Talk:Atheism/archive5

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Ungtss's inconsistent "neutrality"

I believe that Ungtss's alleged quest for neutrality is not genuine. Why? Because Ungtss made the argument that based on ex-atheist Christian testimony that they once did disbelieve in the existence of God we should say that atheists disbelieve in the existence of God. In short, while we should note that some theists disbelieve that bona fide atheists exist we should state that atheist do exist (actually disbelieve in the existence of God). Thus, we should not be neutral. However, Ungtss seems to dislike certain material like the material regarding the average atheist's uncharitableness and similar material as it seems to chaffe against his liberal notion of what the esssential nature of man is like. I would also point out that Ungtss refuses to answer the question: "Is atheism a sin?" Conservative 16:55, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

I believe that Ungtss's alleged quest for neutrality is not genuine. Why? Because Ungtss made the argument that based on ex-atheist Christian testimony that they once did disbelieve in the existence of God we should say that atheists disbelieve in the existence of God.
Please read what I wrote again, carefully. I'm not selling what you think I'm selling. I never made that argument. I listed a number of reasons, to which you never responded. My primary concern is with the tone of the article and clarity. The article sounds bizarre and paranoid as is, and we lose credibility instantly. The Bible verse says "The fool says in his heart, there is no God." That means, Conservative, that some people say in their heart that there is no God. Your evidence for the claim "there are no bona fide atheists" is the unsubstantiated opinion of theists. My evidence for the claim "at least some atheists are bona fide" is the personal experience of former atheists.
In short, while we should note that some theists disbelieve that bona fide atheists exist we should state that atheist do exist (actually disbelieve in the existence of God).
Please read again what I wrote. I'm not selling what you think I'm selling. I'm suggesting that we choose simplicity and clarity, rather than changing every "believes" to a "claims to believe," which carries a hostile and paranoid tone.
However, Ungtss seems to dislike certain material like the material regarding the average atheist's uncharitableness and similar material as it seems to chaffe against his liberal notion of what the esssential nature of man is like.
When have I ever objected to having that material in the article? Ungtss 17:51, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
I would also point out that Ungtss refuses to answer the question: "Is atheism a sin?"
That's simply untrue. I presented two possible definitions for the word "sin," and answered your question to respect to both. I said, "If by sin you mean 'error,' then yes. But if by sin you mean 'something that Angers God' I'd say, 'Depends why he's an atheist.' One person might be an atheist as an act of rebellion. Another person might be an atheist because he was molested by a priest, and he associates religion with evil. I imagine the first one would anger God terribly. I wouldn't even dare to speculate how God would react to the second one. I'm not wise enough. Ungtss 17:51, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I don't believe I ever stated in the article there no bona fide atheists nor did I believe I ever stated that in the talk page. Secondly, I would have to review the talk page to see if you ever attempted to answer the question. I do know that TK that your initial response to the issue of whether or not atheism is a sin was out of line. Lastly, the Bible clearly states the atheists are without excuse as per Romans 1 concerning God's existence so I don't believe your molestation defense is tenable. Conservative 18:00, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungstss, by the way I do notice you totally refuse to tackle the issue regarding the charitableness of the average atheist nor do you truly tackle what the Bible strongly states regarding the biblical fool. I believe it is because it chaffes your belief regarding the essential nature of man. In short, I still think you do not act in good faith. Conservative 18:03, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I don't believe I ever stated in the article there no bona fide atheists nor did I believe I ever stated that in the talk page. Secondly, I would have to review the talk page to see if you ever attempted to answer the question.
What you did was change all "atheists believe" to "atheist's claim to believe" and cite a large number of people holding the view that there are no bona fide atheists. I'm highly in favor of a section that discusses the issue of whether or not atheists are bona fide. But I'm against having that question overshadow the entire article by changing every "atheists believe" to an "atheists claim to believe." The tone is hostile and paranoid. Ungtss 18:29, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Lastly, the Bible clearly states the atheists are without excuse as per Romans 1 concerning God's existence so I don't believe your molestation defense is tenable.
You really need to read more carefully. I didn't say it was a defense. I said I didn't know how God would respond, because I'm not wise enough. I leave the judging to God. Ungtss 18:29, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungstss, by the way I do notice you refuse to tackle the issue regarding the charitableness of the average atheist nor do you tackle what the Bible states regarding the biblical fool. I believe it is because it chaffes your belief regarding the essential nature of man. In short, I still think you do not act in good faith. Conservative 18:03, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Why not leave me to tell you what I believe, k? I did not tackle those issues because they are irrelevant to the discussion. I am concerned with the order of the sections, the overly hostile tone of the article, and your repeated deletions of cited, sourced, relevant material. I have not said I believe man is "essentially good," because I think that statement is meaningless without a more precise definition of what you mean by "essentially good and bad." I've asked you for a more precise definition. You haven't been forthcoming. Ungtss 18:29, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
You still haven't tackled the uncharitableness of the average atheist. Not surprising. Is it because it is hostile to your liberal ideology and you can't squirm out of it? I think so! Conservative 18:37, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
  • Statements like this: "Lastly, the Bible clearly states the atheists are without excuse as per Romans 1 concerning God's existence", while perhaps useful as a supporting citation for a Christian POV, are more like those one would give on a Bible Wiki, not an encyclopedia. Being Christian and Conservative friendly means not denigrating either of those, but it does not make CP a theologically based encyclopedia. As a citation, it seems to indicate that Atheists are indeed real, that there are actually real atheists, not just liars who claim to be. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 18:42, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
You still haven't tackled the uncharitableness of the average atheist. Not surprising. Is it because it is hostile to your liberal ideology and you can't squirm out of it? I think so! (Conservative)
I'm not disputing your "uncharitability stats," Conservative. I never have. Atheists give less to charity. It's documented and I've never objected to having it in the article. Do you have any response to anything else I said, or are you just going to ignore what I say and then revert as soon as I make an edit, like you've done the last several times? Ungtss 18:49, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, does the average atheist give SUBSTANTIALLY less to charity even after church giving is subtracted? If so, what are the implications in regards to the moral character of the average atheist? Conservative 18:54, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
The implication is that, on the whole, atheists have less desire and/or resources to give to charity than theists. It does not mean atheists are incapable of moral behavior. It does not mean no atheist gives more to charity than any theist. It just means that on the whole, they either are less willing or less able to give to charity. What does that have to do with the "bona fide atheist" issue, the multiple definitions of atheism issue, or the deletion of a cited and widely quoted opinion on one cause of atheism? Are you going to address those, or continue pursuing an issue I don't dispute? Ungtss 19:01, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, please get real: "It is true that studies have repeatedly shown a correlation between atheism and education levels. The more education a person receives — especially in the sciences — the less religious they become and the less likely they are to remain theists. The exact nature of the relationship between atheism and education is a matter of dispute, but the existence of some sort connection is clear and not really debated. It is also true that higher education levels generally correspond with better income — the more education a person has, the more they will earn over their lifetime. The connection between education and income is even less controversial than that between education and atheism, but it suggests that in America, atheists tend to be a bit better educated and probably tend to make more money that the average."[1]Conservative 19:15, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, futhermore: A major study by Berry Kosmin in 1989 showed: Humanist, Atheists, and Agnostics at $33,000/yr Average income of Americans at $28,900/yr Jewish income at $36,700/yr Unitarians at $34,800/yr[http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9671.htm Conservative 19:19, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, so tell me, why does the average American atheists generally make more but give substantially less than American theists even subtacting church giving? Please address the moral character issue in relation to this matter. Lastly, the multiple definitions of atheism are in the article and the bona fide atheist issue has already been resolved.Conservative 19:22, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Have you ever taken a statistics class, Conservative? I ask because you're betraying a misunderstanding of how stats work. Nationwide, the average income is indeed higher for nonbelievers. However, you're not taking cost of living into account. Atheists are overrepresented in places like New York, where cost of living is significantly higher than in say Missouri, where theists are overrepresented. Also, atheists are overrepresented in prisons, where their income is well below average (and probably not included in the study you cited). Also, income is positively correlated with church attendance in poorer states, like Mississippi.[2] You're oversimplifying the issues to make a point I'm not disputing. Ungtss 19:40, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Please address the moral character issue in relation to this matter.
You are overgeneralizing. You are going from "atheists give less to charity" to "atheists are immoral," and that's simply a bad leap of logic. Just because an atheist or agnostic (like say Bill Gates) gives oh ... 10 billion times more to charity than the local pastor doesn't mean he's any more or less moral than the local preacher. Ungtss 19:40, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Lastly, the multiple definitions of atheism are in the article and the bona fide atheist issue has already been resolved.
I must have missed the resolution. Did it happen when you announced how things were going to be? Was that the "resolution?" Ungtss 19:40, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

