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I'm a rather unusual atheist (at least on this platform), since I not only do not hate religions - I'm positively fascinated by them: On the one hand religions seem to be absurd, but on the other hand they are an integral feature of human nature, like music or language. And like almost all features of human life and culture, they have their bright and their dark aspects. I refuse to put on blinkers to see only one side.

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Hey I' m about to advance to level 7 where all things are possible the sun always shines. You could ...
Matias comments on Apr 21, 2019:
Another male primate obsessed with status and hierarchy. So sad (a)
The roots of all morality and ethics can be reasonably traced to the utilitarian demands of the ...
Matias comments on Apr 21, 2019:
Is there any (scientific) evidence for this claim? Homo sapiens has never been a utilitarian animal. The roots of our morality are empathy (as well as other pro-social emotions) and our unique groupishness. If you're interested in the whole story, read Michael Tomasello's "Natural history of human morailty" or "The Righteous Mind" by Jon Haidt
I hope somebody will message me.
Matias comments on Apr 20, 2019:
People should have a reason why they send you a message.
Hey ! Agnostics.com : Answer your msgs. from your members !
Matias comments on Apr 20, 2019:
What is your message? Maybe one of us knows the answer...
My civilization seems to have "interesting" priorities:
Matias comments on Apr 20, 2019:
The two disasters cannot be compared. The problem in Yemen is not the lack of money, but too much war. The war in Yemen will continue as long as the regional powers have enough money to "invest" in bombs, tanks, artillery...
The evidence that Jesus ever existed is weaker than you might think
Matias comments on Apr 20, 2019:
Who cares, except Christians? Religion is not about "evidence" (at least not in the sense it is used in science). Therefore all those atheists that keep saying "there is no evidence that Jesus existed" are barking up the wrong tree.
Finally made level 8 hooray
Matias comments on Apr 20, 2019:
Another primate male obsessed by status
Concerning life, complete the phrase: "Desperately Seeking _______?"
Matias comments on Apr 19, 2019:
ataraxia
When we had a vote...
Matias comments on Apr 19, 2019:
Sorry, but I don't get the joke :-(
It was fun while it lasted. Until it wasnt.
Matias comments on Apr 19, 2019:
Some people - especially males - seem to be posting meaningless stuff just to make it to the next level.
This is official
Matias comments on Apr 19, 2019:
Presented like this, the chart is useless. Religion where? In the USA? In Europe? The whole world?? And where is the source? Maybe you made it up for yourself.... (a)
Can Religionists be Freethinkers?
Matias comments on Apr 18, 2019:
Did Tolstoi say/wrote this before or after his conversion ?
If I catch a Catholic Priest molesting any of my grand sons, i"m gonna beat the living shit out of ...
Matias comments on Apr 18, 2019:
Yeah, dude you're really tough. I admire you !!
@admin @sitesupport I post stuff to various boards - it appears temporarily on that board - and then...
Matias comments on Apr 18, 2019:
I have the same problem, and I already contacted them twice about it - without reply. If you get an answer, please let us know. My guess is that this is not a bug but a new "feature": all posts and comments together in ONE big long thread... maybe the admins think that this forced togetherness fosters the sense of community ?
Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard
Matias comments on Apr 18, 2019:
But humans, unique among animals, have the capacity to do mental time traveling. We can "foresee" the future by extrapolating from the past. We can make plans and follow them, we can make promises and keep them.
[elpais.com] Almost half of youngsters Spanish are non-believers. Overall, 30% are atheist or ...
Matias comments on Apr 18, 2019:
I am not sure that religion is a serious problem in Spain. There are others: high unemployment rate, especially among the young, a society infested by corruption (on all sides, at all levels), and a rise of the right-wing populism.
Thought this was worth posting.
Matias comments on Apr 17, 2019:
A billion is almost nothing in today's world. Which really important problem can be fixed with 1 billion USD or EUR ?
Found this interesting...
Matias comments on Apr 17, 2019:
My guess is that nothing from that list exists. There are three German words on the list; I do not know any of them. Somebody made this up just for fun.
Billions already pledged to reconstruct Notre Dame. I guess everyone wants to be known as "the ...
Matias comments on Apr 17, 2019:
The two events are not related.
