A question for atheists.
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04-06-2011, 10:26 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
I know it's already been touched on by others, but it really is a mistake to try to quantify what atheists believe. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. That's all it is. It is not an assertion about anything. Therefore, those of us who perhaps do make assertions are not making them because of our atheism nor in fact are we making the assertions despite our atheism. Those of us who make assertions about afterlife, pan-dimensionality, spiritualism, what-have-you, are in no wise making atheistic claims. A person who has no deity belief is not restricted from any other belief, any more than a person who doesn't play golf is not restricted from enjoying any other sport.

As for myself, I have developed a very detailed and very dogmatic belief system based on the observable universe and quantum theory. I then rejected it - just like I have every other belief system because there's nothing in it worth believing. It answers life's questions for me better than any religious or pseudo-religious philosophy I have ever been exposed to. It fits with everything I've ever experienced about life, death, the spiritual, the meta-physical and the psychological; yet it still doesn't warrant belief, because I know that I made it up from whole cloth.

That's how every other religious explanation has been dealt with by me as well; ghosts, esp, miracle claims, levitation, past-life-regression, astral-projection, near-death-experience, possession, the whole shebang. The explanations are no more satisfying than the scientific one - I don't know, but at least the scientific one has the benefit of being honest. Anything else is just something somebody made up to plug the knowledge gap with faith.
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05-06-2011, 02:50 AM
RE: A question for atheists.
(04-06-2011 06:57 PM)Spectre Wrote:  Presuppositions you mean? Yes, those are covered.

I’m afraid I accidently laid a trap for you. I didn’t have time yesterday for a full posting, so I wrote somewhat elliptically.

I used PREconception deliberately as a counter to MISconception. Misconception to me carries a connotation that there is someone standing in judgement deciding which conception is a “mis”. By PREconception I mean the stuff that people bring to a discussion that colours what they say and how they interpret what they hear.

When I use the word presupposition, (you might use it differently) I think of a proposition that governs how data is used to form conclusions about the world. It’s not the same as an axiom because it’s not an arbitrary assumption. I think I have “ground” for the presupposition, but I use it like an axiom once I settle on it.

However it is the “ground” and not the presupposition that I’m pointing to with the word preconception. The ground of our thought can involve reasoned generalisations from data, culture, upbringing, a life changing experience, a lifelong situation, or a word, a flash of insight, or what we had for breakfast. Consider Stephen Hawking as an example. Though he is a brilliant and self-aware thinker, can one separate his view of god (which has changed over time) from the fact that he has a debilitating disease from which he should have died decades ago and that he was married for many years to a Christian woman? Perhaps debatable but it should be considered.

One of my daily and lifelong tasks has been to help people communicate effectively with each other, so I welcome your endeavour on a charged topic. Just work hard to see all that may be behind what people say and ask if you're not sure. Smile

He was part of my dream, of course--but then I was part of his dream, too!
--Alice
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05-06-2011, 06:32 AM
RE: A question for atheists.
(05-06-2011 02:50 AM)pilgrim Wrote:  
(04-06-2011 06:57 PM)Spectre Wrote:  Presuppositions you mean? Yes, those are covered.

I’m afraid I accidently laid a trap for you. I didn’t have time yesterday for a full posting, so I wrote somewhat elliptically.

I used PREconception deliberately as a counter to MISconception. Misconception to me carries a connotation that there is someone standing in judgement deciding which conception is a “mis”. By PREconception I mean the stuff that people bring to a discussion that colours what they say and how they interpret what they hear.

When I use the word presupposition, (you might use it differently) I think of a proposition that governs how data is used to form conclusions about the world. It’s not the same as an axiom because it’s not an arbitrary assumption. I think I have “ground” for the presupposition, but I use it like an axiom once I settle on it.