Be careful with statistics. First make sure that you compare only groups that can be compared. [3] talks about church attendance. While atheists don't go to church, this doesn't mean that people who don't go to church are atheists. [4] doesn't quite say what they count as atheist, this website is an email, with few sources (we should cite the actual studies, and not an email rehashing some of them), but I suspect that they count only self-confessed atheists, humanists, and agnostics. those are two different groups.

A nice example for what you can do with numbers is this study [5] on the inmates of English and Welsh prisons. 30.2% of all inmates have no religion, thats quite a lot for a country where about 40% say that they are non-religious, but only 0.2% are self confessed atheists, and as many self-confessed agnostics. This is a discrepancy this large it becomes paramount to be precise about which group you are talking. Otherwise you might comparing apples with oranges, and any discussion is meaningless. Order 22:15, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

In my statement above I was referring to a Gallup poll from memory. But here are the actual numbers [6]. Apparently 35% do not believe in God, and of these 35% are self-confessed atheists, which amounts to 10% atheists. Only 44% of all respondents are positively believing in God, and only 90% of these believe in one God, which amount th 40% monotheists. Interestingly, if we compare this to official numbers [7] we see that 72% of all Brits were Christian in 2001. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy. But as you see, statistics are tricky. How can a country where only 23% have no religion [8], have 35% who do not believe in god, and have at the same time 72% Christians, while only about 40% believe that there is only one God. Statistics. Order 22:44, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

Agreed. And I think it's safe to say that the fact that atheists makes more money on average and give less to charity on average does not reasonably lead to the conclusion that atheists are somehow more fundamentally depraved than anybody else. Too many other factors. Ungtss 09:36, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I have never read an atheist defense regarding the matter of uncharitableness relative to theists in regards to studies. I think that is because they do not want to make fools of themselves. Prominent Atheist apologists simply ignore the matter and I don't think you can show me wrong about this matter (In fact, I challenge you to do so.). First, I think it is fair to say given the 1989 cited data previous regarding the average income disparity between atheists and theists that the current overall income disparity is around 15% (1989 showed: Humanist, Atheists, and Agnostics at $33,000/yr Average income of Americans at $28,900/yr ). I think that is conservative given the growing income disparity between the more educated and less educated in our global economy. Now given that it costs in 1999 about 16 percent less, on average, to live in rural rather than urban areas (see: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/ERSElseWhere/EEJS0001/ ) and given that some employers pay higher in order to defray the cost of living in higher cost of living areas I don't think you have a leg to stand on. In addition, we are not even counting church giving and some churches give to charity so I do not believe you can explain away the SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE in regards to the average atheist and average theist giving cited in the atheism article. Lastly, given there there is no shortage of starving people in the world and given Jesus's parable of Lazarus and the rich man, I do not believe you can say that there is no import of charitable giving in regards to moral character. Conservative 11:11, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Conservative, it is good that you are look for hypothesis as to why the average income between atheists/agnostics/humanist and the American public in general differ, and the difference between rural and urban, but also between more or less educated are probably contributing factors. In the end however, you hypothesis is just that, a hypothesis. It proves that Ungtss explanation isn't the only one, but it doesn't mean that yours is the only one either. As long as neither of you has access to the data of the study, or finds a solid study supporting the exact claim, all you two do is second guessing. You two are discussing from a study that is mentioned in an email, somewhere on the web, and the in-depth analysis that both of you try do on such little information is impossible, and frankly a waste of time. Order 20:30, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
This is so sad. Listen. I'm not saying unwillingness to give as much has no effect. I'm just saying that you're misusing statistics so badly that it'd be funny if it weren't sad. If an urban atheist makes 15% more then a rural theist, but the urban atheist's cost of living is 16% higher, then the urban atheist's real income is actually 1% less than the rural theist's. That's not to say that everybody in urban areas is atheist or everybody in rural areas is theist. It's just to say that the stats are misleading, because they overstate the difference is income, given the differential in cost of living. Again, I'm not arguing with you that atheists give less. I'm just saying that your argument from "atheists give less on average" to "atheists are depraved" is downright embarassing to anyone with any knowledge of statistics. Ungtss 14:56, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I don't believe what you posted is valid regarding the 1% difference. For one, you never addressed my point that some employers may pay higher to offset the higher cost of living in cities. Secondly, we would have to subtract church giving from the theist side of the equation in terms of the equation (we are mainly looking at non-church donation generosity). Third, there is nothing unseemly about stating that people living in a afluent society are not exactly charitable relative to theists (and in a very substantial way) is evidence on the "atheists are morally depraved" side of the ledger. Again, I point to the rich man and Lazarus story of Christ. Conservative 15:52, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Of course they're paid more to offset the higher cost of living. That increase is factored into the increased income you're citing. Suppose I'm paid 15% more to live in New York. Then my income is going to be 15% higher than a rural dweller! You're noting a higher income, and part of that higher income is due to increased pay. Of course there are other factors like church giving -- I don't dispute that atheists pay less -- I'm just saying that it's more complicated than the article presents it. As far as the "morally depraved side of the ledger," again, sir, if you're going to be a Christian and take the Bible seriously, you need to accept the fact that your ledger is full, too. Ungtss 16:05, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, your last post was nonsense. Atheist have perhaps a miniscule less money to give and perhaps more money to give (educated people earn more relatively than they used to, no church giving, possible net gain given employers giving them more money in the city) and they give substantially less even after church giving is factored in. I believe at this point you are certainly not being reasonable and just playing games. And given that you have yet to address the Koukl essay I believe my doubt regarding your sincerity is perfectly legitimate. Conservative 16:21, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Again, I am not arguing with the fact that atheists give less to charity. I am only arguing with your oversimplification and abuse of statistics. And I am not arguing with the Koukl essay because I don't disagree with it. I am arguing with your argument from the "Biblical fool verse" that no atheist is capable of moral behavior. Ungtss 16:28, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I see your last post as another strawman. For example, if Hitler was upon occassion nice to some people that would not mean that Hitler was not a morally depraved person. If Planned Parenthood does some good things that wouldn't cancel out the fact they are a morally depraved organization. Conservative 16:46, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
This is exactly why you need to better define what you mean by "morally depraved." If you don't mean "incapable of moral behavior," what exactly do you mean? Ungtss 17:02, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, Morally depraved in nature and in habit. Conservative 17:04, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Meaning what, in concrete terms? Evil habits? Does that mean that all of their habits are evil? That 51% of their habits are evil? That 1% of their habits or evil? Ungtss 17:08, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I am certainly not going to split hairs with you. Certainly, up to 100 million people killed under atheist communism, a substantially uncharitable US atheist population relative to US theists, and atheists having more favorable views on illegal drug and drunkeness counts for something. Conservative 17:22, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
It's easy to throw words like "depravity" around if you don't have to tell people what you mean. That way nobody can question what you're saying. "They're bad, I tell you! And that's that!" Ungtss 17:35, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

