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Old 05-22-2008, 10:36 PM   #1
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Association between atheism and libertarianism?

See here:-

Graph of IIDB political compass scores - IIDB
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:10 PM   #2
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This is libertarian in the sense of individual liberties, not laizzes faire economics.

I think that the obvious detail would be that most atheists are not out to crush religion, I personally feel that freedom of religion is the only thing that can guarantee freethinking and I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of other atheists feel the same way. An extremist for freedom of religion is not as harmful as somebody who just wants freedom for their religion.

Social and economic conditions impact religiousity, education and intelligence impact types of belief and I wouldn't exclude some biological associations. All of this will factor into somebodies concepts of acceptable freedoms.

The association between atheism and social libertarianism probably has less to do with atheism and more to do with liberal social attitudes being a precondition towards unbelief both on an individual level and within families and communities.

The accusation leveled at atheists that profess atheism seems to be that they are a mirror of a religious fundamentalist, that they carry an identical closed minded bigotry and discriminatory attitude to the religious. That to think that God is not a reasonable explanation and not feel anything towards faith is somehow an equivalent to professing not only to know that there is a God in your heart, but that you know the intentions and designs of this deity (when appropriate of course; such as killing off gays with AIDS or sending a Tsunami onto Indonesian Muslims).

That internet poll and my own attitudes seem to gell relatively well, although I am consistently an outlier compared to most lefty atheists and right believers. I think it supports my contention and defence of my own beliefs.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:18 PM   #3
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The accusation leveled at atheists that profess atheism seems to be that they are a mirror of a religious fundamentalist, that they carry an identical closed minded bigotry and discriminatory attitude to the religious.
eh, if there is any similarity between religious fundamentalists and atheists it would be in their certaintity of being right.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:37 PM   #4
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There is a difference.

A religious fundamentalist would continue to believe even if there was persuasive evidence to the contrary, they know that their beliefs are right.

I don't know that there is no God, I can't prove a negative, "certainty" is really a high confidence level because the evidence to think God exists isn't there and naturalistic explanations for processes are grounded. A nuanced believer will reconcile naturalism and theism; I simply think that theism is superfluous, because there is no need for God n the universe it ought not exist.

I am self-critical, I will recognise that gaps in knowledge are huge and that there may be unanswerable questions, for which evidence one way or another is absolutely impossible. That attitude (which makes most atheists technical agnostics) does not match with fundamentalism around revealed truth. It may be a form of reductionary fundamentalism, scientism or strict materialism but it is not equivalent to religious fundamentalism.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:41 PM   #5
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I am self-critical, I will recognise that gaps in knowledge are huge and that there may be unanswerable questions, for which evidence one way or another is absolutely impossible. That attitude (which makes most atheists technical agnostics) does not match with fundamentalism around revealed truth. It may be a form of reductionary fundamentalism, scientism or strict materialism but it is not equivalent to religious fundamentalism.
I think one of the few times I think scientifically-minded atheists start to approach that of religious fundamentalism is when some invoke the "Anthropic Principle" haphazardly to stifle questioning. Admittedly, I'm not much of a fan of it.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:44 PM   #6
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Association between atheism and libertarianism?
I'm a little confused--where in the linked material is there evidence for an association between the two? Are you inferring that from the forum it appears on?
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:46 PM   #7
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I'm a little confused--where in the linked material is there evidence for an association between the two? Are you inferring that from the forum it appears on?
Considering most American "libertarians" are religious fanatics that don't want to pay taxes, I'd say that there isn't much of a connection at all between atheism and libertarianism in my mind.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:49 PM   #8
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It is social liberalism vs. authoritarianism, read the axis

It is what people consider allowable behaviours.

Libertarian = decriminalisation of drugs, reproductive freedoms (aka abortion), stem cell research, pornography etc.

Authoritarian = censorship, drug criminalisation, various social restrictions etc.


Socially Authoritarian, Economically Statist = Fascists and Communists

Socially Authoritarian, Economically Liberal = Extreme Social Conservative

Socially Libertarian, Economically Statist = Green Parties

Socially Libertarian, Economically Liberal = What I Would Consider Libertarian

Melon, I think that you are taking a skewed selection of libertarians, I read a number of American libertarian blogs and none of them are overtly religious. In the words of Instapundit aka Glen Reynolds "Personally, I'd be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons."
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:01 AM   #9
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I think one of the few times I think scientifically-minded atheists start to approach that of religious fundamentalism is when some invoke the "Anthropic Principle" haphazardly to stifle questioning. Admittedly, I'm not much of a fan of it.
I think that represents scientists invoking poor philosophy in a metaphysical argument.

