Nothing you can say will make me change my mind! La, La, La-la, La!" I'd never thought to encounter that in an atheist.

I see your homeschooled child who is "socially awkward and just a bit precious for my taste" and raise you a slutty looking teenager peer pressured into teen sex, drug use and socialized into being a sheep ready to accept limits on their freedoms because it will keep them "safe". But maybe that is more to your taste. To each his own.

To each his own...And what a lovely thought! :) My kids, my responsibility.

Poodles said...

My favorite comment I ever read about the Duggars, I can't remember what blog I read it on, or who posted it but they said, "isn't that like throwing a hotdog down a hallway?"

BWAHAHAHA!

Stardust said...

This Duggar story reminds me of an exchange you will probably remember between Groucho and one of his contestants on “You Bet Your Life”

Groucho: “Why do you have so many children? That’s a big responsibility and a big burden.”

Contestant: “Well because I love my children and I think that’s our purpose here on Earth, and I love my husband.”

Groucho: ” I love cigars too, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile.”

Stardust said...

Fiery, your comment was appreciated by most over at GifS. I know I did. People need to be informed. I am surprised that supposedly "open-minded" atheists are so against homeschooling. And this is the same one who is so against corporate America and big business...and yet don't realize that public school was formed to produce good, obedient little workers in the industrial age.
They are against big corporations, but think that big corporate-like public school institutions are producers of some magic kind of genius. I don't get it.

Richard said...

1) A great many atheists are Leftists: socialists/communists.
2) The modern public curriculum is designed, by and large, by Left thinking academics in Universities.

It is therefore reasonable to expect atheists to see the public system to be appropriate for children.

Keep in mind, however, that Jesus, St. Augustine and most of the popes across history also accepted various socialist principles. E.g. "I am my brother's keeper" is a flat out Leftist view. This is why the Dems are comfortable appealing to the religious right, and why the GOP tend to outspend the Dems in altruistic programs to benefit and protect the poor, not from violence and fraud, but from having to produce their own lives. Both parties do it at the expense of those who do produce their own lives.

TraceyTreasure: most of the negative comments (by Ned Vares) at that site about public education are bang on. However, it is not enough to 'diss' systems and ideas, one also has to offer a proper alternative.

Unschooling has some merit, but only the brightest of children can develop that way and compete with bright children who have largely survived the Public system.

Unschooling is unprincipled, and more comparable to whole language reading than to phonetics. Children need homeschooling that uses the phonetics approach to ideas: that is, they need guidance and training, following a certain principled structure that enhances their ability to see how knowledge itself is structured. In the process of grasping the structure of knowledge, they learn to integrate new ideas with all their other knowledge, and to add the new into the legitimate old in a sensible and non-contradictory fashion. On occasion they may find that such integration cannot be achieved and choose to figure out why. They begin to think for themselves.

Homeschooling is rather like atheism. It is simply learning at home, just as atheism is simply not believing in any God. Homeschooling sets no particular curriculum, and atheism sets no particular morality.

Homeschoolers and atheists can have a tremendous range of ideas, morals, practices, etc. that may or may not be rational.

One of the best schooling approaches, if not thee best approach, is the Montessori system. Its greatest power lies in showing children that the ideas they are learning are genuinely a part of the Natural World, and are not a matter of indoctrination &/or authority.

Joyce said...

I was attracted to this site due to the word atheism. Though I am not one I was curious as to what I would find. I found it very interesting while wanting to be excepted for one's ideas and thoughts others lifestyles were easily dismissed as weird and not right, because they do not go with the thoughts of others, or our own. I tell my children all the time we are all weird in some way, think about it. Is there not something about you that another person would view as weird, I know for me this holds true. I already know I'm considered weird here due to my belief in God. I find it interesting how as humans we all have thoughts of how life should be lived, the only thing is it is how our lives should be lived and not others. I don't think we should push our ideas on to others just as much as we don't want others to do this to us. However we do live in a sin fallen world and we are so quick to judge. I wonder how many will view this post as an attack instead of a simple observation of life.

Joyce said...

Though I am not an atheist I was curious as to what I would find here. I was interested in the fact that while individuals want to be able to live life they way they want to we seem to be judgmental of those who are different from ourselves. When others do not live they we do they are thought to be weird, are we all not weird then. Am I not weird because I believe in God? If we came together on things we have in common rather then separate ourselves due to our differences would the world not be a better place? I'm also curious to see how many will view this as an attack rather then just a simple human observation.

Joyce said...

Sorry about the double post it seemed to me the first one did not take.

Peace <><

Richard said...

You speak of people wanting to be accepted by others. What of those who simply want to be free to form their own liaisons, without the coercive interference of others?

America was built on that principle of freedom. It's Founders original recognition was that to live successfully and happily Men had to understand and act according to their (biologically, not God-given) inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and Property in the Pursuit (not a guarantee) of Happiness.

Yet look at all the invasive laws, maintained by the force of police, to which Americans are subject. Keeping in mind that governments are composed only of other men, American politicians treat citizens as peons to be taxed, for the redistribution of wealth, to 'guide' in every endeavor from stock exchanges and t-shirt importing to housing and land use. Any who resist wind up in court.

