1. avatar AtheismNI
    My first post!
    We are aware that in our country, a place of highly politically motivated behavior and upbringing, there is a distinct lack of willingness to stand up to both religion and those who use religion to further their own political and social needs.

    Atheism: Northern Ireland is in the ongoing process of being set up to act for those that are not in the slightest bit bothered about God, Allah, Thor or Zeus. We will be looking to report and cover the various religious news stories that constantly shape our country, as well as showing an atheist perspective on these.

    We are looking for writers and contributers to the current blog, which can be found at:

    www.atheismni.com

    If you are interested and would like to submit an application for review, please contact:

    atheism_ni@hotmail.co.uk

    Leave a name and how you wish you contribute if at all. Those with faith, need not apply.

    Remember, we are all born atheists.

    Thank you!
    Jason.
  2. avatar tinpot anto
    As an atheist can I just say, Jesus Christ what a terrible idea. :-)
  3. avatar fastfude
    Are you sure you dont't need a bassist?
  4. avatar Chi-Lite
    I couldn't be more in favour of this. There's an essential and immediate need for the atheist community in this totalitarian religo-fascist theocracy to have some way of expressing itself online. Otherwise, well, we might just as well be living in the middle ages!! Burning witches!!!! and murdering clever people!!!!!!!!! Wake up you fools!!!!!!!!!!
  5. avatar machinehead
    What has god ever done to you? She won't be happy with this carry on.;)
  6. avatar belezabaub
    "When I look at something as complex, intricate and beautiful as Professor Richard Dawkins, I don't think that could have evolved by chance."
    Stewart Lee
  7. avatar belezabaub
    double post
  8. avatar Bileofwood
    Nah, I think this is a good idea. I hate driving about the country and seeing these bloody awful slogans promising eternal suffering if you reject gods infinite love. You never see the reverse publicly touted though.

    It shouldn't be necessary, but at the end of the day people are very easily led. If people keep seeing one side of the "argument" emblazoned about the place then they're more likely to give more weight to it. As long as the counter argument isn't as rabid as the godbrigade.

    I'm too lazy to contribute, mind.
  9. avatar Dirty Stevie Grizz
    Should make for an interesting read. OH WAIT.
  10. avatar Chi-Lite
    Can we just cut out the middleman and have a load of stuart lee quotes?

    I don't really see the point in having a forum specifially for the atheist perspective on religious stories. It's like a football column in a newspaper written by somebody who vociferously hates football. If you also don't like football you might think its good craic for a while, but after the first few columns you're gonna be thinking "alright, we know you don't like it, why not just fuck up about it?"
  11. avatar whipchorus
    you're gonna be thinking "alright, we know you don't like it, why not just fuck up about it?"


    But enough about Stewart Lee
  12. avatar sailorbill
    Sounds like the most boring pile of balls ever.
  13. avatar deejill
    boring maybe. but it could always be worse.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDVMz8nUwt4
  14. avatar Snipergoat
    [quote:dd0ec261ac]"When I look at something as complex, intricate and beautiful as Professor Richard Dawkins, I don't think that could have evolved by chance."
    Stewart Lee[/quote:dd0ec261ac]

    'Chance' has nothing to do with evolution. Mr Lee would do well to actually read a book about it.
  15. avatar JoePineapples
    Here's my contribution - a song by Hunneysuckle called No Jesus

    http://soundcloud.com/hunneysuckle/hunneysuckle-hunneysuckle-full
  16. avatar belezabaub
    Evolution is as much a product of the industrial revolution as the steam engine. The theory of evolution didn't evolve by chance.

    I would argue that the theory of evolution is an essential part of capitalist society; but I neither have the time nor the evidence to back up such whimsical claims.

    People should spend more time wondering about why they believe what they believe rather than telling others what they believe.
  17. avatar like4jamin
    By all means you should speak our your opinions. Just remember, the religious types are entitled to their opinions too. Try and play nice and respect their own views. I don't really give a fuck though to be honest. I just wanna jam :)
  18. avatar LinebackerDirge
    Give it to me straight...
  19. avatar kevinmullan
    im very pro-atheism, i think religion is a giant global conspiricy biult on naivety and ignorance but....what the fuck does this have to do with music?
  20. avatar whipchorus
    Another thread where the agnostic view comes up smelling of roses on the internet.


    But carry on.
  21. avatar loveisthelaw
    What do you call someone who doesn't believe in reincarnation? Selfish. As an ex atheist, atheism is a form of rebeilion ecspecailly to those in northern ireland tradionally born in-to a christian persuasion. Also Thor Zeus Allah are only a few of many Gods/Deities call it what you will. Admitadly organised religion has flaws, I used to despise Christians but now I despise Atheists more. Partly because Atheism is more in vouge now than when I was a Richard Dawkins of the day & partly because non believing stems from ignorance and those who don't believe in a here after must not want to be a live and lack the determination to want to end it all. That is why I beleive not to believe in reincarnation is the height of selfishness. As a well seasoned spiritualist,I was once the type who disregarded such things as non existant mumbo jumbo, simply to escape insecurities but, things happened to make me have a change of heart. That is why I tell people to think twice before making blunt statements about what they don't believe in.

    'Dawkins is a prick of the highest degree. For an Atheist, he is very evangelical about his non-beliefs and making anyone who disagrees with him feel like the brown stuff on the end of his shoe.That is a problem because majority of Athiests turn to Atheism because they've growen up with the bible being forced down their throat.
  22. avatar thec64s
    Snipergoat Sun 24th Jul 2011, 10:13 am

    'Chance' has nothing to do with evolution. Mr Lee would do well to actually read a book about it.

    *********

    'Chance' or random genetic mutation is a cornerstone of evolution. It has everything to do with it.

    To make a comment as bluntly opinionated yet obviously wrong suggests a science troll to me though..
  23. avatar thec64s
    loveisthelaw:
    What do you call someone who doesn't believe in reincarnation? Selfish. As an ex atheist, atheism is a form of rebeilion ecspecailly to those in northern ireland tradionally born in-to a christian persuasion.

    __________

    Doesn't mention any of that under the dictionary definition of the word.

    Why do people always misrepresent what it means?

    Regardless of what you are, or what you observe, an atheist either implicitly or explicitly is without the belief in god.

    That's it.
  24. avatar Stuntman Steve
    [quote:cf2cfda296]non believing stems from ignorance[/quote:cf2cfda296]

    really? in all cases?...what a load of balls.


    quite often, the disproofs of a deity and consequently, an afterlife, are found in scientific text books. the content of which is based on rigorous and often painstaking observation and reseach, which is then shared with the world for it to be rigorously and painstakingly scrutinised before it can be dubbed a proof or a fact. to me, that holds more weight and foundation than a book written 2000 years ago.

    perhaps then, you are the ignorant one? choosing still to believe in an after life despite all this disproof. but ill assume you are not, and that you have indeed given due consideration to all arguements and that you have come to your conclusion that you believe...simply because you believe (which is fine by me).

    but for those who don't believe, don't call them all ignorant.

    its almost as annoying as richard dawkins, who i do find to be a bit of a prick (and im a science teacher).

    in case my point has been lost: i'm still undecided on the whole thing (go on, tell me to get off the fence, i've heard it all before), but saying that non believing stems from ignorance is a sweeping generalisation and is wrong. in such a case, you can rightly be called ignorant too.
  25. avatar Chi-Lite
    [quote:69ac003030]quite often, the disproofs of a deity and consequently, an afterlife, are found in scientific text books[/quote:69ac003030]

    By "quite often" I take it you mean "never"?

