On the difference between atheists, antitheists, Evangelicals and fundamentalists

Deustche Version:Vom Unterschied zwischen Atheisten, Antitheisten, Evangelikalen und Fundamentalisten.

Youtube version.

Definition do matters. Many political and philosophical disagreements simply stem from the different meaning of the words people engaged in a debate use.

Given that, I am going to define some important words I have used and will use on my blog.

A Christian is someone believing that God showed us His true face through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. 

    An Evangelical Christian is someone believing that the Bible is our only infallible authority. 

         A Conservative Evangelical believes that everything a Biblical writer intended to convey is true. 

               A fundamentalist is a Conservative Evangelical believing that those not agreeing with that are second-class                                                       Christians or no Christians at all.

      A progressive Evangelical believes that God may have intended to include erroneous writings in His Canon to teach us some                 lessons.

An agnostic is someone who does not know (within reasonable margins of uncertainties) if there is a God or not.

Now comes the most controversial part of my post, namely the definition of an atheist.
The French dictionary Larousse reflects well the historical understanding of the word as it states:

  • Doctrine qui nie l’existence de Dieu. (Cette position philosophique ne se confond ni avec l’agnosticisme, qui est le refus de prendre parti dans les débats métaphysiques, ni avec le panthéisme, qui implique que Dieu puisse exister partout dans l’univers et se confondre avec lui.)
  • Doctrine which negates God’s existence. (This philosophical position is not to be confused with either agnosticism, which is the refusal to take part in metaphysical debates, or with pantheism, which involves that God can exist everywhere in the universe and be identical with him.)

Modern (English-speaking) atheists don’t like too much that definition because it goes hand in hand with a burden of proof to explain why there is NO God.

As a consequence, they have redefined the word as meaning “lacking a belief in God” (making it compatible with being an agnostic) while under other circumstances they act as if it meant “believing God’s existence to be extremely unlikely”.

Being an old-school boy, I like to stick to the historical meaning of things. So in my entire blog I will abide by the following definitions:

An atheist is someone who sees God’s existence as being very implausible.

An ANTItheist (or New Atheist, militant atheist, atheistic fundamentalist…) is an atheist believing that all religions ought to disappear and that it is morally permissible (if not mandatory) to use ridicule, mockery and emotional bullying to destroy the faith of all religious believers.

A fascistic atheist is an antitheist believing that it is good for the state to introduce laws which would quicken the demise of all religions. A modern example is Richard Dawkins and his suggestion to forbid all kinds of religious educations, even for liberal and progressive religious parents. .

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Of course, the former Soviet Union where countless priests and religious persons were slaughtered or sent to lunatic asylums is another example of fascistic atheism.
Frankly speaking, if the New Atheists were to obtain full political power in the Western world, I would not be stunned if they ended up introducing the same kind of laws an in the Soviet Union.

Image

As antitheists themselves constantly remind us, beliefs (especially irrational ones) can really have dreadful consequences.
If one really views all religions the way they do, namely as one of the most horrendous evils plaguing mankind, it is a very small step to conclude that the end justifies the means.

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On the war on drugs, cannabis and schizophrenia

Deutsche Version: Von dem Krieg gegen Drogen, Cannabis und Schizophrenie

Ever since the end of world war II, the war on drugs has been applauded by many as being the only way to protect the well-being of the citizens of an absolutely democratic state.

One ground rule is that not only are the dealers and Mafia’s bosses criminals, but also the mere drug addicts or even consumers.
Whilst the motivation for this war (keeping society and the individual safe from harm) is certainly laudable in and of itself, there is little doubt that much more moral and efficacious routes can be taken.

As a continental European, I feel dumbfounded while contemplating the huge number of people sitting in north American jails for offences related to Marijuana whereby their own consumption stood at the foreground of their “offence”.

I believe that western democracies would be far better off if the legislation would be modified so that:

  1. the recreational use of any drug will be completely free of any judicial consequence
  2. drug-addicts will neither be sent to prison nor have to pay a fine,

That said, I am very reluctant to legalise any drug, even cannabis.

