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Old 04-20-2014, 11:51 AM
 
181 posts, read 177,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
At the risk of boring the butt off Troutdude there is a subtle but important difference between not believing that something is so (because we don't know whether it is so or not) and believing that it is NOT so,when we don't know.

To understand the difference, imagine being asked questions about what is in a closed box, apples or oranges or what.

Normally, of course, such subtleties would not matter, but it is made to matter because on such subtleties can pivot theist attempts to try to prove (by misrepresenting the logical basis) that atheism is logically unsound or untenable. So we have to be aware of such logical traps.
Q: Is there an orange in this box?
A: No, there is not.
Q: How do you know there is no orange in the box?
A: I believe there is no orange in the box. I do not believe there is an orange in this box.
Q: Why do you believe that there is no orange in this box?
A: I believe there is no orange in this box, because I do not believe that an orange in the box would exist.
Q: Why do you not believe that there is an orange in this box?
A: There is an orange? Oh, okay. Prove it.
Q: You didn't answer my question. Please provide your justification as to why you do not believe that there is an orange in the box.
A: I do not believe that there is an orange in this box, because I do not believe that such a thing exists in the box. But seriously, the evidence is on you. Prove to me that there is an orange, since you seem so confident that there is an orange.
Q: It's not about proof at all. It's about faith. I have faith that there is an orange in the box. You have faith that there is no orange in the box. It's all about faith. This is not a discussion about evidence, for there is none. We both don't have proof that there is or there is not an orange. All we have is faith.
A: Ummm... just open that darn box!
Q: You don't get the point of this philosophy!
A: *moves the box* Hey, I sense an orange in there!
Q: How do you know it's an orange?
A: Well, it has to be something. I'm just going to take a gamble and say that it's an orange.
Q: Uh-huh. That's just faith without evidence.
A: I would call it a random guess or proposition, but whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Atheism is about not having a belief in what has no good evidence for it. This has been described as a belief or claim, but it is neither.

Atheism is not a belief, nor a claim, nor a religion, nor a dogma nor a philosophy. But it can look like one because, given the only basis for atheism - that there is no good reason to believe that a god exists- it means that some philosophic, moral and religious claims become more or less valid. Given that one does not believe in a god, it follows that the moral directives issued by such a god are without particular authority. They must make their own case against a number of other moral codes. This virtually guarantees that the atheist will embrace a humanist moral code.

You could guess at what values as atheist holds, but it is not an atheist Dogma in the sense of a book of moral behaviour every time one declared alliegance to the dark legions of Athe by the unnatural glow of balestar fire.

Atheism has nothing to say about the supernatural per se. Atheism is a rational and and rationalist viewpoint applied to a single subject: the god -claim. One would expect them to apply the rationalist view to any other subject, but strictly speaking,they are not doing it from an atheist point of view but (probably) as a rationalist.

We would certainly (given disbelief in God -given morals) believe in the capacity of human to make choices (or free Will, as it is called), but would probably have acquired with the realization of atheistic non-belief in a god, a sense of individual responsibility for our future and welfare as a species.
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Practically speaking, an atheist can just say or agree with the statement, "I believe that there are no deities."

Atheism is not a religion or a philosophy, but many atheists do hold a philosophy or many philosophies. Even ethical philosophies and moral codes have to assume certain values or make a claim about the nature of reality. The values and the nature of reality influence ethical reasoning and decision making.

Indeed, atheism qua atheism does not say about the supernatural. But an atheist may believe that naturalism (philosophy) has its merits, and therefore may reject the supernatural.

Your last point basically says that atheists believe that free choice exists, because humans have a sense of individual responsibility for their future and welfare as a species. The underlying value here is that humans should value responsibility and that humans should assume responsibility for betterment of themselves and that humans should value survival of the human species. It's about values people hold, not reason. Values are non-rational, but they influence ethical reasoning and decision-making.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
What a load of garbage! You provide evidence, or you believe in something that is stated positively. Non-belief is not a belief. If you say you believe in something, that is a belief. If you say you don't, that is not a belief.
I think we are just arguing over semantics.

I see no difference between:

"No one raised his or her hand."

and

"Every body did not raise his or her hand."

