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Thread: Famous Atheist Quotes

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    Over 5000 post club fool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    You flirt with an existence at some point utterly removed from that presence,
    You can hear distant lighting on an AM radio tuned to a staticy area.
    Would you say that a person who had chosen a favorite AM channel and liked to play it loud was in a better postion than one that was slowly turning the dial and listening to the clicks?
    Everyman is a voice in the dark.
    I II III IV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Enyart View Post
    Stuart, if you re-read my post, that was Dawkin's argument (which I agree has some merit). His point was that if microbiology shows that life is too complex to have arisen in billions of years of Earth history, then it must have arisen in billions of years of some other place's history. Crick punted likewise.

    -Bob Enyart
    KGOV.com
    you wrote: ...he admits that the complexity observed in microbiology could be evidence that life on earth originated from a higher intelligence, somewhere out there in the universe.

    Would you please provide a reference for where Dawkins said exactly that phrase?

    Stuart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    All things are made to the glory of God and to suit His purpose. Inside creation there is an order (you witness this in nature) and, relative to other animals, man has preeminence. And next to God he is nothing. That recognition of God and His nature, that understanding of His glory and our own failure to do more than dimly reflect some portion of it should preclude a rational vanity on that account...should.
    The order to creation you describe can be maintained only if we assume that the top is defined by someone who thinks like us, which is exactly the arrogance I am pointing out. If we evaluate life based on its intelligence, we probably come out on top, given what we currently know, but it is a tentative victory. If we evaluate life based on, say, swimming ability, or flying ability, we loose. If on dominance, we put up a fair fight, for mammals, but it must be the bacteria that win, and the insects place before us.

    But my point wasn't restricted to just life, or just this planet. If one were to conclude that there is a purpose to the Universe based upon the order therein, I think that it would have to be an interest in stars and galaxies more obviously than an interest in life or humans in particular. But really, I think any assertion to know what such a creator values is hubris.

    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    Is it hubris for a child to proclaim the love of his parent? And if that child is given authority over some of his parent's holdings is it hubris to recognize the fact? No, so long as we understand the source of our authority and are mindful of its implications and obligations, we remain safe from an exaggerated opinion of our role or worth, all of it owed to and flowing from the God who loves us.
    I see two hubrises at play here: First of all, projecting our parenting and property models unto the Universe in general, and second, the assumption that we can derive knowledge of the creator of the Universe through our limited faculties.
    Global warming denialists are like gravity denialists piloting a helicopter, determined to prove a point. We may not have time to actually persuade them of their mistake.

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    Let's go with the parenting analogy though. What would you do if your 'father' had admitted to killing at least 2,300,000 (maybe as many as 32,000,000 people, a proportion of them children, and that death was the suggested answer for unruly offspring? Is it therefore acceptable for parents to kill their children?

    It is normal that human adolescents go through a phase of questioning and rebellion in order that they emerge as independent adults. You hope that their relationships with parents develops along with it of course, but it is necessary for the young to eventually overtake their parents. This god keeps its children in childhood permanently, not allowing them to do what is suggested in Corinthians to leave behind the things of childhood. Is that good parenting?

    Stuart

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    Over 500 post club PlastikBuddha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rexlunae View Post
    The order to creation you describe can be maintained only if we assume that the top is defined by someone who thinks like us, which is exactly the arrogance I am pointing out. If we evaluate life based on its intelligence, we probably come out on top, given what we currently know, but it is a tentative victory. If we evaluate life based on, say, swimming ability, or flying ability, we loose. If on dominance, we put up a fair fight, for mammals, but it must be the bacteria that win, and the insects place before us.
    If I might be allowed to jump in here?
    I believe that both our unique status in this universe (as far as we are aware, anyways) as self aware beings with the ability to ponder the past and contemplate the future in abstract terms- and I do think we are unique, btw, there is evidence of self awareness in other species but we are leaps and bounds beyond them-, the ubiquity of other traits like swimming and flying, and the fact that self awareness seems to be a integral part of our perception of Godhood, unlike say the ability to fly or swim, lends credence to the idea that we are a special part of the Divine's plan. How special, or exactly what that plan is, I can't even speculate.
    But my point wasn't restricted to just life, or just this planet. If one were to conclude that there is a purpose to the Universe based upon the order therein, I think that it would have to be an interest in stars and galaxies more obviously than an interest in life or humans in particular. But really, I think any assertion to know what such a creator values is hubris.
    Agreed, but it's all we have to work with. Based on this I would have to say that understanding the Divine's plan for us and the universe is not a necessary part of that plan. We can't help but try, however.

