Sunday, August 30, 2015

Atheists and the Traditional Faiths

I'm ROMAN CATHOLIC.    Your gonna tell me what my rules are "FOR ME"

HOW T F does that work?  RCCan

It doesn't.  And it doesn't happen with most humanists with the possible exception of ex-ROMAN CATHOLICS.  Even the ex-Catholics won't tell you what your rules are for you, they will tell you how those rules don't work anymore for them. 

Many milk humanists have at least studied the major religions, and may indeed appreciate the benefit for believers of the faiths.  It is kind of a fun argument among atheists about which proponents of the faith were actually atheists.  The musicians, artists, and craftspeople that provided the fundamentals of the ritual.  Since they had to understand the faith from the outside as it were to get commissions, they could focus on the "hot buttons" to make their work meaningful for believers.  Many of the famous Catholic masses and prayers, and even more of the protestant music were probably composed by non-believers.

Social Support for Deconverts.

The issue here between beliefs even buddhist and proper humanist will tell you.    It aint that a humanist is better then a buddhist or more logical then catholic or smarter then a bible thumper.  RCCan
A little too much projection there.  There is no humanist way.  Humanists aren't better than any other human, which is what the humanism is about.  At least conditional respect for all humans is part of humanism. Some humanists try to maintain radical respect for all.  Humanists are different however in that there is no belief, not even belief in humans that is required, and humanists are not a group. They do form social groups, that is a human trait, but the social groups are based on a common interest rather than a belief and generally are inclusive.

Many humanists have had a horrible experience in leaving a belief system and may for that reason condition their respect for others on not being a part of that particular belief system.  It is an non-rational condition, but humanists are human, and excommunication, disfellowshipping, shunning, and other denials of social support are the most painful experiences for any social animal, as it is frequently a death sentence, either by being incapable of self-support, depression or overt suicide.  This is especially true for GLBTs, etc. who are cast out as sinners. 

Humanists, in particular humanists who have left dogmatic religions can be especially helpful to the GLBTs who have been forced to leave friends and family over dogmatic differences.  Their inclusive interest based social groups provide major social support for those cast out.  Some are even non-dogmatic religious groups that provide a comfortable Sabbath ritual for former believers. 

Humanists generally separate themselves by not being able to believe any longer, but support groups are easier to find, sometimes within the faith, and the separation from the patriarchs while traumatic is not life threatening.  But trauma, even self-chosen trauma leaves scars, and avoiding additional scars by exposure to the shunning group is at least understandable. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Arrow and the Song

The Arrow and the Song

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Love Thy Neighbor

I can’t believe that one would seriously suggest that a widely believed good found in the text doesn’t exist.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” – the principal of empathy that many atheists on this board seem to think they have copyrighted and patented – is one such widely believed good.   EOb

Believing it and then ignoring it, or actively trashing it with every word that comes out of your mouth and every action you do is hardly an example of textural good morality. 

The Pentateuch version is Lev 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord"  is hardly a radical moral edict for a social animal or a tribal human. But OK if practiced dilligently.  For Jews does that mean Hasidim are loved? I understand that some Jews have rejected them.  For Christians are JWs and LDS Christian and vice versa?  For Muslims is ISIS your neighbor?

Jesus radicalized the whole thing.  When challenged "Who is your neighbor" told the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Keep in mind that it was a Samaritan who refused Jesus hospitality, causing him to shake the dust off his sandals. In modern day terms think of dark skinned immigrants without documentation.  Or for Paul competitive sects that practiced temple prostitution.  Are either "loved as thyself?"

Male Dominance and Evolution

Primitive small groups were generally a bit larger than 50 but about 250 seems to be maximum community size.  They generally were egalitarian or matrilineal.  The dominant male seems to be an artifact of larger groups in war prone areas usually religious wars.  

The animal kingdom is a lot more varied than at first studied by male dominant biologists.  It is frequently the alpha female that runs the group while the impressive male is relegated to a protection or territorial role.  Even then the "fighting" is a ritual to practice defense rather than a quest for dominance.  And generally the alpha female decides who mates with whom. E.g.  In a wolf pack in the wild the Alpha female chooses a mate, or in many cases finds a mate and the two are the only breeders in the pack.  When the Alpha female dies the pack disintegrates and all go off to find mates to establish their own packs.  

Unfortunately in the modern world the male dominance model of the major religions is pervasive in the west and schoolyard games through adult gladiator battles are dominance games among males.  Female preference is of little importance.  The dominant male gets the pick of the available females, his choice not hers, and the rest are distributed according to male status.

Female preferences in mates may have had some evolutionary effect early on in human history, and in the cultures that haven't been corrupted by Abrahamic religions, but in general where marriages are arranged women's preferences don't matter. Putz has the cause and effect reversed.  Where awesome fighters are valued it is among men only and the awesome fighters pick the women that appear to be the best brood mares.  Hence the social pressures for the appreciation of airheads with big T & A.  

Agricultural Commiunities vs Marauders

I certainly can deny out warlike nature.  All evidence is that before Abram came along and invented God, humans were agricultural - herding communities or hunter - gatherers where the ecology permitted it.  Their gods (if any) were generally earth/fertility oriented and community sustainability was an important moral imperative. 

War was rare although not non-existent, as there were tribal leaders that for one reason or another usually outgrowing their resource base could try to take what they wanted by warfare.  Usually settled communities could defend themselves and the marauders failed usually when the dysfunctional leader was killed. 

Abram's genius was inventing a leader that couldn't be killed because it didn't really exist, and who divided all the world simply into us and them.  Them just didn't count.  This was a successful concept, as poor young men could be convinced that it was "their" fault they were poor and horny and run off to battle for plunder, and women. 

