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What just happened?

This article now only contains one sentence describing atheism, the first. Every single section is devoted to the criticism of atheism which cite almost exclusively theistic sources. In addition the pictures seem excessive and unencyclopediac. I can understand that this is a Christian site, but this article as it stands is blatantly biased. Overture 20:09, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

It seems you do not like the factual material I added today and the removal of uncited sources. Your cry of bias in light of the fact that factual and precise material was added is unseemly. By the way, you failed to mention that I cited Marxist websites which are not sympathetic to theism. Conservative 20:14, 13 August 2007 (EDT)
Still, I would argue that an article on athiesm should make the description of atheism it's priority. This normally would include information from atheist sources, or otherwise neutral ones. Don't you think criticisms aren't nearly as relevant to the topic? Also you should note that information can be both factual and precise, as well as systematically biased. Overture 20:23, 13 August 2007 (EDT)
Overture, we use encyclopedias of philosophy to describe what atheism is -noted ones. Secondly, we do use atheist sources. Marxist sources are atheist sources. Thirdly, if you are looking for a puff piece on atheism with lots of atheist sources I think Conservapedia is not going to be the place to find it. Conservative 20:30, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

Overture, the article is not locked. If you can add relevant material to the description with cited sources, you are welcome to. The previous longer introduction didn't really add much to the definition, was uncited, and was of questionable accuracy (in my opinion) in parts at least. I'm not sure what else could be said about atheism by way of defining it, but I agree that the present introduction does look too short. Philip J. Rayment 23:26, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

I kind of have to agree with Overture - this article is kinda biased. Perhaps there is a way to balance it out without removing sources/info.--Iduan 12:53, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Overture protested too much. Of the material and citations added 7 were from theist sources, 3 were from atheist sources and one was from a neutral website. Hardly the rampage that overture claimed. Secondly, I find the whole "biased issue" lame. I suggest reading this essay on bulverism: I suggest if you want to read a fluff article favorable to atheism that Conservapedia definitely will not be the place to look for it. Conservative 13:31, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
I didn't say that and I would appreciate it if you didn't twist my words. I said that the article presents to much negative information when compared to positive - and perhaps we just need to figure out a way we can balance it out without removing any info/sources.--Iduan 14:07, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Do you think our KKK article should be "balanced" as well because if you do I disagree because I believe that the KKK does not need any alleged positive information in the article. Atheism deserves disparagement and I believe I showed some its fruits and will continue to do so. Conservative 14:56, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm not trying to take down your edits in any way - i think you've been a great editor, I'm just saying that more information is needed (from any editor), preferably that will balance the two sides. (And did I say the KKK article should be balanced? I didn't know we equated being in a gang that lynched african american in the 1800s to not believing in god :-D)--Iduan 15:05, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
I do not want the atheism article "balanced". Atheism is wrong and the article needs to make that very clear. Thanks for your contributions Conservative ;-) --Crocoite 15:11, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Conservative, the guy, Iudan, has been in instant message with me about a pretty good improvement to the uncited template, and I know he didn't mean it to come out as it did. Anyway, I asked him to post on your talk page about the template deal...hopefully it will help get more to edit in citations!  :-) --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 15:13, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Iduan, I suggest you review the fruits of atheistic communism. I would also suggest that atheism is a lightweight ideology and it cannot be "balanced". Conservative 15:15, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Atheistic communism - I'm not talking about that, and it's completely irreverent - we're talking about atheism and that's it. Not atheistic china, not atheistic cuba, not atheistic guy across the street who you really hate - none of them, so I'm not going to respond to that. As to your second point, so what if it's lightweight ideology - that doesn't mean there are positive and negative aspects.--Iduan 15:37, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
TK, I posted a reply on my talk page. Conservative 15:15, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

I think most of this article does more to argue against atheism than it does to define what atheism is, provide the history of atheism, or give a little summary or whatever of common beliefs among atheists (ethics etc).

I mean it goes from a definition of atheism that implies they're wrong to the bible saying atheists are fools and then to calling atheists illogical?

My understanding was that an encyclopedia entry was supposed to inform the reader about the topic, not argue against the topic. ButtCheeks 11:27, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

On the one hand, I agree that the article is too much an attack on atheism and not enough a description of it. And the article is currently unlocked, so you are all free to edit it to improve that. (If there's much more vandalism that may change, but hopefully not.)
On the other hand, Conservapedia doesn't claim to be unbiased, and I agree with Crocoite and Conservative that atheism is "wrong" and the article should show that. However, I prefer to believe that because atheism is indefensible, that can be shown by an objective look at the facts, so there's no need to preach against it. (I do acknowledge that bias can be introduced by selective reporting of the facts.)
Iduan objects that we are talking about atheism itself, not particular examples of atheism. In a sense, he has a point, but there's more to it than that. The question to be asked is whether those examples of atheism are consistent with atheism or perversions of it. I don't know about the bloke across the street, but I don't see anything unatheistic about the atrocities committed by atheistic regimes. One of the problems with atheism is that, by rejecting God, they reject the only possible source of absolute morality (right and wrong), and therefore anything, including the atrocities of communist regimes, is permissible under atheism.
Philip J. Rayment 08:47, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

