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Desc:Pat Condell returns
Category:Educational, Religious
Tags:Jesus, hell, atheism, christians, pat condell
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Comment count is 46
dueserpenti - 2009-05-26
Shrill atheism has officially become as irritating as its opposite number.
Smellvin - 2009-05-26
At least this guy is entertaining.

Aelric - 2009-05-26
I really got to agree with duesepenti on this one. I'm finding it harder to like the proponents of my own lack of belief. So we don't believe in god, do we all got to be such horrid dicks about it? It's rather self-defeating, isn't it?

StanleyPain - 2009-05-26
Yes, because shrill atheists really equate to people who manipulate this country's laws in order to enforce their own brand of weird, close-minded "morality."

Or people who want to remove scientific disciplines from our schools because they threaten their own personal fantasy world of "faith" and would prefer we live in the dark ages as opposed to a world of logic and reason.

Or people who advocate violence against people who don't believe as they do or worship as they do and openly invoke their beliefs as an excuse to wish harm on people or credit harm done to innocent people as punishment for not believing as they do.

Yeah, but this guy made some videos on YouTube, so fuck him.

socialist_hentai - 2009-05-26
"herding cats"

dueserpenti - 2009-05-26
I didn't say his impact on society is equally bad, I said I found him equally irritating to listen to.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26

wtf japan - 2009-05-27
In solidarity.

glasseye - 2009-05-26
Whatever, this guy is awesome.
Severian - 2009-05-26
I linked to it from Facebook to see how many people unfriend me.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
Pat Condell is articulate enough but he seems to be getting angrier and angrier as time goes on.

Atheism: I believe there is no god.
Agnostic: I don't believe there is god.

Spot the difference between the last two. The problem with atheism for me is, since neither the existence nor the non-existence of god can be proved, both theism and atheism are based on faith. Since I'm a big proponent of the scientific method, atheism seems wrong to me. To be an atheist I'd have to be pre-selecting what I'd like to be true, where as to be agnostic I have no stake in it either way.
glasseye - 2009-05-26
This argument is a fallacy. Atheism is not based on faith at all:


8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
I don't think I necessarily explained myself properly to be honest, but more shrill atheists like pat condell certainly do make statements about things that can't be proven one way or the other, and belief without proof, or without requiring proof is faith. Which is exactly why they give normal atheists a bad name.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
Also, your linked article is disingenuously confusing agnostics and atheists. Atheism is based on the belief that deities do not exist. It is not necessarily mutually exclusive but the way Pat takes a position, it is.

http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagnosticism/a/atheism.htm Agnosticism refers to knowledge about god rather than belief in god, an open minded atheist can be agnostic as well, but a close minded one isn't, and a close minded one is taking things on faith.

So my argument wasn't a fallacy at all, just insufficiently explained. Do you get what I mean now?

Hay Belly - 2009-05-26
Wrong 8bit. Superstition (ie religion) plays no part in my life at all. I don't think about someone watching me, "being good" or I'll go to hell, etc. I live without oppression or fear, and no religious thoughts ever cross my mind. How then am I religious?

Dan Druff - 2009-05-26
That's an enormous oversimplification, and it really fails to consider belief from the point of view of any believer. Unless you follow a particular religion, then to anyone who belongs to that religion you are an atheist even if you devoutly follow some other God. Everyone is an atheist with regards to most of the Gods who have existed in history.

Of course, that applies to particular gods. If you expand your definition of "God" so broadly that you include any belief in truth, awe at the universe, or ethical standards then Dawkins is as "religious" as Falwell. But when atheists talk about "religions", none of the ones they refer to really fall under that category.

There's nobody on earth who, if confronted with irrefutable proof of any God(s), wouldn't accept his/her/its/their existence, same as if you confronted them with proof of fairies or magic or anything else, nevermind that proof has never, and probably will never exist. In that sense, everyone is "agnostic". Atheism is only technically based on "faith" in the sense of having faith that the things that everyone can see, hear, experience etc... are real and not complete illusions.

Besides that, the whole bitchfest about "Shrill" atheists is about as legitimate as complaining about "Whiny" feminists or "Uppity" blacks... of course you don't like listening to anyone complain when you're already comfortable yourself, but that doesn't make them wrong.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
@ Hay Belly
Strawman. I didn't say religion was superstition, nor did I say you were religious or had religious thoughts. From what you've told me there, you're not religious. Well done, I suppose, I don't know what point you're trying to make.