Are people generally too stupid, cowardly, and/or immoral to be non-religious?
Matias comments on Apr 17, 2019:
If you really expect an answer to this question, your thinking style must be quite simplistic.
How absurd. To spend millions renovating the cathedral in Paris while some people and animals are ...
Matias comments on Apr 17, 2019:
You do not have buildings like that in the "New World", so you can't understand what it means for the French, whether they are religious or secular. With the same logic you could bemoan that billions (!) are spent for space missions to Mars or hundreds of billions (!) for weapons.... and so on ... while people are starving.
"It is impossible to state with any certainty that the Crown of Thorns is authentic, though its ...
Matias comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Of course it is not the original crown of thorns (if such a thing ever existed!). So? What is essential is that people *believe* it to be the original thing. It is this *belief* that gives things their "aura", whether it is a shroud, a crown, a letter from JFK or a shirt worn by Marilyn Monroe...
Yep... critiquing the bible is a dirty job but someone's got to do it.
Matias comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Please define "flaw" in this context. This book is a product of cultural evolution, and like any product of evolution, is has "flaws". Every living organism (my body, your body...) out there has its flaws
I wish our friends on the left would get their priorities straight! Robert Reich No political ...
Matias comments on Apr 16, 2019:
That is easier said than done. Does Robert Reich mention somewhere any concrete measures how to achieve that objective? [Question: Did you post this in the category "Politics" or "General/Hellos" ?]
Is it possible that human beings are creatures who are simply built, so to speak, in a way that ...
Matias comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Homo sapiens is an ultra-social species. It may sound strange to our modern ears, but in the Pleistocene when our brain evolved, our ancestors were dependent on the other members of the group for their survival. Therefore it was crucial to know how others viewed me. What we call "self-esteem" nowadays is rather a "socio-meter" that allows us to gauge our standing among others members of the group. People who did not monitor themselves and acted pro-socially risked to become social outcasts which was a real danger in the harsh environment of those days.
Should the French rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral?
Matias comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Of course. The cathedral is damaged, not destroyed.
I think it would be a good exercise for us atheists and agnostics to define the so-called God we ...
Matias comments on Apr 11, 2019:
I do not believe that there is a supernatural supreme Being with humanlike attributes and features, likes thoughts, wishes, moral feelings, emotions.... Some very smart theists claim that "god" is just "pure Being"... well, it is difficult to deny that *pure being* exists, but "pure Being" is NOT what believers have in mind when they thing of or pray to their God.
As a gun owner myself, I feel we need intelligent gun regulations. I passed a test to drive a car ...
Matias comments on Apr 11, 2019:
Some things are rational, other things are part of the national identity. In the US every mentally disturbed person can buy a gun, here in Germany every idiot can drive 150 mph on the highway if he likes to do so. A few weeks ago, a national commission (they should come up with suggestions to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) proposed to reduce the speeding limit to 90 mph, which caused an uproar. In the US bearing arms is a human right; in Germany it is driving as fast as you can on the autobahn
"You see in this world there are two kinds of people, my friend those with loaded guns and those who...
Matias comments on Apr 11, 2019:
Yea... best final shootout scene ever. The music, the cuts, just perfect
You know you're winning when you're happy for no reason. When you don't attach your happiness to ...
Matias comments on Apr 4, 2019:
You know you're losing when you're unhappy for no reason (fb/the realist)
This UK study shows the effectiveness of the anti-HPV virus, the main cause of cervical cancer. ...
Matias comments on Apr 4, 2019:
There are studies that show that people who hold a firm conviction - like anti-waxxers - will become even more convinced when confronted with statistics or other facts that go against their conviction.
I'm turning 35 this month. Is this "middle aged?"
Matias comments on Apr 4, 2019:
Of course. or would you call this "young"
(Gnostic) Atheism and the Burden of Proof - Richard Playford As in sciences, virtually all ...
