Atheism Contradiction
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06-09-2011, 05:20 PM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(06-09-2011 05:10 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  There is no story.

Pity. I'll miss the story.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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06-09-2011, 06:54 PM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(06-09-2011 12:08 AM)Efrx86 Wrote:  Found this little gem on another forum a few minutes ago:

"But that's - I'm sorry but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of - of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody proved it doesn't exist!" - Hermione (from Harry Potter)

We would need eternity, both ways, to come to any reasonable consensus.
Frrankly we just don't seem to have the time!Undecided
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06-09-2011, 07:16 PM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(06-09-2011 06:54 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  
(06-09-2011 12:08 AM)Efrx86 Wrote:  Found this little gem on another forum a few minutes ago:

"But that's - I'm sorry but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of - of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody proved it doesn't exist!" - Hermione (from Harry Potter)

We would need eternity, both ways, to come to any reasonable consensus.
Frrankly we just don't seem to have the time!Undecided

Consensus on what? The fact that a lack of proof is not proof?

That logical conclusion was reached long ago.
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06-09-2011, 11:27 PM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2011 11:38 PM by Mr Woof.)
RE: Response to 'Atheism Contradiction'
(06-09-2011 12:01 AM)Ava_Rose Wrote:  As others have mentioned, there is no evidence that God exists. There is, however, a body of evidence in support of the notion that the mind has an inborn proclivity to believe in the supernatural (read The God Part of the Brain by Matthew Alper). Alper argues that religion arose to mitigate the imminent threat of death and also to contribute to the formation of a workable society (although it's a bit more complicated than that).

The field of evolutionary psychology also sheds light upon why humans would be so eager to read more into nature than is actually there (e.g. believing famine is the punishment of God, believing in astrology, thinking that random events are God's way of communicating with us). A sense of over-vigilance arose because the tendency to pick up on patterns and natural signs produced individuals who were more alert and aware of their surroundings; those who remained ignorant of such occurrences often faced trouble for not piecing such items together. For example, those who imagined the presence of a non-existent lion after hearing some rustling in the bushes were better off than those who ignored the noise produced by the presence of an actual lion; to be overly cautious was more advantageous than to be unobservant. One theory states that this caused people to constantly attempt to make sense of the world by going pattern-crazy. If you noticed that each year you did something particularly asocial (killed another tribal member, were disrespectful to an elder, etc.) you were unable to have a child, wouldn't it seem reasonable to attribute infertility to some external force judging you on the basis of your actions?

You mention that it is unreasonable to claim with certainty that God does not exist because even this requires a certain degree of faith since we cannot without a doubt prove that God does not exist. I can see your point and have a few thoughts of my own to add. This same logic can be applied to nearly any postulation. Have you heard of Russell's teapot? If someone made the claim that a teapot was orbiting the sun in between the Earth and Mars, it would seem foolish for others to believe him simply because there was no evidence to prove otherwise. The burden of proof would lie on the shoulders of the person asserting the existence of this teapot; while they could not really be proven wrong without a single doubt, the world just seems to make more sense without the teapot because we have no evidence for the teapot's existence.

Belief in God is similar. Most of science makes sense without him, so why add an unnecessary hypothesis? The best scientific explanations are the simplest with the least amount of extraneous material. Perhaps the most questionable aspect of intelligent design lies in the fact that, '…gaps shrink as science advances… God is threatened with eventually having nothing to do and nowhere to hide' (Dawkins, The God Delusion). Because the existence of a Creator God insists that the unknown should be attributed to the existence of the supernatural, ID literature has never been published in any respectable scientific journal.

In spite of this, I will still admit that no one should claim with absolute, 100% certainty that God does not exist. Many people who consider themselves atheists (but may also be called agnostics) do not endorse the existence of any specific deity, but will admit that it is impossible to know if some kind of greater power does exist because we are limited in space and time and have not explored the entire universe. As an analogy, how is an amoeba supposed to recognize the existence of Hollywood celebrities, Einstein's theory of relativity, and some far-off war waged by humans over terrorism? ...How is it supposed to even know what these are? But just because it is, in theory, impossible to definitively rule out the existence of a deity does not mean that it is wise to have faith that there is one if we have no supporting evidence - much like Russell's teapot.