    "Non-believing" simply stems from an intellectual attitude that many people may hold at particular times in their lives. It is generally not based on science, though its often accompanied by a "science of the gaps" argument.

    as a science teacher, surely you must know this.

    Happy days, an argument about atheism on Fastfude!
  26. avatar Stuntman Steve
    are you saying that athiests never find reasoning for their lack of belief in science texts? i know its not always the case, hence why i said "quite often". you yourself said :

    [quote:0b7d0f0ee2]It is generally not based on science[/quote:0b7d0f0ee2]

    which surely means that sometimes it is based on science.

    a belief shouldnt require proof if you ask me, hence it is called a belief. and thats why it is perfectly acceptable for scientific scholars to still believe.

    i see your point, but your splitting hairs though.

    my arguement is that calling all nonbelievers ignorant simply isn't the case and isn't fair and shouldnt be tolerated as indeed calling all believers ignorant shouldnt be tolerated either.
  27. avatar Chi-Lite
    Fair enough, I was responding to your statement that "the disproofs(sic) of a deity...are found in scientific textbooks"

    Yes, sometimes atheists feel supported in their non-belief by certain scientific texts and their implications, but i've yet to see any "disproofs"

    And anyway, it all depends what you mean by "proof". But fair enough
  28. avatar Stuntman Steve
    i see, clearly to THEM these texts are indeed "disproofs". I didn't mean that they are universal "disproofs".
  29. avatar Leif Bodnarchuk
    i believe it is undeniable to say that SOMETHING happened, at SOME point to get us where we are.

    i think it's fine to call this process God. You can also call it Basil Brush, Big Bang, or the Cosmic Lobster Pot. Nobody knows for sure what it was, so all we have are theories and names. i'll bet some are credible, some are just crazy. Whatever.

    There's just not enough time in one's life to fully compartmentalise (let alone fully comprehend and experience) what this whole universe is made of.

    Whatever the case, in order to be kind and decent, nobody on the planet needs to know whether God is a dude with a white beard or a big bang. Live and let live, yo.
  30. avatar BinaryOperator
    We're all just meat machines.

    I don't give a fuck what you believe in in terms of a deity but if you do believe in anything "spiritual" I think you're a wee bit mental, and possibly a whole lot mental.

    A WHOLE LOT MENTAL.

    Religious people scare the fuck out of me. YOU CRAZY. YOU ALL CRAZY.
  31. avatar Chi-Lite
    You see, I think "meaning" is spiritual, in that the concepts expressed by the words you've just typed can't be found in the electro-chemical firing of neurons in your brain. You may well find a correlation, and even causation between the neuron firings and the concepts, but the two aren't the same thing.

    I think anybody who's a complete thorough-going materialist is a wee bit mental too. It doesn't make sense, because materialistic explanations can't account for meaning.
  32. avatar Chi-Lite
    Double bloody post
  33. avatar Recycled Alien
    "meaning" is just something that the wee neurons firing in your brain have made up.
  34. avatar Leif Bodnarchuk
    i'm not sure myself what 'spiritual' means exactly, but there are lots of people who are inclined to say they are just that. And if a whole lot of people do something, there's probably something in it they find beneficial.
    I imagine when a load of Atheists get together, they have a good time, talking about whatever they like to talk about. i think it's important to point out that there is some sort of human connection there that goes beyond everyday logic. Sometimes you like something without knowing why you like it.

    People seek both comfort in believing something, and relationships with people who share similar beliefs. And if 'not-believing' is a belief, then more power to 'em.

    Whatever. To me, a bunch of people getting together and declaring what they believe, how they live, and how it's so different from the way others live, is pretty close to religion. Not faith, mind you - religion.

    Binary, can 'meat machines' have an outlook?

    i don't imagine cats have an outlook. Humans do. We're a bizarre bunch.

    I do like that term, by the way:D
  35. avatar Nature*Boy
    [quote:6e32cb5a5a]can 'meat machines' have an outlook?[/quote:6e32cb5a5a]

    Are we really our bodies? Or are we the 'ghost in the machine'?
  36. avatar loveisthelaw
    All months take their name from roman prophets, alined to the zodiac, which we are all born under. So, to disregard an ancient text back dating centuries upon centuries ago as being nothing more than a mere fairy tale or dillusion of grandure is ignorance to me. The cliche "It's all in your head" is not the same as to be a fragment of imagination, because everyone has blood and brains in their head and wouldn't be able to function with-out either.

    Painters and composers relied on comissions from royal and religious orders. There are many artists of sorts all around the world and using this forum and have been inspired by the "greats" of previous centuries to some extent however big or small & that to me is a contradiction to not believe.

    Think of all the inspirational figures who from belief in a supreme being peaked in both their career and as virtuos members of society, & as a consequence became inducted as Freemasons. None of those things would have happened if they were Atheists. Belief in a supreme being allows a human being to inspire the future generation.

    All in all atheism and non atheism is equally as corrupt on the surface but, the first step to evolution is telling ones self they can improve society by improving themselves
  37. avatar Leif Bodnarchuk
    i've said for some time now, to get to know people, is to get to know their religion. Much of religion is faith-based, but much of it is also simple stuff; like forgiveness. In this country, we could all do with a bit more of that, whether it's based on fear of hell, or cause-and-effect.

    To me, there are more pressing issues than who or what we credit with the creation of the universe.

    Can science teach forgiveness? What did Einstein have to say about tolerance, and how do you prove it exists? Can you isolate the tolerance mechanism?
    How do you deal with a fear of death? God? Medicine?

    Different strokes for different folks. Whatever works for you. Obviously, if you wave "god hates fags' placards at funerals, you're going to ruffle feathers. If you just get on with your life, living it the way that makes most sense for you and your friends, you're on to a winner. So get on with it.
  38. avatar Chi-Lite
    Ha, yes, well, it's all very well saying that, and I dont disagree.
    Very few people really do though.
    Religion tells ye about why that is too.
  39. avatar flightstrip
    religion and politics etc have no place on a music forum!i dont give a fuck wot any of u believe or dont believe tbh.its a personal thing and not something to be shoved in other peoples faces.thats how fuckin wars start.in my opinion binary operator sorta gets it.ask any ex military person who has served in an active war zone and he will certainly tell you...'we are just fuckin meat!!'
  40. avatar Chi-Lite
    Stop shoving your opinion in my face!
  41. avatar flightstrip
    :lol:
    [img:38d599fe3f]http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/dvdreviews38/life%20of%20brian%20blu-ray/c2.jpg[/img:38d599fe3f]
  42. avatar churchwarden
    [quote:76efa28d95]Can science teach forgiveness? What did Einstein have to say about tolerance, and how do you prove it exists? Can you isolate the tolerance mechanism[/quote:76efa28d95]

    "Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population." Albert Einstein

    ..guess you knew that anyway, since he is one of the better known lefty science people and has many memorable quotes for suppporting social justice


    This debate seems to be an entertainingly annual one on fastfude - must be a sign of the coming of winter when the athiests vrs the the religious thread starts on fastfude


    Just go for agnosticism for everything - things may or not be true until some proves it one way or the other
  43. avatar isis
    ohh, to post or not to post...I can't resist!!

