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Old 12-21-2011, 11:59 AM
 
Location: London, UK
14,887 posts, read 6,695,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
I have had my doubts. Yes, I have. Having doubts is what separates a believer from a fanatic. You don't like me very much now, but you'd like me even less were I a fanatic.
I don't dislike you. I don't dislike even those who argue with lesser reason than you. It is out of respect that I debate. The late Campbell 34 must have come to see that, if he didn't see anything else.

Yes of course we have doubts. It's what we do about them. Try to find out the answers or just dismiss them. That's what constitutes reason.

another post of yours

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
But you can't prove it. So there is faith involved.
The question is how much. There have been so many posts explaining that there is a difference between Faith without adequate evidence and even in defiance of the evidence and Faith based on pretty sound evidence. The latter is reasonable and rational and the former is unreasonable and irrational. You'd think that was pretty easy to understand but it's apparently a real conundrum for theists who never seem to be able to wrap their brains around it - if they even try, that is.

There's also the question of weight of evidence. Nothing can ever be proved to the limit, especially if a rhetorical magic wand is to hand. No -one would ever be convicted on forensic evidence if the defence could argue that no -one could prove that the bullet was not put there by invisible aliens with some mysterious purpose of their own. But such an argument would be laughed out of court, which is remarkable since it is pretty much the standard of reasoning we find coming from theists.

Even if there is equal doubt, the rational course would be to suspend belief, not take it as 'probable', let alone invest the sort of life -betting Faith we get from religions. But the evidence of very ften not equal. It is very often heavily weighted away from religion (if one looks objectively, that is) and thus to take the other view as probable is pretty perverse, really, and to take it as true beyond any reasonable doubt strikes anyone with a regard for the weight of evidence as pretty crazy, really.

Thus to talk of 'faith' being involves o either side is really, really, not much more than a rhetorical swindle. Old chum.

Last edited by AREQUIPA; 12-21-2011 at 12:12 PM..
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Emerald Coast, FL
4,383 posts, read 3,393,493 times
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I used to have occasional doubts. Occasionally someone would make a decent argument for the existence of god, and being open-minded, I'd listen to their evidence. However, all such arguments turned out to be flawed in some way, and as I continued to read and research, my conviction that there is no god has become ever stronger. Short of incontrovertible proof, I'm not going to change my conviction and adopt an intellectually inferior superstition.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 1,248,077 times
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I have tons of questions, but no doubts. There is so much we don't know. But, I don't think the answers will be found by assuming a god did it. Our questions should motivate us to conduct more research and learn about the research that has already been done. And where there is a void in our knowledge, we should not plug "god" in the gap, but simply acknowledge we don't yet know.

Most of the so-called "evidence" for god that some believers tout really boils down to the believer saying, "Well, how else can you explain it, if it was not god?" That is a question, not an answer. "It", whatever "it" may be, is not explained by citing god. Why? Because no mechanism has been exposed by which god made "it" happen. If you asked me to explain how a magician caused a table to levitate, and I answered you by saying, "the magician did it," you'd rightfully say that is no explanation at all. You want to know how he did it - step by step.

So, if you ask me to explain how else I could explain some miraculous recovery from cancer, some fulfilled prophecy, some feeling of ectasy and love that washed over you while in prayer, if it was not God, I'd respond that I don't know, but I might have a few guesses, and then I'd tell you that you have not explained the phenomenon by crediting God either because you haven't told me the step by step process by which he did it. So, really, we are in the same boat, neither one of us having the explanation, and neither of us having any evidence of god's existence.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:16 PM
 
1,421 posts, read 930,523 times
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It would take me personally experiencing something supernatural in order for me to begin having doubts. And the path goes more like:

Experience something supernatural -> begin asking questions and investigate -> if it can't be explained by much more likely causes, only then would I start questioning my beliefs.

And as I said elsewhere, I've been in some pretty infamous "haunted" locations (some featured on sightings et al.), been with ghost hunting groups, etc - and have never once experienced anything, except -

A parasomnia when I was about 14. I was an Atheist even then, and it scared the hell out of me. I remember laying in bed paralyzed, feeling 100% that something was in the room with me, looking towards my window and just absolutely knowing there was something purely evil right outside, watching me, and that I couldn't move. Then while watching the window, a chorus of tormented screaming sounded in my head.

I remember being completely terrified in the moment, and...may have had the thought "oh ****, the Devil does exist!" go through my head once or twice.

But the following day I woke up unharmed, did my research and found out about parasomnias. Fast forward more than a decade later and here I am, working in healthcare, had the classes/read the material about sleep disorders, and of the power of the brain.

What always gets me is when people claim "I know the difference between sleeping and awake - it wasn't a dream!" That's exactly what it's like..
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: London, UK
14,887 posts, read 6,695,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEarthBeneathMe View Post
It would take me personally experiencing something supernatural in order for me to begin having doubts. And the path goes more like:

Experience something supernatural -> begin asking questions and investigate -> if it can't be explained by much more likely causes, only then would I start questioning my beliefs.