As for the people who created the mythology, whether or not they were inspired by God is moot, as they believed in God, and codified the mythology based on that assumption.  My belief or lack thereof in God has nothing to do with what others believe.  I also do not think that 50+% of the population that believe in Christianity and Islam and at least pretend to read and abide by Scripture is "only a fraction." 

 I was not arguing that predatory tribes did not exist before or even after Abram invented God.  Tribal survival is always an evolutionary imperative.  If drought or other natural disaster makes your community uninhabitable the tribe or community if larger does what it takes to survive.  Since arable land is usually occupied and defended predation involves the expenditure of many warriors.  Those mass graves mentioned earlier may or may not have been all victims of predation.  In a battle of relatively equal weaponry one would expect the attackers to have the most casualties. 
At Crow Creek the lack of young women in the grave is more likely the result of the defenders giving the most important members of the tribe time to escape to safer ground than the biblical assumption that God delivered the virgins to the victors.  The site was defensible as noted by the defensive trenches that the attackers had to overcome.  The assumption that they did is optimistic at best.  The burning of the settlement may well have been a defensive move to remove the incentive for the attackers.  The fact that the site was abandoned for several weeks suggests to me that the attack failed with the loss and/or retreat of the attackers and the villagers returned later to honor the dead with a proper burial.

While predation and defensive warfare may have been common in prehistory, the long term survival of most communities on arable land suggests that predation was a poor tribal survival strategy.  That is until the Romans came along with their emperor Gods emulated by the Christian God that held all of "them" in contempt to be slaves and breeders, that predation became a way of life and a relatively successful one at that. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Meme Theory vs. Concepts

So, I'll ask you again: Can you think of any new insight gained from calling it the 'God meme' than we had when we called it the 'God concept?'freespirit

Meme theory focusus on the transmission mechanisms:  The hooks that embed the meme in the brain.  The concept being embedded is relatively unimportant.  It is not necessary to know much about God to understand how the vuvuzelas get their version of God to become a strongly buttressed belief system in the brain.  It works whether the God concept is God, Allah, YHVH, or Cthulhu.

The God concept is impossible to deal with rationally, as the characteristics of the concept must be defined before you can even talk about it.  Most believers don't even know what the God they believe in is. 

Group Selectionism

To many if not most biologists, the selfish gene approach is the best idea anyone ever came up with for explaining altruism in the animal kingdom. The only significant rival explanation, group selectionism, is extremely controversial by comparison. The issue is not yet settled.  Faust

For biologists the gene is the only hammer they have to bang on things with.  Dawkins was a biologist who established his credibility by showing how a gene for distinguishing brighter from darker areas in the environment as an example could have survival value and drive the evolution of complex visual structures collectively known as eyes. He was necessarily working on individual members of the phyla he was studying.  As it became necessary to study more complex traits like altruism the gene hammer became the wrong tool and group selection became an alternative for social animals which are a relatively recent evolutionary development.  I suspect the two theories are not rivals, but are different tools for investigating different evolutionary structures.

The meme theory, still in its scientific infancy (it's developer isn't even dead yet) may well be the tool needed for studying group selection, as social animals must have a non-genetic behavioral modification adaptation for survival as a group.  Group selection works in relatively few generations which make biologists very uncomfortable.  Predatory pack wolves evolved extremely quickly into a larger social structure of follower wolves and eventually dogs (and a smaller individual social organization coyotes etc.) with essentially no genetic adaptation.  Dogs, wolves, and coyotes can crossbreed with viable offspring, although the strong social differences make crossbreeding unlikely in normal environmental conditions.

The God meme has been extremely powerful in group selection at least for predatory human groups.  While it may not prove the existence of God as a real thing, it certainly proves the existence of the collective consciousness of the idea of God.  Whether there is a significant difference is not really a scientific question.  

Whether the God meme can survive above the tribal social level is an open question that is evolving even as we speak, but that is a different topic entirely.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Brain Preparing for Death

NDEs that is extremely high stress experiences, OBEs, anoxia, awe, wonder and are common human experiences.  Not all humans have all such experiences, but most have experienced many of them.  One might argue logically that how they are interpreted is a clear indication of the fundamental basis of their human experience.  If any God or supernatural entity is the basis of their human experience all will be attributed to that entity.  If not other explanations, including WTFWT, will be considered. If God has never been a reasonable answer to any question it is not likely to be even considered as an answer to WTFWT.  If it remains as an important experience some natural explanation even a speculative one will be found and God will remain a belief for others irrelevant for an atheist who by the way may or may not be a materialist.  

A NDE is commonly described as one's life flashing by as if in a time lapse movie, which is the brains way of either finding a solution to the predicament or preparing a dream like state for death.  Believers attribute this dream like state as heaven or hell, and the anoxia induced light at the end of the tunnel as God.  Believers in reincarnation attribute the dream like state as preparation for the next life.  I know of one atheist who sees the dream like state as indefinite in length as dreams often are, which may last apparently eternally.  He is aware that the appearance of eternal is false, or perhaps has a holographic existence on the fabric of space-time.  But in any event, each person experiences that which will allow the brain to shut down to a calm rest in peace. 

Bayesian Jesus

JC do you have ANY idea what the elements of this historical method even is?  Fact is that your dimissal of people's lifelong work without knowing anything about it or them is your bias. Kwinters

I dismiss nothing.  Everything is in the pot.  Even the canonical garbage. 

In Bayesian analysis each bit of data is assigned a likelihood of being relevant and correct. Biases of the contributor are part of the equation.  Also it is important to know what you are trying to study. 

