Atheists, Agnostics and many more
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24-08-2010, 09:06 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
(24-08-2010 08:05 AM)BnW Wrote:  
Quote:I just had to have some morning intercourse with comma.

I'm going to assume this is just a case of English not being your first language. Otherwise, I'll just have to assume that your day is off to a much better start than my day. Cool

Yea, I know you dont probably use that phrase in english, but it sounds even cooler in english, especially without using profanity and I think everyone gets what I meant with it. If not, please tell me what do you reply when someone, for example, points out that you're not using the exactly correct grammar? And another question, probably in the wrong forum, but the only other one Im a member of is a finnish paranormal blog, registered as a sceptic of course. So, in a sentence where you do not know if a person is he or she, do you just say ''he/she'' or ''he or she'' or is there an other way of saying the same thing.

By the way, Im glad there are no angry people reminding about the topic if someone goes a little off-topic.

Correct me when I'm wrong.
Accept me or go to hell.
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24-08-2010, 09:41 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
For the "he or she" issue, I just use s/he.

I am a bit of a grammar nazi myself, but we all make typos. I am also far more forgiving of people who's first language is not english. My biggest peeve is when people are too lazy to even attempt using punctuation and capitalization. That all being said, I am familiar with, and have used the term, "intercourse/screwing/f#@king a comma". So yes, some of us do use the phrase in english. Made perfect sense to me.

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24-08-2010, 09:58 AM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
It made sense to me too. I was just having fun.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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24-08-2010, 09:38 PM
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
Hey.

I’ve taken some time and given this a lot of thought. I’m not looking for a fight and I’ll tell you why. I am a subjectivist. As such, I don’t believe in objective truth. Therefore, you do not have to be wrong for me to be right. If anyone’s argument here is that their idea is correct, therefore, mine is not, nay, cannot be, then whatever argument I cobble together is meaningless. The issue is not with my argument, but with subjectivism itself. I have had many arguments with objectivists on this matter and I have learned one thing. It is intractable. So, if that’s the issue, then feel free to disregard everything that I say. I’m not joking nor taking a shot. Really. I mean it. If the idea of multiple truths is anathema to you, ignore my argument. It’s cool.

That being said, I am 100% willing to accept the definition of Atheist as “non-theist”. Particularly if there are people here that self-label themselves as such. I have been working on some heavy stuff for the last 7 years and many of the communities that I have associated myself with have been subject to mislabelling due to misunderstanding or unwillingness to listen or to diminish or for whatever reason. I know it can be frustrating. I also understand that sometimes common parlance can be clunky so sometimes specialists create jargon and get upset when people use terms the jargon was intended to replace. I get it. So if I have crossed some sort of Rubicon and offended people on that level, then I am truly sorry. I have the sense that there is much I don’t know about the world of Atheism and much nuance that I do not understand. So again, I accept, an Atheist is a non-theist.

That’s said.

Now as I said before, to some people, that might be the end of the argument. It is truth and should remain that way. But as a subjectivist, for me, it’s only the beginning of understanding and meaning. So while I can accept that some people view that as objective truth, I would be lying to you and to myself if I said that I believed that that was the objective truth. The only truth possible. So like I said, if you aren’t willing to go any further, then take my acceptance of the definition and we’re good. But I’m going to outline my beliefs below. Like I said, in my worldview, you do not have to be wrong for me to be right. We can both be wrong, both be right, both whatever. We can have overlap or conflict, it doesn’t matter. I accept your truth. This is mine. Feel free to accept it for what it is or reject it out of hand. I leave that to you.

--

If the definition of Atheist is, “not a theist,” then anyone who is not a Theist falls into that category. It is like saying, anything that is not an aardvark is an aaardvark (funny eh? Lots of A’s). And by that definition that would be true. Walruses, sperm whales, cockroaches and desks would all be aaardvarks.

This is the difficulty I have with this definition. If an Atheist is simply not a Theist, then you cannot assign any properties to an Atheist. If you define something as not something else, it cannot be its own thing. The moment we ascribe any properties or qualities to Atheist, it is no longer definied as not-Theist, but by what we have ascribed to it. While Atheists may well still be non-Theists, they are now defined as possessing of quality X. An Atheist IS someone with quality X.