All is justified by the usual two part canard of helping the poor or of being good for the nation. Yet every such interference harms all citizens! The voters just don't get it, largely because of their religious or socialist beliefs, both of which were political anathema to the Founders.

So while you are right about people being "weird", many of those weird people argue for changes that are undeniably harmful to someone's Rights. So the religious oppose homosexual marriage and seek to use tax money to 'improve' the morals of society. The Leftists use poverty as a political tool to obtain power over citizens. They (& many religionists) use tax money to help the indigent ... and the more indigent the more they feel justified!

Appeals to the needs of children and the disabled serve as Mom & Apple Pie arguments that are hard to oppose publicly, even though those same programs over the long term harm those children and disabled more and more, and add to the the total number of indigents.

"Weirdness" is a non-essential matter in all this. What matters is whether the person(s) is pro-life, by being pro-reality, pro-reason, pro-individual —rather than seeing him as subordinate to a Sky-Daddy or some Collective (city, state, nation, race, gender etc). Such matters are more than just "weirdness", they are harmful.

It is the very different ideas by which different people see life and society that bring them to clamor for very different governments, and patterns of socio-economic interaction.

Those who believe that souls and spirits are supernatural, or that humans are under the control of a Sky-Daddy, are going to oppose abortion because the fetus is seen as something greater to which the mother should subordinate herself. She is forced into a 20 year project that will severely curtail her liberty, her ability to obtain property needed for living, and of course her happiness! How obscenely un-American.

The Leftists, who replace God with the Collective, will not be concerned about abortion, but will be outraged to think that some humans are benefiting more, materially, than their neighbors. They feel justified in rectifying such matters by robbing Peter to pay Paul. How obscenely un-American!

I must add that Environmentalists are a mix of the two, placing rocks, weeds, and insects above humans, partly on the grounds of some quasi-religious Gaia view and partly on bogus claims of today's humans sacrificing for the supposedly un-inventive Collective that consists of generations to follow... obscenely un-American.

When push comes to shove, all three groups will have members willing to push through coercive legislation against citizens who disagree, or be physically violent towards opponents. This I am sure you well know from history and today's news.

Objective (American style) atheist capitalists understand you when you say, "I don't think we should push our ideas on to others just as much as we don't want others to do this to us." It is quite another matter to get the three major groups to legislatively leave everyone else alone!

Whether you believe in a Sky-Daddy or not, it is in your best interest to live in a society that recognizes everyone's Rights fully and completely.

The atheists at this blog, in large part, recognize that those who advocate for the influence of religion, collectivism or environmentalism, through laws or interfering with our private lives, do not fit with the ideal you describe. They must be universally ignored (but they still get to vote). If they wish to debate rationally then they are welcome, but cannot expect to be free of ridicule when they prove themselves irrational! There is a personal value for freedom minded individuals to drive those groups towards doubting themselves, while welcoming those who are willing to think things through, honestly.

Honesty entails recognizing that unreal things really are unreal, and must be abandoned. Ideas matter!

Richard said...

Joyce, as you may have seen by now, we can be quite irreverent. It took me a while to get in stride with it. Just watch out for that Poodles! She is a sly one.

Protium said...

Though I am not an atheist I was curious as to what I would find here.
I'm curious as to what you've constructed in your mind that you could've found here!

I was interested in the fact that while individuals want to be able to live life they way they want to we seem to be judgmental of those who are different from ourselves.

You may be judgmental but don't assume we are. We don't have an imaginary skyweiner to live up to and impress and tell us how to live and think.

When others do not live they we do they are thought to be weird, are we all not weird then. Am I not weird because I believe in God?

No.. Your deluded, irrational and predictable because you were indoctrinated to believe in a fantasy... certainly not weird in my book.

If we came together on things we have in common rather then separate ourselves due to our differences would the world not be a better place?
Yes it would... so when will you start?

I'm also curious to see how many will view this as an attack rather then just a simple human observation.

An observation by a simple human doesn't seem like an attack to me. I hope you hang around... you seem a nice person and thanks for not spilling bible crap... that can be so annoying.

Protium said...

I found it very interesting while wanting to be excepted for one's ideas and thoughts others lifestyles were easily dismissed as weird and not right, because they do not go with the thoughts of others, or our own.

I don't really understand this sentence. Your saying you wanted to be "excluded" for your ideas and thoughts?...[Excepted: To leave out; exclude]... and how does "lifestyle" end up in there? and if this dismissive thought of "weird and not right" is not yours OR others... then who's is it... skyweiners?


I tell my children all the time we are all weird in some way, think about it. Is there not something about you that another person would view as weird, I know for me this holds true.

I hope your children get over this when they get older.


I already know I'm considered weird here due to my belief in God.

Which god? Mithra, Allah, Zeus, Vishnu... If not one of them... why?


I find it interesting how as humans we all have thoughts of how life should be lived, the only thing is it is how our lives should be lived and not others. I don't think we should push our ideas on to others just as much as we don't want others to do this to us. However we do live in a sin fallen world and we are so quick to judge.

Whoops.. silly you... I think you just pushed your idea of a sin fallen world onto us.



I wonder how many will view this post as an attack instead of a simple observation of life.

