Atheists Launch ‘Secular Safe Zones’ On Campuses Nationwide

by Samantha Watkins - Pt Loma Nazarene University on November 6, 2013

Saying atheists are bullied and ridiculed, the Secular Student Alliance this fall launched a “Secular Safe Zones” program at campuses across the nation.

“Every time the Pledge of Allegiance is said or a sports team says a prayer before a game, secular students are pushed to the margins of society,” the alliance’s website claims.

Organizers say these so-called safe zones, or classrooms designated on campuses, will protect students who don’t believe in God from alleged persecution by peers, give atheist or agnostic students a chance to develop camaraderie, and allow students to discuss ideas to promote secular issues.

The alliance openly and proudly cites the gay-rights movement as a source for developing its own public relations strategies.

“We’re taking a page right out of (the LGBT) playbook,” alliance spokesman Jesse Galef recently told The Washington Times.

Secular safe zones are needed to “create safe spaces in which secular students can question, criticize, and discuss topics and issues important to them,” according to its website.

“Unfortunately, many Americans fallaciously think that being secular is the same thing as being immoral or un-American,” Phil Zuckerman, a Pitzer College professor of sociology and secular studies, told Religion News Service. “So there is a lot of negative stereotyping that often emerges, and this can sometimes create an uncomfortable environment for secular students.”

The Secular Student Alliance encourages its members to launch safe zones on their campuses, and the group boasts 359 affiliate groups at universities and high schools across the nation, according to its website. An estimated two dozen secular safe zones have been created on high school and college campuses thus far through the fledgling program.

Andy Cheadle-Ford, the secular safe zone coordinator, told The College Fix in an email that the program launched about two months ago and is still in its early stages, but “we have heard from several faculty members that they have interacted with students who have been very excited about the program.”

These safe zones are designed to mimic similar safe zones created by and for the LGBTQ movement over the years, organizers say.

Although most mainstream public colleges are largely considered bastions of secular thoughts and beliefs – from the sciences to the social sciences – the safe zones are needed, the alliance claims, because atheists don’t have religious symbols they can don, noting: “Sadly, the secular community lacks any truly well-defined symbols that are worn by the masses to identify themselves.”

But there may be an agenda behind these secular safe zones, one scholar suggests.

“The liberal democratic state has already privatized language about God and excluded the very discipline that birthed the university from its own practice of rationality,” John Wright, theology professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and pastor at Mid City Heights Church, said in an email to The College Fix. “This shows the underlying reductionism and political agenda to remove all socially mediating groups such as the church between the individual and the state.”

Wright’s book, Postliberal Theology and the Church Catholic, looks in part at how “religious studies” became a part of the contemporary United States academe in order to secularize theological discourse.

Christian scholar Craig Hazen, a professor at the evangelical Biola University in Los Angeles, told The Washington Times he has a good idea: “(Religious groups) should send over a stack of pizza to secular safe zones with a note on it that says, ‘Let’s talk.’”

As of now, Secular Safe Zones are not widely known, but the movement is expect to grow, Cheadle-Ford said.

“We hope to continue to add allies to our program and to continue developing and updating our training,” he said. “We are also planning on adding a facilitator training so that the Secular Student Alliance can train others allies.”

Fix contributor Samantha Watkins is a student at Point Loma Nazarene University.

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  • Timothy Horton

    Why did you use the DarwinFish as the OP picture? The symbol represents the scientific reality of life’s evolution on Earth over the oogity boogity! of a small but vocal set of Creation/ID pushing Fundamentalists. It has nothing to do with atheism. Neither the Theory of Evolution nor the DarwinFish emblem make any comment on the existence or non-existence of any God or Gods.

    • DD

      I guess ad hominem is all militant seculars like you have to challenge the idea that there is intelligent design in the universe.

      • Timothy Horton

        Maybe if you guys actually did some research and published your positive evidence for the ID of life instead of just the usual empty blustering the scientific community would start taking you seriously.

        But you don’t, so you aren’t.

        • DD

          They do have peer-reviewed, published research. Try again.

          • Timothy Horton

            They have not a single piece of positive evidence for the Intelligent Design of life. Not one. Every last thing the IDiots have published is ‘Darwinism can’t explain this so ID wins by default”.

            That negative false dichotomy may sway the mouth breathing Fundy rubes but carries zero weight the professional scientific community.

          • DD

            (LOL) There you go with that ad hominem again. That’s peer reviewed, isn’t it?

            There are quite a few in the scientific community that have an open mind about the mounting evidence for ID and growing numbers who support it. Will you be next? You know what they say about the dog that barks the loudest.

          • Timothy Horton

            I know that you haven’t provided one piece of positive evidence for ID despite all your blustering.

            That’s really the bottom line here my little yappy lap dog.

          • Daddyeaux

            It’s called faith asshole. Try it sometime and maybe you won’t be so God Damn pissed off if someone has the slightest differing opinion than you.

          • Timothy Horton

            I accept the positive results of 150+ years of scientific research and understanding.

            You believe in something called “faith asshole” despite all the evidence to the contrary.

            To each his own. I have no problems with people personally rejecting science due to their religious beliefs BTW. The country will always need janitors and fry cooks. Just don’t expect to push your religious bullshit into public science classrooms.

          • JJnTX

            Prove that naturalism is true, Tim. Post your own peer reviewed scientific source proving scientism or naturalism is valid.

          • Timothy Horton

            Science doesn’t deal in proof. I have a whole planet’s worth of empirical evidence that supports naturalistic processes are real and are capable of producing the phenomena we see today.

            If you have any positive evidence for supernatural non-materialistic forces creating anything please present it. Then fly directly to Stockholm to pick up your Nobel prize.

          • JJnTX

            The evidence is the same for everyone. Facts, evidence, and logic are what we have to use. Logic persuades me that there is a first cause and not an infintite regress of causes. That first cause much be sufficient in potential effects to give rise to what we observe today, including objective morality, for example. It points me in the direction of God, not away from it.