    Correct me if I'm wrong but did the cruisades not kill more people than Hitler? Even when missionaries go to developing countries they use the gift of food and medicine to bribe people into changing their religion thus loosing their own culture and traditions. Can they not give the food even if people do not convert to Christianity?

    It is a form of control...the fear of God.

    At the same time, I don't know whether I would read a blog about atheism...I distrust religion an awful lot, mainly as most of the text has been edited so much that you really cannot trust what you are reading and secondly I do not wish to follow an organisation that classes me as a female as a second class citizen. Not to mention their judgmental and often damaging views on sexuality and censorship.

    But most of all, I don't care about religion, that is why I don't follow it. Why would I want to read about atheism. I think I'm missing something. Is it a protest publication?
  44. avatar sloppyjoe
    Does the resurrection of this thread mean that there is life after death?
  45. avatar isis
    apparently so...Sorry, think that was my fault! :(
  46. avatar chuckbilliards
    I'm just wondering who's going to steal "meat machines" as a band name/song first :lol:
  47. avatar Nature*Boy
    I bet it won't be a string quartet :D
  48. avatar Leif Bodnarchuk
    Surely every meat machine that's ever died on a battlefield was loved by someone, once.

    i think politics and religion are fine for a music forum - after all, they're perfectly acceptable topics for music.

    People sell cars, house contents, and whatever else on this forum, why not ideas too?
  49. avatar Nature*Boy
    Ditto.
  50. avatar flightstrip
    i like this thread now its turned silly!


    Idea for sale,in as new condition,only used once 15000 ovno
  51. avatar Brendzo
    stick this in your pipe and toke it

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YaiuIMZNZkU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  52. avatar thec64s
    People posting here that don't understand why these topics are important for discussion surely don't realise the damage religion does to society?

    There are people here posting "why should I follow it" or even the hearty suggestion of "just go for agnosticism until things are proven one or the other"..

    A good reason for reading on viewpoints for both sides here is that religion massively affects our society, more often than not in extremely negative ways. And remember that these organisations and faculties never were as transparent and accountable as they are today ie. every day is better than the next, and every previous day has always been a darker one.

    You don't need to read a blog on atheism to understand it - the dictionary definition is explanatory enough. Take it from there if you're interested but when someone brings a viewpoint the worst thing to see is someone responding with a "meh".
  53. avatar Chi-Lite
    I'd say the reason there are so many "meh"s is that most people can recognise it for the steaming great pile of faux-rebel pish it actually is.

    Blaming "religion" for all the world's wrongs is a silly, facile, childish view to hold.

    It's like blaming "politics" for the state of the world. No you don't, you blame people's nastiness, greed, arrogance and egoism.

    Years ago political disourse used to involve sticking knives in each other. So did religious discourse. They dont now. Humanity has moved on. People used to think that some types of mental illness could be treated by massive electric shocks. Do you blame "psychiatric medicine" for that?
  54. avatar sloppyjoe
    [quote:213d578123="Chi-Lite"]Years ago political disourse used to involve sticking knives in each other. So did religious discourse. They dont now. Humanity has moved on. [/quote:213d578123]

    Part of humanity has moved on, but an awful lot of it hasn't. And the part that's moved on has become so crippled by its own right-on-ness that in the long run it won't be able to defend itself from the knife-slingers. It's an old story: civilization tends to complacency and decadence until the barbarians come to exact revenge for what your ancestors did to theirs.
  55. avatar Woogster
    I know this is going to be like painting my toes in tuna and sticking them in the shark tank at Seaworld, but...

    [quote:221860f871]Even when missionaries go to developing countries they use the gift of food and medicine to bribe people into changing their religion thus losing their own culture and traditions. Can they not give the food even if people do not convert to Christianity?[/quote:221860f871]

    As one of those damned types who is apparently off to western Africa to bribe the locals, I'd have to question that fairly common perception. We're not uprooting for a year to blackmail people with medicine. We're hoping to help against infant mortality (3 in 4 die where we're going) and leprosy in particular, working in and around a couple of different hospitals. The motivation is because if you believe something great has been done for you, you want to help pay that forward. And yes, if folk would see something in what you're doing and want to find out more about what motivates you, that's a massive bonus - but even if they don't, we'll be very happy in our work.

    There's a strong different between faith and religion. Religion is a load of rules you can follow, and if you're good enough you might avoid the fella with the hot, pointy stuff. Faith is the belief that you've screwed up and you'll screw up again, but God's taken care of it. "Wanting to do good stuff" is therefore supposed to be a response, not a plea-bargain.

    Unfortunately, being human, the worldwide church has not made a great job of that, instinctively becoming more like pharisees and less like disciples. (Just a wee illustration for the people in the back row, there.) But, speaking for myself as a follower, I'm just as frustrated and sick of that as the next person.
  56. avatar thec64s
    To Chi light - most people doesn't account for the estimated 2.1 billion Xians and 1.6 billion Muslims, and that's two out of hundreds of religions. Most people don't propagate many negative belief systems though, it doesn't mean they should be ignored.

    No-one here has blamed religion for "all of the worlds wrongs". You're challenging a postulation that no-one has made?

    You say religious discourse has evolved, and that humanity has moved on from sticking knives in each other in the subject. Can you tell us then, what the punishment for apostasy for rejecting the faith of Islam is? If you think religious war is dead, it makes me wonder if you read the news?

    The electric shock treatment comparison to criticising religious dogma is totally irrelevant. Does medical science staunchly stick to a 2,000 year old dogma, refusing to allow evidence to change their out-views? To reiterate, totally illogical comparison.
  57. avatar Chi-Lite
    [quote:a584f298f0]To Chi light - most people doesn't account for the estimated 2.1 billion Xians and 1.6 billion Muslims, and that's two out of hundreds of religions. Most people don't propagate many negative belief systems though, it doesn't mean they should be ignored.[/quote:a584f298f0]

    I don't know what you mean. Ae you saying that all religion is negative or not?

    We are talking about a blog about atheism, right? Nt against religious extremism or religious violence.

    [quote:a584f298f0]You say religious discourse has evolved, and that humanity has moved on from sticking knives in each other in the subject. Can you tell us then, what the punishment for apostasy for rejecting the faith of Islam is?[/quote:a584f298f0]

    The punishment for political dissent in Saudi Arabia is death. But does that mean you blame "politics"? Religion, like politics, has extremes, of course it does. That's because some people are fucking mental. It's not specific to religion. So atheism isn't really a solution like, is it?