Reasons greetings Joyce

Thump Thump Eyes said...

"There is a personal value for freedom minded individuals to drive those groups towards doubting themselves, while welcoming those who are willing to think things through, honestly."

That hits the nail right on the head for me...I totally agree...and thank you once again Richard for your amazing ability to argue your case so honestly and succinctly, and to get right to the heart of the matter. I've learnt a lot of clear thinking skills from reading your posts :)

Hey there Joyce, it seems a little daring for a religious believer to hone in on an atheist blog, I was wondering what you were actually looking for?

And when you said...

"However we do live in a sin fallen world and we are so quick to judge"

I thought that was a little presumtuous...and a little wierd saying 'sin fallen world', given that its public knowledge we dont believe any of those wierd ideas...er...atheists are here remember...just sayin :)

Of course you wont really be able to back up your ideas here with those beliefs and think that we'll just accept that as 'gospel', we wont!

There's a big difference, a vast chasm actually, between the way you look at the world, and the way we do....whether we can find common ground is debatable if our worldview's differ.

If past discussions with faith believers is anything to go by, a common ground was never found, especially with the newly departed Reg Globlet. His total faith in religious beliefs defied all logic and filled his every words, I cringe when I see you say 'sin fallen world' because you seem to totally believe that...and I dont!

You might want to take a leaf out of Richard's book, and try and think things through, honestly.

Joyce said...

I'm curious as to what you've constructed in your mind that you could've found here!

There was nothing in mind of what I would find here except thoughts and opinions that differ from my own, as a human I became curious. I already knew there would be individuals who did not agree with my thoughts. My curiosity lies with what are the beliefs of an atheist outside of not believing in God.

Question I have would include, how did we get here?, what happens after death?, what is our purpose? How do atheists answer these questions?

I'm always interested in the way others think. That's what I came to see.

Peace <><

Xavier Onassis said...

Hi Joyce - "Question I have would include, how did we get here?, what happens after death?, what is our purpose? How do atheists answer these questions?"

One at a time...

"...how did we get here?"
Naturally, over billions of years and without any sort of supernatural intervention. A more important and meaningful question is "Now that we're here, what are we gonna do?"

"What happens after death?" Nothing. At least nothing that the individual would be aware of. You simply cease to exist. Which means that the only thing that matters is what you do while you are here and how you do it.

"What is our purpose?"
We have no purpose other than whatever purpose we choose to have. We are not here for "a reason" and there is no divine plan for our lives. We are simply here, for a very short period of time, and we have to choose for ourselves how best to spend that time. Because when it's over, it's over.

That's what this athiest thinks.

I can't speak for others.

Joyce said...

Naturally, over billions of years and without any sort of supernatural intervention.

I want to understand more, how over billions of years. The human body is a very complex system, how did this just happen?

We have no purpose other than whatever purpose we choose to have.

Curious to know what purpose you have chosen for your life?

Joyce said...

Richard please know I have acknowledged your post and want to respond, I find you very interesting. However being Saturday it is a busy day here, and I have a lot to say.

Peace, <><

Richard said...

"sin fallen world"

That is so tremendously disgusting, my gut involuntarily tightens every time I see it.

"Sin fallen world" speaks of the World, the whole damned World. Consider:

"Sin fallen world" is not a reference to the fact that there are a number of bad people among the world's population. It is not even suggesting all humans are bad. It is not even speaking of World in the sense of planet Earth, nor is it speaking of the Human realm in which we live (think "a child's world", or "the world as we know it").

"Sin fallen world" rejects the entire Universe, because the Universe is not an imaginary Heaven! I kid you not. It ties, precisely, to how the Judeo-Christian-Islamic axis arose...

Before Plato, as men became more mobile and communicative, tribal mythologies (a.k.a. religions —including some from India) were coalescing.

Plato, trying to understand how men form ideas about things, was truly stumped as to how we are able to recognize a horse, when horses come in all sorts of sizes and colors. How do we recognize the 'horse-ness' in horses, or the 'rose-ness' in roses? (In philosophy this is known as "The Problem of Universals")

Taking a page from tribal mythologies, with their mystical 'realms', he concluded that there must be a "World of Essences" where the perfect horse and perfect rose existed: as the "essence" of horse or of rose .

What does that mean for us humans?

Well the perfect human is there too —God— of whom we are but poor copies (the Bible says we were made in God's image!). Of course our souls are there too, perhaps produced from God (like little yeast cells budding off a big fat yeast cell). Of course this means souls are very important. It also means our souls already know the perfect horse and the perfect rose!

When a soul gets to Earth (the soul's testing ground), it sees an imperfect 'World'. However, by finding the closest match between the imperfect things and their perfect archetype in The World of Essences, the soul can understand this World. It is able to see a horse, when the eyes of the body it is in see the things that resemble the 'actual' World-of-Essences horse.

It follows that everything in this Universe is a poor, fuzzy copy of the really 'Real' things in the World of Essences. This World of Essences is, at root, the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Heaven.

If 'Heaven' is the place where all the real things are, the place that really matters, then this World is trashy, "sin fallen", imperfect!. It means that during the time our souls are not in Heaven, they are in this Earthly "Vale of Tears". Worse, they are trapped in filthy, earthly bodies. Bodies need other disgusting imperfect things, like sex, and food and other, material, earthly pleasures, in all their improper and variable forms.

