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Ask An Atheist Anything

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posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 11:56 AM
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Is it true atheists have lazy minds and are not capable of deep thought?




posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
What is an atheist's motivation in "converting" a person of faith, whether through reasoned logic, or simple belittlement (or anything in between, I've heard a lot of it)?


I frankly have no interest whatsoever in "converting" anyone to atheism. People are free to believe as they choose. I suspect that people who do wish to change people's theistic beliefs to a non-theistic one could arise from a number of motivations: zealotry, frustration, victimization, etc. arising from prior religious experiences.


If there is nothing beyond this, my simple faith has led me to lead a life that is less self-serving and more considerate of those around me. Telling me I'm an idiot for doing so benefits neither me, you, or society at large.


I wouldn't tell you that you're an idiot for your faith. I'm glad that you found a method for good morality. Frankly, my lack of belief in an afterlife inspires a similar desire for good morality. If there's no gods and nothing beyond death the most important thing has to be this life. Why not make the most of it and do the best for yourself and for others? I would neither regard you as an idiot because of faith or me an idiot for a lack thereof, as what counts in the end is that we both remain decent, civilized human beings.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:01 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by 547000
What do you think "you" are?

Are you the energy running through your brain, or are you the brain itself?


I believe my consciousness is the product of millions of synaptic pulses and impulses. "Who I am" is a subjective opinion made by myself and others.



Where does the energy behind all this go once you've died? What part of you truly ends upon death?



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:02 PM
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reply to post by SPACEYstranger
 


Thats interesting. I would have said its the opposite.

Atheists can imagine, speculate and theorise just the same as anybody else. I personally have great fun doing so, if not i probably wouldn't have found my way here :-)

The difference is it takes evidence before any of those fun speculations will turn into something I will accept as reality.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by ohsnaptruth
isn't it also possible that thought can affect the physical world without bodily action?

PS. Thank you for the thread!


Not in any direct sense. Ideas can be transfered which could affect the world but at some point physical action must come in to play. We may discover something different some day but to date there doesn't seem to be any evidence favoring such an idea.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by LightFantastic
Question: Do you think you would believe in a diety if you grew up with a few other people on a desert island with no external knowledge? Theists can answer this one too.


Pascal wrote of a "God shaped hole" in ourselves that we instinctively want to fill. The craving for meaning and understanding in our lives. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, I think that most of us would agree that something in our psyche wants to know whether what we see is all there is, and if there is any meaning to our existence.

If one were to live under your conditions, I have no doubt that the inhabitants would experience the same thing. What they would fill it with, in the lack of any knowledge of God, is impossible to guess, but I would expect that it would tend towards the supernatural, than, for example, developing a coconut or sand snorting habit.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:07 PM
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Originally posted by pharaohmoan
Is it true atheists have lazy minds and are not capable of deep thought?


Perhaps some are but the ones I've met have been highly cerebral. Conversely, theists often take an intellectually easy route of invoking gods to explain things beyond the frontiers of our current knowledge.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:09 PM
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Originally posted by 547000

Where does the energy behind all this go once you've died? What part of you truly ends upon death?


The energy doesn't "go" anywhere.
The body simply loses it's ability to keep producing it.

[edit on 15-7-2010 by traditionaldrummer]



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:17 PM
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Mass-energy is neither created nor destroyed, so it has to go somewhere.

What happens in death that causes a fully functional apparatus like the human body to suddenly cease it's normal functioning? Why do people start rotting after they die instead of keeping on functioning like nothing really happened?

[edit on 15-7-2010 by 547000]



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by 547000

Where does the energy behind all this go once you've died? What part of you truly ends upon death?


The energy doesn't "go" anywhere.
The body simply loses it's ability to keep producing it.

[edit on 15-7-2010 by traditionaldrummer]


Agreed. From a scientific perspective, energy is energy because it's ready to be spent. Where energy exists, nature tries to pull it away and spread it out until it becomes useless (kinda like socialism!). Existence will continue to head down energy gradients... at death, we stop fighting this and just flow downhill. Hence, we decompose, all nervous activity ceases to function, the blood stops flowing; things slow down, and we lose our "energy" as the heat escapes our flesh...