I'm just changing the parts of speech to be made negative. :P
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:59 AM
 
781 posts, read 595,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
Atheism is (1) the absence of belief in deities or (2) the rejection of belief in deities. Either way, it involves some sort of belief, which then confuses me, because then I don't know what counts as a "belief" and what counts as "existence". So, a surefire way to know that I am an atheist is that I do not worship deities, and I do not pray to deities, because my parents never raised me that way or taught me how to pray or worship. I tried mimicking the praying hands behavior, simply because I thought it was cool. Because I do not worship/pray/communicate to deities, won't I be an atheist? Or does atheism have to be personal belief rather than a behavior?
I always say I don't engage in the act of "believing" at all. I know or I don't know; believing is fantasizing.

That having been said, I don't stop at deities. I don't think it's possible for anything supernatural of any kind to even exist at all by the very nature of reality. Mechanistic maybe? I don't know what you'd call it, but we're just animals: we live, we die, we go out of existence.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:16 PM
 
39,235 posts, read 10,905,565 times
Reputation: 5100
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
Q: Is there an orange in this box?
A: No, there is not.
Q: How do you know there is no orange in the box?
A: I believe there is no orange in the box. I do not believe there is an orange in this box.
....
Sorry.You screwed it from the start by misrepresenting atheism (which based on the 'I don't know' agnostic position) as a claimed knowledge position.

Try again, and I'll start you off correctly.

'Q. 'Is there an orange in this box?'

A 'I have no idea.'

....

Quote:
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Practically speaking, an atheist can just say or agree with the statement, "I believe that there are no deities."

Atheism is not a religion or a philosophy, but many atheists do hold a philosophy or many philosophies. Even ethical philosophies and moral codes have to assume certain values or make a claim about the nature of reality. The values and the nature of reality influence ethical reasoning and decision making.

Indeed, atheism qua atheism does not say about the supernatural. But an atheist may believe that naturalism (philosophy) has its merits, and therefore may reject the supernatural.

Your last point basically says that atheists believe that free choice exists, because humans have a sense of individual responsibility for their future and welfare as a species. The underlying value here is that humans should value responsibility and that humans should assume responsibility for betterment of themselves and that humans should value survival of the human species. It's about values people hold, not reason. Values are non-rational, but they influence ethical reasoning and decision-making.



I think we are just arguing over semantics.

I see no difference between:

"No one raised his or her hand."

and

"Every body did not raise his or her hand."

I'm just changing the parts of speech to be made negative. :P
Semantics,as any logician will tell you, is important, as words are what we use to define concepts. Therefore,where arguments about the rationale of atheism is concerned,it is necessary to correct sloppy definitions which may then be used to discredit the logical soundness of atheism.

To shrug off such necessary exactitude in meanings as being just arguing over semantics is either missing the importance of such things ornot wanting it to stand in the way of a jolly good discredting of atheism by dishonest means.

I do hope that you are just missing the importance.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:54 PM
 
181 posts, read 177,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Sorry.You screwed it from the start by misrepresenting atheism (which based on the 'I don't know' agnostic position) as a claimed knowledge position.

Try again, and I'll start you off correctly.

'Q. 'Is there an orange in this box?'

A 'I have no idea.'
So, atheism qua atheism has an epistemologically agnostic position. Okay... so it's not just about lack of belief in deities. You are now talking about atheism as a worldview instead of merely the absence of belief in deities.

Quote:
Semantics,as any logician will tell you, is important, as words are what we use to define concepts. Therefore,where arguments about the rationale of atheism is concerned,it is necessary to correct sloppy definitions which may then be used to discredit the logical soundness of atheism.
You are assuming that atheism is logically sound. Okay, so it's not just about lack of belief in deities, but also the persuasion that the lack of belief in deities is logically sound. I think you are now shifting atheism qua atheism from a mere absence of belief in deities to a worldview.

I am not arguing against the importance of semantics. I am simply saying that you are overthinking this.

1. Every person in the room raised his or her hand.
2. No person in the room did not raise his or her hand.

The logical negations for the first and second claim is that:
3. Every person in the room did not raise his or her hand.
4. No person in the room raised his or her hand.

