The Atheist Foundation of Australia defines Atheism as:

 

"the acceptance that there is no credible scientific or factually reliable evidence for the existence of a god, gods or the supernatural"

 

Sam Harris is known to "experiment" with personal meditation experiences. Here is what wikipedia has to say about Sam Harris and "spirituality":

 

"Harris wishes to incorporate spirituality in the domain of human reason. He draws inspiration from the practices of Eastern religion, in particular that of meditation, as described principally by Hindu and Buddhist practitioners. By paying close attention to moment-to-moment conscious experience, Harris suggests, it is possible to make our sense of "self" vanish and thereby uncover a new state of personal well-being."

 

He talks of mind states, of "not-self" and other terms which the AFA call on their forums "woo-woo".

 

The reason that the AFA would reject Sam Harris as an atheist is the last 3 words in their definition: "or the supernatural". They see atheism as rejecting not only god/gods (theo) but also the "supernatural", thereby turning atheism into atheiwoowoosm! They staunchly defend their definition beyond and rational logic. Only recently I have understood why that term is in there in the first place. The AFA are in fact, not an atheist organisation but a skeptics organisation. From their website:

 

" The Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc began in South Australia in 1970 when the members of the Rationalist Association of SA decided that a name change would proclaim their basic philosophy"

 

So it appears that all they did was change their name but not their "clothes". This deceptive behaviour has caused some confusion on their forums but they still staunchly maintain their stance.

 

And the great irony in this whole issue? Sam Harris' books are on their recommended reading list!!!

Tags: atheist, australia, foundation, harris, meditation

Views: 349

Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion

"He is railing against those people who are trying to limit the definition of the 'atheist' movement to its strictest sense~ no gods, when the movement itself needs more substance if it is to become anything more than arguing with people."

 

"To miss this blatantly obvious point is to continue a fight without substance, and to continue to alienate people without a purpose."

 

Oh, I get it. But to include the justification for one's atheism within the definition of atheism automatically limits those that have other reasons for calling themselves atheist. To deny the existence of god(s) is the common thread amongst atheists. That is not all we are. There are those that come from all sorts of backgrounds and have all sorts of beliefs (that's right, even atheists can have beliefs) and all sorts of practices, cultural backgrounds, etc. etc. The word atheist is actually self-explanatory if you know Greek and possibly that is my only failing - being of Greek ancestry and actually understanding the word from its native meaning. Oh, and being an engineer, insisting on clearly defined terms that are commonly agreed upon.

 

PS - Nice pic. My grandfather used to smoke a pipe.

An engineer, huh?  Do you drive trains or build bridges?  Either way, you clearly have the cleverness, but the word is less than definitive.  Oh noes, unclear definitions are hell on engineers.  Where will you go to work in the morning?

 

I consider myself a scientist.  I am not currently employed in research, but I am writing papers for peer reviewed scientific journals?  If I never get paid employment in research again, will I still be a scientist?  Can someone with no degree in science be a scientist?  Are creation scientists scientists? 

My use of the word scientist is conditional on the behaviour and approach of a person to the world around them.  Whether or not they have a science degree, a research position, a long list of references to their name is largely irrelevant.  If someone has a non scientific approach, I can't call them a scientist.  This includes anyone who starts with a conclusion and looks exclusively for facts to fit that conclusion.  Creationists are not scientists.  People who believe in unsupported, unfalsifiable aspects of the human mind that anyone not invested in the idea would consider a soul, are not atheists. 

In the case of both scientists and atheists, the processes behind the person's use of a noun are important.

Matt

Well, now it's official. This conversation has devolved into something that I can't even recognise. Your sentences are barely making any sense. I read and re-read your post and couldn't find much that I could call coherent that I could respond to.

 

So I have no response to the above. Way to go. That's the way to silence me. When you have something coherent to say, I'll respond.

I'm very sorry.  Here's the same post without the internet memes in the opening paragraph.  Besides that, and a single erroneous question mark, my example of what defines a scientist makes a sound parallel to my problem with defining you as an atheist. 

 

You call yourself an engineer (ingenium, Latin, cleverness), but the many definitions of that word make your assertion that engineers rely on clearly defined terms less than compelling.  Context and process are important to an outsider's understanding of what you actually do on a daily basis. 

I consider myself a scientist.  I am not currently employed in research, but I am writing papers for peer reviewed scientific journals.  If I never get paid employment in research again, will I still be a scientist?  Can someone with no degree in science be a scientist?  Are creation scientists scientists? 

My use of the word scientist is conditional on the behaviour and approach of a person to the world around them.  Whether or not they have a science degree, a research position or a long list of references to their name is largely irrelevant.  If someone has a non scientific approach, I can't call them a scientist.  This includes anyone who starts with a conclusion and looks exclusively for facts to fit that conclusion.  Creationists are not scientists.  People who believe in unsupported, unfalsifiable aspects of the human mind that anyone not invested in the idea would consider a soul, are not atheists. 

In the case of both scientists and atheists, the processes behind the person's use of a noun are important.

Matt

Thanks for clearing that up Matt! I now understand your point and can respond to it.