And imagine for a second that there is a supernatural entity. Based on both the apparent flaws of every world religion I've encountered and the current state of the world, it would be safe to say that this God would either be powerless to stop evil, oblivious to its existence, or be apathetic to its destruction. He/she/it would hardly seem in a position to grant any sort of afterlife, and it would be exceedingly unlikely that some ancient group of mystics had actually formed an accurate representation of it, just considering how much evolution has shaped our psychology (as expounded above) and also how religions fit so neatly within their cultural and historical context.

So, in short, although we cannot say that there positively is no God, we can say that there is a lack of evidence to support theism, and that if God does exist, he/she/it would be so far removed from the workings of humankind it would be totally pointless to devote one's life to worship and prayer.

In response to your last paragaph, I agree whole heartedly. The theist wants the ultimate god of her choosing to align with some proposed inherent morality of the Universe. In terms of any possible spiritual evolution I would even argue,given never ending change, that a god status could never be reached in an absolute sense. A 15th century philosopher Vannini argued, the seeming parodox that only change could be perfect as it related, in its better senses ,with creativity. Shy
(06-09-2011 07:16 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  
(06-09-2011 06:54 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  
(06-09-2011 12:08 AM)Efrx86 Wrote:  Found this little gem on another forum a few minutes ago:

"But that's - I'm sorry but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of - of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody proved it doesn't exist!" - Hermione (from Harry Potter)

We would need eternity, both ways, to come to any reasonable consensus.
Frrankly we just don't seem to have the time!Undecided

Consensus on what? The fact that a lack of proof is not proof?

That logical conclusion was reached long ago.
A 'proof' is only as good as its use by date and inferences can become proofs.
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07-09-2011, 07:12 AM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(06-09-2011 04:03 PM)JakeBolton Wrote:  Thanks guys, this is all really helpful!
I'm fairly new to this atheism stuff so forgive me for confusing belief and faith Smile
I think I agree that if there was 100% undeniable proof of God, I would believe.

Now, now, you don't need 100% undeniable proof to believe anything. Everything you've ever believed in, apart from your own consciousness, does not have 100% undeniable proof of it's existence.

In short, if it walks like Thor, talks like Thor, calls down lightning even in clear skies like Thor, I'm going to call it Thor. I don't have relive every moment of the guys life to double check that he is indeed 100% Thor. This absurd trap of 100% evidence is one I have found incredibly annoying, because it forces the atheists to use wishy-washy languages when they wouldn't use it on any other topic.

Quote:I still feel that there is a certain amount of faith needed to believe science will carry on bridging the gaps and proof of God will never be found. Am I making any sense? To be a true atheist you need some level of faith in your belief, without faith you sway towards being agnostic. That doesn't make you agnostic, just that if proven you will believe in God. If you were 100% atheist then even with proof you still wouldn't believe.

You see? More 100% silliness. I am an atheist not because I have some kind of 'faith' that there will be evidence disproving god, or that no proof will ever be found. But because there is no proof of such an entity NOW. I have just as much reason to believe in a god just as much as I do to believe in Bigfoot, Russel's Teapot, unicorns, alien visitors, or any other thing we're all happy to agree doesn't exist. Heck, god is actually the least likely of that set, because we know that there is nothing fundamentally impossible, based on our current understanding of science, about the other four (Assuming here that unicorns are just horses with a single horn). Alien visitors might be extremely improbable, but unlike gods they don't require any addendum to the laws of the universe.

It's why I don't like the word agnostic. Either the word is incorrectly used by almost everybody, or it's useless. Because if it means "Can't have 100% proof of anything" then EVERYONE is agnostic about EVERYTHING, whether they believe they are or not. Down that road lies solipsism, a true, but useless belief, noteworthy only to demonstrate the point that we lack absolute knowledge.