    [quote:a584f298f0]If you think religious war is dead, it makes me wonder if you read the news?[/quote:a584f298f0]

    But there are FAR MORE "political" wars than religious wars. That doesn't mean I blame "politics" for those wars. I blame extremist politics, just as I blame extremist religion. But most people aren't extremist in religion or politics.

    [quote:a584f298f0]The electric shock treatment comparison to criticising religious dogma is totally irrelevant. Does medical science staunchly stick to a 2,000 year old dogma, refusing to allow evidence to change their out-views?[/quote:a584f298f0]

    The comparison is not about metaphysical dogma but about morality and ways of affecting change. Most religions aren't dogmatic when it comes to punishing sin or converting people. Their approach to it changes over time, just like all other human endeavours.

    Just like it used to be more psychiatrically acceptable to give ECT, it used to be more religiously acceptable to harshly punish sin or to attempt to convert by force. But those weren't dogmas, they were reflections of wider society at the time, as utilised by religious people. So genuine religious dogma actually has little to do with it.
  58. avatar Bileofwood
    I think you're all missing the point.

    Religion should not exist or be tolerated due to the simple fact that there is no such thing as God.

    /thread
  59. avatar flightstrip
    God bless Bill!!
  60. avatar Chi-Lite
    Yes there is!
  61. avatar thec64s
    [quote:dd0b6d1b84]I don't know what you mean. Ae you saying that all religion is negative or not?

    We are talking about a blog about atheism, right? Nt against religious extremism or religious violence.[/quote:dd0b6d1b84]

    I'm not saying either - you said most people are aware that religion is a pile of pish. I'm saying that there are billions of people who still subscribe to it on that point.

    [quote:dd0b6d1b84]The punishment for political dissent in Saudi Arabia is death. But does that mean you blame "politics"? Religion, like politics, has extremes, of course it does. That's because some people are fucking mental. It's not specific to religion. So atheism isn't really a solution like, is it?[/quote:dd0b6d1b84]

    This is another non-sequitor. Religion is religion, it's not politics, it's not medical science, it's not the music business and so on. If the religious doctrine says that a death fatwa should be issued for apostasy, then yes, it's religions fault. It's the fault of religious scholars that endorse it and so on and on down to the front line of faithful who promote and empower the ideology.

    Atheism isn't a solution to anything. It's not a set of beliefs, it's not anything except the [u:dd0b6d1b84]lack of a belief in god(s).[/u:dd0b6d1b84] It's amazing how much discussion goes on when the definition of the word couldn't be simpler.

    [quote:dd0b6d1b84][quote:dd0b6d1b84]
    thec64s wrote:
    If you think religious war is dead, it makes me wonder if you read the news?[/quote:dd0b6d1b84]

    But there are FAR MORE "political" wars than religious wars. That doesn't mean I blame "politics" for those wars. I blame extremist politics, just as I blame extremist religion. But most people aren't extremist in religion or politics.[/quote:dd0b6d1b84]

    Why are you comparing religious wars to political wars? They exist for [i:dd0b6d1b84]entirely[/i:dd0b6d1b84] different reasons. The point is that religious wars do exist, and they exist because of religion. I'm not saying all religions cause wars, or that all religious are extremist. But religion is inherent to segregation of people. Again the political comparison is illogical. I see where you're coming from but the two systems are completely different.

    [quote:dd0b6d1b84]The comparison is not about metaphysical dogma but about morality and ways of affecting change. Most religions aren't dogmatic when it comes to punishing sin or converting people. Their approach to it changes over time, just like all other human endeavours.

    Just like it used to be more psychiatrically acceptable to give ECT, it used to be more religiously acceptable to harshly punish sin or to attempt to convert by force. But those weren't dogmas, they were reflections of wider society at the time, as utilised by religious people. So genuine religious dogma actually has little to do with it.[/quote:dd0b6d1b84]

    Example of a major religion that isn't dogmatic about punishing sin or converting people please?

    Religions only ever change when they [b:dd0b6d1b84]have to.[/b:dd0b6d1b84] which identifies a major embarrassing flaw for them, in that what is morally acceptable is always changing - which is why religious scholars can tell you how to treat your slave, but very little religious authority on abortion, homosexuality, euthansia etc. That's embarrassing for them because they're supposed to know and hold steadfast what the moral objective for everyone should be, through dogma.
  62. avatar Chi-Lite
    [quote:d57636702b]you said most people are aware that religion is a pile of pish.[/quote:d57636702b]

    No, I said that most people are aware that a blog about atheism is a pile of pish. That's why they're all going "meh" about it.


    [quote:d57636702b]This is another non-sequitor. Religion is religion, it's not politics, it's not medical science, it's not the music business and so on[/quote:d57636702b]

    I was drawing an analogy. that's where you take two different things and contrast their similarity to make a point about one of them.

    [quote:d57636702b]If the religious doctrine says that a death fatwa should be issued for apostasy, then yes, it's religions fault[/quote:d57636702b].

    No, it's the fault of that particular religious doctrine and of those who apply it in that way. It's not the fault of "religion in general", just as political violence isn't the fault of "politics in general". So its irrelevant to a blog about atheism, which is obviously against "religion in general", not just the extreme versions of it.

    [quote:d57636702b]It's the fault of religious scholars that endorse it and so on and on down to the front line of faithful who promote and empower the ideology.[/quote:d57636702b]

    Yeah, just like political extremisms. That's the analogy.

    [quote:d57636702b]Atheism isn't a solution to anything. It's not a set of beliefs, it's not anything except the lack of a belief in god(s). It's amazing how much discussion goes on when the definition of the word couldn't be simpler.[/quote:d57636702b]

    We're not arguing about the definition of the word, we're arguing about whether a blog on atheism has any value. you seem to be arguing that it would ebcause religion in general is wrong.

    [quote:d57636702b]Why are you comparing religious wars to political wars?[/quote:d57636702b]

    Because its an ANALOGY. The analogy being that, just as political extremism causes wars but you don't blame politics in general, so religious extremism causes wars but you can't blame religion in general. I'd have thought that was clear.


    [quote:d57636702b]The point is that religious wars do exist, and they exist because of religion.[/quote:d57636702b]

    But political wars do exist, and they exist because of politics. Why not start an "Apolitical" blog about how you think all political thought is evil?

    [quote:d57636702b]I'm not saying all religions cause wars, or that all religious are extremist.[/quote:d57636702b]

    I'm not saying all politics causes wars, or that all politics are extremist. Can you see the comparison yet?

    [quote:d57636702b]But religion is inherent to segregation of people.[/quote:d57636702b]

    How? There's no reason why people of different religions can't live together any more than people of different political persuasions. Of course, sometimes they don't, particularly if they're extreme. That's another comparison, by the way.

    [quote:d57636702b]Example of a major religion that isn't dogmatic about punishing sin or converting people please?[/quote:d57636702b]

    Christianity used to burn heretics at the stake. Now it doesn't. So how is that dogmatical? Do you know what dogma means? The christian view of punishing sin has changed over the centuries, of course it has. Similarly, some christians used to think that it was acceptable to forcibly convert people, who were generally thought to be "savages". But that kind of imperialist viewpoint was prevalent in wider society at the time. No Christian thinks that now. So it can't have been dogma, given that its changed.