Can't we just work on a cleaner, less biased article on Atheism? I know this is Conservapedia, but this seriously has a very anti-Atheist tone, you really can't call Conservapedia unbiased with this article. If you want to keep all that stuff about Atheists giving less to charity than Christians and Notable incidences of Atheists converting to Theism, write about the other side too. It doesn't necessarily have to be a POV, but just try to see both sides to this whole debate and also try to write more about atheists and their history (Not just Communism, mind) and not a bunch of research claims, statistics and public opinions on them. Ichiro 14:58, 29 September 2007 (EDT)

If only. Unfortunately, some users are too frightened of atheism to describe it accurately. They hide behind misrepresentation, straw-man, exclusion, non-sequitur argument, and polemic because describing and defeating atheism as it really is takes mental resources they are either unwilling or unable to invest. It's the same thing the liberals on WP do ... only the roles are reversed. Ungtss 17:35, 29 September 2007 (EDT)

Atheists uniquely depraved

Conservative, you argue in the "causes" section that "Moral depravity has been demonstrated in the atheist community through history and through various studies." Are you a Christian? If so, you probably believe that all people are depraved, and under original sin. You're probably also aware that people professing belief in God have been known to do many "morally depraved" things, including soliciting gay sex in bathroom stalls, hiring gay prostitutes, and slaughtering thousands of people simply for being in the wrong Christian denomination. Why single atheists out as "morally depraved" when (if you're a Christian anyway) you believe that all people are ultimately depraved? Ungtss 22:19, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

Ungtss, I notice you did not include the footnotes at the end of the above sentence you cited of mine (see: [9][10][11][12] ). I frankly am not suprised given the data that they contain. I also notice you did not mention what the bible states regarding the biblical fool that subsequently follows that sentence nor have you ever truly addressed them. This is not surprising either given you are the king of avoiding unpleasant facts. Here is what the Bible states regarding the biblical fool. The Bible asserts that "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." (Psalms 14:1 (KJV)). The biblical fool is said to be lacking in sound judgement and the biblical fool is also associated with moral depravity. For example, the biblical book of Proverbs states: "A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated. The naive inherit foolishness, But the sensible are crowned with knowledge."(Proverbs 14:16-18 (NASB)). The book of Proverbs also has strong words regarding the depravity of biblical fools: "The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but [it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil." (Proverbs 13:9 (KJV)). Regarding the deceitfulness of fools Proverbs states: "The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit." (Proverbs 14:8 (KJV)). Conservative 11:14, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
You may or may not have heard of a little book called Romans. There's a part in there that goes,
"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes."
There's also Isaiah 53:6 --
"We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all."
Ecclesiastes 7:20: "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins."
Ecclesiastes 9:3: "This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead."
Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
If you're going to read the Bible that rigidly, Conservative, there are a lot of things it says that you're not going to like. Like "I'm a sinner too." The essence of Christianity is recognizing our fallen nature and our incapacity before God. Christ said "If you knew you were blind, you would be forgiven; but since you think you can see, your guilt remains." Your arguments that atheists are somehow "more morally depraved than theists" based on statistics that show they give less to charity bely your own failure to recognize your own fallen nature. The problem with your argument is not that it's too Christian. The problem is that it is unChristian, because it contradicts Christ's command to be humble, and recognize our own fallen nature "that none should be proud." Ungtss 14:56, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I in no way limited myself to the charitable giving issue. For example, you have yet to address the Koukl essay which I don't think you can do. Next, I would point out that the Bible states that faith and deeds are important as per James so the general habits of people are an important issue. Lastly, I think that your attempt to make me the issue falls flat. I have merely compared populations. Following your "logic" a Biblical prophet could not decry moral depravity because he would not be humble which I believe would be a ridiculous proposition. Conservative 16:13, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Listen, your argument stemmed from a Bible verse that said that fools say there is no God, and do no good. I pointed out that there are many other verses that say that nobody does any good. If you want to acknowledge that the waters are a little muddier than "atheists are all bad, theists are all good," we can move forward to "are there individual cases of atheists who act morally?" Can you handle that? Ungtss 16:19, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
And incidentally, I haven't argued with the Koukl essay because I don't disagree with it. But that essay does not prove (or even claim to prove) that no atheist is capable of moral behavior, which you were arguing from your "biblical fool" verse. Ungtss 16:23, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, given that you have been cornered in the charitable giving issue and given that your unwillingness to truly address the point that Koukl is truly making is brought out, you now rely on bringing out your strawman and knocking it down. The issue has been and always will be "Are atheist morally depraved" and is that a factor in them deciding to be atheists. Now if you want to edit the theism article in regards to the moral depravity of the theist population and whether or not that affects their decision to be theists, I have no problem with that as long as you make reasonable posts. Conservative 16:31, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure how I've been cornered on the charitableness issue. I told you from the beginning I knew atheists were less charitable than theists. I also told you I thought the inferences you drew from that fact were blown way out of proportion. I have no intention of saying that theism is caused by moral depravity, nor any intention of deleting your cited, sourced opinions that atheism is. Ungtss 16:44, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, you want to turn this page into a postmodernistic monstrosity where we say merely there is this view and that view regarding causal factors for atheism but God forbid we state that a well supported view you disagree with is actually a reasonable causal explanation. Conservative 17:27, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
I advise you stop telling other people what they want and believe, and start asking them. Ungtss 17:38, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

Archiving and other matters

Please do not archive discussions that are still in progress. How do you tell if it's still in progress? Often you can't, except to allow a reasonable amount of time to pass. But hours or even a day or so is not "a reasonable amount of time". Once recently, this entire page was archived with almost no conversation being older than a week, and one conversation that I was part of had been replied to then archived before I could respond. I restored the page and asked in the edit comment that this not be done.

Now it's been done again, and again it happened to a conversation that I was part of, and again it had been replied to then archived before I responded. Not to mention that other conversations had been started then archived before I'd even read them. What if I or somebody else had wanted to respond to any of them?

In this case, there's not much there that I really want to respond to, so I won't restore any of the conversations on this occasion, but I would support anybody else wanting to restore recent conversations that they wished to reply to.

The rationale for archiving was clearly the size of the page, and the warning that appears when you try to edit a large page. It includes the comment that some browsers may have problems with pages larger than 32KB. I really don't think that there's too many browsers around these days with that limitation. It's still good to not let them get too large, of course, but not so urgent as to justify cutting off people in mid-conversation.

I also believe it's true that even if you do have a browser with this limitation, it doesn't stop you editing a smaller section; the problem is only if you try to edit the page as a whole (or if one section is itself too big).

And a request to wrap up conversations is generally impracticable, particularly when the request isn't there long enough for people to have a chance to read it, as was the case here.

By the way, if the 32KB limit is really an issue, then the article itself needs trimming; it's up to 42KB.

Conservative, please don't badger Ungtss; he's not obliged to answer questions on issues that he is not disputing.

And you (Conservative) wrote an edit comment, "removed Ungtss attempt to run away from the concept of objective reality", in reverting a change that I made. Please be a lot more careful about what you accuse people of, and of what you consider their motives to be.