In re. a Galilean Jewish preacher probably named Jesus or one of the common cognates, who was strongly influenced by Hillel the Elder and the Mithra myths and by his wife (who was never allowed to speak at his gatherings according to Jewish religious traditions) I find his existence to be nearly certain.  One critical piece of authenticating data is Paul's need for a popular, charismatic, contemporary preacher to become his Christ.  
In re. the words put in his mouth by oral history of contemporaries including his wife who I find quite likely to be the Q source and nearly as likely to be Mary Magdalene, I assign a high probability of authenticity to all.  Even in English translations.

In re. the disruptions at the Temple in Jerusalem I find them to be likely in essence and consistent with his preaching in the sticks. That he pissed off the Jewish authorities in some way to cause them to take action against him is even more likely.  Whether the Romans even cared is insignificant, but the Jewish authorities probably did try to kill him. Such an important challenge to their authority could not be ignored.

I assign a low likelihood to actual death, but a reasonable probability to his appearance to followers after his punishment by the authorities as a spectacular blow off to his ministry and his resumption of a normal life with family after the show.  I find it unlikely that he was a leader of any of the Jesus cults, his part of the show was over.  

In re. anything related to God and Christ, there is a high probability of everything being fabulous stories made up by followers and the usurper Paul.  Truth value negligible, influence value high.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Atheists Vs Progressives

The debate centers around how to criticize Islamic fundementalists who promote violent views.  New atheists point to the role of religion as a motivating factor, but multiculturalists and theists on left don't want to hold religion accountable for the evil it motivates. Kwinters

The human brain is necessarily a belief processor.  See The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer.  Even those of us who claim to have no beliefs, at best know what know what beliefs we have that are important and try with varying levels of success to compensate when necessary.  

New atheists want to destroy religion and just like any extremists don't care what collateral damage results.  Progressives have no issues with holding religion accountable for evil, they are just trying to rescue the good from all the wreckage. New atheists seem to believe that carpet bombing religion is necessary to get rid of the evil, and while it is true that carpet bombing will get rid of evil, the question remains is the cost/benefit ratio positive?  Progressives say no.  Believers will believe in something anyway, see any deconvert.  If the whole belief system is destroyed, good and bad, they will cling to some of the beliefs usually the bad ones that feed their ego, and the result may be worse than the religious belief system that was destroyed.

Fundamentalist Christianity has some saving graces.  Even though all are sinners and need to be saved by Christ they must be aware of their sins and beg for mercy. Fundamentalist Christianity was destroyed in part not by attacking the beliefs but by reinforcing the dysfunctional ones: We are all sinners and forgiven by grace so let's just wallow in sin.  The worst is the sin of Bibliolatry. 

Notice that Pope Francis is attacking specific sins leaving the Belief System intact.  A much more difficult row to hoe, but then he can't use the carpet bomb strategy. His target is Christianity and fundamentalist Christianity at that, but by focusing on and admitting to the evil that is part of Christianity.  Whether he will survive the campaign is an open question but that is par for the course for progressives.  

A Brief History of Abrahamic Religions

Bottom line: For good or evil, the Bible didn't motivate people to do anything they weren't already doing. freespirit
Who was doing it, and for how long?

The Bible depicts a culture of sheep herding desert marauders.  They were kicked out of or chose to leave three thriving communities.  I think it is safe to assume that their lifestyle made life difficult for them in the civilizations they left.  When they finally got to Egypt their leader sold his followers into slavery, and whored out his beautiful wife to gain power.  What God had to do with all of this is pretty clear from the stories we have.  Who invented God or what culture was invented by God is relatively unimportant.  God was a critical driver for all behavior of this small, uncivilized and unpleasant band of people who chose to live differently from all civilized societies in the region. By the time the Torah/Bible was written it told them to do what that small tribe had done since its founding Patriarch began this uncivilized lifestyle.  The fact that they left or were driven out of four civilizations (including Egypt) suggests that they were doing something very different from what the rest of civilization was already doing.  

At some point the agricultural community of the Canaanites was weakened probably by drought to the point that God could "deliver them" to the marauders.  Whether God had anything to do with the drought is left to the imagination of the reader.  They thrived for a while, and conquered other communities for food, slaves, and wives/concubines.  

But this is the story not of civilization but of a small group of outliers who were driven by their God to an outlying existence wherever they went. 

What Paul did with this story is a sin and a shame, but was successful in North Africa and Europe. The rest of the world went its own civilized ways until the middle of the second millennium when this marauding religion conquered three continents, and colonized much of the rest of the world using modern military killing equipment and mobility provided by large ships to carry it and the poor young men who did the killing.  

Civilization may be finally recovering from this depredation, the moral progress bandied about on this board, but is resisted on all fronts by the God, His followers, and the poor young men who are given hope by this God.  

Whether this God is real or imaginary is really irrelevant.  The fact and it is a fact that he is believed in by followers is critical to their past successes.   

Recognizing that this particular God is not worth believing in is the first step in ridding the world of His depredation. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Evolution of War

Aug 16, 2015 -- 12:35PM, onefreespirit wrote:
When the popes led their faithful to war, they didn't do it by changing human nature to suit their purpose. Warlike behavior satisfies the human need to prove ourselves superior to others.

A totally unsupported and probably false assumption.  Nothing in human evolution indicates warlike behavior.  See aforementioned fragile skull.  Humans evolved by cunning not force.  Selecting agricultural crops so they were not dependent on dangerous foraging, domesticating food animals rather than hunting dangerous game, coopting follower wolves for predator warnings, (not exclusive to humans by the way)  breeding aggressive "sheepdogs" to protect the herds and domesticated small feline predators to control small rodents that domesticated themselves. 

