I'm thinking that the atheist billboards we hear about, I've never actually seen one myself, it's not that they're too sarcastic, I like sarcasm if it's not directed at me, it's that they're not going to make Christians think about their religion.
I have never been a Christian, or any other kind of theist, so on becoming an atheist I had to be sure that there were no good arguments for theism. I could just picture myself atheizing away and someone come along and say, here's a great reason to be a Christian, and thinking to myself, "WHAAA? I had never imagined that there might be such a persuasive argument!"
Well, after much blogging on my, practically stream-of-consciousness, blogging along with much reading and posting on others' blogs, I've come to the conclusion that, if it's true that believers outnumber non-believers 9-1, that sarcasm isn't going to cut it.
Lately some atheist bloggers seem to have came to the conclusion that they don't want jokers, trolls, those who use sarcasm to make their point or crazy people commenting on their blog and I, personally think that this is a mistake. Not everyone is educated in the fine arts of arguing rationally, rhetoric or any possible 'right way' of telling others their POV, right? Still, I think that they'e hearts are in the right place, hehe, they must be if they're actually monetized and actually trying to attract people to comment on their blogs to increase their income.
Anyways, I guess that was an aside, something that came up recently, although I think it does have something to do with my view on what the atheist billboards have to say. Instead of veiled sarcasm, something simple like, "All we have is... each other, really!"
Now I'm not trying to say that this is something new, since, I believe that there's really nothing new under the Sun. Sure there are countless ideas that are 'new to me' but that's not saying that we're going to run into a whole lot of ideas that are new to everyone ever all the time, right? Language and ideas, especially those ideas that we're going to put down in print, we are actually constrained by language itself to describe something 'new to you' in terms that are, at least fairly, old, right?
What would be the point of writing at all if all the relevant terms were words which other people didn't know?
So, to reiterate, 'All we have... is each other!', seems to be a good 'talking point' or meme to attract others, to open the door to discussion!
Just recently got a new puppy and we had a bit of a problem naming him. Emma's pretty good at naming pets, she came up with Prettyboy Floyd for our cockatiel, gotta love that name.
When we got the budgie, she came up with Spazzy, since he spazzes out, beating his wings as if he's trying to emulate a hummingbird while making angry budgie noises.
We tried a few names on the dog, Caesar, didn't like it, I forget what else, nothin' seemed to fit him. I gave Emma a choice, Moe, or something else which I forget now.
Anyways, he likes to fetch and destroy an aardvark toy, which we named Harvey! Harvey the aardvark, isn't that hilarious!?
While he was doing his little trundle to get the toy and coming back all proud, shaking the life out of poor old Harvey, who has more lives than Jesus, more lives that the proverbial cat, I was praising him as Mighty Moe, the aardvark slayer!
So, Mighty Moe, Moe, Mozie, it was! He's just Moe or Mozzie to us, but woe betide us is we introduce him to anyone as Moe, you can just see the disappointment on their face, changing from, the "Argh, what a cute DOGGIE, what a cute puppy!", to "Moe, eh? That blows giant chunks of, 'what, are you trying to bore me now?'.
But tell them his name is Mighty Moe, what a diffencet, "HaHA! Mighty Moe, the fluffy, cute Ewok impersonator is MIGHTY MOE!", that, they can relate to.
So, I looked up "Might Moe, the dog." on the 'Net, and sure enough, there's a pic of a cute, tiny butterfly doggie, with the same incongruously hilarious name!
Hence the title of the post, Nothing new under the Sun.
Not only that, I was explaining a bit about North American politics, "The best democracy that money can buy!", feeling all 'original', hey, it just popped into my head, just now, well before this chattering away posty stuff, say five mins. ago.
Looked THAT up and it's the name of a year 2000 book!
Nothing new under the damned Sun, yet again!
I have put a lot of thought and shit into this, looking through the web, under my bed, in the closet, quizzing confidantes, "You are in my power!", and so on, and I think it's crap.
Tell you why, I think that everyone has been hypnotized, all the time, by everyone, ever. Now I can hear you asking, "HOW CAN THAT BE?", like that, and I answer myself, "Shhh, you'll wake the neighbours!", because that is, I think, what hypnotism is.
I don't know what you think, but I'm pretty sure it's similar to what I think, and the WAY I think, HOW I think what I think, is almost EXACTLY the same as you.
Of course if I was ''written in" as an older sibling or younger sibling I'd act out that role, just as you would act out your part, since we don't grow up reading books on how siblings interact, but we're talking 'now' so if you think about it, concentrate your mind, imagine an older, or younger, it doesn't matter, brother, named Ian, just really give that idea a 'go', then that is hypnotism.