          • Michael Brookman

            That’s not logic, that’s supposition. You’re presupposing that there’s a cause. The Anthropmorphic principle takes care of that one – If the universe was such that life could not evolve, there wouldn’t be anyone around to complain about it. And don’t get me started on objective morality, what a joke. We see even among our own species, a variety of contradictory moral systems.

          • JJnTX

            Actually, the Anthromorphic principle does no such thing. While the notion that if this universe was not able to sustain life then we would not be here to complain about it is nice and all, it is not in fact the case.

            As to objective morality, at one time there were various opinions of the shape of the earth. That doesn’t logically mean that the earth actually had two shapes.

            You’ll have to do better.

          • Michael Brookman

            There’s a difference between accepting that you have faith, and letting public schools feed children nonsense that makes us a laughingstock to the rest of the civilized world.

          • Daddyeaux

            So the nonsense public schools have been feeding children in the last 40 years or so should have had us back on top by now.. Hows that working out for you.

          • Michael Brookman

            There are more scientists named Steve who believe in evolution than scientists who support ID (there was a tongue in cheek drive a few years ago that proved this.) Now raw numbers alone don’t prove anything.

            However, we can look at the predictive power of the two theories. Intelligent Design would suggest that organisms don’t change over time, and were created in their present form. There’s a whole host of evidence, from virology and epidemiology, from laboratory experiments with fruit flies, and from observations of changes in bird populations near highway overpasses that are consistent with natural selection being a driving force for changes in species over time. Here are some articles for you. One is peer reviewed papers, and some are popular science article another peer reviewed papers

            http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1000495

            https://www.sciencenews.org/article/shorter-winged-swallows-evolve-around-highways

          • DD

            “There are more scientists named Steve who believe in evolution than scientists who support ID ”

            This is without a doubt true, but as you point out, proves nothing. All new movements are that way.

            “Intelligent Design would suggest that organisms don’t change over time, and were created in their present form.”

            Not necessarily. The existence of intelligent design by no means precludes other mechanisms such as adaptation at work. Unlike militant naturalists, we’re not saying that everything can be explained by “our theory” intelligent design, but there is a lot out there that can only be explained by it.

            “natural selection being a driving force for changes in species over time.”

            Yes, but not a driving force across species. I can breed a cat for many different characteristics, but I cannot breed a cat into a pig no matter how hard I try. Nor can I create life and self-replicating RNA that simply duplicates itself, doesn’t count.

          • JJnTX

            ID doesn’t predict that species remain static. Where did you get that idea? Many ID proponents are staunch subscribers to evolutionary theory, though they are critical of it in some areas.

          • Not_To_Worry

            They have not a single piece of positive evidence for the Intelligent Design of life

            Have you got a single piece of evidence refuting the concept of the Intelligent Design of life? You don’t. Not one. Try me…

            That means nobody has the right to any “safe zones” – it’s open season: State your case and let people decide for themselves. That is what the First Amendment was written for.

            But as I said, the First Amendment died on the Leftist controlled campuses a long time ago. Open and free discussion is the greatest danger to Leftists.

          • Eric

            And what of the strong Anthropic Principle?

          • brbg

            Timothy, Greater minds than mine have proven the existence of God using logic and reason, all the way back to Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas etc. It is atheists who cannot prove that there is no God.

      • ArizonaKiwi

        It’s funny that the militant atheists are calling you names while the militant Christians are bombing abortion clinics. The reason why many atheists resort to calling names is because they’ve dealt with people like you so often in the past that it becomes annoying.

        • DD

          How many militant Christians have bombed abortion clinics? Probably just as many as militant seculars have tried to shoot up churches and Christian groups. Come out of your hateful fantasies and try again.

          “The reason why many atheists resort to calling names is because they’ve dealt with people like you so often in the past that it becomes annoying.”

          So, what do we do with annoying people like you?

          • Michael Brookman

            In fact, the vast majority of church shootings are done by religious zealots of an opposing religion, or by disaffected members of the church. Find me one example of an Atheist shooting up a church he hadn’t been part of. One.

          • DD

            “In fact, the vast majority of church shootings are done by religious zealots of an opposing religion, or by disaffected members of the church.”

            Proof

            “Find me one example of an Atheist shooting up a church he hadn’t been part of. One.”

            Racist secular bigots for black churches. The shooter caught at Family Research Council who was motivated by the smear against that Christian organization on a secular hate group’s web site, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    • ventana

      Not quite Timothy. The DARWIN inside this particular fish (a specific, ancient symbol for Christianity) is an overt statement that evolution obviates Jesus (& God). It’s an atheist jibe. And a good one.

      • Sean Ahern

        Except that evolution isn’t incompatible with religion. Believing in evolution and the diversification of species by way of natural selection does not directly imply a disbelief in God. So Timothy Horton’s right… it’s a pretty poor image to accompany the article.

      • Michael Brookman

        Only fringe evangelicals think that evolution and God are incompatible. Most mainstream Christian organizations (Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopal, Mainstream Lutheran Churches) a have accepted the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution.

        • brbg

          Michael, The Catholic Church only accepts that evolution is only one possible explanation for human origins. It teaches that God created man. We didn’t just happen accidently

  • James Godin

    Such a futile attempt by a minority of fools. If any of these boneheads passed science class in high school they would realize they’re entire belief system is based on crap made up in the 1800′s that was put out to pasture over a decade ago.

    • Timothy Horton

      Don’t be too hard on the Creationists. For most of them it’s not their fault they were raised to be sheep with zero critical thinking skills.

      • mally el

        You misunderstood James. He was talking about the stubborn and silly goats.

        • Timothy Horton

          I know. That’s the Fundy Creationists, whose blustering arrogance is equaled only by their scientific ignorance and stupidity.

          • DD

            That’s the Fundamentalist Seculars, whose blustering arrogance is equaled only by their scientific ignorance and stupidity.

