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Atheists Tool Box

 
Balfizar1
 
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Balfizar1
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11 July 2019 06:30
 

Due to the frequency and commonality of questions posed by theists, I often wondered if there should be a “Collective” opinion of thought, an atheists toolbox so to speak.
One of the more common apologies by theists trying to corral empathy is that “Religion inspires great art”  true enough I would say however, It would be logical to say that would be regardless of a divine presence should you consider how many religions have inspired great art and the fact that most theists consider all other religions other then their chosen religion to be false. It set the theists back when you agree with them on the issue of religion inspiring great art, it sends them packing when you prove a deity is not necessary in the equation.  The logistics of Noah’s Arc is another one I have explored outside of the normal credulity issues. e.g. 8 humans carried every fatal disease, heredity defect, parasite and every other human condition of fatal consequence for 190 days in confined spaces, what are the chance of their survival?

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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11 July 2019 08:07
 

Apologists at times use illogic in an attempt to apply credibility to their arguments. Regarding your specific example, you can take apart the question itself as a false attempt at a logical conclusion or assumption. That is, even if it’s true that certain arts have been inspired by religion, how does that connect to the legitimacy of religions’ supernatural stories? Is the art-improvement argument supposed to imply that God acted like the National Endowment for the Arts until governments took over that role? How could that make sense—plenty of conservative Christians would like to see the NEA come to an end. . . . And so on.

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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11 July 2019 08:41
 

The Talk Origins archive is a great toolbox for some of the major questions that come up.  http://www.talkorigins.org/

I don’t know of a single, universal reference for all of the common questions, but that one covers quite a few of them.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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11 July 2019 08:50
 
Balfizar1 - 11 July 2019 06:30 AM

Due to the frequency and commonality of questions posed by theists, I often wondered if there should be a “Collective” opinion of thought, an atheists toolbox so to speak.
One of the more common apologies by theists trying to corral empathy is that “Religion inspires great art”  true enough I would say however, It would be logical to say that would be regardless of a divine presence should you consider how many religions have inspired great art and the fact that most theists consider all other religions other then their chosen religion to be false. It set the theists back when you agree with them on the issue of religion inspiring great art, it sends them packing when you prove a deity is not necessary in the equation.  The logistics of Noah’s Arc is another one I have explored outside of the normal credulity issues. e.g. 8 humans carried every fatal disease, heredity defect, parasite and every other human condition of fatal consequence for 190 days in confined spaces, what are the chance of their survival?

Was it actual religious belief that inspired great art?  Or, for example during the Renaissance, was it social/political/economic factors that led to the great art of that period, with the wealth of the Church acting as patron for many of these works.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance

“Others see more general competition between artists and polymaths such as Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Masaccio for artistic commissions as sparking the creativity of the Renaissance ...”

“During the Renaissance, money and art went hand in hand. Artists depended entirely on patrons while the patrons needed money to foster artistic talent ...”

 

 

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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11 July 2019 09:04
 
Jan_CAN - 11 July 2019 08:50 AM
Balfizar1 - 11 July 2019 06:30 AM

Due to the frequency and commonality of questions posed by theists, I often wondered if there should be a “Collective” opinion of thought, an atheists toolbox so to speak.
One of the more common apologies by theists trying to corral empathy is that “Religion inspires great art”  true enough I would say however, It would be logical to say that would be regardless of a divine presence should you consider how many religions have inspired great art and the fact that most theists consider all other religions other then their chosen religion to be false. It set the theists back when you agree with them on the issue of religion inspiring great art, it sends them packing when you prove a deity is not necessary in the equation.  The logistics of Noah’s Arc is another one I have explored outside of the normal credulity issues. e.g. 8 humans carried every fatal disease, heredity defect, parasite and every other human condition of fatal consequence for 190 days in confined spaces, what are the chance of their survival?

Was it actual religious belief that inspired great art?  Or, for example during the Renaissance, was it social/political/economic factors that led to the great art of that period, with the wealth of the Church acting as patron for many of these works.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance

“Others see more general competition between artists and polymaths such as Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Masaccio for artistic commissions as sparking the creativity of the Renaissance ...”

“During the Renaissance, money and art went hand in hand. Artists depended entirely on patrons while the patrons needed money to foster artistic talent ...”

 

Good point.  If the wool and banking business hadn’t made the Medici’s so wealthy, Leonardo might have had to get a job and might not have produced the body of work we have from him today…  Michelangelo might not have had the resources to create all the beautiful sculptures and paintings we have from him…  Galileo might never have been able to champion heliocentrism or Copernicanism.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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11 July 2019 09:23
 

If you give yourself the luxury to retrospectively cherry pick you make a case for anything. This is the essence of apologetics. Count only the hits. If you don’t get a hit, contrive one.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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11 July 2019 12:35
 

Some suggestions based on the literature…

Be logically consistent.  In other words, don’t change your definition of religion from “belief in, and life orientation toward, certain historical [i.e. scriptural] and metaphysical propositions” to “not especially rational” or “cultic and irrational” in order to make secular, atheistic ideologies “religions,” and therefore deflect—by being inconsistent—a valid criticism of your main thesis, to wit—that religion represents a “unique” (p. 28) danger that “inexorably” (p. 12) leads us to kill one another.  Example: Harris, p. 64, 79 and pp. 228-9.

