Author Topic: 26 Questions for Atheists from a Class of 8th Graders . . . gird thine loins!  (Read 4038 times)

Tank

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Tank, I saw your post on their FB page and in no way could it be considered a complaint.  I thought the post was really enquiring whether the OP on this thread actually was operating with the imprimatur of the school.  I suspect he was not, but like many of his ilk when called out he acts the victim.  Oh, well...

I do think the school knew what he was doing, it's not uncommon. I think they just didn't like the fact that a) I checked and b) added a link to the thread to prevent distortion and/or revisionism.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Ecurb Noselrub

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Tank, I saw your post on their FB page and in no way could it be considered a complaint.  I thought the post was really enquiring whether the OP on this thread actually was operating with the imprimatur of the school.  I suspect he was not, but like many of his ilk when called out he acts the victim.  Oh, well...

I do think the school knew what he was doing, it's not uncommon. I think they just didn't like the fact that a) I checked and b) added a link to the thread to prevent distortion and/or revisionism.

That is a satisfactory explanation. Thanks.

Caliasseia

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I suspect that the mention of numerous scientific papers destroying his assertions also scared him off ...
Bad ideas exist to be destroyed ...

Tank

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I suspect that the mention of numerous scientific papers destroying his assertions also scared him off ...

When did facts ever really mean anything to anybody that fixated on their faith?
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Bluenose

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I suspect that the mention of numerous scientific papers destroying his assertions also scared him off ...

The mistake the creationists make time and time again is to assume that the supporters of the scientific view are as ignorant of the science as they are. If they only though about it for a moment they would see the problem with this.  But of course, thinking about it is the one thing they want to avoid at all cost.  ::)
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Bad Penny II

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I suspect that the mention of numerous scientific papers destroying his assertions also scared him off ...

When did facts ever really mean anything to anybody that fixated on their faith?

When they go their way.
When they've spent a long time making them up.

I'm interpreting Caliasseia's comment as ironic, it's got ... after the last word.
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Sandra Craft

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ALL:
Well, sorry to say we are shutting down this project.  My administration was indeed aware of my posting here, however there has been a complaint to the school from a moderator.  Therefore they have asked me to pull the plug and I agree.  If it's going to cause a problem then it's not worth it.

I thank you for the answers you have given.  It is actually quite valuable and useful material to present to the students. I apologize to any who were expecting a response from me for the unfinished conversations. 

MODERATORS:
Please delete the "Mr. IXTUS" account, and this thread if you see a need.

This thread will remain as our members have put a lot of thoughtful work into it.

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's answers.
Sandy

  

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Asmodean

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I'm really late to the party, but this could not be resisted.

apologies if some Words start With Capital letters where they should not - my autocorrect must think I'm in Germany or what have you ::)

I am a Christian and Bible teacher (8th-10th grade) at a preparatory school.  I will be posting here mostly on behalf of my 8th grade Apologetics students who have questions for atheists like you!  In light of that I thought about adopting a screen name like "Legion" since we are many, but then I thought better of it . . .
Always happy to educate the young.

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1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?
I base mine on skepticism. In few Words, it means that if something matters to me, or even interests me, I do not believe what I am being told about it without corroborating evidence, and I am open to be proven wrong and changing my mind in light of new/better evidence. My world view is an agglomeration of "to-the-best-of-my-ability-to-proves"

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2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?
This is a broad question, as "favourite" can mean many things with varied implications. I find Hinduism interesting, but then I like reading about the Christian Crusades too. Does it make those my "favourite" religions? In some respects, yes. In others, not at all.

Islam, especially in its Wahhabist and Salafist forms, is probably my "least favourite" among the more widely practiced religions. I could more-or-less write a book on the whys of it, but if you start in all the obvious places, you are unlikely to assume wrongly.

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3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?
I do not know. Public education in my country is secular, meaning that while we learn about religion, there is no intentional religious lens in what we learn and how. I suppose a self-proclaimed Atheist School would fall withing that description.

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4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?
I was never religious to begin with. Oh, I may have held some superstitions as a small child, like for example believing that Terminators from the original movie were real things walking among us, but that had more to do with me still learning to differentiate between fact and fiction at that age (around six) than positive conviction.