          • IamfuryU$!

            Good job! I contend there is no such person as an atheist only God deniers!

      • zek

        Ah yes, the liberal, secular evolutionist:

        1) All organisms continually evolve by environmental pressures (natural selection), interbreeding, advantageous mutations, and so on.

        2) Many species, such as dogs, despite having originated from a single species, vary widely in size, physical appearance, intelligence, temperament, behavior, disposition, and so on.

        3) Despite being more genetically diverse than dogs, and having diverged over tens of thousands of years, all human races are exactly the same. (OK, OK, maybe their skin color varies.) There are no significant differences in brain structure, intelligence, physical features, future orientation, etc. across human races. Humans are a blank slate and culture comes from…. ummmm……. it’s just chance. In fact, race is just a social construct. It doesn’t even exist! (In humans only.)

        4) If you disbelieve any part of #3, you’re a racist.

        • Timothy Horton

          No differences in physical features between human groups???

          I suppose that’s why no one can tell the difference between an African Pygmy and an Alaskan Aelut.

          Where do the Creationists find these clueless boobs?

          • Cincinnatus

            Only a left-wing loon, such as you, could have missed the lightly masked sarcasm in zek’s post.

      • IamfuryU$!

        Laughable in a pathetic way. There is no such person as an atheist, you are just another God denier. We have all been where you are now, you don’t own the patent on dumb but you are a licensee at the moment. You’re problem is you can’t escape Him, only reject Him. At death you and I will both get what we want. Read Matthew 18:12 then imagine an eternity of screaming over and over again “there is no God” only no one will hear you! Choose wisely.

        • Timothy Horton

          Do you believe in Zeus, Odin, Thor? No? Then you’re a God denier too. Atheists just reject one more God than you do.

          • IamfuryU$!

            Like I said, choose wisely, He’s still there!

          • Timothy Horton

            Yep, still there along with Allah, Buddha, Pele, Hera, Viracocha, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

          • IamfuryU$!

            Hope whichever of your gods and my God blesses you. choose wisely which one that would be when it comes!

          • JJnTX

            Is that supposed to be a logical argument?

        • Nullifidian

          What’s with the half-face? It looks like it should be painted on black velvet and put under a blacklight, there to be appreciated while smoking a hookah with Pink Floyd playing softly in the background.

    • Nullifidian

      At least three errors in a single sentence. That’s impressive. And I’m even ignoring your characterization of the SSA as a “minority of fools”, since that’s just content-free personal abuse.

      First, atheism does not qualify as a system of beliefs since it only deals with one issue: whether god exists. Atheists come down on the “don’t believe it” side. By the same token, theism qua theism isn’t a belief system either.

      Second, atheism is not based on evolution. (I assume it’s evolution you’re referring to, and not germ theory, statistical thermodynamics, biochemistry, biogeography, or any of the other fields that got their start in the 19th century.) There were atheists before the 19th century and there will continue to be atheists even if the theory of evolution is overturned, which is unlikely.

      Third, if evolutionary theory has been “put out to pasture over a decade ago”, that news has failed to filter down to working biologists, who still use evolution to guide their research and still teach it to their students. It’s certainly still a staple of high school science classes, so I doubt people who pass them will come away with the impression that evolution is dead. As one of those poor peons who apparently doesn’t even know what’s going on in my own field, perhaps you could let me know what new theory has supplanted evolution and which experimental or field work was done to establish it?

      • JJnTX

        This whole line of comments is like second graders arguing over which fictitious superhero is best.

        First, evolution is not incompatible with religion.
        Second, atheism is a belief system because the belief that no god exists has logical ramifications. Atheists like to deny this, because they’ve either not thought it out all the way, or want to assert that to pretend as if they have nothing to defend.

        An atheist is almost always going to espouse some form of scientism or naturalist worldview, and you do so in your own post. That belief system requires a defense just as a religious worldview does.

        You’re no more sophisticated by spouting tired atheist cop outs than the Young Earth Creationists are.

        • Nullifidian

          First, evolution is not incompatible with religion.

          I never said it was. Since this post clearly cannot be directed at me, therefore, can you clarify who it was you were really intending to respond to?

          Second, atheism is a belief system because the belief that no god exists has logical ramifications.

          Unfortunately, what you list as “logical ramifications” actually aren’t. Atheism does have some, I am prepared to admit. For example, not believing in god means that you can’t believe god fathered sons or daughters, either many (as in the case of Greek and Norse mythology) or one (as in the case of Christian mythology). But not believing in Y and Z because they’re precluded by not believing in X doesn’t mean that not believing in X entails positive beliefs about the world.

          An atheist is almost always going to espouse some form of scientism or naturalist worldview, and you do so in your own post.

          No, I didn’t. This is another hint that you must have been reading someone else’s comment instead of mine. As an aside, I’m not sure you even know what scientism is. Plus, if you’re going to claim that atheism has certain logical ramifications, then you should be more careful with your language, because “almost always” means “not necessarily” and “not necessarily” means there’s no entailment between atheism and “espous[ing] some form of scientism or naturalist [sic] worldview”.

          You’re no more sophisticated by spouting tired atheist cop outs than the Young Earth Creationists are.

          You seem to have dreamed up “tired atheist cop outs” where none existed. And notably, you still failed to refute anything I actually said, perhaps because you were too focused on refuting the fictitioous atheist you had constructed in your imagination, who is so much obliging about lying down and dying than real people with real philosophies.

          • JJnTX

            Perhaps rereading my post would help. My first comment was addressed to the “whole line of comments”.

            Those ramifications actually are. You’re just in denial or haven’t read much about atheism, which is as common among atheist fundamentalists as it is religious fundamentalists. Normally, most thoughtful atheists arrive at a form of materialism as well as holding morality to be subjective.

            I say “almost always” because there are some atheists, though a tiny minority, who try to hold to objective morality while denying the existence of gods. The typical atheist will espouse scientism or materialism or some combination of those or eliminative materialism. That’s just the fact of the matter. You don’t seem to have given it much thought.