However it is the “ground” and not the presupposition that I’m pointing to with the word preconception. The ground of our thought can involve reasoned generalisations from data, culture, upbringing, a life changing experience, a lifelong situation, or a word, a flash of insight, or what we had for breakfast. Consider Stephen Hawking as an example. Though he is a brilliant and self-aware thinker, can one separate his view of god (which has changed over time) from the fact that he has a debilitating disease from which he should have died decades ago and that he was married for many years to a Christian woman? Perhaps debatable but it should be considered.

One of my daily and lifelong tasks has been to help people communicate effectively with each other, so I welcome your endeavour on a charged topic. Just work hard to see all that may be behind what people say and ask if you're not sure. Smile
I understand what you are saying. But really, the book is meant to address misconception on both sides, including ones that the creationists tend to have such as atheists believing that something came from nothing. I don't plan on going too far into atheism for the fact that I am not an atheist, and that because I am not an atheist that means that I can only step so far into the idealogy when trying to think like one. I don't plan on going past my "comfort zone" in that regard because I do not want to unintentionally spread false information about atheism.

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" Peter 3:15

http://www.answersforhope.org
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05-06-2011, 08:51 AM
RE: A question for atheists.
So then I am forced to ask, will your book really be about the misconceptions on both sides, or will it be about the misconceptions on the Christian side, with some Atheist misconceptions thrown in? I ask because you are writing from a Christian perspective, and if you aren't willing to go beyond your comfort zone, how can you expect to write an unbiased book?
I have to be honest here, I think your true motive is to write a book that shows how "right" your perspective is. If you won't go that deep into atheism (which you could do by gaining the perspective of atheists through open minded conversation/interviews) then your book will be about Christianity. A good writer purposely goes outside their comfort zone. If you're not willing to do that, you won't write what you claim you're writing.
I hope you prove me wrong, and I look forward to reading the book. Good luck.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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05-06-2011, 09:36 AM
RE: A question for atheists.
If you want it to be balanced and focused just get a partner to help you with the other side so that it makes better sense.

If you aren't willing to delve too far into the atheist side, then have an atheist with you to bridge that gap.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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05-06-2011, 11:05 AM
RE: A question for atheists.
(05-06-2011 08:51 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  So then I am forced to ask, will your book really be about the misconceptions on both sides, or will it be about the misconceptions on the Christian side, with some Atheist misconceptions thrown in? I ask because you are writing from a Christian perspective, and if you aren't willing to go beyond your comfort zone, how can you expect to write an unbiased book?
I have to be honest here, I think your true motive is to write a book that shows how "right" your perspective is. If you won't go that deep into atheism (which you could do by gaining the perspective of atheists through open minded conversation/interviews) then your book will be about Christianity. A good writer purposely goes outside their comfort zone. If you're not willing to do that, you won't write what you claim you're writing.
I hope you prove me wrong, and I look forward to reading the book. Good luck.
That's a fair point. One of my friends knows an atheist that is very interested in creation vs evolution. I may enlist his help in writing the atheist portion of the book. I just want it to be a book that gets people more informed about the subject. So I think I may borrow Lilith's idea.

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" Peter 3:15

http://www.answersforhope.org
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05-06-2011, 11:41 AM
 
RE: A question for atheists.
While I think having an atheist on board while you write the book might help, due to your stated lack of knowledge about atheism, I'm not sure have one atheist's views going up against all the views of creationism will provide a balanced view either. To understand atheism, it helps to examine first the word "Atheism": "A" meaning absence of, and "Theism" meaning belief in a defined god as opposed to Deism which just means god. I am open to believing there may be a god if evidence is presented to me. I am not however open to believing in a theistic god. These gods, as described by various religions (you know what they are) not only have no evidence that their particular version of god exists, but plenty of evidence that it doesn't.
So if I was to read your book as an atheist, and you said "God did it and here's how I know" I would stop reading. I would stop reading because because you would be providing information based on a theistic view of your particular god, who does not exist. If however you said "god might of done it but I have know way of knowing how" then I would have completed your book and had respect for your view. I'm not sure it would be a best seller though.
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05-06-2011, 11:26 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(04-06-2011 10:32 AM)Spectre Wrote:  I am writing a book on how to approach the creation vs evolution controversy. The book will cover many of the misconceptions on both sides of the debate and hopefully straighten out some of the misunderstandings between atheists and Christians as well.