The only significant predators were anti-social exploitive humans who raped, pillaged and burned those who had a sustainable agricultural society.  Even those sustainable societies used aggressive war as a last resort preferring to expend extensive resources on defensive structures to protect their cultures.  See the Great Wall of China, and Castles atop sheer cliffs. A few defenders with projectile weapons spears, rocks and fireworks (another cunning invention to avoid proving ones tribe superior.) could hold off invading hordes almost indefinitely. 

It took Abram, the God he created in his own image, and baby factories to make war and pillage a viable cultural strategy.    

How to Sing a Prayer.

The hard part for theists is admitting they have become the moral source they wanted to worship. In fact, they are now in a position to condemn their god as immoral based on secular principles of human rights. Kwinters

lt is not hard at all.  I know some Catholics and many Jews that for all intents and purposes are atheists.  It was a good Catholic that told me that the "Thy God" of the First Great Commandment is whatever you want Herm to be.  She describes her God as an inner voice that she can converse with as a friend to help her decide what to do in difficult situations.  It is easier to call it "Mary" than Raggedy Ann, because Raggedy Ann actually has a form.  (I did ask.)  Her indoctrination makes Mary the mother of all good things, and as a mother it is easy to transfer that voice inside her head from mom to Mary.

For many of the Jews I know, (a biased sample) God is an ancient guide no longer relavent to the modern world, and is nothing but a word in a prayer.  Comfort food for inner peace.  The Shema, commonly the Deuteronomy 6:4-9, is a centering ritual where G-d and "God's Kingdom" is whatever you want to make of your life. 

I have sung the Shema and Ave Marias, reverently as is mandatory to convey the meaning to believers, and using the interpretation of God from my friends I have no problem as an atheist attaching my own personal meaning to the word.  Mostly Pantheist, APOD is my worship focus, although in the Sierra, the "Range of Light" dominates.  If this makes me a believer, so be it.  I am in good company. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

War Poster Boys

Lets not draw cave men BS conclusions from a Christian BS study.  Women's taste in male appearance changes like hemlines.  If Putz was really interested in evolution he would look at cross cultural traits rather than the misogynist Penn State Christian/football violent culture.  Probably at least half the men in the world do not have big muscles, heavy facial hair, square jaws, teeth that clench to take facial violence, (he forgot that one) deep voices, and a propensity to violence.

East Asians, South Asians, Africans, and what we know of indigenous people all lack most of those features, and women and men are generally the same size and shape. Lithe, flexible, versitile muscles good for other things than wielding clubs.  Dexterity in both genders.  A generally small face to make room for a bigger brain, in short a body and face designed by evolution for versatility, adaptability and cooperation.  Their fighting style (when forced to fight) is not strength but adaptability and expending as many men as necessary to overwhelm the enemy and not incidentally protect the women and children.  A few planes with Kamikaze pilots can destroy a battleship and a whole bunch of square jawed, heavily muscled, violence loving men.   

Three millennia of war and violence in the Middle East and Europe have changed not so much women's preferences, but which man got the harems, and ownership of the baby factories to make more men with big muscles, heavy facial hair, square jaws and teeth that clench to mitigate blows to the face (the only exposed area for armored men) and a propensity to violence.  The fact that they are an evolutionary minority speaks volumes about the propensity to violence in spite of their high birth rate. 

War. Nature or Nurture

I certainly can deny our warlike nature.  All evidence is that before Abram came along and invented God, humans were agricultural - herding communities or hunter - gatherers where the ecology permitted it.  Their gods (if any) were generally earth/fertility oriented and community sustainability was an important moral imperative. 

War was rare although not non-existent, as there were tribal leaders that for one reason or another usually outgrowing their resource base could try to take what they wanted by warfare.  Usually settled communities could defend themselves and the marauders failed usually when the dysfunctional leader was killed. 

Abram's genius was inventing a leader that couldn't be killed because it didn't really exist, and who divided all the world simply into us and them.  Them just didn't count.  This was a successful concept, as poor young men could be convinced that it was "their" fault they were poor and horny and run off to battle for plunder, and women. 

As for the people who created the mythology, whether or not they were inspired by God is moot, as they believed in God, and codified the mythology based on that assumption.  My belief or lack thereof in God has nothing to do with what others believe.  I also do not think that 50+% of the population that believe in Christianity and Islam and at least pretend to read and abide by Scripture is "only a fraction."

Bible as the Source of Misogyny


Since Torah establishes the moral context of the relationship of husband, mainly in Deuteronomy 24 but throughout the Pentateuch we can clearly state that Kristi's statement is logically airtight with respect to the Bible which claims most of Torah as Scripture. 

When talking about the Bible, Torah, or Qur'an as Scripture it is necessary to assume God exists, as all clearly state that He does.  Whether or not the men who wrote scripture were divinely inspired (another possibly false assumption: one author may have been a woman documenting the God inspired Hebrew culture but probably not directly inspired by God.) The culture documented in Scripture was dominated by God's laws, morals, mores, and whims. Therefore the people documenting the culture whether inspired by God or not were reflecting one God's Culture.  Other cultures may have had entirely different laws, morals, mores and even different Gods. There are other Gods mentioned in Scripture.

From Scripture we only know about one culture, which was dominated by God.  We have no documentation of negative attitudes about women in any culture which preceded or co-existed with the culture of Scripture.  Data from aboriginal cultures and agricultural cultures generally show that women were at least equal if not specially respected and protected for their ability to perpetuate the species. 

Violent Men and Evolution.

