Godless don’t get that raw a deal in life

Okay its plain copy paste from Cyril’s FB wall but its too wonderful a debate to control the temptation of sharing. Cyrill initiated it by posting a quote from Salman Rushdie then it spiraled into full blown debate between believers and atheists.  I like these debates despite these being paradoxical. If believers agree to reason out with logic against atheist, they are agreeing to the fact that reasoning is way to achieve truth…if they agree what is point in debating God which they believe can not be understood through reasoning.

Here goes copy paste act:

"There are people who believe in God, and people who don't believe in God. Why should the people who do not believe in god be obliged to not criticize the people who believe in God? Because, goodness knows, there's plenty of it the other way round."

- Salman Rushdie.

You can call an atheist 'Kafir', or 'Heathen', or 'nastik'. Ostracize him, or worse hang him, or kill him in hordes like the buddhists or the pagans were, and still be a great champion, but if all you do is utter words against god and religion, you're a criminal. Why?

  • Masijeevi Hindi  : आस्तिक आक्रामक हैं क्‍योंकि वे डरे हुए हैं...

    Milind Ranade :  Premise of this argument is wrong. Believers are the ones who believe which is not seen or can't be proved scientifically. That's what is their belief. And they have a Right of having a belief. Non believers have no foundation at all. They ...See more

  • Cyril GuptaMilind, please focus on the qualitative aspect of it, and not the literal.

  • Milton D'Silva ‎"Non believers have no foundation at all. They are just against something which they do not believe exists." - Well, I am a non believer and I am not against anything, so even if that makes me pure idiot, I am happy to be one!

  • Milton D'Silva So fundoos are not the only ones who hate non believers...

  • Masijeevi Hindi Very premise that atheist are out there to prove/disprove is all wrong. Onus of proving existence of something is with the one saying it exists.

  • Milind Ranade That's what belief is. Believing in something which Science can't prove. BTW, science can't prove many things. For example. Mind. I hope evryone writing here, be a believer or a non believer, must be using it. But asked to prove, you won't be able to prove existance of your or anyone's Mind. So, save your proving to yourself Masjeevi Hindi ji. Science is lame. Belief may be blind, but it's wise and loving.

  • Javed Iqbal For all those who hate Athiests....---> Dont hate, Educate.

  • Milind Ranade Education is indoctrination. I won't go for that. Self understanding. Illumination. Self realization. That's what is needed. Not prostelyzation. That's meaningless.

  • Milton D'Silva Dont hate, do not try to educate...just leave each other to their own...

  • Milind Ranade ‎...that's what the great lady does. she gives us birth. nurtures us, and then leaves us to live our life and die our death. the great lady. cosmos.

  • Prakash Gupta me being an atheist knows that this feeling in anyone do not possess anything rebellious to the society.
    its something very personal and emotional too
    however i personally do not have any feeling to spread this to believers of god and make atheism a doctrine.
    It deals with personal opinion and it has always been and will remain something very personal

  • Cyril Gupta: ‎Milind Ranade, that mind thing, is actually a joke. It doesn't make sense, not in scientific terms, not when you go by empirical standards of science. Science has proven by dissection of live bodies (and dead), that human beings generally possess a mind. So unless there are non-humans walking against us (some people don't seem quite human do they?), we can safely say that they should possess a brain.
    The case about God is entirely different. There are only fictionalized accounts, there's no credible proof of God's existence. Nor has it been proved that God wants humanity to behave in a certain fashion, specially as dictated by religious people.
    Javed Iqbal, Why hate an atheist at all? Atheists don't hate you. As far as education is considered... We got here because we got educated buddy. Most of the atheists in existence were born surrounded by religious practitioners, and if they could move beyond their beliefs, it is only by careful consideration and thought, and by educating themselves.
    Do you think it's an easy decision to not believe when everyone else believes?

  • Gunjan Joshi : Amazing post Sir, I don't know what god means for anybody or for that matter for someone following Islam but I have read numerous muslim authors from M.J Akbar to Aatish Taseer and Salman Rusdie. Everyone tells a different story of Islam and various strata of Hindu Pundits also do same thing. Everyone has put believing or not-believing into a mould of his or her convenience. I agree with Salman Rushdie when he says,"putting a ban on anything publicizes it". I would rather say criticizing anything gives it fame. But, one thing I am certain about that I need my god with me(for my reasons, sounds selfish I guess).