Now, many people define Atheists not as non-Theists, but as “Those that do not believe in gods or in the existence of gods.” That is a quality ascribed to Atheist that now serves as its definition. It is no longer, you are an Atheist because you are not this thing, but rather, you are an Atheist because you have this other thing. Once we do this, we can look at everything caught in the trawling net of not-Theist and begin to ask, “Is there variation within this new category? Is there differentiation there? Does everything in this category possess quality X?”

If Atheism is defined not in the negation of not-Theist, but by its own unique qualities, then it becomes a thing of its own. It can exist independently of its negation.

If the definition of Atheist is, “someone who does not believe in gods or in the existence of gods,” as many dictionaries define it as, then I am not an Atheist. I am not a Theist, true. But I am not an Atheist either.

The problem for me lies in memes.

Every religion, even Theism itself, is a memeplex. It is a network of memes that reinforce each other, increasing each individual meme’s chance of survival. The memeplex is also resistant to invasion from other memes, further increasing the odds of their memes being selected.

The meme, “I am not a Theist,” is a truncated meme. It is functional, it will instruct people what to do and it can be transmitted on its own, but it is a truncated meme. The full meme would continue, “I am not a Theist BECAUSE…”. The moment we answer that question, WHY am I not a Theist, we create a belief. I am not a Theist because:
-There is no god.
-The bible was written by humans
-There is no evidence for God
-I prayed for my mother to be saved and she wasn’t
-The church is a haven for pedophiles and thieves
-Everything can be explained through the laws of the natural universe
-The Big Bang theory leaves no room for gods
-Evolution has shown me that the book of Genesis is crap

Memes that exist in the negative are not memes that survive for long because they are easily replaced by memes that exist in the positive. Why? Because we base our worldviews on beliefs, not negations. Beliefs free us for action. Negations do not.

If any Atheist on this board has ever said, “I believe X,” then you have redefined yourself as not just a not-Theist, but as someone who believes X. You are someone that caries the meme X. You then, as all good memetic survival machines do, spread that meme. Because memes only survive when they have a large representation in the meme pool. If one person hosts the meme, it’s survival is in doubt. But if a million do, then it has a robust future due to its fecundity.

This is the entire point of the memetic revolution. We are, as Dr. Susan Blackmore calls us, Meme Machines. Our brains, our vocal chords, our language, our books and computers are there because they better allow us to spread memes. It’s what we do.

So, like I said, there’s a lot of nuance to Atheism that I don’t understand. So I’m not going to say that I could produce a list of the wide range of beliefs that millions of Atheists have. But I will say this with utter certainty. They have them.

Atheists are still humans and they are still Meme Machines. So for me, the all important question is, what are the various Atheist memes? So I speak to Atheists to try and figure that question out. When I’m told, there are none, it’s an answer that I can’t accept because my worldview precludes that answer. There is no such thing as a memeplex with no memes. So I keep asking and I tell these same Atheists, I don’t believe that you don’t believe anything because you’re a human like everyone else and that’s how we function.

So I’m not trying to insult anyone. I’m not. But it’s akin to someone telling a scientist, God made diversity. The science memeplex is resistant to invasion from that meme because memeplexes, above all else, need to remain internally consistent. So a scientist will scoff at such a suggestion. I scoff when people tell me that Atheists don’t believe anything. My memeplex is resistant to that particular meme.

So, Stark Raving, when you say that my assertions will be met with strong emotional resistance, to me, that’s just a memeplex resisting invasion and, really, to me, evidence supporting my theory.

There is only so much room for memes. They are in competition. So like the ecosystem, there is a balance of different types of memes and different memeplexes. But there is a meme that exists and that has a high representation in the global meme pool that says, wipe out your competitors. This is the same meme that leads to behaviours like speciocide and monocropping and hunting down wolves not for meat or fur, but to make them dead. That same meme makes the possessors of any given memeplex view other memeplexes (and often their hosts) as something to be annihilated.