And as I said elsewhere, I've been in some pretty infamous "haunted" locations (some featured on sightings et al.), been with ghost hunting groups, etc - and have never once experienced anything, except -

A parasomnia when I was about 14. I was an Atheist even then, and it scared the hell out of me. I remember laying in bed paralyzed, feeling 100% that something was in the room with me, looking towards my window and just absolutely knowing there was something purely evil right outside, watching me, and that I couldn't move. Then while watching the window, a chorus of tormented screaming sounded in my head.

I remember being completely terrified in the moment, and...may have had the thought "oh ****, the Devil does exist!" go through my head once or twice.

But the following day I woke up unharmed, did my research and found out about parasomnias. Fast forward more than a decade later and here I am, working in healthcare, had the classes/read the material about sleep disorders, and of the power of the brain.

What always gets me is when people claim "I know the difference between sleeping and awake - it wasn't a dream!" That's exactly what it's like..
Very interesting post!
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:09 PM
 
2,487 posts, read 1,839,452 times
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No, I don't have doubts.

At one point I did. I was a pretty devout catholic until I was about 17 or 18. Over a couple of years I relabeled myself agnostic, then atheist. But I did have doubts for 5 years or so.

During that time I did a lot of reading on religion. Primarily Christianity, but also eastern philosophies, Islam, a few others. I also read a reasonable amount of philosophy.

Every time I thought that I found some evidence for god, I followed it up, and then ultimately found out that it was all based upon wishful thinking (at best) or a lie (at worst).

I remember being about 23 and reading an article about genetics and evolution. I was pretty shaken up about it, as it 'proved' mathematically that we could not have evolved. The odds were so immensely huge that it could simply not have happened. If I remember correctly, the odds against evolution were greater than the number of particles in the universe.

I guess that the article had been written by the Discovery Institute or somebody similar. This was over 20 years ago, so I would be unable to track it down now.

This did not prove the Christian god of course, but it did show the fingerprint of the divine. At least until I started doing my own research. I discovered that the article was actually talking about the odds of human DNA suddenly POOF, forming, from basic atoms, with no intervening steps. The odds of that happening are of course astronomical. But as I did more reading, I realized that the person who had written the article was hiding the truth and playing with the numbers.

I wish that I had found The Blind Watchmaker at this time, but this was before the internet (mostly), and I had to do my research the hard way.

Over the past 20 some years, each and every time somebody presents some sort of proof for god the result is always the same. A fable, usually based upon lies, or at least a gross misinterpretation of the facts.

At this point, no, I do not have any doubts about my atheism.

Last edited by fishbrains; 12-21-2011 at 02:27 PM.. Reason: ~correct typo
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:22 PM
 
8,681 posts, read 6,953,000 times
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Sometimes I wish I did have doubts. It would be nice to think I'd see loved ones again in some kind of heavenly afterlife.

But no. As Christopher Hitchens said, the only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism.
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Vermont
7,583 posts, read 4,257,329 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEarthBeneathMe View Post
But the following day I woke up unharmed, did my research and found out about parasomnias. Fast forward more than a decade later and here I am, working in healthcare, had the classes/read the material about sleep disorders, and of the power of the brain.

What always gets me is when people claim "I know the difference between sleeping and awake - it wasn't a dream!" That's exactly what it's like..
Good post. It illustrates why personal experience and perception is an entirely unreliable basis for belief.
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:08 PM
 
Location: FL
1,727 posts, read 898,813 times
Reputation: 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
I don't dislike you. I don't dislike even those who argue with lesser reason than you. It is out of respect that I debate. The late Campbell 34 must have come to see that, if he didn't see anything else.

Yes of course we have doubts. It's what we do about them. Try to find out the answers or just dismiss them. That's what constitutes reason.

I stopped reading here, because a question came to mind.

Are you saying that only people who try to find out the answers are reasonable? It just seem to me, that it's more important to spend time actually living life and making the most of the time we've got here, than it is to spend time seeking the answers to life's questions.
Does that make me unreasonable?
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:27 PM
 
2,487 posts, read 1,839,452 times
Reputation: 3426
Quote:
Originally Posted by looking4answers12 View Post
I stopped reading here, because a question came to mind.

Are you saying that only people who try to find out the answers are reasonable? It just seem to me, that it's more important to spend time actually living life and making the most of the time we've got here, than it is to spend time seeking the answers to life's questions.
Does that make me unreasonable?
If I may offer my opinion. You are setting up a false dichotomy. The way you phrase it, we either spend time seeking answers, OR we live life.

We can do both of course. In fact, many people take pleasure in seeking answers, so you could say that to not seek would be to not live life to the fullest.

Also, I think that one of the crimes that religion should answer for is the fact that we feel that we must search for metaphysical answers. Our culture is so immersed in the concept of hell and damnation that it would be irresponsible to ignore this question.

I do believe that it is a silly concept, but that does not mean that it does not carry a lot of cultural weight.
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