@ Dan Druff
I don't think you're using the same definition of "agnostic" as the one I'm used to, the one in the dictionary. Agnosticism refers to knowledge about god, theism refers to belief in god. Pat Condell has several times throughout his videos made statements amounting to "there is no god" - he's not starting from a position of "no knowledge of god" he's starting from the position that he knows about god - he knows there isn't one. I'd like to know what his knowledge is based on, because if he's been privy to something he's not shared with the rest of us, it would clear things up for me immensely.

And furthermore you can't project other people's arguments onto me and expect to be taken seriously, I've never compared atheists to vocal feminists or blacks, what I said is that Pat Condell is getting angrier and angrier over time - it's becoming harder to believe he's thinking objectively, his videos have become repetitive invective without evidence of thinking behind it.

Dan Druff - 2009-05-26
I'm pretty sure you missed the key point; WHICH god are you talking about having knowledge of, one way or another? Yaweh, Zeus, Ahuramazda, Tiamat, Kali, Gruumsh, Cthulhu?

How about you try to define "knowledge" in a way that actually allows for knowing about the non-existence of ANYTHING? I think "there isn't any evidence for it" is a pretty good starting point for "how to know something is doesn't exist". Do you have a better one?

To believe in something or not, first you have to define it. Take any given religion, and by their own standards the evidence for the existence of their particular god so far has about a 100% failure rate. He "knows" about the non-existence of god in the same sense that we know about the non-existence of unicorns or elves or teapots orbiting alpha centauri.

I'm referring to the entire "Angry Atheist" stereotype, which you've helpfully repeated here again, as if that somehow discredits anything. This video is still infinitely more polite than the kind of shit clergy get away with saying about Atheists.

spencer - 2009-05-26
8bit, atheism is a lack of belief (like amorphous is a lack of shape, asymmetrical is a lack of symmetry). ANTI-theism is the belief that there are no gods.

Also, you contradicted yourself by first defining agnosticism as "I don't believe there is a god" and then (correctly) stating that agnosticism deals with knowledge, not belief.

glasseye - 2009-05-26
No 8bit, your argument is a fallacy. Pure and simple. You claim that atheists "believe there is no god." This is wholly incorrect. Atheists have not been presented with sufficient evidence to support a belief in any god. It's an important difference.

Nithing - 2009-05-26
Every atheist on the planet is technically an agnostic. The only difference is the certainty.

To call yourself an agnostic implies regular serious consideration of the supernatural.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
@ glasseye
Sorry, have another go. I've already explained why you're wrong, atheism and agnosticism are not the same thing. Repetition doesn't make your statements just come true by magic.

@ Dan Druff
It doesn't matter which god, or whether you consider most single-deity religions to be the same thing, or whatever. That's not the point at all, that's just smoke and mirrors. Anyway absence of proof is not proof of absence, just because something isn't yet proved doesn't mean it can't be.

Sorry, you're not right either, you're on the right track I suppose but you have missed the mark with your definitions of words.

What are you talking about? Do you even know what "atheist" and "agnostic" mean? Despite the fact that being atheist, or agnostic, or both even, doesn't "imply regular serious consideration of the supernatural.", it's entirely possible to consider something without believing it. Atheism and agnosticism are NOT the same thing, and one does NOT implicitly lead to the other, however they are also not exclusive.

From the OED:


• noun the belief that God does not exist.



• noun a person who believes that nothing can be known concerning the existence of God.

Being an agnostic means you don't believe that it's possible to know about god, not that you believe in god, nor that you particularly disbelieve.

glasseye - 2009-05-26
Shrug, if you want to believe that we atheists "believe" in something, feel free. I know that I do not have any "faith"; I have not seen sufficient evidence to support the existence of any god(s). Lack of evidence for a thing does not equate to "belief."

You might find this analogy interesting:


8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
Glassye, It's not about what I believe or what you believe, you can't make up a retarded definition of a word, make that, in your head, the position I've taken, and then rail against it.

Atheism IS the belief that there is no god. You can wish as hard as you like, that doesn't change the meaning of that word. If YOUR belief is that you don't know if god exists or not then you're expressing a form of agnosticism called "weak agnosticism" or "empirical agnosticism", which is not entirely incompatible with any theistic or atheistic belief.