So... yah. I apologize for snapping, but this issue really bothers me. I find it absurd that even among atheists, you'll find people who have no problem with the statement "There are no aliens abducting people in the night," but get all upset about the statement "There is no god." No because they disagree, but because you can't say something like that without absolute certainty, despite that being a requirement in no other aspect of discourse.

So in short, if you don't think there is a reasonable chance of a deity existing, say, "There is no god." You don't need faith, scientific disproof, or absolute knowledge to deny gods any more than you need those things to deny the ninja assassin standing behind you right now.
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07-09-2011, 10:53 AM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(07-09-2011 07:12 AM)Sines Wrote:  It's why I don't like the word agnostic. Either the word is incorrectly used by almost everybody, or it's useless. Because if it means "Can't have 100% proof of anything" then EVERYONE is agnostic about EVERYTHING, whether they believe they are or not. Down that road lies solipsism, a true, but useless belief, noteworthy only to demonstrate the point that we lack absolute knowledge.

I very much share your opinion on this. I find it interesting that agnostics are agnostic only about the existence of god and not everything else. Isn't that special pleading? Most of us make up our minds based on the existing evidence, but with the provision that we'll change our mind if new evidence comes along. While many seem to think agnosticism is the most reasonable position, I don't share that opinion.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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07-09-2011, 11:44 AM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(07-09-2011 10:53 AM)sy2502 Wrote:  
(07-09-2011 07:12 AM)Sines Wrote:  It's why I don't like the word agnostic. Either the word is incorrectly used by almost everybody, or it's useless. Because if it means "Can't have 100% proof of anything" then EVERYONE is agnostic about EVERYTHING, whether they believe they are or not. Down that road lies solipsism, a true, but useless belief, noteworthy only to demonstrate the point that we lack absolute knowledge.

I very much share your opinion on this. I find it interesting that agnostics are agnostic only about the existence of god and not everything else. Isn't that special pleading? Most of us make up our minds based on the existing evidence, but with the provision that we'll change our mind if new evidence comes along. While many seem to think agnosticism is the most reasonable position, I don't share that opinion.

You agree? You said the exact opposite....

The truth is that you cannot know anything with 100% certainty.
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07-09-2011, 12:23 PM
RE: Atheism Contradiction
(07-09-2011 11:44 AM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  
(07-09-2011 10:53 AM)sy2502 Wrote:  
(07-09-2011 07:12 AM)Sines Wrote:  It's why I don't like the word agnostic. Either the word is incorrectly used by almost everybody, or it's useless. Because if it means "Can't have 100% proof of anything" then EVERYONE is agnostic about EVERYTHING, whether they believe they are or not. Down that road lies solipsism, a true, but useless belief, noteworthy only to demonstrate the point that we lack absolute knowledge.

I very much share your opinion on this. I find it interesting that agnostics are agnostic only about the existence of god and not everything else. Isn't that special pleading? Most of us make up our minds based on the existing evidence, but with the provision that we'll change our mind if new evidence comes along. While many seem to think agnosticism is the most reasonable position, I don't share that opinion.

You agree? You said the exact opposite....

The truth is that you cannot know anything with 100% certainty.

I agree with your phrase
" Down that road lies solipsism, a true, but useless belief, noteworthy only to demonstrate the point that we lack absolute knowledge."
And I note that few if anybody goes down that road. Most people accept that nothing can be proven 100% and make up their minds about things regardless of the fact they can't be proven 100%. You can't prove 100% that the next time you sit on a chair you won't go straight through (in fact, it is entirely possible, although highly improbable according to QM). But nobody seems to take precautions against it. You can't prove 100% that the Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist, but you don't see people being proud "pastagnostics" Big Grin That's because everybody (ok, most people) realize that you can't live life in any productive and meaningful way unless you make up your mind about things. On a side note, the fact people can live a productive life without making their mind up about the existence of god in my opinion shows how irrelevant god really is, and it's if anything another point in favor of god not exist.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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