Matias comments on Apr 3, 2019:
In most cases , arguing with the existence of so-called "gnostic atheists" is a straw-man attack. Because "gnosis" implies some sort of special knowledge about a truth that is hidden to the uninitiated. But atheists do not claim to have such a special knowledge. **Theists** make such a claim when they tell us that they have access to a supreme Being (for which there is no evidence). What if I told you that there is a dragon in my cellar? Then you go down to my cellar, you look around and there's no dragon. Then you say "I'm sure there's no dragon in your basement": who then has to prove that there's a dragon or that there is no dragon? Am I right to accuse you of being a "*gnostic* a-dragonist"? It is justified to accuse atheists who make a very strong claim like "It has been proven that God does not exist", becuase such a proof is impossible, and such a claim would be unscientific. But to say "I am sure that there is no invisible, omniscient, almighty, personal Being (aka God). I am pretty sure such beings are figments of human imagination" - that has nothing to do with gnosis. Atheists just deny the purported knowledge of the theists.
I never heard of...
Matias comments on Apr 3, 2019:
I think you are right. This sort of combination is quite rare. But what does that mean? Do you can offer some explanation? It is well known that women are generally more religious than men. Why is that so? There is even a book about that question http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608102.001.0001/acprof-9780199608102
“The very purpose of life is to find happiness. This is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee ...
Matias comments on Apr 1, 2019:
Too good to be true... The venerable Dalai Lama can talk like that because he is only a spiritual leader. If he were the President or Prime Minister of a country like France or Canada, he would find himself entangled in the web of *realpolitik*, he would consider the welfare not of all 7 billion human beings, but above all the welfare of the citizens of his country
Expecting life to make sense is the supreme lost cause
Matias comments on Apr 1, 2019:
It is not life itself that makes sense: we have to make sense out of life. That is indeed impossible if we keep hunting facts. Facts never add up to meaning. You have to be able and willing to transcend the realm of facts
Ever wonder what happened to this society? How we can watch people collapse on the street and not ...
Matias comments on Mar 29, 2019:
It is something like 'emotional overload'. There are to many of them to care about all of them. So we divide all people into two groups: those who are relevant to me/us, and the rest.
If we get to know everything there is.....what then?
Matias comments on Mar 29, 2019:
Only after the last problem will be solved by science / Only after the last fact will have been established beyond reasonable doubt/ Only after you will have found the Theory for Everything / Then you will find out that all the facts of this world do not add up to anything like *meaning*
I'm pretty far left I'm just against religion no matter which one...
Matias comments on Mar 28, 2019:
Memes are *always* simplistic, but reality is *never* simplistic.
Information realism: Now there is something I cannot get my brain around. ...
Matias comments on Mar 28, 2019:
"Information realism" is quite old. Pythagoras and his followers, as well as Platon, claimed that what is ultimately real is not what we cal "reality" , but forms and structures. The last reality we can conceive of is mathematical ... Maybe in our world (the so-called meso-cosmos) there is no dance without a dancer, but the meso-cosmos is not the measure of all things. There's such a thing as entanglement in the world of elementary particles, but not in our world, so maybe there is information, form and structure at the "bottom" of reality, and this information is "pure" , not a property of things. I am not a mathematician, but I have to confess that I like this idea
If there was video cameras from day one, what would you like to see or to have proven to you? For ...
Matias comments on Mar 27, 2019:
So you would see Jesus and his followers, but the camera would not tell you if his was divine or just another human being ... Video cameras only show the surface
Which came first: society or a fear of god? | PBS NewsHour
Matias comments on Mar 27, 2019:
It is not true that small-scale societies like those of hinter-gatherers have no religion or no belief in supernatural beings. Of course they had and still have (where this kind of society has survived). And even morality was part of the picture: the spirits of ancestors had the same demands as a living human being, and they punish if their demands and wills are not satisfied. That is the reason why people in small-scale societies make sacrifice, or why they have experts like shamans who can act as mediators between the world beyond and the world people are living in. The question is: When did *big moralistic gods* enter the scene. The new evidence suggests that the spirits became Gods *after* societies crossed a certain threshold. That does not mean that *religion* was invented after humans had constructed states or cities. The existing supernatural beings just morphed into something bigger in order to help stabilize those big societies.
I’m starting to notice that this place is full of trolls...
