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Does being an Atheist make you closed minded? [Answered: NO]


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Richard Feynman considered himself to be an atheist. This excerpt from an interview with him would seem to indicate that he considered this issue (whether or not a diety exists) to be settled and not to be of intellectual interest to him.

The following excerpt is from an interview with Feynman in The Voice of Genius: Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries:

Q: Do you call yourself an agnostic or an atheist?

Feynman: An atheist. Agnostic for me would be trying to weasel out and sound a little nicer than I am about this.

Q: But I thought a scientist couldn't call himself an atheist, because that's like saying "There is no God," and you can't prove a negative.

Feyman: I don't have to prove it. I only say: "Look, I don't know that there is a God; I just don't think there is one."

Q: That makes you an agnostic.

Feynman: No, no, no, no, no.

Q: According to the dictionary (Webster's New World): an agnostic is "a person who thinks it is impossible to know whether there is a God or a future life, or anything beyond material phenomena."

Feynman: That's too refined. There's always an edge. What I mean is this: the probability that the theory of God, the ordinary theory, is right, to my mind is extremely low. That's all. That's the way I look at it.

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The dictionary definition of closed minded -- having a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments -- seems to be the antithesis of the scientific mind, which has to be open to new ideas and arg

Stereotypes are often accurate.

1) I haven't mentioned my beliefs, so I'm not sure how this applies.   2) My beliefs are irrelevant. I would have taken you to task if you've made the same bigoted statements about Christians, Jews

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Strong atheism may have a tendency towards close-mindedness. If you're claiming god(s) doesn't exist, you've accepted that no evidence exists and never will, so that stance seems to be as rigid as the religious ones.

Where did you get this bit from?

"and never will"

Certainly, no scientist would claim that.

That's essentially the whole of the distinction between science and religion.

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"one becomes more concerned with natural or higher truth"

Well I'm concerned with truths that are actually true.

If your "higher truths" are different then they aren't "higher truths" they are falsehoods masquerading as truth and you have been misled.

"On the other hand, if there is no guy at the top, the word the middle manager becomes the new standard. "

Well, there's no evidence of the "man at the top" so we should accept humanity as the standard, shouldn't we; otherwise we are just making stuff up, but pretending it's "divine".

 

it's not clear what you mean by "The problem is that science is not based on consensus, since one good data set, by one person, can supersede even a 99.99% consensus. "

But if you are saying that a good,well designed experimental set of measurements could (hypothetically) show that global warming does not exist or is not anthropogenic then it would overturn the established consensus, you are right.It would.

But there would then be a new consensus in science (with the view that AGW isn't real).

The point is that, even if the current view was overturned, there would still be science based on consensus.

 

"The religious tend to hold out, looking for hard irrefutable evidence, "

You might want to discus that with Galileo.

Religion has a history of steadfastly ignoring evidence.

 

Galileo had to fight against a consensus of man; politics, and did so because he believed in the truth. Politics can also be part of churches and is where man replaces truth with power and prestige. Consensus is about stacking the deck to maintain the status quo. This is not how science is supposed to work. Galileo saw no moral conflict, seeking the truth of nature; science. If Galileo had wanted to move up the company ladder, it would have been easier to just go along and not make waves. But that would have conflicted with the assumption of something higher than the politics of man. If you believe man is as high as it goes; no higher power; God, politics can mean more than truth, since truth will be called relative and politics allows you to rise among men. For the religious, since God is separate and higher, one may have to become separate from man, when seeking truth.

 

If you look at manmade global warming, how many of the doom and gloom predictions over the past 20-30 years have materialized? The poles did not melt and the globe is not flooded, which were among the main doom and gloom predictions that got the movement in motion. Truth is not important, since the consensus still uses the same doom and gloom approach, even though 30 years of data says marginal change has resulted. This data driven truth is not considered higher than a rehash by the consensus.

 

This is due to atheist science being more about the needs of man; maintaining and expanding funding. I prefer we know the truth, even if this is not good for jobs and careers. You as an atheist, do not appear to be looking at the prediction results over the past 20 years ago; the proof of concept. You act like this data never happened. This is expected from atheism.

 

Atheism is closed minded in the sense it tends to submit easier to peer pressure since truth is relative, while consensus can be used to make life harder or easier, so people stay with the consensus.

Edited by puppypower
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I was wondering about once you "STATE" yourself an "Atheist",

 

attachicon.gifimages (2).jpgatheist.jpg

 

Most in this forum understand the universe on many levels, and most religions do not agree with what is known in science.

 

I do not follow any written religion but I would not call myself an atheist.

 

Do you lose some of that spark of "human imagination/freedom of thought" once you state yourself an Atheist, only believing in what you can prove?

