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How many posters here are Atheist?


Elessarina
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  1. 1. I am an...

    • Atheist
      25
    • Theist
      6
    • Agnostic
      14
    • Other Answer (please state)
      5


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No, your still misunderstanding me. Faith is not the equivalent of irrational thinking or wishful thinking. My earlier definition that I gave out applies to more things other than just the existence of God.

 

For example, I have faith that my car will not be stolen tomorrow. I don't have sufficient evidence to prove that it won't be stolen, but I have reason to believe it won't. The thought does give me some positive emotional response, but the faith isn't based on emotion.

 

But there are different definitions of faith, and mixing them is equivocation. You have data, of a sort, that lets you get an idea of the probability that your car will be stolen. It hasn't been stolen before over a certain span of time, your neighbors haven't had cars stolen, etc. So there is a reason to believe this: you conclude the probability is small. That's not the same as a faith that comes despite the absence of evidence, which might apply if you are parking your car in the bad part of town, unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, and still have faith that the car will not be stolen.

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The dictionary states that faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. By this definition I can see many theists that firmly believe there is a God as having faith and many atheists that claim there is no God as having the same faith. Neither of these describes me though.

 

For me God is just a tentative theory or hypothesis like many others to explain the universe. I have no faith that this theory is true or false. I see no proof to support or refute it. I have no belief that there is or is not a God and will not until there is evidence to support such a belief or conclusion. Anyone that concludes this hypothesis is true or false does do so on faith and carries a burden of proof to support their conclusion. This is as science should be. IMO, anyone that does not conclude a belief that the hypothesis is true is an atheist. This includes everyone which concludes the hypothesis is false and everyone that draws no conclusion since a firm belief in a deity, a conclusion that the theory is true, is a requirement of being a theist. This also implies that everyone that is not·theist is atheist regardless of any faith they may or may not have in the truth or falsity of the God hypothesis.

 

FWIW, my position is also agnostic because I do believe there could never be any proof one way or the other. I would even conceed that belief to be one of faith. That has nothing to do with theism though since agnosticism is about knowledge, not deities.

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I have no faith that this theory is true or false. I see no proof to support or refute it. I have no belief that there is or is not a God and will not until there is evidence to support such a belief or conclusion.

 

Then you are agnostic, by definition by the same source.

 

I don't know if you fall in this category or not, but it seems like atheists really just want the idea of god to be as silly as any other fairy tale and prefer a "label" that will express that idea and at the same time be considered "truth". That's why they hate the idea of their position to be on faith, because it ruins that implication they so desparately want science to represent.

 

But the tooth fairy is just as plausible as god. Science shouldn't be any more atheist about the tooth fairy than god - rather should be agnostic about both. Again, it's not like absurdity loses it's poison. I think it's just as absurd to believe in god as it is the tooth fairy - both smack of creation by man - yet I can't prove the non-existence of either one. I simply reject the ideas based on faith - faith that evidence would be available if such things actually existed (at least in the way that man has so far defined it). That's just my personal take, which is unprovable.

 

Oh, BTW lucespa, personal experience is a pretty weak indicator of the existence of a deity, or the existence of anything for that matter. I have had personal experiences of flying in my dreams but that does not mean that I can fly.

 

But you said "personal experiences of flying in my dreams" - so you knew you were dreaming. So of course you wouldn't assume you could fly outside of your dreams. What if you started flying on your way to work? Awake? Even though the rest of us will shake our heads at your insistance, you will be personally convinced.

 

Now you can certainly "judge" the evidence, case by case. But to reject evidence of god because it's evidence of god is not ingenuous, and that, I believe, was Lucaspa's point.

 

To have faith also means to utilize what is called inference to the best possible solution. To look at something and say "God did it" does not accomplish that.

 

But science doesn't ask why, it asks how. Saying "God did it" doesn't really matter to science. You can say snowbunnies did it, but science is concerned with how it's done. I don't see any conflict there.

 

i have yet to hear any solid logic argument for the existence of god. When i talk to people with faith and ask them about those moments that made them believe there is never any rational merit to it.