Matias comments on Mar 27, 2019:
Less than on other sites... My theory is that agnostic.com is a comparatively nice forum because there are a lot of women around, which have a civilizing effect on the males :-)
The 12 worst ideas religion has unleashed on the world | Salon.com
Matias comments on Mar 27, 2019:
"Religion is often depicted as a kind of virus, a mental disease or disorder, a scourge on humanity, which , as with AIDS or some stealthy computer virus that threatens to erase the entire contents of civilization's hard drive. "There is, unfortunately, much historical evidence to support this perspective: from the Crusades, the Inquisition, several religious wars, to the Holy Wars of the late twentieth century ... However, for every one of these tragedies there are ten thousand acts of personal kindness and social good that go largely unreported in the history books or on the evening news. "Religion, like all social institutions of such historical depth and cultural impact, cannot be reduced to an unambiguous good or evil; shades of gray complexity abound in all such societal structures, and religion should not be treated any differently than, say, political organizations. One could easily build a case that state-sponsored terrorism, revolutions , and wars make even these horrific religion-sponsored catastrophes appear mild by comparison. "If God is a toxic meme, so is King and President; and if religion is a virus, politics is a full-blown epidemic replete with copy-me memes such as nationalism, jingoism, and outright racism. Yet nobody would propose that we do away with politics or the state." (Michael Shermer "How we believe" page 71)
What’s the world’s worst religion? These are the ones I found on Wikipedia: Christianity ...
Matias comments on Mar 27, 2019:
What is wrong with Baha'i ? As far as I know they have been spreading all over the world without religious violence or the use of torture... If there is one peaceful belief system on this planet, it is Baha'i
What is worth believing in? History proves evident that bad ideas need special protections to ...
Matias comments on Mar 27, 2019:
"bad ideas need special protections to propagate" - ?? What kind of protection did antisemitism, racism or any sort of conspiracy theory need to spread?
On a philosophical level i was very disappointed at the response i got from my post on the teachers ...
Matias comments on Mar 26, 2019:
That's what they call "inane driveling", I guess Kids all over the world demonstrate against global warming because they care about their own future, not because they have been "indoctrinated". They have to worry about what will happen in 40 or 60 years because they will be around to live through it - unlike people like you who are too old to worry; you'll be dead when climate change gets really nasty, and obviously you do not care about the future of your children (if you have some - which i doubt). By the way: It is a shame to post this ridiculous nonsense in "philosophy"; you should post it in "Silly, random & Fun" (If you do not like the truth: block me)
Charles S. Taylor The God Conclusion: An unbiased search for the evidence for God and the spirit ...
Matias comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I was very surprised to discover that new book by Charles Taylor, until I realized that the author is NOT the famous philosopher Charles Taylor but Charles S. Taylor.
It seems atheists DOMINATE this site, despite the fact it's an agnostic one. There's a BIG ...
Matias comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I just don't understand why so many people are obsessed with discussing the differences between agnostics and atheists (if there are any).
Scientists rise up against statistical significance
Matias comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I read that too, but I didn't get it. I really wish someone would explain that (just the basic idea!) to people who are not familiar with statistics.
The Seven Moral Rules That Supposedly Unite Humanity - Quartz
Matias comments on Mar 26, 2019:
The rule "Help your family/group" does not unite but divide humanity
Something got me upset a few days ago which i suppose contributed to my uncalled for rant against ...
Matias comments on Mar 25, 2019:
You are right. You do not have to worry about climate change because - you're an old man and you'll be dead in a few years, but climate change will take some time until it gets really nasty - you are living on Vancouver Island where the negative effects of climate change won't be felt for some more time (unlike places like California or Southern Spain or India or Alaska).
Religious dogma may be questionable, but here is a shining example of religious sincerity - in the ...
Matias comments on Mar 25, 2019:
I guess that some fierce atheists would say that this wonderful man was so nice *despite* his faith
What are your thoughts on Buddhism ??
Matias comments on Mar 25, 2019:
If you do not believe in karma, you are not a Buddhist. It 's like a Christian who claims that he /she does not believe that Jesus was God and that he was resurrected... Many Westerners who admire (or claim to do so) Buddhist teaching just use this religion / philosophy to nurture their own narcissism, as a way to self-actualization
Yep... Fear is a big part of religion
Matias comments on Mar 25, 2019:
Fear is a big part of human nature.
“Treat the earth kindly, my friends, and it will give you comfort, security, and all a man may ...