I came to this view by reading numerous studies pointing towards a link between the use of marijuana and the development of schizophrenia. Only a small minority of joint smokers are concerned by that problem, but Schizophrenia (also popularly called “madness”) is such a terrible lifelong condition that it seems to be moral doing nothing which could increase the number of individuals suffering from it. 

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My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

Schöpfungswiki

(An English version comes soon!)

Für alle von uns, die an Randgruppen interessiert sind, bietet CreatioWiki eine sehr wertvolle Ressource.

Als naturwissenschaftliche Quelle ist es natürlich sehr dubiös, aber es liefert uns tiefe Einsichten in den Geist von Kreationnisten.

Bild

Ich mag besonders diesen Teil über den Evolutionismus:

Herausforderungen an den Evolutionismus

Kreationisten stellen Evolutionismus häufig aufgrund der folgenden Ideen in Frage:

  • Evolutionismus existierte mehr als 2000 Jahre vor Darwin, in den Schriften von Anaximander, Epicur, Lucretius und den Atomisten, sowie in der Philosophie. Es ist daher keie “neue und wissenschaftliche Entwicklung”, sondern das Wiederaufleben sehr alter und spekulativer heidnischer Ideen.
  • Die primären Grundsätze des Evolutionismus sind metaphysisch, anstatt wissenschaftlich. Damit eine Idee wissenschaftlich ist, muss sie testbar sein. Der heutige Evolutionismus geht von der Abwesenheit jeglicher göttlicher Eingriffe in den Ursprung des Lebens aus, aber diese Abwesenheit kann nicht bewiesen oder getestet werden. Dementsprechend, auch wenn es vorstellbar ist, handelt es sich nicht um Wissenschaft, sondern um metaphysische Spekulation.
  • Insoweit sie testbar sind, erwiesen sich die Vorraussagen des Evolutionismus als Fehlschläge. Die gefundenen Fossilien liefern nicht die Übergangsformen, die gemeinsame Vorfahren bestätigen würden. Die geologischen Funde passen besser zum Katastrophismus als zum Uniformitarismus. Der Ursprung des Lebens selbst wurde bisher durch keinen anderen Weg als einen intelligenten, schöpferischen Akt erklärt.
  • Evolutionisten weisen typischerweise auf all die märchenhaften Ansichten von religiösen Ideologisten. Während sie religiöse Sichtweisen auf kindliche Bildung zurückführen, sprechen sie ihren Opponenten jegliche wissenschaftliche Herangehensweise ab und attackieren sie häufig, anstatt ihre Position mit Fakten und Beweisen zu unterstützen.

Über das angebliche wissenschaftliche Vorwissen der Bibel behaupten sie (unter anderem):

Die Bibel und wie Löwen ihre Beute töten

Bis vor kurzem glaubten Zooologen, dass Löwen ihre Beute dadurch töten, dass sie ihr den Nacken durchbeißen oder diesen durch einen Pfotenhieb brechen.[54] 1972 beobachtete George B. Schaller jedoch selbst Löwen über 3 Jahre lang für insgesamt mehr als 2900 Stunden. Er untersuchte zudem die Beute, um herauszufinden, woran sie starb.

Die Bibel besagt:

Der Löwe raubte genug für seine Jungen und würgte für seine Löwinnen. Seine Höhlen füllte er mit Raub und seine Wohnung mit dem, was er zerrissen hatte. Nahum 2:13

Die wörtliche Übersetzung beschreibt die Tötungsmethode als “erwürgen”.[54] Schaller beobachtete:

Sie (die Löwen) schleichen sich heran, stürzen sich auf die Beute, schlagen eine Flanke, reißen das Tier zu Boden und töten es dann langsam durch erwürgen. (Reader’s Digest, June, 1978)

Der Nacken der Beute wird dabei nicht gebrochen.[54] Heute ist dies unter Zoologen weitbekannt.