 

Nor I on the non-existence of god. There doesn't seem to be any rational merit to the idea of the existence of the universe without something creating it. What made quarks? What made the forces? What gave the big bang the inventory to create the universe? God doesn't have to be the old guy up in the sky with a white beard of wisdom - it could be a multi-dimensional being and the universe and life is merely 4 dimensional thoughts.

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LOL! No' date=' you are trying to make a new term -- "weak atheism" -- and have it be agnosticism. Thank you for proving my point that "weak atheism", upon examination, becomes either agnosticism or "strong" atheism.

...

We understand what atheism is. Some atheists are tying to disguise what atheism is in order to try to con us that it isn't a faith.

 

Now, let's look at that "lack of belief". What is that, exactly. If it is the neutral position "I don't know if deity exists", then that is agnosticism. Agnositicism was defined long before you tried this shell game trick.[/quote']Agnosticism was defined by TH Huxley. He said,

 

"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer who said, "Try all things, hold fast by that which is good" it is the foundation of the Reformation, which simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him; it is the great principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern science. Positively the principle may be expressed In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take to be the agnostic faith, which if a man keep whole and undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe in the face, whatever the future may have in store for him."

 

And on commenting this quote, "As we can see, there is no contradiction between Huxley's definition of agnosticism and any of the atheist positions; it is even compatible with theism. As long as the conclusion can be demonstrated, it is in line with agnosticism. Most people who hold the position of Huxley would probably be classified as weak atheists according to my definition above. Many would call themselves skeptics. Note also that Huxley does not explicitly speak about God or gods, but rather of knowledge in general terms. (Other quotes by Huxley show that he is talking not just about gods, but about the ultimate questions in general.)"

 

Source: http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/atheism/definitions.html

1. Go to any synagogue and announce "I lack belief that the Holocaust happened." See if they take that as a "neutral" position. Or do they interpret that as "I believe the Holocaust did not happen"?

 

2. Go to a sports bar in any major city and announce "I lack belief that (favorite local team) is a good team."

 

3. Go to a pro-life meeting and announce "I don't believe the fetus is a human being."

We all like semantics but what if you said "I lack belief that (favorite local team) is a good team and I lack belief that they're a bad team."
Then you are agnostic, by definition by the same source.
And an atheist.
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Then you are agnostic, by definition by the same source.

 

So, that has nothing to do with deities, agnosticism is about knowledge.

 

I don't know if you fall in this category or not, but it seems like atheists really just want the idea of god to be as silly as any other fairy tale and prefer a "label" that will express that idea and at the same time be considered "truth". That's why they hate the idea of their position to be on faith, because it ruins that implication they so desparately want science to represent.

 

On the axis of theism there are 3 groups of people, those that firmly believe that God exists, those that firmly believe there is absolutely no god, and those in the middle that do not subscribe with firm belief in the existance or non-existance of God. Because those in the middle do not firmly believe in God they are atheists, even if they do not firmly claim that god does not exist. Either you firmly believe in God or you are an atheist, period. If you additionally believe that man could never know the truth then you are an agnostic atheist, also referred to as a weak atheist.

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So, that has nothing to do with deities, agnosticism is about knowledge.

 

 

 

On the axis of theism there are 3 groups of people, those that firmly believe that God exists, those that firmly believe there is absolutely no god, and those in the middle that do not subscribe with firm belief in the existance or non-existance of God. Because those in the middle do not firmly believe in God they are atheists, even if they do not firmly claim that god does not exist. Either you firmly believe in God or you are an atheist, period. If you additionally believe that man could never know the truth then you are an agnostic atheist, also referred to as a weak atheist.

 

Atheist

1) a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

 

2) One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

 

Disbelief

1. the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.

2. Refusal or reluctance to believe.

3. a rejection of belief

 

 

I don't know. You make a good case here. By these definitions you are right, atheism appears to be a rejection of truth about the existence of deity, not a statement of truth about the non-existence of deity. In fact, the theme here is rejecting something as being considered "true" or fact.

 

I have to point out, there are some good arguments in this thread. Respectful, logical and patient. About god no less. I'm impressed...

 

1. Go to any synagogue and announce "I lack belief that the Holocaust happened." See if they take that as a "neutral" position. Or do they interpret that as "I believe the Holocaust did not happen"?