If you're going to argue a point, at least understand the very basics of what you're trying to argue, please!

Hay Belly - 2009-05-26
Because things that are not can't be!
Because then nothing wouldn't be!

Cleaner82 - 2009-05-26
The word 'atheism' can be literally interpreted to mean nothing more than a lack of theism. An absence of belief. That's just simple semantics. I have been down this road -- there is, at the very least, a dispute about this. It does not boil down to the 'retarded opinion' of one or two people. You may notice that different dictionaries define 'atheism' in subtly different ways, I found one that defined it as 'godlessness', whatever the fuck that means.

As with many philosophical concepts, it's up for grabs. You may have to accept that when somebody says they're an atheist, they don't always mean what you think they mean -- and you could keep saying they're all wrong, but that would be ignoring the fluid nature of philisophical ideas.

Severian - 2009-05-26
While I don't generally get my philosophy or theology from DICTIONARIES, I find it hard to believe that that's the *only* definition of atheism in OED.

I let my OED subscription expire, but Webster, Random House and American Heritage all have disbelief or godlessness as first or second definitions.

Also keep in mind that from the point of view of many Christians (and dictionary writers of the past), atheism is a denial or hatred, which imply existence. This is why atheism is often so often defined as a doctrine, belief or belief system, of which it is none.

I tend to say I'm a nonbeliever in order to reduce confusion and to avoid having to explain for the hundredth time that I'm an agnostic atheist, and that the terms are not mutually exclusive.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
Whose getting their theology and philosophy from a dictionary? I'm getting the definition of terms from a dictionary - that's what it's for. I could say "I think an atheist is someone who believes that it will rain custard from the sky on thursday", if I'm free to make up my own (wrong) definitions for words then it's impossible to engage in a sensible debate.

A lot of people here are making the (common) assumption that an empirical agnostic is an atheist. They might ALSO be an atheist but they aren't necessarily. And an atheist isn't necessarily someone with an open mind who can say they believe there is no god but are willing to change their belief. Atheists who are not also agnostics can be just as dogmatic as theists.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2009-05-26
I read a great explanation for a religious person being unable to grasp atheism.

It's akin to what early mathematicians went through trying to explain the concept of "zero" to civilizations like the ancient Greeks; they had no understanding of numbers that involved the concept of "nothing." The religious have no grasp of a lack of religion, equating the absence of one as a form of one. In essence, they see "zero" as a slightly different kind of "one," which is incorrect and makes discussion very difficult and frustrating.

8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
SteamPoweredKleenex, I agree with you, it isn't just religious people having a hard time grasping the concept of belief. Belief isn't limited to the metaphysical, belief in the supernatural or whatever, and the differences between belief and knowledge are slight, but definite. Most of the people who seem to have taken issue with what I've said probably (amusingly) aren't cut-and-dried atheists, or rather it doesn't stop at that, but rather they're empirical agnostics and are waiting to KNOW.

The original point I was trying to make, which has got lost along the way a little, was that people who start from a sure and certain belief that god doesn't exist certainly can't KNOW god doesn't exist, and therefore it is based on faith.

Cleaner82 - 2009-05-26
Which is fine, and then you define atheism based on a dictionary definition, and that's a point of contention. It's not a couple people in a thread that are 'making it up', it's quite a few people who contend that atheism is not as simple as the dictionary makes it out to be. Apparently what you thought was self-evident about the term isn't, and so it falls upon you to tell the class why it is that in spite of the natural dissection of the term -- 'a-theism', a lack of theism -- it apparently represents a belief in the nonexistance of God.

Why. Because you read it in a dictionary? Dictionaries can be wrong, and the dictionary definition is being challenged. Defend it, concede, or find a new reference.

Mordant - 2009-05-27
8bit don't you think you're defining faith into meaninglessness? Sure you can't KNOW god doesn't exist to a metaphysical certainty but that's true of any belief (or lack of belief). What wouldn't be faith under your definition?

HankFinch - 2009-05-27
Wait, are you telling me that Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole time?

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2009-05-27
8bitwintermute: "The original point I was trying to make, which has got lost along the way a little, was that people who start from a sure and certain belief that god doesn't exist certainly can't KNOW god doesn't exist, and therefore it is based on faith."

But you can't know that unicorns don't exist. You can't know that Zeus doesn't exist. You can't know that magic doesn't exist. But you can look at the evidence for them, and there isn't any.