            Now, the current Cult of Gnu, led by Dawkins and Coyne and their ilk are not nearly as sophisticated as their predecessors, like Neitzsche, who arrived at nihilism.

          • Nullifidian

            Perhaps rereading my post would help. My first comment was addressed to the “whole line of comments”.

            But none of your comments were relevant to what I said. So perhaps you might address them in a post that’s responding to me. Otherwise you can go to the top of the comments section and use that comment box to leave a generalized post, so that those of us who actually have something to do that doesn’t involve responding to your straw men can get on with it.

            Those ramifications actually are.

            Then show what they are and explain how they are logical ramifications of atheism. To do that, you must show that they are exclusive to atheism, because if theists can also self-consistently hold these beliefs, then they must also be consistent with the existence of god, and show how they are logically entailed by atheism. Just showing that X belief is popular among atheists (and you haven’t even done this yet, just asserted that it is) does not mean that the belief is entailed by atheism.

            Normally, most thoughtful atheists arrive at a form of materialism as well as holding morality to be subjective.

            “Normally”, “most”: these are giveaways that these beliefs are not logically entailed by atheism.

            I say “almost always” because there are some atheists, though a tiny minority, who try to hold to objective morality while denying the existence of gods.

            In other words, there is no entailment. There is also a large body of philosophy on morality, and most moral philosophers think that the “divine command” theory is worthless regardless of where they stand on the issue of subjectivism vs. objectivism (or any of the other shades of ethical theory which can’t be reduced to this dichotomy). Honestly, condescending to me when it’s obvious you only have the most superficial acquaintance with philosophy… well, it may make me laugh, but it’s not improving your arguments even the tiniest bit.

            The typical atheist will espouse scientism or materialism or some combination of those or eliminative materialism.

            Again, no entailment. Also, it’s still not clear that you know what “scientism” is (or maybe you just don’t know many atheists), and from what you’ve just said it’s virtually certain that you don’t know what eliminative materialism is. If you don’t understand these terms, please stop throwing them around as buzzwords.

            You don’t seem to have given it much thought.

            Hilarious. Because I don’t regurgitate your stereotypes and sloppy thinking back at you, I must be the ignorant one.

            Now, the current Cult of Gnu, led by Dawkins and Coyne and their ilk are not nearly as sophisticated as their predecessors, like Neitzsche, who arrived at nihilism.

            Nietzsche (this is the correct spelling) was not a nihilist. That is an egregious oversimplification of his thought based on mistaking Nietzsche for Schopenhauer. I don’t know what textbook you studied from, or how many box tops you had to mail in to receive it, but you’d be well advised to invest in one written by someone who knows what they’re talking about.

          • JJnTX

            You made the claim that atheism does not logically entail a belief system. It most certainly does, as I’ve stated. Without a god, then subjective morality is a logical ramification, by way of example. Determinism nicely follows from atheism as well. You act as if that is surprising or controversial, when most atheist philosophers admit as much.

          • Nullifidian

            It most certainly does, as I’ve stated.

            That’s the problem: you’ve stated it but you haven’t demonstrated it.

            Without a god, then subjective morality is a logical ramification, by way of example.

            As I said before, this is not true by your own admission. If you concede that not every atheist is necessarily a moral subjectivist, then moral subjectivism is not logically entailed by atheism. Furthermore, this claim can only be true if the only way of grounding moral objectivism is by the dictates of a god. This is called divine command theory. It is disparaged even by philosophers who are moral objectivists. It’s not generally accepted, let alone established to the point that the only possible form of dissent is to drop moral objectivism entirely. Also, since it’s not inconsistent to affirm theism and moral subjectivism, moral subjectivism could be true even if a god exists. This weakens the case for entailment from the other direction. That too is something I’ve already pointed out. We’d make considerably greater progress here if you’d actually read what I say and take it on board.

            Determinism nicely follows from atheism as well.

            HOW?! And which kind of determinism are you talking about? If it’s nomological determinism, the view that the laws of physics determine future events due to rigid causal connections (for some reason, I feel the need to define philosophical terms for you), that has already been refuted. It was on the ropes with thermodynamics and definitively killed by quantum mechanics. Since I accept both these sciences and yet am still an atheist, then explain why I should be a determinist. Is there a god variable in QM that prevents deterministic behavior from emerging? And if so, can it really be said to be acausal if a god is causing it? And most important of all: where is your evidence or reasoning to support your claim?!

            You act as if that is surprising or controversial, when most atheist philosophers admit as much.

            While it’s not “most”, I’d be satisfied with five citations of atheist philosophers, with checkable references, claiming that determinism and moral subjectivism are entailed by atheism (note: this does not mean finding me philosophers who merely hold these beliefs, because if your claim were true they would hold those beliefs necessarily in any case). I’ll even help: you can exclude the philosophers J. L. Mackie, A. C. Grayling, A. J. Ayer, Bertrand Russell, Michael Martin, Kai Nielsen, Anthony Flew, Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Feuerbach, and several others, because they never said anything so idiotic.

            P. S. I’m still curious about where you found “scientism or naturalist worldview” in my first post. Would you like to explain that, or are you going to retreat to the excuse that “your own post” should be interpreted to mean “somebody’s post somewhere, but it’s more convenient for me to respond to another person entirely instead of replying where this claim would be relevant”?

          • JJnTX

            That depends on whether you agree with the atheists who embrace objective morality. Frankly, I believe the two are mutually exclusive, meaning one must be false, meaning that indeed, atheism has logical ramifications.

            So, if you’re an atheist, and have no belief in the supernatural, then you are a naturalist. If everything we experience is a result of the antecedent states, which is the crux of naturalism, then that has further ramifications.

            It’s really not that hard.

          • Nullifidian

            That depends on whether you agree with the atheists who embrace objective morality.