I don't think the fact that the regimes were "atheistic" is relevant. Regimes of any nature have the capacity to commit atrocities. Have "atheistic" regimes done terrible things? Yes. But Religious regimes have as well (the crusades, spanish inquisition, american/european witch trials, the attacks of 9/11). Even Hitler was catholic, and he is regarded as one of the most evil men to have ever lived.
So the argument that "Atheistic regimes are capable of anything because they don't have the Bible to give them morals" totally ignores the fact that religious regimes are capable of the same and have been taught morality from the bible.
It also ignores religions that are regarded as atheistic, such as buddhism. Buddhism is probably one of the most peaceful religions in the world, and has 'morals' which are more or less the same as some of the ones found in judeo-christian religions, and buddhism is much much older.
I think the confusion lies in the idea that atheists are immoral because they don't have god to give them morals. Which is simply not true, many atheists follow a personal code of ethics which is derived from reason and logic. Sure there are some bad apples when it comes to atheism, but surely you can acknowledge the same can be said about theism and religion.
"atheism is wrong" is a personal opinion. Certainly its an opinion thats shared by many who come to conservapedia, but does that mean it should keep the entry from being objective? Surely you could explain atheism objectively, state why they believe what they believe, and then have a section that illustrates the religious view of atheism?
Darknova42 10:00, 19 August 2007 (EDT)
My point, which you appear to have missed, is that the fact that the regimes were atheistic is relevant given that they are acting consistently with their beliefs. Christian regimes that have committed atrocities have acted inconsistently with their beliefs, or at least with the basis of their beliefs, the Bible. And please don't lump all (theistic) religions in together. Some are as different from each other as Christianity is from atheism.
Hitler was (I think) raised as a Catholic, but he adopted atheistic ideas (such as evolution) and realised that the church would never accept what he wanted to do, so wanted to abolish Christianity. Hitler was atheistic in his ideas.
Actually, he apparently wasn't. Not only are there statements by him that atheism should be eradicated, but there are even more statements that he held theistic beliefs. Sure, he wasn't a good Christian. But that doesn't make you an atheist, especially if you believe in a higher interventionist power as Hitler did. Order 00:44, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
He apparently wasn't what? I didn't claim that he was an atheist; just that he held atheistic ideas, such as evolution. Philip J. Rayment 03:11, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Sure, he did believe in a racist interpretation of evolution. Sorry, if I mistook you. Seems we agree. Order 08:34, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
To claim that Hitler was inconsistent in his beliefs is not correct. He was fatally consistent, and apparently believed that he was acting in accordance with the divine law of survival of the fittest which finds its expression in evolution as well as in the god-given supremacy of the Aryan race. Obviously, this is a lunatic distortion of Christianity and evolution, and I don't feel at ease to even describe it here, but unfortunately for millions of killed people in Eastern Europe he really believed this stuff. When the Russians invaded Berlin he famously said that it was proof that the German race was weaker than the people of the East, and therefore deserved to be wiped from the face of the Earth. Order 09:18, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't recall claiming that Hitler was inconsistent in his beliefs. Rather, I'd say that he was consistent with his evolutionary beliefs. Yes, "God-given supremacy of the Aryan race" is a distortion of Christianity, because Christianity not only claims no such thing, but teaches that we are all closely related (through Noah and his family). On the other hand, Hitler's racist actions were quite consistent with evolution, which teaches that some living things are more evolved that other living things. Darwin had racist ideas, and prior to his atrocities being exposed, Hitler had lots of support from other evolutionists in Europe and America. Evolution and racism is entirely compatible. Philip J. Rayment 10:04, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Sure, and it was even a fairly common view in that time. But racism was also compatible with certain interpretations of the scripture, see for example apartheid. Seems like racists can be compatible with almost everything, unless it is peaceful. Order 11:45, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
No, racism is not compatible with Scripture. Any attempt to make it so results in Scripture being "interpreted" to say something other than what it says. So we have racism compatible with evolution (as you have now agreed) but not compatible with the Bible. Philip J. Rayment 22:08, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Good on you that you came to this conclusion. But historically speaking this doesn't hold. See for example the official position of the Dutch Reformed church in South Africa. Sure, there were many Christians that spoke out against apartheid, but also many who found Christianity not just compatible, but demanding apartheid. Or see "positive Christianity". A fair share of German Lutheran priest supported it, even before Hitler came to power. Order 22:24, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Quoting examples of Christians going against biblical teaching does not change biblical teaching. The apartheid ideas of South Africa were influenced by evolution, not the Bible, even if they attempted to use the latter to justify it. I've said in my previous post (below) that "Positive Christianity" is a perversion of Christianity. Philip J. Rayment 22:56, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
The theology of the Dutch Reformed Church was fairly literal. They didn't use evolution, but based their arguments on for example on the story of Ham. They literally believed that certain races descended from Ham. You can't be much more literal than that. Many of these interpretation go way back before Darwin was even born. Racist have no problem to cherry pick the bible to support their racist claims, and can reject evolution at the same time. I am not sure why you have such a hard time to comprehend that there can be mean Christians, too.Order 23:53, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I also believe that "certain [people groups] descended from Ham", but believing that doesn't make one racist, any more than me believing that I descended from my great-great-grandfather makes me a racist. That's a non sequitur. Evolutionary ideas existed before Darwin, so that doesn't prove much. As for apartheid, from here:
Significantly, the so-called ‘architect of apartheid’, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd (1901–1966, Prime Minister 1959–66), had undertaken studies as a psychologist in prewar Germany. There, he became enamoured with the ‘racial hygiene’ theories and policies of the Nazis, which were of course completely inspired by Darwin (via Nietzsche and Haeckel)! What seems to have happened is that such notions and attitudes were ‘grafted onto’ the Bible in an unholy union, with various distortions of Genesis used as rationales to justify these ideas about ‘race’. The most common such distortion seems to have been varieties of the gap theory, with not only millions of years, but ‘pre-Adamic races’.
Philip J. Rayment 03:02, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Actually this is non-sequitur. Just because there is one racist, be it a prominent one, who is not using the scripture to defend his beliefs, doesn't mean that there don't exist others who did. But I should have been more specific. I didn't mean that the literal belief in descendants of Ham leads necessarily to racist beliefs, but that for some it was instrumental to justify their racism. I'll give you an example from the PhD thesis by Jacobus Pauw, from Free University in Amsterdam, a University with Dutch Reformed Background, on the decent Christians in South Afrika that opposed apartheid. In it he also describes the mind set of the ones in favor of apartheid. Just to make sure, this in not me speaking, or Jacobus Pauw speaking, or Lombaard speaking who he cites, but it a expose of the main biblical arguments used to justify apartheid. You can find it on page 111 of [1]. Here it goes:

Lombaard, ‘The Bible in the Apartheid debate’, 71-73 discusses the favoured texts used in this line of reasoning, namely Genesis 11, Deuteronomy 32:8, Acts 1:8 & 17:26 and later also 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, Revelation 5:9 & 7:9.

“From the mention of nations and boundaries between nations in such texts, conclusions were summarily drawn about racial segregation within society and the church.” He continues to mention a number of popular arguments. One led that “while the obvious unity of the human race is founded on Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26-29) and on Noah (Genesis 10:32), the diversification of this unity by God in Genesis 10 & 11 should not be taken lightly (also Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 32:8; Amos 9:7; Acts 17:26). This diversification was entrenched and perpetuated with the mission-text (Matthew 28:10 …) at Pentecost (Acts 2:8f) and for all times (Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 14:6, 19:15), with the implication that such divisions must therefore be observed in modern times”. Another argument was: “God the Creator is primarily One who separates, as Genesis 1-2 shows. In history, God split up the faithful generations of Seth and the unfaithful generations of Cain; disregarding this division brings about divine punishment – Genesis 7. However, respecting God’s set boundaries bears blessings – Deuteronomy 7:1-11. Therefore the existence of separate peoples is a ‘healthy Christian principle’ which is in line with God’s creation and will.”

