Re: Atheists Tune in 'God Bless America'

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 08:05:23 MST

From: "Technotranscendence" <>
> I've always thought the point behind a working definition was that one
> wasn't at the stage of being able to provide adequate rigor. In other
> words, if you have rigor, you've gone beyond the working definition stage.
> Of course, this is somewhat fuzzy in any give case.

<g> Yes, it's especially fuzzy in the case of "God." I think we've established
that the meaning of the word is vague at best and meaningless at worst. That's
rather ominous for a nation that prints "In God we trust" on its currency.

> Also, I would say that the word "God" does have a definition, but that the
> definition does not fit anything that exists (and is incoherent).

True, theism doesn't even qualify as a hypothesis, because it's unprovable no
matter how we define it. Consequently, theism doesn't cohere with any theory
in science.

> Not if they use it in the convention sense. Of course, one can use a word
> however one wishes. I can define "physics" as what most people would call
> "fantasy," but I don't think that's the point here.

Right, the point is that without sufficient definitions, discourse becomes an
exercise in rhetoric and/or emotional transaction... which is what I think the
"God bless America" slogan really entails. No one really cares what it
actually means. It's the feeling behind it that counts.

> But while there would be a difference, wouldn't "theism" contain the concept
> of "God" -- theism being a belief in God or gods?

You're right, this probably obscures the issue unnecessarily, and I guess it's
somewhat like the difference between Communism and Marxism. Someone can be a
communist without being a Marxist, but not a Marxist without being a
communist. So, one can be a theist without believing in God, but one can't
believe in God without being a theist. Anyway, I don't care if people yell
"God bless America" until they're blue in the face... What really matters is
how well America responds with technology and physical means to the terrorism
of 9-11. What worries me is that the religious fundamentalists in the US may
have an agenda to use this incident to fulfill the prophecies of Armageddon
that their religion mandates.

> Also, while I do think the statement "God bless America" is basically
> benevolent, I disagree with George H. Smith in his conclusions. I don't
> think it's somehow devoid of religious content or connotations of the bad
> sort. Still, I don't argue with most people who mouth it. There are other,
> more important things to do.

Right on... We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity
altogether, because it's the most regressive force now operating in society.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:17 MDT