Da aber Heimschulen in der BRD verboten sind, bezweifle ich, dass ein solches Werkzeug wirksam sein kann, Kinder von Fundamentalisten vor den Gefahren der Evolutionstheorie zu schützen.

Ich hoffe wirklich, dass sie das schliesslich nicht mehr als Bedrohung für ihren Glauben ansehen werden. Der Kreationnismus ist zweifelsohne einer der Hauptgründe, warum Menschen den Christlichen Glauben aufgeben.

 

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Kollision un atheistische Rap (English below)

My blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) (Link Here). 

Is America becoming a police state?

This was the topic of the last post of Arminian theologian Roger Olson, who besides debunking Calvinism deals with social problems plaguing the American society.

ImageHe points out alarming facts concerning abuse of power by the American justice system which most often affect black males, Obama notwithstanding.

If he (and his sources) are right, this is truly depressing.

ImageI like the way he described one experience he did at a court:

My eyes were opened when I recently served as a potential juror in a criminal case in the city/country where I live. I sat with about one hundred fellow citizens of all ages, ethnicities, genders, educational levels, etc., and endured an entire day of being lectured about the American justice system and questioned by the prosecutor and defense attorney (“jury selection”). The defendant was an African-American male. He was charged with possession of cocaine. We potential jurors were informed that, if convicted, he could be sentenced to five to twenty-five years in prison. Also, it was revealed almost as an aside, that if he was convicted he might be sentenced to life in prison. I assume this would be his third conviction.

The defense attorney asked the potential jurors how many of us asked ourselves “What did he do?” when we entered the courtroom and saw the defendant. The majority of hands went up. The defense attorney asked several people “Why did you think that?” Most of them said something like “Well, he had to have done something to be here.” Then the defense attorney asked us, the potential jurors, to choose between two answers to the question what our duty as jurors is. Answer one (clearly displayed on a large screen) was “My duty as a juror is to protect society from people accused of crimes.” The other answer was “My duty as a juror is to protect innocent people who have been wrongly accused of crimes.” Every juror before me affirmed the first answer. When he pointed to me I said “Answer one says ‘accused,’ not ‘convicted. So if I have to choose I choose answer two.” Every juror after me answered two.

I think that the war on drug greatly contributes to this evil state of affair and is responsible for many personal tragedies Afro-Americans are victim of.

He concluded with these words:

I used to watch some of the “police procedural” television shows called “Law and Order” (there were at one time several different but related shows under that “franchise”). Then I stopped when it became clear to me (my opinion) that the shows had an agenda. The police and prosecuting attorneys are almost always right and at least well-intentioned AND are justified in using illegal or at least questionable methods in conducting investigations including interrogations of suspects. (One female police officer frequently threatens young males with being raped in prison if they don’t confess or reveal evidence—as if being raped in prison is a good thing—if you are a criminal. Often it turns out the person she so threatened is innocent but there is rarely if ever an apology given for the terroristic threat.) A contrary show called “Injustice” aired for about six episodes—it was all about a team of attorneys who exonerated innocent convicts.

Our society is biased in favor of law enforcement to the point of turning a blind eye to their abuses of power. That’s how we are evolving into a police state—if we are.

Naked Calvinism: the secret will of God

Youtube Version

All Calvinists who try to be consistent face a  formidable challenge.

On the one hand, they believe that God forbids us to commit sins such as adultery, thief, murder, homosexual lifestyle and so on and so forth.
On the other hand, they also believe that God predetermined and ultimately caused people to carry out all these wicked sins.

To alleviate this tension, they resort to the notion of the secret will of God.