(Footnote: Consider how this ties into money being seen as the root of evil, and businessmen being seen as base and immoral)

The body, and this Earth, are of little concern when Heaven is where our souls ought to be. This of course gives religious license
* to the tortures of the Inquisition.
* To the mass killings of the Crusades.
* To the religious asceticism that demands that the greatest bodily pleasures be withdrawn from 'this' life, because our bodies are merely temporary vessels for 'something greater', 'something higher'.
* To the notion that material progress, in things like mechanical looms and airplanes, or blood transfusions are sinful (think Mennonites and Jehovah's Witnesses).
* To the belief that the more we sacrifice in our material lives, to make other (yeast-bud) souls happy, the more in keeping we are with God (the top yeast cell)and the happier we should be.
(Yes, yeast cells contribute to rot, actually and figuratively...)

The socio-political ramifications of all this nonsense held mankind back, from progress and happiness, for 1500 years. Then, with the Enlightenment and its subordination of religious practice to reason, the lives of ordinary men began to improve. But now religion is again on the rise (socialism having proven its intellectual bankruptcy). What is needed now is for the intellectual bankruptcy of religion to become more widely known.

The real "sin fallen" are those who believe in the fatuous nonsense that is Heaven and God and who guide their lives on that basis, however partially. Fundamentally, theirs is a choice to reject their existence 'here' in the only really real Reality. The truth of this is more clearly exposed by the radical Islamists, who proudly state that they want to die for their religion, whereas Westerners want to live.

The real "sin", behind every sin a man can possibly commit, is to choose the irrational over the rational, to choose faith over reason.

Fiery said...

Joyce, I find myself wondering if you are indeed genuine in your question "I want to understand more, how over billions of years. The human body is a very complex system, how did this just happen?"

There is so much quality scientific information out there: on the web, in the library, in bookstores, in museums that I am curious why you are posing that question here?

Do you really want to know about evolution? There are people here who love to answer questions about it. Richard is a biologist by profession and a retired science teacher by trade. XO is a science nerd, though whether it is his profession I do not know, but I don't think so. Dear Protes loves all things technological. Johnny is a physics buff and loves to wax rhapsodic about the marvels of evolution. Not to say the rest of us are dills, these are just the ones who speak the loudest in discussions of the scientific nature.

Richard said...

As has been said many times on this blog, atheism is solely a belief that their is no God. It provides NO philosophy of life or morality, in any way.

There are all kinds of atheist views concerning the nature of the Universe (metaphysics), the nature and means of acquiring knowledge (epistemology), the proper standard for human actions (ethics) and interactions (politics). {The fifth branch of philosophy is aesthetics, which relates to the first two branches, but does not apply here)

Whatever some atheists may argue, living without a God does not mean a man can successfully *live* by willy nilly actions: destroying things or jumping of cliffs on the hope that he will be the first one to actually fly!

Animals live by characteristics such as fangs, four long legs, thick skins etc. that are given to them by their genetic background. Man lacks such robust tools, but his genes have given him something much more powerful: his mind. It enables him to overcome the threats and dangers found in the rest of nature, if he uses it.

However, Man has to figure out how a 'man' should live, as a Man (note the capitalization). The proper result will necessarily include certain principles applicable to the biological man and to the conceptually active Man... and hence the need for Philosophy (which was Plato's most sensible and important recognition

Many atheists do not think this way, or at least not very thoroughly or effectively. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are glaring examples.

XO wrote: "we have to choose for ourselves how best to spend that time."

This is exactly right, and the keyword in his statement is "best". Some atheists still accept the Christian notion that man is a collective under God, but replace God with "The People" as their Higher Power. They still keep the religious morality of altruism, so they expect everyone to sacrifice for the collective. Thus we have Communist atheists. The political ones still seek to legislate others into their morality, and many imprison and/or kill those they disagree with, just like the religious ones.

Other atheists figure there is no particular morality, and live on the principle "it's him or me, so I'll make sure its me".

Some live in angst at the purposelessness of human life... they are Existentialists.

Such Atheists are the most common. They supply the flawed arguments used by the religious polemicists and evangelicals. They are why atheists are the most disliked group in America (more than blacks, or Jews). They make the morality of religious belief look pretty good! Their way of non-thinking is precisely why so many Americans are now turning back to the non-thinking of religion.

There is a "best" way to be happy with your existence and to do everything you can to make it happy. However, achieving that means using the brain nature gave you for the purpose it was meant: recognizing reality for what it is, without muddling it up with the unreal. In so doing a rational morality that enables you to look after yourself can be determined.

That means a lot of things, some of which includes understanding that other people are a value, and that some are a greater value (spouse, your children) than others. It means recognizing that certain actions are harmful: not just jumping off cliffs, but driving drunk, using heroin, stealing, lying and so on.

As an example: the thief establishes a social standard that invites others to steal from him! Stealing also means the thief is unable or unwilling to live by his own mind, and that he accepts the notion of living at the expense of someone else's mind. The thief chooses to be a parasite who cannot live on his own. Stealing can hardly make him proud or happy!

