U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-08-2011, 08:59 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,732,234 times
Reputation: 1770

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Who has been getting at you? This sounds like the 'science is always getting it wrong' line. The better understanding of how diffuse matter really is has been going on for a century. The view should now I reckon be about innate natural forces rather than any idea of solidity.

I may say that I don't care for the idea of theists forcing the supposed espousal of 'materialism' on me as an atheist (this has sometimes occurred) and demanded that I either prove that everything is explainable in solid matter terms or admit that my whole position was wrong. However, as I recall the material explanation did hold up better, not that this was accepted of course.

I suppose that I can see how the idea of matter had approached rather coincidentally the idea of of a creative deity which (eventually) had to be invisible since not even the Hubble telescope revealed any sign of it. But I don't think it is correct to go overboard into 'well the spirit world must be real and so must God'. That is just making some invalid mental leaps and ones based, it seems, on mythological indoctrination.

While I don't mind a non - religion 'sortagod' belief, it bothers me that that the logical and rational basis is really not very good but that fact seems to be sidelined in favour of an apparently satisfying but unvalidated quasi - explanation.
My problem is not with science getting it wrong. It's with science getting it right that's giving me trouble.

Recall I am not becoming a theist. I never said a spirit world MUST be real. But I can no longer exclude theism on materialist grounds, based of my current understanding of science.

A basic tenet of materialism, (from wiki) is : all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions.

Yet we now know of a phenomena that is not a result of material interactions - we know that gravitational fields are being distorted without normal matter being present.

We could simply change the definition of matter to include "whatever that stuff is that is causing the gravity to act weird", but that doesn't seem like a very consistent way to handle the problem. As a matter of logic and semantics, it simply isn't matter that is causing the gravity to act that way. (This is all a discussion of Dark Matter, and too an extent Dark Energy.)

If this very basic element of materialism is called into question, then I can no longer exclude the possibility of God on materialist grounds. I can only say that I see no evidence for God, which is an agnostic position. Because I now have evidence that not all phenomena are the result of material interactions.

Last edited by Boxcar Overkill; 10-08-2011 at 09:11 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-08-2011, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,378,278 times
Reputation: 3735
Default Please do tell!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
My problem is not with science getting it wrong. It's with science getting it right that's giving me trouble.

√ Because I now have evidence that not all phenomena are the result of material interactions.
You do? Pray tell, what? Pray tell...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 05:52 AM
 
39,202 posts, read 10,880,280 times
Reputation: 5095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
My problem is not with science getting it wrong. It's with science getting it right that's giving me trouble.

Recall I am not becoming a theist. I never said a spirit world MUST be real. But I can no longer exclude theism on materialist grounds, based of my current understanding of science.

A basic tenet of materialism, (from wiki) is : all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions.

Yet we now know of a phenomena that is not a result of material interactions - we know that gravitational fields are being distorted without normal matter being present.

We could simply change the definition of matter to include "whatever that stuff is that is causing the gravity to act weird", but that doesn't seem like a very consistent way to handle the problem. As a matter of logic and semantics, it simply isn't matter that is causing the gravity to act that way. (This is all a discussion of Dark Matter, and too an extent Dark Energy.)

If this very basic element of materialism is called into question, then I can no longer exclude the possibility of God on materialist grounds. I can only say that I see no evidence for God, which is an agnostic position. Because I now have evidence that not all phenomena are the result of material interactions.
Yes I understand and agree all that. My problem is one of logical positioning. Atheism does not exclude a possible god. It sees the evidence of materialism in science but cannot rule out something more. But logically, since we don't have anything more than supposition to support the idea of a 'god' we don't know.

And as an agnostic, that is what you appear to be saying. You don't know.

Logically, what one doesn't know (because there is not enough evidence) one should not believe (until there is). That is my logical a -theist position and I'm puzzled as to why it's not yours.

I am trying to understand why you are are apparently reluctant to touch the 'atheist' label. Understand that I have no serious problem with anything you have said and I'm fine of course with your view that religion is man made and I suppose personal gods, too (though I suspect you may find that, if you get to accept 'god' as a feasible idea, you'll be asked to consider whether such a god might not want to talk to us).

