Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Response to Anonymous comment.

I tried to reply in the comment box but it was too long. Here is a response to another anonymous comment. For the sake of the blog can you please email me with your ideas so we can move on.

kaleiverson@hotmail.com

"As someone who is on the fence about religion, I believe that we should all admit that we are open to doubt." -anonymous

Anonymous you are on an important fence, one that if a strong gust of wind blew you off of might land you on the side of reason and science, or the will of GOD might push you onto the side of faith.

"Religion is one way of making meaning in this life." --Anonymous

Well faith is a funny thing. You need it for biological survival as a child, which is where you learn faith. If an elder or grown up says don't jump of that cliff you believe them on faith because believing your elders will increase your fitness and survival and the children who don't listen may die. As a child you have no way of knowing how to distinguish truth in things like not jumping off of cliff comments and if you sacrifice a goat it will bring more rain comments (or santa clause which I was very faithful to as a child). Only education, reasoning, and evidence later as a developing person can dispel what you were told as a child. So I may sound cruel to people of faith but it is only because they haven't reasoned out which faiths that they were given as children are false or true, and if your child faith tells you fly into a building for allah because you will get thousands of virgins in the after life I hope someone will help you dispel that false belief with science and reasoning.

The need to believe in what other people say is hardwired into our brains as a survival response as children. One that sadly persists well into adulthood. Imagine what your life would be like if you were raised by someone who did not tell you or force you to accept large quantities of non factual information such as religion. You would be a rational thinker in a world of faith based people (a nightmare really), and still a person who could have a meaningful life of love and kindness. I still enjoy fairy tales although I know they aren't true.

"There are rational, intelligent, open-minded individuals who practice a wide variety of religions. Insisting that they are misguided and ridiculous because they seek a larger truth behind this life? Well that just makes you seem sort of childish." --anonymous

Essentially I can't sound nearly as childish as someone who arrogantly defies basic reasoning and continues to hold on to childish faith and indoctrination. Faith is a childish adaptation reasoning is and adult skill.

"Can't we all--atheists and religious folks alike--just agree that none of us has it all figured out?"
--- anonymous

Actually anonymous, many people can't admit that we don't have it figured all out, especially faith based religious nuts. The beauty of science and reason is that "figuring it out" is a process open to discussion and experimentation and re-examination. Not knowing is what drives science, Faith based religions are the word of god and not up for debate because they apparently "know." at least not to the lay person or many organized sects. Now reason and science does not have it all figured out this is true. But it has been able to eliminate many things as NOT being true. The earth is not flat, or the center of the universe, nor is it only 6000 years old, dinosaurs did exist, evolution by natural selection is a simple and exact process by which all living things came to be so perfectly suited to their environments, Jesus could not have been born from a virgin. If you speak to god or he speaks to you in your brain, the synapses in your brain are firing off the same synapses as a person with delusions, schizophrenia and psychosis. The human need to believe in "things" arises from an evolutionary adaptation for survival of children believing older humans. While science has not figured out everything that is, it certainly figured out many many many things that are NOT, many things that people still take on faith.

"I don't think anyone's prayers will convert you, but belittling an act of faith is simply unkind." ---anonymous

You know what is also unkind, belittling my intelligence on my own blog. Why is it that whenever anyone (especially Atheists) question or criticize religion everyone gets "seriously offended" and personally hurt by it but religious people (and anyone) can say whatever they want about reason and science and no one gets hurt. You know why? Because we have evidence to support what we have figured out. If you say "Dinosaurs don't exist!" or better yet, "That study on the yellow bellied warbler's feeding behavior is inaccurate." I don't feel like my belief system is under attack. If fact I would welcome an evidence based argument to prove that indeed dinosaurs do not exist or that the statistics of the yellow bellied warbler were calculated wrong.

My guess is that people get offended by questioning their faith because deep down inside they know that there is a whole lot of shit that doesn't add up and doesn't make sense and doesn't compute in their reasoning adult brain. They cover it up with faith, the cure all for reason, and when someone questions that or challenges it, it scares them because it might deconstruct the faith based world that they live inside their minds. And additionally, fear tends to breed anger and hostility.

"I also don't think your spiel on atheism will change anyone's mind or destroy their faith. Surely a mutual respect isn't too much to ask?" ---anonymous

I'm not trying to destroy anyone's faith. If someone voluntarily comes on my blog and reads something that makes logical sense to them then I can't stop them. Maybe it was their "GOD" guiding them to read the blog so that they can either find another sinner to save....