 

I think the opposite is true. Quantum, Theoretical, Astroparticle and etc physics are far more complicated to wrap ones mind around than merely accepting that God(s) did/do everything. Religion creates simple explanations and asks no tough questions. Believing a reason can be ascertained drives science. Religion merely asks for faith.

Science is born from curiosity. Religion is the practice of acceptence.

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(1) Consensus is about stacking the deck to maintain the status quo.

(2) If you believe man is as high as it goes; no higher power; God, politics can mean more than truth, since truth will be called relative and politics allows you to rise among men.

(3) For the religious, since God is separate and higher, one may have to become separate from man, when seeking truth.

 

(4) If you look at manmade global warming, how many of the doom and gloom predictions over the past 20-30 years have materialized?

(5) The poles did not melt and the globe is not flooded....

 

(6) Truth is not important, since the consensus still uses the same doom and gloom approach, even though 30 years of data says marginal change has resulted.

 

(7) This is due to atheist science being more about the needs of man; maintaining and expanding funding.

 

(8) I prefer we know the truth, even if this is not good for jobs and careers.

(9) You as an atheist, do not appear to be looking at the prediction results over the past 20 years ago; the proof of concept.

 

(10) You act like this data never happened. This is expected from atheism.

 

(11) Atheism is closed minded in the sense it tends to submit easier to peer pressure since truth is relative,

 

(12) while consensus can be used to make life harder or easier, so people stay with the consensus.

(1) No it isn't.

(2) Nope, the higher truth is reality- not political expediency. That's why Galileo was actually right; there really were moons.

(3) You seem not to have understood my point that, since the mind of God is either none existent, or unknowable, any "truths" attributed to "Him" are made up by men, but they are dishonestly put forward as divine truths.

(4) That may well be because we actually took action to prevent (or at least reduce) them.

(5) Yet (and see 4)

(6) It might look marginal to you but there have clearly been changes and those changes have caused problems. To some extent those have been addressed by seeking to avoid the worst excesses- but we may yet still screw up th eplanet- especially if we don't listen to those who actualy know stuff, rather than those who pretend to.

(7) Makes no sense- see (8)

(8) Actually it is good for jobs and careers.

(9) Oh come on! Why does the fact that I don't believe in God have anything to do with whether or not I look at historical data? That's just silly (and,BTW, I'm old enough to remember 20 years ago quite well).

(10) By whom is it expected and on what factual (rather than personal bias) basis? BTW, science moves on. You are in fact contradicting yourself here.

if you go back we were predicting a new ice age (essentially on the basis that it had been a long while since the last one). Now we are predicting the opposite.

Were you aware of that?

Anyway, it proves that science can and does change its mind when new information becomes available.

(11) Not it isn't; because no it isn't. "Truths" of this sort are not relative. It is religion that's closed minded- not atheism.

(12) if it can be used for both then it's a bit meaningless.

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Where did you get this bit from?

"and never will"

Certainly, no scientist would claim that.

That's essentially the whole of the distinction between science and religion.

 

I think if one expresses a strong atheism, "There is no god(s)", one isn't really doing science. Without anything empirical to support the claim of god(s), science's answer needs to be "We don't know".

 

By saying god(s) don't exist, isn't one, by default, ignoring the fact that evidence could be found someday? And if one thought it couldn't be found, isn't that the same as saying it never will?

 

Personally, I think the very nature of god(s) would have to change before science could ever be used to adapt an explanation for it(them). Not being predictably observable makes them inconsistent with the methodologies of science.

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I think if one expresses a strong atheism, "There is no god(s)", one isn't really doing science. Without anything empirical to support the claim of god(s), science's answer needs to be "We don't know".

 

By saying god(s) don't exist, isn't one, by default, ignoring the fact that evidence could be found someday? And if one thought it couldn't be found, isn't that the same as saying it never will?

 

Personally, I think the very nature of god(s) would have to change before science could ever be used to adapt an explanation for it(them). Not being predictably observable makes them inconsistent with the methodologies of science.

This is getting into (fairly pointless) semantics.

Nobody would bother to quibble about someone saying "Unicorns don't exist", even though, strictly speaking, that statement is unscientific.

 

So, please remember that when someone says "God does not exist", it's a short-cut. what they generally mean is that they consider the probability of God's existence to be vanishingly small- comparable with fairies at the bottom of the garden, and Elvis turning up riding a unicorn.

 

The point I made was that against the background of what the short-cut phrase is taken to mean, the "and never will" clause is unscientific.

That's' what distinguishes science from religion.

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Atheism is closed minded in the sense it tends to submit easier to peer pressure since truth is relative, while consensus can be used to make life harder or easier, so people stay with the consensus.

 

This is obviously spoken from a perspective that has no actual experience with rational methods as applied by science. There isn't any peer pressure in peer review, it's carefully engineered to remove that kind of subjectivity in order to understand and predict reality using the most reasonable explanatory models we can.