You're having trouble with "zero," I fear, trying to equate not believing in something as a kind of belief to fit others into your own experience. Not having belief in "Odin the all-father" takes no effort whatsoever on the part of the athiest, as a lack of belief requires no effort. Unless you, yourself, work hard at believing in not believing Odin exists.

Dan Druff - 2009-05-27
8 Bit: Of course the "Specific" God matters - that makes ALL the difference in the world.

Let's go down this list of "attributes" of God:
1. Creator of the universe.
2. Creator of mankind.
3. Omniscient
4. Omnipotent
5. Benevolent.
6. Free-willed and self-aware
7. Eternal and prior to the universe.
8. Responds to prayer, sometimes.
9. Can violate the laws of the universe at will.
10. Delivered some sort of moral code to mankind
11. Provides some (but not all) people with direct revelation.
12. Created an afterlife with some kind of eternal punishment/reward
13. Punishes/rewards people based on their adherence to his moral code.
14. Demands some kind of worship.
15. Nominates men in big hats to tell others what to do.
16. Exists outside of reality (though the difference between "existing outside of reality" and "not being real" has always been lost on me)

The problem is, not only is that list of attributes self-contradictory, from the point of view of anyone who actually lives in the world (See: existence of evil in the world), or completely unproven (See: any evidence that any "miracle" has ever happened, anywhere). Not to mention a lot of those attributes are morally disgusting, like giving revelation to only a handful of chosen followers, and intervening in a few select cases of human lives.

Even WITHIN religions there's no agreement whatsoever on which of those attributes are true or not. Lutherans and Catholics have completely different beliefs on salvation that are irreconciliable. Buddhism accepts no creator god, but still allows for punishment/reward in the afterlife; ancient Greek thought holds the Gods to have come into being AFTER the universe. Believing in any sort of "God" or "Gods" without defining what those even ARE is completely, utterly pointless and stupid. The only "God" that can exist given what we do know about the universe is Aristotle's Prime Mover (which is explicitly NOT "god" in Aristotle's thought - he was considered Atheistic in his own day).

Charles - 2010-02-11
These stars are for the fact that 8bitwintermute is the most sane and clear-thinking person in this thread.

In fact, in reading this thread, I've sort of lost my FAITH in the intelligence of POE commenters.

memedumpster - 2009-05-26
I demand that this man immediately be made official ambassador from earth to the universe at large. When alien contact happens, this should be the man who speaks for us. If some alien comes down and says it created us, I want this person to be our rebuttal.

This isn't shrill atheism, this is the first expression of atheism I have ever heard that has sounded intelligent. He hits the very notion of God where its weakest, in the imaginations of the religious. Our gods are blatantly retarded concepts when compared to what we know about life and the universe already. What we think of as God wouldn't even be able to survive in this universe. The human God would have blown himself up right after he invented explosions.
8bitwintermute - 2009-05-26
I think he started off well, making good points about religions poisonous influence on society but at the moment he's descended into making divisive statements only intended to offend religious people, which I can't really get behind.

memedumpster - 2009-05-26
He did balance it out a bit by stating he could be wrong at the beginning of things, which is an incredibly divisive statement amongst atheists.

kamlem - 2009-05-26
Not really. Any logical atheist will readily admit that if any God(s) manifested themselves in an evidential way that can be repeatably tested, and God X was the only conclusion, then God could be said to exist. As 8bitwintermute said above "absence of proof is not proof of absence", however absence of evidence IS evidence of absence, and until some of that evidence is provided I will happily continue to believe that the is no God.

Also, why is saying nasty things about nasty characters in mythological texts offensive?

Tstyle - 2009-05-26
I fully support offending religious people.
memedumpster - 2009-05-26
Jesus made it his business to offend religious people. (praise be unto his possible yet probably exaggerated existence)

phalsebob - 2009-05-26
He is shrill, but I guess even atheists need their fire and brimstone. Three stars because he does a wonderful job of pissing off fundies on youtube, with hilarious results.
Braze - 2009-05-27
The accent cannot disguise the puerility.
William Burns - 2009-05-27
Oh, my poor, fragile sensabilities!
Bort - 2009-05-27
I like this guy's delivery, but he doesn't do a very good job of differentiating between God, Scripture, later theological accretion, and rationalization for xenophobia. A fine rant nonetheless.
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