Or maybe their "GOD" is so busy worrying and controlling and manipulating the billion trillion trillion gazillion megamillion particles in the universe he apparently created and simultaneously tending to the million million million bazillion prayers and requests and actions of every person on earth that he sent this person to my blog to spark the beginning of them thinking rationally to simply take one minuscule load of one person off the GOD's back of incomprehensibly complex duties.

Mutual respect huh? I invite you to search the internet for disrespectful Atheists comments and organizations. Then I invite to search the internet for disrespectful faith based people and organizations. I think you will find that the disrespect is significantly weighted on the latter.
You never hear about crazy Atheist bombers or nutty Atheist evangelists telling people to hang folks for being black or blow up abortion clinics. Disrespect?

I can't quote it exactly but Gore Vidal once said something to the effect of:
"We must respect one man's religious beliefs just as we respect his belief that his wife is beautiful and his children are smart."

So I'm sorry for disrespecting your beliefs religious people. I don't mean to upset your unshakable faith which apparently I couldn't even if I wanted to according to Anonymous. The human drive to believe the unbelievable is a pretty damn strong biological adaptation, far stronger than a simple little blog post.

But I'm equally if not more so sorry that I even have to apologize at all for simply pointing out some of these things on my own space where people voluntarily attend.

If you've come this far I suggest you go a little farther anonymous. You can voluntarily read the first chapter from SEVERAL Richard Dawkin's books at RICHARDDAWKINS.net. I suggest THE GOD DELUSION.

Many of the points I raised today can be further understood through reading a far more eloquent writer and scientist as he.



7 comments:

brooke said...

Hey Kale--I come for the music and I get passionate prose! I don't mean to force a continuation of your debate or anything but I wanted to comment because I find this pretty fascinating. Maybe it's because I just watched Religulous last night so it was like GOD brought me here to read your blog (kidding, definitely kidding!).

I think you've presented your own point of view clearly and I am not interested in debating the existence of God (not drunk enough nor smart enough). But I hope it's OK if I venture to point out that there is a HUGE difference between people who thoughtfully seek their own faith or spirituality and those that I/you/sane people would call "crazy Christians". You know--those people who pervert religion to achieve their own twisted desires. Or people who just think girls should not wear pants.

Please realize I'm not trying to change your mind or argue with you! I'm just suggesting that maybe not everybody who thinks God does/might exist is a total nut job.

I can see how that would be a problematic stance though, if it's your understanding that believing in God MAKES one a total nut job.

In which case I would just say that your point is taken. At least by me, if not Mr./Ms. Anonymous. But it still might be nice of you to acknowledge that one can be a Christian/Muslim/Jew and not be a total asshat. Because some of us are out here trying to be good people.

brooke said...

Sorry to comment again (can you tell I don't want to be working on my dissertation?) but I just wondered if you have read _Losing My Religion_ by William Lobdell. It's not as sophisticated an argument as Hawkins but it is the story of an investigative reporter who went from Evangelical Christian to Atheist. It's definitely thought-provoking.

Kale Iverson said...

brooke I definitely don't think all religious people are nut jobs (and especially not you). my point was that faith is a similar biological function as several mental disorders and or an evolutionary behavior of children. keep seeking, you will find whatever answers you need and probably a lot more faith busting information than you bargained for.

also, a person i know quite well wrote the original comment that started all this as a sarcastic poking fun at christian tone and diction joke. so someone fake prayed for me, i reacted and then someone really reacted to me reacting to a fake prayer. this is hilarious to me.

Lastly! Brooke, I'm going to make an example of you by showing everyone that if you identify yourself in your comments you are going to get a much fairer shake from me than if you don't. in fact brooke your points are valid and taken with consideration and respect. i will comment further when i think about what you said.

thanks for reading and i'll try to get a good music related post in soon as a reward for being one of those religious people that is truly "Awesome" and not an asshat.

alisha said...

Maybe people get "seriously offended" because the things your say are offensive. Arguing your stance on Atheism does not mean you have to bash other peoples beliefs. ASSuming you know so much about what religious people think is extremely steriotypical and close minded of you. I would think that an intelligent, diverse person such as yourself would be able to be more accepting of others peoples diverse thought. Not to mention that you are arguing two very different points, the first of having the ability to think logically using reason and the second is having faith in a purpose greater than your own little bubble. It is possible to have BOTH skill sets. Let me give you an example that you may be able to appreciate from the perspective of an artist....a composer could write a piece of music that on paper logically should be a beautiful piece, but if the person performing that piece is not passionate about playing the music, it doesnt matter how great the composition was.