 

Consensus jumping on the bandwagon. When a science-minded, rational person looks at the available data, he/she is able to more clearly evaluate evidence that supports or refutes, in order to decide which explanations are the most trustworthy.

 

This is getting into (fairly pointless) semantics.

Nobody would bother to quibble about someone saying "Unicorns don't exist", even though, strictly speaking, that statement is unscientific.

 

So, please remember that when someone says "God does not exist", it's a short-cut. what they generally mean is that they consider the probability of God's existence to be vanishingly small- comparable with fairies at the bottom of the garden, and Elvis turning up riding a unicorn.

 

The point I made was that against the background of what the short-cut phrase is taken to mean, the "and never will" clause is unscientific.

That's' what distinguishes science from religion.

 

Distinctions are made between weak and strong atheism that aren't semantics only, and my point was that strong atheism can seem just as close-minded as fervent belief. Are you saying you get to have it both ways, claiming god(s) don't exist AND that you're maintaining scientific skepticism? As a non-stamp collecting, non-religious, non-unicorn riding Elvis enthusiast, I just want to be a non-participant in those activities, as opposed to taking an anti-stamp collecting, anti-god(s), anti-unicorn riding Elvis stance.

 

I think it's unlikely Elvis would ever appear on a steed guaranteed to upstage him, but I can't say that with 100% certainty. I just don't know(care).

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Consensus is about stacking the deck to maintain the status quo. This is not how science is supposed to work.

 

You (still) don't seem to understand that consensus in science (when it exists) is a result of the science, not what drives the science.

 

Atheism is closed minded in the sense it tends to submit easier to peer pressure since truth is relative, while consensus can be used to make life harder or easier, so people stay with the consensus.

 

I think you have made this claim repeatedly. You never provide any evidence to support it so, based on your posting history, I can safely assume it is untrue.

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Religion has not met its burden of proof any more than bigfoot, in the absence of positive evidence the null hypothesis is there are no gods or there are no bigfoot (feet?) Being a skeptic doesn't mean you don't have an open mind, it just means you don't let just any idea climb in and take a dump.

 

Until testable evidence is given for the existence of a god or anything else it makes sense to assume it doesn't exist, if you don't make that assumption you must face the fact that almost anything must be believed as real until disproven, that is a fool's errand.

 

No more than you can't prove I don't have an invisible dragon in my basement means you have to believe I do.

 

I am an apistevist first, skeptic second, and atheist third...

Edited by Moontanman
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Distinctions are made between weak and strong atheism that aren't semantics only, and my point was that strong atheism can seem just as close-minded as fervent belief.

 

Are you saying you get to have it both ways, claiming god(s) don't exist AND that you're maintaining scientific skepticism?

 

If you ever meet a "real" strong atheist- one who won't believe in God even if He turns up and says "I jolly well am real", then you will have a point.

What I'm saying is... what I said.

 

 

So, please remember that when someone says "God does not exist", it's a short-cut. what they generally mean is that they consider the probability of God's existence to be vanishingly small- comparable with fairies at the bottom of the garden, and Elvis turning up riding a unicorn.

Most people who would be counted as "strong" atheists are, if pressed, uncertain, and will acknowledge it.

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@ John Cuthber and Phi for All, God is like James bond, both have many incarnations but all are complete works of fiction. It is not close minded to say no version of James Bond exists. God as defined by man: Jesus, Buddha, Apollo, Ra, etc does not exist anymore than any version of James Bond exists. Spies, intelligence agencies, Auston Martins, shoe knives, and etc all exist but James Bond most certianly does not.

 

If the definition of God is expanded to cover any non terrestrial life form that may have influenced life on earth at some point in some way than sure; claiming God doesn't exist is closed minded. If we stick to the webster's definition.....that god, the one defined below, doesn't exist:

 

God : the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe

: a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshipped in some religions

: a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired

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@ John Cuthber and Phi for All, God is like James bond, both have many incarnations but all are complete works of fiction. It is not close minded to say no version of James Bond exists. God as defined by man: Jesus, Buddha, Apollo, Ra, etc does not exist anymore than any version of James Bond exists. Spies, intelligence agencies, Auston Martins, shoe knives, and etc all exist but James Bond most certianly does not.

 

If the definition of God is expanded to cover any non terrestrial life form that may have influenced life on earth at some point in some way than sure; claiming God doesn't exist is closed minded. If we stick to the webster's definition.....that god, the one defined below, doesn't exist:

 

God : the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe

: a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshipped in some religions

: a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired

 

Did anyone ever define God this way?

"...definition of God is expanded to cover any non terrestrial life form that may have influenced life on earth at some point in some way".

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Did anyone ever define God this way?