By such reasoning —and that is the briefest example— one can develop a proper, rational moral system that is applicable, in its broad principles, to all men. Then one can apply that system to one's own life... as a rational individualist or, more properly, as a "rational egoist". A portion of this morality was crudely but usefully devised by the Founders of America.

(Note, do not confuse egoism with "egotism".)

There is a lot more to this, but it has been said by much better philosophical minds than mine. I have learned from them as much as I can, and made those ideas my own as best I can, by conscientious choice. I am not a philosopher, so you would do much better to turn to them. The reward is discovering that you have your own life to live, and the great joy of knowing that your mind is the single, greatest power that you need concern yourself with. Enjoy the Power of Reason, with yourself as its highest value!

Always check your premises.

Richard said...

Further to Fiery's remark, the way man has arisen naturally, has been detailed quite thoroughly elsewhere on this site. It would be nice if the Google Search Widget was installed here, such that we could find comments on certain topics and link to them (nudge, nudge...Fiery?)

Can you do it before you go away?? Just kidding, :-p I have not yet read your "3 days packing" post.

Joyce said...

Hey Thump Thump Eyes

whether we can find common ground is debatable if our world view's differ.

We already have common ground, we are human, existing on the planet earth, we seek happiness, freedom of choice, and I'm sure there is more.

Hey there Joyce, it seems a little daring for a religious believer to hone in on an atheist blog,

I don't understand why me being here is daring. Like many people I am simply carious about what you do or do not believe.

Peace

His total faith in religious beliefs defied all logic and filled his every words,

Religious beliefs, I have none and do not like religion which is man made.

Fiery said...

Religious beliefs, I have none Then you are an atheist.

and do not like religion which is man made.

All religion is man made.

Do elucidate though. :)

Traceytreasure said...

Thanks for your answer on the School Is Hell blog. I saw your answers today. Thank you for taking the time to check it out and reply!! Shouldn't you be packing? Be safe, my friend!! Hugs!!

Traceytreasure said...

Sorry, Fiery! I have to thank Richard! Thank you Richard! There's a books worth of comments here and I was confused. As usual! Thank you both!

Protium said...

Huh?

Am I not weird because I believe in God?

Religious beliefs, I have none.

I'll put the kettle on... I smell fruitcake

Joyce said...

Fiery,
I'm not an atheist, I just don't believe in religion. There is a difference between someone who is a follower and those who sucumb to religion. If you take a look at the different religions they believe different things having only two to three things in common. If there are any history buffs here during the Reformation time period individuals were moving away from the Catholic religion to the Lutheran. Other religions stemmed off from them and others, Richard had touched a little on this. There are differences in what each domination believes, therefore I they the thoughts and opinions of man. I don't follow man. I hope I have made this clear, it's hard not to use certain words to clarify what I'm trying to say. I respect the fact that I am a guest here, and I'm doing my best not to offend, for that is not my intention.

Peace <><

Thump Thump Eyes said...

"I want to understand more, how over billions of years. The human body is a very complex system, how did this just happen?"

Joyce...try and think about how long billions of years are...and then think about all the changes that must have occured during that enormous amount of time...then try and think rationally about what that means...and you may realise that your statement "how did this just happen" is so lacking in rational thought that you should start to think about looking into some lessons in rational thinking...

You say you're not an atheist, but you dont believe in religion that is man made...what other type is there? Please explain if you can.

Common ground..being human...if you think about it properly we need more than just being human to have a common ground. You may think thats enough, but I dont. I want to know what the basis of your beliefs are so I can work out where you position yourself as a human. Only then will I know whether, according to my non-belief in all things supernatural, and my total belief in rational thinking, we have any common ground.

doofus said...

Joyce:

I find it interesting that you "don't believe in religion" and you "don't follow man" and yet your profile has as a favorite both the "bible" and "the passion". Plus, you are "director of vacation Bible school at church"

What non-religious, non-man church do you belong to? Mel Gibson's? And what do they teach at your non-religious bible school?

Or is this a hypocritical situation i have stumbled across?

I am very confused.

Richard said...

"I'm not an atheist, I just don't believe in religion. There is a difference between someone who is a follower and those who sucumb to religion."

Joyce is trying, I think, to separate herself from organized religion, even as she works within it. That is not uncommon, but it is rather twisted.

The bottom line is that, nice as she may be, she is a Mystic ——a believer in the supernatural, or supernatural higher powers... particularly in the Platonic style I discuss in my comment about this "sin fallen world".

Some atheists dismiss God but accept that ghosts and other supernatural forces exist. Wiccans may or may not fall into that category. These atheists, and theists, all fit under the broader term "Mysticism".

Joyce, at this blog, most anything mystical or supernatural is seen as demonstrably absurd, and is implicitly lumped under the term 'religion', because believers all share the same intellectually dishonest, imaginary presumption that supernatural 'somethings' exist part from, and are superior to, the universe. "Apart from" may refer to another 'realm' or mean operating independently of natural laws. "Mysticism" is less common a term, so "religion" tends to be used in its place.

It is absurd for humans to think on, to discuss details of, to develop moral systems from (such as altruism), and then to act on, the particulars of such arbitrary and groundless claims. Of course, religion is a whopping industry, and has been so for centuries.