 

The point you are making about scientists is exactly the point that I am making about atheists. The definition for a scientist from the Oxford Dictionary is: "a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences". This definition doesn't of course mention university degrees or anything else. Now, an organisation that is not being completely honest with the community might like to redefine the term scientist as: "a person who has a university degree from a top tier university in one or more of the natural or physical sciences". This severely limits the definition of scientist such that someone that has obtained their degree in the sciences at a "lesser" university or has no degree at all cannot call themselves a scientist. Clearly the Oxford Dictionary definition is inclusive and the latter definition is exclusive and in fact, erroneous as a definition of "scientist". There are professional organisations that will only accept membership from those in the latter definition. That's fine. But they don't seek to redefine the term "scientist" to fit their acceptance criteria - that would be deceitful.

 

But this is exactly what the AFA have done. They only accept atheists that fit their criteria but they have taken it upon themselves to redefine the term "atheist" to fit their criteria. This redefinition is deceitful. If the AFA have acceptance criteria, then they should state clearly what they are but not seek to redefine the commonly understood term "atheism" in order to fit their acceptance criteria.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Vangelis

I've read all of Harris' works, but I don't really think the outrage in here about some of his writing is justified.  When we talks of meditation, it more "prolonged self-introspection" not a form of prayer; so, is engaging in "self-introspection" something that Atheists should be against?

You'd probably need to go back to the original post in this thread and look at the gigantic straw-man.

I should probably say that the OP's claim to be "excluded from the AFA forums" is bunk too. He's got a valid account there and can post any time he sees fit. If he has ever been excluded (I moderate there, and cannot recall whether he was suspended at any time), it would have been a temporary suspension, such as is handed out for personal abuse by moderators of that site.

 

You could read the whole contentious issue with input from the OP and others here.

 

I apologise to the moderators of this forum for mentioning the matter, but Vangelis has taken the matter to a broader stage, so it behooves me to give truth a chance.

Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Black. I don't know if I said in this thread that I am excluded from the AFA forums. I made the point that Sam Harris is not an atheist according to the AFA definition of atheism.

 

In terms of myself and the AFA forums, I am excluded from posting in all sections bar one. Ostensibly, I am excluded from posting on the AFA forums by being excluded from the vast bulk of the forums.

 

But in this thread I have tried to stick to the original claim that Sam Harris is not an atheist according to the AFA definition of atheism.

Keep redefining, Vangelis. You said you were excluded in the linked post, which is part of this thread.

Your strawman about Harris and the AFA is merely the door through which you continue to rail against a definition that doesn't suit you.

Yes, and I explained how I have been excluded from the AFA forums in my response to you. Did you read it before responding?

 

Show me where the strawman is rather than just using a scattergun effect in your labeling. Have I misquoted the AFA's definition of atheism? Have I misquoted Sam Harris? If I have, I will correct my statements.

 

I have tried to be as open and honest as I possibly can in this discussion. Even in the misdst of David Nicholls' ad-hominem attacks, I have not responded in like manner but tried to keep this discussion factual, logical and rational. So if you can show me where in this thread I have used a strawman argument, I would welcome it.

Why, the very idea that the AFA would reject Sam Harris, on the grounds you state, is a strawman.

 

You have projected a degree of buddhism onto Harris in a manner I find most specious, and then extended this to making AFA decisions on their behalf.

 

Straw twins, perhaps?

 

BTW, you were not excluded: merely confined to the appropriate area of the forums for the discussion of belief.

 

You were still quite free to post. It's all a matter of definition, I suppose.

You continue to use your scattergun effect in your strawman accusations but still do not state which specific quote I have misrepresented. Where have I "projected a degree of Buddhism onto Harris" as you state? I have as far as I know, quoted him verbatim.

 

Again, I ask, specifically, where have I misquoted Sam Harris and where is the strawman?

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

Latest Activity

EducationIsCool posted a video

Welcome to Jesusland (Part 20) - Spirit Science Doesn't Get DNA

Video response to Spirit Science (or TheSpiritScience) and his video, "Spirit Science 11_11 ~ Dna Activation," which you can view below. Spirit Science -- "S...
51 minutes ago
TNT666 commented on sacha's group No Nonsense
1 hour ago
Joan Denoo commented on Davey Lee's group Climate Concerns
3 hours ago
Clarence Dember replied to Ruth Anthony-Gardner's discussion Roundup Ready Corn IS Toxic in the group Atheists who love Science!
4 hours ago
Clarence Dember liked Ruth Anthony-Gardner's discussion Roundup Ready Corn IS Toxic
4 hours ago
Craigart14 replied to Luara's discussion religious magazine in doctors' office
5 hours ago
Hiram replied to Hiram's discussion France Bans the Burqa: The Humanist Poll
5 hours ago
Loren Miller replied to Hiram's discussion France Bans the Burqa: The Humanist Poll
6 hours ago
Christine replied to Christine's discussion Joined the AFA mailing list
6 hours ago
Christine replied to Luara's discussion religious magazine in doctors' office
6 hours ago
Donald R Barbera posted a blog post
6 hours ago
Grinning Cat replied to Luara's discussion Proof of god(s)
6 hours ago

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service