Matias comments on Mar 25, 2019:
Well... that is what humans have been doing for about 12,000 years now. And because mother earth repayed them many times, it allowed them to multiply beyond good measure and populate every corner of the planet, eventually destroying it Maybe our ancestors should have planted fakes of gold instead and things would not have gone awry
I was working in Pecos Tx., a few weeks ago, I'd bought a gun pouch before I left, it holds My ...
Matias comments on Mar 25, 2019:
Philosophy?
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't ...
Matias comments on Mar 24, 2019:
Not necessarily. Maybe the experiment is flawed
Interview with Anthropologist Richard Wrangham - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Matias comments on Mar 23, 2019:
We know that hunter-gatherers are fiercely egalitarian, they resent being dominated by anti-social persons, bullies - mostly men. Wrangham bases his argumentation on the work and research of Christopher Boehm, who has shown in books like "Hierarchy in the forest" and "Moral origins" how groups deal with such would-be tyrants. Boehm describes a whole gamut of so-called "levelling mecanisms", from ridicule and ostracism to murder. But Boehm makes it clear that execution is only the ultima ratio when all other means fail to control a male bully. That is one of the weak points of Wrangham's analysis: that he does not show that murder of aggressive males has been common enough to be a strong selective force that has been able to cause domestication of the whole species. He just makes the claim, but does not offer any empirical evidence or mathematical model to support his theory (unlike for example Bowles and Gintis in their excellent book "A cooperative species", a book full of evidence and modeling). Another weak point of his theory is the place of cooperation in his picture. Wrangham acknowledges the importance of cooperation as an important ability, but claims that cooperation depends on a very low propensity for reactive aggression. I do not think that this is true. Wolves or hyenas show a high level of (reactive) aggression, but they are also highly cooperative (when they hunt). But wolves or hyenas are not domesticated. Another inconsistency is that Wrangham treats cooperation as a prerequisite for execution of male bullies because the weaker members of the group have to plot and coordinate their forces to kill such an aggressive man. He writes: "Shunning would be insufficient to affect an individual who is able to intimidate or defeat all others in a fight. Subordinates’ resentment could be translated to effective resistance only by coalitionary force. Cooperation among the weaker individuals is needed." I think that Wrangham stresses an important aspect of human social life, but his theory is somewhat simplistic when he tries to present capital punishment as the central mechanism of the evolution of human sociality. I think that he fails to explain human morality, which IMO is more than just self-defense. People follow moral rules not only because they are afraid of punishment; they act morally because they identify with moral rules. What Wrangham and his execution theory does not explain is human ultrasociality (see Peter Turchin's excellent book). The key element of humans' social nature is "collective intentionality" (Michael Tomasello), a concept Wrangham mentions once, but without discussing it or grasping its importance. That is another weak point of the book that the author does not bother to discuss different theories ...
[theguardian.com] We need to end Capitalism...
Matias comments on Mar 23, 2019:
That is just wishful thinking. People have been trying to end capitalism for more than hundred years, but it is alive and kicking.
History of religion
Matias comments on Mar 23, 2019:
The cartoon is incomplete. The last picture should show a person of the 21. century bowing to an iPhone and to money, which are our modern masters. In the present, people in the USA or in Germany who do not worship money are as rare as atheists were in the 12th century
It has been shown in a study that a woman’s intelligence is proportional to the size of her ...
Matias comments on Mar 23, 2019:
I suppose you are a funny guy? If you were serious, you would give us the link to this study
I recently learned the philosophy community defines an atheist more broadly than any definition that...
Matias comments on Mar 23, 2019:
Having a degree in philosophy myself, I can assure you that there is no such thing as "the philosophy community". Philosophers have been busy for more than 2000 years defining and re-defining every concept that ordinary folks use. My German dictionary of philosophy mentions the narrow and the broad definition ("...does not believe in the existence of any supernatural being...") And given that it is logically impossible to prove the non-existence of any entity, atheists do not have the duty to prove that the god or supernatural being in whose existence they do not believe does not exist
The Logic of Indecision: If you say you are agnostic, you are saying that you do not know, but ...
Matias comments on Mar 22, 2019:
The implication is not "that others would agree if they were as rational as me". If others have a different starting point, both sides can arrive at different points while being rational in their thinking. It all depends on your basic assumptions, your premises. Theologians are as rational as scientists, except that the former operate within a different intellectual framework.