  • Javed Iqbal again,..i said DONT hate...i dont recommend hate myself. baat bahut simple si hai...if u find logic and goodness in a religion, follow it. if you dont..dont follow it. as i said atheist ATLEAST has the courage to challange the religion that his family has been following since ages, and he is keen to explore the depth of any religion for that matter....this is called exploring one's existance...again...this is my opinion

  • Jude Terrence Dsouza: Science is lame.? Last I heard many lame walk. All use some prosthetic or the other created from the process known as science. While many who use those props believe that it is God's gift to them, Science never denied them the prop merely because of Science's belief that the believer's belief in God is incorrect and the proof would be the utterly simple act of taking away the prop.
    Education is indoctrination with fact which is known and you are free to prove otherwise. Religion is indoctrination with that which is unknown. and your are subservient to never know. So religion loves to ban everything, including people, science does nothing of the sort.
    Religion - a never ending joke with no punchline, but yet manages a real laugh. I LOVE RELIGION.

  • Milind Ranade :Cyril, it's not a jo ke. Science can't prove existence of Human Mind. That's the inconvenient truth about science. Science can't prove the Vital Energy which makes living being a Living Being. And we all ( including the atheists) consider it the Soul of our existence. All emotions and feelings which make us human are BEYOND science. Science talks about Time, Space, Dark Matter and Dark Energy and Black holes and it hasn't seen any of them. Those are just logical inferences. Logic is a faculty of Human Mind. It's not like something you can touch and weigh. So, basically, foundation of all science is Belief. And they have audacity to pick on the Believers. Bravo!

  • Milind Ranade Jude, birds and insects fly. Do they USE Science to do that? Seems to me, your logic is going in that direction. Humans had to develop so much science and technology to fly. And birds and cockroaches do it by birth. How amazing. So, here we are, confusing Religion and Spirituality with Science and Science with Technology.

  • Cyril Gupta: Milind, I think I will disagree about science not being able to prove the human mind. In what sense do you mean? A lot of research has been done on the human thought process, and I will admit that we are still only beginning to unravel the way the mind works, but we've come quite a way ahead. I am not a student of the brain, but I've found this book -'On Intelligence' very intriguing. That book is written by Jeff Hawkins, a programmer and an entrepreneur who's dedicating the rest of his life to research on the mind. It talks at great length about how the mind does what it does.
    Science is a journey and not a destination, and I like to think we are getting ahead every year, but, whatever science has unraveled till now is enough to destroy many of the old beliefs of the religion. I guess by now the only claim you can make about science is that it has not disproved the existence of God entity. Apart from that it has pretty much destroyed all other religious doctrines laid down in the holy books.
    As an atheist and understanding what atheists stand for, I can say that atheists do not feel threatened by belief in God. It is the belief in religion that is a problem. If the belief in God was a personal matter without any of the associated symptoms (preaching, public processions, masses, conversions, arguments, fights, riots, crusades), I don't we'd be arguing this point at all.

  • Cyril GuptaGunjan, if God is a personal friend for you why is there any harm in having him around? I do not intend to discredit believers in God. I just want to make the point that I've been godless almost all my life and life hasn't treated me any worse than it has treated any believer.

  • Mahesh Dutt brilliant Cyril...loved reading me more insight into your thought. Thanks for being your self bro.

  • Milind Ranade: It's just the 1% picture you are painting Cyril. Science has brought us at the brink of annihilation. In the age of IPhone, people are dying of all kinds of diseases and many of them are created by the medicines. Land is being made barren by the use of fertilizers which are created using so called science. Countries and civilizations are being made into slaves and their means of living are systematically being taken away in the name of science and progress. Check out Dr. Vandana Shiva's speech which I gave a link yesterday.!

  • Milton D'Silva has brought us at the brink of annihilation! I thought it was greed!