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5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?
It's neither good nor bad. It's a good idea to be skeptical, because it makes it more difficult for you to act on misinformation or believe in falsehoods, but Atheism… It is not an end-goal, it's a natural consequence of knowledge, critical thinking and certain personality traits.

What I'm saying is, you don't become an Atheist because its' a "good thing." Rather, you realise that you are one because you do not believe in gods. Therefore, whether it's good or bad is quite beside the point.

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6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?
Always an Atheist, so this question is not for me. Still, I am... Content. In itself, I don't think my Atheism figures into my happiness one way or the other, any more than my left nostril does.

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7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?
I would gladly spend a lot of time discussing this specifically, as it is a very interesting question. Short answer; today - there is none. Everyone you know, yourself included, will die one day. Maybe the solution lies in transferring the human mind into a quantum computer? Maybe some DNA-repairing serum? There are a lot of cool ideas out there.

Consider this, though; if you could live forever… Would you want to? Forever is a long time. Imagine after having done absolutely everything worth doing to the point of tedium, you wake up in the morning and... What? You still have eternity ALL AHEAD of you.

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8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?
If the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction never happened, why did thousands of US troops and many many more Iraqis, not to mention those from allied forces on both sides, die for those?

Sometimes people are wrong. Sometimes they misinterpret things. Sometimes they lie to further an agenda. And sometimes people believe them. Sometimes, those same People are willing to sacrifice their own lives to further their cause, whether they know it to be valid or not. That is down to our tribal nature, I think.

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9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?
They evolved that way in order to out-compete other life forms in their biospheres.

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10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?
It's not a fact. I am human, and I do not. Argument refuted. If you are asking how I explain that so many people believe in various religions? Tribal nature. We gravitate towards things that are larger than our own selves. our societies act like superorganisms, and imagining a common brain, actively dictating how it all comes together can be an attempt at understanding it through projection of self. "I make my arm move. Who makes the "I" move?" It's a fallacious line of thinking though, easily debunked if you think about it.

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11) Why do you believe what you believe?
Because I have not come across valid reasons not to. It really is that simple.

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12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?
I do not know. Speaking for myself, I accept the current expansion model of the Universe, commonly referred to as the "Big Bang" theory.

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13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?
I already answered a part of this question above. Why do I not believe God did it? Tell me which God, and I will tell you why. In general, it's because I have no valid reason to believe that.

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14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?
That depends on your understanding of God. *I* do not believe such entities exist as described, and know of no evidence of such entities that could exist (this is a variation of the sufficiently advanced Technology being indistinguishable from magic argument) There is nothing wrong with not existing.

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15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?
Atheism has one proposition; "I do not believe in gods." If indeed you do not believe in gods, saying that you are an Atheist is by definition a true statement. If you are thinking about something else, you will do well to rephrase the question.

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16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?
Low energy photons. From what I understand, even after the Universe dies a heat death, they will still be there - forever.

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17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?
To leave a sign of my passing - a footnote in history books, if you will. I don't need statues or streets named after me - nothing like that. What I mean is, I want to contribute to the World in as meaningful a way as I am willing and able.

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18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?
I would respond by changing my mind about the historical accuracy of the Bible.

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19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?
Natural selection. Adapt or perish. We adapted, and here we are.

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20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?
I do not know. I hold no beliefs one way or the other, when it comes to what the Universe was made *out of.* May have been colliding membranes of the… M-theory, was it? May have been "nothing" of one sort or another. I. Do. Not. Know, and neither do you.

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21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?
There is such a thing as "objective morality," if you limit the scope of objectivity. The Universe doesn't care - people might. In most societies, killing a person is considered immoral. What about combatants at war? Witches in Nigeria? The death penalty? Abortion, for that matter? What about space aliens who see humans as merely a source of food? Morality arises from social contract we partake in. The larger its scope, the more "objective" a set of morals becomes. The reverse is also true. There is no "cosmic moral law" that can be clearly identified, however. Some have made the argument that it's about the well-being of conscious creatures, but... That view too has its flaws and inconsistencies, a shining example of which being the following question; "What if my well-being is contingent on your suffering, and your well-being is contingent on my suffering?" Which one of us gets the moral high ground?

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22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?
If I wrong you and recognise having done so, I will say "I'm sorry."