Yes this is what I think about. And you can go further than 'culture'. Science says men evolved to be violent. And our closest relatives in the trees are in male dominant hierarchy. So religion didn't create these things. Biology did.  Curious

Neither premise is clearly supported by "Science."  See Bonobos which are our closest simian relatives. 

If Homo Sapiens evolved to be violent we would look more like Neanderthals and Klingons.  The human skull is evolved to avoid violence.  The brain is easily concussed and if violence is anticipated some sort of a helmet is needed to avoid damage to the fragile skull.  Note that the Neanderthals were bigger, stronger, smarter and had a protected brain but still lost out to Sapiens, they could rape Sapiens women, but we couldn't rape theirs.  (No Neanderthal mDNA in humans,)

Us vs. Them Dogma


Perhaps some modern versions of Christian, Muslim and Jewish have reinterpreted the "us vs. them" teachings of their God, but historically particularly their earliest traditions they have that teaching as an integral part.  You look at the parts of the world where Christianity and Islam are dominant and the fate of the indigenous religions (they are essentially destroyed) the truth of the above assertion is obvious.  

That they learned it from the stories of Moses is also undeniable.  God led the Hebrews out of out of Egypt,  to the promised land of Canaan where God "delivered up to them" the indigenous people, destroyed the indigenous religions and gave the Israelites their promised land.  At least for a while. 

The Hebrews apparently originated in the the fertile agricultural community of Ur which they left for unknown reasons for Haram in Turkey another agricultural community.    Their original leader Abraham (Abram) was led by God to Canaan, another agricultural community which God promised to Abraham and all his seed,  Why the Hebrews left Ur, and Haram for Canaan is not clear, but from what little we know about Abraham, he was not a particularly nice person although rich and exploitive.  There is no accounting for the taste of Gods.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Humanists With Children

Your thesis then, is "the very existence of religion is an affront to womens' progress", correct? IronLDS

Talk about misinterpreting a post and fighting a strawman! But to respond to the strawman, religious influence in Western society is an affront to women's progress, as it is the source of the property status of women and the concept that women should STFU and stay home.  All the talk of separate but equal roles is just more religious BS to justify keeping women barefoot, uneducated and pregnant. 

As noted earlier humanist men support women in all roles totally ignoring their haughty status as made in the image of God.  I even know of humanist men who assume the role of househusband to provide their children with proper nurturing while their wives work full+ time at their economic comparative advantage role in society.  She may well be a better mom than he is but her overall worth to society is higher as a medical professional e.g. than his as contract laborer.  More commonly they share both roles usually to the detriment of their careers, more so for the woman, due to the fact that she is working above her station, but both chose children and careers, rather than not having children.  Which by the way is a common choice for humanists as their service to their society as full+ time professionals may be more important to them than raising cannon fodder.  Their legacy is their social service rather than another mouth for the world to feed.

Imaginary Reality

But until we have good evidence of their existence, they don't exist for us. The best an example can be is in the 'probably real' subset of the set of 'imaginary things'.

Thus for any specific candidate, like a real Donald Duck, a real teapot in orbit beyond Mars, a real Higgs boson or (if only we knew what a god is) a real god, it doesn't exist until we have good evidence of its existence. Blü

I would as usual include in the existence category any imaginary thing that is consistently describable by any rational human who has been exposed to the imaginary concept.  Donald Duck is an imaginary thing that is a charicature of a duck, which wears a naval themed vest and hat and speaks aphorisms of determinable levels of satirical, ironic, and metaphorical truth.  Therefore, Donald Duck objectively exists.   The teapot was not adequately described even by Russell to be consistently describable by any rational human and therefore remains in the set of imaginary things with no real existence. 

A real God may exist for a group of people but generally the description is about as defined as Russell's teapot so that for the rational human must remain in the category of imaginary thing.  As an example Zeus may be considered a real God for the ancient Greeks.  Uniformly describable as a charicature of a human man, wielding lightning bolts as a weapon, and speaking aphorisms of determinable levels of satirical, ironic, and metaphorical truth.  He was even clearly described enough to be made into statues recognizable by any rational Greek as Zeus.  

The problem with God in the thread title, is that all believers describe Herm differently if they describe Herm at all in recognizable terms, and therefore the rational human has no consistent evidence to determine any sort of existence even as an imaginary thing. 

On Transcendence

(And I'm leery of that word 'transcending' - it's too often an attempt to smuggle nonsense into conversations.) Blü
I find transcendence to be a perfectly good word for the natural ability of the mind to focus on a single task.  Normally physical, athletes and musicians call it the zone, but can be purely mental. The mental state is harder to achieve but can be trained just as the physical state is trained.  The problem is that it can be focused just as well on imaginary things as real ones, so it is important to recognize explicitly the focus of the transcendent state.  The Transcendentalists focused it inward, to discover what it is to live meaningfully as a human, and atheists should acknowledge our debt to their efforts.  

A Life Worth Dying For

Aug 13, 2015 -- 1:45AM, Kwinters wrote:
The fear of death and loss are enough to turn some people's brains off and stop them from questioning the pure nonsense that religion spouts.

If from birth it is drummed into your brain that nothing you can do in this life is important to God: that everything you do including those things that are natural and necessary for the survival of the species is sinful and must be expiated by a vuvuzela; and that even after death you will be judged not by what you have done but what you have done that is forgiven; it is little wonder that people are "tired of living, and feared of dying." 