            No. It. Doesn’t. Logical contradiction or consistency does not depend on my opinion. If it did, I’d just pronounce you self-contradictory, tell you to go vanish in a puff of logic, and finally have done with this mind-numbing conversation.

            Frankly, I believe the two are mutually exclusive, meaning one must be false, meaning that indeed, atheism has logical ramifications.

            What you believe doesn’t matter either. If there is a mutual contradiction between moral objectivism and atheism, then you must demonstrate it. Your intuitions about philosophy are not something I’d wager the price of a gum wrapper on.

            So, if you’re an atheist, and have no belief in the supernatural, then you are a naturalist.

            But then if I’m an atheist and do believe in the supernatural, then I’m not a naturalist. God is not the only supernatural entity in the pack, and as many atheists as theists fell for spiritualism in the late 19th and early 20th century, for example. I’ve personally met atheists who believe in ghosts, ESP, and other forms of mysticism. So if you’ve got a knock-down proof that shows that atheism is logically incompatible with these beliefs, I’d love to hear it so I can tell them all about it. But if I just tell them that their views are unconventional and unpopular among atheists, I doubt I’m going to convince them because they’re already aware of that fact.

            Also, “naturalism” is not as clearly defined as you wish to make it appear. It’s an extremely vague term rooted in a debate that emerged during the early 20th century and poses several interesting problems independently of the existence of gods, such as whether moral facts, modal facts, mathematical facts, and other (presumably) mental states are reducible to physical facts and how, or if one can have naturalism without physicalism. Saying that atheism commits a person to naturalism is not only wrong on your own definition of the term, but it’s also a claim that requires a serious and detailed explanation of exactly what is meant.

            See: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/

            If everything we experience is a result of the antecedent states, which is the crux of naturalism, then that has further ramifications.

            So supernaturalism, which you take to be equivalent to theism by inversion of your argument, has as its crux that nothing we experience is the result of antecedent states—or at least not everything? That will be an interesting sidelight on miracles (not to mention the creation): it’s no use praying for anything because these supernatural events just happen without god or any other entity doing anything about them. I don’t think many people will sign on for that. This is why (super)naturalism and causal (in)determinism are not related, let alone the “crux” of their respective views.

            In fact, one can argue (and I would) that causal determinism is refuted by quantum mechanics, because there are events that simply happen without a cause. For example, alpha decay, one of the primary modes of radioactive decay, occurs when a helium nucleus is released from the atom of a radioisotope. Under classical mechanics, this simply should not happen at all. But it does. And it does by an acausal process called quantum tunneling because random quantum vacuum fluctuations permit the momentary relaxation to a lower energy state which allows the alpha particle to escape. This process is fundamentally acausal, based as it is on the creation of virtual particles. Any attempt to formulate a local and deterministic model of QM fails in theory as well as practice. If not believing in god means that I commit myself to causal determinism, then this means that QM proves the existence of god. So then you should explain where god enters into QM and how the existence of god prevents the emergence of causally deterministic behavior.

            It’s really not that hard.

            No, not hard at all, if you don’t bother to think about it.

          • JJnTX

            You should work on your reading skills while you’re taking your logic class. Either the objective moralists are right, or the subjective moralists are right, ergo atheism indeed has logical ramifications, lol. Ayn Rand, I believe was one of the former, Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, etc., all fall in the latter.

            There is nothing which specifies morality in an atom or a molecule. Science cannot speak to the “rightness or wrongness” of an act. If morality is objective, then it is transcendent in some fashion, nullifying naturalism, which is why there are so very few atheists who hold to objective morality.

            I’ve yet to see any “evidence” that you’re even familiar with these topics from your posts.

          • Nullifidian

            Either the objective moralists are right, or the subjective moralists
            are right, ergo atheism indeed has logical ramifications, lol.

            You can only properly use “ergo” when one clause follows from the other. In this case, it’s a massive non sequitur.

            Ayn Rand, I believe was one of the former, Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, etc., all fall in the latter.

            So let’s say you’re right about their respective positions. ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE/WERE ATHEISTS. And they’re upholding different positions with respect to moral objectivism. So either you can demonstrate that one group is committing a logical fallacy somewhere or there is no entailment from their atheism to their views on the subjectivity or objectivity of morality. Get it NOW? The ball is in your court. It’s your obligation to demonstrate that if someone is an atheist and a moral objectivist, then they are necessarily contradicting themselves in some way.

            There is nothing which specifies morality in an atom or a molecule.

            I await your demonstration of this claim, and your demonstration that it is relevant.

            Science cannot speak to the “rightness or wrongness” of an act.

            That hasn’t been established by you, but even if it has been… so what?

            If morality is objective, then it is transcendent in some fashion, nullifying naturalism….

            This doesn’t follow at all from either of the previous two statements, nor is it true. There are ways of constructing objective moralities that do not require positing transcendent anything (moral naturalism), and one might be inclined to ask, if morality is based on a standard that transcends the material universe, how we in this material universe are supposed to grasp it. Also, as I pointed out above, even if moral facts are not reducible to the level of atoms or molecules, this does not follow that naturalism is thereby “nullified”. Finally, it could be the case that morality is rooted in evolutionary survival strategies, which would split the difference between objectivism and subjectivism. They could have gone another way, but the way they are now would be a universal for all humans because we share the same common ancestral population.

            I’ve yet to see any “evidence” that you’re even familiar with these topics from your posts.

            Well, if you’re referring to the BS that you just make up on the fly, I’m not familiar with that until you make the assertion—and all you ever do is assert. For example, it was news to me that causal determinism is the crux of naturalism. (An acquaintance I told this to quipped that bad teeth and halitosis were the crux of naturalism instead, and I hold his assertion as about as well-founded as yours.) Frankly, you have no real clue about philosophy, no depth of knowledge, so you judge “familiarity” with it by how readily someone replicates the unfounded assertions you’ve made about it. Whether I impress you is of complete indifference to me since you’re the one who is making claims about positive beliefs you assert are logical entailed by atheism which you will not back up with evidence or reasoning.