A Calvinist website gives us a nice illustration of how this plays out in practice:

Jan-Massys-Bathsheba-Observed-by-King-David

“Think of David on the roof of his palace looking down and seeing beautiful Bathsheba washing. What was he to do? What was God’s will for him? Surely the Bible makes it plain. The Seventh Commandment states clearly: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. God’s revealed will tells him what God wants him to do. God hates sin and desires His people to obey His commandments. But is there not another will in God? What about predestination and the decrees of God? God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. His plan includes everything and nothing is left to chance. God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph.1 :11). He is not the author of sin and yet, since everything is included in His decrees, sin must be there too. This means that in a certain sense it was God’s will that David commit adultery. Nothing can happen but what God wills and David did commit adultery. The implication of this is that there are two “wills” in God…

…Surely it is impossible to have two “wills” in one individual. From the case of David we see that the two “wills” in God appear to be contradictory. The secret will determines that David should sin while the revealed will tells him that he must not sin. Of course there is no conflict in the mind of God. We find it impossible to understand how God can will that an individual sin and yet not be the author of that sin. What we often forget is that God’s mind is infinitely great. We are grasshoppers in comparison to the One who sits on the circle of the earth. We cannot comprehend God fully and even after an eternity of studying Him He will still be mysterious to us.”

Following my methodology, I won’t really go into the favorite prooftexts that Calvanists use to defend this blasphemous non-sense profound truth, since if I can only show that only one text is hugely at odds with reformed theology, I would have refuted the whole system since it cannot exist without an inerrant Bible.

That said, I cannot help but notice that divine determinism is not the only plausible interpretation of most of the texts they use. It is worth noting that the text explicitely speaking of two wills, namely Leviticus 29.29

 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law”

does not say that these secret things contradict the revealed will of God and it is a stretch to think this is what the author of Leviticus thought.

There are other Biblical texts which make clear that God cannot lie (according to the authors):

Titus 1:2: “[I]n hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”

Hebrews 6:18: “[I]t is impossible for God to lie.”

Calvinists are obliged to considerably water down the meaning of the texts and pretend they just mean that God cannot directly lie but can order men not to rape while predetermining them to commit this very sin.

Jeremiah 32:35 is extremely embarassing for all divine determinists holding fast to Biblical inerrancy.

35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commandednor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.”

d683e2134d1693c9d083cbb42a6f6249

I think it is already very hard to reconcile the non-deceptive character of God with the blue text due to the same reasons I mentioned about David and Bathsheba. But the red text seems to be a fatal blow to all kinds of Calvinist claims.
Reformed apologists do the only thing they can and try to argue that the red phrase has to be considered as an allegory or hyperbole, or that “mind” could be translated as “heart”.
But try a moment to think about what that means.
God predetermined the Israelites to commit these very atrocities. He could have given them other desires but He decided they would sacrifice their children, He is the ultimate cause of their horrible behavior.

And then, while speaking to them, he told them that He never wanted them to commit these horrendous acts, without giving them any indication this was just a figure of speech.

If Calvinism is true and God really spoke at that time, I see only two possibilities: this was either an odious and detestable act of deception or God suffered under a split-brain or multiple personality disorder back then.

Now I know what many Calvinists are going to quote:

““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55.8)

But there is a big irony here. Reading the verse in its immediate context shows it is all about reconciliation, that God invites all evildoers to give up their wicked ways and come back to Him. This verse seems rather to indicate that God is much more loving, much more forgiving than any man can be and even than any man could ever imagine to be.
For reformed theologians, this verse means than God is probably more vicious than the worst criminal who has ever lived.

A mathematical proof of Bayesianism?

This is going to be another boring post (at least for most people who are not nerds).

However before approaching interesting questions such as the existence of God, morality and history a sound epistemology (theory of knowledge) must already be present. During most (heated) debates between theists and atheists, people tend to take for granted many epistemological principles which are very questionable.

This is why I spend a certain amount of my time exploring such questions, as a groundwork for more applied discussions.

I highly recommand all my reader to first read my two other posts on the concept of probability before reading what follows.

Bayesianism is a theory of knowledge according to which our degrees of belief in theories are well defined probabilities taking on values between 0 and 1.

According to this view, saying that string theory has a probability of 0.2 to be true is as meaningful as saying that a normal dice randomly thrown has a probability of 1/6 to produce a “3”.