Of course you're reading this thinking, "Dubbya tee eff? He's not my brother.", but what if, in your 'head', you could imagine that I was? Just for the simple reason that concentrating on that idea would focus your mind on that idea.
But this is the same as every real idea that you have, it's just a belief. All the shit in your head is just beliefs. Your mother is really a snowman and dad is some character from a television show?
If you squint hard enough?
Of course not. You know damned fine that's not true. Point is, how do you know? You cannot tell if your most basic beliefs are true or not, since they're just passed along beliefs, they're, if you're willing to admit, beliefs that mom, dad, uncle, aunt, someone who was the best hypnotist, painted the best picture in your mind.
Norman Geisler's objections: 1) “If ‘most of us most of the time come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning,’ then can we not assume that Loftus came to his atheistic views the same way?”
This is Mr. Geisler's objections to John Loftus' Outsider Test of Faith.
Here is the Outsider Test of Faith.
When believers criticize the other faiths they reject, they use reason and science to do so. They assume these other religions have the burden of proof. They assume human not divine authors to their holy book(s). They assume a human not a divine origin to their faiths.Believers do this when rejecting other faiths. So dispensing all of the red herrings about morality and a non-material universe, the OTF simply asks believers to do unto their own faith what they do unto other faiths. All it asks of them is to be consistent. The OTF asks why believers operate on a double standard. If that's how they reject other faiths then they should apply that same standard to their own. Let reason and science rather than faith be their guide. Assume your own faith has the burden of proof. Assume human rather than divine authors to your holy book(s) and see what you get. If there is a divine author behind the texts it should be known even with that initial skeptical assumption.
Okay, Objection No. 1.
My objection to Mr. Geisler's point here is that his is a political objection, which we can break down into two parts, which are presented to us as an 'if/then' proposition.
‘most of us most of the time come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning..'
Mr. Geisler is overgeneralizing here. Sure our parents beliefs were passed down to us while we were learning to speak, learning our place in the world, but even as youngsters still learning, we compare how words are used by others, which is empirical and logical.
If grandpa is joking around and tells us that the sky is green we'll quickly object that 'everyone else' knows that the sky is blue. We remember the data, mom talking about the nice blue sky today, dad agreeing, them talking about things being blue and the colour of those things being the colour of the sky, and so forth.
Of course I'm talking about how we learned when we were children and an even more political response to my example would be to get all philosophical on me here and argue with me about whether and under what circumstances the sky is actually blue.
In fact our grasp of reality is being constantly tested by everyone else and by ourselves from just about day one.
Point is that the very general, the most general case for Geisler's point isn't true although one's religious beliefs are included in everyones' lives too. i.e. Most will confirm that the sky is blue and most people in your life will confirm their religious beliefs too.
This is what the OTF is all about, and couching beliefs as stuff generally outside empirical evidence and logical reasoning, is nonsensical in the very general terms since we're not about to question all of our beliefs all the time, we've done the empirical data collecting long ago(blue is blue is blue) and our logical reasoning( the damn sky IS blue) ever since we knew the words.
"... can we not assume that Loftus came to his atheistic views the same way?”
The OTF is not about Loftus' beliefs and how he came to believe them, it's about how you can argue against faiths other than your own in one way but dare not argue for your own faith in that same way.
We can illustrate the disconnect easily enough, like one of those general I.Q. tests.
Pick out the one which doesn't fit.
1)Belief in ghosts 2)Belief in a supernatural realm 3)Belief in God 4)Belief that the motion of the stars and planets influence our lives. 5) Not believing that there are ghosts or a supernatural realm or a God or that the motion of the stars and planets influence our lives.
I know, I know, it's kind of tricky. I was thinking '4', since I don't believe in Astrology, then I realised that no matter if I believed any of the 'beliefs', no matter if any of the 'beliefs' were true, number 5 IS THE ODD MAN OUT!
As a theist(Christian, Muslim, Jew etc.) your likely to know all the semantic ducks and weaves and dodges such as Atheism is just another belief system, if I say it's not, it's just non-belief, you can retort, "Well, it's belief that there is no God then.", basically dragging non-beliers down that very disingenuous rabbit trail.
So, it would appear that our Geisler fellow, if not a completely disingenuous, intellectually dishonest asshole, is pandering to his audience who are a closed community who are more than willing to take for granted that atheism is a belief system.
"Twas brillig, and the slithey toves did gyre and gymbol in the wabe All mimsey were the borogoves, and the mome-wraths outgrabe."