    [quote:d57636702b]Religions only ever change when they have to.[/quote:d57636702b]

    It depends who thinks they HAVE to.

    [quote:d57636702b]what is morally acceptable is always changing[/quote:d57636702b]

    Practically it is, but there are underlying ideals and the strving to attain them. REligion can be a guide to the underlying ideals of developing morality

    [quote:d57636702b]which is why religious scholars can tell you how to treat your slave[/quote:d57636702b]

    Which present-day religious scholars endorse slavery? that's another example that has nothing to do with dogma. Slavery used to be more acceptable than it is now, to Christians and wider society. Now its not acceptable to christians or wider society.

    [quote:d57636702b]That's embarrassing for them because they're supposed to know and hold steadfast what the moral objective for everyone should be, through dogma.[/quote:d57636702b]

    Again, I don't think you understand what dogma is. There's little or no specifically religious dogma on punishing sin, which is why religious views on punishment generally reflect the wider society of the time in place. Which is why muslims in Saudi Arabia have a very different view of punishment from muslims in Indonesia. Because it reflects society, not religious dogma.
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  63. avatar Brendzo
    i like pooh bear ice cream
  64. avatar sloppyjoe
    [quote:bac96f62bc="Brendzo"]i like pooh[/quote:bac96f62bc]
    Wrong forum.
  65. avatar thec64s
    [quote:fd7ec4f5ec]No, I said that most people are aware that a blog about atheism is a pile of pish. That's why they're all going "meh" about it.[/quote:fd7ec4f5ec]

    My bad, I did misread that.

    In terms of the analogy between politics and religion, I don't believe that the comparison is fair because religious doctrine acts [b:fd7ec4f5ec]in spite[/b:fd7ec4f5ec] of the higher, more complex humanitarian state the majority of us want it to be. How could doctrine or dogma work any other way? Political doctrines, medical doctrines do not work in this way. That is why that analogy doesn't work.

    How could it be any other way? If the religious authorities change their mind then it means they were wrong before. How can they be wrong when they are supposed to have interpreted correctly from whatever higher being they subscribe to? Politics doesn't operate on a faith system, nor medicine. The analogies do not make for a fair comparison. Religions dogma and doctrines are based on interpretation of the holy text.

    [quote:fd7ec4f5ec]Christianity used to burn heretics at the stake. Now it doesn't. So how is that dogmatical? Do you know what dogma means? The christian view of punishing sin has changed over the centuries, of course it has. Similarly, some christians used to think that it was acceptable to forcibly convert people, who were generally thought to be "savages". But that kind of imperialist viewpoint was prevalent in wider society at the time. No Christian thinks that now. So it can't have been dogma, given that its changed.[/quote:fd7ec4f5ec]

    People are burning witches in Africa this very year because of Christian doctrine. Yes, I know what dogma means. I know that religious opinion changes over time, given that it's subject to the moral outlook of the people rather than inherent to the religion itself - I've already made that point. The problem is - it's in spite of the religious text, is it not? Look at the Catholic view on condoms or the Christian view in certain denominations on homosexuality. The authorities that propagate these viewpoints are responsible for the suffering cause, and by definition, religion is.

    The reason that general Christian view can change is because the Christian dogma is of course, based on opinion\interpretation. When Christian denominations concede a belief or a practice, they change their dogma. People follow suit. To quote Stephen Fry - if they can change their outlook just like we can, albeit usually centuries late - then "what are they for!?".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_conversion#Twenty-first_century_allegations

    [quote:fd7ec4f5ec]Again, I don't think you understand what dogma is. There's little or no specifically religious dogma on punishing sin, which is why religious views on punishment generally reflect the wider society of the time in place. Which is why muslims in Saudi Arabia have a very different view of punishment from muslims in Indonesia. Because it reflects society, not religious dogma.[/quote:fd7ec4f5ec]

    Religious doctrine hugely affects society - I've already said above that it has that negative effect - and also the reason why discussing it and the sharing of ideas related to it can only be a good thing. You say there is no religious dogma on punishing sin - look at Sharia law. The political laws of many Islamic countries are deeply rooted in religious teaching - and it never works out to be a good thing. Again - I'm not saying religion causes all the worlds problems, I agree that that is a childish outlook. But in some places it's got to take responsibility for it's wrongdoings.
  66. avatar Chi-Lite
    But that has absolutely nothing to do with an atheist blog!

    If you want to start a blog about the atrocities of extremist religion then go ahead, I've no problem with that. But that has nothing to do with atheism.

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]In terms of the analogy between politics and religion, I don't believe that the comparison is fair because religious doctrine acts in spite of the higher, more complex humanitarian state the majority of us want it to be. How could doctrine or dogma work any other way?[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    I haven't got a clue what that means. How does "religious doctrine acts in spite of the higher, more complex humanitarian state the majority of us want it to be"

    What exactly are you talking about? What religious doctrine? How does it "act"? What is the "higher more complex humanitarian state" you're on about?

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]If the religious authorities change their mind then it means they were wrong before.[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    Yup. just like political authorities. Does this prove the politics is evil?.

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]How can they be wrong when they are supposed to have interpreted correctly from whatever higher being they subscribe to?[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    Because they're human. How can humans be wrong? They just are? In all spheres of life. how does that endorse atheism?

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]Religions dogma and doctrines are based on interpretation of the holy text.[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    And you can argue about whether those interpretations are right or wrong. So what? What's inherently wrong about that?

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]People are burning witches in Africa this very year because of Christian doctrine.[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    But people are machete-ing each other in Somalia because of political doctrine. That doesn't mean that all political docterine is wrong, or that you shuld write a blog suggesting that it is.

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]I know that religious opinion changes over time, given that it's subject to the moral outlook of the people rather than inherent to the religion itself[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    If that's the case then surely the crusades and burning heretics are subject to the moral outlook of the people, rather than inherent in the religion itself. So you're arguing about something that isn't inherent to religion. So its not relevant to atheism.

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]The problem is - it's in spite of the religious text, is it not?[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    What do you mean, in spite of? Some people thought that the overall context of the Bible suggested that slavery should be abolished, others thought that the Bible supported slavery. You can't day that slavery was abolished "in spite of the Bible" because many people used the Bible to argue that it should be abolished. So these things are all a matter of particular interpretation, which you can either agree with or not. It doesn't mean that religion inherently supports slavery.

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]Look at the Catholic view on condoms or the Christian view in certain denominations on homosexuality The authorities that propagate these viewpoints are responsible for the suffering cause, and by definition, religion is.[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    Do i have to make the analogy again? I'll spell it out - you cannot take specific things that you disagree with about specific groups and generalise that to include "all religion".

    If you are saying "X religious doctrine is wrong" then fair enough. You can't say "therefore religion in general is wrong" anymore than you can say "X political ideology is wrong, therefore politics in general is wrong".