Finally the Babel narrative also provided a popular argument: “Babel … proves that a false unity in humanity was corrected by God. This is thus a history of grace, showing the idea of apartheid to be Scriptural, Christian, natural and just.”

I hope this proves that by cherry picking you can make a racists argument, and also that it has been done in the past. The thesis however also showed that the South African Church was fortunately able to overcome such thought. Order 03:41, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

I've never disputed that racist arguments can be made by cherry-picking, nor that this has been done. I agree that various Christians have tried using the Bible to justify racism. But I dispute that the Bible teaches that, and argue that Christians trying to use the Bible to justify racism are doing just that: trying to justify something they already believe for other reasons. Verwoerd may have done that also, but it appears to be evolution, not the Bible, that led him to hold those ideas, which perhaps he, but at least others, then tried to justify with biblical arguments. The argument is flawed, by the way; the Bible encourages (limited) separation of people who follow God from people who don't; it doesn't recognise "racial" distinctions at all. Furthermore, there is no biblical basis that I'm aware of for the specific claim that "God split up the faithful generations of Seth and the unfaithful generations of Cain". Philip J. Rayment 06:56, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
You should argue that this line of reasoning is incorrect with people who defend it. You don't need to convince me that this bible interpretation is racist. You can be as convinced as you like that the bible teaches otherwise, but there are Christians that do believe that segregation of is god given. And just those who do believe in evolution. You can probably guess that it will be no problem at all to find Christians who do not believe in evolution but do believe that is Gods will to discriminate against certain races. Order 08:55, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
I would argue it with them, if it was them that I was talking to. But you were defending it as an apparently-legitimate interpretation of the Bible, to refute my claim that it wasn't. And no, I don't accept that it would be no problem to find Christians who do not believe in evolution but do believe that it's God's will to discriminate against certain races. I'm not saying that they don't exist, but they would be fairly rare and wouldn't be easy to find. And if I'm wrong and they are easy to find, I'd expect that they would be people who believe that because that's what they've been taught and haven't really looked at the issues themselves. Philip J. Rayment 09:03, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
It is actually not that hard. Think of a fairly well known university in the US that doesn't teach evolution and that was segregated until the early 1970s, i.e. for-whites-only. Then think of its founder who published in 1960 a pamphlet with the title "Is Segregation Scriptural?". I don't defend this as a legitimate interpretation of the bible, I said that there are Christians who do not believe in evolution, but who argue that segregation (or apartheid) is scriptural.Order 09:41, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Neither this page nor the article criticises atheists as being "capable of anything", so that is a straw-man argument. Sure, even Christians (who consider themselves "saved", not perfect) are capable of atrocities. The argument is that atheists have no absolute basis for morals, whereas Christians do. I don't think anybody said (and I certainly didn't say) that atheists are necessarily going to be violent. They may be peaceful (as Buddhists usually are), but there is nothing inherent in their atheism as to why this should be so.
Buddhists would disagree. Just because you can't conceive where they get their morals from, doesn't mean that they can't either. Order 00:46, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I didn't say that I merely can't conceive. Can you explain where they get their ideas from? Unless you can actually refute me, I continue to make that point. Philip J. Rayment 03:11, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm not an expert on Buddhism, but they probably base their moral ethics on the teaching of Buddha, and his views on life and suffering. Order 08:34, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Which says nothing about how the atheistic beliefs of Buddhism are intrinsically peaceful. Philip J. Rayment 10:04, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
It doesn't. But even if it is intrinsically peaceful, that doesn't mean that every Buddhist has to be. Order 11:45, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
You've gone off on a tangent. I'm arguing that there is nothing intrinsically peaceful about atheism, and you have been arguing that Buddhism, being atheistic, is refutation of that. Your latest response doesn't even address that point. Your attempt at refutation has failed. Philip J. Rayment 22:08, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
There is nothing intrinsically peaceful or violent about atheism. End of discussion.--Iduan 22:09, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm glad that you agree. The point that I was making was that, unlike Christianity, Atheism has no basis for morals, so has no basis for wanting peace. On the other hand, it does believe in the evolutionary idea of "nature red in tooth and claw", which does imply that violence is good (it drives evolution so is how we came to be). End of argument? Philip J. Rayment 22:41, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Sure, pure theism is a statement about a particular issue, whether a theistic god can exist. And atheist is just a label. A lable of a collection of beliefs that do mostly have a moral framework too: Humanists for example, or Buddhists. Believing in a theistic god doesn't imply a moral framework either. Believing in a compassionate god does. However, not all theist believe in a compassionate god. Order 22:55, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
And again, I don't think anybody said that atheists are necessarily immoral. But if they are immoral, it is because they don't acknowledge a Creator who sets the rules. Individual atheists might choose to live lives that a Christian would consider moral (often because that's what a society with a Christian heritage expects), but at the risk of repeating myself, there is nothing inherent in atheism to suggest that they should be this way. Perhaps you could explain how "reason and logic" (without God) can lead to a necessary belief in morality. For that matter, perhaps you could explain how "reason and logic" defines morality itself. That is, you seem to argue that there is such a thing as morality that atheists might follow, but you haven't explained how there is such a thing as morality.
Philip J. Rayment 10:22, 19 August 2007 (EDT)
A) Hitler wasn't an atheist - you say he adopted the "atheist" idea of evolution despite the fact that many Christians believe in evolution, perhaps he wasn't Christian - but he believed in the Christian God.--Iduan 23:13, 19 August 2007 (EDT)
As I've just said above, I didn't claim that he was an atheist, but that he held atheistic ideas. Yes, many Christians, paradoxically, also hold to the atheistic idea of evolution, but that doesn't mean that it's not atheistic. I very much doubt that he believed in the Christian God, because He didn't follow that God. Perhaps he believed in a god of his own imagination that bore some resemblance to the Christian God, but that's not the same thing. Philip J. Rayment 03:11, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
That's like saying that Catholics don't believe in a Christian God but Protestants do. Hitler actually advocated "Positive Christianity" - which was essentially the Nazi beliefs + Christian beliefs.--Iduan 12:07, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I can't see how the analogy is valid, except perhaps to a trivial extent. You can't have something that is Nazi beliefs plus Christian beliefs; that's having two contradictory beliefs as part of a belief system. And as I said earlier, Hitler wanted to abolish Christianity. Philip J. Rayment 22:15, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Research "Positive Christianity" - it's what hitler supported - therefore hitler wasn't out to abolish Christianity. It's really not that complicated--Iduan 22:18, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
It's documented that he did want to abolish Christianity. And "Positive Christianity" is a perversion of Christianity, and doesn't deserve to be called "Christianity". Philip J. Rayment 22:50, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Hitler was anti-clerical when it interfered with his business, and he wanted the church to subject itself to the state after the victorious war. But It is good to see that you side with Niemoeller, and not with Ludwig Müller. If more Christians would have followed your lead in 1933, many lives could have been saved. Order 23:02, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Many lives were saved because of Christians working against Hitler, but I agree that if more had, then more lives would have been saved. Philip J. Rayment 07:00, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
And many were killed by Christians fighting for or working with Hitler. That's a sad truth too. Order 09:50, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Well, isn't that special? We are now talking about what a lunatic thought! LMAO! I am almost certain whatever Hitler thought, changed minute by minute. It is idle speculation. He was mad. He was evil personified. Enough said. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 00:01, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Hitler was fairly consistent theist. And at the same time he loathed, fairly consistently, what he saw as Jewish distortions in Christianity. Order 00:49, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Just a note of thanks to Order and Philip J. Rayment for the fine, civil conversation that is often so lacking in this type of forum. Samwell 22:45, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Thanks. I've noticed a little degeneration, though, with condescending comments like "it's really not that complicated". Philip J. Rayment 22:56, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Oddly enough so have i - with condescending comments like "You've gone off on a tangent." and "Your attempt at refutation has failed." --Iduan 23:56, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
True, but then you didn't go for the bait and it wasn't whom I was complimenting. Samwell 23:32, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm surprised that you consider them condescending. There's nothing condescending about pointing out that someone's gone off on a tangent, in order to bring the discussion back to the issue. And pointing out that the attempt at refutation has failed is appropriate in such cases (when the discussion has departed from the issue being discussed). Philip J. Rayment 03:08, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Incarceration and atheism