I was wondering the other day whether you have (like many others) a perhaps understandable view that atheists are pretty definite about the non - existence of a god, but an agnostic is, according to the way most people seem to take it, really very much persuaded by the idea that there must be some kind of intelligence behind everything.

With such an idea in mind, I imagine that the rather woo woo stuff coming out of science makes this possibility look pretty credible, really.

I'm trying to see it from your point of view (getting out a possibly set atheist mindset) you see. Am I getting it near?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 06:31 AM
 
4,226 posts, read 2,596,880 times
Reputation: 568
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Yes I understand and agree all that. My problem is one of logical positioning. Atheism does not exclude a possible god. It sees the evidence of materialism in science but cannot rule out something more. But logically, since we don't have anything more than supposition to support the idea of a 'god' we don't know.

And as an agnostic, that is what you appear to be saying. You don't know.


Logically, what one doesn't know (because there is not enough evidence) one should not believe (until there is). That is my logical a -theist position and I'm puzzled as to why it's not yours.

I am trying to understand why you are are apparently reluctant to touch the 'atheist' label. Understand that I have no serious problem with anything you have said and I'm fine of course with your view that religion is man made and I suppose personal gods, too (though I suspect you may find that, if you get to accept 'god' as a feasible idea, you'll be asked to consider whether such a god might not want to talk to us).

I was wondering the other day whether you have (like many others) a perhaps understandable view that atheists are pretty definite about the non - existence of a god, but an agnostic is, according to the way most people seem to take it, really very much persuaded by the idea that there must be some kind of intelligence behind everything.

With such an idea in mind, I imagine that the rather woo woo stuff coming out of science makes this possibility look pretty credible, really.

I'm trying to see it from your point of view (getting out a possibly set atheist mindset) you see. Am I getting it near?
Definitions seem to change with the weather/conversation/fox-hole around here. Everyone is welcome to agnosticism but you can't go stealing their definitions because that makes for confusion and hard feelings.

What is Atheism?

Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own.
American Atheists | atheism

Atheism is Not an Absence of Religion: Some atheists make the opposite mistake, thinking that atheism is an absence of religion. As noted above, atheism is simply the absence of gods, not an absence of religion. Atheists can be religious and there are atheistic religions. This is because theism isn't the same as religion.
Atheism for Beginners - The Very Basic Facts About Atheism

Last edited by gabfest; 10-09-2011 at 06:49 AM.. Reason: msp.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 11:27 AM
 
39,202 posts, read 10,880,280 times
Reputation: 5095
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabfest View Post
Definitions seem to change with the weather/conversation/fox-hole around here. Everyone is welcome to agnosticism but you can't go stealing their definitions because that makes for confusion and hard feelings.

What is Atheism?

Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own.
American Atheists | atheism

Atheism is Not an Absence of Religion: Some atheists make the opposite mistake, thinking that atheism is an absence of religion. As noted above, atheism is simply the absence of gods, not an absence of religion. Atheists can be religious and there are atheistic religions. This is because theism isn't the same as religion.
Atheism for Beginners - The Very Basic Facts About Atheism
That's pretty good. And pretty much on the button. The implication (of death= end) is right in that seems where the evidence leads, but the possibility of such a thing cannot entirely be ruled out. That's a minor detail, though. It is possible to have a religion that doesn't have a god. Arguably, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism and Scientology fall into that category, though one could say that they believed in something as powerful and unprovable as gods (Karma, Thetans) or had gods as outside the religion (Confucianism, Buddhism). One can also (Like Boxcar apparently - still not sure) have a god - belief without any buy - in to a religion.

You are right in atheism /agnosticism being taken to mean all sorts of things. It is fairly important to take the correct or agreed- by-those-concerned- terms on board. While efforts can be made to understand what a person means rather than dwell on what he appears to say, it is useful to get the terms sorted and used correctly otherwise we do get this ongoing confusion and, worse, misrepresentation.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 10-09-2011 at 11:37 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 12:31 PM
 
4,226 posts, read 2,596,880 times
Reputation: 568
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That's pretty good. And pretty much on the button. The implication (of death= end) is right in that seems where the evidence leads, but the possibility of such a thing cannot entirely be ruled out. That's a minor detail, though. It is possible to have a religion that doesn't have a god. Arguably, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism and Scientology fall into that category, though one could say that they believed in something as powerful and unprovable as gods (Karma, Thetans) or had gods as outside the religion (Confucianism, Buddhism). One can also (Like Boxcar apparently - still not sure) have a god - belief without any buy - in to a religion.