As a Christian, I often encounter people who are completely against evolution (or even science in general) because they think it goes against religion...it doesnt. It is just that those people dont know enough about evolution to see how it fits with their religious belief. They are ignorant when it comes to evolution and I always suggest to those people that they learn more about it. I would say the same is true for you, but in reverse. You ASSume that the two pieces (logic and faith) dont fit together, but in fact they do. Based on what you have said here on the blog and conversations that we've had, I would say that you are ignorant of how Christian faith works (I cannot speak for other religions) and you should learn more about it. By continuing to so venomously defend your position against "religios nuts", you are starting to sound like one..."an anti-religious nut"

I also agree with the things brooke said.

there is so much more I could say, but this will have to be it...

Kale Iverson said...

ok Lish,

I refuse to try and think like a religious person because that would mean that I believe in a supernatural force that exists outside the laws of reason and evidence (which I think evidence will show that the fact that we even believe in a greater purpose is part of our adapted evolution).

Secondly I think its unfair to assume I don't accept other people's thoughts. I accept christian thought, I have to. I live in a world of christian thinking. That doesn't mean I have to like it. If that makes me an anti religious nut then fine. But you know there were other people that didn't accept tyrannical thoughts about racism, sexism, homophobia. But because those are bodily things people eventually understood. I'm saying that religion is just as much a biological function as skin color, sex, and sexual preference.

Also, I respectfully decline to agree with you about the piece of music and the performer being a valid comparison to this. If a performer performs a piece EXACTLY how it is composed then the passion of the composer should shine through. This is a pretty weak comparison of logical thinking and purpose of something greater.

Additionally, I think logical thinking and faith can coexist on many levels in many ways. Like you and Brooke I know many smart, logical religious people, but when it comes down to it, here are certain points in which faith directly goes in the face of logic, reason, evidence and science. So while a religious person might not be an illogical thinker all the time, some of the premises of their reality are based on illogical tenets.

From this, I would like to invite you to explain exactly how religious beliefs and evolution fit together. Evolution can account for all the apparent "design" of living things but it doesn't address the cosmos outside of earth as well. So if you would like to talk physics you might have a better shot.

Evolution as you know is a simple process that states how all living things came to be based on natural selection. Religion no matter how you slice it says that God created everything. Think of the eye. An amazingly complex organ that most people would say is too complex to evolve on its own, therefore it must have been god. We know that it did evolve and can prove it with evidence. NOW if your God created everything it/he/she must be complex to control all the particles, thoughts and movement in the universe. Complexity doesn't arise spontaneously so who did your god evolve from. Additionally who created your god? When does this stop?

I'm not even trying to attack the teachings of jesus alisha. I'll give that to all of you that he said some good things. Some bad things too. Christianity as a philosophy has many helpful and endearing qualities. But as a reality and a basis for understanding reality it has many holes. Many holes that leave people looking for answers. If they can't or don't want to find the answers this is where faith comes in. Fine. Have faith. I don't care.

In fact at the moment I don't particularly care what anyone thinks. Go to church I'm done.

Anonymous said...

just to show that not everyone hates me here is a text message i got from a friend today:

my my how you inspire me ;) i just read your blog and i love you and your views on life, religion, and people and their differences of opinion on the above :)challenge is good and you are amazing...

anonymous from Kale's phone.

Anonymous said...

hello kale! all the way from MEKORYUK, ALASKA!!! i was thinking of sending you school pics of some of us that got pics from this year. we sure do miss you back here! and wish you were still here! our new teacher that boyd guy, his...... umm, not bad. except the fact is his color blind=] we always tease him and ask him what color is this or that color. hahaa. but anyways... HOWS MR KALE?! oh you know what? we got new lights in the gym!! it doesnt make the gym look orange or yellow in there any more! we got white[lol idk how else to explain them] lights! and we also got sprinklers, a new alarm system, and a blue roof:P we keep thinking of calling you, but we still never. oh and guess what? we might get a boys and girls ball team! and of course new jerseys. haha. i hope we do. we have enough ppl to do it..i dont know what else to write. did you know i always check up on your blog like everyweek? haha

well take care, be good, have fun, and just be you :)


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