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#1 Edited by dewboy01 (1876 posts) - - Show Bio
#2 Posted by RustyRoy (12809 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes.

#4 Posted by DeathpooltheT1000 (11002 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman trust people, he just wants to be sure if something goes wrong he can control the things.

#5 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

Pretty sure that—at least under the helm of some writers—Batman is one of those characters that has seen gods and magic and the afterlife in person and remains a stern skeptic/atheist.

#6 Edited by MasterDetective (838 posts) - - Show Bio

a wise policy.

#7 Posted by ULTRAstarkiller (6205 posts) - - Show Bio

No he doesn't trust people neither do I anyone of those morons at school could try to pull something. And maybe.

#8 Posted by RustyRoy (12809 posts) - - Show Bio
#9 Posted by Veshark (9058 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's more of a degree of trust type thing.

He's got a high degree of trust with Superman. He would put his life in Superman's hands, and vice versa. But that doesn't mean that he'll tell Supes that he's got a contingency plan should Clark ever go rogue. He trusts Superman sure, but only to a certain extent.

At least that's the way I see it.

#10 Posted by DeathpooltheT1000 (11002 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

Pretty sure that—at least under the helm of some writers—Batman is one of those characters that has seen gods and magic and the afterlife in person and remains a stern skeptic/atheist.

Batman is not skeptic and an atheist, he sees this thing and belive in them, he just belive there is a way to explain this things.

Being smart dont make you an atheist and being an atheist dont make you smart, that is a bizarre idea that people has online.

Batman has deal with Ras and others, that he belive there is an explanation to this things, dont make him an atheist, make him rational, an atheist dont matter what, would never belive in this thing even if it sees them with his own eyes.

He belives Magic is some type of science, that afterlife is another dimension and things like that, he belives but he is not sure.

Batman is way more open minded that people belive, in any case he would be agnostic.

#11 Posted by RustyRoy (12809 posts) - - Show Bio

@veshark said:

I think it's more of a degree of trust type thing.

He's got a high degree of trust with Superman. He would put his life in Superman's hands, and vice versa. But that doesn't mean that he'll tell Supes that he's got a contingency plan should Clark ever go rogue. He trusts Superman sure, but only to a certain extent.

At least that's the way I see it.

Exactly.

#12 Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee (11702 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman kind of trusts people. He trusts Dick and Tim, I believe.

#13 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@deathpoolthet1000 said:

@fodigg said:

Pretty sure that—at least under the helm of some writers—Batman is one of those characters that has seen gods and magic and the afterlife in person and remains a stern skeptic/atheist.

Batman is not skeptic and an atheist, he sees this thing and belive in them, he just belive there is a way to explain this things.

Being smart dont make you an atheist and being an atheist dont make you smart, that is a bizarre idea that people has online.

Batman has deal with Ras and others, that he belive there is an explanation to this things, dont make him an atheist, make him rational, an atheist dont matter what, would never belive in this thing even if it sees them with his own eyes.

He belives Magic is some type of science, that afterlife is another dimension and things like that, he belives but he is not sure.

Batman is way more open minded that people belive, in any case he would be agnostic.

I did clarify that it depends on the writer. That said, what you described above is pretty much what a skeptic/atheist is: someone who expects a rational explanation, not just "it's magic" or "it's god(s)". Bruce might see magic and not be able to explain it, but he feels that it's still explainable. (Hence the whole, "magic is science we don't understand" approach he takes sometimes, a play on the Clarke quote.)

Skepticism/Atheism does not mean "close-mindedness". It just means you demand rational explanations for things instead of believing in supernatural. Agnosticism is a wishy-washy term that means different things to different people and is often cited simply out of a desire to not wear the "atheist" label. I wouldn't call Batman an Agnostic by any stretch.

As for equating atheism with intelligence, that's as silly as equating religiosity with morality. There are lots of dumb people (or at least, people who fail to be rational on certain subjects) who self-identify as atheists and skeptics. Some of them even have leadership positions in the movement. Obviously as an atheist I think it's the better choice, but it'd be misguided to view atheism as a mark of intelligence.

#14 Edited by DeathpooltheT1000 (11002 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@deathpoolthet1000 said:

@fodigg said:

Pretty sure that—at least under the helm of some writers—Batman is one of those characters that has seen gods and magic and the afterlife in person and remains a stern skeptic/atheist.

Batman is not skeptic and an atheist, he sees this thing and belive in them, he just belive there is a way to explain this things.

Being smart dont make you an atheist and being an atheist dont make you smart, that is a bizarre idea that people has online.

Batman has deal with Ras and others, that he belive there is an explanation to this things, dont make him an atheist, make him rational, an atheist dont matter what, would never belive in this thing even if it sees them with his own eyes.

He belives Magic is some type of science, that afterlife is another dimension and things like that, he belives but he is not sure.

Batman is way more open minded that people belive, in any case he would be agnostic.

I did clarify that it depends on the writer. That said, what you described above is pretty much what a skeptic/atheist is: someone who expects a rational explanation, not just "it's magic" or "it's god(s)". Bruce might see magic and not be able to explain it, but he feels that it's still explainable. (Hence the whole, "magic is science we don't understand" approach he takes sometimes, a play on the Clarke quote.)

Skepticism/Atheism does not mean "close-mindedness". It just means you demand rational explanations for things instead of believing in supernatural. Agnosticism is a wishy-washy term that means different things to different people and is often cited simply out of a desire to not wear the "atheist" label. I wouldn't call Batman an Agnostic by any stretch.

As for equating atheism with intelligence, that's as silly as equating religiosity with morality. There are lots of dumb people (or at least, people who fail to be rational on certain subjects) who self-identify as atheists and skeptics. Some of them even have leadership positions in the movement. Obviously as an atheist I think it's the better choice, but it'd be misguided to view atheism as a mark of intelligence.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, this is why many agnostic arent atheist, they need actual evidence to belive or not belive in something, this people at the end is more rational, people dont understand agnostics and atheist, so they since get highly biased on favor of atheist being a mark of intelligence, balls and morallity, online people hates them for the fact they never join the atheist side and dont belive atheist are by any mean smartter that religious people, since pretty much agnostic belive that absence of evidence = absence of evidence and nothing more, they clash with atheist.

People is biased to there is no neutral point of view, since agnostics are neutral about this thing they get hated, is like neutral people on pollitics, if you are neutral people feels you attack them dont matter what.

Atheism belive absence of evidence is evidence of absence, sorry but that dont looks like Batman.

Also, many people confuse Apatheism with atheism.

Also i am this.

Apathetic agnosticism (also called pragmatic agnosticism) acknowledges that any amount of debate can neither prove, nor disprove, the existence of one or more deities, and if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Therefore, their existence has little to no impact on personal human affairs and should be of little theological interest.

That is the reason why i talk about religious/philosophical figures when talking of morallity, humans care about humans destiny and they are the ones that have make human story go foward.

I belive the same about aliens, humans belive they are special, even when all the evidence point that is not special.

Also all that crap agains agnostics and agnostic = coward atheist, was made by Richard Dawkins, the guy has a huge Messiah Complex and belive his vision is the only right one, he dont belive in the subjective nature of reallity, what he belives is the truth.

So, since agnostic will never belvie in him, he gets violent to them.

#15 Edited by JohnnyGat (1570 posts) - - Show Bio

I bet he trusts Alfred. Everyone trusts Alfred.

#16 Posted by DeathpooltheT1000 (11002 posts) - - Show Bio

I bet he trusts Alfred. Everyone trusts Alfred.

Not everybody, he used to be the International Man of Mystery back in the day.

So i am sure many people would never trust Alfred.

#17 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@deathpoolthet1000 said:

@fodigg said:

@deathpoolthet1000 said:

@fodigg said:

Pretty sure that—at least under the helm of some writers—Batman is one of those characters that has seen gods and magic and the afterlife in person and remains a stern skeptic/atheist.

Batman is not skeptic and an atheist, he sees this thing and belive in them, he just belive there is a way to explain this things.

Being smart dont make you an atheist and being an atheist dont make you smart, that is a bizarre idea that people has online.

Batman has deal with Ras and others, that he belive there is an explanation to this things, dont make him an atheist, make him rational, an atheist dont matter what, would never belive in this thing even if it sees them with his own eyes.