Here is what WorldNetDaily reports: "A comparison of a 2000 survey of the British prison population with the 2001 national census revealed that whereas individuals claiming atheism or no religion make up only 15.5 percent of the British population, they comprise 31.9 percent of those imprisoned." [2] 2000 is fairly recent and I think the Brits do not have as much racial issues as America which could be argued to effect incarceration rates. Anyone have any additional research? Also, can anyone find the actual study above? Conservative 15:00, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

Semi-related: Atheism is illegal in Massachusetts. Kazumaru 20:39, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

In an article on atheism, you should probably cite the data on atheists. Here is the official report on the prison population in England and Wales: [HOSB Religion in Prisons 1999 and 2000 15/01 England and Wales]. The figures for non-religious fraction can be found on page 16. Apparently there were about 120 atheist inmates in English and Welsh prisons in 1999, which amounts to 0.2% of the prison population. Order 00:07, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

The Criticism section

I think that the criticism section should be shortened.

Section 4.1 "strong atheism is illogical" should be gotten rid of, because before science and astronomy, we as humans couldn't concieve the vastness of the universe. We thought the earth was flat, and that the sun revolved around the earth. The known world was all we knew and thats all that was needed to manifest religion.

Also, Dr. Kennedy's argument assumes angel's and god is fast, which could be so, but it could also not be the case. Also many Christians argue that god is outside of space time. So I don't see how you could look for God if hes not where you can look.

Section 4.2 "Atheism is contrary to reason and evidence" should be gotten rid of, unless of course you provide the atheistic rebuttal to the theistic arguments. Otherwise its simply tacking on an argument against atheism to the atheism entry. I doubt conservapedia has an argument against intelligent design on the intelligent design entry..

Section 4.4 "Atheism is immoral" could be slimmed down a bit. The "atheists are generally less charitable" section seems to ignore atheists like Bill Gates who donate vast sums of money to aid those in need.

Also the "atheism and immoral views" seems to imply that theres a correlation between being an atheist and immorality. I would also argue that many Theist are immoral, and could cite many examples from history but won't.

Section 4.6 "Atheism and communism" I'm not sure how this criticizes atheism..

Section 4.7 "Atheism and Questions of Origins". This part suggests all Atheists believe the theory of evolution. Which isn't so. There are many atheistic religions, and each probably has their own ideas on how the universe/world was created as well as how we came to be. Evolution and Atheism shouldn't be lumped together like this.

7 "Well Known Atheists". I think this section should be expanded beyond a list of people that could be thought of as evil.(Stalin etc).