          • JJnTX

            You didn’t even read the content, lol.

          • Nullifidian

            You didn’t even read the content, lol.

            You seem to like to accuse people of your own worst habits. Little of what you’ve said has responded relevantly to my objections, and at one point you simply restated your assertions in response to the very post rebutting them (when you first babbled about moral subjectivism).

            As for morality in an atom – no, there is nothing in an atom that says raping an infant is wrong.

            This is just another assertion, not a demonstration. A demonstration would be harder than you think it is, but I’m not going to insist on it because I’m sick of seeing you flail around in ignorance. Also because I know you haven’t bothered to back up a single one of your claims with evidence or reasoning yet.

            Your approach seems to be fairly typical – denial.

            I only deny what you claim because what you claim is ignorant and stupid. If you’d start showing some evidence of independent thought and actual knowledge of philosophy, then I’d be more prepared to entertain your statements.

            QM is silent with respect to determinism or indeterminism.

            Yet another of your famous assertions, which has already been refuted above. Causal determinism requires that every event have a cause separate from itself. It cannot be self-causing or acausal, but many atomic-level processes, such as several types of radioactive decay, nuclear fusion, etc. are acausal. These processes wouldn’t exist without the spontaneous, acausal creation of virtual particles relaxing the Coulomb barrier to permit the escape of an alpha particle (helium nucleus), the entry of an electron (electron capture), or the complete fusion of two atoms into one with a higher atomic number. But you say QM is silent with respect to determinism or indeterminism. How can that possibly be? QM predicts the behavior of particles at molecular levels. If they’ve modeled them with anything like accuracy, then it should be possible to tell if the behavior is deterministic or indeterministic. Nobody had any trouble figuring out that classical mechanics was deterministic, so what’s the snag here?

            Scientism is the belief that we can only know things through the scientific method, that science is the only path to knowledge.

            Awesome, so you do know what it means, or at least you’ve looked it up. In that case, can you tell me what reeked of scientism in my original post, because I don’t recall declaring “that we can only know things through the scientific method or that science is the only path to truth”? In fact, I have a hard time believing that I could ever give that impression to anyone who wasn’t already arguing with a straw atheist rather than me, since I don’t think that this is true. For one thing, it doesn’t account for the truths of mathematics and logic, which are not like those of science. I’m pretty sure that most atheists are aware of mathematics and logic, and so I guess you just haven’t met many atheists if you think that most of them are adherents of scientism (which is, I reiterate, independent of showing that scientism is logically entailed by atheism). And speaking of entailment, if scientism is entailed by atheism, what was the atheist supposed to do if he lived before the era of modern science, which only arose in the 16th C. and was only regarded as a unified discipline early in the 19th C.? There were atheists before then, you know.

            Materialism is the belief that only matter and energy exist, to put it in a nutshell.

            So what about abstractions like logic and math? What about mental states? Where do they come in? Either you have to think that most atheists are strikingly ignorant even of their own minds, let alone what they learned at school, or you have to admit that your picture of “materialism” needs a great deal of refining.

            Speaking of this, I’m still waiting for those five citations of atheist philosophers who argue that moral subjectivism and determinism are logically entailed by atheism. Maybe they can make the case you haven’t been able to yet.

            As with most other atheists I’ve spoken with, you’re all hat and no cattle, disagreeing with no actual content and no apparent understanding of the issues.

            Of course I am. Whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep at night.

            In point of fact, you really don’t give a damn about philosophy at all. Philosophy is a series of questions. What you’re hot on is apologetics, which is a series of answers—poor, superficial answers. This explains your insistence that I don’t have any “apparent understanding of the issues” when time and time again I’ve demonstrated far greater familiarity with the philosophical concepts at play than you have. That’s because you have your Series of Final Answers, and since I dissent from those Answers, it must be because I don’t fully understand them. You’re not prepared to conceive of the possibility that it might be because your Answers are wrong, or at least not necessarily final. Hence your insistence that atheism entails moral subjectivism. It’s not just because you’re under the impression that moral subjectivism is popular in atheist circles. Even you know how weak an argument that would be, like claiming that if the Dodgers are the most popular team for baseball fans in Los Angeles, that means that it is logically entailed that if you are a baseball fan in Los Angeles, you must be a Dodgers fan. Instead, you’re convinced that the only way of grounding objective moral truths is in the dictates of a god. You’ve accepted divine command theory because plenty of lousy apologists have accepted divine command theory, and since they naturally don’t reveal the problems with divine command theory that have caused it to be almost universally rejected among today’s moral philosophers, you’re convinced that divine command theory is unassailable. You have no reason for believing this other than you’ve never read or heard anything against it, but that’s still sufficient to give you enough confidence thati you must be right and I must be wrong. You ignore my explanations and rebuttals and insist that I must be wrong and ignorant, despite the clear advantage I have over you in knowledge of philosophy, because you don’t want anything to come between you and these lousy arguments that you worship and esteem more than the god they’re supposed to be defending.

          • JJnTX

            So you assert that there is a moral code emblazoned in an atom somewhere, or in a plant, or in a tissue cell.

            All you’ve done up to this point is fail to read my posts thoroughly and deny everything.

            Do you have a point you’d like to make before I write off this conversation? You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Nullifidian

            So you assert that there is a moral code emblazoned in an atom somewhere, or in a plant, or in a tissue cell.

            No, I do not assert that. This is not about what I believe, but whether there are positive beliefs entailed by the mere lack of belief in the existence of god. Nor does any moral naturalist I am aware of believe this. You’ve constructed an absurd straw man in order to cover the fact that you don’t know anything about moral naturalist philosophies (or much of anything beyond divine command theory) and therefore cannot argue against them. Your original assertion doesn’t even refute the idea that morality can be reducible to the behavior of atoms, because it relies on the assumption that what you’ve asserted is an objective moral fact. Denying it may seem counter-intuitive, but supposedly divine morality is just as counter-intuitive when it comes to infants, especially the infants of the Amalekites.

