3 questions for atheists
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28-12-2013, 12:36 AM (This post was last modified: 28-12-2013 03:20 AM by Brownshirt.)
3 questions for atheists
1. Why do you have an active lack of belief? The position comes across as one who wants to be recognised as one who negates any form of god but not have to prove anything.

2. What is the purpose of atheism?

3. Why believe evidence is (or will be) available to confirm or negate a god?
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28-12-2013, 01:06 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
I'm more agnostic when it comes to god(s). I can't prove Zeus didn't exist.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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28-12-2013, 01:13 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 12:36 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  1. Why do you have an active lack of belief? The position comes across as one who wants to be recognised as one who negates any form of god but not have to prove anything.

Active??? I dont go to church, I dont pray and whatever. If anything my atheism shows itself by being fairly inactive.

And I want to be recognised for what I am because every individual wants to be recognised as whatever he or she might be and it is a right.

Quote:2. What is the purpose of atheism?

There is no general purpose to it, it is simply a way in which people determine themselves to be.

Quote:3. Why do believe evidence is (or will be) available to confirm or negate a god?

I dont even need evidence.

Even if god would exist I would reject him. All gods that I have read about are totalitarian fascists and I am a republican (in the European sence).




A question for you now from a German: Why is your username "Brownshirt"?

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28-12-2013, 01:17 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 12:36 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  1. Why do you have an active lack of belief? The position comes across as one who wants to be recognised as one who negates any form of god but not have to prove anything.

2. What is the purpose of atheism?

3. Why do believe evidence is (or will be) available to confirm or negate a god?

1. An atheist is a description of belief. Agnostic is a description of knowledge.
Atheists are atheistic as far as they dont believe in any God. They are however agnostic as far as they dont know any God actually exists and dont see any substantial evidence for a particular deity.

2. There is no purpose. A lack of belief in a God, has no inherent purpose. It might be deduced that the purpose could be seeking knowledge, curiosity for how the universe works or just plain lack of interest in supernatural claims.

3. It's hard to say. For example, if I were to say, a man coming down from the sky might be a pretty good proof, however if the experience is private, it could be suspiciously a hallucination, or if public a trick by a magician with high technology. It really depends on the deity being discussed and a public, verifiable evidence is essential to confirm the existence of a deity.

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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28-12-2013, 02:59 AM (This post was last modified: 28-12-2013 03:25 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 12:36 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  1. Why do you have an active lack of belief? The position comes across as one who wants to be recognised as one who negates any form of god but not have to prove anything.

2. What is the purpose of atheism?

3. Why do believe evidence is (or will be) available to confirm or negate a god?

Atheism, as a position or stance, has no purpose in and of itself. It's not part of some grander mythological narrative, not in the same way as bringing about Frashokereti or some similar religious dogma. However, if one is pursuing a fairly rudimentary goal such as the pursuit of truth, the purpose of adopting an atheistic stance is defined in those terms. Most of us came to and/or remain atheists because we are pursuing truth, and atheism seems to us to be part of that, and we will remain atheists so long as atheism continues to seem truthful to us. Finally, atheists as a community or movement are not coherent enough to adopt institutional purposes (or even an institution, really), but have strong tendencies towards particular goals such as defending and stiffening the right of freedom from religion.

"Active" lack of belief suggests what's typically called "gnostic" atheism or "strong", atheism, that is, the belief that no gods exist. A simple absence of belief includes the possibility of "weak" atheism or "agnostic" atheism, which is simply the absence of a belief that gods exist. There's a bit of semantic argument over whether the latter category should be included under the umbrella of atheism, but suffice it to say that a lot of people who identify as atheists do so as people who are simply active absent (EDIT: Oops.) a belief in gods, rather than actively disbelieving.

That said, there are reasons (in skeptical empiricism, the underlying philosophy of science) to assume atheism as the default position, meaning, the position we hold until sufficient evidence comes along that proves otherwise. This is not to say that the atheistic position should be considered 100% proven at this point. To the scientifically minded, nothing is 100% proven. But atheism has the great virtue of being falsifiable. If it is not true, sufficient evidence to the contrary can contradict it. A sufficiently documented, indisputable divine manifestation in the present day, for example, might serve as such evidence. Or maybe communication via prayer. Or a hundred other "miraculous" events, if sufficiently documented, and evaluated (and rejected) for other possible explanations. The existence of a god cannot be completely proven (all these evidences could be mass hallucinations, for example), any more than the non-existence of all gods can be proven, but the balance of evidence could shift from atheism towards the existence of gods... if there only were such evidence. That is what falsifiable means: That if the position is in error, there could arise or (especially!) be sought some evidence to show us that it is false.