Don’t strawman what you criticize.  In other words, don’t imagine the basest form of religion—a personal, intervening Guy-in-the-Sky literalism—as representative of religious belief as such, when obviously religious belief to the majority of believers is nothing of the sort, particularly when acknowledged paragons of rationality believe but do not hold to it.  Example: Dawkins, 33-41.

Retain fidelity to what you profess to study and criticize, aka don’t replace the phenomenon with a bad metaphor that begs the question as to what the phenomenon is, or is not.  In other words, don’t reduce religion to “memes” that are out to enhance their own fitness (the bad metaphor, also an instance of “the pathetic fallacy”), then suggest that their fitness might be at our expense (begs the question).  Example: Dennett, pp. 3-4, 84-5, pp. 341-356.  In short, don’t front load your “proto-theory” (p. 330) with question-begging assumptions and declare “more research” (p. 331) is necessary to see if it is true.

Don’t confuse rhetorical fireworks and a litany of informal fallacies with a good argument.  Example: Hitchens, pp. 1-293.

Don’t cherry pick your evidence to maintain your thesis that “religion is a bad idea.”  In other words, don’t point out the ‘bad things’ either caused by religious belief or sanctioned in its name as evidence that ‘religion is bad.’  This is merely the flip side of the error of defending religion by pointing out the ‘good things’ either caused by religious belief or sanctioned in its name as evidence that ‘religion is good.’  Both errors reduce the question of religion to a topic fit for the rejects in a high school debating society.  Avoid this framing of the issue at all costs.

There. If you are looking for tools for “an atheist’s toolbox,” that should get you started,  Apologies in advance for ruffling any feathers, should said feathers be ruffled.

[ Edited: 11 July 2019 12:48 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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11 July 2019 20:50
 

For the tool box: Noah’s arc length = 2?r(?/360)

(Edit: where the first “?” is pi and the second “?” is theta.)

 
 
TwoSeven1
 
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TwoSeven1
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12 July 2019 09:59
 

I have some input for anyone who’s open.

Try to remain as objective as possible and use your reasonableness to find common ground.  When we find common ground with someone we aren’t necessarily conceding something.

It’s hard to help someone change their mind when we oppose them on a personal level.  Objectivity helps us remove our personal bias and build bridges, rather than burn them.

 
Balfizar1
 
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Balfizar1
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13 July 2019 03:55
 

Some suggestions based on the literature…
Be logically consistent.  In other words, don’t change your definition of religion from “belief in, and life orientation toward, certain historical [i.e. scriptural] and metaphysical propositions” to “not especially rational” or “cultic and irrational” in order to make secular, atheistic ideologies “religions,” and therefore deflect—by being inconsistent—a valid criticism of your main thesis, to wit—that religion represents a “unique” (p. 28) danger that “inexorably” (p. 12) leads us to kill one another.  Example: Harris, p. 64, 79 and pp. 228-9.

***  Certainly the high ground when confronting illogical, irrational beliefs and doctrine.

Don’t strawman what you criticize.  In other words, don’t imagine the basest form of religion—a personal, intervening Guy-in-the-Sky literalism—as representative of religious belief as such, when obviously religious belief to the majority of believers is nothing of the sort, particularly when acknowledged paragons of rationality believe but do not hold to it.  Example: Dawkins, 33-41.

*** It’s a moving target when the answer can and should vary according to the whimsical or fundamentalist beliefs of the questioner.  Specifics are predicated on the questioner “Know thy enemy”

Retain fidelity to what you profess to study and criticize, aka don’t replace the phenomenon with a bad metaphor that begs the question as to what the phenomenon is, or is not.  In other words, don’t reduce religion to “memes” that are out to enhance their own fitness (the bad metaphor, also an instance of “the pathetic fallacy”), then suggest that their fitness might be at our expense (begs the question).  Example: Dennett, pp. 3-4, 84-5, pp. 341-356.  In short, don’t front load your “proto-theory” (p. 330) with question-begging assumptions and declare “more research” (p. 331) is necessary to see if it is true.
Don’t confuse rhetorical fireworks and a litany of informal fallacies with a good argument.  Example: Hitchens, pp. 1-293.
Unfortunately public debates have an entertainment factor that should be kept in check.
Don’t cherry pick your evidence to maintain your thesis that “religion is a bad idea.”  In other words, don’t point out the ‘bad things’ either caused by religious belief or sanctioned in its name as evidence that ‘religion is bad.’  This is merely the flip side of the error of defending religion by pointing out the ‘good things’ either caused by religious belief or sanctioned in its name as evidence that ‘religion is good.’  Both errors reduce the question of religion to a topic fit for the rejects in a high school debating society.  Avoid this framing of the issue at all costs.