            All you’ve done up to this point is fail to read my posts thoroughly and deny everything.

            How can it be possible to fail to read your posts thoroughly? You don’t ever do anything but make a series of unsupported assertions. The reason I deny your assertions is because they’re either wrong (as in your claim that atheism entails moral subjectivism and determinism) or because they are not supported by evidence or reasoning and involve ignoring actual philosophical positions held by real people in preference to your series of atheist straw men. Case in point, you still haven’t named even a single atheist philosopher who has argued that determinism and moral subjectivism are entailed by atheism, even though you claimed this was the position of most of them. In fact, there is not a single direct question that I’ve asked you which you have responded to with anything substantive.

            Do you have a point you’d like to make before I write off this conversation?

            Yes, the point that you still haven’t established the existence of a single positive belief logically entailed by the acceptance of atheism.

            You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

            I’m glad you think that because, given your invincible ignorance, if I said anything that ever made you think otherwise I’d start wondering what I was doing wrong. I’ll take my ‘ignorance’ over your ‘knowledge’ (of complete BS) any day of the week.

          • JJnTX

            I apparently know more about than you, as you’ve not offered any arguments or evidence of your own.

            My initial example was obvious hyperbole, which you failed to catch in your rush to be a jackass.

            I’m, done. You have nothing to offer other than trolling.

          • Nullifidian

            I apparently know more about than you, as you’ve not offered any arguments or evidence of your own.

            I have offered plenty of arguments and evidence in rebuttal of your claims. I have critiqued your claims that determinism and moral subjectivism are entailed by atheism, your claim that causal determinism is the crux of naturalism, your claim that naturalism is entailed by atheism, and I’ve adduced evidence from QM to show that your claims about determinism and atheism must either be wrong or else QM itself will prove the existence of god. To this, and much else, you’ve given me… NOTHING. Nothing but reiterations of your same debunked claims. No defense, just assertions.

            My initial example was obvious hyperbole, which you failed to catch in your rush to be a jackass.

            Your initial example? I see. So that explains why you then accused me of “assert[ing] that there is a moral code emblazoned in an atom somewhere, or in a plant, or in a tissue cell”, because it was just such a bit of hyperbole and not intended as a serious response. I suppose I can’t wholly disagree, because nothing of what you’ve said in the last 24 hours should be taken seriously.

            I’m, done. You have nothing to offer other than trolling.

            Now that is the pot calling the persimmon black. It would be interesting to contemplate what you would regard as a substantive discussion. I get the impression that “serious engagement” with you would involve so much agreement that it would practically end with an altar call.

          • JJnTX

            More bald assertions. You’ve yet to make one single logical argument. You’re a classic sophist. It’s one reason atheists are despised, not because of their superior reasoning ability, but because they contribute next to nothing to a conversation, an you’ve proven no different. You’ve made many bald assertions about my claims, and that’s it. Now you’re claiming that one of the MAJORITY VIEWS of contemporary atheists has been debunked, lol. You should tell them that. I’m sure there is a philosophy department chair with your name on it. Somewhere, a school is looking for a professor of philosophy whose only response is “nuh uh”.

            Have a nice life.

          • Nullifidian

            More bald assertions. You’ve yet to make one single logical argument.

            Now that’s an interesting take on our discussion—and by “interesting” I mean completely cracked.

            Let’s just take one example:

            You:
            “Normally, most thoughtful atheists arrive at a form of materialism as well as holding morality to be subjective.

            “I say ‘almost always’ because there are some atheists, though a tiny minority, who try to hold to objective morality while denying the existence of gods.”

            Me, critiquing this assertion:
            “In other words, there is no entailment. There is also a large body of philosophy on morality, and most moral philosophers think that the “divine command” theory is worthless regardless of where they stand on the issue of subjectivism vs. objectivism (or any of the other shades of ethical theory which can’t be reduced to this dichotomy). Therefore, the idea that a lack of belief in god entails subjectivism doesn’t follow.”

            Your next response:
            Without a god, then subjective morality is a logical ramification, by way of example.

            That was it. You didn’t even bother to acknowledge the counterargument, much less refute it. You just behaved as if reasserting a false claim was sufficient! And now you accuse me of making “bald assertions” and claim to have made “arguments”. That could make a cat laugh. It’s like arguing with a chatterbot. Hit the right keyword and out spits your pre-programmed input.

            But let’s continue the walk down Memory Lane.

            I then, still hoping against hope that you could actually read something and respond relevantly, went into a bit more detail.

            “As I said before, this is not true by your own admission. If you concede that not every atheist is necessarily a moral subjectivist, then moral subjectivism is not logically entailed by atheism. Furthermore, this claim can only be true if the only way of grounding moral objectivism is by the dictates of a god. This is called divine command theory. It is disparaged even by philosophers who are moral objectivists. It’s not generally accepted, let alone established to the point that the only possible form of dissent is to drop moral objectivism entirely. Also, since it’s not inconsistent to affirm theism and moral subjectivism, moral subjectivism could be true even if a god exists. This weakens the case for entailment from the other direction. That too is something I’ve already pointed out. We’d make considerably greater progress here if you’d actually read what I say and take it on board.”

            Your response?

            “That depends on whether you agree with the atheists who embrace objective morality. Frankly, I believe the two are mutually exclusive, meaning one must be false, meaning that indeed, atheism has logical ramifications.”

            Again, that was all you had to write on the subject. And again, there was no hint that you’d even bothered to read my response. There was certainly no adequate defense against my rebuttal.

            I guess it’s just enough that you believe it. If you believe it, that should supersede any of that tedious mucking about with reasoning or evidence. And, apparently, my knowledge or ignorance is to be judged based on how much I agree with you on what you believe.

            You’re a classic sophist.

            I.e., I’m someone who doesn’t let you skate on your assertions and loosely argued BS.