If from birth it is drummed into your brain that your mission in life is to improve the lives of your neighbors and the environment in which they live so that all children can look forward to better lives; and that you only get one shot at doing so; it is easy to "live a life worth dying for" (Forrest Church).  Some do a little, others do a lot, but what you do is more important than how much:  A little girl, Alex Scott, was a victim of childhood cancer. She decided to do what she could to help other victims of childhood cancer.  She couldn't do much, but at 4 years old she convinced her family to help her set up a lemonade stand and donated the proceeds to her hospital "for research."  Sure a few bucks wouldn't do much research, but others noticed her determination and set up their own Alex's Lemonade stand, By the time she died at 8 she and her friends had raised millions.  You might still see an Alex's Lemonade Stand, if you do stop and cool off and remember a little girl whose life was worth dying for.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Men that are Supportive of Women

It might be helpful to some of us if you could illustrate what you mean by 'really supporting women'.....JewOne

Christine probably has met only one, as such men are extremely rare in any society and practically non-existent in Western Religions.  First and most important such a man will view all women as potential partners in making society better for all people.  This means using his male privilege to help them achieve whatever goals they choose to aspire to. 

If he is better at STEM e.g. he will spend his educational years helping women who aspire to STEM success learn his skills rather than merely honing his own skills for a better chance at success for himself.  (This is not entirely selfless as mentoring is one of the best skill honing techniques known.)

At work he will use his male privilege to mentor and promote women and other minorities to their Peter Principle level in the organization, even at the expense of his own advancement.  (It will affect his advancement as most organizations are paternalistic and "Privilege hath its Rank.")

He will choose a wife based on her potential to make a better society rather than her ability to improve his own position in society, and will sacrifice his career goals if necessary to give her the opportunity to achieve hers.  This means changing diapers, doing housework, cooking more than his share of the meals, taking the kids to piano lessons, doctors, and emergency rooms even if it means leaving a board meeting, even managing the middle of the night feeding, (when the kid cries he gets up, brings the kid to mom, hangs herm on the teat (mom won't really wake up), changes the diaper and sings herm back to sleep.) 

NB this does not necessarily mean choosing a business career woman.  Many of the opportunities especially for women to make a better society are volunteer activities, but done properly take as much time as a full time job.

Just the tip of the iceberg for a man really supporting women. Some will guess the rest. 
Most won't give a damn.

Biological Destiny for Women


So, let's discuss.  How does a woman's biological makeup contribute to the actual physical requirements placed upon them?

In other words, there are two fountains in a village.  Both men and women are free to drink from either fountain. One fountain is easily accessible and within the village center. The other fountain is at some distance away, though the walk is pleasant and scenic.  In practice, most of people drink from the nearer fountain but more men than women travel to the far fountain, though both men and women drink from both. Jewsha
Biological differences from a to z women gestate and nurture children.  Women will do this no matter what their social status is.  It is called survival of the species.  Rape dolls or rich man's arm and bed candy children are born and raised.  

Raising children is a time and labor intensive activity.  If women's social status is that they not only raise the children but feed and clean up after the men tracking mud in from the beautiful, inspiring distant fountain, chances are good that they will choose the nearby less inspiring fountain.  And if the men need lots of man-children to defend the inspiring distant fountain from the heathen, spacing children naturally will be a forgotten dream from an earlier age.  She will pleasure her man once a week when fertile whether she feels up to the next child or not.  This is of course a free choice like the nearby fountain as the option is being the rape doll.  If he is a real Mensch he will say please.    

Feminists Hate Moms?

I find it ironic that feminism is supposed to be about women being able to choose their lives, yet so many actual feminists get mad when women make choices that the feminists don't like.IronLDS
I suppose it would be ironic if that is what they did.  While there are probably extremists who will personify their attack on the system that supports this choice and indeed forces it on many women.  But they are really mad about the system that in some influential religions conditions women from birth into the brood mare role, and justifies higher pay for men because "they have to support their brood mare."

These days being a brood mare for a "financially secure man" is a cushy job at least until he is unable or unwilling to support his family, or decides that a more attractive brood mare will advance his career. 

At that point his brood mare becomes a "welfare queen" as she tries to support his kids with no help from him, and no educational tools to support anything but minimum wage service jobs which in most states are inadequate to support a family without government assistance and in any event do not give her the time necessary to raise her kids to be anything besides cannon fodder in one war or another: the war on drugs or a foreign war if she has the connections to get her kids into the military. 

It is the system that is broken, not the women who are brought up to exploit it if they are fortunate. 

To the extent that it stays within the church culture and the church culture takes care of its own failures I have no real issue with the system.  It is just another business model.  Mormons and to a lesser extent Jews and Catholics are business cultures more than churches, and as such have the right to compete in the larger society just like any other group.  I think eliminating half their population from productive work in a technological society is a losing business model, but that is a testable hypothesis which may or may not prove to be true. 

Human Worth

I could suggest that such feelings of moral outrage offer survival value, which is why we have them; in which case they offer no insight into "the value of the human." My point, which was about the inconsistency between an evolutionary point of view and ascribing worth to humans, remains unanswered.Thoughtfultheist

Apologies for missing that.  The evolutionary point of view is ultimately the survival of the species.  Blather about selfish genes and selfishness notwithstanding.  For social animals like humans the welfare and worth of the group is paramount.  A group that breaks up leaving the weak (unworthy) to predators soon has no one left to defend the group.  In evolutionary terms extinction.  In human terms "First they came for the unbelieving humans. No one spoke up.  Then they came for idolatrous humans.  No one spoke up.  Then they came for believing humans.  No one spoke up."  What is the worth of humans?  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cain, Abel and Yahweh.

People have hypothesized that perhaps the issue wasn't the offerings of Cain and Abel themselves so much as the conditions thereof and the intent behind them. IronLDS

The Yahwistic view of God is clearly the stories of marauders in the desert subsisting on their sheep that they move from one fertile area to another after destroying the earlier ones by overgrazing. 