    You're taking specific things that don't apply to the vast majority of religious believers and trying to use it as an argument for atheism. You're vastly generalising certain extreme practices to try to make a wider point, but it doesn't work.

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]To quote Stephen Fry - if they can change their outlook just like we can, albeit usually centuries late - then "what are they for!?".[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    But that's just ridiculous. Everyone can change their outlook - it doesn't follow that everyone's opinion is therefore useless.

    the consensus outlook in psychiatric practice has changed - so what is it for?

    That's just a ridiculous argument to make. Are you suggesting that religious people SHOULDN'T change their outlook?

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]Religious doctrine hugely affects society - I've already said above that it has that negative effect[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    Some religious doctrine has negative effects, just like some political doctrine has negative effects. How does this show that all poltics is wrong?

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]You say there is no religious dogma on punishing sin - look at Sharia law.[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    But Sharia law is not a doctrine - that's why it is interepreted in vastly different ways in different places. Again, that's just down to some people being mental. so you're suggesting that, because some religious people interpret their religion in negative ways, all religion is wrong? Do I have to use the analogy again?

    [quote:3fbd648ee1]I'm not saying religion causes all the worlds problems[/quote:3fbd648ee1]

    OK, well then why an atheist blog. Of course religion causes some of the worlds problems, but far less than politics, in my opinion. But I'm not starting an anti-politics blog, because that would be a silly generalisation to make.

    Anyway, the whole idea that religious beliefs can in any way be judged for the truth or falsity according to the behaviour of believers is ridiculous.

    That Galileo was imprisoned, jews were persecuted, children were abused and indian tribes were forced to accept christianity makes absolutely no difference to the question of whether God exists or not. If you're an atheist because people who believe in God have some some nasty stuff over the years, you're fucking stupid. and if you're an atheist because I, a Christian, am being nasty by calling you stupid, you're even more fucking stupid.
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  67. avatar sloppyjoe
    [quote:16f16ed3c4]I don't believe that the comparison is fair because religious doctrine acts in spite of the higher, more complex humanitarian state the majority of us want it to be. ... [b:16f16ed3c4]Political doctrines ... do not work in this way.[/b:16f16ed3c4] [/quote:16f16ed3c4]

    Seriously?
  68. avatar thec64s
    [quote:897fde5206] someone wrote:
    I don't believe that the comparison is fair because religious doctrine acts in spite of the higher, more complex humanitarian state the majority of us want it to be. ... Political doctrines ... do not work in this way.

    Seriously?[/quote:897fde5206]

    How much does your government spend on military? How do the medical systems coffers look monetary-wise? Look at the Occupy protests - the 1% wealthy statstic. Sure, the population strive towards that level of living - an acceptable moral state for everyone, but the political system isn't broken, it was designed that way.

    Things are always changing though, and usually for the better.
  69. avatar sloppyjoe
    Are you suggesting that Western democracy was specifically designed to keep 1% of the population wealthy at the expense of everyone else? Frankly, I don't believe it. Trotting out the "Occupy" position does not in any way support your contention. Even GCSE history will provide several examples of political systems that have degenerated into kleptocracies in spite of their higher, humanitarian intentions - Communism being only the most obvious.

    Apropos of nothing, what most strikes me about the St Paul's protestors is that their "spokespersons" all seem to be rather posh twentysomethings. It's almost as if they're little Quentins and Arabellas rebelling against their stockbroker daddies.
  70. avatar thec64s
    @Chi-lite -

    Argh - we're going in pointless circles.

    My point at it's most basic level is that religious doctrine actively encourages behaviour that is not beneficial to mankind. If this bad advice is in the bible or qur'an (for example) it obviously can't be edited, so the interpretation must change, changing the general view of the religion on that point. At a highly authoritative level.

    Now forget the generalisations, I don't mean ALL religions, I don't mean ALL people and so on. I don't mean that religion should be banned or not tolerated etc.

    The only point I've made is the one above, which I can go into detail on if you want.

    I'm an atheist because there's no logical reason to believe in god, or evidence in favour of a deities existence ever.. fucking good reason, I believe anyway.

    If an atheist blog endorses critical thought in regards to organised religion - then I'm in favour of it. This country needs it.
  71. avatar Chi-Lite
    We're not so much going round in circles as repeating stuff. I'll try and repeat it with fewer words.

    "My point at it's most basic level is that religious doctrine actively encourages behaviour that is not beneficial to mankind"

    No it doesn't.

    "I don't mean ALL religions, I don't mean ALL people and so on."

    If it doesn't apply to all religions, it has no relevance to atheism.

    "I'm an atheist because there's no logical reason to believe in god, or evidence in favour of a deities existence ever"

    I think there is.

    "If an atheist blog endorses critical thought in regards to organised religion - then I'm in favour of it"

    I think it would be much better to have a less biased, more open critique of organised religion, rather than making "atheism" the lynchpin of that critique. That's why I'm not in favour of it.

    Most other people are just going "meh", probably because they disagree with both you and me.
  72. avatar thec64s
    Atheism is just one of the lynchpins - but I can see where you're coming from on that point. But what would you have atheists do in that sense? Who should take charge of the discussion?

    That's why I say applying critical thought shouldn't be a bad thing, as it should be unbiased if done correctly.

    Misrepresentation and 'dirty war' tactics found in the theological debate usually comes from the theologians side, and I've watched hundreds of debate videos from the last 30 years as well...

    Not that that point should paint a picture that religious are dirty debaters any more than atheists are baby eaters of course.
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  73. avatar flightstrip
    most people dont give a fuck i reckon.its a never ending argument.people are entitled to their views,their religion,their sexuality,their political beliefs.its when these thing are shoved in peoples faces that problems start.

    also,anyone who thinks that recent and current conflicts are down to religion need their heads looked at...if u simplify things it always comes down to the one thing....money!
    ive lost a lot of good mates over the years and its only after all this time that i realise we were used in the worst possible way.

    believe what u want...if it keeps u happy then im happy for ya

    now who wants to buy some shitty speakers?
  74. avatar Brendzo
    I wonder will someone start The first church of atheism.

    Were followers go on a weekly basis to hear about the wrongs of the church and how to be a better person.

    Donations welcomed to help spread the word :D
  75. avatar loveisthelaw
    Brendzo Belfast Humanist associations is exactly that. A church for those who believe in not believing. From what I see on their site they seem to blaspheme anything that they can not scientifically compute and out of ignorance disregard it as fiction
  76. avatar Chi-Lite
    Haha, InProg, every time you post one of these replies about a week late I always imagine you being stuck in Castlewellan because of really bad rain, and then as soon as it lets up madly cycling down to the distant library to get online and post the comment. :) God love ye.
  77. avatar chrisd_777_09
    Just to mess the whole thing up... Einstein believed in God and the guy who came up with the big bang theory was a Catholic priest.

    lolololol
  78. avatar Chi-Lite
    Freeeakky shit man!:D
  79. avatar Leif Bodnarchuk
    God made the big bang and has remained elusive ever since.
  80. avatar BinaryOperator
    "blaspheme anything that they can not scientifically compute and out of ignorance disregard it as fiction"

    LOL

    Scientifically compute? Oh do fuck off. Surely you mean "cannot stand up to the rigours of the scientific method".