            It’s one reason atheists are despised, not because of their superior reasoning ability, but because they contribute next to nothing to a conversation….

            As an atheist, I can’t contribute anything to a discussion according to your lights, because the only way of ‘contributing’ is to agree with you. You’re a god-botherer, so how could I possibly agree enough with you to ‘contribute’ to a conversation? If you don’t judge ‘contributions’ as being mere agreement, then you’ve had more than enough opportunities to outline the kind of dissent that you think would ‘contribute’, but I’ll extend to you yet another chance if you care to use it.

            Now you’re claiming that one of the MAJORITY VIEWS of contemporary atheists has been debunked, lol.

            I’m not just claiming it, I’ve showed it with respect to specific quantum-level processes. Meanwhile, you’ve NOT shown that causal determinism is a majority view AT ALL, let alone that it is entailed by atheism (which as I explained repeatedly is not the same thing). And even if it were a majority view of atheists, does it follow that what the majority of atheists think cannot be wrong? If it is, then I expect to see you abandon Christianity, because it’s a sure thing that the majority view of atheists is that there is not sufficient reason to believe in a god. Let me know when you’ll be announcing your abandonment of theism.

            You should tell them that. I’m sure there is a philosophy department chair with your name on it.

            I wouldn’t want to take the opportunity from you. Surely you, with your “It suffices merely to assert a claim and any counterarguments should be regarded as not contributing to the discussion” take on philosophy, will revolutionize the practice in the field. At least it will make philosophy papers a lot shorter and reduce the need for long, technical monographs.

          • ventana

            You two should just kiss. Stop fighting it.

  • balliolensis

    He said it best: “We’re taking a page right out of (the LGBT) playbook,”.

  • Kimo

    Drama queens.

  • physicsnut

    if you think that is bad -
    Have you heard about Obama’s little plan for the SUBURBS ?????
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/343242/obamas-plans-suburbs-and-how-stop-them-stanley-kurtz

    or just google ‘obama plans for suburbs stanley kurtz’ –
    there is more than one article on the subject
    Need a darn computer to keep track of this stuff

    • DD

      I guess the thing that bothers me is the rank dishonesty of all of these liberal agendas. “safe zones” by those who are dominant and love to threaten those who disagree. Our mainstream media calling those (including immigrants) who want to hold to laws and rules on immigration “anti-immigrant.” And then of course the Obamacare lies. And no one on the left cares. As long as “my side” is winning, anything goes…sell my soul to the political goal.

  • jumper297

    Secular safe zones? You mean the entire campus?

  • L Tompkins

    Atheist Safe zones for restrictions of 1st amendment rights, freedom of speech and religion.

  • Reason

    wait, wait, wait. the atheists are being bullied? OP needs to read the comments section below. Atheists regularly bully, harass, and attack those of religious views. And they need a haven, separate from atheism promoting college campuses, to discuss their views? I’m not saying that those with religious views don’t do the same, but really? The LGBTQ? community had and has a solid, genuine reason for their “safe-zones.” Are atheists really claiming a similar level of persecution? Really? How about we make college campuses in their entirety “safe-zones” for the free exchange and peaceful debate of all ideals? At least, when students aren’t busy doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is learning.

    • zombiekiller117

      The White community needs safe zones.
      Rest in peace Christopher Lane.
      Anti-Whites just hate White people for being born this way.
      ‘Anti-racist’ is a codeword for Anti-White

  • Cincinnatus

    Atheists are the biggest bullies on the earth.

  • Faith-Armor

    Mr. Horton . . . I know this will be rebuffed but it needs to be said. You are entitled to any and everything you believe. I just wonder if you have ever experienced unconditional love? Your demeanor suggests not. I once thought as you did, maybe not to your extent but I knew in my heart that there really wasn’t a God. I hope he shows himself to you in the way he did to me. It will change your life forever it will free you like you thought possible. God knows you, God loves you. All you have to do is open your Heart.

    • Timothy Horton

      Which God? At last count humans had come up with about 10,000.

  • Pepperspray137

    I thought entire campuses were secular safe zones? I’ve never been to a “Christian” college so I cant say whether or not I would be evangelized to death there or not. I attend a secular school in a predominantly Catholic city, and still, no evangelizing, or creationist propaganda leaflets, witches burned at the stake ect… If anything the school should go after this group for their attempt to demonize a group who hasn’t even done anything. If you do not like the prayer at the beginning of an event then sit quietly and wait, if you do not like the National Anthem then sit quietly and be patient. If the refs make a call you do not like, jump up and down and call into question the virtue of his mother.

  • ventana

    Will they have fainting couches? For when diverse views become just too much to bear?

  • Phil

    College kids love diversity.
    All diversity is equal but some diversity is more equal than others.
    The tolerant are so intolerant aren’t they?

  • Richard Vandiamondsworth

    ..

  • Not_To_Worry

    First Amendment died on campuses long ago. No surprise here.

  • ProudSinner

    If the first page of any book loses me on the very first page (Eve was never Adam’s first wife- Lilith anyone?) and then presumes to tell me two different yet similar stories about creationism you have lost me- I have no use for the rest of the book as anything but a nice story, not really anything to base my entire life upon. Then to further my argument, how any all loving and all knowing “god” could ever turn a “child” away because of the child’s sexual preference is just wrong. I was a “Christian” once but found the messages in the Bible to be contradictory and morally disgusting(how to beat a slave and women’s rights for starters) just turned me into an non-believer- by their standards. Am I an atheist? I would rather be discriminated against daily by hypocritical Christians than succumb to the peer pressure we call “Christianity” in this country any day. Judge not lest ye be judged- yeah right- try standing up and saying you do not believe, these safe zones are necessary to protect what should be a guaranteed right to not believe. It was supposedly written by Bronze Age cave dwellers, really? Wow, I choose to promote peace and harmony with my fellow man because I choose to -not because I am “going to hell”.