Philip J. Rayment 23:06, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

  • Philip, in the case of archiving lengthy talk pages, some of the sections have been run up over 30K, let alone the whole thing. If you, or anyone else hasn't yet read what is archived, nothing stops you from reading the archived bits. If you feel the need to reply to something, snip it out, add it in. Pretty simple....and the archiving has been in place since before either of us got here. So sorry. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 23:46, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Mr. Raymnent, Ugtss is changing content in the article and that is what I am "badgering him about". I also believe that my concerns are legitimate and that Ungtss defense of his edits are often woefully inadequate. But if you disagree with me please feel free to join our charitable giving discussion and make appropriate comments. Conservative 11:18, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
You are badgering him about the generosity of atheists. Where did he change the article in that regard? Philip J. Rayment 11:25, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Mr. Rayment, Ungtss has changed this sentence in the article in the past and takes issue with it on the talk page: "Moral depravity: Moral depravity has been demonstrated in the atheist community through history and through various studies.[13][14][15][16] I suggest you look at the footnoted articles and that you join us in the "uncharitableness of atheists" discussion above. Will you join us in the discussion? If you don't join us, I certainly will take issue with you regarding any alleged reasonableness of Ungtss since you will have failed to demonstrate a true willingness to actively engage him here. Conservative 11:33, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for explaining what he changed that you were referring to. The problem is that I see atheist generosity and moral depravity as two different things. Not totally unrelated, I guess, but not the same thing either. If I've understood him correctly, Ungtss agrees that atheists give less, but doesn't agree that this amounts to or is evidence of moral depravity (and I'm inclined to agree with him there). So you persistently asking him his views on atheist generosity when that is not the point of disagreement is unwarranted. (Which is not to ignore that he also has a point of disagreement with your use of statistics, but that is a separate matter again.)
There are three reasons that I haven't "engaged" Ungtss here.
  • One, I agree with much of what he says, but, unlike you, I see it as trying to be precise and accurate, not as trying to put a postmodern/liberal/whatever slant on things.
  • Two, I have difficulty keeping up with the conversation. It takes me ages just to read the conversation that has transpired since I last looked. This is exacerbated by many minor edits correcting typos, which considerably increases the number of diffs to look through in the history. Proofreading and spell-checking posts before hitting the "Save page" button would help considerably in this regard. And it's not just this talk page, but the article itself. Going through the many changes there takes time, which could be reduced with better proofreading and spell-checking (and using the "Show preview" button). In summary, by the time I've finished reading everything (and I am a fast reader), I've sometimes run out of time to reply.
  • Three, being in a quite different time zone doesn't help either. Much of the conversation is carried on whilst I'm asleep or otherwise not able to take part, and it's all over by the time I get a look in. That is, anything that Ungtss might have said that I disagree with (and there have been a few things), you have already replied to by the time I get to see the conversation. (It works the other way too: Some things that I disagree with you on have been answered by Ungtss or others, so I don't say anything there either.)
Philip J. Rayment 23:10, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Mr. Rayment, I would agree with you that moral depravity and uncharitableness are not synonyms. Just like the words murder and moral depravity are not synonymous. Nevertheless, uncharitableness is a symptom of moral depravity and an act of moral depravity. I think you have to admit that in the West we live in a afluent society and that atheists give SUBSTANTIALLY LESS to charity (even though theists and atheists have about the same means [see previous discussion]) and that Jesus surely sent the rich man to an unpleasant place for uncharitablness in the Lazarus story. Lastly, my statement regarding depravity did not solely rest on the uncharitableness issue as you can see by the other footnotes (see: (see: [17] [18] ) and the material regarding the biblical fool. I am referring to this material: The Bible asserts that "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." (Psalms 14:1 (KJV)). The biblical fool is said to be lacking in sound judgment and the biblical fool is also associated with moral depravity. For example, the biblical book of Proverbs states: "A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated. The naive inherit foolishness, But the sensible are crowned with knowledge."(Proverbs 14:16-18 (NASB)). The book of Proverbs also has strong words regarding the depravity of biblical fools: "The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but [it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil." (Proverbs 13:9 (KJV)). Regarding the deceitfulness of fools Proverbs states: "The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit." (Proverbs 14:8 (KJV)). Conservative 23:24, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
I agree that in America atheists give substantially less to charity than theists. I also suspect the same applies here in Oz, but I know of no studies to show that. I wasn't suggesting that your comment on depravity rested solely on the issue of charity, but the charity issue wasn't the point of disagreement between you and Ungtss. Philip J. Rayment 08:24, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
Mr. Rayment, actually there is some disagreement on the charity issue between me and Ungtss. While I appreciate your input Mr. Rayment if I am not mistaken (and perhaps I might be) I don't think you want to take the time to read the large amount of back and forth posts between Ungtss and I and I have no problem with that. This is perfectly understandable and I realize that people have busy lives and other priorities. I believe another party will settle the matter which you may be aware of so I perfectly understand your apparent reticience to read the large amount of back and forth posts between Ungtss and I in detail.Conservative 18:28, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
Mr. Rayment's responses indicate to me that he read enough of what we wrote to understand what was going on far better than you did. For the umpteenth time, I do not object to any of the material related to charity in the article, I agree with you that atheists are statistically less charitable, I just personally think your inferences from those facts are blown way out of proportion. Ungtss 18:39, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, quite being evasive. You cannot even admit that American atheists in general have approximately the same capacity to give. And given that million of starving people are dying due to uncharitableness I find your reticience to associate uncharitableness with moral depravity rather impotent. Conservative 18:53, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
I have read all the posts, but what I haven't done is go over them a second or third time to make sure that I fully understand the argument that each of you is making. But as for there being "some disagreement on the charity issue", I previously acknowledged that, when I said, "(Which is not to ignore that he also has a point of disagreement with your use of statistics, but that is a separate matter again.)". Despite my lack of rereading to be sure I fully understand and haven't misunderstood the arguments, it would appear that I have read the posts from both sides at least as carefully as you have. Philip J. Rayment 22:43, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
"American atheists have approximately the same capacity to give and yet give less." There. I said it again for the umpteenth time. I don't disagree with that statement. It's the jump from there to some vague, undefined "moral depravity" that I can't yet follow. Maybe if you would finally define what you mean by "moral depravity" in meaningful terms, we could get somewhere. Ungtss 19:03, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

Ungtss, if you can't see the connection between American atheists living in an affluent society and being substantially less charitable than theists and moral depravity perhaps this will help: 150PxConservative 19:08, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

The use of the emotive picture above cheapens the suffering of those people, the poor child picture (dead, now, in all likelihood), is being used by you Conservative to score debating points. Shame on you! Samwell 19:14, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

If the census data of 15% for 'no religion' or 'agnostic' for 2001 is correct, and atheists were as charitable as theists, that would add only a few more percent in the fund raising capability to combat global poverty and famine. Surely you don't believe that that 15% can add all the lacking funds to the system. Wouldn't the majority of the support need to come from the the population as a whole? --Rutm 19:17, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

Again, Conservative: If you will define what you mean by "morally depraved" we can evaluate your claim. If I met a person walking down the street who worked hard, saved for his kids' schooling, stayed faithful to his wife, but didn't give a dime to charity, I would not call him "morally depraved." I would call him "uncharitable outside his family." If I met a man who regularly solicited gay sex in a bathroom stalls while hypocritically projecting the image of a religious conservative, while giving $100k a year to help the Sudanes children, I'd be a lot closer to calling him "morally depraved." So define your terms or get off the soapbox. Ungtss 19:28, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I already did give a definition of morally depraved. Secondly, we have been talking about the the American atheist population as a whole versus the Anmerican theist population as a whole. Lastly, I realize that certain people's ability to give to charity is different. However, at the same time if a person can certainly give to charity but doesn't I think there is a problem. Certainly the Bible commends charity: But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13,14 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. Psalm 41:1,2 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Proverbs 19:17 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. Proverbs 14:21Conservative 17:08, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
To say that "Atheists are morally depraved because they don't give to charity" is a faulty argument. There are certainly some atheists who do give to charity for whatever reason and thus saying that 'atheists as a whole are depraved because...' isn't correct. As a whole, there may be less given as a percentage of income from atheists, but that does not mean that no charity is given. I also question if the amount that a person gives to charity is the sole indicator of morality. I am also curious, if giving money to the poor is a good thing, why is government sponsored welfare, health insurance for everyone, and foreign aid to impoverished countries a bad thing? --Rutm 17:31, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
Couldn't have said it better, Rutm. Conservative: You are portraying an entire group of people as "morally depraved" because, on average, they gave less. But that group is composed of individuals, and many of those atheistic individuals give more than their theistic counterparts. You cannot legitimately generalize from the stats to each individual on that basis. Certainly we are commanded to give to the poor. But that doesn't mean that because you give $1000 and I give $800, that I've morally depraved. It just means you're more generous than I am outside of the family. Of Coure, RutM, many people are in favor of charity but against government welfare programs because they believe the government has proven itself incompetent to care for the poor, due to the inherent weaknesses they perceive in bureaucratic systems. Ungtss 19:43, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
I think another problem with government welfare is that, almost inevitably, it comes to be seen as a right, not as charity. For example, few people would see the work of the Salvos, for example, and expect that the Salvos therefore have an obligation to help them out. But when a government institutes welfare programs, many people seem to expect to receive that welfare as a right, and this discourages them from trying to support themselves. There may be circumstances where this is appropriate, but I'd suggest that there are many other circumstances where it is not appropriate. Otherwise, I also agree with Rutm in that giving to charity has little bearing on whether or not they are morally depraved. Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 7 September 2007 (EDT)

