Talk:Pol Pot was an atheist

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Atheism as a cause

WizOz made some claims.

There is no way to exclude the fact that Atheism, or any worldview, attributes certain mind sets that affect decisions;

Yes, there is, in that a non-belief does not cause you to do anything. Only beliefs can, and in two different ways - provocation and prevention. A belief in God, and an associated belief that life should be protected, can prevent you from killing someone by overriding another belief that the person should be killed, whether it was because he disagreed with you, or is attacking you, or taking your stuff, etc. The non-belief that lives should not be taken isn't the cause of the killing here, it's the beliefs that provoked the action.

This is why Christianity, that says things like "take disobedient children to the edge of town and stone them", can cause actions, while not believing in that doctrine only doesn't cause you to do that.

I'd love to hear a coherent explanation about how a disbelief makes you do anything.

Pol Pot is no exception to this rule. His decisions were not induced out of thin air; instead, Pol Pot’s background and worldview influenced his choices and actions.

Yes, things happened in his past that taught him that it's okay to kill people... OR, that "some sacrifices are needed to accomplish goals", or whatever rationalization he came up with.

So atheism, a disbelief in religious dogma, had a part to play in his conduct, yet it would be incorrect to assume that atheism is the sole reason why Pol Pot became a mass murderer!

You may want to look up what atheism is, because it is not mutually exclusive with religious dogma (see Buddhists). You have a non-sequitur here. In an extremely loose sense, it can make sense on the surface, but there's really two points.

  1. Yes, the fact he didn't have a positive belief that people shouldn't be killed does play a role. However:
  2. That lack of belief is not the cause, which is the point they're trying to make, and I suppose that's my overall point.

If atheism being the supposed cause for Pol Pot's actions is not the point, then there's really no point in bringing it up, anymore than it would make sense to say:

"Pol Pot was a murderer who didn't believe in unicorns. Coincidence? We can't rule it out!"

Atheism imparts no reason to kill someone, but in claiming impartiality it implies the absence of other reasons. The neutrality of disbelief finds itself scrambling to construct a reason why life should be defended;

You really need to look up what atheism is. There's nothing about impartiality or neutrality about it. It's a simple lack of belief in a god. It's not supposed to construct pro-life arguments, or to establish morality (how can it, when disbelief cannot cause anything?). That comes from other sources, outside of atheism. That's what Secular morality is all about. My personal morality, and even my respect for life and the chipmunks and birds on my bird feeder outside by window has nothing to do with my atheism. But because I'm an atheist doesn't mean I'm going to go out there and start slaughtering them.

Sounds like you'd actually agree with most of that, though.

rather, atheism only conducts itself from an empty ethic, which can neither support nor reject the action of murder.

Other than the glitch that atheism doesn't conduct anything, it almost sounds like you get it at this point, oddly.

This means that actions can be brought about by disbelief.

...and then this complete and utter non-sequitur comes crashing through the wall, screaming "Oh YEAH!"

Seriously, how does "#### can neither support nor reject an action" lead to "This means that actions can be brought by ####"?

For example, to disbelieve in the existence of a good reason not to kill, would justify the opposing view. Disbelief gives rise to belief or is a form of belief itself, and thus the origins of causation, for a certain action, can be derived from disbelief.

Okay, we're done. That makes no sense. You've essentially constructed the same kind of argument as "You don't believe in a god, therefore, you believe there is no god.".

Here's an example of how this works

  • I don't believe that a mosquito's life has value. I don't believe they should be protected.
  • I kill mosquitos.
  • The reason I kill them is not that I don't value their lives.
  • The reason I kill them is because they keep attacking me, sucking my blood, making me itch, and potentially carrying diseases like Malaria. Thus, I believe I need to defend myself against them, whether it's to swat one that's currently attacking me, or to premptively kill those I think are potentially going to attack me.

To say that the reason I kill them is because I don't value their lives, instead of being due to defense, is asinine.

If they didn't attack me, I wouldn't do anything to them, whether I thought their lives should be protected, or not.

Another Example

If you want a more mathematical reason of why this reasoning doesn't work, it starts with an oversight.

  • While we all have a finite set of beliefs, there's an infinite number of things we don't believe.
  • Thus, according to you, every one of those non-beliefs is influencing me.
  • I have finite decision making, and finite cognition, designated by amount - A
  • The amount of influence each non-belief has on me is: A divided by ∞ = 0

We could try to list all the infinite number of beliefs Pol Pot didn't have, and point out that because we can't "rule out each's influence", that we should take note of them.

Thankfully, that's not how it works.

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