He belives Magic is some type of science, that afterlife is another dimension and things like that, he belives but he is not sure.

Batman is way more open minded that people belive, in any case he would be agnostic.

I did clarify that it depends on the writer. That said, what you described above is pretty much what a skeptic/atheist is: someone who expects a rational explanation, not just "it's magic" or "it's god(s)". Bruce might see magic and not be able to explain it, but he feels that it's still explainable. (Hence the whole, "magic is science we don't understand" approach he takes sometimes, a play on the Clarke quote.)

Skepticism/Atheism does not mean "close-mindedness". It just means you demand rational explanations for things instead of believing in supernatural. Agnosticism is a wishy-washy term that means different things to different people and is often cited simply out of a desire to not wear the "atheist" label. I wouldn't call Batman an Agnostic by any stretch.

As for equating atheism with intelligence, that's as silly as equating religiosity with morality. There are lots of dumb people (or at least, people who fail to be rational on certain subjects) who self-identify as atheists and skeptics. Some of them even have leadership positions in the movement. Obviously as an atheist I think it's the better choice, but it'd be misguided to view atheism as a mark of intelligence.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, this is why many agnostic arent atheist, they need actual evidence to belive or not belive in something, this people at the end is more rational, people dont understand agnostics and atheist, so they since get highly biased on favor of atheist being a mark of intelligence, balls and morallity, online people hates them for the fact they never join the atheist side and dont belive atheist are by any mean smartter that religious people, since pretty much agnostic belive that absence of evidence = absence of evidence and nothing more, they clash with atheist.

People is biased to there is no neutral point of view, since agnostics are neutral about this thing they get hated, is like neutral people on pollitics, if you are neutral people feels you attack them dont matter what.

Atheism belive absence of evidence is evidence of absence, sorry but that dont looks like Batman.

Also, many people confuse Apatheism with atheism.

Also i am this.

Apathetic agnosticism (also called pragmatic agnosticism) acknowledges that any amount of debate can neither prove, nor disprove, the existence of one or more deities, and if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Therefore, their existence has little to no impact on personal human affairs and should be of little theological interest.

That is the reason why i talk about religious/philosophical figures when talking of morallity, humans care about humans destiny and they are the ones that have make human story go foward.

I belive the same about aliens, humans belive they are special, even when all the evidence point that is not special.

You misunderstand the burden of proof. Any such argument in favor of agnosticism about the existence of god(s) could be applied to being agnostic about other supernatural claims (e.g., fairies, vampires, magic, Easter Bunny, St. Nick, Bigfoot, homeopathy). It's not a strength to say "Well, I can't prove that you don't own an invisible pink unicorn so I guess it's possible." That is simply not reasonable.

When someone says they are an agnostic because "the non-existence of God cannot be proven," they're ignoring the fact that if there were proof of God, then atheists would convert because proof is what we're demanding. So such a perspective is functionally indistinguishable from atheism and is likely just being used to avoid a political fight (e.g., Neil deGrasse Tyson). If someone really buys into agnosticism, then they're basically saying that the truth about gods' existence cannot be known. Unless they're a true believer in Solipsism and consistently applying this form of reasoning in their daily life, however, they're likely just carving an exception out for religious views, again, to avoid the political fight. This is why agnosticism is a cop-out. Even "apathetic agnosticism" is a cop-out. Plenty of people are apathetically following whatever perspective they were raised with—no one camp has exclusivity on apathy. If you're just trying to avoid these labels entirely, then it doesn't serve to use "agnosticism" which is itself a label. Just use the default survey option: "none".

Again, I never made any claim that atheism equates intelligence. Not sure why you're raising that comparison.

Morality is in no way the exclusive domain of religion. Also, theology should not be equated with philosophy.

Statistically, life of a non-Terran origin almost undoubtedly exists. However, the likelihood of us bumping into that life (and recognizing it for what it is) within the incomprehensibly vast depths of time and space is very small. Or at least, such is my preferred explanation for the Fermi paradox.

#18 Posted by ULTRAstarkiller (6205 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by consolemaster001 (5654 posts) - - Show Bio

Since god has unlimited power and can do anything. Yeah, i'm sure he does.

#20 Posted by JohnnyGat (1570 posts) - - Show Bio

@johnnygat said:

I bet he trusts Alfred. Everyone trusts Alfred.

Not everybody, he used to be the International Man of Mystery back in the day.

So i am sure many people would never trust Alfred.

How can anyone not trust that sexy stache is beyond me

#21 Posted by TDK_1997 (14899 posts) - - Show Bio

He trusts people but he always wants to be 100% sure about everything.

#22 Posted by Arkhamc1tizen (2145 posts) - - Show Bio

God is the last person he would trust

#23 Posted by SupBatz (1742 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel like Batman's untrusting nature has been overemphasized recently (looking at you Death of the Family).

The guy is supposed to be paranoid and ready for anything. But I don't think of him as untrusting of his friends and family the way that some writers seem to.

#24 Posted by RustyRoy (12809 posts) - - Show Bio

@supbatz said:

I feel like Batman's untrusting nature has been overemphasized recently (looking at you Death of the Family).

The guy is supposed to be paranoid and ready for anything. But I don't think of him as untrusting of his friends and family the way that some writers seem to.

Agreed. It seems like they are slowly setting him up as the next Cyclops.

#25 Posted by Stronger (4948 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman trusts nobody apart from : Dick Grayson,Damian Wayne,Alfred etc.

Oh wait....:P

#26 Edited by DeathpooltheT1000 (11002 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: Invisible Pink Unicorn = Alternate Dimensions and many other things, I mean as much as i like this theories, there is no real evidence of them, still people see them as facts and belive in them.

#27 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: Invisible Pink Unicorn = Alternate Dimensions and many other things, I mean as much as i like this theories, there is no real evidence of them, still people see them as facts and belive in them.

That there are scientific theories that sound fantastic does not mean rational people are believing in fantasy and being validated for it. These are still grounded in fact. People couldn't prove the so-called "god particle" existed until recently but then the theory was validated. It easily could not have been. But they conceived and successfully plotted a way to verify it. They didn't say "magic". Another example, the theory of relativity might sound fantastic but your fancy GPS wouldn't work without it. And these are understood as approximations of reality—subject to change and review with further observation. They're not "beliefs" in the same sense as religious beliefs. Not at all. The IPU or Russell's Teapot are ways of comparing these rational (if fantastic sounding) beliefs to unfounded claims that depend on improper understanding of the burden of proof.

Bringing it back to the topic of this post, Batman would disapprove.

#28 Posted by thejman251 (435 posts) - - Show Bio

@dewboy01 said:

Does that include God. Who the hell is he 2 put a leash on all the leaguers?

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/vjts1gFwbbA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

- Get over it.

- Johns will do what Johns wants to do. If you don't like it, cry me or John's a river. I'm sure that neither of us will care.

#29 Posted by PCN24454 (454 posts) - - Show Bio
#30 Edited by batshrine (996 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: I am sorry but your definition of agnosticism is VERY insulting especially since agnostics are acting purely based on logic.

It is illogical to argue based on the unknown, so you can't say because there is no proof of something does not mean it does not exist which is the logic that you are applying.

Let me give you some examples (going from more realistic to fantastical). If a man shoots someone but there is no proof that that man shot someone, did they shoot them? Yes they did.

The Earth was believed to be flat (in Europe), and there was no proof that it was round, but is it round? Yes

Now let me use your Unicorn example, you think it's farcical that a unicorn exists. But just like how life outside of earth must exist, the universe is infinitely huge, with many solar systems. Its very possible that on one of those planets a creature that is a unicorn by our idea of it, does exist. Though again it is illogical to think about that. But we do have evidence that a Unicorn does not exist on earth, we do not have evidence that God does not exist, and thats the difference between the two.

So by saying Agnosticism is a cop out is very rude, since atheists take lack of evidence to be truth, and that is just as illogical as a religious person asserting lack of evidence to be truth.

And as for Batman lol, I think he trusts people to the point of not being stupid. No one deserves blind trust, especially ones who could destroy the world.

#31 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: I am sorry but your definition of agnosticism is VERY insulting especially since agnostics are acting purely based on logic.

I feel strongly about it, but it's not my intention to insult anyone outright.