So for me, the important question is, what IS the Atheist memeplex? What memes does it possess? Are there many “species” of Atheist, making Atheist more like a genera? Are there only Atheists and Theists or are there other groups? Deists were once regarded as a third group but not any longer. Why is that? Is Atheist/Theist a dichotomy or are there more groups?

I look at men like Richard Dawkins. He is an Atheist. He self-labels himself as an Atheist and others call him an Atheist. He is not a Theist. But he is 100% trying to get people to believe what he believes. He is trying to spread his memes. So are his memes Atheist memes? Are they one type of Atheist memes? Is he something other? So on and so forth.

So yes, I can understand how people find defining things important. But to me, the idea that a definition cannot be challenged or proven wrong just doesn’t fly. That’s all I’m doing. I acknowledge what at least the people I am talking to here view as the definition of Atheist. I am also saying that to me, that isn’t a good definition. I wish to challenge it. If I had my druthers it would change, but at the very least, I hold an alternate opinion. The question at the top of this thread was which of the offered sections do I prefer? I answered full Agnostic because that is what I believe. People then told me that I was something other. I am defending my beliefs. I am trying to do so without telling you that you have no right to yours.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-08-2010, 03:40 PM
 
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
I suppose I align with #3, however, I am firmly #4 when it comes to a "loving god".
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25-08-2010, 05:29 PM
 
RE: Atheists, Agnostics and many more
(24-08-2010 09:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey.

I’ve taken some time and given this a lot of thought. I’m not looking for a fight and I’ll tell you why. I am a subjectivist. As such, I don’t believe in objective truth. Therefore, you do not have to be wrong for me to be right. If anyone’s argument here is that their idea is correct, therefore, mine is not, nay, cannot be, then whatever argument I cobble together is meaningless. The issue is not with my argument, but with subjectivism itself. I have had many arguments with objectivists on this matter and I have learned one thing. It is intractable. So, if that’s the issue, then feel free to disregard everything that I say. I’m not joking nor taking a shot. Really. I mean it. If the idea of multiple truths is anathema to you, ignore my argument. It’s cool.

That being said, I am 100% willing to accept the definition of Atheist as “non-theist”. Particularly if there are people here that self-label themselves as such. I have been working on some heavy stuff for the last 7 years and many of the communities that I have associated myself with have been subject to mislabelling due to misunderstanding or unwillingness to listen or to diminish or for whatever reason. I know it can be frustrating. I also understand that sometimes common parlance can be clunky so sometimes specialists create jargon and get upset when people use terms the jargon was intended to replace. I get it. So if I have crossed some sort of Rubicon and offended people on that level, then I am truly sorry. I have the sense that there is much I don’t know about the world of Atheism and much nuance that I do not understand. So again, I accept, an Atheist is a non-theist.

That’s said.

Now as I said before, to some people, that might be the end of the argument. It is truth and should remain that way. But as a subjectivist, for me, it’s only the beginning of understanding and meaning. So while I can accept that some people view that as objective truth, I would be lying to you and to myself if I said that I believed that that was the objective truth. The only truth possible. So like I said, if you aren’t willing to go any further, then take my acceptance of the definition and we’re good. But I’m going to outline my beliefs below. Like I said, in my worldview, you do not have to be wrong for me to be right. We can both be wrong, both be right, both whatever. We can have overlap or conflict, it doesn’t matter. I accept your truth. This is mine. Feel free to accept it for what it is or reject it out of hand. I leave that to you.

--

If the definition of Atheist is, “not a theist,” then anyone who is not a Theist falls into that category. It is like saying, anything that is not an aardvark is an aaardvark (funny eh? Lots of A’s). And by that definition that would be true. Walruses, sperm whales, cockroaches and desks would all be aaardvarks.

This is the difficulty I have with this definition. If an Atheist is simply not a Theist, then you cannot assign any properties to an Atheist. If you define something as not something else, it cannot be its own thing. The moment we ascribe any properties or qualities to Atheist, it is no longer definied as not-Theist, but by what we have ascribed to it. While Atheists may well still be non-Theists, they are now defined as possessing of quality X. An Atheist IS someone with quality X.