Reason has never been widely understood, and is NOT taught in our educational institutions. The cultural ramification of this is widespread irrationalism, and it is getting worse, as shown by the rise of religion and of crime.

Richard said...

Joyce,
thanks to the handy convenience of Fiery's Google Search widget, you can now read a description of the earliest, godless, developments towards Life on Earth here.
The explanation begins at "During the first billion years or..."

Joyce said...

Richard,
You have been a big help in helping me to understand what you believe better. Though it is hard for me to believe what you all believe due to personal experiences, I do respect your views, and appreciate the same for mine. I did not stop by here to seek debate, criticize, or try to push my beliefs on anyone, but to find out what an atheist really is.

It also seems to me that just like religion there are different types of atheists. Just like what is believed to be a true Christian there are obviously requirements as to what a true atheist is, thanks to Richard I understand this better.

Richard pretty much understood what I meant by I hate religion. I see now that those here have a different view on what religion is, it is very interesting and when thought about I can see how this is perceived to be true. I guess what I would have to say then is that I will not call myself a Baptist, Lutheran, etc.

Doofus,
I never said I did not attend a non-religion church only that I hate religion. I don't expect you to understand any more then I can understand some of what an atheist believes or doesn't believe. Oh and thanks for the laugh, Mel Gibson's church that was good. :) I think first in order to understand the way someone believes you have to want to.

There was mention by Thump Thump Eyes that I need a course in rational thinking, from this individuals perspective this appears to be the truth.

Richard speaks frequently of freedom and that is what we all have especially in what we think and believe. What is rational for one person may not be for the other, is this not what makes us all individuals and unique as people?

I would like to address one other comment made by Protium. With all the rational thinking going on here how can you say we are not judgmental? When we have the tiniest bit of knowledge about an individual do we not start to form opinions about them? Fiery made multiple comments on the original post showing how people are judgmental. It was mentioned in regards to homeschoolers along with atheist how people form opinions, is this not judging?

Webster’s Dictionary defines opinion as follows.

Opinion: a belief not based on absolute certainty or or positive knowledge but on what seems true, valid, or probable to one's own mind: judgment.

Therefore I stand my ground that as humans we all are judgmental.

I want to also thank Xavier for helping me to better understand how atheists think and what they believe.

Comments made to me doing research which I love, it is not the same as talking to individuals who are living it.

Comments not addressed here were either over looked or not important enough for me to respond to.

If you would please put up with me a little longer I will be on my way. I have two questions I’m curious about.

1. What is the biggest thing about Christians that bothers you?

2. Have you at any time and point in your life had anything to do with religion? If yes I would like you to share if you don’t mind.


Thank you Fiery for your hospitality you have been a gracious hostess.

Peace, <><

Richard said...

Joyce, you wrote:
"What is rational for one person may not be for the other, is this not what makes us all individuals and unique as people?

(Sorry no time to proof read this.)

Joyce, that is a profoundly wrong headed, though widely popular view, largely derived from the writings of some pretty significant philosophers.

The problem is that people do experience different contexts through their lives. This leads them to draw different conclusions on the same issue. The honest mind explores the issue more fully, 1) being careful to separate is preconceptions (prior contexts) from the context at hand, and 2) by considering the broader more timeless nature of the principle(s) under which the present issue applies. These are very important conditions of rational thinking. When two minds carefully work through contextual differences, guided by timeless principles they can come to agreement, and gain the benefit both from learning something new.

When two men disagree (and one is right), the one who is wrong has the most to gain. If both are wrong, there is a better chance of both gaining!

I mentioned preconceptions: preconceptions arise from ideas that have been subconsciously assimilated, along with the emotions that came with them. Emotions pop out automatically, when those preconceptions are touched on in day to day experience. If one's preconceptions are correct, the emotions may be justified, but they are not a source of knowledge. Further, they should not be used in debate --although that can be very difficult when someone is being blatantly dishonest. In the latter case the debate should be ended, as was done with a previous mystic who called himself Reg Golb. (The technical, philosophical name for dealing with preconceptions and emotions is "Psycho-epistemology".

Honesty is the recognition that the unreal IS unreal. From childhood, especially in religious family, dishonesty is encouraged from an early age. It becomes so ingrained that, though they may be taught not to lie or steal, they still think dishonestly. That hole in their intellectual approach becomes so automatized, that they cannot see when they gloss over (or blank out)an important fact that might change their understanding of reality, they may even form careful arguments to justify their blank outs. If they are attached to an unreal notion, this process compartmentalizes their dishonsties, so they can keep them. They want their cake, and to eat it too! The result is they become chronically dishonest in certain areas of thought, and quite honest in others.

When a debater homes in on the compartment, it becomes emotionally trying for the dishonest mind... temper or pain is the result, and may eventually show or be expressed. what the dishonest person does next, in thinking, determines whether they stay dishonest or grow. Often, staying dishonest protects their feelings about the idea they want to be true, even though it is not.

It follows from the above, that there are rational reasons for atheism, but there are absolutely no rational reasons for belief in anything supernatural.