It is illogical to argue based on the unknown, so you can't say because there is no proof of something does not mean it does not exist which is the logic that you are applying.

Let me give you some examples (going from more realistic to fantastical). If a man shoots someone but there is no proof that that man shot someone, did they shoot them? Yes they did.

The Earth was believed to be flat (in Europe), and there was no proof that it was round, but is it round? Yes

You're conflating the unknown with the untestable. Also, I think the "relativity of wrong" applies here.

Now let me use your Unicorn example, you think it's farcical that a unicorn exists. But just like how life outside of earth must exist, the universe is infinitely huge, with many solar systems. Its very possible that on one of those planets a creature that is a unicorn by our idea of it, does exist. Though again it is illogical to think about that. But we do have evidence that a Unicorn does not exist on earth, we do not have evidence that God does not exist, and thats the difference between the two.

So you can prove to me that unicorns do not exist? You can prove a negative?

So by saying Agnosticism is a cop out is very rude, since atheists take lack of evidence to be truth, and that is just as illogical as a religious person asserting lack of evidence to be truth.

I strongly disagree.

And as for Batman lol, I think he trusts people to the point of not being stupid. No one deserves blind trust, especially ones who could destroy the world.

Batman is stupid? *shock* Now who's being rude? ;)

#32 Posted by batshrine (996 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: I said the opposite! Batman is super smart! He isn't stupid enough to blindly trust anyone

#33 Posted by Aiden Cross (15569 posts) - - Show Bio

Smart man.

#34 Posted by MuyJingo (1777 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is way more open minded that people belive, in any case he would be agnostic.

Not agnostic. Weak atheist. Batman is a scientist and weak atheism is consistent with a scientific outlook.

Which to be fair, the gods in the DCU are essentially overpowered aliens. Gods such as The Presence...I don't think Batman has ever had an encounter with.

#35 Posted by MuyJingo (1777 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: I am sorry but your definition of agnosticism is VERY insulting especially since agnostics are acting purely based on logic.

It is illogical to argue based on the unknown, so you can't say because there is no proof of something does not mean it does not exist which is the logic that you are applying.

Let me give you some examples (going from more realistic to fantastical). If a man shoots someone but there is no proof that that man shot someone, did they shoot them? Yes they did.

The Earth was believed to be flat (in Europe), and there was no proof that it was round, but is it round? Yes

Now let me use your Unicorn example, you think it's farcical that a unicorn exists. But just like how life outside of earth must exist, the universe is infinitely huge, with many solar systems. Its very possible that on one of those planets a creature that is a unicorn by our idea of it, does exist. Though again it is illogical to think about that. But we do have evidence that a Unicorn does not exist on earth, we do not have evidence that God does not exist, and thats the difference between the two.

So by saying Agnosticism is a cop out is very rude, since atheists take lack of evidence to be truth, and that is just as illogical as a religious person asserting lack of evidence to be truth.

And as for Batman lol, I think he trusts people to the point of not being stupid. No one deserves blind trust, especially ones who could destroy the world.

Well, this isn't quite correct.
Are you familiar with concepts such as the null hypothesis? When you buy fruit from the supermarket, it is possible that someone could have sprayed it in cyanide so that when you eat it, a bite will kill you. You don't give it much thought though. Why? Because unlikely possibilities should be dismissed unless there is evidence to support them.

Likewise, Occam's Razor. Given a number of possibilities, the least complex is most often going to be correct.

How does this apply to theism and science? It's pretty simple. It's unlikely that there is an omnipotent being who is similar to us, who shares our desires, who created us and guides to any extent our lives. It is far more likely given human history and nature that we created that idea to make ourselves comfortable.

Or let's stick with the pink unicorn example. We don't have proof that it exists. Given that it is a construct of the human mind, why should consider it likely that a pink unicorn exists conceitedly by chance? Why does that even remotely make sense, unless there is some sort of indication that it may exist?

For a better illustration of why this type of thinking is flawed, I recommend reading The Dragon in My Garage, by Carl Sagan

Agnosticism as it was created is very similar to what is now known as weak atheism. Agnosticism as the word has changed is now essentially fence sitting. It is a cop out. Weak atheism is basically just upholding the null hypothesis, which is consistent with a scientific outlook. Don't confuse weak atheism (I don't see any evidence to support the idea of god) with hard atheism(there is 100% no god).

Also, it was a myth that people thought the earth was flat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

#36 Posted by batshrine (996 posts) - - Show Bio

@muyjingo: I agree with what you are saying except that you are conflating a very LOW probability to impossibility.

And you are also sticking with the Christian definition of God (which yes is very humanized) but many people believe a more open less defined version of God.

#37 Posted by MuyJingo (1777 posts) - - Show Bio

@muyjingo: I agree with what you are saying except that you are conflating a very LOW probability to impossibility.

I'm not, I never mentioned impossibility.

And you are also sticking with the Christian definition of God (which yes is very humanized) but many people believe a more open less defined version of God.

No, not just the christian version. Any interventionist being with vast power that we can't observe or interact with will do.

#38 Posted by DeathpooltheT1000 (11002 posts) - - Show Bio

@batshrine: Batman Deadman read it.

Batman was talking with Deadman about God and he said he had troubles with her(God in the DC universe is a woman), he could be like Riddick he belives in God, he just wants to go to heaven and punch him in the face, because that is what Batman does.

Also, many people have a very insulting point of view of agnostic, since they follow and belive anything that Richard Dawkins says, is his concept of agnosticism, many real atheist call him insane messiah figure, since the guy use science and atheism as some type of cult.

#39 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@batshrine said:

@fodigg: I said the opposite! Batman is super smart! He isn't stupid enough to blindly trust anyone

Ah I see. I misunderstood.

@muyjingo:

Well put. I especially like the Carl Sagan link. I loved his Demon Haunted World: Science As a Candle In the Dark novel as well. And look, it's freely available in PDF! And of course his one piece of fiction, Contact, is great.

@muyjingo said:

@batshrine said:

@muyjingo: I agree with what you are saying except that you are conflating a very LOW probability to impossibility.

I'm not, I never mentioned impossibility.

And you are also sticking with the Christian definition of God (which yes is very humanized) but many people believe a more open less defined version of God.

No, not just the christian version. Any interventionist being with vast power that we can't observe or interact with will do.

This is a critical point. Unless you believe that gods can exist but ONLY in the sense that they can have ABSOLUTELY no impact or intersection with our reality, then you're making an unwarranted assumption or carving out an exception to Occam's Razor just for religion. And if that's what you really believe, that gods have no impact whatsoever on our reality, how is that functionally different from no gods at all?

---

Let me link another piece of fiction, this one by Philip K. Dick, from his last (and in my opinion, most underrated) novel The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. In the scene below (in the spoiler block for size) we see a conversation between two characters who represent the extremes of credulity in the supernatural.

The first is the titular character, Archbishop Timothy Archer, who dedicated his life to theological and philosophical pursuits, and who has recently, after the suicide of his son, begun dabbling in belief in ghosts and visitations and psychics and such. The caricature of the opposite perspective, someone who is absolutely incredulous about supernatural claims, is his mistress's son Bill who suffers from a number of mental health ailments and seems flatly incapable of non-literal thought (and he's fixated on cars). So we have the seemingly entirely ungrounded Tim on one side and the mentally limited Bill on the other side.

They're discussing both the existence of God generally and the Archbishop's claims about his son returning from the great beyond and leaving messages for him. In full, the scene includes the following characters:

  • Tim is the Episcopal Bishop of California;
  • Bill is the schizophrenic son of his misstress;
  • Kirsten is Tim’s mistress and Bill’s mother;
  • Jeff is Tim’s son, who committed suicide;
  • Angel is the narrator, Tim's daughter-in-law, Jeff's widow, and Kirsten's best friend

(This is long, especially when Tim gets going, so I'll put the important bits in italics. Original transcription from this book review.)

"Is there any proof of God's existence?" Bill said.

After a pause, Tim said, "A number of arguments are given. Perhaps the best is the argument from biology, advanced for instance by Teilhard de Chardin. Evolution - the existence of evolution - seems to point to a designer. Also there is Morri­son's argument that our planet shows a remarkable hospitality toward complex forms of life. The chance of this happening on a random basis is very small. I'm sorry." He shook his head. ''I'm not feeling well. We'll discuss it some other time. I would say, however, in brief, that the teleological argument, the argument from design in nature, from purpose in nature, is the strongest argument."