    I see two hubrises at play here: First of all, projecting our parenting and property models unto the Universe in general,
    It is a human foible, but one that can be limited with objective reasoning and furthermore one that, given the idea that we believe we share at least a part of the Divine's concept of personhood, may not be totally wrong in some applications.
    and second, the assumption that we can derive knowledge of the creator of the Universe through our limited faculties.
    The idea that we can acquire complete knowledge of the Divine with our limited faculties is, of course, nonsense. We can hope to get enough to point us in the right direction, however.
    "Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
    Remember us--if at all--not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men." ... T.S. Eliot
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    I always find it ironic how the ones who actively proclaim their lack of understanding of the cosmos (weak-form atheists) are accused of hubris, vanity, and foolishness. Meanwhile, these accusers take the existence of God (a completely faith-based proposition) as a given, while judging those who believe God does not exist (strong-form atheists) in light of their own articles of faith; e.g. "The intelligent move would have been to remain obedient to the very source of reason." Their own assumptions are taken as maxims, while accusing others of all sorts of intellectual dishonesty for doing the same thing (only in reverse).

    As I have said before, the only rational position is that of "I don't know." We can use all sorts of ancient texts, emotional and moral appeals, personal accounts, and scientific evidences to support our proposition, but in the end, we are taking a stab in the dark of the unknown.
    "In a fractional reserve banking system like the United States banking system, most of the funds advanced to borrowers (assets of the bank) are created by the banks themselves and are not merely transferred from one set of depositors to another set of borrowers." - Walker F. Todd

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlastikBuddha View Post
    If I might be allowed to jump in here?
    By all means, PB, your comments are always welcome. Although, I do feel that we must be careful to avoid hijacking the thread more than is reasonable to finish the point. I may be an atheist, but I'm neither famous, nor as quotable as I ought to be to have so many quotations in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlastikBuddha View Post
    I believe that both our unique status in this universe (as far as we are aware, anyways) as self aware beings with the ability to ponder the past and contemplate the future in abstract terms- and I do think we are unique, btw, there is evidence of self awareness in other species but we are leaps and bounds beyond them-, the ubiquity of other traits like swimming and flying, and the fact that self awareness seems to be a integral part of our perception of Godhood, unlike say the ability to fly or swim, lends credence to the idea that we are a special part of the Divine's plan. How special, or exactly what that plan is, I can't even speculate.
    I don't share your view that we are leaps and bounds ahead of other species in self-awareness. At best, it only considers our one planet in a vast cosmos, and even limiting ourselves to Earth, I find it likely that there are other species that are close to us. But more to the point, it seems to me a great hubris that we project our emphasis on that trait onto God.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlastikBuddha View Post
    Agreed, but it's all we have to work with. Based on this I would have to say that understanding the Divine's plan for us and the universe is not a necessary part of that plan. We can't help but try, however.

    It is a human foible, but one that can be limited with objective reasoning and furthermore one that, given the idea that we believe we share at least a part of the Divine's concept of personhood, may not be totally wrong in some applications.

    The idea that we can acquire complete knowledge of the Divine with our limited faculties is, of course, nonsense. We can hope to get enough to point us in the right direction, however.
    It may sound strange coming from me, but one of the main reasons that I reject all claims of knowledge of the divine is because I think that any such claim would undermine the original posit. If there were some being which transcends nature, that was great enough to create all the cosmos, then how can we expect anything that we come up with to be meaningful in the face of such a being? We drag our lack of imagination and our biases and our hopes and our fears into the topic, and all of a sudden, we're talking about a parochial wishing-well persona, who suddenly becomes our enabler and our justifier, who usually gets around to endorsing the things that we want to do anyway. I think it's better and more honest to leave such posits alone.
    Global warming denialists are like gravity denialists piloting a helicopter, determined to prove a point. We may not have time to actually persuade them of their mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rexlunae View Post
    By all means, PB, your comments are always welcome. Although, I do feel that we must be careful to avoid hijacking the thread more than is reasonable to finish the point. I may be an atheist, but I'm neither famous, nor as quotable as I ought to be to have so many quotations in this thread.