The Elohim created a beautiful productive earth for humans, men and women created in the image of the Gods. Yahweh didn't like this place it was too nice and easy to live in, and most important men and women had an equal place in it.  A place where men and women worked together to maintain and sustain this paradise.  Note that childbirth was a natural and painless process something else that Yahweh didn't like. 

So Yahweh trumped up some BS about women knowing too much and kicked His Chosen People people out of this agricultural paradise into a hostile environment where life would be difficult, childbirth painful, and agriculture nearly impossible.

Just to make His intentions clear, He rejected Cain's hard won agricultural offering, and blessed Abel's exploitive herding.  Cain wandered off to join his farming brethren and was never heard of again. 

Adam and Eve's other children learned the lesson well, and gave up agriculture entirely as they could count on Yahweh to deliver unto them agricultural communities for plunder, rape and pillage, the plunder being the stored food and seed grain needed for a sustainable community in an arable space.   Oops, my bad, it wasn't rape it was the provision of wives for the conquerors to replace the poor young men lost in the battle.  Not for the poor young men on the front lines, they were all killed for the glory of Yahweh.  Just for the harems of the blessed leaders that directed the war from behind the lines.  

Although the conquered women tried to introduce sustainability into the culture by introducing agriculture timing holidays into the Yahwistic culture, they never really succeeded in creating one.  Speculation on why will be left to the reader. 

This plunder, rape and pillage life style proved to be quite successful, and religions based on the Yahwistic traditions have continued with varying levels of success to this day.   

I don't blame the Yahwist for this life style.  She tried to show in every case what an asshole this God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel was, but apparantly men like assholes that let, yea demand, that they plunder, rape and pillage since it is easier than trying to do something useful for the good of the society.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Women in Prehistory Agriculture

Most studies of aboriginal tribes give lie to this assertion.  Women have equal value in agricultural settlements which predated the Hebrews by 6 or 7 millennia.  The men did the muscle work of preparing the land (breeding season for the herds or prey animals), the women planted, tended the crops and harvested, while the men provided the meat either by herding or hunting.

Bible Study

No, it does not. Only the most superficial and facile reading ( and one which leaves out most of the narrative)  would support your contention.  rocketJew

Because you are used to, as are all believers, a heavily interpreted reading variously known as Apologetics, Commentary, Bible Study, or Lessons.  This consists of taking a small bit of Scripture, at most a few verses, studying the opinions of all that "explain" what it means and then claiming to understand what it says.  The verses are chosen carefully to teach what the Rabbi, Priest, Pastor, or other vuvuzela wants to teach about the religion. 

One of the many paths to rejecting the God of Scripture, quite common among women, is to sneak a copy of one's Scripture "under the covers" and read whole stories in context.  Sometimes even, God forbid, the whole thing.  It is amusing to read the stories of the Yahwist in one sitting as a novelette about God. I recommend Rosenberg's translation for English speakers.  It is short, but surprisingly contains most of the stories in the Bible that everybody remembers.  Whether or not as Bloom suggests in The Book of J the Yahwist was a highly educated female courtesan, the misogyny of God is laid on so thickly that only a man can believe it is actually the word of God.  But then again, for male believers "Too much is never enough." 

Almost as good is reading the 613 "commandments" straight up, no interpretation, in any language in one sitting.  Any woman who can make it through that, will need intensive therepy by a Rabbi, Priest, Pastor, or other vuvuzela to avoid running, kicking and screaming, from the God that spake them.  It is little wonder that women and girls were not permitted to even have their own copy of their Scripture to read unsupervised and were never permitted to study scripture without the associated "teachings" even then only in tiny slices of the original.  

Marauding and Misogyny

Something of great significance happened early on in the history the Middle East. Some life altering event left an indelible mark on the world view of the inhabitants as conditions went from very good to very bad. A pessimistic, hostile, anti-women and anti-nature world view emerged. Unlike any worldview the world has ever seen."
Archeological climate studies suggest that a major drought in the Levant beginning just before 2000 BCE with attendant famine, plagues, and cultural stress especially in agricultural communities (and in other fertile areas at different times) opened the way for marauding nomads to plunder the surviving stressed farming communities.  Hmmm, rivers turning to mud or blood, locusts, death of first born and other children, frogs leaving the wetlands.... sound familiar?

What is a necessary resource for marauders? Lots and lots of poor young men to die in battle.  How do you get lots and lots of poor young men?  Take the women out of the economic production cycle of planting and reaping, either by farming or gathering, and turn them into property as breeders of warfare assets, that is poor young men. 

If you can get God to consider those dumb farmers as lesser beings to be plundered, humanism that is treating all people, men, women and children as worthy of respect is simply weakness. 

Is it just a story that God refused Cain's offering of produce?  Cain who then killed his herding brother and became an object of derision for all time?  I think not.  Note that Cain used superior weaponry to kill the herder.  This is a fable for all time.  The only way to deal with marauders is with superior weapons.  So much for peaceful coexistence. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Jewish Misogyny

Kristi, it's interesting that you claim to be oh-so-rational - yet when I make a simple comment disagreeing with your tactics, you come out with all the emotional and exaggerated phrases.JewOne

Kristi does not pretend to be rational at least as I read her posts.  She is an advocate for women's rights in religion, and in combating belief systems rationality is useless.  The fact that you have to argue about tactics is an indication that your strategic position is precarious to say the least. 

While Judaism has arguably made more progress in women's rights historically as well as currently, perhaps you will admit that rational arguments carry no weight at all with the majority of Jewish men.  They have to be shamed and emotional arguments are the only way to get through to them. 