However, if I were to ask a person who was in the room, then that person would think 1 and 2 mean the same thing, and 3 and 4 mean the same thing, simply because the person assumes that we are talking about persons here and that the persons can not do anything else except raising or not raising hands.
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:33 PM
 
39,235 posts, read 10,905,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
So, atheism qua atheism has an epistemologically agnostic position. Okay... so it's not just about lack of belief in deities. You are now talking about atheism as a worldview instead of merely the absence of belief in deities.
You are on the right track. The worldview is the rationalist worldview. Where it is applied to the God-question, rationally we only say 'not enough evidence to believe..we don't know whether there is a god or not, so we will not believe until we do know.'

I don't blame theists for thinking that atheism is denial of Gods as we so often hear: 'does not exist...there is no God'. In fact,this is a rejection of any credible case for the existence of gods here with us, just as we reject the case for fiery dragons, winged fairies and leprechauns,though of course, we haven't looked for those everywhere in the universe either.

We say they do not exist and nobody tells us that we cannot be 100% sure.

Quote:
You are assuming that atheism is logically sound. Okay, so it's not just about lack of belief in deities, but also the persuasion that the lack of belief in deities is logically sound. I think you are now shifting atheism qua atheism from a mere absence of belief in deities to a worldview.

I am not arguing against the importance of semantics. I am simply saying that you are overthinking this.

1. Every person in the room raised his or her hand.
2. No person in the room did not raise his or her hand.

The logical negations for the first and second claim is that:
3. Every person in the room did not raise his or her hand.
4. No person in the room raised his or her hand.

However, if I were to ask a person who was in the room, then that person would think 1 and 2 mean the same thing, and 3 and 4 mean the same thing, simply because the person assumes that we are talking about persons here and that the persons can not do anything else except raising or not raising hands.
Apples and oranges. Not believing that a god exists is NOT the same as believing that a god does not exist. One is reserving an agnostic position, the other is claiming to have definite knowledge.
"I do not believe that gods exist" is NOT the same as "I believe that gods do not exist" just in different order.

"....overthinking this...." Believe me, if you had seen some of the efforts to claim that atheism is irrational/cannot exist on the basis of just that semantic tweak, you would realize that it cannot be overthought.

As I said, the worldview is rationalism. Applying it to the God -claim makes it atheism. I try to apply the same rationalist view to other claims as well, but it would sound wrong and be wrong to apply the atheist viewpoint to whether we should spend more on healthcare or sustainable fish - sources.
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,532 posts, read 2,501,894 times
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As an agnostic who often finds himself trying to navigate the narrow passage between the self-righteousness of some theists and the condescension of vociferous atheists, I tire of these conversations--and yet I find myself strangely compelled to participate!

I would suggest that whether or not one classifies atheism as a belief system, it is the occupation of an ideological position. Atheists, like theists, define themselves on an axis of belief. Attaching the prefix "a" would be meaningless without prior consideration of the root word. Agnosticism isn't a transitional, "fence-sitting", or imprecise point on that axis of belief--it is an entirely different line of thought, based upon the capacity of human knowledge and the acquisition thereof.

Belief and worship are different concepts. One can believe in a deity and choose not to worship that deity. The ancient Hebrews, for example, were not monotheistic (belief in one deity). Rather, they were monolotrous (worship of one deity)--thus the admonition to have "no other gods before me"

I don't really care about the words individuals use to define themselves. There is a certain amount of subjectivity to virtually any definition. I'm much more interested in the way they treat other human beings, their willingness to tolerate the ideas of others, and whether or not they have the discipline to make a distinction between their personal values and public policies.
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:04 PM
 
181 posts, read 177,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
You are on the right track. The worldview is the rationalist worldview. Where it is applied to the God-question, rationally we only say 'not enough evidence to believe..we don't know whether there is a god or not, so we will not believe until we do know.'
Well, I don't really think there is only one choice. I can think of two ways that you can go about this:

Option 1: I do not think there is enough evidence for the existence of deities. Therefore, I do not know whether there is a god or not. Therefore, I will not believe until I know for certain.

Option 2: I do not think there is enough evidence for the existence of deities or how much evidence would be required for me to believe in deities. Therefore, I do not know whether there is a god or not. Therefore, I will play along and assume that there is. Even if God does not exist, I will still live my life as if God does exist.