On part of my book, I wanted to discuss what some atheists believe. Aside from the fact that you all lack a belief in any sort of deity whatsoever, do you guys have any beliefs outside of what science theorizes so far? Do you believe that there are different dimensions or anything like that? Or do some of you choose to reject anything that you may consider supernatural all together?

Why does what atheists think matter to you? Atheists are not scientist, it just happens that most scientist are atheists. You should probably visit a college biology department.

However, to answer your questions....
As far as I know I have no belief outside science.
I will "believe" in extra dimensions if they are found.
Define supernatural as you understand it.

On another note... kudos to you for printing off yet another creation vs evolution book. Christians are thirsty for more confirmation and controversy. Some of the churches I have visited have a book store built right in... you should do well!!! Several years back we bought a bunch of USB drives and stuck the KJV on them. Sold like cocaine. Christians will buy anything with a bible or a cross on it. It really does not matter that you be balanced in your writing (I am not using reverse psychology here)...just make the shit up... they will buy it, trust me. ;-) Because we both know it is not about finding answers... its about what this has always been about.... $$$$
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06-06-2011, 12:53 AM (This post was last modified: 06-06-2011 01:04 AM by Spectre.)
RE: A question for atheists.
(05-06-2011 11:26 PM)myst32 Wrote:  Why does what atheists think matter to you? Atheists are not scientist, it just happens that most scientist are atheists. You should probably visit a college biology department.
There are some atheists("Militant atheists" are usually the most ignorant ones, the passive atheists tend to be more informed.) out there that need to be informed if they want to engage a Creationist in a debate. You can pretend there is no controversy but the multiple news articles that are released every day say otherwise. To say anything to the contrary is just attempting to ignore the issue. Militant atheists who march around trying to harass Creationists don't help the cause of "ignore the problem and it will go away" either.

There are also some Christian arguments floating around that are being used against atheists that are not Biblically sound and quite frankly, are fallacious in their logic. I intend to help set those straight. If I keep even some Christians from using fallacious arguments then I saved both sides some trouble.

I appreciate that you at least answered the question. Supernatural is typically a force that is beyond scientific understanding. Currently a different dimension would probably be considered super natural, until one is found that is. Based on my understanding of The Bible, I predict that we will indeed discover another dimension at some point in time.

As for the rest of your post, your statements about Christians was an ad hominem attack on Christianity and is just a logical fallacy.

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" Peter 3:15

http://www.answersforhope.org
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06-06-2011, 04:17 AM
 
RE: A question for atheists.
I really don't think your book will be necessary. Though, I'm sure, there are still countries in the world where the religious will try to push their supernatural beliefs into classrooms and other 'common science', the civilized world has very much made up its mind about where human beings come from. Abiogenesis and evolution are scientifically well supported theories, the 'opposition' has no evidence whatsoever beside the claim of Holy writ on a bundle of old documents - which in no way can negate a sound scientific theory like evolution, or heliocentrism for that matter.

Spirituality (or religion) and science are two very different fields. Though they may provide opinions on each other's ideas, their natures won't allow them to take arguments from the other side seriously. Though science is the one with the upper hand since its claims are observable and demonstrable and thus it can present actual evidence. Spirituality very much remains on that unknowable plain to which so many and so very different claims have been made.

Creationism (especially young earth creationism) is out there with the alien conspiracy theorists and homoeopaths. Writing a book on an issue which is only still pushed by the Creationists themselves, does nothing but keep those same Creationists comfortably ignorant about reality - in which there really is no controversy.

Militant atheists are simply atheists who are a bit more aggressive than the "passive atheists". I think the group you mean is the young/new atheists whose passion to get involved stands above digging deeply into the established knowledge and customs.
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