19th June 2008

“Agnostics can't shout 'I believe in rational debate' and then throw a hand-grenade at someone.”

Andy Hamilton

16 Responses to “19th June 2008”

  1. bill Says:

    I’m probably not getting the message from this one.

    Not knowing if there is a God or not does not mean you cannot also believe in rational debate, and neither of those directly means that you cannot believe in war or fighting.

    Atheists and the religious are both people and can both believe in rational debate and war. Can this be explained a bit more, please?

  2. Kristofer Says:

    I think he is saying agnostics can’t do crime with a god as justification. Also, that using a supernatural god as justification for throwing hand grenades is not rational.

    Those were my impressions of the quote, but in this case I think the quote could really use some surrounding context to know what he really means.

    Okay just listened to where it came from apparently.
    You can listen to the audio here, kinda self explanatory when you hear it. http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/10/an_agnostic_arm.html

  3. Chris Says:

    I think the author’s general point that agnosticism is generally not a cause for violence is right and defensible but you can see the silly apologists forming the word “Stalin” on their lips now. How many times in history has the rallying cry been “Conquer those filthy church goers in the cause of non-belief!”?

    I’d be remiss not to point out here that even though people may not kill in the service of atheism that doesn’t preclude atheists from serving in the military. There are in fact very many foxhole atheists even though the military is one of the most uncomfortable places for them to be. The preaching that goes on there is epic. Just imagine if the Mormon missionary that interrupts your day off was carrying an automatic rifle.

  4. George K. Says:

    Atheist quotations may be amusing and interesting, but how they may be inspiring? There is something empty and dead about them. God is not a made up mythological creature, it is more about “something else” in a human being

  5. Critic Says:

    God is not a made up mythological creature,

    Until you can, in a scientifically defensible manner, prove otherwise, logic dictates that all gods ever conceived by humanity are merely made up mythological creatures. This is true no matter how strongly you believe in god.

    it is more about “something else” in a human being

    If you cannot define and measure this “something else” it is merely another empty idea born from ignorance.

  6. Chris Says:

    And that something else would seem to be arrogance. The “there has to be something greater than ourselves” argument. But why does this have to be true? Why argue for it? Because without it, we’re merely the latest and so far most sophisticated animal to occupy the top rung on this planets food chain. Does anyone on this board fail to experience awe? Profundity? Love? No. But we would deny that these complicated emotions required any kind of a creator beyond the natural processes that gave rise to all life on Earth. What you’re feeling isn’t the soul, it’s the hardwiring of a social brain evolved over millions of years. Darwin showed us how something as wondrous as a human eye could evolve from a simple eye-spot. Our emotions and abstract thought are no different from this. An appreciation of the natural world is quite inspiring, and even more, forces upon it’s practitioner a responsibility of stewardship that “God gave us this planet” can’t match.

  7. Hammy Says:

    Great quote

  8. Bornagain A. Theist Says:

    Agnostics and atheists can, indeed, shout, “I believe in rational debate” and then throw a hand grenade at someone. One must view the hand grenade as a metaphor; even the author of the comment must do so.

    Often, rational debates are “won” when one of the parties “drops a bomb” that the other party cannot recover from. Getting the theists to the point of non-recovery can be most challenging. Showing that Jesus is clearly a liar based on the theists own holy book through the use of passages such as “Ask anything in my name and I will do it for you…” doesn’t have the immediate impact that most non-theists would hope for, but it is, indeed, a metaphorical hand grenade, for it is certainly not irrational.

  9. Chris Says:

    Is that why I never get the pie I keep asking Jesus for? Damn. I’d have thought it a pretty simple request for a guy who could resurrect himself. All I ever get are these damn shitty wafers and wine with backwash in it. Catholic tip – sit up front so you get first crack at the wine.

  10. God Says:

    God is not a made up mythological creature

    Yes I am!

  11. George K. Says:

    All said is true and dull.
    Logic doesn’t inspire. I believe the human being is “something more” than just a highly developed animal.
    Is really the perspective to gaze peacefully on this planet such a stimulating and motivating idea?

  12. Critic Says:

    All said is true and dull.

    No, it is awe inspiring, exciting and joyful.

    The universe is an almost unimaginably vast, complex and wonderful place and we humans, for the first time in the existence of the earth are able to begin to understand the universe in all of it’s intimate details. That is a truly awesome and grand realization.

    What could be more exciting that to know that you have all the means necessary (as a species) to completely understand your existence? No intermediaries, no petty and vengeful creator. Just your collective knowledge slowly piece by piece understanding your existence.

    The joy and inspiration that knowing you are a highly developed animal who has a deep and clear understanding of how you got here, what your potential is and that this life is the only life and therefore the most joyful life that you will live is such an uplifting thought that I can’t imagine a better perspective from which to live a complete and fulfilled life.

    My life is not given to me to live according to some plan not devised by me and then taken from me according to that plan. I am alive and living the unknown one day at a time knowing that every today is important, perhaps the most important, day of my life. My rationalistic view informs my life – whatever I am doing right now (posting to some website, doing a bit of work at the office, reading a book, exercising, biking, hiking, sipping gin-and-tonic on the patio, staring dreamily up at the clouds floating by, hanging out with friends and family, etc.) is an important part of my life and, at this point in time, is the most important part of my life.

    My atheism gives me an immediate, deep and abiding joy that no religion could ever achieve.

  13. Hypatia Says:

    Logic doesn’t inspire.

    Actually it does – because through logic we can explore and understand the world around us, and develop technologies that are initially beyond our limited imaginations.

    Conversely, superstition and speculation doesn’t inspire. They lead to intellectual stagnation and delusion.

    Sure, there are people who work themselves up in a religious frenzy and appear to achieve some kind of “high”. But I compare this to drug abuse. Ultimately, there is a downside. There is also the fact that the relief from the fear of death claimed for religion wouldn’t be necessary if religion didn’t make people fear death in the first place.

  14. George K. Says:

    (to Critic) Well.. it doesn’t seem that bright after 20 years of staring at the clouds and noticing that your family and friends are getting older ( without any logical reason ) and your devised life-plan doesn’t get too far.
    Finally you realize the clouds are beautiful but they don’t care much about you and your family just as clueless about what’s going on as you are.
    What’s good to be a highly-developed animal if you are less happy than a tree. At least a tree doesn’t know about death.
    An then you may start asking questions instead of giving answers.

  15. Critic Says:

    Well George, if your looking for psychoanalysis, I’m not qualified. But…..

    One and one’s friends and family get older because time is passing. Seems very logical to me.

    Your devised life plan should be flexible to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. If not, you are bound to be disappointed.

    As for being clueless as to what’s going on – there is nothing “going on.” Life is unfolding on a day-to-day basis with no plan and no reason. You infuse it with purpose….or you don’t.

    Inflicting trees with emotions is not a very logical thing to do. I would forget that analogy if I were you.

    And, finally, I don’t think I understand this last statement,

    An then you may start asking questions instead of giving answers.

    Care to enlighten me?

  16. George K. Says:

    Why is it logical that time passes by?
    This is just a fact of our life that we found empirically but there is no “scientific” explanation for it or for the fact of aging either.
    To “infuse the life with purpose” – it is what I mean. There is no meaning in the nature, we fill it with the meaning. That’s what “God” does. He may(it,whatever) infuse and inspire his creation with the meaning.
    You’re free refuse it and be with “life unfolding without plan and reason” but I personally find this grass-like existence very unexciting
    What I am saying is that “God” is in this faint feeling of “something else”
    and I see it in the Bible and Koran