    We are machines. Nothing more. We're made of meat yes, but we're still machines. We're 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. One day I will be back among the stars where we all began. Part of me anyways :)

    This is a class and very relevant wee story, while we're talking about fiction and meat machines:

    http://www.episodeseason.com/the-last-question.html
  81. avatar Chi-Lite
    Of course we're more than machines. Machines cant think, or have conceptions, or want, or love, or like, or appreciate beauty, or hate, or think they're right and you're wrong, or be conscious of consciousness, or loads of toher things, but we can. Unless you can't, in which case, yes, you are a machine. But we're not.
  82. avatar flightstrip
    man,thats beautiful!
  83. avatar Deestroyer
    [quote:140b0fdec0]Machines cant think, or have conceptions, or want, or love, or like, or appreciate beauty, or hate, or think they're right and you're wrong, or be conscious of consciousness, or loads of toher things[/quote:140b0fdec0] At the minute...
  84. avatar Chi-Lite
    That's a bit "science of the gaps" there isn't it though.

    Everything we now know tells us that we're not machines, but maybe sometime, in the future, possibly, maybe something might change that sometime, possibly, in the future, maybe - therefore everything we now know is wrong.

    I have no reason to believe that machines will begin to think. IF (big if) they do, who's to say that they wont have to develop into something that is much more than a machine anyway?

    If machines can think we might have to start calling them people, or saying that they have spiritual minds. But they can't, so we don't.
  85. avatar Nature*Boy
    'Hamlet', wrote by a machine?

    'The 9th Symphony', composed by a machine?

    The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by a machine?

    Sorry, I can't agree with any of those.

    Although I wouldn't describe myself as religious, I don't believe that such achievements can be attributed to just 'flesh and bone'.
  86. avatar Chi-Lite
    Well, quite.

    There's nothing scientific about a presumption of reductionism.

    If a billion computers could produce Hamlet it would only be by an intelligent mind devising a programme to identify and order pieces of Hamlet, as already written by an intelligent mind
  87. avatar BinaryOperator
    Bollocks.

    Perception?

    Definitions people!

    What is a machine? Just because Hamlet was not written by a toaster does not mean we are not machines....

    The metaphysical arguments just do not hold water IMO. "ahh but what of beauty, of love?" What of it? You can certainly be in a chemically induced state of love, bliss, whatever. I like a song or a flower or seeing my kids. It makes me feel nice therefore WE WERE ALL CREATED BY A GIANT SKYFATHER IT'S ALL HERE IN THIS BOOK. Nah man, nah. Try again. Connect the dots in a more concise manner. I mean wouldn't want there to be any gaps in the record eh?

    We are barely scratching the surface with how we can influence emotion etc by altering body chemistry and that is before we get into rewiring the brain connection by connection. We simply don't know enough yet, and to do the research properly would be unethical and so we are forced to advance slowly, working from the sidelines. Hell most of the shit we know about low temp reactions in the human body is from Nazi experiments where they threw the ethics out the window and experimented directly on people.

    Any science sufficiently advanced will seem like magic...

    I still think religious people are all mental to some degree. I would even go so far as saying that Religious poeple seem to find it easier to accept if you believe in a completely different set of crazy "we were made from the spunk of the god Ra when he knocked one out" than if you simply say you have no belief in any diety or anything outside the physical universe. Mental.

    Oh you're jewish, no problem!
    Oh you're muslim, no problem!
    Oh you're zoroastrian, no problem!

    Oh you're ATHEIST? read this book, read this pamplet... and teh corker of them all "I will pray for you"

    LOL
  88. avatar Deestroyer
    [quote:2534282d3d]If a billion computers could produce Hamlet it would only be by an intelligent mind devising a programme to identify and order pieces of Hamlet, as already written by an intelligent mind[/quote:2534282d3d] What nonsense! If unrelated events conspire to create a perceived coincidence then that means it's an act of design? What? I hope you were just baiting me with that as opposed to actually believing it.

    [quote:2534282d3d] That's a bit "science of the gaps" there isn't it though.[/quote:2534282d3d] Yeah, a bit, but the advancements in artificial intelligence are growing exponentially and it's only 2047 (I think) until the proposed singularity occurs when there will be the first 'smarter than human mind' switched on, if technological trends follow the same path they've been following for the past 60 years or so. All things being equal, it's not so much 'if' as 'when'.

    In relation to reductionism, I'm of the Boltzmans Brains school of thought, that complex systems become greater than the sum of their parts (or at least, appear to). The nature of that phenomenon, I'll not pretend to fully understand, but I think it's a simpler answer than the perception of beauty proves god.
  89. avatar Chi-Lite
    "If unrelated events conspire to create a perceived coincidence then that means it's an act of design?"

    What? No. the point is that the original writing of Hamlet was clearly an act of design, and that any attempt to replicate that without design would obviously have to refer back to the original design, otherwise we wouldn't know it had been replicated.

    What I mean is, the argument about a million monkeys producing Hamlet already presupposes that Shakespeare has produced Hamlet, otherwise we would have nothing to compare the work of the monkeys too.

    So attempts to produce intelligible products by unintelligent means always have to presuppose an original intelligent means, if you get me.

    but that was just a throwaway comment, that's only a wee bit related.

    "it's only 2047 (I think) until the proposed singularity occurs when there will be the first 'smarter than human mind' switched on, if technological trends follow the same path they've been following for the past 60 years or so"

    But that's not true. There has been no trend for computers to be gradually becoming more thinking. Computers dont think, and they never have. there's no exponential progress on that front, it would take a complete qualitative shift.

    No part of the development of computers so far has been a progress toward becoming thinking machines, its merely been a progress of better emulating thinking.

    "I'm of the Boltzmans Brains school of thought, that complex systems become greater than the sum of their parts (or at least, appear to). The nature of that phenomenon, I'll not pretend to fully understand, but I think it's a simpler answer than the perception of beauty proves god"

    It's not an answer at all. Systems become more complex than the sum of their parts, therefore computers can perceive beauty? That's a non sequitor
  90. avatar Deestroyer
    Well, I mean that consciousness, or the perception thereof, is the result of complex and myriad interactions in a given system forming 'patterns' (for want of a better word) that are seemingly greater than the sum of said parts.

    For example, the formation of Galaxies. It is down to interactions on the quantum level that causes the formation of vast systems, that to the outside observer appear to have a beauty or a design as they swirl about so symmetrically.

    The brain is just such an example, wherein a vast amount of interactions for one purpose (survival, procreation and lesser drives) have led to 'patterns' that have created another phenomenon altogether, an experience of self and a perception of beauty etc.

    I think that can and will be replicated in a machine, yes.

