Bruce (kor27) wrote,

Attempt to Bridge the Atheist-Theist Divide

jeffercine recently posted this very interesting piece, which I thought I'd repost for people not on his friends list:

From my point of view it's written just a little too much from the theist point of view. But then, I would tend to think that.

I have a few small problems with it, which I'm about to go into in niggling detail:
  • In section 3, if I discovered my (sadly hypothetical) girl had slept with the Chicago Bears, how upset I'd be would depend on our relationship. Most likely, I'd want to be sure she hadn't caught anything, and be extremely upset if no-one had taken pictures. How one reacts to these sorts of things depends wholly on the (hopefully explicit) arrangement between the parties.

  • In section 4, while I don't have a problem with what he says, I just feel the need to point out that people who are only good because they fear a god scare me - a lot. It means that deep down they're amoral. And amoral people eventually act out.

  • In section 7, he makes the same childish mistake about "free will" that almost everyone seems to. He claims that his professor instinctively believed in free will because he (the author) was expected to react to an academic threat. How could he react without free will?

    Sigh. Quick course, people. There are two points of view here, Determinism, and Free Will. They can be summed up thusly:

    • Determinism: How you act, and the decisions you make, are completely determined by your history up to the point of the decision.

    • Free Will: No they're not.

    Neither one of them have anything to do with whether or not you'd react to a stimulus or not. The first assumes that if somehow the exact same piece of time were replayed, you'd always react the same way. Note that neither of these depend on whether or not that which makes "you" is the emergent behavior of the complex interactions in the brain, or the presence of a supernatural "stuff" called a soul. The pilgrims were determinists, and very much believed in a soul.

    The question is largely bunk. One exists, one makes decisions, and there is no way to pass through the same segment of time again to answer the question of whether one might have made a different one. In a purely physical world, quantum mechanics says there's a small chance one might.

  • In section 9, he makes the assumption that religion is based on morality. I believe that every religion out there includes a moral code, but saying they're based on morality seems... odd. Especially since the major problem with religion, to atheists, is that of religious fanatics. These are people who have taken the dogma of their religion to rational, but amoral, extremes.

    We're scared by people who kill innocents in order to be martyred and get their 72 virgins. We're scared by people who think using up all the world's resources is fine because the Rapture is imminent. We're scared by people who actively try to create the conditions to bring about Armageddon. We're worried about dying in a plague because someone who might become a brilliant biochemist is brainwashed into disbelieving evolution. We weep for the young people needlessly infected with STDs because all they know about sex is provided by "abstinence" programs - programs which continue because all that pesky "evidence" against them has to be wrong. We boggle at people that insist that God despises those that love someone of the wrong gender.

    Ahem. Anyway...
Those are my few problems. Be glad I didn't have a lot of them!

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