The opposite position, that gods exist, is not falsifiable. If the world just kept on chugging along exactly as if no gods existed at all, then people would keep on worshiping gods anyway and argue that they're working in mysterious ways or aren't interfering in day-to-day affairs. We know this, because the world has, and people do. Absence of evidence need not be taken as evidence of absence. There would be no red flag, no self-correcting mechanism, no big alert saying "HEY! WE HAD IT WRONG! LET'S CORRECT OUR FALSE BELIEFS!" Therefore, if we are pursuing the truth, it makes more sense to adopt the position that is falsifiable, because if that is in error, then we are more likely to have the opportunity to detect and correct that error in the future. This is doubly sensible if the contrary belief has little evidence in favor of it, even if its nonfalsifiability means that we cannot identify evidence against it. This also makes it sensible to shift the burden of proof to proponents of gods existing. As no evidence could ever be found to the effect that no gods exist, even if it is the case that no gods exist, and evidence COULD be found in the case that they do exist, then the only sensible way to pursue truth is to seek evidence that gods do exist... for what other evidence can there be? Nor should that search be left to those who hold the opposite position, because of conflict of interest.

Furthermore, while the existence of gods is not itself falsifiable, many of the beliefs attached to the existence of gods are. Most religions spin out a host of beliefs beyond the simple existence of gods. Many of these beliefs are testable. Many of them fail their tests. As just one of many, many, many examples, the Bible states, in Genesis, that God created a firmament -- that is, a nested series of crystal domes or spheres enclosing the earth -- and hung the "lights" from it (that is, the stars, moon, sun, and planets). This is a clasical, geocentric model of the heavens, and was accepted throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. The existence of God might not be testable, but the existence of a firmament is. Various observational and geometric calculations showed that these lights did not actually revolve around Earth, but rather the sun. Newtonian mechanics provided a plausible alternative explanation, wholly consistent with physics as could be examined on Earth, which eliminated the need for spheres to hold planets, sun, stars, and moon suspended in the sky. But the most straightforward test was when we sent up probes and manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, and they didn't crash into a crystal sphere. Not even a crystal champagne glass. (You can find this in King James, as well as historical translations and original texts in other languages. More modern translations have modified the text to avoid mention of the firmament. We call this "moving the goalposts" and regard it with scorn.) As another example, IIRC, the Bible says that if one forces an animal to stare at a striped tree while being bred, the progeny will come out striped. This is also falsifiable, and has been falsified.

Similarly, certain types of god may be falsifiable. For example, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, interventionalist god may be falsified by observing the existence of extensive suffering in the world. Such a being, if it existed, would recognize the fact of suffering (omniscience), be able to prevent it and eliminate it from the world entirely (omnipotence), be moved to do so (omnibenevolence), and intervene to that effect (interventionalist). That fact that suffering exists is strong evidence that this type of god does not exist. Similarly, if there is proposed to exist a god that grants the power of prophesy, and people are tested extensively to show that the power of prophesy does not exist in people, then the existence of a prophesy-granting god is falsified.

This is significant. When an epistemological process, such as knowledge through faith/divine revelation/sacred texts/so on, proves itself woefully false in just about every means that we can test, we come away knowing it to be unreliable. (In contrast, when an epistemological process such as the scientific method proves itself highly reliable, we are justified in trusting its results by default, especially vis-a-vis an unreliable epistemology.) When it proves unreliable in what we can test, we have good reason to suspect that it is unreliable in what we can't test. It's a bit like shaking a magic 8-ball to get answers to a hundred questions where we already know the answer, checking its results against those previously known answers, discovering that its success rate is abysmal, and then asking it a 100 questions where we can't confirm the answers. Do we know that THESE answers are false? No. But there's no way we're going to trust them. As the testable assertions of religions continue to be falsified, we are justified in having less and less respect for or faith in their untestable assertions.