Believe it or not, Kristi is working for you and Shusha and all Jewish women as well as all victims of religious misogyny.  I tend to agree with her that the Abrahamic God is the problem for women in religions, and all the commentary in the world may not be enough to salvage the God of Abraham even for the Jews. 

Paul was no piker in reinforcing the message, but then again he was trying to salvage his version of  Judaism from the ravages of Jesus and perhaps Hillel both of whom IMO essentially rejected the God of the Torah for a more personal user friendly deity.    

George Carlin, Rudeness, Mockery and Ridicule

No one who engages in rudeness, mockery, and ridicule to try to affect oppression is doing so for personal gain of any sort, let alone an elevated personal opinion in the eyes of the oppressors or even the oppressed. 

What it achieves is getting people to think; even if only to think hateful thoughts.  Getting people to think about their beliefs in any way is the only way to change them. 

While you are correct that it rarely achieves an immediate positive change longer term it will make a difference.  I hold that rude, mocker and ridiculer George Carlin responsible for the fact that atheists can at least check that box on a poll without fear of reprisal at least in some countries and parts of the US, Fort Wayne excepted.

Thinking About Beliefs.

I think at this point the only thing being achieved with this thread is "people from various backgrounds coming together to tell the OP that their methods are unnecessarily offensive."LDS
The OP got your attention, that is at least progress.
Progress towards what?Jewsha
Progress towards thinking about the prevailing misogyny in religion that spills over into the society dominated by those misogynic religions.

Even the attacks, diversions, and lies, make people "see the smoke" most people will simply rubberneck, a few will figure out there is a fire, one or two will try to do something to put out the fire, and as many if not more will scream "Let it burn!"

But just seeing the smoke makes people think about their belief about the cause of the fire.  And that thinking is inside the conceptual blocks that protect the belief.  Thinking inside the blocks is a disaster for beliefs.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Positive Religious Memes

The guy most of the positive religious memes came from was executed in a joint effort of religious and secular authorities.  Most of those positive religious memes were buried for most of two millennia by religion many literally at Nag Hammadi.

Empathy and compassion are evolved human traits normally ruthlessly suppressed by religious and political authorities.  It is necessary to get rid of both religion and power politics to create humanistic society. 

Art Music and Beliefs

Opinions on art and music are subjective. You tell me that your taste is better and criticize mine and I will treat you like something that just slithered out from under a rock.

Beliefs are not subjective. They are either true or false. If you criticise one of my beliefs, and do it respectfully, we can have an interesting debate. And, if you were persuasive, you might even change my mind. However, if your idea of debate is to ridicule my beliefs, then I'll treat you like something that just slithered out from under a rock. freespirit

Obviously you don't follow art or music criticism.  There are real standards of what constitutes art and music that are educated opinions that are not subjective at all.  Like beliefs these educated opinions can and do change as new forms get past the shock stage.  But art and music still matter, and only the new forms that comply with the human goals of art and music to educate, stimulate, and move people.   

Opinions about beliefs change more slowly as they are indoctrinated earlier and more intensively than opinions on art and music but change they do.  Sometimes it takes generations to do so as beliefs occupy a more important area of the mind than esthetics.  Social compliance with beliefs is frequently a matter of survival.  Esthetics is more like manners; a group identifier rather than a coercive believe or die.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I communicate very clearly and insure that what I write means exactly what I want it to mean.  The fact that what I write cannot get through your conceptual blocks says more about your belief system than my writing. 

I was a Boy Scout and an atheist and a Scoutmaster and an atheist.  Most of my ancestors that I know their religious inclinations were atheists or at least made fun of their clergy.  It is rumored that an ancestor that left England circa 1611 for Virginia was given the choice emigrate or die by his bishop.

Nonetheless, I grew up in a religious society and being an out atheist was neither important nor safe.  The Scouts provided a great experience for little money and my parents weren't wealthy enough for secular camps. So it was "Trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean, irreverent" for me.  I was interested in religions by that time so going to church was no problem.  I even went to a Pontifical Mass at a Boy Scout Jamboree, certainly a first for an atheist. I could sing dominos with the best of them.

The scoutmaster was a different story.  My UU church wanted to sponsor a Boy Scout troop at a welfare hotel, the worst in NYC.  They forgot to tell the Scouts that I was an atheist so I became one of the scoutmasters.  A successful troop, as those things go.  One of our scouts was quite successful and had a nice Wiki write up courtesy of the Scouts until the church quit Scouts due to discrimination and founded the Navigators, a scouting experience for everybody.  The two troops they had, one in the South Bronx and one in Manhattan, became the first chapters in the Navigators.  I think BSA were relieved, as the scouts were generally the wrong skin color as well as not too loyal to God and the Republicans. 

Atheism on God


Atheists just don't care about God. 

If someone wants to believe in God that is their problem not mine.  It boils down to responsibility for actions.  Blü seems to be right that do what you are told to do is the default human condition.  It doesn't matter much who or what tells you what to do. When you do it it is their fault not yours if it turns out badly.  Even the vuvuzelas favorite dodge when they are caught with their dresses up is that "It was God's will."  In other words it is not my fault.

That is why theists want God to exist.  

Atheists, once they become adult realize that it is their fault.  Life is finite and what they do with it is their responsibility.

"Live a life worth dying for." Forrest Church

Or the thought attributed to Cherokee traditions:

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced,  Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."

There is no one to blame if you don't live your life, and if the world doesn't cry the failure is yours.  It is not necessarily a comfortable way to live, but at least you live.  As El Cid says on another thread if you believe in God you are dead when you are born, a puppet while you are alive, and thrown away when you die.  Maybe the dumpster will be comfortable or maybe not.  You will never find out.