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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 443782  
Subject: Atheist Fools FAQ, version 1.1 Date: 4/23/2002 3:46 PM
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Atheist Fools FAQ, version 1.1


Q. Who posts on Atheist Fools?
A. Here are links to short posts that serve as an introduction for each person.

Atheists/nontheists/agnostics
0x6a74: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17012726
alchook: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13844496
AngelMay: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17014974
AOLFoolman: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16161690
buy2win: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17001770
crh310/PVCliff: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14917878
BONDJAMES007: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17010496
dcarper: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13819443
eswan: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17009661 (multiple posts)
finchumk: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17008865
FoolBalance: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17052866
Hyacinthe: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17026459
JamesBrown: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16348253
jgc123: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16931254
Kazim: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14917865
l1soul: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17054580
llisiraw/warisill: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14111103
mapletree3: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16540063
masonjarjar: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17006113
Nisanu: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17004552
ogrecat: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=12822914
proton500: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14727080
robinson0551: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17000306
sdedalus: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17001457
sofaking6/scorn6/lisa6: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14730374
tedhimself: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17008719
tenworlds: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17003784
tngirl74: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14794623
Zafkiel: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14929682

Theists
Bonhoeffer/Enilkrennad: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17000199
frindon/youngfod: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14882890
parktaylor/preston6: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14143953
rehowes: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17053270

"Whatevers"
(This is a special category originally created just for AGlupOfWax. For more information, see the question about doppels below.)
AGlupOfWax: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17025379
khalou: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17002836


If you are on this list and would like to be commemorated with a different post, reply to the FAQ with a link to your favorite sample, or reply to the "who are we" thread (http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14880412). You can also ask not to be included. The changes will show up in the next version of the FAQ, which may not happen as quickly as you would want it to.


Q. I thought this was an atheist board. How come you talk about God and religion so much?
A. Because some of us are interested in the subject. Atheism is defined as the absence of theism, so it's sort of like the negative space around religion. Talking about atheism implies talking about not being religious at least some of the time. Since we live in a culture that is more or less dominated by Christianity, the subject of how Christians affect our lives is of interest to us. It doesn't have to be Christianity though; if we lived in the mid-east, we'd probably spend more time talking about Islam. Occasionally we go for long stretches just talking about favorite movies and such, but of course, that's not really talking about atheism; it's just talking about random stuff with fellow people who don't have religion.


Q. Is atheism a religion?
A. Only in the loosest sense of the word. If "religion" means "belief system" then it kind of is, but then again, so is capitalism and number theory. Most real religions have a centralized source of authority and a system of organized worship. Atheism doesn't. There are also no tenets or laws that atheism proscribes; you are free to make up your own. Saying that atheism is a religion is something like saying that bald is a hair color.


Q. Does atheism mean that you're 100% certain that there is no God? How can you defend such a position? Why not be agnostic?
A. Some of us are agnostic. Some of us claim to be both atheistic AND agnostic, and don't consider that a contradiction.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14680115


Q. What gives your life meaning, in the absence of God?
A. Lots of things. This sort of thing seems to be fairly representative.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14141006


Q. Why bother to be moral if there is no God? Is it even meaningful to talk about morality if there is no ultimate judge of right and wrong?
A. Ah yes, the perennial topic. This is one of the most hotly and perpetually debated items on this board. Theists, of course, believe that it is impossible to adequately define morality without referring to a supernatural lawgiver who provides the final objective standard for right and wrong. Atheists do not agree with this; however, everyone acknowledges that morality is a complex issue, and there is much disagreement among us. Some think that there is an "objective" way of determining morality, just as there is an objective way of determining everything else in the physical world. Others think that the very idea of objective morality is nonsense.

Sofaking6 outlines one possible ethical system that makes no reference to God.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16991869
You can read the rest of the resulting thread to see where the rest of us agree and disagree, but you should at least get the sense of a method by which moral principles may be derived without falling back on faith.


Q. Evolution is a lie and I can prove it!
A. This board isn't really about that, though sometimes we talk about it anyway. If you have a burning need to discuss this topic, try the creation vs. evolution board.
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=114420
Or, check out www.talkorigins.org for an overdose of scientific evidence on the subject.


Q. I'm a Christian, mind if I post here?
A. No problem. We don't mind a good argument. But it has to be a GOOD argument. If you are obsessively quoting Bible verses, or making the same claims over and over again without backing them up, you are likely to get p-boxed and ignored until you go away. If you get caught in a long, serious argument about the fine points of the Bible, you may be politely asked to move it to the Christian Fools board.


Q. The Bible says some event happened, and that proves that event really did happen. How can you possibly argue that it did not happen?
A. Quoting the Bible may count as evidence where you come from, but here we do things a little differently. We think you should actually convince us that your claims are really true using evidence. The Bible is not evidence. The Bible is a book which probably contains a lot of fiction, pieced together by the Council of Nicea. Quoting it is only evidence if you already hold the belief that what it says is true. Otherwise, you might as well be quoting lines from old Star Trek episodes for all we care about it.

For a quick atheist's eye view of the history of the Bible:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13291658


Q. Have any of you atheists ever READ the Bible?
A. Yes. Many of us have read the whole thing. Some of us, apparently, are even ancient history scholars and have studied it in more detail than most theists. We weren't convinced.