Reasons for not hating those who disagree. Because either they are right and I have failed to ...
Matias comments on Mar 22, 2019:
What if I have tried to teach but they have failed to listen?
A much less published, but important Newtonian law:
Matias comments on Mar 22, 2019:
"Silly, Random & Fun"
"Standing in a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a ...
Matias comments on Mar 22, 2019:
That is trivial, and any devout Christian would agree It was Jesus himself who railed against the Philistines
I have a theory... What if Trump's erratic behavior is the cause of untreated syphilis??
Matias comments on Mar 22, 2019:
Check the symptoms of syphilis on Wikipedia or elsewhere and you'll see that there is no evidence for your "theory"
Fantastically interesting - Punitive Gods arise with Complex Societies... and not vice versa! ...
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
More precisely: punitive "Big Gods" arise with complex societies. All in all, "*our research suggests that religion is playing a functional role throughout world history, helping stabilize societies and people cooperate overall," Savage said* As any anthropologist who has studied small-scale societies knows, even "little gods" or spirits of ancestors can be and often are very moralistic and vengeful. That is why they have to be placated with rituals and sacrifices and offerings.
Atheism is just another religion. Here’s why: 1. You spend too much time thinking about the ...
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
What is your definition of "religion" ? Don't you think that words like "supernatural" or "superhuman" should be an element of such a definition? By the way: You can create spurious analogies if you focus on some elements that are not essential. With a little imagination and sloppy thinking, *anything* can become a "religion"
Whatever it is indeed.
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
A rather meaningless aphorism, because it can be applied to *anything*
Just read a piece on a scientist that had been awarded a big award, that said atheism could not ...
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
Gleiser says: *I honestly think atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. What I mean by that is, what is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. “I don’t believe even though I have no evidence for or against, simply I don’t believe.*” That is not how I view atheism. It is not belief in non-belief. It simply is non-belief in a question where there is no evidence in favor of the existence of "god". It is the most scientific strategy: if there is zero evidence for X, then let's assume that there is no X. Here's the source:
I used to be a passive atheist but now I am a very militant one.
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
Question: What does "militant" mean to you? How did your behaviour change? Are you planning to kill Christians? Or to spit them in the face? Or just liking Dawkins or Sam Harris on Facebook or elsewhere?
How is it that the far-right's solutions always involve causing deliberate harm to others? Could ...
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
The problem is to draw the line between the "right" (aka Conservatives) and the far-right. There are right-wing populist parties now in every country in Europe. To their opponents they are "Nazis" or right-wing extremists, but a lot of their positions used to be mainstream Conservativism a few decades ago.
Yeah, it is so simple.
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
Actually, the plague is still there. There are local outbreaks now and then in countries like India or Madagascar, but they can be treated and contained with antibiotics. Since the plague is caused not by viruses but by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis), I am not sure that there could be a vaccine against it
Masters of Love - The Atlantic - Pocket
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
I am a "disaster" - but do I have to blame myself? Is it under the control of every person to become a master? Or is this quality buried in our personality structure. Honestly I do not believe that we can freely choose to become a master or a disaster (who would choose the latter?)
When Gut Bacteria Change Brain Function - The Atlantic - Pocket
Matias comments on Mar 21, 2019:
What I find fascinating about this new research about the microbiom is that the traditional concept of the 'individual' is becoming more and more obsolete. Mainstream evolutionary theory is based on the concept of selection on the level of individuals, but who or what is this "individual" if "my" bacteria are an intimate part of "me" ?
Oh yes indeed..
Matias comments on Mar 20, 2019:
"Silly, Random & Fun"
A question for strong supporters of the state of Israel. What attracted you to an agnostic site ...