Conflicted Content/Direction

  • I have emailed a "higher authority" and solicited his efforts in putting this article back on track. I don't do that lightly, but it is pretty obvious when we have a case of Sysops publicly disagreeing as to direction and content, and the motives of editors contributing, that a higher authority is needed. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 16:25, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
    • Sounds like a plan. Ungtss 16:28, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
TK, who is that higher authority? Conservative 16:33, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

Protection?

Against "Ungtss's liberalism "?
I'm sorry, I didn't see the instance(s) of the purported "liberalism". I'm going to guess that Conservative just wants to be able to edit the article without edit conflicts. As you wish. Samwell 17:39, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

I'm guessing this has happened before? Ungtss 17:42, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure. It might be the case here, though: I had an edit conflict redoing the table sentences. But I just hit the Back button on my browser, copied my edit, reloaded the page and edited from there. I suppose it is frustrating when it happens while you're making numerous edits but it's a wiki and these things happen...unless you have the power to make it stop happening, which, some people do. It's not a bad thing except the reason given in the protection summary seems a bit, oh, I don't know...deceitful? Samwell 17:51, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Gotcha :(. Ungtss 17:52, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

I believe Dr. Kennedy is wrong about the ability of proving universal negatives.

First of all, I am going to surprise some people by stating that I don't believe Dr. Kennedy was right in regards to proving a universal negative to be in violation of the laws of logic. Now if I am not mistaken Ungtss argued that Dr. Kennedy was using the informal definition of logic (reasonableness) and not the more formal definition. However, I think Ungtss is mistaken for two reasons. First, as a minor point "laws of logic" certainly seems to indicate not merely violating reasonableness but seems to be that Kennedy is stating that disproving the formal science/systems of logic. More importantly, the philosopher Mortimer Adler seems to take the view that you can't prove a universal negative is a violation of the formal laws of logic.

Dr. Mortimer Adler was a philosopher by profession and chairman of the board of editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.[19]

Here is what the Christian Research Institute states about Dr. Adler:

As logician Mortimer Adler has pointed out, the atheist's attempt to prove a universal negative is a self-defeating proposition. The Christian should therefore emphasize that the offensive atheist is unable to provide a logical disproof of God's existence. [20]

I believe that the Christian Research Instite is correct because Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty states: "As philosopher Dr. Mortimer Adler says: "An affirmative existential proposition can be proved, but a negative existential proposition -- one that denies the existence of some thing --cannot be proved."

Now Dr. Adler states that articles of faith can be disproved by proving their contraries.[21] But Adler seems to believe that negative existential propositions cannot be proved. However, I disagree with Dr. Adler and soon you will see why.


Now Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig (who is not exactly my favorite Christian apologists although he often makes valid points) states the following:

"According to Craig, the claim that "you can't prove a universal negative" is

false. In the first place, of course you can. For example, you could disprove the statement that "there are polka-dotted geese." That would be a universal negative and you can disprove that. But more importantly, the claim that 'God does not exist' is not a universal negative. It's a singular negative. And certainly you can prove negative singular statements, such as, 'There is no planet between Venus and the Earth.' You can provide arguments to show that a singular negative statement is true.[22]

I don't believe that Dr. Craig is right in regards to the assertion there being no God is a singular negative. I also do not agree with him that you disprove the statement there are polka dotted geese although I do believe you can show it so unlikely that it is not a important consideration. However, I do think that it is an important point that you can make a universal negative proposition likely enough that it carries substantial weight. At the same time, I agree with Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty that asserting universal existential negatives (that are not contradictory although Dr. Dolhenty did not say that) is perilous and you can certainly get egg on your face. [23]

Next, although I certainly do not agree with atheist Jeffrey Lowder on many points, I would say that he is correct that if a universal negative violates Aristotle's law of non-contradiction that it can be disproven. [24] For example, affirming there are no round triangles is a perfectly reasonable universal negative propositional statement.

Now I don't have much respect for Sagan and Dr. Gordon Stein but here is what the Christian Research Institute said about Sagan and Stein: "Prominent atheists such as Gordon Stein and Carl Sagan have admitted that God's existence cannot be disproven.[25] I agree with Sagan and Stein here.

Here is an important point: I do think that you cannot prove a non-contradictory negative existential propositional statement and this would violate formal logic. I also think the atheist community has utterly failed to show the concept of the Christian God to be somehow contradictory or improbable. In fact, I believe affirmative existential proposition of God's existentence is self-evident (nature testifies to God's existence) and in addition there is a tremendous amount of additional evidence of God's existence some of which is noted in the atheism article.

I would also state that I agree with Hank Hanegraaff, Ron Rhodes, and Kenneth R. Samples in that the denial of the existence of God is presumptious given the pool of human knowledge compared with the potential knowable knowledge is so small.[26]

I also agree with what Paul Copan said who is with Ravi Zacharias Minstries:

"Second, the "presumption of atheism" demonstrates a rigging of the rules of philosophical debate in order to play into the hands of the atheist, who himself makes a truth claim. Alvin Plantinga correctly argues that the atheist does not treat the statements "God exists" and "God does not exist" in the same manner.5 The atheist assumes that if one has no evidence for God’s existence, then one is obligated to believe that God does not exist — whether or not one has evidence against God’s existence. What the atheist fails to see is that atheism is just as much a claim to know something ("God does not exist") as theism ("God exists"). Therefore, the atheist’s denial of God’s existence needs just as much substantiation as does the theist’s claim; the atheist must give plausible reasons for rejecting God’s existence.

Third, in the absence of evidence for God’s existence, agnosticism, not atheism, is the logical presumption. Even if arguments for God’s existence do not persuade, atheism should not be presumed because atheism is not neutral; pure agnosticism is. Atheism is justified only if there is sufficient evidence against God’s existence.

Fourth, to place belief in Santa Claus or mermaids and belief in God on the same level is mistaken. The issue is not that we have no good evidence for these mythical entities; rather, we have strong evidence that they do not exist. Absence of evidence is not at all the same as evidence of absence, which some atheists fail to see." [27]

I hope what I have posted is helpful and I certainly do not advocate spending a lot of time on atheists objections regarding the coherence of the concept of the Christian God but that should be merely noted with a corresponding theistic defense article that is vigorous and clearly states that the atheistic objections are without merit.