This is the entire universe as it really is from your, or my, point of view, disregarding our relationships with each other. The Sun rises and sets every day no matter how you're getting on with the wife and kids, no matter who is vying for political power at the City Hall, the local district etc., no matter if you're a CEO or a janitor.
It conjures up a picnic scene where we are sitting, relaxed, knowing that things are happening off in the distance. Off in the distance there may be a village or even a big city where the hustlers are hustling and the bustlers are bustling, where they hustle and bustle day in and day out.
If we imagine the city empty of people, there it would be, brillig while off in the distance the busy are busying. It's just the first layer upon which everything else rests, it being explained that there are always, in fact, other thingies doing their thingy. The farmers are farming, the butchers are butching, the mosquitos are doing little fly stuff and so on.
There is always a scene upon which stuff is going to happen, but no matter what stuff happens the scene will tend to go back to being the scene.
After this we could add anything at all. For example, "Twas brillig, blah, blah, blah, 'then Eve gave an apple to Adam', or, 'that's when the President pushed the Red Button'".
The first couple of lines of Jabberwocky is the ultimate scene-setting, the 'when' and the 'where', the 'could be anywhere', the 'nothing to see here folks, unless there's something to see'.
But I've been trying to make you see, which in a way corrupts the whole idea. For you to really see, to really notice what I'm trying to mean, you have to find those moments where it's all just 'there' around you. You may notice it if you practice yoga, or if you have jogged far enough, what do I know, "I'm not a doctor dammit, I'm not an elevator!", to corrupt 'Bones' imfamous saying to my purposes here.
The Supertramp line from their song, "If everyone was listening.", ".. the stage is in darkness and clear..", kind of sums it up too.
Commercials use settings to create moods favourable to selling their product. They have an idea where their target audience are, as far as mood goes, by the show they are interrupting, which has a setting within your setting, then they add another 30 second setting over that.
Like you're at home where homey things are happening all around and you're watching Star Wars where Star-Warsy things are progressing and suddenly you're in 'the kitchen' and 'she' is worried that her pasta isn't going to be perfect! Recommendation? Well, that company's pasta is going to make 'her' pasta-worries disappear, and of course, your pasta-worries too! Then on to the next commercial where, you'll never guess but, there is a solution to your car-worries, yes there is.
Bit of a digression but, have you noticed that most new cars resemble a shoe? I'm tempted to say, "What's up with that?", but I don't want you to feel as if I'm droning on purposelessly.
But what does it mean? Not the stuff about the commercials, which I was trying to use to explain what the Hell I am meaning.
I think that the great Douglas Adams gave it a shot, the 'meaning' thing that is, with his, "Don't forget to bring your towel."
At this point I'm going a bit Monty Python on you, with, "I don't know, what the Hell does it mean to you?"
There's the comment section 'down there'. Let it out! You know, if the scene is set for you to do that at this time.
Me:- Hey Redneck, I noticed your anti-Obama post. I know that you're not a rich man, so I'm proud of you for wanting to shoulder more of the tax burden in your country.
"Broaden the tax base" is the operating phrase, which means, well, you'll be paying more. It's that simple. ... I hope you don't consider the word 'tax' a profane word. LOL I realise you're not going to believe me about that tax thing even tho' I live in B.C. and indeed we have a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax making 12 bucks worth of groceries cost 13 bucks. our B.C. Liberals are badly named they're very right wing.
Redneck1:- @ IAN- LOL!!!! I am for less government, which really means I'm Anti most of the bozo's in office today. And the national sales tax idea is not a bad idea, one I have pondered a lot latley.
Redneck2"- Well you all need to realize that they all ready get way more taxes than they need to take care of this country so more taxes is not going to help any thing except give them more to waste. A plague should wipe all politicians off the face of The earth so we can start over.
Me:- Oh, the idea is no new net taxes, so a few billionaires will get the appropriate giant cut in theirs while you'll get to pay 12% on top of the price you see on the shelf. See something for 12 bucks? That'll cost you $13.44! When you start paying a surtax on everything, if they don't just hide it in the cost, you'll be reminded every single time that you buy something that your State and your Country is not one tiny bit better off for it.
And Redneck2, you're not going to get less government, just less governing. Some pictures of guys clearing the brush down on the ranch, that there had to be worth the 400 grand a year for the Prez, yea?
Redneck2:- Yes there will be less govering caues it will cause utter chaos and throw the world in a panic, in which case I would be way more happy to deal with than what we have now! Case closed.