 

2. Go to a sports bar in any major city and announce "I lack belief that (favorite local team) is a good team."

 

3. Go to a pro-life meeting and announce "I don't believe the fetus is a human being."

 

But that's testing how we use the terms' date=' not what they actually [i']mean[/i]. My son says that his new game is "the bomb", but it's not an explosive device...

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Nor I on the non-existence of god. There doesn't seem to be any rational merit to the idea of the existence of the universe without something creating it. What made quarks? What made the forces? What gave the big bang the inventory to create the universe? God doesn't have to be the old guy up in the sky with a white beard of wisdom - it could be a multi-dimensional being and the universe and life is merely 4 dimensional thoughts.

 

 

well... i disagree. i have heard numerous good arguments against the christian god, and at least one against the existance of a deity in general.

 

but aside from that, without any good argument for god or any good argument against god, why would we assume the existance of a supernatural being?

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well... i disagree. i have heard numerous good arguments against the christian god, and at least one against the existance of a deity in general.

 

I have my own arguments against the idea of the christian god and, in fact, any god that resembles human constructs.

 

but aside from that, without any good argument for god or any good argument against god, why would we assume the existance of a supernatural being?

 

Because what else would you call a process, or being, above or beyond what is natural (to us); unexplainable by natural law or phenomena?

 

It's only logical to conclude something cannot be made from nothing, as we understand nature. So, anything that defies that logic would have to be supernatural, by definition. Our universe requires an, as yet, unexplainable phenomena for its existence.

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It's only logical to conclude something cannot be made from nothing, as we understand nature. So, anything that defies that logic would have to be supernatural, by definition. Our universe requires an, as yet, unexplainable phenomena for its existence.

 

and the explanation a deity provides is that god has always existed and created the universe. so why cant the universe always have existed in its ever changing form?

 

and if "created" isnt really matching your thoughts that can be applied to other theories as well. god never explains the universe, it just takes the question back one more step.

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well... i disagree. i have heard numerous good arguments against the christian god, and at least one against the existance of a deity in general.

 

but aside from that, without any good argument for god or any good argument against god, why would we assume the existance of a supernatural being?

 

Because it's a simple answer to unanswerable questions, amongst other things. That, of course, only actually requires the belief that the deity exists to work.

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and the explanation a deity provides is that god has always existed and created the universe. so why cant the universe always have existed in its ever changing form?

 

It could. And that would make it supernatural since it doesn't follow the laws of nature as we understand them.

 

Now is a "being" involved in that supernatural process? Anything is possible since we're talking about supernatural forces. A "being" is a plausible as "no being".

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Quote from Paranoia a page or 2 back (sorry, I'm a bit out of phase because of the different time zones)

"Originally Posted by John Cuthber

'In the real world there are some things that are taken on trust to be so probable as to be regarded as facts, at least until proved otherwise and not something that you worry about or experiment on. '

But not science, right? I agree in that some things seem so probable that I may be so convinced of them, it may as well be fact, but they aren't facts - they are beliefs based on faith since I can't prove them. I may have a great reason to believe this - but that doesn't magically make it fact."

 

 

No, Sorry to have to tell you but even science is based on these sort of facts. If I don't believe that putting something in a test tube doesn't fundamentally alter its charracteristics then I have a rather limited set of options for doing chemistry.

So as a chemist I make that assumption, as a matter of faith. Of course when someone gives me some HF to deal with I have to change my opinion.

On the other hand, if I want to thik about what happens during some process I can assume as a matter of "fact" that the laws of conservation of mass will work (note, that's laws plural, including relativity so mass that is represented by energy and vice versa are not exceptions).

Tomorrow someone may find something that violates those laws but I doubt it and I have even more doubt that it will matter to the experiment I might be doing so I call those laws facts just the same as the fact that the sun will come up.

If you exclude facts like these then there simply are no facts and (like faith) the word becomes meaningless.

Here's an amusing challenge, find me a fact please.

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No, Sorry to have to tell you but even science is based on these sort of facts. If I don't believe that putting something in a test tube doesn't fundamentally alter its charracteristics then I have a rather limited set of options for doing chemistry.

So as a chemist I make that assumption, as a matter of faith. Of course when someone gives me some HF to deal with I have to change my opinion.