Conservative 20:31, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

I have to admit that I didn't read all of it, but there are a few good points you are touching. There is one sentence that however struck me as awkward. "I do think that you cannot prove a non-contradictory negative existential propositional statement and this would violate formal logic." This is not a matter of what you think, but a matter of formal logic. Can you
  1. if possible, give me a " negative existential propositional statement". Is it some it something like  \exists{A}{\in}\mathbb{P}\, s.t. \neg f(A)? I am struggling a bit with combining propositional and existential. The above statement is existential, but not really propositional. But, my formal logic knowledge is also a bit rusty, I have to admit.
  2. Can you give me a pointer to the theorem or text book that says that you cannot prove such a thing. Since it is in formal logic it must be formalized somewhere. Order 20:48, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Conservative: While I'm sure your essay describing your personal opinions will spur discussion and debate on the talkpage, I understand this wiki is not a debate forum, and that the purpose of this wiki is to write articles, so I'm wondering what relevence your stated opinions have to the content of the article, and if you're planning on allowing editors other than yourself to edit it any time soon. Ungtss 20:53, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Order, if memory serves I stated above that an example of a valid negative existential propositional statement would be "Round triangles do not exist" due to the law of non-contradiction. Secondly, I wanted something more than my opinions regarding who was right and who was wrong in respect to whom I cited and cite a definitive work that could not be questioned since simple statements regarding logic should be very concrete and theoretically easy to find. However, that may be impossible. Perhaps, there is wide disagreement. I don't really know. I also think my comment on showing the likelihood of negative universal existential non-contradictory propositions being true is valid and I am betting if I digged hard enough I could find a respectable source who supports my view although perhaps not. Conservative 21:08, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I cited Dr. Mortimer Adler and Dr. Craig and I know that Adler is a very respected source in regards to philosophy. In addition, Dr. William Lane Craig is also considered a philosopher. The Discovery Institute states that Dr. Craig is is a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology.[28] The problem is that Craig and Adler appear to contradict each other. The atheist Lowder uses the work of Aristotle who is a respected philosopher. I also cited a gentleman who cites the respected philosopher Alvin Plantinga. I realize that my above post was long (and I think necessarily so) but I believe the true problem is that perhaps you did not read it otherwise you would have known I cited relevant sources and not merely my opinion. What your above post further tells me is that trying to have a dialogue with you is largely an exercise in futility because you do not always read the material you comment on (In addition, I think you are often unreasonable and merely wish to push a counter evidence agenda as I have stated previously at Conservapedia). Conservative 21:20, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Conservative: I asked two simple questions: what relevence your long talk-page essay had to the article itself, and how long you were planning on monopolizing the page by protecting and/or reverting all edits but your own. You didn't answer either question. It is a conservapedia commandment not to debate endlessly. It is also a conservapedia not to state personal opinion in the article. As a sysop, I would have hoped you'd exemplify the commandments, rather than violating them so cavalierly. I'd like to get back to editing this page, but you've protected it, and even before you did that, you reverted every edit you disagreed with anyway. Hopefully higher headquarters will make a call as to what direction this page should take, and we can move on. Ungtss 23:57, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
  • The problem with the material you cite is that it nowhere points us directly to what Alder said, but only to papers and material referring to him. I also noticed that Alder and Craig contradict each other, and the titbits of information we have on Alders position are fairly unusual for a Logician. But, it could be just because his statement is taken out of context. Agreed it might be difficult to find an online source. But since we are talking about formal logic, there should be some other source. Logic is the same for all logicians.
  • I assume that "Round triangles do not exist" is an example of a non-contradictory existential proposition. Would "Round circle do not exist" be an example of contradictory existential proposition. If that is the case I somewhat begin to understand what Alder might have said. Namely that if something is logically speaking a tautology, you cannot disprove it. Which is true, and a tautology itself.
  • There is no need to read everything you cite and write. Overwhelming somebody in a debate with too much information is a effective debating trick, but it is in the end a trick. I assume you read you quoted material, understood it, and cited it for a reason, so you should be able to tell us why you think what you think. And if you make a statement like "you cannot prove a non-contradictory negative existential propositional statement", it is you who makes it, the sentence stands for itself. That is why can ask a question about this isolated sentence. Order 22:00, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Order, whether or not Adler discusses tautologies I do not know. As far as the contradictory or non-contradictory existential propositions that is the atheist Jeffrey Jay Lowder ( a founder of the Secular Web) applying Aristotle's law of non-contradiction to the issue. You may not see the term used in authorative works having to do with logic. Conservative 22:12, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
We should try to find out if Alder talks about tautologies. Because that would have quite some implications, and as long as we don't know we cannot faithfully use whatever he said. But I am happy to inform you that Aristotle's law of non-contradiction is still alive in Logic. Order 23:04, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
Order, I am glad you informed me that the law of non-contradiction is still alive and well. I was about to curse Francis Schaeffer and then you providently intervened.[29]  :) Conservative 23:15, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
I am a bit puzzled as to why you post all the time material arguing in favor of god. We are not discussing if a logical argument in favor his existence is possible, but if a logical argument for his non-existence can be made. But to please your love for external quotes and citation, and to highlight that Logic discusses form and not content, here something for you to read: [30], [31]. Order
Order, I studied logic in college and received an A. If there is material at those links discussing the fallacy of exclusion perhaps you should offer it to Ungtss. Conservative 23:48, 5 September 2007 (EDT)
I offer it to both of you. It doesn't discuss fallacies, of course, because fallacies is more of a subject in philosophical logic or rhetoric. But you were talking about formal logic, and those formal rules apply to all logic. Good to see that you enjoy logic courses, and are even good at it, because we see here a lot of students in our courses who don't have the necessary background in logic. As a fallacy this would be called arguing from authority I reckon.Order 00:04, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

Tautological definition

At issue is the following definition of "moral depravity" by Conservative.[32]. He defines "moral depravity" as "depraved in nature and in habit." The definition of this term is relevant, because the term is used in the article, and we ought to know (at the very least) what we mean by our words. I have asked repeatedly for Conservative to define this term, and the above is the best I ever got from him. The definition, however, is tautological. That is to say, "A=A." It is like saying "A Circle is circular in shape and form." Meaningless. The term is used in the article, but is very poorly defined by the sysop who put it there. I respectfully request that Conservative take the time to define his term. Ungtss 12:17, 8 September 2007 (EDT)

The phrase "depraved in nature and in habit" means they are not only incapable to do good, it is there very nature to be mean towards their fellow being and to engage in morally reprehensible acts such as sodomy and genocide. This definition seems to imply an obsessive compulsive disorder. Order 22:29, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
I agree, Order -- that's how I interpret the phrase "morally depraved" as well -- is that what you mean too, Conservative? That atheism is caused by a tendency to be mean to your fellow man and engage in morally reprehensible acts such as sodomy and genocide? If so, what of the theists who engage in those same activities? Are we to argue that their theism is caused by their moral depravity in a classic post hoc fallacy? And also, is it logical to argue that being less charitable is really evidence that atheists as a whole have a tendency to engage in morally reprehensible acts such as sodomy and genocide? Ungtss 23:27, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
We already discussed this strawman. Please see my previous comentary in regards to Hitler and moral depravity. Conservative 16:38, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
You have not discussed this issue. You have continually dodged my efforts to get you to define what you mean by "moral depravity." The best definition you provided was "depraved in nature and habit," which is tautological and meaningless (like "a circle is circular.") If you're going to argue that atheism is caused by moral depravity, you're going to have to do better than "some atheists do really horrible things and other atheists give less to charity," for the following reasons:
  • To prove that atheism is caused by moral depravity, you have to show that all atheists are morally depraved, because if moral depravity causes atheism, then you can't have an atheist who's not morally depraved. In other words, causation requires that moral depravity be a necessary condition of atheism.
  • To prove that atheism is caused by moral depravity, you also need to explain how there can be theists who are morally depraved, without their moral depravity causing their theism. In other words, you have to account for the fact that moral depravity is obviously not a sufficient condition of atheism, by explaining how it can also be associated with theism.
Please humor me, define what you mean, and directly address the questions above. Thanks. Ungtss 17:47, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
As an aside, while not a good Christian, and anti-clerical at times, and loathing the Jewish heritage in Christianity, Hitler was in all likelihood a theist. Of course you still got Stalin. But it remains that even this case doesn't prove that all atheist are morally depraved (whatever it might mean), it shows that some are. Order 19:33, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

Burden of proof

I found the section Attempts to Dilute the Definition of Atheism very interesting. The bit about atheists trying to shift the burden of proof regarding the existence of God seemed strange. I have it from a very wise man that a "source is not needed to prove that something never existed. The burden is on the person who makes the claim..." [33]. PhilMcAvity 11:17, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Contradictions

Why does the atheist state they disbelieve?

