tannermiller asked: agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. One has to do with beliefs, one has to do with knowledge.

Look up agnosticism and atheism. Then look up agnostic atheism. Seriously, this is basic. It’s a waste of time trying to explain something so basic to obstinate people. It can’t be this hard to change an opinion. This is like a day old already. You’re wrong. Get over it. The fact that another person agrees with your idiotic opinion doesn’t change the fact that it’s an idiotic opinion. Agnosticism and (a)theism are not mutually exclusive.

Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

Young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction, according to a new study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science.

Researchers presented 5- and 6-year-old children from both public and parochial schools with three different types of stories — religious, fantastical and realistic –- in an effort to gauge how well they could identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional.

The study found that, of the 66 participants, children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.

By relating seemingly impossible religious events achieved through divine intervention (e.g., Jesus transforming water into wine) to fictional narratives, religious children would more heavily rely on religion to justify their false categorizations.

“In both studies, [children exposed to religion] were less likely to judge the characters in the fantastical stories as pretend, and in line with this equivocation, they made more appeals to reality and fewer appeals to impossibility than did secular children,” the study concluded.

Refuting previous hypotheses claiming that children are “born believers,” the authors suggest that “religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.”

According to 2013-2014 Gallup data, roughly 83 percent of Americans report a religious affiliation, and an even larger group — 86 percent — believe in God.

More than a quarter of Americans, 28 percent, also believe the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken literally, while another 47 percent say the Bible is the inspired word of God.

On Belief and Knowledge

jtem:

academicatheism:

jtem:

“You’ll find that many of us are agnostic as well as atheist.”
— Another gem from the fake atheists (he’s saying that they’re both. One person is both an agnostic and an atheist)

Think of atheism and agnosticism as being answers to separate questions. Do you…

Oh, how drearily tautological…

Nobody is contradicting me, raising a defense of the fake atheists.  Atheists do believe.  You’re right, perhaps, technically, in the third person, there is an enormous difference between belief and knowledge. But, never for ourselves.  If we believe something we believe that we do have knowledge.  Perhaps not proof, perhaps not even evidence but there is no functional separation within ourselves between belief and knowledge… it only exists in the third person.

Please consult epistemology. There’s definitely a difference between belief and knowledge though knowledge is a type of belief. Belief is necessary but not sufficient to arrive at knowledge. Even speaking practically, there’s still a difference. Many of us believe we’ll be alive tomorrow. In some cases, one is justified in holding that belief. However, no one will claim to know they’ll be alive tomorrow. Sticking to the topic at hand though, a Christian certainly believes in god, but not all of them will claim to know that he exists or be certain of his existence.

I understand you have an issue with so called fake atheists. In reality, you have an issue with agnostic atheists. But seriously, you can’t make up rules as you go along. Agnosticism is a position on the scale of knowledge; atheism is a position on the scale of belief. Both are related to religious views. For instance, you will never hear a cosmologist say, I’m agnostic when it comes to inflation.

In any event, belief and knowledge aren’t the same thing. Atheism isn’t a belief; it’s the lack of belief when concerning one thing: the existence of gods. That doesn’t preclude us believing in other things. To not believe is not to believe. This is pretty basic. Epistemology contradicts you; colloquial conversation contradicts you. Check your spite and correct your errors. Otherwise, you’re a waste of time.

richardaberdeen:

http://www.richardaberdeen.com short video essay from the free online book, “Fixing America In 500 Words or Less” by Richard Aberdeen.  Free videos, CDs and books: http://www.richardaberdeen.com 

I knew this video would mention the universe and imply the KCA. I think you would really benefit from reading my review of Lee Strobel’s The Case For A Creator. I’ll link you to my review of chapters four and five specifically because I deal with the Kalam Cosmological Argument and Fine Tuning. In any case, atheism isn’t science. You’re addressing this straw man “new atheist” that equates the two. There are aspects of science that are condemning to certain religious claims though not condemning to the overall truth value of that given religion. The atheism community is moving beyond this assumption; it’s time wannabe apologists follow suit.

Quick Primer on Agnostic Atheism

jtem:

“You’ll find that many of us are agnostic as well as atheist.”
— Another gem from the fake atheists (he’s saying that they’re both.  One person is both an agnostic and an atheist)

Think of atheism and agnosticism as being answers to separate questions. Do you know god(s) exists? Or alternatively, do you know that god(s) doesn’t exist? You may hear this asked instead with, are you sure god(s) exists? Your answer will decide whether or not you’re agnostic. Briefly, agnostic stems from the Greek word γνῶσις (gnōsis), which means knowledge—specifically spiritual knowledge. 