On the other hand, if I want to thik about what happens during some process I can assume as a matter of "fact" that the laws of conservation of mass will work (note, that's laws plural, including relativity so mass that is represented by energy and vice versa are not exceptions).

Tomorrow someone may find something that violates those laws but I doubt it and I have even more doubt that it will matter to the experiment I might be doing so I call those laws facts just the same as the fact that the sun will come up.

If you exclude facts like these then there simply are no facts and (like faith) the word becomes meaningless.

 

You're talking about "facts" based on overwhelming evidence, or observed imperical evidence, so we have "faith", for good reason.

 

That's completely different than "faith" without evidence, much less observed imperical evidence.

 

I'm assuming science uses the term "fact" as the former statement.

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When I speak of faith in the religious context, I generally mean irrational faith, ie faith in spite of evidence. Having faith that you will not win the lottery is not the same as being certain that you will win the lottery. In the same way, I can see all the Gods that have been sent to the trash heap, along with all the silly beliefs surrounding them. I can then conclude that any specific God belief is very unlikely to be true.

 

This does nothing for an abstract God outside of the universe. For all I know, the universe is a fart in progress out of a donkey's butt. The donkey would be a creator in this case, but not necessarily an intelligent, complex God. If I concede that I have no knowledge as to a God/creator outside of the universe, that does not imply that I have no knowledge in terms of a God creating the Earth or all life on it.

 

In the former case of an abstract God outside of the universe - don't care. It is not a hypothesis at this point, just a dream.

 

In the latter case of a more specific God meddling with things - the odds are far in my favor, so I will take that bet that you will not win the lottery, even though someone will eventually win it.

 

Many people use Atheism as a more confident expression. For some, Agnosticism implies ignorance - meaning they just need to learn. Atheism says "I know your beliefs and I know better - don't waste time with me." Atheism is appropriate IMO, because theism is rarely associated with a deist God outside of the universe. :)

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It could. And that would make it supernatural since it doesn't follow the laws of nature as we understand them.

 

I don't think that follows. What law does an infinite existence break, and why does it have to follow our understanding of the laws of nature? Our understanding is incomplete.

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I don't think that follows. What law does an infinite existence break, and why does it have to follow our understanding of the laws of nature? Our understanding is incomplete.

 

Exactly because our understanding is incomplete and perhaps unable to ever be completed due to physiological limitations, is why it's supernatural. It doesn't have to follow our understanding of the laws of nature at all, that's my point.

 

You all have probably wrestled with infinity more than I, no doubt. So my point may be out of ignorance. But my thought is, length, width, depth, time - all origins are unexplainable phenomena. And that's before we get to the inventory that populates these dimensions - where did that come from?

 

How can it be anything other than supernatural, at this point in our understanding?

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There doesn't seem to be any rational merit to the idea of the existence of the universe without something creating it. What made quarks? What made the forces? What gave the big bang the inventory to create the universe? God doesn't have to be the old guy up in the sky with a white beard of wisdom - it could be a multi-dimensional being and the universe and life is merely 4 dimensional thoughts.

 

Isn't the supposed creation of the universe just another theory, no matter which mechanism may or may not be responsible? Why conclude any of the creation hypotheses are true without conclusive evidence?

 

The laws of physics as we know them tell us that matter can be neither created or destroyed. Why would we conclude this law breaks down at the supposed beginning of the universe we know? To me it seems more logical to theorize that the matter of our universe was not created by the big bang or any deity. That matter was already in existence and simply redistributed by some event in time, be it a big bang or something else. It makes no sense to me to simply leap to any conclusion with faith based on the lack of supporting evidence. That the universe exists is not proof positive of creation.

 

Why assume anything to be supernatural either? What is supernatural, things that violate the natural laws as we understand them? Perhaps the supernatural is really natural and we just don't understand all of the laws of nature. Man has been learning laws of nature since coming into existence. How many do we not know yet? Do we have any real evidence of anything that is supernatural, i.e. does not comply with the physical laws as we know them?

 

In the end I wonder why people believe anything on faith alone. It would seem to hinder science. Where scientists have faith in God they only look for evidence that supports that belief, they inherently give less weight to evidence that opposes their belief. It would also seem to be true for those that have decided already that there is or could not be a god or those that have decided that the big bang did in fact create the matter of the universe. None of these conclusive stances are open minded. More and more I find myself of the opinion that faith is somewhat of a mental disorder.