"Bill," I said, "the bishop is tired."

Opening the bedroom door, Kirsten, who now had on her robe and slippers, said, "The bishop is tired. The bishop is always tired. The bishop is too tired to answer the question, 'Is there any proof of the existence of God?' No; there is no proof. Where is the Alka-Seltzer?"

"I took the last packet," Tim said, remotely. "I have some in my purse," I said.

Kirsten closed the bedroom door. Loudly. "There are proofs," Tim said.

"But God doesn't talk to anybody," Bill said.

"No," Tim said. He rallied, then; I saw him draw himself up. "However, the Old Testament gives us many instances of Yahweh addressing his people through the prophets. This fountain of revelation dried up, finally. God no longer speaks to man. It is called 'the long silence.' It has lasted two thou­sand years."

"I realize God talked to people in the Bible," Bill said, "in the olden days, but why doesn't he talk to them now? Why did he stop?"

"I don't know," Tim said. He said no more; there he ceased.

I thought: You should not stop there. That is not the place to come to the end.

"Please go on," I said.

"What time is it?" Tim said; he looked around the living room. "I don't have my watch."

Bill said, "What's this nonsense about Jeff coming back from the next world?"

Oh God, I said to myself; I shut my eyes.

"I really wish you would explain it to me," Bill said to Tim.

"Because it's impossible. It's not just unlikely; it's impossible." He waited. "Kirsten has been telling me about it," he said. "It's the stupidest thing I ever heard of."

"Jeff has communicated with the two of us," Tim said. "Through intermediary phenomena. Many times, in many ways." All at once, he reddened; he drew himself up and the authority that lay deep in him rose to the surface: he changed as he sat there from a tired, middle-aged man with personal problems into force itself, the force of conviction contrived into, formed into, words. "It is God Himself working on us and through us to bring forth a brighter day. My son is with us now; he is with us in this room. He never left us. What died was a material body. Every material thing perishes. Whole planets perish. The physical universe itself will perish. Are you going to argue, then, that nothing exists? Because that is where your logic will carry you. It isn't possible right now to prove that external reality exists. Descartes discovered that; it's the basis of modem philosophy. All you can know for sure is that your own mind, your own consciousness, exists. You can say, 'I am' and that's all. And that is what Yahweh tells Moses to say when the people ask who he has talked to. 'I am,' Yahweh says. Ehyeh, in Hebrew. You also can say that and that is all you can say; that exhausts it. What you see is not world but a representation formed in and by your own mind. Everything that you experience you know by faith. Also, you may be dreaming. Had you thought of that? Plato relates that a wise old man, probably an Orphic, said to him, 'Now we are dead and in a kind of prison.' Plato did not consider that an absurd statement; he tells us that it is weighty and something to think about. 'Now we are dead.' We may have no world at all. I have enough evidence - your mother and I - for Jeff re­turning to us as I have that the world itself exists. We do not suppose he has come back; we experience him as coming back. We have lived and are living through it. So it is not our opinion. It is real."

“Real for you," Bill said.

"What more can reality give?"

"Well, I mean," Bill said, "I don't believe it."

"The problem does not lie with our experience in this mat­ter," Tim said. "It lies with your belief-system. Within the confines of your belief-system, such a thing is impossible. Who can say, truly say, what is possible? We have no knowledge of what is and isn't possible; we do not set the limits-God sets the limits." Tim pointed at Bill; his finger was steady. "What one believes and what one knows depend, in the final analysis, on God: you can't will your own consent or refusal to consent; it is a gift from God, an instance of our dependence. God grants us a world and compels our assent to that world; he makes it real for us: this is one of his powers. Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God, was God Himself? You don't believe that, either. So how can I prove to you that Jeff re­turned to us from the other world? I can't even demonstrate that the Son of Man walked this Earth two thousand years ago for us and lived for us and died for us, for our sins, and rose in glory on the third day. Am I not right about that? Do you not deny that also? What do you believe, then? In objects you get into and drive around the block. There may be no objects and no block; someone pointed out to Descartes that a malicious demon may cause our assent to a world that is not there, may impress a forgery onto us as an ostensible representation of the world. If that happened, we would not know. We must trust; we must trust God. I trust in God that he would not deceive me; I deem the Lord faithful and true and incapable of deceit. For you that question does not even exist, for you will not grant that He exists in the first place. You ask for proof. If I told you this minute that I have heard God's voice speaking to me-would you believe that? Of course not. We call people who speak to God pious and we call people to whom God speaks lunatics. This is an age where there is little faith. It is not God who is dead; it is our faith that has died."

"But-" Bill gestured. "It doesn't make any sense. Why would he come back?"

"Tell me why Jeff lived in the first place," Tim said. "Then perhaps I can tell you why he came back. Why do you live? For what purpose were you created? You do not know who created you - assuming anyone did - and you do not know why, assuming there is a why. Perhaps no one created you and perhaps there is no purpose to your life. No world, no pur­pose, no Creator, and Jeff has not come back to us. Is that your logic? Is that how you live out your life? Is that what Being, in Heidegger's sense, is to you? That is an impoverished kind of inauthentic Being. It strikes me as weak and barren and, in the end, futile. There must be something you can believe, Bill. Do you believe in yourself? Will you grant that you, Bill Lund­borg, exist? You will grant that; fine. Good enough. We have a start. Examine your body. Do you have sense organs? Eyes, ears, taste, touch and smell? Then, probably, this percept ­system was designed to receive information. If that is so, it is reasonable to assume that information exists. If information exists, it probably pertains to something. Probably, there is a world-not certainly but probably, and you are linked to that world through your sense organs. Do you create your own food? Do you out of yourself, out of your own body, generate the food that you need in order to live? You do not. Therefore it is logical to assume that you are dependent on this outer world, of whose existence you possess only probable knowl­edge, not necessary knowledge; world is for us only a contin­gent truth, not an ineluctable one. What does this world consist of? What is out there? Do your senses lie? If they lie, why were they caused to come into being? Did you create your own sense organs? No, you did not. Someone or some­thing else did. Who is that someone who is not you? Appar­ently you are not alone, the sole existent reality; apparently there are others, and one of them or several of them designed and built you and your body the way Carl Benz designed and built the first motorcar. How do I know there was a Carl Benz? Because you told me? I told you about my son Jeff returning"

"Kirsten told me," Bill corrected him.

"Does Kirsten normally lie to you?" Tim said. "No," Bill said.

"What do she and I gain by saying that Jeff has returned to us from the other world? Many people will not believe us. You yourself do not believe us. We say it because we believe it is true. And we have reasons to believe it is true. We have both seen things, witnessed things. I don't see Carl Benz in this room but I believe he once existed. I believe that the Mer­cedes-Benz is named after a little girl and a man. I am a lawyer; I am a person familiar with the criteria by which data is scrutinized. We-Kirsten and I-have the evidence of Jeff, the phenomena."

"Yeah, but that phenomena you have, all of them - they don't prove anything. You're just assuming Jeff caused it, caused those things. You don't know."

Tim said, "Let me give you an example. You look under your parked car and you find a pool of water. Now, you don't know that the water came from your motor; that is some­thing you have to assume. You have evidence. As an attorney, I understand what constitutes evidence. You as an auto­mechanic- "

"Is the car parked in your own parking slot?" Bill said. "Or is it in a public parking lot, like at the supermarket."

Slightly taken aback, Tim paused. "I don't follow you."

"If it's your own garage or parking slot," Bill said, "where only you park, then it's probably from your car. Anyhow, it wouldn't be from the motor; it'd be from the radiator or the water pump or one of the hoses."

"But this is something you assume," Tim said. "Based on the evidence."

"It could be power-steering fluid. That looks a lot like water. It's sort of pinkish. Also, your transmission, if you have an automatic transmission, uses the same kind of fluid. Do you have power steering?"

"On what?" Tim said.

"On your car."

"I don't know. I'm speaking about a hypothetical car."