Or, more likely, the guy was talking about mystical "soul" energy that scientists don't believe in.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:22 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


Well the science book from the 2nd grade
says you are wrong



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:24 PM
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reply to post by pondrthis
 


96% of all scientists in the world believe in that the energy moves on to other forms. So its written in science books. Get the facts straight


Minneapolis Science Facility



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:29 PM
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Energy losses upon death:

-First stage: the electrochemical potentials across membranes which allow signal transduction (and thus brain/muscle function) approach thermal equilibrium.
-Second stage: Individual cell energy stores in the form of oxygen/saccharides or ATP dwindle as proteins convert this energy into nano-scale motion/vibration/heat.
-Final stage: The heat produced when the first two stages' potentials drop is released into the environment, subtly warming the surrounding area (as a live being does).

Without further respiration and digestion, the cycle of taking in energy and releasing energy stops. That's all.

Edit to add: Yes, the energy does change forms. It becomes heat, which is released into the surroundings. You want to play these games with me? I'm a PhD student in biomedical engineering at the top of my class. We can play, punk.

[edit on 15-7-2010 by pondrthis]



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by 547000
Mass-energy is neither created nor destroyed


Right.
So what is it in death that violates this concept?



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:36 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


The problem is people are seeing a living being as an energy CONTAINER rather than an energy CIRCUIT. We aren't a tub, we're more like a capacitor.

We're constantly taking in (mostly chemical) and releasing (mostly heat/kinetic) energy. Shortly after we die, we stop taking in energy and continue to release energy as heat until there's nothing left. JUST like a capacitor.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by brilab45
There were times in my life I thought I was going to go down the athiesm path. However sophisticated and well argued athiests are though, they fall short on common mathmatical sense.

Lets talk about energy, lets talk about it on a quantum basis. On a quantum basis everything is cojoined. Nothing dies.
everything is immortal. It's a scientific fact. Energy does not die.

I do not care about the death of my personality. I can't wait to shed this life. Like a snake leaving behind its old skin. Can't wait.

Look at the stars, look at your friends and family. Even your pets. Love is an unquantifiable measurement. Look at the beauty of the Earth and of other people.

Nothing can be without purpose. We as humans are limited in our senses. There is more to life and I won't be marginalized or shamed in my spiritual belief system.

I may be critical about others religous beliefs, but we are far more than the sum of the atoms that make us human. DNA is quite complex. It would take billions of years to create a human from scratch based on loose scientific data (primordial soup theory).

We came from something far greater. No doubt in my mind. Not faith. Just an intuitive knowing.


Just because energy doesn't die doesn't mean it doesn't dissipate.
Your energy doesn't stay wound up in a ball in your head or something, it seeps into the ground and gets converted, bugs use it, etc.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by Romans 10:9
I see things in an objective self evident light.


Things that are "self-evident" are subjective, not objective. And I tend to rely on objective evidence to form my opinion, not subjective experience. Thanks for your discussion. I have enjoyed it.


'Self-evident' in that these things are objectively true and undeniable, sir.

And not to bring up the tired and worn out Pascal but, you had better be right.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by pondrthis
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


The problem is people are seeing a living being as an energy CONTAINER rather than an energy CIRCUIT. We aren't a tub, we're more like a capacitor.

We're constantly taking in (mostly chemical) and releasing (mostly heat/kinetic) energy. Shortly after we die, we stop taking in energy and continue to release energy as heat until there's nothing left. JUST like a capacitor.


100% agreed. The mistaken belief in "souls" combined with rudimentary scientific literacy is responsible for too many misbeliefs and pseudoscientific bunkum.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by brilab45
Look at the stars, look at your friends and family. Even your pets. Love is an unquantifiable measurement. Look at the beauty of the Earth and of other people.

Nothing can be without purpose. We as humans are limited in our senses. There is more to life and I won't be marginalized or shamed in my spiritual belief system.


You know, plenty of Atheists find purpose and beauty without the objective value the existence of a god provides.

I personally find beauty without (or due to a lack of!) meaning or purpose. In fact, if I suddenly discovered that god existed, it would undermine my sense of beauty!

I feel like nature is something to marvel at precisely because spontaneity and luck have (possibly, I'm agnostic) created such a marvelous thing as existence. Thinking that God is out there and on your side is comforting... but so is realizing that the laws of physics make the creation of a species which can experience joy utterly inevitable!

Ponder that.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by Romans 10:9
'Self-evident' in that these things are objectively true and undeniable, sir.

And not to bring up the tired and worn out Pascal but, you had better be right.


If you operate as a theist you are by default employing subjective interpretations as there remains no objective evidence to support the existence of a deity.

Pascal's Wager is without question one of the worst philosophical premises with which to live your life. I could devote an entire other thread to the inherent problems with his proposition. But let's just say that it's an astonishingly unpersuasive suggestion.



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