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@ dog - I think it's human nature to believe that matter was created at one point in time. It's just an extension of our life cycle. Birth, life, death. It's almost difficult to imagine that the matter in the universe has always existed.

 

We can look at both science and religion for this. The goal of evolution is to determine, ultimately, how we were created. Religion, for better or worse, tries to answer this same question. It's only natural for us to assume that the matter in the universe didn't always exist.

 

That doesn't make it true, of course, this is just an analysis of our perceptions.

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That doesn't make it true, of course, this is just an analysis of our perceptions.

 

That's the point. We should not let our perception get in the way of our search for the truth. Drawing premature conclusions based on faith doesn't answer any of our questions.

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The goal of evolution is to determine, ultimately, how we were created.
It answers this but that isn't the goal of evolution.

 

Evolution is an observed phenomenon in much the same way the sun rises every day. The goal of natural selection is to explain evolution. That's how all science works -- you have observations (commonly known as laws, eg the law of evolution) then you have models that explain these observations (the actual theories or models eg the theory of evolution via natural selection).

 

This is of course a side-track from your point but I figured I'd point this out. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I'm only disagreeing about this specific quote.

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I must admit, after reading this thread I nearly deleted this site from my bookmarks. Only Lucaspa's posts prevented me from doing so.

 

Why? I haven't seen any posts that were disrespectful. And I agree, I've really enjoyed Lucaspa's posts on this subject, but that's because of his style and intellect, not because of his position on the matter.

 

Why assume anything to be supernatural either? What is supernatural, things that violate the natural laws as we understand them? Perhaps the supernatural is really natural and we just don't understand all of the laws of nature.

 

That's exactly my point doG. I can't believe you typed this and didn't realize it. By definition, supernatural is unexplainable phenomena by the laws of nature - as we understand them. Of course we don't understand everything, that's why we call it supernatural. If we understood, it would simply be natural.

 

The point I was making is that the ideas of deities and so forth are heckled because of their "supernatural" tendency. I wanted to point out that of course the explanation for the universe, whether it's always existed, or was created, or some other concept we haven't thought of yet, is supernatural.

 

I guess you could call it semantics, but I think it matters because atheists have this tendency to snarl and make fun of theists and their supposed "fairy tales of the supernatural", when the alternative has the same potential for the supernatural.

 

Unless you disavow any belief at all, holding out for the truth, then you have to deal with the "supernatural" implications of your position.

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That's exactly my point doG. I can't believe you typed this and didn't realize it. By definition, supernatural is unexplainable phenomena by the laws of nature - as we understand them. Of course we don't understand everything, that's why we call it supernatural. If we understood, it would simply be natural.

 

I kind of disagree. To me supernatural is that which violates or fails to conform with the laws of nature, matter appearing from nothing and such. If phenomena complies which nature, even nature we don't understand, then it is natural, not supernatural.

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I kind of disagree. To me supernatural is that which violates or fails to conform with the laws of nature, matter appearing from nothing and such. If phenomena complies which nature, even nature we don't understand, then it is natural, not supernatural.
To include what many others believe in (have faith in) your definition of supernatural must include things which are inherently unobservable. These things don't violate the laws of nature but they remain outside of the physical, natural world and are thus supernatural. There are faiths in "higher powers" that don't *violate* anything, they're simply non-falsfiable by their very... nature..
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I kind of disagree. To me supernatural is that which violates or fails to conform with the laws of nature, matter appearing from nothing and such. If phenomena complies which nature, even nature we don't understand, then it is natural, not supernatural.

 

But if we look at the definition of supernatural, we realize it's definition relies on our degree of total understanding of natural law. In other words, the laws of nature are subjective, relative to what we know about them. Anything that exists beyond that, is supernatural to us.

 

Nothing is really supernatural, not even deity, if you had the knowledge of everything. "Supernatural" just describes things that we don't yet understand, or can't comprehend.

 

If I don't understand weather, then I might think it's supernatural that you can predict rain or storm. If no one understands weather, then weather prediction doesn't follow our understanding of the laws of nature, so it's supernatural that you can.

 

I guess I see it as much a measurement of how much we know, as it is a statement of phenomena.

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