1. What is the biggest thing about Christians that bothers you?

Irrationality that influences the culture in which I live, and thereby undermines my own quality of life. A simple example is sin tax. I like certain alcoholic beverages, yet the justification for heavy taxation of them here in Canada is based on the religious justification that they are a sin. There are many more serious examples, such as anti-abortion laws.

2. Have you at any time and point in your life had anything to do with religion? If yes I would like you to share if you don’t mind.

I was raised in the Anglican church, went through Sunday School for 11 years, and became an Altar Boy. My father is a lay preacher in that church. Though I believed in a God-something, I always knew I did not know what that something actually was, because all I knew of it was the various descriptions and claims made by the people around me. I had serious doubts about organized religion by the time I was 16, and was suspicious that God was just a modernized version of, and equivalent to, some caveman's notion of a Sun god. At 35 years of age I grasped that God is an Absolute Impossibility. It then became necessary to learn morality and above all epistemology, in order to improve my life. (It remains that the toughest thing to make legitimate moral judgments about is another human.)

Now I have two & 1/2 questions for you.

1) What is your education?

2) Do you, after honest introspection, think ideas are fun to debate, but that they have little bearing on your life and reality?

(I worry that your answer to 2) is yes.)

Putting 2) positively, do you alter your own ideas and their application to life and reality, when you see they conflict with other facts of reality that are brought to your attention?

Joyce said...

Richard,
I have read your profile and the answer to question one is.

1) What is your education?

Not even close to what yours is. I have my GED and am currently attending online classes for my associates in business. Most of what I know comes from one of two sources, life experiences, or reading.

2) Do you, after honest introspection, think ideas are fun to debate, but that they have little bearing on your life and reality?

Sorry to disappoint you Richard I do not believe that to be true. If we can not listen to others and take some type of knowledge away with us what would be the use of communicating in the first place. It is important for me to look at myself realistically and my goal is to be the best I can be. At the same time I am not seeking to please others by who I am.

Putting 2) positively, do you alter your own ideas and their application to life and reality, when you see they conflict with other facts of reality that are brought to your attention? If they are what I believe to be true then yes. Only I am not wondering if you say conflict it means with the ideas and thoughts of others. It is evident we have two different views of reality and that is fine. I will not turn from what I know to be true.
To the others please don't bash me for this I am responding to Richard honestly and am aware how my beliefs are viewed, but they won't change anymore than yours will. I came here to learn and thanks to Richard and the others I have mentioned I have. I fear I have already over stayed my visit and feel it is time for me to move on. I will continued to respond to posts as required.

I want to say Richard I have developed a fondness for you and your knowledge along with having great respect for you.

Richard said...

"Only I am not wondering if [when?] you say conflict it means with the ideas and thoughts of others. It is evident we have two different views of reality and that is fine."

I did not say "conflict with the ideas and thoughts of others". Indeed, it is scary that you took that meaning from what I wrote. I asked about facts of reality, and facing them honestly, especially when they conflict with Unreality.

The ideas of others may or may not acknowledge the facts of reality. Certainly, there are a great many people with many ideas that do not meet with the facts of reality. But that does not mean one should consider ALL ideas to be matters of varied arbitrary assertions. Not does it mean that one man's truths are just as valid as another's (call it intellectual egalitarianism). One has a right to espouse and belief faulty ideas (thanks to Jefferson et al.), but one has the most profund moral obligation to onself not to do so. Those who allow themselves faulty ideas always suffer the consequences one way or another, even as they tell themselves they are happy. Worse, they bring others 'down' with them, by example and by argument.

Your remarks above, and elsewhere, suggest you have at some level, accepted intellectual egalitarianism. Yet, as I have said, it is ideas by which men act. If all ideas are equally valid, then one has, in the end, no ideas, no principles. All that is left is for one to act on the narrowest, range-of-the-moment, interpretation of events and ideas one faces. It means either going with the crowd or with a wild guess as to what will feel good, for now. That is not reason it is, respectively, second-hand thinking or the lowest form of thinking called Pragmatism. Either one reduces a mind to the level of a herd animal, and defaults on the mind's purpose: rational conceptual thought.

"I will not turn from what I know to be true."

People once knew that a single woman with a black cat and a rooster was a witch. People once knew that the Earth was 6,000 years old and flat, etc. Yet other people, using the facts of reality, showed such things to be completely false. Many were considered heretics, and suffered for doing so.

The Greeks, and then later, Thomas Aquinas and the leading minds of the Enlightenment, learned that man's mind and senses were for the purpose of recognizing reality, and distinguishing it from flights of fancy, from wishful thinking, from feelings, myths and gossip.. They realized that men had to develop proper reasoning techniques if their thinking was to be rational. Rational thought produced more reliable results, all else was gambling, often with little or even zero odds of success.

All Gods, unless you include Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford in that classification ;-) , are categorically irrational, regardless of your claim (to yourself and others) that you know that at least one Sky-Master is real.

Here is an explanation, to the very unreasonable Reg Golb, providing some of the reasons why God is not possible. You will have to focus on that portion, and not so much on (annoyed) comments aimed at Golb's other remarks.

Hopefully you will see how such ideas demolish certain things you claim to know are true, which are not. I especially hope it will give yourself pause to reconsider 'teaching' developing young minds. There is no greater evil, short of violent crime, than to turn a child against the use of his or her own mind and away from the purpose to which it is intended.