Darknova42 14:45, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

Regarding your comments on section 4.1:
  • I don't see how not knowing how vast the universe was is relevant.
  • From ancient times people knew that the universe was vast, even if they didn't realise how vast it was.
  • We did not think that the Earth was flat; that is an evolutionists' tale to discredit Christianity.
  • I'm not aware of any evidence that the idea that the Earth orbits the sun began with science and astronomy. I'll agree that there was a time when people thought otherwise, but I'm not aware that this was always the case prior to then.
  • No, Dr. Kennedy's argument does not assume that angels and God are fast. On the contrary, he is pointing out that an atheist would have to assume that they are not fast in order to show that God doesn't exist. Merely the possibility that they are fast is enough to invalidate that claim.
  • You have a good point that you couldn't look for God. Which supports the point that atheists cannot rule out the possibility of His existence. Thanks for supporting the argument. Perhaps we should add that.
Section 4.4 comments:
  • How does an isolated example such as Bill Gates negate the claim that atheists are generally less charitable?
Do we have numbers for the fact that atheists are less charitable? Order 22:42, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
They are in the article, or at least its references, aren't they? Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Yes, many theists are immoral, but the point is that if they are immoral, they are going against their beliefs. If atheists are immoral (a term that should be fairly meaningless to them, incidentally), they are not going against their beliefs. So there is a connection.
You assume that atheist don't have and cannot have any moral beliefs. I guess if Bill gates would kill his wife, he would act against his moral beliefs. Assuming otherwise is actually mean spirited. I am assuming for the sake of the argument that Bill is atheist, which I don't know. Order 22:42, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
No, I don't assume that atheists don't have any moral beliefs. I'm claiming that atheists have no basis for their moral beliefs, beyond what seems right to them. So one atheist can believe that it is wrong to murder, and another can believe that it's okay to murder, and the first cannot argue on the basis of atheism that the second is wrong to think that. Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Good that we agree that humans of all convictions can be moral. Now, many, and not just atheists, behave moral because they adhere to the concept of a "social contract". They accept moral principles and human rights, because they prefer a orderly, secure life above the law of the jungle. Order 23:30, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Yes, but this mostly comes from adopting the Christian heritage of the societies in which they live. It doesn't come from atheism. Show me where in atheism atheists are obliged to adhere to the concept of a "social contract". Philip J. Rayment 07:08, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Then explain societies which lack christianity and how they have a sense of right and wrong. Societies in which atheistic religions are practiced like Buddhism. The idea of "right and wrong" existed long before Christianity or any religion was thought of. Asian societies aren't the only nonchristian societies that have a "social contract". Native American societies had a "social contract" too. So to claim that atheist everywhere have a sense of "right and wrong" or morality because they adopted it from the christian based society in which they live is a totally bogus argument. Darknova42 10:37, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Evolution is the only naturalistic explanation of origins with any real acceptance, and atheists must, by definition, believe a naturalistic explanation. Your claim that each "probably" has their own ideas is "probably" not correct. I'll concede that there are variations on evolution, such as the idea that aliens planted life here, but that doesn't explain where the aliens came from (i.e. how they originated). Ultimately, you would have to invoke evolution of some sort, even if it wasn't Darwinian evolution, because the only alternative is to invoke a Creator.
Atheists must not belief in anything. All the need to do is to not belief in a theistic god. Or if they are strong atheists, that no god exists. But otherwise, they can have as sane convictions or insane ideas about the world as everybody else. Order 22:42, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
This ignores that other ideas necessarily flow on from that basic idea. If God doesn't exist, we could not have been created, and must have evolved. Thus (some form of) evolution is a necessary belief of atheists. Furthermore, as Atheists do not acknowledge a God that they are answerable to, they have no God to declare what is right and wrong. They therefore have no absolute basis for morals. Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, but nobody must follow anything from whatever idea, people can and tend to be unreasonable. You might think so, but you can think so as much as you want, atheist don't have to follow your logic. Neither do some Christians follow your logic, and are perfectly happy with the idea that God created man differently and not equal. Do not underestimate human ingenuity when it comes to come up with stories to justify their actions, good or bad. Order 23:24, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
Logic is logic. Sure, atheists don't have to follow logic, but they can't claim to be logical if they don't! You've not refuted the logic, merely tried to sidestep it by mentioning that there are others who don't follow it. Philip J. Rayment 07:08, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Not only atheists don't have to follow logic. And two people can come with entirely logic steps to different conclusions, if they start from different assumptions. If someone draws a different conclusion than you, doesn't mean that their logic is flawed (or yours) but it might just mean that you start from different premises. You somehow assume that everybody, atheists or Christians or something else, has to follow your logic, starting from your assumptions, but I am afraid to tell you that this won't happen. Furthermore, I didn't know that you tried to convince me of any logic or a particular conclusion. I didn't side step your logic; your logic isn't just not that crucial when we discuss atheist or theist world views of people in general. Order 10:22, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Saying "evolution is the only alternative to creation" totally ignores any possible alternative, even the ones you or I can't imagine. Whether or not you believe in them doesn't discount the possibility of other explanations existing, whether they are "true" or not. Darknova42 10:37, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Section 4.7 comments:
  • Isaac Asimov is thought of as evil?? There's already a number there that would not be considered "evil" by most. That's not to say that it can't be expanded, though.
Philip J. Rayment 22:34, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

In all fairness - we're criticizing atheist for saying god doesn't exist and ruling out the possibility that he does exist - but we aren't criticizing Christians for saying do exist and ruling out the possibility that he doesn't exist. Double standard?--Iduan 22:36, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

No, not a double standard. It is theoretically possible to prove a positive (that something does exist), simply by showing evidence of that thing. It is not theoretically possible to prove a universal negative (that a particular thing does not exist anywhere), because a lack of evidence is not evidence, and you can't rule out that it exists somewhere that hasn't been checked. Christian claims are the former type of argument, whilst atheist claims about God are the latter type of argument. Philip J. Rayment 23:00, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
You can prove universal negatives as well. There is no rational solution to x2-2=0. And there is also no circle that is square. Order 23:04, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
A circle that is square is not a universal negative. It's simply a nonsense sequence of words. I can't see how "x2-2=0" qualifies as a universal negative. Philip J. Rayment 07:08, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Ok, using that argument you could say that you can't rule out the existence of bigfoot or other mythological creatures because you can't check everywhere for them. Darknova42 10:37, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
You've hit on the important difference between strong and weak atheism. strong abigfootism would say "There are no enormous ape-like creatures living in the Himalaya or Rocky Mountains, and I can prove it." weak abigfootism would say "Although I can't prove whether bigfoot exists or not, but I don't have enough evidence to justify believing." The strong position is much less tenable, I think. We don't have the capacity to prove it. The weak position is tenable -- the only question then is which position is more reasonable. Theists have similar "strong" and "weak" positions. Some think theism can be proven and all other positions disproven -- others are simply convinced by reason, evidence, experience and faith, without claiming they can conclusively disprove all other positions. I'm in the second club, myself. Ungtss 11:20, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
I can't see how "x2-2=0" qualifies as a universal negative.
In the sense that there is no rational value (meaning a value for which there is an unrepeating solution in a decimal number system) which solves the equation for X. The root of 2 solves the equation, but it isn't rational. Ungtss 11:25, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
You can prove universal negatives as well. There is no rational solution to x2-2=0. And there is also no circle that is square.
This is analogous to incoherency apologetics for strong atheism. The object cannot exist, because its characteristics are logically incompatible. Ungtss 12:24, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

What is this

"Proponents of atheism, most notably atheist debaters, have been attempting to dilute the definition of atheism to a mere lack of belief there is a God or gods.[1] This definition, however, is not in accordance with how encyclopedias of philosophy define atheism which state that atheism is a denial of the existence of God or gods.[2][3]"

So what - atheist aren't really atheist?--Iduan 16:33, 20 August 2007 (EDT)
"An atheist is a person who is without a belief in a god or gods.
However, if you look up "Atheist" in certain dictionaries, you might encounter phrases like "one who denies the existence of God" (implying that we are in denial of reality), "infidel", "non-believer", "immoral", "evil". Good examples of this can be found in the older versions of Webster's Dictionary. Webster was a Christian and obviously had an axe to grind against atheists."
The above was taken from here:
Darknova42 16:53, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

Ontological argument

"Ontological argument: Since existence is inherent to the definition of God, it is impossible to conceive of God without conceiving of Him as existing"

This doesn't make sense, you can plug anything you want in for God in the argument and get the same result, for example:

Since existence is inherent to the definition of Bigfoot, it is impossible to conceive of Bigfoot without conceiving of Him as existing.

