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.

WizOz Replying

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. This fact falls into the historical narrative of Pol Pot, giving a legitimate case for why atheism, a disbelief in all religious dogmas and concepts of god, must assume a piece of responsibility in Pol Pot’s choices.

So you have said. So you keep repeating the same erroneous line of thought. Can you actually spell out the logical steps instead of just baldly asserting it?
I've painstakingly rebutted most of the points you made, and I'm actually in the process of working on a more in-depth explanation of why this argument is complete utter bullshit.
Disbelief gives rise to belief or is a form of belief itself, - This is what I mean. There is zero logical connection between A and B that you've provided. It's like saying "Not-potato salad gives rise to potato-salad, or is a form of potato-salad in itself". Your argument fails at Step 1.
--jt 14:25, 1 May 2011 (CDT)

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.

--jt 07:40, 29 April 2011 (CDT)

WizOz - The intro to your recent additions reveals your disconnect.
The belief or disbelief in a certain subject gives rise to certain conceptions within a person’s worldview
A non-belief does not give rise to anything. Only things you DO believe causes a conception. Atheism is not a worldview.
Everyone starts with a null worldview, particularly when we're infants. We don't have any opinions. We don't have any real conceptions about things. All we have, pretty much, is instincts.
We start to have things installed, that influence and add to our worldviews. For instance, when parents indoctrinate children into believing in a god, they are adding an influence. They are adding concepts. It's analogous to installing software on a computer. Atheism is when you DON'T do that - definitionally not adding an influence/software. It's the state of NOT installing the God Software. Some of us uninstall it later in life, but that's the removal of an influence on our worldview... not the addition of another. To say it is is like saying that uninstalling Theism is installing atheism, or in other words, Uninstalling Microsoft Office is the same thing as Installing Not-Microsoft Office. While Microsoft Office might influence/cause actions, not having Microsoft Office doesn't exist to do anything or influence anything.
I'm running out of ways to explain this to you. You're making claims that are factually wrong.
A worldview affects the thoughts and choices of an individual
Yes, and because atheism is neither a world view, or affects one's world view, it's a red herring.
Atheism and Religion both develop distinctive concepts within a worldview'
No, only religion/theism. does, within this set of specified things.
Therefore, both a belief or disbelief in religious dogma effect thoughts and choice of individuals
And back to the non-sequitur. It does not follow. What you don't believe doesn't cause you to do anything. I've given plenty of examples of how this is the case. You keep just asserting, void of any actual logic, rhyme or reason, that it does too.
Christian, but because those individuals, who committed these crimes, held the title of Christian,
You're engaging in a form of equivocation fallacy (Christians are held responsible. They hold the title of "Cristian". Atheism is another kind of title. Therefore they have to be held responsible in the same way). Atheism isn't even on the same axis as Christianity. Christianity is an example of being a member of a religion. It's on the same axis as others, such as Buddhism, Paganism, Islam, etc. Atheism is "undefined". It's not a title. It's not even really a thing. Atheism isn't an "ism".
What you're doing here is saying that not-being-a-football fan is just another kind of being a football-fan. And because football fans tend to have to watch the football game on TV, therefore not-being-a-football fan would also require you to watch TV. By definition, football is not influencing my decision-making process, my actions, or anything. It's only causing actions/activities to those who ARE fans. (I think I need to flush out this analogy a bit)
Atheism cannot avoid this reality, and in try to do so it only weakens its legitimacy as a worldview.
You cannot weaken what does not exist in the first place. On average, the worldview atheists have tends to be that of skepticism, rationalism, materialism, and a plethora of other things. Atheism is not a world view any more than not-believing-in-unicorns is a world view, and causes me to kill people.
--jt 16:04, 30 April 2011 (CDT)
Does anyone else agree that he's off the mark here, or is it just me? --jt 16:59, 30 April 2011 (CDT)
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