Do you believe in a god? Your answer will decide whether or not you’re an atheist. Thus, an agnostic atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in gods. However, this person won’t claim to know that there isn’t at least one god out there; in other words, this person isn’t a gnostic atheist. In brief, agnosticism is a claim of knowledge while atheism is a stance on belief (disbelief or non-beleif). Perhaps whoever you spoke to couldn’t explain it, but that’s what it means to be an agnostic atheist. By the way, it is entirely possible to be an agnostic theist. Agnosticism and (a)theism aren’t mutually exclusive.

by-grace-of-god:

If it were not true, no one would bother with it. - John C. Wright

I seriously have no idea why people liked and reblogged this without thinking about what’s being said. First and foremost, Wright straw mans other religions and he does this from the basis of stereotypes. With polygamy, he implies Hinduism and Islam. In Hinduism, polygamy was a practice in upper castes (e.g. brahmans). The Hindu Marriage Act prohibits that practice. In Islam, polygamy was a solution for social issues roughly 1400 years ago (see here). The reasons for polygamy today have nothing to do with that and is thus, not inherent to Islam.

As far as 72 virgins are concerned, that’s yet another stereotype. Christoph Luxenberg’s textual analysis demonstrates this.

Luxenberg concludes that the famous passage [Qur’an 44:54] refers not to virgins but instead to white raisins, or grapes.

Yes, fruit. Strange as that may seem, given all the attention paid to the Qur’an’s supposed promises of virgins in Paradise, white raisins were a prized delicacy in that region. As such, Luxemberg suggests, they actually make a more fitting symbol of the reward of Paradise than the promise of sexual favors from virgins. Luxenberg shows that the Arabic word for “Paradise” can be traced to the Syriac word for “garden,” which stands to reason, given the common identification of the garden of Adam and Eve with Paradise. Luxenberg further demonstrates that metaphorical references to bunches of grapes are consonant with Christian homiletics expatiating on the refreshments that greeted the blessed in Heaven. He specifically cites fourth-century hymns “on Paradise” of St. Ephraem the Syrian (306-373), which refers to “the grapevines of Paradise.” The fact that the Syriac word Ephraem used for “grapevine” was feminine, Luxenberg explains, “led the Arabic exegetes of the Koran to this fateful assumption” and the Qur’anic text referred to sexual playthings in Paradise.

Spencer, Robert. Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins, p.169. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2012. Print.

He also notes that the notion of virgins in Paradise contradicts Qur’an 43:70, which speaks of the blessed entering Paradise with their earthly wives.

The Viking and Aztec religions are moot since there’s virtually no one who practices them. In any case, Wright bases his reasoning on stereotypes—stereotypes he obviously takes as givens. Furthermore, he even gives his reader an over-simplification of Christianity! The irony! Christianity isn’t simply “turn the other cheek.” It’s strange that you posted this because you should know better.

Wright, for instance, appeals to Christian thinking because he thinks he’s better suited for “polygamy, self-righteousness, vengeance and violence.” He uses them as examples of wish-fulfillment. He is therefore convinced that he’s a vile individual in need of salvation. It follows then that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross appeals to him because he is cleansed of such wretchedness. Forgiveness of sins is wish-fulfillment for some people—especially people who are convinced that they’re sinners in need of cleansing and salvation. Moreover, the promise of heaven is an example of wish-fulfillment. Wright, of course, fails to mention that the Christian heaven has it’s own lucrative promises (i.e. crowns; perfect knowledge; hidden manna; a new name; eternal life; a mansion). He gets into no specifics as to how his religion can fulfill wishes. Christianity is definitely psychologically appealing.

Lastly, every religion is difficult to practice. Every religion has its demands. Islam, in my personal opinion, is much more difficult to practice than Christianity. There is no Christian equivalent to Ramadan for example. The demands are absurd; the practices are difficult. Yet Islam and Hinduism boast many adherents. Islam, according to some estimates, is the fastest growing religion in the world. If they aren’t true, why are people bothering with them? Perhaps that which isn’t true can be bothered with for one reason or another. Ultimately, you posted this on the atheism tag as an attempt to make a point. This is actually a slap in the face to adherents of other religions. It’s also a slap in the face to Christians because “turn the other cheek” doesn’t even begin to describe Christianity. I pity everyone who mindlessly agreed with this quote.

Hundreds of years ago people thought the earth was unique, and situated at the center of the universe.

Today we know there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy - a large percentage of them with planetary systems - and hundreds of billions of galaxies.

Stephen Hawking (via whats-out-there)

Spider gene study reveals tangled evolution

Arachnid family tree suggests that many spider species evolved away from web-weaving.

There’s more than one way to catch a fly. Spider webs look like the perfect trap for ensnaring insects, but a spider ‘tree of life’ based on hundreds of genes suggests many spiders jettisoned the web in favour of other ways of capturing prey. The new studies overturn decades-old dogma, by showing that spiders that weave orb-shaped webs are not all close kin, with some species more related to species that catch prey differently.

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There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.

Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, d. 1984

(via whats-out-there)