Now, many people define Atheists not as non-Theists, but as “Those that do not believe in gods or in the existence of gods.” That is a quality ascribed to Atheist that now serves as its definition. It is no longer, you are an Atheist because you are not this thing, but rather, you are an Atheist because you have this other thing. Once we do this, we can look at everything caught in the trawling net of not-Theist and begin to ask, “Is there variation within this new category? Is there differentiation there? Does everything in this category possess quality X?”

If Atheism is defined not in the negation of not-Theist, but by its own unique qualities, then it becomes a thing of its own. It can exist independently of its negation.

If the definition of Atheist is, “someone who does not believe in gods or in the existence of gods,” as many dictionaries define it as, then I am not an Atheist. I am not a Theist, true. But I am not an Atheist either.

The problem for me lies in memes.

Every religion, even Theism itself, is a memeplex. It is a network of memes that reinforce each other, increasing each individual meme’s chance of survival. The memeplex is also resistant to invasion from other memes, further increasing the odds of their memes being selected.

The meme, “I am not a Theist,” is a truncated meme. It is functional, it will instruct people what to do and it can be transmitted on its own, but it is a truncated meme. The full meme would continue, “I am not a Theist BECAUSE…”. The moment we answer that question, WHY am I not a Theist, we create a belief. I am not a Theist because:
-There is no god.
-The bible was written by humans
-There is no evidence for God
-I prayed for my mother to be saved and she wasn’t
-The church is a haven for pedophiles and thieves
-Everything can be explained through the laws of the natural universe
-The Big Bang theory leaves no room for gods
-Evolution has shown me that the book of Genesis is crap

Memes that exist in the negative are not memes that survive for long because they are easily replaced by memes that exist in the positive. Why? Because we base our worldviews on beliefs, not negations. Beliefs free us for action. Negations do not.

If any Atheist on this board has ever said, “I believe X,” then you have redefined yourself as not just a not-Theist, but as someone who believes X. You are someone that caries the meme X. You then, as all good memetic survival machines do, spread that meme. Because memes only survive when they have a large representation in the meme pool. If one person hosts the meme, it’s survival is in doubt. But if a million do, then it has a robust future due to its fecundity.

This is the entire point of the memetic revolution. We are, as Dr. Susan Blackmore calls us, Meme Machines. Our brains, our vocal chords, our language, our books and computers are there because they better allow us to spread memes. It’s what we do.

So, like I said, there’s a lot of nuance to Atheism that I don’t understand. So I’m not going to say that I could produce a list of the wide range of beliefs that millions of Atheists have. But I will say this with utter certainty. They have them.

Atheists are still humans and they are still Meme Machines. So for me, the all important question is, what are the various Atheist memes? So I speak to Atheists to try and figure that question out. When I’m told, there are none, it’s an answer that I can’t accept because my worldview precludes that answer. There is no such thing as a memeplex with no memes. So I keep asking and I tell these same Atheists, I don’t believe that you don’t believe anything because you’re a human like everyone else and that’s how we function.

So I’m not trying to insult anyone. I’m not. But it’s akin to someone telling a scientist, God made diversity. The science memeplex is resistant to invasion from that meme because memeplexes, above all else, need to remain internally consistent. So a scientist will scoff at such a suggestion. I scoff when people tell me that Atheists don’t believe anything. My memeplex is resistant to that particular meme.

So, Stark Raving, when you say that my assertions will be met with strong emotional resistance, to me, that’s just a memeplex resisting invasion and, really, to me, evidence supporting my theory.

There is only so much room for memes. They are in competition. So like the ecosystem, there is a balance of different types of memes and different memeplexes. But there is a meme that exists and that has a high representation in the global meme pool that says, wipe out your competitors. This is the same meme that leads to behaviours like speciocide and monocropping and hunting down wolves not for meat or fur, but to make them dead. That same meme makes the possessors of any given memeplex view other memeplexes (and often their hosts) as something to be annihilated.

So for me, the important question is, what IS the Atheist memeplex? What memes does it possess? Are there many “species” of Atheist, making Atheist more like a genera? Are there only Atheists and Theists or are there other groups? Deists were once regarded as a third group but not any longer. Why is that? Is Atheist/Theist a dichotomy or are there more groups?