Quote:
Apples and oranges. Not believing that a god exists is NOT the same as believing that a god does not exist. One is reserving an agnostic position, the other is claiming to have definite knowledge.
"I do not believe that gods exist" is NOT the same as "I believe that gods do not exist" just in different order.
Logically, the two sentences are not equivalent.

In an everyday casual setting, I think those sentences are roughly equivalent to the extent that they are asking about a person's belief in the existence of deities.

Quote:
"....overthinking this...." Believe me, if you had seen some of the efforts to claim that atheism is irrational/cannot exist on the basis of just that semantic tweak, you would realize that it cannot be overthought.
Just because something does not appeal to reason does not mean that something is bad or undesirable. Again, I think you are taking a rationalist perspective again. A non-rational atheist would say, "I have no reason for my rejection/absence of belief in deities. I just do not believe. No amount of reason can convince me to believe. I just do not believe."

Quote:
As I said, the worldview is rationalism. Applying it to the God -claim makes it atheism. I try to apply the same rationalist view to other claims as well, but it would sound wrong and be wrong to apply the atheist viewpoint to whether we should spend more on healthcare or sustainable fish - sources.
I think you are conflating atheism and rationalism.
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:26 PM
 
39,235 posts, read 10,905,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
Well, I don't really think there is only one choice. I can think of two ways that you can go about this:

Option 1: I do not think there is enough evidence for the existence of deities. Therefore, I do not know whether there is a god or not. Therefore, I will not believe until I know for certain.

Option 2: I do not think there is enough evidence for the existence of deities or how much evidence would be required for me to believe in deities. Therefore, I do not know whether there is a god or not. Therefore, I will play along and assume that there is. Even if God does not exist, I will still live my life as if God does exist.
Correct.One can either be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist. Logically belief in something without adequate evidence is irrational. Disbelief in something that has inadequate evidence for it is rational. Atheism is rational, Theism is not.

Quote:
Logically, the two sentences are not equivalent.

In an everyday casual setting, I think those sentences are roughly equivalent to the extent that they are asking about a person's belief in the existence of deities.
Yes. as I say, in the normal way we needn't be too pernickerty about the semantics. It is only when it is made the basis for a challenge to the rationale of atheism that we need to point up the difference.

Quote:
Just because something does not appeal to reason does not mean that something is bad or undesirable. Again, I think you are taking a rationalist perspective again. A non-rational atheist would say, "I have no reason for my rejection/absence of belief in deities. I just do not believe. No amount of reason can convince me to believe. I just do not believe."
Perhaps so. But I just happen to want what I believe to be based on the best evidence. There may be some atheists who say: "I have no reason for my rejection/absence of belief in deities. I just do not believe. No amount of reason can convince me to believe. I just do not believe.", but in fact I think they will always have a reason-I had one before I began to think about it. The claims of religion seemed based more on myth and imagination than on reality.

Quote:
I think you are conflating atheism and rationalism.
Atheism is a subset of rationalism. It is the rational thinking applied to a specific claim.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:14 AM
 
5,462 posts, read 5,944,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
If a person agrees with the statement "I believe in no deities", then that is a belief. The belief is that the person does not believe in deities.
OK, but that's not a religious belief. It is a belief that one can know their own thoughts. Did you really start a thread to tell people that they believe they know what they are thinking?

Quote:
The sentence can be rephrased as:

"I do not believe in deities."
"I believe in the non-existence of deities."
"I do not believe in the existence of deities."
False. The middle statement is not the same as the others.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:23 AM
 
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MacD. has a number of threads going, and I was thinking them over while I was taking the daily walk that keeps this ancient Bod chugging along. 'Ask an atheist..' is a good idea. In fact essential, because we are never going to get 'The Good News About The World tomorrow' out there by talking atheism amongst ourselves. Atheists actually have no interest in atheism.We have nothing much to talk about as atheists. It is only theists who give us something to talk about.

No Theism, no atheism. Input and discussion, debate and red -faced slanging are what makes the Atheist Forum tick..apart from news about the Baphomet statue. Or another deconversion story thread.
So all the threads are really about asking an atheist, and just asking and receiving an answer is not the end of it. There is almost always going to be a debate.

The Ask an atheist has already turned into one.
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