Plug in anything you want, the Loch Ness Monster, Unicorns, pigs that fly and breath fire, etc... by that argument, anything that you can conceive of exists.--Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 23:43, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

I don't follow how this argument holds water either. Philip J. Rayment 07:09, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
You're both right -- it doesn't hold water -- it begs the question, assuming what it intends to prove. Tim: A guy named Gaunilo made the same objection you did when Anselm first came up with this nonsense:). Nevertheless, people are still out there making the argument, so I thought it deserved to be on the list. Ungtss 09:55, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
That is not Anselm's argument, but I don't follow his either. I think we should remove it, because it makes no sense. --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 12:32, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
In my opinion, it's what Anselm's argument boils down to. God is defined as the being than which no greater can be conceived, and it's better to exist than not to exist. Therefore, "existence" is part of the definition of God. Therefore, if you're conceiving God as non-existent, you're not conceiving of God. All ontological arguments boil down to the same fallacy. I don't have a problem with deleting it, but I don't see the point -- there are big time philosophers out there still taking it seriously, like Plantinga ... Ungtss 12:36, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Just because "big time philosophers" take it seriously, doesn't mean we have to. --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 12:42, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
True -- what about mentioning it and explaining that many people think it has no merit? I dunno -- I'm just interested in providing as much relevant info as we can on the topic ... good and bad ... any other thoughts on this one? Ungtss 12:50, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

weak + strong atheism

At issue is the following edit:

Conservative explained that his edit was intended to remove "redundant material." I do not understand how the section is redundant. In fact, the terms "weak atheism" and "strong atheism" are absent from the article now. Those are widely used terms, distinguishing between atheism based on an affirmative belief, and atheism based on a "you haven't proved your case" point of view. I don't think it's accurate to portray strong atheism as the "real" atheism and weak atheism as the "fake" atheism, when there are both strong and weak atheists out there calling themselves what they are. And you can tell the difference between them, too. Strong atheists are much more strident about their beliefs -- like Dawkins, while soft atheists are much more skeptical and "you leave me alone I'll leave you alone." Dictionary definitions aside, the issues are much more nuanced than atheists seeking to "water down" the definition of their own belief system. Are we to tell weak atheists that they don't actually believe what they believe, but are just "pretending to believe" something less obviously false? Isn't that just straw man argument? How are we as conservatives to openly engage atheists unless we are willing to acknowledge what they actually believe? Comments? Ungtss 18:25, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Ungstss, are you an atheist? Secondly, "strong atheism" (which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one and I believe unsuitable for Conservapedia) is certainly mentioned in the article as it is the standard definition of atheism as defined by Encyclopedias of Philosophy. As far as "weak atheism" this is covered in a section in regards to attempts to redefine atheism. Conservative 19:45, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
I appreciate the response. I'm not an atheist. Consider the following article, written by a theist in 1949, about "positive atheism" and "negative atheism."
"By negative atheism I mean a merely negative or destructive process of casting aside the idea of God, which is replaced only by a void. Such a negative atheism can be only shallow and empirical, like the atheism of the libertins of the seventeenth century: it hollows out a vacuum at the center of the universe of thought which has taken shape for centuries around the idea of God, but it does not bother about altering that universe; it is concerned merely with making us live comfortably in the empirical freedom of doing whatever we want. On the other hand, negative atheism can be deeply and metaphysically lived: in which case the void it creates at the center of things extends to and lays waste our whole universe of thought; the freedom it claims for the human ego is absolute independence, a kind of divine independence that this ego, like Dostoievski's Kirilov, has no better way of affirming than by suicide and self-destruction.
By positive atheism I mean an active struggle against everything that reminds us of God -- that is to say, anti-theism rather than atheism -- and at the same time a desperate, I would say heroic, effort to recast and reconstruct the whole human universe of thought and the whole human scale of values according to that state of war against God. Such positive atheism was the tragic, solitary atheism of Nietzsche; such is today the academic, fashionable atheism of existentialism; such is the revolutionary atheism of dialectical materialism. The latter is of special interest to us, because it has succeeded in getting a considerable number of men to accept wholeheartedly this new kind of faith, and to give themselves sincerely and unquestionably to it."
How about "positive and negative" atheism? Ungtss 19:53, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, if I may explain: CP's view as told by Conservative hold that atheism is a Bad Thing. If atheism is multifaceted and complex it makes it that much harder to explain just why it's a Bad Thing. Since we already know it's a Bad Thing we don't have to get into degrees, (sin is sin, end of story). This is only my interpretation of things it might be different. Samwell 20:01, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Poor theology. Jesus certainly spoke of those who would receive more stripes than others. Conservative