I look at men like Richard Dawkins. He is an Atheist. He self-labels himself as an Atheist and others call him an Atheist. He is not a Theist. But he is 100% trying to get people to believe what he believes. He is trying to spread his memes. So are his memes Atheist memes? Are they one type of Atheist memes? Is he something other? So on and so forth.

So yes, I can understand how people find defining things important. But to me, the idea that a definition cannot be challenged or proven wrong just doesn’t fly. That’s all I’m doing. I acknowledge what at least the people I am talking to here view as the definition of Atheist. I am also saying that to me, that isn’t a good definition. I wish to challenge it. If I had my druthers it would change, but at the very least, I hold an alternate opinion. The question at the top of this thread was which of the offered sections do I prefer? I answered full Agnostic because that is what I believe. People then told me that I was something other. I am defending my beliefs. I am trying to do so without telling you that you have no right to yours.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

That was a long read, and I can't possibly respond to everything, but....

If you believe in subjective truth, then you are right, we really can't have an argument. I guess it all boils down to whether your perception of something is required for it to exist. If there are no sentient beings in the universe to observe it, does it exist? Technically, one can say so, but the very concept of existence has meaning only to sentient beings. Even if observant truth is accepted, you still need a subjective observer (basically a sentient being) to interpret that objective truth, whether it be a reading on a computer screen or looking through a telescope.

So, I guess subjective truth really has some meat to it.

However, even if it would have no meaning, a universe without sentient beings would still be there. As we peer billions of light years into the sky we are looking back billions of years into a time period at which it was not possible for, as far as we know, sentient life to form. Yet, that phase of the universe still exists. Does it exist before the photons reach the sentient observer? Well, for them to have traveled all the way here, they must have existed billions of years ago and then have made the journey. Otherwise they wouldn't be here in the first place.

But, I am not nearly smart enough to have an objective vs subjective argument with you, and that is not what you want in the first place.

I guess the atheist meme would be "I don't believe in God because there is no evidence." That would be the only reasonable position to take. Definitively saying there is no God is technically unreasonable, but possibilities that have no evidence and have a very low probability of being true can be discounted. I don't run around my day planning for fairies to show up just because I can't definitively disprove them.

And I think you could say you do not believe in God because there is no subjective, nor objective evidence to support its existence.

People may have supposedly talked to God or seen angels and whatnot. Is this valid evidence? If you believe in subjective evidence, then it still must be valid subjective evidence, just as objective evidence must be valid. Our brains must be functioning properly, just as our instruments must be functioning properly.

I think subjective evidence can be at times flawed and misleading. The human brain can be misleading. Machines and instruments, if calibrated correctly, will not makes these mistakes. The readings from these machines would be objective, since they are simply observing what is truly there. The way the human brain interprets this information (by looking at it) would be subjective, technically, but all who do subjectively observe evidence gathered from objective sources reach the same conclusion- that there is no evidence for the existence of God.

Epiphanies would be directly subjective. There would be no middleman to gather subjective data from the universe and channel it into a subjective observer.

If God appears before you, there are 2 possibilities-

1) You are actually seeing God (Photons are reflecting off his figure and entering your eyes)
2) A strong hallucination is taking place inside your brain due to some stimuli and you are not actually seeing God.

If a brain imaging sensor is hooked up to you we can determine which is the case. If the 1st is true, then we may say that there is reliable evidence for God (or at least there is evidence that the person who has just appeared before you is real, God or not). If the 2nd is true, are you suggesting that this is an equally valid truth?

If all humans (for the sake of argument) stare at a ball, and all of them see it to be round, we can probably assume it to be round. But if 1 person walks in (humans + 1, for the sake of argument), has a hallucination, and sees it to be rectangular, is that person's observation valid? Is the ball blue and red? Would you answer yes, Ghost?

I think subjective evidence of that type is unreliable and should not be considered.

I will say that Einstein's Theory of General Relativity states that every observer's point of view is valid. However, this refers to an interpretation of the physical world outside the observer, and only really matters when things are travelling at relativistic speeds or gravity is immensely strong. For the purposes of daily life, this does not apply (I wonder why I even brought it up then Tongue).

I know it is a jumbled mess, but I am kind of in a hurry right now.
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