"Or it could be engine oil," Bill said, "in which case, it wouldn't be pink. You have to distinguish whether it's water or whether it's oil, if it's from the power-steering or the trans­mission; it could be several things. If you're in a public place and you see a puddle under your car, it probably doesn't mean anything because a lot of people park where you're parked; it could have come from the car parked there before you. The best thing to do is-"

"But you're only able to make an assumption," Tim said. "You can't know it came from your car."

"You can't know right away, but you can find out. Okay; let's say it's your own garage and no one else parks there. The first thing to figure out is what kind of fluid it is. So you reach under the car-you may have to back it out first and dip your finger in the fluid. Now, is it pink? Or brown? Is it oil? Is it water? Let's say it's water. Well, it could be normal; it could be overflow from the relief system of your radiator; after you turn off an engine, the water gets hotter sometimes and blows out through the relief pipe."

"Even if you can determine that it is water," Tim said, doggedly, "you can't be sure it came from your car."

"Where else would it come from?"

"That's an unknown factor. You're acting on indirect evi­dence; you didn't see the water come from your car."

"Okay-turn the engine on, let it run, and watch. See if it drips."

"Wouldn't that take a long time?" Tim said.

"Well, you have to know. You should check the level in the power-steering system; you should check your transmission level, your radiator, your motor oil; you should routinely check all those things. While you're standing there, you can check them. Some of them, like the level of fluid in the trans­mission, have to be checked while the motor's running. Mean­while, you can also check your tire pressure. What pressure do you carry?"

"In what?" Tim said.

"Your tires." Bill smiled. "There're five of them. One in your trunk; your spare. You probably forget to check that when you check the others. You won't find out you've got no air in your spare until you get a blowout someday and then you'll find out if you have air in your spare. Do you have bumper jack or an axle jack? What kind of car are you driving?"

"I think it's a Buick," Tim said.

"It's a Chrysler," I said quietly.

"Oh," Tim said.

I like this piece for a number of reasons. The first is that few writers could make that much bald philosophy entertaining, the second that Dick is one of those supremely talented writers that can present totally different perspectives with his characters—neither of which he shares—and have them come out believable.

This section isn't perfect, of course, in that he gives Bill the last punch, but if you're not into Bill's perspective I still recommend reading the book. This section is just part of a larger conversation between the characters and, while I won't give away the ending, I will say that like many Dick stories it leaves it to the reader to make their own conclusions. And really, how else could you handle this type of question and not have it sound preachy?

The parts that I put in bold are important to me. Bill's doggedness on the idea that you can test these claims—spurred on by unhealthy fixation though it is—and that since you can test them you "have to know" the answer and it's worth going through the effort to find out, are definitive of skepticism, atheism, and science (which are separate things but share a common belief in truth-through-observation). If a claim is arranged in such a way that it cannot be tested—the invisible pink unicorn, Russel's teapot, Sagan's dragon in his garage—then it is effectively meaningless. But if you make even the slightest concession that these fantastic, extremely unlikely, unsubstantiated, or supernatural claims impact reality in even the slightest way, they are open game for evaluation. This is why it's worth doing things like running double-blind studies on the power of prayer to prove that there isn't any. It's not about attacking religion, it's about finding the truth, because the truth is worth knowing. (In this case, so people won't turn to prayer healing and get their kids killed.) Batman may or may not believe in magic, gods, and the afterlife, and he's certainly seen a lot of crazy stuff, but he never takes things on faith, he always prepares for things himself. He always verifies important claims.

So the idea of agnosticism, to me, seems like a way to want to hold up an untestable claim as acceptable while still denying belief in it, and I don't understand that. If you don't believe, why go through the mental gymnastics necessary to accept that claim as sacrosanct? Unless you're doing so out of a desire to avoid confrontation, why do it at all?

#40 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@deathpoolthet1000 said:

@batshrine: Batman Deadman read it.

Batman was talking with Deadman about God and he said he had troubles with her(God in the DC universe is a woman), he could be like Riddick he belives in God, he just wants to go to heaven and punch him in the face, because that is what Batman does.

Also, many people have a very insulting point of view of agnostic, since they follow and belive anything that Richard Dawkins says, is his concept of agnosticism, many real atheist call him insane messiah figure, since the guy use science and atheism as some type of cult.

I don't like Dawkins actually. He's by all accounts a very talented evolutionary biologist and he writes well, but he makes some of the stupidest statements. Things like "religious education is worse than child molestation." It's like, furreal bra?

There was nothing new about "new atheism" except the support it received from post-911 Islamaphobia. (I'm not saying they initiated it or condoned it, but I think it's clear that they benefited from it.) The "four horsemen" of new atheism made some excellent contributions to spreading awareness of atheism, but by no means should they be treated as "messiahs" or even as leaders of the movement. We should be as critical of them as anyone else.

My favorite of the four is Hitchens and even he said something things that made me shake my head. At least he was willing to undergo waterboarding to see exactly what he was arguing for.

#41 Posted by SC (13136 posts) - - Show Bio
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#42 Posted by SC (13136 posts) - - Show Bio

The funny thing about many of the statements in this thread are that they rely on and address perceptions, faulty perceptions at that rather than anything real or substantial. Like look at all those humans and how they love that guy who cuts off monkey's fingers, I met all those guys all the time, they are worse than the people with red hair who don't even - yeah them! Giraffe lovers are religion and people who water ski water ski as if its tennis.

Its just a garbled mess of projection, assumption and baseless assertions.

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#43 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

Pretty sure he took his "child abuse" comparison one step further on twitter or something. It was a context thing. Trying to find a link but overwhelmed with duplicate articles on other comments. Disregard until I can verify I guess.

@sc said:

The funny thing about many of the statements in this thread are that they rely on and address perceptions, faulty perceptions at that rather than anything real or substantial. Like look at all those humans and how they love that guy who cuts off monkey's fingers, I met all those guys all the time, they are worse than the people with red hair who don't even - yeah them! Giraffe lovers are religion and people who water ski water ski as if its tennis.

Its just a garbled mess of projection, assumption and baseless assertions.

I don't catch your point with that. I get that it's a garbled mess, but what are you saying is garbled in such a manner and why?

#44 Posted by SC (13136 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

Sure. Oh and i hope you understand my two comments were unrelated yes. For the first that was directed at you, I am not aware of any such statement so was just generally curious. It sounds a bit out there. I am familiar with Dawkings and Hitchens, and Krause and like 1000 other people out there who share a similar sentiment that certain methods of which children are exposed to religion can be considered child abuse and not a soft sense of child abuse, but legitimate and sincere child abuse. I often think such parallels have made some a bit skeptical of say Dawkings, and I can understand why - but at the same time I think people can't be unfair in the sense Dawkings has met quite a few people and even interviewed some, who were raised under horrific circumstances where religion was used as a tool that left psychological scars which have affected them for their entire lives. Very candid interviews, so I think if people project this idea that Dawkings (or anyone else for that matter) is this intellectual elitist in his ivory tower who casts judgement on regular humble folk who are religious - I think they misunderstand. Dawkings like many people interact with real victims who don't really have a voice. Like the Clergy Project as well, another way of helping people who exist but for some reason or the other are kind of trapped by the implications of religion. I hope it doesn't sound like I am doubting you mind you, just Dawkings tends to be quote mined a lot and various sources pass on and around made up quotes and just well you sort of get what I mean?

