Friday, June 13, 2008

Atheist 13

For fun, I'd like to do a little meme this morning which I saw here and here.

Q1. How would you define “atheism”?

Absence of belief in the existence of god(s).

Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

This is a tough one, but I'm going to go with Mormon.

Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?

Newspeak

Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?

Naturalism, especially observing amphibians in the wild. My little Nico loves Biology. This morning he tore me away from my Internet habit to show me a series of fossil crustaceans -- screenshots he'd taken from his current favorite David Attenborough D.V.D.

Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?

I'd like to see more emphasis on charity and volunteer work. Belief in God makes it easier to say "I have no choice but to donate 10% of my income," but if you know that you have to rely on yourself, you often say "I have to be sure I'm providing for my family's future first, and we'll see what's left..." But we have to make it a priority to think about humanity's future.

Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?

What? Whatever happened to becoming a Biologist???

Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

That atheism is a ("fundamentalist") "religion" which requires just as much "faith" as belief in God. If you have to call atheism a religion in order to discredit it, then religion has already lost. (See It takes a lot of faith to believe that!!!)

Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

I don't think my views are terribly controversial within the atheist community. However, the one topic that consistently generates controversy and disputes when I post about it is this one.

Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

P. Z. Myers. Yeah, I know he's not on the list, but he's my favorite of the scary "new atheists". Of course Dawkins scored some points with me when he performed that hilarious rap video...

Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

I'm not really interested in deconverting people. I'd just like to encourage critical thinking in general.

Now name three other atheist blogs that you’d like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet

I don't feel like tagging anyone. Anyone else who'd like to do this meme (or has done it), please feel free to link to your post in the comments. :D

11 comments:

T&A said...

I like PZ as well!

Eugene said...

Just as the opposite of love is not really hate but indifference, I think the best definition of the opposite of theism is "apatheism": It's not that you do or do not believe in god, you just don't care. Or you can do as the Japanese do, and believe in whatever god is the most convenient at the moment.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey T & A!!!

Yeah, he's fun, isnt' he?

Hey Eugene!!!

I know people who are apatheists (like Tom, for example). I wouldn't necessarily say that's the opposite of theism, though. There exist people who admit to belief in God if pressed on the matter but mostly don't really care either way. For myself, I'm clearly not an apatheist, otherwise I wouldn't be bothering with this meme. ;^)

Joe said...

Apatheism arguably goes one step further; it posits that if there is a God, He doesn't care either.

In the end, I go with agnosticism, since it's the one position I'm completely sure of. For me, atheism ultimately gets you nowhere since it seems to always end up with arguments just as silly as those coming from theists.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Joe!!!

Re: Apatheism arguably goes one step further; it posits that if there is a God, He doesn't care either.

I think that's a different thing entirely. To me an apatheist is someone who doesn't posit anything at all about God because s/he doesn't find the question of God interesting or useful.

Re: In the end, I go with agnosticism, since it's the one position I'm completely sure of. For me, atheism ultimately gets you nowhere since it seems to always end up with arguments just as silly as those coming from theists.

Another roundabout way of granting that the arguments in favor of God's existence are silly. This battle has clearly been won. ;^)

But really, it's not a question of arguments against the existence of God or of any kind of beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt proof of God's non-existence. It's just a question of lack of evidence for God's existence. As with a lot of questions in life, even if you don't have 100% certainty, it makes sense to look at the evidence and decide which conclusion seems more likely.

For more details, see how I became an atheist.

erlybird said...

full set of answers, very briefly described:

Definition: Simply the DEFAULT POSITION.

Upbringing: Intellectual LDS.

Describe I.D.: Irrelevant.

Exciting Science: String Theory, Unification, Brain Research, and of course, Warp Drive

The Atheist Community Needs: First, a community...candidates.

My Child, the Preacher: Trading Santa for Jesus are you?

My Favorite Theistic Argument: That Atheism is a religion...exactly. It is the ABSENCE of religion. It has nothing to prove. Again, it is the DEFAULT POSITION. Everyone is born an atheist.

Controversial Notion: Humans aren't important. Life is not to be prioritized. Enjoy the rarest of moments.

Favorite Atheist: Harris. The others come across as assholes.

Desired Convert: My Mormon RM Nephew. It would be good to really talk to him.

Beat Dad said...

Funny, that I asked you about this without having looked at your blog for a couple of days. Enjoying the sunshine.

Call me an apatheist: there is life; something might have caused life to happen. I don't know what that something is, and I would still have to brush my teeth if I did know.

Beat Dad said...

Q1. How would you define "atheism"

Believing that Gods are myths.

Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?
Mormon when I was a kid, Buddhist when I grew up.

Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?

silly.

Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?

psychology

Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?

mu

Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?

Cool!

Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

I don't

Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

Maybe that I am an atheist. (I have never caused any controversy, but would love to.)

Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

chanson......lol


Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

I will know when I see them.

Now name three other atheist blogs that you’d like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet.

erlybird already did it. The other atheist blogs I looked at were to preachy.

erlybird said...

What did I do? LOL

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey ErlyBrd and Beat Dad!!!

Great answers!!!

Though I think some readers might not pick up on Wayne's inside jokes. ;^)

Erly -- what do you mean what did you do? You did fine. ;^)

Beat Dad said...

Erly-you answered the Atheist 13.