    I don't share your view that we are leaps and bounds ahead of other species in self-awareness. At best, it only considers our one planet in a vast cosmos, and even limiting ourselves to Earth, I find it likely that there are other species that are close to us. But more to the point, it seems to me a great hubris that we project our emphasis on that trait onto God.
    I would not be at all surprised if there were other species that shared our self awareness elsewhere. The sci-fi fan in me demands that there must be- but evidence is scanty. We can look at the odds, at the size of the universe, and come to the conclusion that there should be, but we just don't know. As for here on Earth, even the brightest animals are outdone by even the youngest humans. I think we really are something special in that regard. On a side note, imagine how interesting it would be to compare the thought processes of a human being and even a closely related self aware being like a neandrathal!
    It may very well be hubristic to ascribe personhood to the Divine, but I believe it is the hubris of a puddle comparing itself to the ocean rather than projecting things that just don't exist. The personhood of the Divine, unlimited by the matrix of meat and the linear, inexorable passage of time within which we define ourselves would necessarily be different from ourselves- but it is a plain fact that the Divine must by definition be transcendant of the physical universe and that would, in some way, encompass that which It has created, personhood included.
    It may sound strange coming from me, but one of the main reasons that I reject all claims of knowledge of the divine is because I think that any such claim would undermine the original posit. If there were some being which transcends nature, that was great enough to create all the cosmos, then how can we expect anything that we come up with to be meaningful in the face of such a being? We drag our lack of imagination and our biases and our hopes and our fears into the topic, and all of a sudden, we're talking about a parochial wishing-well persona, who suddenly becomes our enabler and our justifier, who usually gets around to endorsing the things that we want to do anyway. I think it's better and more honest to leave such posits alone.
    Not a bad position, but ask yourself this- what if the Divine wished, in spite of our misunderstandings and biases, that we should know It? What form might such a message take? It is true that our best efforts must be woefully inadequate, but is it possible that our own efforts are not all that is available to us to help us know the Divine?
    "Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
    Remember us--if at all--not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men." ... T.S. Eliot
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  9. #99
    Out of Order Town Heretic's Avatar
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    First, well done and interesting, slight differences/qualifications notwithstanding, PB.
    Quote Originally Posted by rexlunae View Post
    The order to creation you describe can be maintained only if we assume that the top is defined by someone who thinks like us, which is exactly the arrogance I am pointing out. If we evaluate life based on its intelligence, we probably come out on top, given what we currently know, but it is a tentative victory. If we evaluate life based on, say, swimming ability, or flying ability, we loose. If on dominance, we put up a fair fight, for mammals, but it must be the bacteria that win, and the insects place before us.
    Man's preeminence on a naturalistic level is the result of the intelligence that allows him to circumvent his natural limitations otherwise...but the order I describe depends on and is reflective of one simple proposition, that there exists a sentient wellspring of absolute good from which all things derive their existence/meaning and in whose will is found our order and our authority. It isn't arrogant if it's true and to those who believe it is true. My intent was not to present you a proof, only a context that negated your assumption and I believe I've done that. I don't assume you'll accept the reality of that context for yourself. You must, however, concede that for the Christian it exists. To judge the posture of the Christian without understanding that context invites the errant notion of hubris where none is found (well, where none should be).
    But my point wasn't restricted to just life, or just this planet. If one were to conclude that there is a purpose to the Universe based upon the order therein, I think that it would have to be an interest in stars and galaxies more obviously than an interest in life or humans in particular. But really, I think any assertion to know what such a creator values is hubris.
    Given you must think the assertion of that creator, being objectively impossible to demonstrate, is hubris to begin with...
    I see two hubrises at play here: First of all, projecting our parenting and property models unto the Universe in general,
    Again, it isn't if doing so reflects the reality of the situation, though I don't see how dominion over animals relates to black holes.
    and second, the assumption that we can derive knowledge of the creator of the Universe through our limited faculties.
    First, a Christian would be inclined to remind you that we don't claim to have discovered God through the use of our faculties. We hold that God has been with man and revealed Himself to man since the beginning of our kind. Now, in a more general Theistic response, how else would you allow for it or the knowledge of any particular thing?