So, hopefully that answered your questions. Atheism does not suggest an active lack of belief. It has no purpose in and of itself, but is a state we achieve as we follow a separate purpose to pursue truth with full rigor. The burden of proof is on those who assert the existence of gods, because it is a non-falsifiable claim, and could never be disproved even if it is wrong, but could be proved right if it is right.
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28-12-2013, 03:09 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 01:06 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I'm more agnostic when it comes to god(s). I can't prove Zeus didn't exist.

That is an atheist argument to me. I am agnostic and don't use examples of being unable to disprove defined historical gods, fairies, leprechauns et al to prove a point.
The inability to disprove a negative assumes its conclusion.
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28-12-2013, 03:17 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 01:13 AM)The Germans are coming Wrote:  
(28-12-2013 12:36 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  1. Why do you have an active lack of belief? The position comes across as one who wants to be recognised as one who negates any form of god but not have to prove anything.
Quote:Active??? I dont go to church, I dont pray and whatever. If anything my atheism shows itself by being fairly inactive.

Being an active atheist to me, would require some atheist activity such as coming here. I can understand those who require support from being viewed as an atheist from family and friends who are theist (i.e a response to a position) or being against religion, however s a philosophical standpoint it seems a strange position to take.

Quote:And I want to be recognised for what I am because every individual wants to be recognised as whatever he or she might be and it is a right.

I could be described as an atheist by some, but don't define myself as one.

Quote:2. What is the purpose of atheism?

Quote:There is no general purpose to it, it is simply a way in which people determine themselves to be.

Yes but why? People don't join groups to show what they lack belief in, or don't do.

Quote:3. Why do believe evidence is (or will be) available to confirm or negate a god?

Quote:I dont even need evidence.

Even if god would exist I would reject him. All gods that I have read about are totalitarian fascists and I am a republican (in the European sence).

Fair enough, I can understand that.


Quote:A question for you now from a German: Why is your username "Brownshirt"?

No Nazi link, it's just something silly as I have a brown-shirt, and if you take the R out of it you have brownshit.
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28-12-2013, 03:23 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 03:09 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  The inability to disprove a negative assumes its conclusion.
No, it doesn't. When we are unable to disprove something, the intellectually honest thing to do is to admit ignorance.

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28-12-2013, 03:33 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 01:17 AM)djkamilo Wrote:  
(28-12-2013 12:36 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  1. Why do you have an active lack of belief? The position comes across as one who wants to be recognised as one who negates any form of god but not have to prove anything.

2. What is the purpose of atheism?

3. Why do believe evidence is (or will be) available to confirm or negate a god?

Quote:1. An atheist is a description of belief. Agnostic is a description of knowledge.
Atheists are atheistic as far as they dont believe in any God. They are however agnostic as far as they dont know any God actually exists and dont see any substantial evidence for a particular deity.

Yes I've heard that many times. i don't subscribe to the belief/knowledge approach, it tends to be an atheist definition. As an agnostic, I don't believe nor do I disbelieve, I really do not know what to believe.

Quote:2. There is no purpose. A lack of belief in a God, has no inherent purpose. It might be deduced that the purpose could be seeking knowledge, curiosity for how the universe works or just plain lack of interest in supernatural claims.

Isn't it odd to actively lack belief in something? It seems to be defined on a theists perspective towards their claim. As an agnostic I would say I'm an atheist towards many types of a christian god for example, but still define myself as agnostic as I don't hold a set belief, nor do I pin my views on what others have defined as a god.

Quote:3. It's hard to say. For example, if I were to say, a man coming down from the sky might be a pretty good proof, however if the experience is private, it could be suspiciously a hallucination, or if public a trick by a magician with high technology. It really depends on the deity being discussed and a public, verifiable evidence is essential to confirm the existence of a deity.


If a deity exists, I don't assume it must be able to be observed. I personally don't believe evidence is coming, or I think we would know by now otherwise.
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28-12-2013, 03:36 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(28-12-2013 03:23 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(28-12-2013 03:09 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  The inability to disprove a negative assumes its conclusion.
No, it doesn't. When we are unable to disprove something, the intellectually honest thing to do is to admit ignorance.

Yes I agree, but you'll notice I said "disprove a negative" not "something".
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