The garbled point bit (not so much directed at you) is.. well for example, I am addressing sentiment sincerely expressed yes? With insincere sentiment directed at humans who cut off monkey fingers because if one or two humans cut off monkey fingers it totally makes sense to talk about those humans as if they represent all humans especially since cutting off monkey fingers is such an integral part of what it means to be a human. Now some people may criticize drunk driving? Except I might be a drunk person who loves to drink and drive (I am not) so I get highly defensive about people talking about drunk diving and how its bad and if I start talking about how bad humans are with their cutting off of monkey fingers... Often people who don't understand atheism or that it can lack a positive belief element will try and equate it to asserting positive knowledge as well as paint the idea it is a religion. Ditto evolution. Ditto science. If there are atheists who view Richard Dawkings as some authority figure beyond reproach? They are doing it wrong. If people think that science requires belief? They are doing it wrong. Good science is about understanding not believing. Sure there might be some self proclaimed atheists who believe in Richard Dawkings the same way a religious person might the Pope but essentially they are the humans that cut monkey fingers off. Then again the effort required to just make up stuff and assert stuff about science is so much easier than actually addressing opposing views. ^_^

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#45 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@sc said:

@fodigg said:

Sure. Oh and i hope you understand my two comments were unrelated yes. For the first that was directed at you, I am not aware of any such statement so was just generally curious. It sounds a bit out there. I am familiar with Dawkings and Hitchens, and Krause and like 1000 other people out there who share a similar sentiment that certain methods of which children are exposed to religion can be considered child abuse and not a soft sense of child abuse, but legitimate and sincere child abuse. I often think such parallels have made some a bit skeptical of say Dawkings, and I can understand why - but at the same time I think people can't be unfair in the sense Dawkings has met quite a few people and even interviewed some, who were raised under horrific circumstances where religion was used as a tool that left psychological scars which have affected them for their entire lives. Very candid interviews, so I think if people project this idea that Dawkings (or anyone else for that matter) is this intellectual elitist in his ivory tower who casts judgement on regular humble folk who are religious - I think they misunderstand. Dawkings like many people interact with real victims who don't really have a voice. Like the Clergy Project as well, another way of helping people who exist but for some reason or the other are kind of trapped by the implications of religion. I hope it doesn't sound like I am doubting you mind you, just Dawkings tends to be quote mined a lot and various sources pass on and around made up quotes and just well you sort of get what I mean?

Found the child abuse thing. On twitter, like I remembered.

Is it child-abuse to teach about hell? Might such mental abuse cause longer-lasting trauma than mild sexual abuse?

Oh please Mister Dawkins, explain to us what "mild" sexual abuse is? Let's all start rating the severity of sexual assaults so we can decide who should stop whining about it! [/snark] He also has had ridiculous statements regarding race and gender, but this quote sticks out to me on how tone-deaf and single-minded he can be.

Now, I do understand that he was literally saying that mental abuse and not-necessarily-but-clearly-implied the religious teachings on hell are worse than "mild sexual abuse", but it's still a ridiculously callous statement. Can religious-based teachings of shame degrade the self-worth of and do real harm to a person? Yes, but we can establish that without throwing victims of sexual abuse under the bus.

Dawkins has done some good stuff for the movement and has opposed with a strong voice some very serious human rights violations, but he makes these off-the-cuff comments frequently on topics like gender equality, race, and abuse that make him seem quite tone-deaf. Or desperately trying to stay relevant. Whether that's the media quote-mining him or him actually trying to promote himself is, I suppose, a matter of perception.

At the very least he should get off twitter. 140 character limits are not his friend.

The garbled point bit (not so much directed at you) is.. well for example, I am addressing sentiment sincerely expressed yes? With insincere sentiment directed at humans who cut off monkey fingers because if one or two humans cut off monkey fingers it totally makes sense to talk about those humans as if they represent all humans especially since cutting off monkey fingers is such an integral part of what it means to be a human. Now some people may criticize drunk driving? Except I might be a drunk person who loves to drink and drive (I am not) so I get highly defensive about people talking about drunk diving and how its bad and if I start talking about how bad humans are with their cutting off of monkey fingers... Often people who don't understand atheism or that it can lack a positive belief element will try and equate it to asserting positive knowledge as well as paint the idea it is a religion. Ditto evolution. Ditto science. If there are atheists who view Richard Dawkings as some authority figure beyond reproach? They are doing it wrong. If people think that science requires belief? They are doing it wrong. Good science is about understanding not believing. Sure there might be some self proclaimed atheists who believe in Richard Dawkings the same way a religious person might the Pope but essentially they are the humans that cut monkey fingers off. Then again the effort required to just make up stuff and assert stuff about science is so much easier than actually addressing opposing views. ^_^

Gotcha. And yes, you see a lot sweeping statements equating atheism with religion, which is like saying "not skiing on the weekends" is a hobby. You also get the quote mining of one figure (usually Dawkins or Harris) so that can be projected as the singular belief of the entire population of atheists. It's strange, but I guess that's easier than actual discussion. Oh well.

#46 Posted by SC (13136 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

Is it child-abuse to teach about hell? Might such mental abuse cause longer-lasting trauma than mild sexual abuse?

Oh please Mister Dawkins, explain to us what "mild" sexual abuse is? Let's all start rating the severity of sexual assaults so we can decide who should stop whining about it! [/snark] He also has had ridiculous statements regarding race and gender, but this quote sticks out to me on how tone-deaf and single-minded he can be. Now, I do understand that he was literally saying that mental abuse and not-necessarily-but-clearly-implied the religious teachings on hell are worse than "mild sexual abuse", but it's still a ridiculously callous statement. Can religious-based teachings of shame degrade the self-worth of and do real harm to a person? Yes, but we can establish that without throwing victims of sexual abuse under the bus. Dawkins has done some good stuff for the movement and has opposed with a strong voice some very serious human rights violations, but he makes these off-the-cuff comments frequently on topics like gender equality, race, and abuse that make him seem quite tone-deaf. Or desperately trying to stay relevant. Whether that's the media quote-mining him or him actually trying to promote himself is, I suppose, a matter of perception. At the very least he should get off twitter. 140 character limits are not his friend.

Well I use to volunteer/work in environments catering to people who have experienced various forms of abuse, sexual abuse included as well as being directly affected by it myself and I see nothing wrong with his statement personally - not that I would obviously attempt to assert because I see nothing wrong with it, no one should, but I do not get your follow up - is asking him to define what mild sexual abuse is a rhetorical question or literal sincere question? Did you actually ask him? Where did Dawkings advocate the rating of severity of sexual assaults so we can decide who should stop whining about it? Are there different types of sexual assault? Do people recover from different types of sexual assault differently? At any point does asking questions and looking for answers to make facets of sexual abuse less frequent, better understood, easier to create assisting and helpful environments for people impacted by it (and so on) ever mean deciding who should stop whining about it or neglecting a victims or undermining a victims experience?

I don't understand - to me the most singleminded and callous negative sentiment was the rhetorical follow on part to his statements you attribute to him, can I humbly ask do you think its possible you maybe misunderstanding his quote/meaning in error?

I am still not sure, I used words like clearly for things that are clear, and given the things I have seen and know, and how peoples religious fears have lead them to making plays with people dressing up as satanic, deformed creatures in darkened auditoriums to scream at young children they will be going to hell - a place for eternal infinite fiery burning torture for disobeying their parents, being a "fag" not believing in His love. Those kinds of instances we have on camera and in the public and accepted - worse types of indoctrination can and goes on in some peoples homes, churches. Oh and given our species natural ability to believe in things that aren't necessarily real? As far as the recovery process for victims. I mean its always complicated, especially when a victim can't really separate and distinguish responsibility and accountability. I am still not sure what terms like thrown under the bus mean? It seems like judgment applied with a mind already convinced in its argument and i think your a really reasonable person, so if that statement is accurate I am sure you have good reasons, but I can't see them presently and if it was inaccurate then my apologies - I personally don't feel thrown under the bus, and if I did feel personally thrown under the bus I know enough to actually think whether I should feel that way at all and whether some guy on Twitters parallel between different types of abuse (especially if candid and innocent) should make me feel that way at all. Again never daring to speak of people who may feel thrown under the bus, as well as knowing a few people who would consider to be thrown under the bus by such a statement and those people "we" usually try to get such people to a point where their internal sense of self won't be offended by external statements regarding their experiences, innocent or not.

I have (and I think most comic fans can heh heh) the imagination and ability to take every tweet every tweeted and derive some wholly negative callous sentiment from it, my ability to do so should mean everyone should get off Twitter? I think Dawkings is someone who rather than be tone deaf just looks at things constantly and naturally as a scientist. I probably sound callous a lot myself talking about certain things, but never intend to be, its just the way I am. Like when I talk about evolution for example, and unintentionally offend or insult people who believe I am saying that they have no morals, are a monkey, think I am advocating rape, think I am saying they are stupid, think that I am saying mentally ill people should be terminated - things I never actually say, but things they assert are very clear from my message. Usually I try to sidestep all that by simply encouraging questioning, and in that sense I'd suspect that if someone actually just asked Dawkings to elaborate on what he meant his answer would probably be delivered in very clinical and non judgmental terms.