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23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?
Believe in it, I do not. What I do, is accept the model of the origins of the Universe, which has said singularity in it. I accept it because at present time, it appears to be a valid model of the Universe. It is mathematically sound and has corroborating observational evidence, which can be verified at will. I do not know if "what came before it" is even a valid concept - at least within the spacetime we inhabit.

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24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?
I accept the evolutionary theory as accurate precisely because it is one of the factually strongest scientific models to date. We understand evolution better than we do gravity.

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25) What was it that told you that God is not real?
Nothing. I came to the conclusion through reason, skepticism and knowledge.

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26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?
I agree to aid you if I can expect you to aid me. I agree not to hurt you if I can expect you not to hurt me. From there, the common law provides a more detailed framework.
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Bad Penny II

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Consider this, though; if you could live forever… Would you want to? Forever is a long time. Imagine after having done absolutely everything worth doing to the point of tedium, you wake up in the morning and... What? You still have eternity ALL AHEAD of you.

Go back to bed, set the alarm a billion years hence.
There might be new things.
No? do a memory wipe and do it again or go back to bed.
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Asmodean

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That is the most valid response to this question I have recieved in the history of ever.

My follow-up is this, though; if you have to resort to memory wipes (And I grant you the ability to do that for free) then what's the point of living forever?


EDIT: An honourable mention to the scope of eternity; you go to sleep for six billion years, after having spent the last googolplex to the power of googolplex being bored, having spent the preceding googolplex to the power of googolplex doing everything you find even remotely worth doing. You have created and destroyed Universes, you have loved and hated, won and lost - forever. And so you wake up from your slumber… What does the next googolplex to the power of googolplex years bring? The one after that? The googolplexth one after that again? Remember, the eternity is still all ahead of you.
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Tank

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That is the most valid response to this question I have recieved in the history of ever.

My follow-up is this, though; if you have to resort to memory wipes (And I grant you the ability to do that for free) then what's the point of living forever?

Depends if the memory wipes are selective. You could choose to keep a core thread of your existence and then redo loads of other stuff.
 
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Asmodean

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Sure, but the question stands, if you think about it. Say I could selectively wipe my knowledge of how to create a Universe, then re-learn it over the course of four trillion years. That's a coping mechanism. As in, it's not as much a valid reason to want to live forever as it is a way of… Avoiding living forever when in reality, you have no other choice.
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Bad Penny II

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In this scenario am I a super being or just me?
If I'm super me you can't conceive of what I get out of out living forever.
If I'm just me, fast forwarding, seeing if there's action, fast forwarding to see the end, that appeals.
There's always galactic snooker, takes along time to finish a game of that.
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Asmodean

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See, I don't have to conceive what you can get out of it as a superbeing, so by all means, be one in this hypothetical. I cannot comprehend a googolplex years, either. What I can do, however, is put an infinity sign behind the number of times you have done whatever it is I cannot conceive of to the point of tedium, then point out that your eternity has not even truly begun yet.

So, you have been sleeping and forwarding and sleeping again for googolplex to the power of googolplex to the power of googolplex years. Then what? Will you be satisfied with that existence *forever?*



On the off-chance any of the kids from the school find the Facebook link and read this... We do sort-of laugh these concepts off and don't make too serious a discussion out of it. It's OK if considering eternity and existing for eternity freaks you out - it freaks me out too, though I enjoy the thought experiment. It's also OK if you cannot understand the numbers with which I operate - far greater than that of every single atom in the known universe. As I admitted above, neither do I. You may also find it interesting to learn that this thought experiment was actually conceived in the way I present it (I do not claim the original idea, though I thunk it up myself) when for a school assignment a long, long time ago, I attempted to see if I could do better than religion in presenting realistic motives a god might have to create humans and actually care about what they do. What I came up with, was that they were another in an infinite string of solutions to the literally endless boredom of an eternal.

EDIT: I'm gonna see if I can find that paper and post it here. I'm not sure if it survived the four-five moves since I wrote it, but I was, and still kind of am, proud of how dystopian it turned out.

EDIT 2: Oh, and the "Godly motives" from above? They made for interesting fiction, and fiction they were. Don't even think about Scientologizing my stuff! Yes, I'm looking at you!
« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 05:26:45 PM by Asmodean »
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Icarus

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Find that paper Asmo.