  • Please do not quote The Lord without quoting fully what he was saying. To partially quote, or omit, to manipulate his meaning, is a Sin. You know that. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 20:16, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, if you want to create and cite your "strong" and "weak" atheism go ahead. I personally think the theist responses are not as good as they could be (need to be improved) and I think you need to mention that post 1979 there was a concerted effort to redefine atheism as far as your weak atheism article and explain the reason why the concerted effort took place. Conservative 20:14, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
You're more than welcome to contribute your thoughts to those articles. I'm aware of no concerted effort to redefine atheism starting in 1979. I'm aware of theists noting and articulating different forms of atheism as far back as 1949. Ungtss 20:24, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
TK, I don't believe that Ancient Near East (ANE) standards in terms of exact quotations are the same as modern standards (tape recorders, etc.). Secondly, I believe I made my point quite adequetly. Conservative 20:19, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
The standard definition of atheism given by encyclopedias of philosophy which is the denial of the existence of God is a definition in accordance with the biblical view of atheism. Specifically, the Bible teaches that the creation clearly testifies of God and the heavens declare the glory of God.(Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1). However, the Bible also states that men suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). In short, those who do not acknowledge God are in a active state of denying what is clearly shown by nature.Conservative 20:38, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't disagree with you. Nobody's saying that soft atheists don't "deny the existence of God" as stated in your philosophy dictionaries. However, there are a number of important distinctions within "denial," (weak, strong, practical, theoretical), and I think we do the reader a great disservice if we fail to explore them in this article. How can a young theist, trying to debate a soft atheist, seriously tell him, "you don't really believe that -- it's not the standard definition of atheism according to my dictionary!" Apologists need to meet people where they are, and they need to understand the differences between weak and strong atheism, or they will be sent to the battle unprepared. Ungtss 20:52, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

There is considerable confusion over "atheism" and "agnosticism", almost as if there were a concerted campaign to prevent anyone from using the words with confidence. In discussions, we need a word or short term as a convenient handle for the following concepts:

  • denial that God exists (regardless of grounds)
  • denial that God exists, on the grounds that there's no way to prove He exists
  • neutrality as to whether God exists (without specifying grounds)
  • neutrality as to whether God exists, on the grounds that there is no way to know one way or another

Some people like to say that atheism means denying God's existence and agnosticism means saying you don't know if He exists or not. But then other people charge in and change the subject to "You are not using the word(s) correctly."

This is the typical dodge of the intellectually dishonest. It's akin to name-calling (see homophobe).

I'd just like to settle on a few usable definitions, and then get back to writing articles. Forget the quibbles, and dismiss anyone who tries to change the subject from the weighty matters of faith or lack of it to mere wordplay. If I want a clown, I can always get Groucho Marx or Oscar Wilde. --Ed Poor Talk 20:56, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

Proposed working definitions:
  • denial that God exists (regardless of grounds)
  • denial that God exists, on the grounds that there's no way to prove He exists
Modification -- "on the grounds that there is no evidence to prove He exists" = weak atheism.
  • neutrality as to whether God exists (without specifying grounds)
Agnosticism (a la Huxley)
  • neutrality as to whether God exists, on the grounds that there is no way to know one way or another
Strong Agnosticism
ADDING denial that God exists, on the grounds that there is positive proof he does not exist
Strong atheism Ungtss 09:44, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
I still recall J._Edwin_Orr telling a story of meeting with a self-declared agnostic, and asking the agnostic if he was an "ordinary agnostic" or an "ornery agnostic". The latter was probably stronger than your "strong agnosticism", as it involved the agnostic trying to tell everyone else that they couldn't know if God exists either. Philip J. Rayment 10:58, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

Article in General

This article is starting to get kind of ridiculous. We need to stop presenting quotes as facts. I mean what we're doing now is essentially equivalent to having Sam Harris' quotes about Christianity dominate the Christianity page. It's obvious (or it should be obvious - I don't know why this is a problem) that that is not the thing to do, since when Sam Harris speaks he has an agenda - and same thing with those who debate atheism. Why don't we actually use facts - and leave out all the crap. Sections like "atheist are lest charitable" - those are fine, but sections like the mass murder one - those are not.--Iduan 21:01, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

I'd favor focusing on facts as well. How about citing the stats from that guy's book, rather than his opinions? Ungtss 22:34, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Marriage statistics again

Here is something I found which relates to a previous discussion:

"The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Evangelical Protestant denomination, acknowledges the crisis families face in contemporary culture, but disputes the Barna poll's conclusions. Dr. Tom Ellis, chairman of the denomination's Council on the Family said the poll fails to account for the fact that many people call themselves born-again without having made a full commitment to God.

"Since the bulk of our nation considers itself Christian, I would not be surprised with the similarities between the ratios of the nation at large and the ratios among those who would call themselves Christians," Ellis said. "What we have discovered, however, is this: born-again Christian couples who marry ... in the church after having received premarital counseling ... and attend church regularly and pray daily together, that the divorce rate is approximately 1 divorce out of nearly 39,000." [3] Conservative 13:35, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

That is one person's statement disputing the article. It would be interesting to what percentage of the Christian population meets the requirement given and the numbers behind that. The article on a whole suggests that divorce rates with Christians, born again Christians, and non-Christians are essentially the same. The study gave the following results:
"Hughes says the divorce statistics referred to in his book come from a 2001 Barna Research Poll, which indicated that 33 percent of born-again Christians end their marriages in divorce, roughly the same as the general population, and that 90 percent of those divorces happen after the conversion to Christianity. Hughes maintains born-again Christians try to foster a public perception that they do not get divorces because of their born-again status."
While some complain about this website, it does have the numbers from the report mentioned along with references to the papers cited.
Do you have the numbers backing up the assertions by Ellis? --Rutm 13:48, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
Some quick thoughts; I read that premarital counseling in churches drops divorce rates by nearly 50%. Unfortunately, one of the difficulties we have had in times past, was the "rubber stamping" approval of ministers for marriage without attempting to prepare a couple for what it trully means.
With all due respect to religioustolerance, they're spinning like a top to get it to say what they wish. Perhaps they should have included this information by Barna:
"George Barna noted that one reason why the divorce statistic among non-Born again adults is not higher is that a larger proportion of that group cohabits, effectively side-stepping marriage - and divorce - altogether. "Among born again adults, 80% have been married, compared to just 69% among the non-born again segment. If the non-born again population were to marry at the same rate as the born again group, it is likely that their divorce statistic would be roughly 38% - marginally higher than that among the born again group, but still surprisingly similar in magnitude."
Learn together 15:14, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

Illegal drug use

While I understand the point to the section "Immoral views", it implicitly asserts that theists view illicit drug use as "immoral". If someone states, "I believe in God," I would not, based on that statement alone, infer that they do not take recreational drugs. Samwell 14:24, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

Michael Martin's "ruse"

Can be found here. Samwell 15:17, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