  • Cyril Gupta: Milind, of course you are right about all those things happening but is that science or humanity at work? Science is is not a motive, it's just a tool and what to use it for is humanity's decision. Religion is the motive, and we were breaking each other's heads with clubs and swords when that was all the science we had.
    We've used religion for practically the same purposes as science then. People have died and killed for the sake of religion, and I might say the number is quite high. I won't engage you any more in debate because I think I've said all that I can for now.
    Thank you for sharing Milind, I appreciate your contribution. Let's pick this again some time as we have done earlier :). Please do make a closing remark if you wish so.

  • Cyril GuptaMahesh Dutt: Mahesh bhai, you're thanking me because I am being me? :) That's a first. Thank you for you for finding me so interesting.

  • Jude Terrence Dsouza: Science is about understanding and possibly imitating nature. Science is about unshakling your self from the constraints of nature. Although a dog, a monkey, some spiders, fish etc did make it past some of the constrains nature placed on them, by flying into orbit on the skylab, as far a I know it was science and humans who got them there. All the million years of their existence did not get them there. Nor did a lot of prayer. While science has the inherent ability to debunk itself and come in with ever improving understanding of the world around us, religion has not resolved anything at all. Regarding your rant about science bringing us to the brink of destruction, it escapes the believers that if we removed scientific processes of the past 300 years, 80% of our population would be dead. If you removed it past 3500 years, 99% would be dead. OTOH if you removed religion, we would probably be spared a series of bloody genocides and wars. Read Steven Pinkers chronicle of violence to understand where science has got us, as far as security to life is concerned.
    Science does not understand very many things - far far more than it does understand. BUT SCIENCE UNDERSTAND THAT ALL OF IT'S UNDERSTANDING IS SUBJECT TO SCRUTINY, REFINEMENT, REJECTION AND REPLACEMENT BY NEWER MEMES.
    That does not in anyway provide religion a licence to paint illusions or automatically make it's pontifications a truth.
    Dark energy, matter black holes etc I dont know which hole you come from, but If you did build some instrumentation, through technology derived from science, that allows you to transcend your pathetic senses, you can see and experience all of them. True, others had to sit many hours in deep meditation and indulge in discourse to suggest the existence, or explain certain phenomena, either observed or predicted by maths. Same as a relgion apologist might do, to claim religion as being the same as science. But the similarity ends right there. While science provides the means for anyone to reproduce the result, eventually making it simple enough for high school students to replicate, religion still requires sophistry and punditry, the same as it was 3500 years ago, with the same hallucinatory results. I must confess I am impressed that nonsense such as this has survived to date. Might I say it's one of the oldest multilevel marketing scams going on.
    You might want to read Dr. Villanur Ramchandran's brilliant unraveling of this thing we call the mind and it's workings. Turns out, it is no different from your flies, ants, lizards etc. Heck we have 98%+ genes shared with apes, yet we have religious crackpots who believe some god created man on the 7th day. The gene for eye development is the same in primitive single celled protozoa and arose abot 800 million years ago. Which however does not give you the right to claim any fancy pedigree for religion, from protoplasm days.

  • Milind Ranade: Jude, I can understand the difficulty we are having in communication. I will hold our different upbringing in completely different set of values and beliefs as a culprit. For me, Science is nothing great to be looked at as sacred. Neither religion as some kind of a dictat given by some Hitler like God sitting in the heaven. Science is just special knowledge, not an instrument to subjugate innocent and illiterate people and religion is celebration of life, not set of commandments given by God. 'I am That' and 'You art though' are the basic premises from which I learned Religion and Spirituality. So, I can understand your outrage. It's the Dualism and Non Dualism debate. Where there is no middle ground. Either you are a reductionist or a wholist. There is no in between.

  • Milton D'Silva It is religion that has subjugated innocent and illiterate people, not science...