    [quote:e9aac7cba0]But that's not true. There has been no trend for computers to be gradually becoming more thinking. Computers dont think, and they never have. there's no exponential progress on that front, it would take a complete qualitative shift.[/quote:e9aac7cba0]

    Yes, their actions are automated by programmes, but I think ours are equally so. I think self determinism is an illusion, and that its only the complicated nature of our brains, the cross purposes of our will, and the inside looking out perspective that we have that creates that illusion.
    At present, machines (computers) are limited by how complicated their programming is and the capacity of their RAM memory etc. That's all.
  91. avatar Nature*Boy
    [quote:642fc7d424]it's only 2047 (I think) until the proposed singularity occurs when there will be the first 'smarter than human mind' switched on[/quote:642fc7d424]

    Roll on [i:642fc7d424]Cyberdyne[/i:642fc7d424]!

    :lol:
  92. avatar Chi-Lite
    But consciousness isn't just "patterns" it's the ability to be conscious of patterns. it's completely, qualitatively different.

    Certain complex systems are conscious and yet certain, even more complex systems are not. It's not JUST about complexity, although obviously that has a part to play. But there's another factor.

    "It is down to interactions on the quantum level that causes the formation of vast systems, that to the outside observer appear to have a beauty or a design as they swirl about so symmetrically"

    Yes but that's the point. They only appear to be so, not because of their complexity, but because there is an "outside observer". The complexities of the galaxy are not conscious, it's the outside observer that is.

    "The brain is just such an example, wherein a vast amount of interactions for one purpose (survival, procreation and lesser drives) have led to 'patterns' that have created another phenomenon altogether, an experience of self and a perception of beauty etc"

    Yes but it's not just the complexity, as complex machines do not have this quality of perception.

    "I think that can and will be replicated in a machine, yes."

    But it NEVER has been. Science of the gaps again - science can't explain it, but i think it will, sometime, maybe. Well, I think it wont. Given that it HASN'T, my conclusion is surely more scientific than yours - ie, based on evidence.

    "and the inside looking out perspective"

    But it's precisely that "inside looking out" perspective that we're trying to explain, that people have and machines dont have.

    You can't just say, sure the only difference between us and computers is that we have an "inside looking out perspective" - that's the very difference that we're trying to explain! that's the whole point. Computers dont have it but we do.

    "At present, machines (computers) are limited by how complicated their programming is and the capacity of their RAM memory etc. That's all."

    and by the fact that they don't have an "inside looking out perspective" - or at least we have no reason to believe that they do.
  93. avatar EoinT
    Given that I'm currently meant to be working on a computational neuroscience research proposal, I thought I would weigh in on a matter close to my heart here.
    Unless you're a Dualist (drawing a metaphysical distinction between body and soul: "the mind is the mind, and the brain is the brain, and they EXIST in different senses of the word"), you really have no choice but to accept that, in what I think are Daniel Dennent's words, "the mind is what the brain does".
    Given that, the mind is conceptualized as an organic computer (a thing which computes), taking inputs from the senses, processing them, and generating outputs (behaviour, cognition, or alterations to the state of the memory bank).
    On the plain old physical level, a computer does this by encoding information and processing rules in a series of silicone gates, which can be open or shut (hence the 1s and 0s of binary code), and processes in serial (one computation at a time). A brain, on the other hand, processes information in a much more parallel way, with a web (not a series) of neurons which can either be firing or not firing at any given time (this whole school of thought is referred to as Parallel Distributed Processing). A serial processor (a traditional computer), given enough memory and time/processing power, can replicate the processes of any other kind of processor, including interconnected neurons.

    Given all this, it's reasonable to say (but not a certain conclusion) that the key difference between brains and traditional computers is that brains are part of bodies, which are the product of natural selection. Any naturally selected "survival machine" (borrowing from Dawkins) by definition has behavioural predispositions towards actions that enhance the future viability of their genes: E Coli swim away from noxious chemicals and towards nutritious ones, blah blah blah. Here the debate gets messy, but the main idea is that the compunctions given to us by natural selection (to do whatever necessary to help our genes) lead us, in whatever way you want to argue that it happens, to acquire secondary goals and properties, like happiness, sex, ,beauty, grant meaning to what would be an otherwise meaningless universe of cosmic debris.

    I will now leave you with this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del,_Escher,_Bach,
    and return to crying in a corner of the psychology section of Queen's library. Come visit!
  94. avatar Chi-Lite
    "Unless you're a Dualist (drawing a metaphysical distinction between body and soul: "the mind is the mind, and the brain is the brain, and they EXIST in different senses of the word", you really have no choice but to accept that, in what I think are Daniel Dennent's words, "the mind is what the brain does".

    I'm not a dualist, I'm a transcendental realist, but I don't accept that.

    The mind is the intelligent, organising principle made manifest in the physical functions of the brain, but not identical to those physical functions. I take an Aristotelian view on that - the mind is the form of the brain - not the physical arrangement of the brain, but the intelligent organising principle inherent in that physical arrangement

    "Given that, the mind is conceptualized as an organic computer (a thing which computes)"

    No, that's the brain. Even in your view the brain has to be seen as the "hardware" and the mind as the "software", but you're still left with trying to explain the inherent intelligibility of the software, which, in computers, can only be derived from intelligent, pattern- and meaning-conscious minds.

    "A brain, on the other hand, processes information in a much more parallel way, with a web (not a series) of neurons which can either be firing or not firing at any given time"

    But that still doesn't explain how that web of neuron firings constitutes "meaning". In the case of computers, the operation of programmes constitute "meaning" because that meaning has been assigned to symbols by an intelligent mind in the development of the programme. Computers generate patterns of symbols, but only minds can recognise those as having "meaning"

    "A serial processor (a traditional computer), given enough memory and time/processing power, can replicate the processes of any other kind of processor, including interconnected neurons."

    Yup, a computer can, in theory, replicate the physical processes of neuron firings, but these don't in themselves constitute "meaning" unless perceived as such by an intelligent organising principle - a mind. Theoretically we could manipulate a dead brain and externally force it to engage in a web of neuron firings - but that doesn't constitute perception of meaning unless there's a mind there to assign meaning to those symbols (neuron-firing patterns)

    "it's reasonable to say (but not a certain conclusion) that the key difference between brains and traditional computers is that brains are part of bodies"

    No, its reasonable to say that the difference between minds and computers are that minds generate meaning whereas computers merely manipulate symbols. Those symbols already have meaning assigned to them by minds. Computers can engage in binary operations all day long, but unless those operations of symbolic patterning have already been assigned meaning by the creative mind that designed them, they wont mean anything, still less have consciousness of any meaning.

    "but the main idea is that the compunctions given to us by natural selection (to do whatever necessary to help our genes) lead us, in whatever way you want to argue that it happens, to acquire secondary goals and properties, like happiness, sex, ,beauty, grant meaning to what would be an otherwise meaningless universe of cosmic debris."

    But it's the "whatever way you want to argue that it happens" that's at issue here. I'm arguing that it only happens through consciousness and the ability to assign meaning to symbols. Computers need to have a basic level of meaning ASSIGNED to their operations - they don't fundamentally generate meaning on their own (although they can, of course, generate more complex patterns of meaning from simpler, fundamental, ASSIGNED meanings). You still need a conscious mind to assign the basic functions of meaning to any computer operation, otherwise it's just data, a collection of symbols with nothing symbolised.