"The reason Dr. Martin gives for his eleventh hour pull-out is that he does not want the debate recorded. This means the only people that Martin wants to hear the debate are those in attendance. But what is the problem with other people hearing the debate? Is there something magical about Dr. Martin's presence? We have difficulty understanding Dr. Martin's position; all a recording does is expand the walls of the auditorium. At first Dr. Martin's ostensive reason for not wanting the debate recorded was that he did not want to (indirectly) benefit a Christian organization by allowing them (in this case Covenant Tape Ministry) to sell tapes for profit. However, under the terms of debate, both sides have ownership rights. If Dr. Martin wants to sell or even give away tapes of the debate it is his right to do so. To this Dr. Martin rebutted that he did not have the capability to distribute the tapes. In light of this we went out of our way to arrange for an atheistic society to distribute his tapes. Martin's response to this work of supererogation was to offer another excuse (or as he calls it, "reason"). The new excuse was that distributing tapes is somehow below him. For some reason he thinks that scholars do not do that sort of thing (i.e. record their debates). But this is rather peculiar. Bertrand Russell, for example, allowed his famous debate on the existence of God with Father Copleston to be transcribed and distributed; so have leading contemporary atheist philosophers such as Antony Flew and Kai Nielsen. Were these men not serious philosophers? But even more to the point, if Dr. Martin did not want wide distribution of his defense of atheism why did he agree to the debate in the first place? Almost without exception, public debates are recorded for the benefit of the wider public. His position just doesn't make any sense. Thus we are forced to conclude that Dr. Martin's "more scholarly than thou" attitude is a ruse to help him graciously back out of a potentially embarrassing situation. We believe the real reason for this abrupt about-face is that Michael Martin is afraid that he will be publicly humiliated just as his friend and fellow atheist, Dr. Gordon Stein, was when he debated Dr. Bahnsen at University of California, Irvine in 1985. The result was quite ugly: Dr. Stein was intellectually parsed. (For proof call 800/553-3938 and order the tape.) After witnessing Dr. Stein's public drubbing, Dr. Martin probably contracted the well known disease skeptics often catch before debating skilled opponents: atheisticus scaredicus."[4]Conservative 15:32, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
Yes, I see. You're absolutely right. Martin "forgot" to not engage Dr Bahnsen in debate because 10 years had passed since his atheist friend got drubbed. His "ruse" of not wanting a Christian organization to profit from his labors (he was asked to sign away his rights to the debate, at least, according to Martin), had nothing to do with it since we already know (from this fine article here) that atheists are incapable of doing anything based on their ethics since they haven't got any to speak of. Samwell 21:36, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
I believe you should read more closely. Let's not put words in Martin's mouth. All he was signing for was the right for the debate to be recorded. He had full rights to the recordings that would be created.
It really comes down to which is more believable and makes more sense. If recording debates has been the standard, then why would he be shocked the debate would be recorded? That's like being shocked that a baseball game will use umpires. Martin, being well versed by his own admission in creation vs. evolution debates would have known this. If he didn't want it taped, wouldn't that have been something he would have brought up earlier, say at the inception of the idea, as something being out of the ordinary? The man is hardly a neophyte or a wide-eyed innocent. If he was concerned at the idea of a Christian organization making money, then why not insist that the tapes only be sold at cost? Instead he insisted they be given away for free, forcing any Christians organization to lose money to show the debate! Martin pretty much hints at his own fears. When the Christian side pointed out that if he was victorious as he thought he'd be then there would be no great influx of tape sales or else it would help to support his side, Martin commented that from their point of view they might think that they won, even if he was technically superior. Well if it's just Christian die-hards who would think the theistic side won, then getting the tape out there would help the atheistic cause, as anyone not already predisposed to creationism would see Martin's intellectual prowess carving up the God side. There's a good chance that Martin started to wonder if that would occur.
I think it pretty much comes down to cold feet. I believe Martin thinks his view is right, but that in a recorded format he might not come across as well, and he has a lot to lose. The bigger the debate became, the more he worried about making a mistake or doing something that could affect his reputation. He didn't want to be another Stein. Learn together 02:38, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
Having reread all of the material in question I divine three major points:
  • Martin was not aware the debate would be recorded at the time he agreed to debate.
  • When informed of such, he decided that that would be unacceptable to him.
  • Brahsen's sponsoring organization would not allow him to debate if the event was not recorded.
Thus an impasse formed that forced the cancellation of the debate: based on mutually opposing "requirements". Brahsen showed up to deliver a lecture, Martin says he was not invited to do so.
The reference to Atheisticus scaredicus in user Conservative's quoted material, although tangential, doesn't speak well of its writer's intent, which, reading it at face value, was designed to defame Martin's character.
That said, considering everything in toto, perhaps if Martin's side had editorial control of the resultant recording he may well have gone on ahead with the debate. But that is, of course, pure conjecture.
I do want to thank you Learn together for actually engaging in a conversation about this point: I've rarely seen this type of discussion that doesn't quickly end badly. For my part, I really don't care one way or the other as to why Martin would not stipulate to the recording, only that whatever the reason(s) were referred to in the article as a "ruse", implying deceit; that, to me, was a cheap and easy shot. Samwell 15:51, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm aware that's what Martin says, but, quite frankly, it doesn't seem to add up. If two people want something to happen, it will happen. There are rare conditions where there truly is no ability to reach an acceptable middle ground, but I don't see that here or what would be called a "good faith" effort to really go all out to make the event occur. Martin's concern of financially supporting a Christian organization could have been dealt with, but really, he made no effort to do so, nor does Martin really claim that he made any effort.
I see it as a case of too big a bet. It's one thing to think you're the best poker player; it's another thing to bet everything, especially with a player you're not used to. Taping the debate was just too much. Any potential embarrassment would be available for everyone to view, coast to coast. He's used to being a professor where his audience hangs on his every word and he's the only one who is an authority figure for any statements he makes. It's quite different being in front of a live audience where it's a level playing field and the other side is not limited to arguments that would be made in academia.
Of course there is no way to know for certain, but from a logical standpoint, Martin's assertions are weak. As a man who spends most of his working day creating solutions for problems, it's easy to recognize the signs of someone who just didn't want to try. This has nothing to do with defending the tone of the "atheisticus scaredicus" memo or any other aspects. I don't get involved in that. But if one were to take the position that Martin wanted to go forward and was prevented, there would be a lot of questions for him to answer based on his actions.
BTW thanks for the kind words. I try not to make arguments personal or he who shouts the loudest wins. I present what I believe and then that's it. When both sides feel they're had the opportunity to be heard, then everyone is a winner. Learn together 16:39, 23 August 2007 (EDT)