  • Jude Terrence Dsouza: As Milton D'silva points out you have got it ulta. Science is not special knowledge. It is knowledge with explanations that fit the reality we observe. Science compulsorily requires you to not consider anything sacred and question every assumption. Science does not subjugate anyone.
    Religion has no explanations to fit reality. It compulsorily require you to have faith. And it has always been used to subjugate and humiliate non adherents. Last I heard all religions were a series of prescriptions handed over to manu, moses, mohamed, or some hallucinating madman, by God. Even Buddhism required Budhha to get enlightened. Spiritualism and prescriptions via dalals = religion.
    The people who brought me up had very little ability to influence the diktata's henchmen - moses, manu, mohomed, etc - time travel having not been invented then and as far as I know, now. So as an alternative, and in a very schizoid way they would intrigue me with science, via books from BC library, while requiring that i follow all those stupid religious rituals. I would share my discovery from those books and other books at the school library, with my peers - a wonderful mix of rich, poor, rebellious, conforming etc etc kids. Those kids were in the same boat as me. We learnt to question because of science. Which has a vicious side effect - that of questioning authority. And made one realise that religion is about hierarchies, conformity and subjugation to the prescribed authorities. Follow the diktat of God's choosen henchmen else you shall - be reborn as xyz, fry in hell, have a sorry life, blah blah.
    And religion is not spirituality. As usual, religion has tried to usurp the positions of spirituality, philosophy and science. And there lies the major rub. I might add that there is a profound spirituality in science. The ecstasy of discovery.The excruciating low of a theory failing, the delirious high of discovery and the utter humility of understanding that we know so much yet know almost nothing. The realisation that we are no different from an amoeba or monkey. That we can contemplate upon the laws of nature that govern us and transcend some of nature's limitations. All of these does not require a God or religion or duality or singularity. But it requires one to be aloof, dispassionate involved, inspired by the magnificence of the world around, while one does science. Does that not sound like spiritualism?
    My problem with religion is that it wants to occupy all the high grounds of human endeavor, without an iota of substance in it's innards. I have no problem with anyone following any religion within the privacy of their spaces and flagellating themselves to a pulp. But I do have a problem with it when it starts to be used for governance and biases decision making.

  • Vinay Thakur very interesting discussion for me...very good points mentioned. Please read my post on similar subject and give your insights.

Freakonomics  by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner is a popular reading in non-classical economics.  I am reading it now a days and I am feeling something like what I felt while reading Animal Farm.  Levitt presents a case of Chicago Public School System where high-stake test were introduced. Such test resulted in large scale cheating not only from students but also from teachers.  If enough stakes are there then even the very system can cheat against itself.  Last semester exam at University of Delhi has shown it to the world. Stakes were high because it was necessary to show to courts and rest of world that newly imposed semester is such a good system…therefore University itself cheated in the result of examination.  Unusually high marks were given to students and such a cooking of results was done well after papers were checked.

for records here is excerpts from freakonomics : 

The Chicago Public School system embraced high-stakes testing in 1996. Under the new policy, a school with low reading scores would be placed on probation and face the threat of being shut down, its staff to be dismissed or reassigned. The CPS also did away with what is known as social promotion. In the past, only a dramatically inept or difficult student was held back a grade. Now, in order to be promoted, every student in third, sixth, and eighth grade had to manage a minimum score on the standardized, multiple-choice exam known as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Advocates of high-stakes testing argue that it raises the standards of learning and gives students more incentive to study. Also, if the test prevents poor students from advancing without merit, they won’t clog up the higher grades and slow down good students. Opponents, meanwhile, worry that certain students will be unfairly penalized if they don’t happen to test well, and that teachers may concentrate on the test topics at the exclusion of more important lessons.
Schoolchildren, of course, have had incentive to cheat for as long as there have been tests. But high-stakes testing has so radically changed the incentives for teachers that they too now have added reason to cheat. With high-stakes testing, a teacher whose students test poorly can be censured or passed over for a raise or promotion. If the entire school does poorly, federal funding can be withheld; if the school is put on probation, the teacher stands to be fired. High-stakes testing also presents teachers with some positive incentives. If her students do well enough, she might find herself praised, promoted, and even richer: the state of California at one point introduced bonuses of $25,000 for teachers who produced big test-score gains.
And if a teacher were to survey this newly incentivized landscape and consider somehow inflating her students’ scores, she just might be persuaded by one final incentive: teacher cheating is rarely looked for, hardly ever detected, and just about never punished.