Children were born to become themselves, as rational Men, not to be someone else's 'sheeple'.

Richard said...

A good article germane to this discussion has been posted at Noodlefood. Its title is:
Why the New Atheists Can't Even Beat D'Souza: The Best and Worst in Human History by Greg Perkins.

Dinesh D'Souza has written some pretty intelligent, but wrongly reasoned arguments, that supposedly demonstrate the merits of Christianity over Atheism.

I say wrongly reasoned because he disregards essential truths to focus on non-essentials. He also misuses terms, treating Atheism as a philosophical system and then claiming Atheism itself as a cause of (Communist*) genocide. Greg Perkins explains this more thoroughly.

(*As I have often said, communism is religion secularized: it replaces God with The Collective. Both religion and communism cause people to rationalize systematic murder on a grand scale.)

Protium said...

I will not turn from what I know to be true

I think you've declared fiat, so further discussion is futile.

Richard said...

Absolutely, Protium! Fiat, whim, wish, whatever the synonym, is how they ALL do it. The ramifications are huge:

They may have been brainwashed as kids, but as adults they know in their own minds they have no good evidence or argument. But they want it to be so, so they declare it to be so. They may hold typical religious belief, or they may be philosophers who generate substantial arguments or even whole systems. Examples of the many philosophical writers in this category would include St. Augustine, Immanuel Kant and Hegel.

Of course the lie-believers have to form little groups for mutual reinforcement of their belief. Those little groups grow, perhaps first as sects. They spread, creating big groups with different subjective lies ("views" is too nice a word). Differences between the lies, and the details therein, cannot be reconciled by reason. And, actions based on those details will appear to others as injustice or as mystical evil, with very predictable consequences:

Ramification 1: Mysticism will always lead some to anger, to hatred, to violent assertion of opposing beliefs, and thence to war.

That said, mystics tolerate different versions of mysticism --say a Mormon or Jew-- better than they can tolerate a non-mystic, i.e. a rational atheist. The latter are the ultimate affront to mystics because rational atheists expose the lie, by not accepting it or its details.

Mystics must therefore argue that science, reason and atheism are "just another form of faith"; meaning, "All of you are liars just like us."

Ramification 2: Science and reason will always be under attack by mystics.

The leaders in organized religions, priests or religious writers etc., seek to extend their fiat beliefs into the minds of others. By influencing the spiritual lives of others they enjoy a sense of power, which they experience (falsely) as moral efficacy.

That same sense of efficacy/power is what dictators/kings/bureaucrats etc. experience, but they sense it as material efficacy obtained by physically controlling others.

But physical control is just another way of reining in a man's mind. To the degree that man is controlled he is like a slave, unable to act by the choices of his mind.

In effect, the two types have split their human 'resource' into two realms of control, the spiritual and the material. They redound, fundamentally, to the same thing:

Ramification 3: Both types of constitute tyranny over the minds of men.

Neither form of this power offers a genuinely productive means of living for anyone. Neither for the tyrant nor for his sheeple. Its value is imaginary, and is every bit as mystical as the Gods and spirits conjured up by the religious.

So we have religious leaders (& polemicists) as mystics of spirit and tyrants as mystics of muscle! Ayn Rand also called them "Witch Doctors" and "Attilas", respectively.

Consider how the two terms apply to Pat Robertson, George Bush, an eager-beaver church committee leader, Bill & Hillary Clinton, or F.D.Roosevelt. Not to mention the Popes, the Inquisitors, Stalin & Mao, Saddam, a Conquistador, or even a suicide bomber!

Ramification 4: In all its forms, mysticism is anti-life, a human abomination.

Ramification 5: Governments must never ever be in the hands of either type of mystic!

Perhaps one can see, from the all the above, that the separation of Church and State, and separation of the Economy and the State, are absolute political requirements for Human happiness and progress.

The Founders of America attempted to set things up that way. Unfortunately their plan was not 'air-tight'. The mystics have weaseled their way in.

First the muscle mystics (mainly via F.D.R.) instituted economic controls, that have steadily grown.

Now the spirit mystics (mainly via Reagan, Bush and the Environmentalists) are instituting religious controls, which will steadily grow.

Richard said...

I hope the above made sense. It was a clarification of something I had not fully grasped.

Specifically, the conceptual steps that lead to the understanding that dictators (fascist, communist, pseudo-religious like Saddam, or monarchist) are also mystics.

What I've written is not adequate as an inductive explanation, which would be superior but much longer. I think there is enough provided that they can be 'filled in' by the reader, so s/he can see it for himself.

Certainly, the argument should not be accepted without doing so, as that would be rationalistic. The article "For the New Intellectual" by Ayn Rand is a worthwhile resource.

Joyce said...

I just want to thank Fiery once again for allowing me access to information, and thanks to those who provided it.

So long and thanks for the fish.

Hitchhikers Guide to
the Galaxy


Peace, <><

Richard said...

The fish, being a symbol of Xtian-inanity, is of organized religion.

So, was that Joyce's big blank out?

Maybe she meant the fish as ideas, and is thinking about them. Maybe ten years from now, it will strike her; likely not.