Its probably going to become more common with atheism numbers rising - just the way conformity works and all. There are many intelligent and dedicated religious people who know holy texts, holy books, scriptures, sources of their various religions very well, but with that we also know that many religious people don't in the extreme opposite sense. Many who openly admit it as well which is great as far as honesty but maybe as far as whatever religion they happen to involve themselves in not as good if that possibly contradicts what maybe a part of their religion. With more and more atheists and atheists who identify as so - not because they actually lack a belief in god, but because they find emotional or subjective societal reasons to identify as atheist, there is that risk of them falling into a similar pattern, if not harder by virtue of atheism having no ideology or structure to follow. Atheism itself is a bit weird but then again I suppose feminism is too without taking into factors like history and peoples assumptions of each other. Specifically though when anyone, opponent or proponent of atheism starts inserting ideas that inaccurately reflect on what that means, all it really means is a lack of belief in a deity (strong positive believe or lack of belief otherwise) - I think its a familiarity thing as well, psychologically when people group things together they start to bleed into each other. Sometimes more accessible for people that way but also a way for people to attack ideas as well. Usually when I attack an idea I am not fond of I spend most of my time making sure its an actual representation heh heh but that is a long and strenuous road sometimes.

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#47 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@sc:

On Dawkins, I don't think that it's acceptable to try and devalue one traumatic experience in an effort to show another as more traumatic, even if you're just trying to say 'more traumatic than people think.' Not only do I find that callous—victims of one form of trauma or abuse don't require validation for their hurt to be real—I don't see the value of it even for the point he's trying to make. It turns it into a nit-picking rundown of the details of their suffering where as advocates we should be showing our support regardless. We shouldn't be interrogating victims. I don't really care what Dawkins meant to say with these statements because he's made these sort of comments repeatedly despite having concerns pointed out to him. He's responsible for the implications of his statements, even if what he's really guilty of is carelessness rather than malice. Such is my opinion without knowing the man anyway.

On the implications of rising number of atheists, it will be interesting to see how much it actually changes. I'm not convinced the number of atheists is rising dramatically so much as the "nones", those who could hold any number of perspectives on the supernatural but do not claim any particular religion. And of course these numbers shift regionally quite a bit, and that's just in the USA at that.

EDIT: All this talk makes me wish more and more that they'd let Gail Simone write her "angel of the bat" arc for Cassandra Cain. That would've been a really interesting dynamic to throw into the Bat-family. http://gailsimone.tumblr.com/post/16844451771/cass-cain-angel-of-the-bat

EDIT 2: Better link: http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?130350-Gail-Simone-s-proposal-for-Batgirl

#48 Posted by SC (13136 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@sc: On Dawkins, I don't think that it's acceptable to try and devalue one traumatic experience in an effort to show another as more traumatic, even if you're just trying to say 'more traumatic than people think.'

I don't think its acceptable either but I am not sure where he is doing that? I wouldn't think he thinks its acceptable either but I can't know for sure I am not him nor do I personally know him. I do think its totally fine for a person to talk about there own experiences and I know that many victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and psychological abuse have spoken to Dawkings and told him that for themselves personally one type of abuse has been worse than another type. Its a similar thing for me, but I never try to tell other people how they should feel about their own circumstances.

Well maybe this will shed some light, what point do you think he is/was trying to make?

We shouldn't be interrogating anyone who doesn't wish to unnecessary, but hey I am a victim, I know many victims, and actually I am totally fine with being interrogated and i know others who would be as well, it depends. Which is again, not to advocate that victims should be interrogated but suddenly your language feels like its taken on a life of its own where everything is either shut up or be nice or else your nitpicking victims, being callous, interrogating victims, questioning whether they suffered trauma ignoring that many people are okay and willing with talking about their experiences in ways that may mean they view experiences in more clinical or objective ways, especially, and here is a really important aspect, especially if it helps preventing negative experiences happening to other people and also helping us know what systems work best when dealing with victims in all stages of their experience. The important part here is willingness and knowing that people are different and people react differently to things.

I care about the truth and I care about intent. I care about those things because how can I expect people to sincerely engage with what I am trying to say if they run away with their own assumptions and think they know what I mean better than I do? I mean your clearly advocating giraffes have tiny hats glued on their heads despite my repeated warnings that giraffes may feel embarrassment and shame in front of other animals, and I really don't care what you meant because I'll just stick to my interpretation of what you mean. Incidentally I have seen people with concerns pointing out such things to him, and most that I have seen thus far have been people reacting without clarifying, presuming something incorrect, or just people misunderstanding and addressing their own straw man fallacy of what he meant rather than what he actually meant. I wouldn't change my behavior for people who think that way because such people always exist and the best I can personally hope for when saying something controversial (humans not only shared a common ancestor with modern day primates we are primates for example) is that people will just ask me what I mean instead of jumping to conclusions.

Sure he's responsible, aren't all people responsible for what they say and implications? They are also responsible for whether they question their interpretations of what others say or just draw conclusions or whether they understand that its possible to think what someone meant without asserting it is in fact what they meant. To put it another way I know plenty of people who have suffered sexual, physical abuse who really don't like it when other people try to talk about them in a way to promote their own ideas and agendas, but invariably because life is life they end up talking about themselves and what they know and the line gets blurry about whether they are doing the thing they don't like other people doing. You and I alternatively have talked about abuse and what constitutes callousness and what's appropriate and not and to me, but I consider us both being sincere with our points and reactions. Still I can think of people who will be upset and annoyed I aren't being harsher to Dawkings and more sensitive of victims experiences and i can think of people being upset and annoyed because they agree with Dawkings and think your mollycoddling them and victimizing them further by implying they can't handle open and frank discussions about abuse and its various degrees objective or otherwise. Were either of us being careless or malicious?

The only thing he is guilty of to me is being himself - and its almost ironic that a person can't just be sincere without peoples flawed perceptions and inability to seek genuine clarification setting the standard for how they should act. If a person is careless or malicious because some are offended then we are all careless and malicious because often the reasons people are offended are to due with their perceptions of events rather than reality combined with the lack of willingness to accept that although their perceptions and sense of events is all they can initially go by, its okay to consider they may be flawed and incorrect without telling other people to fall in line.

@fodigg said:

Oh yes I am familiar with those plans for Cass and I really am fond of them. Its too bad they haven't been green-lit. I think depending on where a person is atheism will sort of be a fad thing in its most broad accessible sense, where as some will just quietly identify with the term, others might get proactive, some will embrace, some will deny and reject, and you'll probably get people pretending to be to impress others - similar things can happen with people pretending to be religious too heh heh, anything to score right?

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#49 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@sc said:

Well maybe this will shed some light, what point do you think he is/was trying to make?

It seemed pretty obvious to me. "People don't think that X is bad, but it's actually worse than Y. X is bad because Y is bad and X can be worse than Y." Why? What do you think he was trying to say?

And keep in mind, I'm not basing my opinion on him on only this one quote. This is one example of a trend.

We shouldn't be interrogating anyone who doesn't wish to unnecessary, but hey I am a victim, I know many victims, and actually I am totally fine with being interrogated and i know others who would be as well, it depends. Which is again, not to advocate that victims should be interrogated but suddenly your language feels like its taken on a life of its own where everything is either shut up or be nice or else your nitpicking victims, being callous, interrogating victims, questioning whether they suffered trauma ignoring that many people are okay and willing with talking about their experiences in ways that may mean they view experiences in more clinical or objective ways, especially, and here is a really important aspect, especially if it helps preventing negative experiences happening to other people and also helping us know what systems work best when dealing with victims in all stages of their experience. The important part here is willingness and knowing that people are different and people react differently to things.

If a victim wants to come forward and share their story, that's a very different situation from someone using one experience with abuse as a springboard to raise awareness about another. My language is reflective of my perspective on this and other comments by him, and I'm surprised to see you concerned about tone when speaking in defense of a firebrand like Dawkins. Even when I agree with him he uses language far more abrasive than mine.