Atheists claim there are two main reasons for their denial of the existence of God and/or disbelief in God: the conviction that there is positive evidence or argument that God does not exist (Strong atheism), and their claim that theists bear the burden of proof to show that God exists, that they have failed to do so, and that belief is therefore unwarranted (Weak atheism).

The phrase "Athiests claim implies that the definitions ensuing, strong and weak atheism, are false definitions of the word atheism. This implication contradicts Conservapedia's view that "Strong atheism is atheism in which the believer claims he can prove there is no God."

Conservapedia's definition for weak athiesm is: "Weak atheism (sometimes referred to as "negative atheism") describes all belief systems which lack a belief in God, without claiming to meet the burden of proof that God does not exist."

As such, this section should be written as: There are two main reasons for their denial of the existence of God and/or disbelief in God: the conviction that there is positive evidence or argument that God does not exist (Strong atheism), and their claim that theists bear the burden of proof to show that God exists, that they have failed to do so, and that belief is therefore unwarranted (Weak atheism).

This contradiction crosses over into the "Attempts to Dilute the Definition of Atheism" section. How can we, here at conservapedia, both define strong and weak atheism as two categories of atheism, and then maintain that the definition we recognize (weak atheism) is a liberal plot?

"Since 1979 proponents of atheism have often been attempting to dilute the definition of atheism to mean a mere lack of belief there is a God or gods. One of the reasons why some proponents of atheism have been attempting to dilute the definition of the term atheism is to shift the burden of proof regarding the existence of God."

This section should instead be titled: Attempts to Dilute the Popular Definition of Atheism.

In all truth, what liberals have been trying to do is change the popular definition of atheism to correspond with the definition of weak atheism instead of strong atheism.

"Athiests claim" should be removed and "popular" should be added to the heading of "Attempts to Dilute the Definition of Atheism" on the grounds of contradiction with veritable conservapedia content.

  • I agree with your observation of the contradiction. By way of background, User:Conservative's purpose in adding those "claim to believe"s (which I opposed) was to jive with his section questioning whether there is a genuine atheist or not (i.e. "you don't REALLY disbelieve, you only CLAIM to disbelieve, because everybody KNOWS there's a God, a la Romans 2). I thought we should delete the section on the conspiracy to dilute the definition of atheism (on the basis that there is no evidence for such a conspiracy and strong evidence against it) and turn all the "claim to believe"s into either believes or "held" or "argue" or something less paranoid that "claim to believe." User:Conservative did not respond to my recommendation except by making personal attacks against me, and he archived the discussion off the talkpage (but it's available to read via a link at the top if you're interested). User:Conservative subsequently protected the page (without substantive justification, and certainly without any vandalism or pov warring to justify his protection), and User:Conservative has been the lone editor since. Arbitration followed on User:Aziraphale's user page at the direction of User:Aschlafly, but User:Conservative chose not to substantively participate. The arbitrator submitted a recommendation to Mr. Schlafly a week ago, but Mr. Schlafly has not yet had the opportunity to act on that recommendation. Ungtss 19:55, 18 September 2007 (EDT)
The definition common among at least many internet atheists is the "popular term" and the diluted definition. Thus, the attempts to dilute the definition are not to dilute the so called "popular term" among at least internet atheist because that is already the diluted definition. In short, you cannot dilute the most diluted definition. Nevertheless encylopedias of philosophy are the most authoratative definition and "weak atheism" is the attempt to dilute the most authorative definition. Conservative 20:23, 18 September 2007 (EDT)
Refusing to allow believers to define their own belief system, choosing instead to read our personal biases into the dictionary definitions that best suit our purposes. I only wonder what we'd think if they treated us the same way. Oh wait. That's Wikipedia. Ungtss 20:32, 18 September 2007 (EDT)
I see. As a encyclopedia we should not give priority to the many cited encyclopedias of philosophy we cited and give prioirty to Joe atheists. Make no mention that the formal definition has been attempted to be diluted. That is ridiculous. As a encylopedia we righfully should give more weight to numerous cited encyclopedias of philosophy. Conservative 20:44, 18 September 2007 (EDT)
Care to explain how the Catholic Encyclopedia, Christian Apologetics Ministry, and All About Philosophy are Joe Atheists?
1) Catholic Encyclopedia: "Thus, defined as a doctrine, or theory, or philosophy formally opposed to theism, atheism can only signify the teaching of those schools, whether cosmological or moral, which do not include God either as a principle or as a conclusion of their reasoning." [34]
2) Christian Apologetics Ministry: "Atheism: The lack of belief in a god and/or the belief that there is no god. The position held by a person or persons that 'lack belief' in god(s) and/or deny that god(s) exist."[35]
3) two forms of atheism: "strong" atheism and "weak" atheism."[36]
4) Stanford University Wordnet: "godlessness (the doctrine or belief that there is no God) S: (n) atheism (a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods)" [37]
5) BBC: "Atheism is the absence of belief in any Gods or spiritual beings. The word Atheism comes from a, meaning without, and theism meaning belief in god or gods. Atheists don't use God to explain the existence of the universe. Atheists say that human beings can devise suitable moral codes to live by without the aid of Gods or scriptures. [38]
6) PositiveAtheism.org: "The definition for atheism that we use, put simply, says that atheism is the lack of a god-belief, the absence of theism, to whatever degree and for whatever reason."[39]
Remind me again, User:Conservative. Why are we using your favorite dictionary definition instead of the definition used by atheists and those with the courage to understand atheism as it really is instead of hiding behind strawman and misrepresentation? Ungtss 00:17, 19 September 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I did not cite a dictionary as I stated before. Secondly, what you cited are not encyclopedias of philosophy like the numerous ones I cited. Conservative 23:59, 19 September 2007 (EDT)
The cited links include an encyclopedia of philosophy, a general encyclopedia, a Christian encyclopedia, a Christian apologetics site, a dictionary, and an atheist site. I purposely cited such diverse sources to show that there is no justification for giving primacy to your preferred definition, because there are a lot of people out there, including Christians, who think it's wrong.
But even more importantly, your argument about "watering down" atheism (which is the reason you're so stuck on your rigid definition of atheism) is absurd. You can't "water down" the definition of your own belief system. You believe what you believe. If believe X, you believe X. There's no such thing as "REAL atheists believe X, but lately atheists have been trying to redefine atheism as Y, even though that's not real atheism." It'd be like an atheist saying, "REAL Christianity affirms transsubstantiation and the infallibility of the Pope. Lately some Christians have been trying to water down Christianity to not include those ideas, even though that's not real Christianity." It's absurd. And every atheist who runs across this article is going to know it's absurd, and this article will just confirm the preconceived notions many atheists have about us -- that we have no idea what we're talking about. Ungtss 06:56, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

Ungtss, you did not cite one encyclopedia of philosophy. Allaboutphilosophy is not a encyclopedia of philosophy but it is put together by a Christian evangelic group who I am acquainted with. Secondly, it is not Christian Apologetics Ministry it is Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry run by Matt Slick who targets his audience to the average Joe and it is no enycylopedia of philosophy. ConservativeConservative 23:58, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

again you are avoiding my arguments and going off on irrelevent tangents. Please address my arguments. 1: the term is used broadly by both christians and atheists so we should not use it narrowlt. 2: the argument you're making with that definition is without any meaning because you're just arguing that weak atheists aren't "real atheists" -- well if they aren't, then what are they? As to whether allabout philosophy is an encyclopedia, if being put together by evangelicals and targetting the average joe means you're not an encyclopedia then what's CP? Ungtss 10:21, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

Not to stick my neck out here, but... could the problem be solved just by clearly attributing the ideas of the section to specific proponents? I.e., insert a "critics of atheism assert that..." or similar clarification. The point is still made and readers can see that dilution evidently has occured, but this way the section would be unambiguously sourced and verifiable. Just my two cents. Feebasfactor 18:16, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