Matias comments on Mar 20, 2019:
Being a German, it is my moral duty to support Israel, because without the Holocaust there would be no Israel. The existence of a Jewish state is intimately linked to our German history. That does not mean that we should never criticize Israelian politics. BTW Israel is not a theocracy, but a liberal democracy, with a lot of privileges given to the religious. But it is not our business to comment on that
Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker - YouTube
Matias comments on Mar 19, 2019:
Pinker makes two basic mistakes: - He extrapolates recent trends into the future. - He only looks at the human world, but conveniently forgets that nature has to pay the price for our "progress". We have just externalized the costs. If you broaden the picture to include what is happening in the sphere of nature, there is no reason to be optimistic
This Cartoon Explains How the Rich Got Rich and the Poor Got Poor - Vox - Pocket
Matias comments on Mar 19, 2019:
In the historical perspective, the 30 years after the Second World War ("New Deal" and the consequences) were the big exception. The rich always used to have the lout and power to secure the largest share of the cake for themselves, and since Reagan's reforms they have that power again. A new "New Deal" would be needed, but who would enforce it - if even the majority of the middle class votes for the party of the billionaires?
This quote states my belief well. How about you? “I am against religion because it teaches us ...
Matias comments on Mar 18, 2019:
It is not necessary to *understand* the world in order to have a happy and successful life. Having enough know-how is sufficient for that (as far as knowledge is concerned) Having a sense for reality and believing in gods, goblins or spirits of ancestors may be mutually exclusive from a scientific or logical point of view, but it is NOT contradictory from a more practical point of view. Take hunter-gatherers as an example: They known their natural environment better than anybody else, they are 100% realists in this regard. But at the same time they believe in a host of supernatural agents and entities. Is that a contradiction? No, because the two worldviews complement each other. If their beliefs in spirits or magic interfered negatively with their knowledge of the world around them, they would have died long ago, their cultures would have gone extinct. But as far as we know, this kind of 'dual life' of being realist AND believer has been going on, quite successfully, for the last 40,000 years or so...
Dr. Michael Shermer — The Problem of Evil (Science Salon AMA 4) - YouTube
Matias comments on Mar 18, 2019:
Thank you for the link. Michael Shermer is one of my favorites In his excellent book "How we believe" he actually tries to understand religion and the religious mind, not to ridicule it (like many other atheists!)
St. Patrick's Day was not celebrated where I grew up, along the coast of the North Sea in Germany. ...
Matias comments on Mar 17, 2019:
You tell the story as if the pre-Christian Frisian tribes would have been kind of agnostics. I am pretty sure that they had their own religion, which no doubt was as cruel and barbaric as the kind of Christianity the Irish monks tried to impose on them. So it boils down to "my tribe good - your tribe bad"
Wide awake at 4:08
Matias comments on Mar 16, 2019:
Good advice to you: When you wake up at night, don't look at your clock. Go pee, if necessary, drink a glass of water, go back to bed, and then think of a nice childhood memory. But do not look at the clock, that will start the stress system
Indoctrination is the key, otherwise they grow up too smart and start questioning with ...
Matias comments on Mar 16, 2019:
It does not need any "indoctrination", plain "learning" will do to explain why children adopt beliefs from their care-givers. You need indoctrination if there is a certain resistance on the part of the person who should acquire a certain belief(-system). But the mind of children are prepared to receive religious teachings, that is the reason why a little teaching is enough and the belief sticks in the mind (unlike for example reading , writing or mathematics, all of them need a lot of teaching and training) The human mind is hardwired in such a way as to easily adopt religious beliefs - no indoctrination is needed
Born atheists
Matias comments on Mar 16, 2019:
Are we "born atheists" , as some people claim? It is certainly true that babies are born without any specific religious faith, but does that make them "born atheists"? I do not think so. First: Not every being that does not belief in God is an atheist. Nobody would argue that insects or sharks or mice are atheists, although none of them believes in God. I'd say that we can only say "A is an atheist" if A is (in principle) able to grasp intellectually the concept of "God" and then decides not to subscribe to this concept. Second: If we can say anything about babies and their relationship to religion, it is analogue to babies and their relationship to language. Babies cannot speak, but that does not mean that they are "a-lingual". Just the contrary: babies are born with a brain that is *prepared* to learn any language quite effortlessly. Therefore although infants cannot (yet) speak they are "born speakers"; all they need is sufficient linguistic input. The same can be said - mutatis mutandis - about babies and belief (religious or not). They do not (yet) hold any belief, but they are *born believers*, as they are equipped with cognitive mechanisms to acquire any belief effortlessly. No toddler or child will ever come up spontaneously with the idea of the Christian god or the idea of karma or reincarnation, but s/he will adopt these beliefs easily because evolution prepared the human brain to *expect and adopt* beliefs like these. For comparison: Evolution did *not* prepare human brains to learn how to write or to read or to do math, which is why it takes many years of intensive training to master these skills. Given that Homo sapiens is a cultural animal, and given that culture (in addition to artifacts and knowledge about the natural world) also consists of fictions, tales, belief systems, imagined orders etc... , it is absolutely necessary that babies acquire and adopt the beliefs of their specific culture as effortlessly as their language. The "gullibility" of toddlers and children is not a bug, it is a feature, the very characteristic trait that enables culture to exist and to be reproduced. It is this trait that makes us human.