I care about the truth and I care about intent. I care about those things because how can I expect people to sincerely engage with what I am trying to say if they run away with their own assumptions and think they know what I mean better than I do? I mean your clearly advocating giraffes have tiny hats glued on their heads despite my repeated warnings that giraffes may feel embarrassment and shame in front of other animals, and I really don't care what you meant because I'll just stick to my interpretation of what you mean. Incidentally I have seen people with concerns pointing out such things to him, and most that I have seen thus far have been people reacting without clarifying, presuming something incorrect, or just people misunderstanding and addressing their own straw man fallacy of what he meant rather than what he actually meant. I wouldn't change my behavior for people who think that way because such people always exist and the best I can personally hope for when saying something controversial (humans not only shared a common ancestor with modern day primates we are primates for example) is that people will just ask me what I mean instead of jumping to conclusions.

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Sure he's responsible, aren't all people responsible for what they say and implications? They are also responsible for whether they question their interpretations of what others say or just draw conclusions or whether they understand that its possible to think what someone meant without asserting it is in fact what they meant. To put it another way I know plenty of people who have suffered sexual, physical abuse who really don't like it when other people try to talk about them in a way to promote their own ideas and agendas, but invariably because life is life they end up talking about themselves and what they know and the line gets blurry about whether they are doing the thing they don't like other people doing. You and I alternatively have talked about abuse and what constitutes callousness and what's appropriate and not and to me, but I consider us both being sincere with our points and reactions. Still I can think of people who will be upset and annoyed I aren't being harsher to Dawkings and more sensitive of victims experiences and i can think of people being upset and annoyed because they agree with Dawkings and think your mollycoddling them and victimizing them further by implying they can't handle open and frank discussions about abuse and its various degrees objective or otherwise. Were either of us being careless or malicious?

The only thing he is guilty of to me is being himself - and its almost ironic that a person can't just be sincere without peoples flawed perceptions and inability to seek genuine clarification setting the standard for how they should act. If a person is careless or malicious because some are offended then we are all careless and malicious because often the reasons people are offended are to due with their perceptions of events rather than reality combined with the lack of willingness to accept that although their perceptions and sense of events is all they can initially go by, its okay to consider they may be flawed and incorrect without telling other people to fall in line.

I do not have a responsibility to chase down Mr. Dawkins and clarify what he means every time he says something baldly outrageous. That'd be a full time job and he can't afford my rate. If a man repeatedly makes offensive statements as he has done—and there are only so many ways to interpret comments like "[Islamic] culture is such a conspicuous failure"—there's a time when I stop giving the benefit of the doubt. He's been called on such comments, he has dismissed such criticism. Thus endeth any ambivalence I have toward his motivations.

That doesn't mean I disregard everything he says, that doesn't mean I try to twist his words to some other agenda, I'm not out to smear him or interfere with him, but I do feel free to comment on his behavior when the topic comes up. It's clear you feel a kinship for Mr. Dawkins or at least great respect for his work. I think that's fine. Much of what he's done has been admirable. But I don't like how he carries himself with some of his remarks, especially short-form comments such as on twitter.

Oh yes I am familiar with those plans for Cass and I really am fond of them. Its too bad they haven't been green-lit. I think depending on where a person is atheism will sort of be a fad thing in its most broad accessible sense, where as some will just quietly identify with the term, others might get proactive, some will embrace, some will deny and reject, and you'll probably get people pretending to be to impress others - similar things can happen with people pretending to be religious too heh heh, anything to score right?

Ha! True enough. One hopes that movements like skepticism, atheism, etc. will be ruled more by reasoned evaluation, but no perspective is free from group think.

#50 Posted by SC (13136 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

I'm just the kind of person that just doesn't use or buy into terms like pretty obvious or common sense or the like. Majority of the time I see the words applied its someone trying to sell the idea their interpretation of something is the most credible in situations where what is the most credible interpretation either isn't that clear or it is clear but something else - its lead me to not make assumptions or pretend to know what others are thinking.

I think he was saying that he knows people affected by X and Y and many of those people have told him that Y affected there life more negatively than X, but people are so sensitive and overreactive and precious about Y that people are either dismissive, ignorant or defensive about Y.

Your initial language doesn't reflect that at all, "We shouldn't be interrogating victims" its almost as if when given afforded extra opportunity you could clarify that oh well, in other contexts its different. I aren't actually speaking in defense of Dawkings, I just know many people like Dakwings, who speak clinically about sensitive things but get accused of being callous by well minded and intentioned people for whatever reasons, usually good ones, as easily dismissed by seeking clarification or additional insight. He uses far more abrasive language than me, but I don't use my personal use of language as a reference for what's appropriately or inappropriately abrasive or callous as far as others.

No one is suggesting you should chase him down, I'm asserting that no one is being forced to assert there opinion as a fact or law or objective assertion either. To assert about anyone that they make outrageous or offensive statements or behavior is an assertion that is either true or false and so how do we determine the accuracy of the statement? Various ways, usually the more objective, reasonable or demonstrable ways the better right? I am making the assertion I can type on a computer. That I can type that is a reasonable way to demonstrate I probably can. Asking me is another. I can assert that I am Batman though too. Hmm, harder to verify, even if you ask me, I could lie or I could be mistaken. Basically my point is your making assertions about Dawkings and I am questioning those assertions. Since yeah there are only so many ways to interpret loaded sentences like your next example, its a good thing a person can ask themselves "I wonder what he meant by that?" instead of jumping to conclusions. Well yeah he's been called out by people angry and upset about him "believing" in evolution, if the criticism isn't good and I haven't seen any good criticism then he probably should dismiss such criticism. This is a guy who gets death threats because of people interpreting his ideas correctly let alone incorrectly, I would be pretty dismissive of criticism born of peoples flawed perceptions without any critical thinking skills applied. If you could link me to any criticism that had merit that was dismissed that would be another thing entirely.

I embrace your ability to comment on his behavior, I am just curious. I have a respect and admiration for your views as they relate to comic book matters - a broad range of things, I appreciate your ability to have solid reasons for your views, so my curiosity he stems from me wanting to see your reasoning process here ^_^ - consider it sated.

I actually have more of a kinship to a few friends and a few scientists I know as well as an empathy/sympathy thing going on. The little scientist in my head. I think the world would be a better place if people asked more questions and doubted there offense when offended, instead of being offended and being okay with not knowing instead of knowing the wrong answer based on faulty knowledge. I live in an area surrounded by islands - on one island close by to stare at a person in the eyes in certain contexts, is to be disrespectful but culturally many people from other places where I live, its disrespectful not to stare at a persons eyes in certain situations. You can imagine how sometimes people will get offended by accident. To me Dawkings is sincere, and candid and views most things scientifically, a few people do, we don't mean to offend anyone and we are aware that some people may be offended by how we talk about things but we also know that people will be offended no matter what - especially if they don't realize that offense is subjective and can be had unintentionally. I mean we live in an age where people wearing shorts is offensive to some other people, but not everyone person who wears shorts means to be offensive (some might) and many of those people won't want others to be offended, they just hope that they realize that them wearing shorts isn't meant to be offensive. Now if they wear shorts with a crude message on it, eh maybe good grounds to think they are trying to be offensive, but even then I would think there is a danger of misunderstanding, especially if there isn't an opportunity for clarification. I'd personally rather admit to not knowing exactly what they meant than asserting something misrepresentative.

To try and sum this all up on a good note, and stop replying to you after this (unless you wished me to) its to say that you read Dawkings statements as carrying more needlessly offensive weight to it than it need to? Where as I don't and that is okay our interpretations differ. Sound about right? I do thank you for answering my questioned and revealing some of your thought processes involved. I didn't address the other point because well that conversation ran through heh heh.

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Oh but one small general statement more on topic, when you know something well, you don't need to trust it as much necessarily. When you put out a plate of food for a pet, when you know pets like food you can reasonably predict that a pet will be at certain places at certain times expecting food. You don't have to trust a pet to be there. Batman doesn't trust his villains, he knows most of them. Batman's fondness of knowing things, being prepared, critical thinking, doing some homework, establishing routines, and analyzing patterns, and just being skeptical, it lessens his need for trust, or more accurately faith or belief. Why trust when you can know? Of course in situations where Batman doesn't know, thats where things get interesting and make for good story telling. Think about any friends that you know who have addictive and dangerous habits - sure you trust them... but if you know them well, you know you can't always trust them the way you would ideally like to. That tension may suck in real life but can be powerful and captivating when inserted into the lives of our favorite fictional characters and heroes.

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