I think that's a great idea. Stick it in right after the "types of atheism" section, saying that some cited person or source believes it. As I recall, I suggested that a long time ago, but User:Conservative rejected the idea because (to him at least) it's fact not opinion. Ungtss 18:33, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

Atheism and mass murder

This article is horrible, it's the worst i have seen in here, and yes, i have read the evolution article. Lets start with the subject of mass murder, i really can't see why it is in article about atheism. Atheism might have been one of the ideals of communists, just like being blond and blue eyed was ideal for Nazis and their Aryan race. But you dont see articles about blue eye color and mass murder, as you should't see ones about atheism and mass murder either, it's just rediculous. There is no ideology behind atheism, just as there isn't behind being an blue eyed blond. WillM 08:19, 19 September 2007 (EDT)

Agreed. Ungtss 08:22, 19 September 2007 (EDT)

section on the organization American Atheists

I think a section on the organization American Atheists might be appropriate or at least mentioning them and writing an article about the organization. Conservative 18:04, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

Arbitration and Unprotect

It seems that the article has been unprotected, as it was mentioned in the arbitration by User:Aziraphale. Does this mean that further edits along these lines are welcome, or is User:Conservative supposed to be main contributor? He has the last 100 and most of the last 200 to 300 edits on his name, so he invested a lot of effort in this article. Order 00:23, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

This article was a liberal sleeper with very little web traffic. I predict if it stays "conservatized" which is right and fitting for Conservapedia the traffic will continue to flow like it has been. I know the article is not popular with liberal atheists but that is to be expected. Conservative 00:28, 25 September 2007 (EDT)
It is not exactly interesting that you want to upset Liberal Atheists. Where is the news? You have voiced opinion of what is right and fitting for this encyclopedia before, and your opinion was taken into account when User:Aziraphale completed his arbitration. The question is what your stance on this the arbitration is, and if you will act accordingly? Will contributions that follow the line of the arbitration be welcome? I don't feel like doing history all over again. Order 00:39, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

It seems, now that you blocked the article again, you answered the question what your stance on the arbitration is. It is negative. It seems like you own this article, so why bother. Order 20:13, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Biblical Statements Regarding Atheism

To repeat and reiterate my previous proposal:

"Would it be more appropriate to transfer the numerous biblical quotes in the "Moral depravity" point, which looks a little bloated at the moment, to the "Biblical Statements Regarding Atheism" section? Feebasfactor 18:38, 17 September 2007 (EDT)"

"Moral depravity" seems more like a result of atheism than a cause. The entire paragraph simply consists of one quote and a selection of bible passages anyway, so why not move the latter to the "Biblical Statements Regarding Atheism", mere lines before it? I realize the article is unlocked, but I ask anyway out of courtesy. Feebasfactor 01:23, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Made Huxley addition to that part. Conservative 01:32, 25 September 2007 (EDT)
Even with the Huxley addition, you should still move a lot of the bible passages - except that addition's not even there anymore. I'd add it back and move the passages myself, but you went and locked it again... Feebasfactor 20:47, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Freud and Feuerbach

Freud and Feuerbach - God as wish-fulfilment? by Alister McGrath at: http://www.bethinking.org/resource.php?ID=187

Conservative 01:31, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

question

There is a true life story of an atheist wanting to debate a a Christian preacher. The Christian preacher said if you can bring X amount of people to the debate who's lives were dramatically turned around for the better by atheism (town drunk turned sober, etc. etc. ) I will debate you. The atheist said he could not find that many. So the street preacher said I will debate you if you can bring one man who's live was dramatically changed around by atheism I will debate you. The atheist could not find one man so the debate never occured. Here is my question: Who is the Christian preacher? Who was the atheist? I think it is a semi famous story so I would appreciate it if anyone could tell me who the gentleman were in the true life story. Conservative 07:08, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Whomever this story is credited to, it is almost certainly false, as are almost all such urban legends, or 'illustrations' as my father used to refer to them. He had a book of over 7000. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dixonge (talk)

Quality

This article is very poorly written - probably the worst on Conservapedia. I thought the idea was to unlock it to allow this to be rectified? Why has it been locked again? At the moment it seems nefarious forces are at work, trying to create an article designed to earn the site ridicule, and locking it to prevent something more scholarly to replace it.

My serious suggestion? Someone in authority should delete the whole thing and invite two or three editors who don't have blood on their hands to start again from scratch. Anyone who has edited it in the past three months should be banned from touching it until it is finished. -- Ferret Nice old chat 06:38, 26 September 2007 (EDT)

I agree with your observations, but think your recommendation is a bit broad-brushed. Edits have been made by a number of users but been reverted or rewritten by user:conservative ... It's his article, nobody else's. Ungtss 08:30, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
That pretty much sums it up. Order 20:38, 26 September 2007 (EDT)

Discussion and Locking

Conservative, why do you feel the need to revert and subsequently lock the article every time an edit is made? I've tried to discuss the changes with you but you rarely respond. Then I attempt to effect reasonable changes and you just revert and lock, again. The aforementioned paragraph still fails to explain at all how moral depravity "causes" atheism. Even so, I didn't remove any information, just moved it to appropriate sections. Yet your reverts go on without explanation or discussion.

Nomatter how you see it, this is still a wiki project, which relies on the combined efforts of many contributors. If you don't like something, why not just talk about it in the discussion page? If necessary, revert and ask future editors to check the discussion page in the edit summary, or by inserting <Please check the discussion page before editing this section> as appropriate. Yes, this is an important article. Yes, you have put a lot of work into it. But regardless, you cannot claim "pet project" articles. Other editors should be allowed to contribute as well. I hope this can be resolved in a more negociable manner. Feebasfactor 20:09, 27 September 2007 (EDT)

Febasfactor, I have reason to believe you are here partly to stir up trouble between Sysops and I am not taking you seriously. Conservative 20:41, 27 September 2007 (EDT)
I would prefer my suggestions be considered on their own merit rather than ignored due to your perception of my motivations. How do you think placing citations in the appropriate sections might stir up trouble between Sysops? I haven't even mentioned this suggestion to anyone else, so please don't drag accusations into the matter. From what I know, you are a strong advocate yourself of proper sourcing and clarity in articles, which I respect. I genuinely think it would improve the article, nothing more. Feebasfactor 22:18, 27 September 2007 (EDT)
I don't think we are going to resolve our differences. I, however, hold no resentment against you. I would also state that perhaps someone is pretending to be you at another website so perhaps my suspicion was unwarranted. Conservative 22:29, 27 September 2007 (EDT)
Fair enough... how about a compromise, then? Simply add a sentence explaining how one reasonable explanation for atheism is atheists wanting a justification for moral depravity (that is the point of the paragraph, right?) Then the rest of the section, the bible passages, etc. would make sense in the context. You might consider adding the Huxley quote as well, since that also highlighted the connection in a logical manner. Feebasfactor 22:53, 27 September 2007 (EDT)


Conservative:

I think I’ll be moving on from “Atheism” for the time being. I know you check the article and its talk page with exceeding frequency, so I’ll leave with one closing suggestion and (hopefully) no hard feelings:

Upon reading the “Moral Depravity” paragraph, my immediate response was to ask, “Why is moral depravity a cause of atheism?” – and surely you agree that’s a reasonable question. I assume the answer is along the lines of “atheists want to use atheism as a justification or an excuse for moral depravity”. But this really isn’t made clear. And I just wanted to make it clear. I know this article often suffers from drastic editing and vandalism, but I am not trying to add weasel words or push a POV. I’m just asking for clarification on an existing point.

I would quite appreciate it, but it’s up to you. Feebasfactor 12:25, 28 September 2007 (EDT)

    • I agree with the Plato quote at the bottom of the article. Though perhaps I may add some information regarding the fall of man/depravity of man according to the Bible. That would further illustrate "the depravity egg comes before the atheist chicken." Conservative 16:17, 28 September 2007 (EDT)
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