    Always a pleasure bumping into you around here, rex.
    Last edited by Town Heretic; January 7th, 2009 at 06:31 PM. Reason: is...is found...geeze...
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    Over 6000 post club rexlunae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlastikBuddha View Post
    As for here on Earth, even the brightest animals are outdone by even the youngest humans. I think we really are something special in that regard. On a side note, imagine how interesting it would be to compare the thought processes of a human being and even a closely related self aware being like a neandrathal!
    I still disagree. I think there's a good case to be made that a newborn baby human is less intelligent than a dolphin, but there is a rather difficult problem of how to measure this, and it is a human conceit that tells us that we are better.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlastikBuddha View Post
    but it is a plain fact that the Divine must by definition be transcendant of the physical universe and that would, in some way, encompass that which It has created, personhood included.
    Maybe. Or maybe the Divine wanted to see the pretty lights, and so it created a Universe, and we just happen to be one of its byproducts. There's really no way to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlastikBuddha View Post
    Not a bad position, but ask yourself this- what if the Divine wished, in spite of our misunderstandings and biases, that we should know It? What form might such a message take? It is true that our best efforts must be woefully inadequate, but is it possible that our own efforts are not all that is available to us to help us know the Divine?
    If the Divine wanted us to know it, I would think there would be better ways than what we have seen from religion. On the other hand, maybe the Divine wants us to leave it alone. Or, maybe the Divine doesn't have anything that can be called a want. My point is that making claims about the Divine is necessarily arrogant because there is no way of knowing.
    Global warming denialists are like gravity denialists piloting a helicopter, determined to prove a point. We may not have time to actually persuade them of their mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fool View Post
    You can hear distant lighting on an AM radio tuned to a staticy area.
    Would you say that a person who had chosen a favorite AM channel and liked to play it loud was in a better postion than one that was slowly turning the dial and listening to the clicks?
    Depends...is the favorite AM station the weather channel?
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    There is a vulgar incredulity, which in historical matters, as well as in those of religion, finds it easier to doubt than to examine.

    -Walter Scott
    I am an aristocrat. I love liberty; I hate equality.

    -John Randolph

    What is Whiggery? A leveling, rancorous, rational sort of mind, that never looked out of the eye of a saint , or out of a drunkard's eye. All's Whiggery now, but we old men are massed against the world.
    W.B Yeats

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wessex Man
    There is a vulgar incredulity, which in historical matters, as well as in those of religion, finds it easier to doubt than to examine.

    -Walter Scott
    Life can be vulgar. It's not a matter of ease; we must play the hand we are dealt, not the hand we wish we were dealt.
    "In a fractional reserve banking system like the United States banking system, most of the funds advanced to borrowers (assets of the bank) are created by the banks themselves and are not merely transferred from one set of depositors to another set of borrowers." - Walker F. Todd

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinFoldsFive View Post
    Life can be vulgar.
    Indeed there are athiests after all.
    I am an aristocrat. I love liberty; I hate equality.

    -John Randolph

    What is Whiggery? A leveling, rancorous, rational sort of mind, that never looked out of the eye of a saint , or out of a drunkard's eye. All's Whiggery now, but we old men are massed against the world.
    W.B Yeats

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Enyart View Post
    Some people with very high IQs have been horrendously wicked, tormenting and murdering others.
    Some of them - but most of the tormenters and killers of history are people who where dumb enough to be manipulated into commiting such acts in the name of ideals they didn't have much understanding of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Enyart View Post
    Others, with lower IQs, have been loving and kind and thoughtful to those less fortunate.
    And what exactly does that mean? Since when was one's quality of life measured by how "kind" or "loving" they were? When all is said and done, all that really matters is the ability to serve one's own interests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Enyart View Post
    Redstar91, intelligence is not the most valuable aspect of humanity. Just fyi.
    To the contrary - the fact that there are a few intelligent individuals amongst our otherwise stupid species is the only reason we haven't plunged into the abyss of total annihilation yet.
    "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

    "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

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