And yet another day goes by and NO ONE in the atheist community has killed ANYONE in the name of ...
Matias comments on Mar 16, 2019:
Strange to make this post today... If Nazism is a kind of religion (as Yuval Harari explains in his book "Sapiens"), a Nazi down under just killed 49 people in the name of his religion. In the end, it does not matter whether the terrorists believe in Yehovah or Allah or the Sacred White Race - they kill for a fiction, for an imagined order.
I wonder if anybody would be interested in a group for those who speak French. Partir un groupe ...
Matias comments on Mar 16, 2019:
A quoi bon? Pour discuter de quels sujets ? Je pense que ce n'est pas le moyen de communication ou la langue qui est l'essentiel, mais le contenu.
The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change | HuffPost
Matias comments on Mar 15, 2019:
Well... Scientists have made another study... Which politician is interested in what scientists have to say? A senior European politician once said "We all know what has to be done, but we do not know how to get reelected after we have done the right thing". French President Macron raised the tax on carbon fuels a little bit last octobre, and this triggered the "yellow vest" movement that has been rocking the French boat since then
Species Karma? Or simply Nature being indifferent:
Matias comments on Mar 15, 2019:
Those who tell us that they have been abducted by aliens from outer space are not very reliable witnesses. Funny fact: this whole stuff about abductions by aliens is typically American - here in Europe it is virtually unknown :-)
Organized Religion has unleashed exceedingly more evil in the history of mankind. 01. Fanaticism...
Matias comments on Mar 14, 2019:
Question 1 : "more evil" than what... ? Question 2 : How do you measure "evil" ?
Do we know if Socrates was a historical character or a literary device used by Plato?
Matias comments on Mar 14, 2019:
When you think about it does not make any difference, because Platonic philosophy is not built on Socrates' existence (unlike the existence, death and resurrection of Jesus, which is of utmost importance to Christians)
Christians are amazingly arrogant people.
Matias comments on Mar 14, 2019:
True: SOME Christians are amazingly arrogant people. SOME Christians are amazingly helpful people. Also true: SOME atheists are amazingly arrogant people. SOME atheists are amazingly helpful people.
What’s Wrong With Equestrian Atheism The Four Horsemen are/were good guys. I love them all ...
Matias comments on Mar 14, 2019:
A very good synthesis. Well done !
I'm in facebook jail not allowed to make any posts so I'll leave this here “Socialism and ...
Matias comments on Mar 13, 2019:
Most socialist countries I know did not allow their citizens to travel anywhere. In some of them people were shot if they tried to get out of the workers' paradise...
Religion must end
Matias comments on Mar 13, 2019:
Religion is based not on lies but on illusion and fiction. In order to qualify as a lie, the person telling it must know that it is not true, but the vast majority of religious people really believe what they tell us about their god, about heaven and the rest...
A bit extreme perhaps, but true nonetheless. Thoughts?
Matias comments on Mar 13, 2019:
As far as I know, this is another **fake quote**
I found this idea of classifying moral behavior fascinating so I thought I'd share it to discuss. ...
Matias comments on Mar 13, 2019:
That is interesting but I still prefer the classification from Jonathan Haidt in his book "The righteous Mind": According to Jonathan Haidt's research there are five components of morality. Fairness / reciprocity. Caring / Helping (avoiding harm). In-group loyalty. Respect for Authority. Sanctity of purity.
What species is a human mother's fetus?
Matias comments on Mar 13, 2019:
A fetus or embryo is something that can develop to become a human being if cared for by the mother's body.

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