"...definition of God is expanded to cover any non terrestrial life form that may have influenced life on earth at some point in some way".

No, not in this thread. I have seen in other threads posters try to say the universe itself is god or that somehow god is the interaction of all matter.

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If we redefine God as strawberry ice cream, then plainly God exists. But it has little to do with the topic.

That was my point. God, as properly defined, does not exist and that is no more of a closed minded statement than saying James Bond doesn't exist.

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It'd still be more accurate for one to suggest there is no compelling evidence that god(s) exist or that the likelihood one does is vanishingly small and even that we're very nearly certain, but it's important to note that the character of your position changes entirely as soon as you make a positive assertion of nonexistence. Your stance unnecessarily loses credibility once absolutism is introduced and that threshold is crossed.

Edited by iNow
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Yes, to exactly the same degree, and for the same reasons , that I lose credibility when I say "Unicorns don't exist" or "there are no penguins on the moon" rather then that "the probability of the existence of unicorns is vanishingly small" and "the likelihood of lunar based penguins can be considered insignificant for most practical purposes".

 

To be honest, I think I can live with that, for the sake of convenience in speech.

Edited by John Cuthber
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It seems clear that the preponderance of evidence for mainstream explanations of reality makes the existence of god(s), with its significant lack of such evidence, seem like wishful thinking, hoping something is true without any basis in reality. On my list of perspectives that help me more fully understand the world around me, the theist perspective offers me so little I don't consider it much at all. If it suddenly demonstrated some trustworthiness, or if a god decided to become observable and predictable, I would most certainly revisit my reasoning in the matter.

 

Is that atheistic close-mindedness?

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Some people will believe that atheists are closed minded- not matter what the actual facts and evidence are.

The funny thing is that the atheists are

(1) not generally in that group

(2) better placed to know their own minds.

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It'd still be more accurate for one to suggest there is no compelling evidence that god(s) exist or that the likelihood one does is vanishingly small and even that we're very nearly certain, but it's important to note that the character of your position changes entirely as soon as you make a positive assertion of nonexistence. Your stance unnecessarily loses credibility once absolutism is introduced and that threshold is crossed.

 

 

Dark energy and dark matter have never been proven, in the lab, to be real. These two things are inferred from large scale affects in the universe, which can't be explained using only the current assumptions of how the universe works.

 

How does this differ from someone saying the finger of God does this? This finger of God can't be proven in the lab,either. They both have that in common. But both can be inferred by an affect,that the current theory can not explain.

 

If this inference approach is considered a valid science, than base on the trends in science of not seeing God in the lab, maybe God can not seen directly in the lab, but can only be inferred by affect.

 

This approach is not new to religion but is applied with miracles, which go beyond what science theory can explain; inferred from unexplained affect.

Edited by puppypower
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How does this differ from someone saying the finger of God does this? This finger of God can't be proven in the lab,either. They both have that in common. But both can be inferred by an affect,that the current theory can not explain.

 

The difference is that there are multiple lines of evidence for dark matter. We can build different models and test them against observation, eliminate the ones that don't work, strengthen the ones that do and so on.In other words, it is quantitative science.

 

Your "finger of God" is a figment of your imagination. There is nothing that can be measured and nothing that can be modelled scientifically. There are no effects that require God. You just choose to invoke Her as an explanation. I think unicorns work better.

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Dark energy and dark matter have never been proven, in the lab, to be real. These two things are inferred from large scale affects in the universe, which can't be explained using only the current assumptions of how the universe works.

 

How does this differ from someone saying the finger of God does this? This finger of God can't be proven in the lab,either. They both have that in common. But both can be inferred by an affect,that the current theory can not explain.

 

 

One difference is that science won't mind if Dark energy is shown to be wrong. OK, it will irritate some people for a while- until they get over having found out they were mistaken-, but that will be true whether they are theists or not.

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Dark energy and dark matter have never been proven, in the lab, to be real. These two things are inferred from large scale affects in the universe, which can't be explained using only the current assumptions of how the universe works.

 

How does this differ from someone saying the finger of God does this? This finger of God can't be proven in the lab,either. They both have that in common. But both can be inferred by an affect,that the current theory can not explain.

 

If this inference approach is considered a valid science, than base on the trends in science of not seeing God in the lab, maybe God can not seen directly in the lab, but can only be inferred by affect.

 

This approach is not new to religion but is applied with miracles, which go beyond what science theory can explain; inferred from unexplained affect.

By saying the finger of God one is not merely attempting to describe cause but to an extent motive as well. For God to do something he/she/it must choose; God has intelligence and makes decisions. Such an assumption is beyond any model one could possibly produce to observe it (conscious thought of God). It is a huge detail that is pulled from no where.

 

Dark energy and dark matter are simply names given to unknown values that make various algorithms work.

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