***  Now here I would beg to differ!  Even in a monologue incidents, evaluation and justification could be categorized as “Cherry picking” No one ever won an argument in a monologue.  The exchange of ideas, in its simplest form is confrontational where firm beliefs are concerned and opposition is encountered.  The discourse can be subtle or brutal, thrust and parry or withdraw, a sharp mind and a well stocked “Atheist toolbox”  is a must.
I can’t help but feel the comments above are more generic in inclination and are less applicable in the immediate environment of a posed question or statement in a conversation or debate. No one ever changed their beliefs without confronting the rationality of those beliefs, a softly, softly approach may yield a higher efficiency of change but don’t expect this meeting of the minds to be easy.

There. If you are looking for tools for “an atheist’s toolbox,” that should get you started,  Apologies in advance for ruffling any feathers, should said feathers be ruffled.

*** Not likely!  A decade or two in adult education, in often the most hostile of environments has helped me to not take a fence not even a pailing?

 
 
Balfizar1
 
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Balfizar1
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13 July 2019 04:15
 
nonverbal - 11 July 2019 08:07 AM

Apologists at times use illogic in an attempt to apply credibility to their arguments. Regarding your specific example, you can take apart the question itself as a false attempt at a logical conclusion or assumption. That is, even if it’s true that certain arts have been inspired by religion, how does that connect to the legitimacy of religions’ supernatural stories? Is the art-improvement argument supposed to imply that God acted like the National Endowment for the Arts until governments took over that role? How could that make sense—plenty of conservative Christians would like to see the NEA come to an end. . . . And so on.

A Salient point indeed.  The statement / question (Does’nt) God inspire great art, is a empathetic association.  e.g.  God inspired art is good therefore God is good.  Unfortunately a “real” God is not required in the equation ( Zeus, Apollo, Thor. Isis etc inspired great Art which apparently out lived their public usefulness)

 
 
Balfizar1
 
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Balfizar1
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13 July 2019 04:18
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 July 2019 08:50 PM

For the tool box: Noah’s arc length = 2?r(?/360)

(Edit: where the first “?” is pi and the second “?” is theta.)

Which equates to about 300 cubits wink

 
 
Balfizar1
 
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Balfizar1
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20 July 2019 22:38
 

If there was an original sin, it would be that man is born ignorant. If there is salvation it would be in the pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of mankind. It is rational to seek the unknown, it is irrational to stop short of the truth and succumb to superstition.

[ Edited: 22 July 2019 02:10 by Balfizar1]
 
 
proximacentauri
 
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proximacentauri
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21 July 2019 18:06
 
Balfizar1 - 20 July 2019 10:38 PM

If there was an original sin, it would be that man is born ignorant. If there is salvation it would be the pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of mankind. It is rational to seek the unknown, it is irrational to stop short of the truth and succumb to superstition.

Yes, exactly. Religion and rationality don’t mix. Neither do miracles and facts…

“A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.”
- Robert Green Ingersoll

[ Edited: 21 July 2019 18:36 by proximacentauri]
 
TwoSeven1
 
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TwoSeven1
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22 July 2019 11:07
 
proximacentauri - 21 July 2019 06:06 PM
Balfizar1 - 20 July 2019 10:38 PM

If there was an original sin, it would be that man is born ignorant. If there is salvation it would be the pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of mankind. It is rational to seek the unknown, it is irrational to stop short of the truth and succumb to superstition.

Yes, exactly. Religion and rationality don’t mix. Neither do miracles and facts…

“A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.”
- Robert Green Ingersoll

“A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact.”  Who can know everything that there is to know?

 
proximacentauri
 
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proximacentauri
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22 July 2019 19:59
 
TwoSeven1 - 22 July 2019 11:07 AM
proximacentauri - 21 July 2019 06:06 PM
Balfizar1 - 20 July 2019 10:38 PM

If there was an original sin, it would be that man is born ignorant. If there is salvation it would be the pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of mankind. It is rational to seek the unknown, it is irrational to stop short of the truth and succumb to superstition.

Yes, exactly. Religion and rationality don’t mix. Neither do miracles and facts…

“A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.”
- Robert Green Ingersoll

“A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact.”  Who can know everything that there is to know?

It’s not necessary to know everything there is to know. What is critical is our ability to discern fact from fiction which we typically accomplish through the scientific method. Are you implying that since we can’t know everything, there is still room for the existence of miracles?

 

 
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