Bayesians like asserting over and over again that it is mathematically proven to say we ought to compute the likelihood of all beliefs according to the laws of probability and first and foremost Bayes formula:

BayesGeneral

Here I want to debunk this popular assertion. Bayes theorem can be mathematically proven for frequential probabilities but there is no such proof that ALL our degrees of belief behave that way.

Let us consider (as an example) the American population (360 millions people) and two features a person might have.

CE (Conservative Evangelical): the individual believes that the Bible contains no error.

God-said-it-believe-it-1

FH (Fag Hating): the individual passionately hates gay people.

homobashing

Let us suppose that 30% of Americans are CE and that 5.8% of Americans hate homosexuals.

The frequencies are f(CE) = 0.30 and f(FH) = 0.058

Let us now consider a random event: you meet an American by chance.
What is the probability that you meet a CE person and what is the probability that you meet a FH individual?
According to a frequentist interpretation, the probability equals the frequency of meeting such kinds of persons given a very great (actually infinite) number of encounters.
From this it naturally follows that p(CE) = f(CE) = 0.30 and p(FH) = f(FH) = 0.058

Let us now introduce the concept of conditional probability: if you meet a Conservative Evangelical, what is the probability that he hates faggots p(FH|CE)? (the | stands for „given“).

If you meet a fag-hating person, what is the probability that he believes in Biblical inerrancy p(CE|FH)?

To answer these questions (thereby proving Bayes theorem) it is necessary to get back to our consideration of frequencies.

Let us consider that 10% of all Conservative Evangelicals and 4% of people who are not CE hate faggots: f(FH/CE) = 0.1 and f(FH/CE) = 0.04. The symbol ⌐ stands for the negation (denial) of a proposition.

The proportion of Americans who are both conservative Evangelicals and fag-haters is f(FHCE) = f(FH/CE)*f(CE) = 0.1*0.3 = 0.03.

The proportion of Americans who are NOT conservative Evangelicals but fag-haters is f(FH∩⌐CE) = f(FH/⌐CE)*f(⌐CE) = 0.04*0.7 = 0.028.

Logically the frequency of fag-haters in the whole American population is equal to the sum of the two proportions:

f(FH) = f(FHCE) + f(FH∩⌐CE) = 0.03 + 0.028 = 0.058

But what if we are interested to know the probability that a person is a conservative Evangelical IF that person hates queers p(CE|FH)?

This corresponds to the frequency(proportion) of Conservative Evangelicals among Fag-Haters: f(CE|FH).

We know that f(FHCE) = f(CE∩FH) = f(CE|FH)*f(FH)

Thus f(CE|FH) = f(FH∩CE) / f(FH)

FagBayesFrequencies

Given a frequentist interpretation of probability, this entails that

FagBayes

which is of course Bayes theorem. We have mathematically proven it in this particular case but the rigorous mathematical demonstration would be pretty much the same given events expressable as frequencies.

If you meet an American who hates gays, the probability that he is a Conservative Evangalical is 51.72% (given the validity of my starting values above).

But let us now consider the Bayesian interpretation of probability (our degree of confidence in a theory) in a context having nothing to do with frequencies.

Let S be “String theory is true“ and UEP “an Undead Elementary Particle has been detected during an experience in the LHC“.

StringTheory

In that context, the probabilities correspond to our confidence in the truth of theories and hypotheses.

We have no compelling grounds for thinking that

StringBayes

, that is to say that is the way our brains actually work or ought to work that way in order to strive for truth.

The mathematical demonstration used to prove Bayes theorem relies on related frequencies and cannot be employed in a context where propositions (such as S and UEP) cannot be understood as frequencies.
Considering ALL our degrees of beliefs like probabilities is a philosophical decision and not an inevitable result of mathematics.

I hope that I have been not too boring for lay people.

Now I have a homework for you: what is the probability that Homeschooling Parents would like to employ my post as an introduction to probability interpretation, given that they live in the Bible Belt  p(HP|BB)?

Image Of Thomas Bayes