Q. But the Bible is scientific! It can predict things! In the 1870's, a group of Bible students predicted 1914 would be the beginning of a global war. Doesn't that prove that the Bible is true?
A. Several posters have brought that up. The claim was originally made by the founders of Jehovah's Witnesses. They predicted 1914 would be the end of the world, not "a significant date." The prediction got changed to be retrofitted to the facts.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14740516
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14740547


Q. The Bible also contains all kinds of coded information. It predicted the assassination of JFK and all this other stuff.
A. "The Bible Code" has been discussed to death here already. The general consensus is that it's complete bunk. It is purely a statistical feature of all long texts. And it hasn't been used to predict anything in the future, only in the past.
http://www.skepdic.com/bibcode.html
http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/torah.html
Also, be sure to check out the prophecies that are coded in "Moby Dick!"
http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html
Want a laugh? Rent "The Omega Code" sometime.
http://us.imdb.com/Title?0203408


Q. What is Pascal's Wager? Is that a good argument for believing in God?
A. Pascal's Wager says that you should believe in God, because even if there is a small chance that he exists then you don't want to risk losing eternal life and receiving eternal punishment. It is not all that persuasive, because it can be equally applied to any number of other beliefs, such as "If you don't send me $10 in the mail right now, you will go to hell."

For a more detailed discussion:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=12710286
http://www.jhuger.com/pascal.mv


Q. Who is this Jack Chick that everyone talks about?
A. Jack T. Chick is the author of a bunch of little comic book tracts that you sometimes see being handed out on college campuses or left lying around in public places. They are meant to be inspirational and convince you to convert to Jack's own peculiar brand of Christianity. The comic books are highly entertaining and are often collected by atheists for their camp value. Jack Chick is considered to be a real life example of all the worst stereotypes about Fundamentalist Christianity. In Jack's world, homosexuals are everywhere trying to seduce your kids, Catholics are spawns of the devil, roleplaying geeks learn real magic spells, and you can win a place in heaven by a deathbed conversion after a life of murder sprees.

It is only fair to point out that Jack is not representative of the majority of Christians in the world, and most of the Christian posters here see his work as highly offensive and a disgrace to the faith. Most atheists just see him as laughable.
Read Chick tracts and see for yourself at
http://www.chick.com/catalog/tractlist.asp
And then there's the Jack Chick parody archive:
http://www.weirdcrap.com/chick/


Q. Everybody keeps complaining about jello for some reason. I like jello. What's wrong with that?
A. Here, read this.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14132669
If people start to reply to you by mentioning jello a lot, it means you that arguing with you has started to feel like "nailing jello to a wall", that you aren't addressing the points that have been made to you, and that you are probably a few posts away from going in several penalty boxes. It's not a nice way to behave, and it gives theologians a bad name. So please don't do it.


Q. Somebody got accused of being a "doppel". Is that a bad thing?
A. "Doppel" is short for "doppelganger", a word of German origin which more or less means "clone" or "impostor". Back in the days before the Motley Fool boards required a yearly fee, some people would create extra accounts with different screen names, usually to mess with people's heads or experiment with multiple personalities. AGlupOfWax was notorious for this: as "waxurt" he was a typical board contributor; as "estd" and "seaofglup" he was some breed of bizarre solipsist, and as "ANiceChap" he insulted everyone and started the common practice of calling people doodoo heads. Since he was not willing to pay for multiple accounts to represent all the voices in his head, AGlupOfWax collapsed all his personalities into one account which he now uses.

We also had a fellow who used to post many strange, theistic, often sexually repressed rants under the guise of various dead white guys (BertrandRussell, CharlesDarwin, etc).

But actually, it is a well known fact that everyone on this board is secretly a doppel of Kazim, and all the posts since day one have been schizophrenic monologues in his own mind. Since you're reading this, you are one too.


Q. Somebody accused me of being a "doodoo head". Why don't you grow up?
A. It's not a sign of immaturity. It's a sign of valuing the truth. You ARE, in fact, a doodoo head. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.


Q. If God doesn't exist, then who created the universe?
A. The use of the word "who" is begging the question, since it automatically implies that there's a sentient being who creates universes. Here's a post that addresses the "there must be an uncaused cause" argument from a scientific point of view.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17065861
Apart from that, there are many alternate theories about the creator of the universe. One is that the universe was created by Hank, and your sole purpose of existence is to kiss his posterior.
http://www.jhuger.com/kisshank.mv
The universe may have been created by the invisible purple dragon in Kazim's garage, which was shamelessly stolen from Carl Sagan. (Sagan's dragon wasn't purple, and the only reason it is here is because it's funnier.)
http://www.users.qwest.net/~jcosta3/article_dragon.htm
And then, of course, there's Ralph.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13724884


Q. Uh... whatever. Are there any more of these annoying in-jokes that I should be aware of?
A. Yes. The often abused line "Die, heretic!", and any variations on the phrase "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912" come to us from a routine by comedian Emo Phillips:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16689357

"It's turtles all the way down" goes back to an anecdote told about some famous skeptic, such as Bertrand Russell. A believer insists that the world sits on the back of a giant turtle; the skeptic asks "But what does the turtle sit on?" Unphased, the believer replies "It's turtles all the way down!" Think of it as a metaphor for the "Who made God?" question.

Finally, there's a very long post that you should probably brush up on after you've read the Christian Fools FAQ.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16326277


Q. I'm interested in reading more about atheism. Where can I look?
Here are some links that might be of general interest.
http://www.infidels.org
http://www.skepdic.com
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com
http://atheism.about.com
And other FAQs which are in the same vein as this one:
http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/intro.html
http://www.atheist-community.org/faq.htm
http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html
The last link contains a primer on logic and fallacies. Although it appears on an atheist web site, this is valuable information for anyone who wishes to present a compelling argument, regardless of what their beliefs might be.

Finally, if you want to look at arguments for the other side, these links have been kindly submitted by frindon:
http://theologic.com/links/
http://www.newadvent.org/


Please make comments, corrections, and additional suggestions by replying to this post. Updates to the FAQ which have not been posted yet may be found at http://www.apollowebworks.com/atheism/affaq.txt
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