You are right in atheism /agnosticism being taken to mean all sorts of things. It is fairly important to take the correct or agreed- by-those-concerned- terms on board. While efforts can be made to understand what a person means rather than dwell on what he appears to say, it is useful to get the terms sorted and used correctly otherwise we do get this ongoing confusion and, worse, misrepresentation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 10:39 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,732,234 times
Reputation: 1770
Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
You do? Pray tell, what? Pray tell...
Dark matter.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 10:47 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,732,234 times
Reputation: 1770
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
One can also (Like Boxcar apparently - still not sure) have a god - belief without any buy - in to a religion.
.

I do NOT have a god-belief. I only no longer exclude the possibility of God on the basis of materialism. -see the title of this thread.

That leaves me with agnosticism, from a formally strong atheist position.

I used to be a strong atheist because I believed the theory of materialism, and believed all phenomena must be the product of material interactions. That position naturally excluded a supernatural god.

But I re-evaluated that position once I started reading more about Dark Matter.

Dark matter, it seems to me, creates phenomena without material interaction. In fact, that's about ALL WE KNOW about dark matter.

It's not that this is what I want to believe. But it is the most unbiased conclusion I can now come to given my knowledge of the universe.

Skepticism and objectivity has to work both ways. It's not a fact I'm comfortable with, but materialism doesn't appear to account for the total working of the universe. In fact, it only applies to about 20% of the universe.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2011, 11:02 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,732,234 times
Reputation: 1770
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Yes I understand and agree all that. My problem is one of logical positioning. Atheism does not exclude a possible god. It sees the evidence of materialism in science but cannot rule out something more. But logically, since we don't have anything more than supposition to support the idea of a 'god' we don't know.

And as an agnostic, that is what you appear to be saying. You don't know.

Logically, what one doesn't know (because there is not enough evidence) one should not believe (until there is). That is my logical a -theist position and I'm puzzled as to why it's not yours.

I am trying to understand why you are are apparently reluctant to touch the 'atheist' label. Understand that I have no serious problem with anything you have said and I'm fine of course with your view that religion is man made and I suppose personal gods, too (though I suspect you may find that, if you get to accept 'god' as a feasible idea, you'll be asked to consider whether such a god might not want to talk to us).

I was wondering the other day whether you have (like many others) a perhaps understandable view that atheists are pretty definite about the non - existence of a god, but an agnostic is, according to the way most people seem to take it, really very much persuaded by the idea that there must be some kind of intelligence behind everything.

With such an idea in mind, I imagine that the rather woo woo stuff coming out of science makes this possibility look pretty credible, really.

I'm trying to see it from your point of view (getting out a possibly set atheist mindset) you see. Am I getting it near?
I have used the term "atheist" to describe my self for the last 20 years, so it's like a well-worn pair of jeans that I'm pretty comfortable with. In fact, I was able to justify a position of strong atheism based on an argument from materialism. If materialism was true, then a supernatural god could not possibly exists.

But now I've seen some holes in materialism. Accordingly I have to abandon that argument.

So if someone were to claim that there was a cold impersonal god out there, who didn't intervene in human affairs, the most I can say now in rebuttal is I don't see any evidence for that. But of course, that's is what one would expect whether or not that type of god actually existed. I can no longer exclude that type of god on materialist grounds.

People have so many definitions for the distinction between an atheist and an agnostic, that I guess it can vary from person-to-person. I don't think there's a cold impersonal god out there, but I have no evidence either way. To me that is agnostic, to others that may still be atheist.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-10-2011, 10:28 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,026,388 times
Reputation: 453
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogead View Post
I went agnostic long ago. While I share much with my atheist friends, we disagree on the ability of the human being to possess any knowledge concerning deities. Aristotle referenced an "unmoved mover", which essentially takes us into an argument of infinite regression. That, is what prevents me from camping with the atheists.

At any rate, I'm quite content accepting my inability to know of such things.
So, if you are not an atheist, which god do you believe in? I am an agnostic myself, but since I have net yet been convinced to believe in any god, I am an atheist in regards to belief. It does not mean that I am not open to any possibility of one!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top