The universe is the way it is because if it wasn't the way it is then it wouldn't be the way it is.

It is a tautology, why our universe exists and why it has the conditions it does are tough questions. They may not be the right questions, and when being discussed it is clear that people have different ideas of what is being meant and what the implications are.

I do not feel that fine tuning is a good term as it implies that some entity is doing the tuning, we don't know that and the same result could occur through having an infinite number of different types of univese with different properties,
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:03 AM   #10
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Melon, I think that you are taking a skewed selection of libertarians, I read a number of American libertarian blogs and none of them are overtly religious. In the words of Instapundit aka Glen Reynolds "Personally, I'd be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons."
One thing I hope you've noticed is that I've been very careful with my language. When I refer to American "libertarians," I say it inasmuch as I don't think that they really are--i.e., most of them seem to be paleolibertarians, who want the government out of their lives, and the iron fist of tradition and religion controlling everyone else's.

I don't doubt that most individual libertarians in America really are that hands-off about everything, much as I don't doubt that most individual Democrats in America are really liberal. However, there seems to be a particular breed of upper-class narcissists who actually run for office, for the most part, and these are the ones that can never really buy into an ideology completely. And so they end up mucking it up with all kind of kooky compromises, and American libertarians, if they've ever valued positive rights at all, have consistently had to brush that aside, because the only people who ever seem to run for office in their name are rich blowhards that are really only into it to stop paying taxes. I think, frankly, that's precisely why nobody takes libertarians seriously in this country, because the candidates they get are just plain bizarre.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:06 AM   #11
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It is social liberalism vs. authoritarianism, read the axis
Well OK, but it's not as if all people who aren't atheists are fundamentalists or social authoritarians. Do you not think there might be an association between 'Socially Authoritarian, Economically Statist' and atheism as well?


Actually I'm pretty sure someone made a thread out of something like the test this graph is based on in here, maybe a couple years ago. Unfortunately the search function is still recovering from the upgrade so I can't find it right now, but it might be interesting to compare the results from here to those in the link. (Or could do a retake, I guess.)
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:06 AM   #12
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I think that represents scientists invoking poor philosophy in a metaphysical argument.

The universe is the way it is because if it wasn't the way it is then it wouldn't be the way it is.

It is a tautology, why our universe exists and why it has the conditions it does are tough questions. They may not be the right questions, and when being discussed it is clear that people have different ideas of what is being meant and what the implications are.
I agree, really. I think I'd be happier with them saying, "I just don't know." The Anthropic Principle, really, is just intellectually lazy garbage, for the most part.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:29 AM   #13
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Well OK, but it's not as if all people who aren't atheists are fundamentalists or social authoritarians. Do you not think there might be an association between 'Socially Authoritarian, Economically Statist' and atheism as well?
This example wasn't an individual it was a population of web denizens, in general for this population that wasn't apparent.

I think if you sampled religious populations they will generally be more socially authoritarian than secular ones.

Statism does cross theistic and atheistic lines, I don't think that attitudes towards government have a religious control (although religious controls on government most certainly do).

I do think that there is a stronger association to social attitudes.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:30 AM   #14
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I agree, really. I think I'd be happier with them saying, "I just don't know." The Anthropic Principle, really, is just intellectually lazy garbage, for the most part.
In debate saying that you just don't know or that it is an eternal mystery opens the door to abuse, one only has to look at how Einstein gets attributed to see how some intellectually dishonest groups will distort views to religious ends.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:19 AM   #15
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There is a difference.

A religious fundamentalist would continue to believe even if there was persuasive evidence to the contrary, they know that their beliefs are right.

I don't know that there is no God, I can't prove a negative, "certainty" is really a high confidence level because the evidence to think God exists isn't there and naturalistic explanations for processes are grounded. A nuanced believer will reconcile naturalism and theism; I simply think that theism is superfluous, because there is no need for God n the universe it ought not exist.

I am self-critical, I will recognise that gaps in knowledge are huge and that there may be unanswerable questions, for which evidence one way or another is absolutely impossible. That attitude (which makes most atheists technical agnostics) does not match with fundamentalism around revealed truth. It may be a form of reductionary fundamentalism, scientism or strict materialism but it is not equivalent to religious fundamentalism.
Well, I must say you are a unique case though. I've encountered few people so consistently committed to a strictly materialist worldview. Your atheism (and your critiques of religion) seem to be rooted in whether scientific evidence exists or not. You seem to view faith as a means of answering questions that you feel can be adequately answered by science, whereas I think most people's reasons for belief go far beyond answering questions about phenomenons of being alive. Am I on track or off base with that analysis?
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