Degrees of Certainty
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22-04-2017, 07:07 PM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
I can't say with 100% certainty there is no higher power (doesn't seem like it), but I CAN say with confidence that there most likely isn't a human-like god that picked Earth as its favorite little space rock.

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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22-04-2017, 07:19 PM (This post was last modified: 22-04-2017 08:14 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Degrees of Certainty
(22-04-2017 11:39 AM)noodlecake Wrote:  Is someone who is 25% sure a god exists a theist or an atheist? Is someone who is 75% sure a god exists a theist or an atheist? Is there a line where suddenly you're not a theist anymore because the degree to which you are convinced of the God claim has dropped below, say, 80%?

This is a genuine question from an atheist who feels as if they might have been looking at this particular issue in the wrong way.

It's a mistake to try and assign a probability here. No basis. Best you can do is a Likert scale. Dawkin's shown earlier is a 7-point Likert scale. Good as any. Would've added Gwynnies at 0 and made it an 8-point scale myself.

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22-04-2017, 07:40 PM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
(22-04-2017 11:39 AM)noodlecake Wrote:  This guy commented on my question saying it was impossible to disbelieve something that you are not aware of, so babies are not atheists because they have no position whatsoever on the god claim.

My thoughts:

Atheism is a lack of belief in god.
Atheism is a response to the question, "Do you believe in god?"

Babies are at the developmental stage where they cannot comprehend the question. For all intents and purposes, the baby in the question could be substituted with a rock or dog.

Making an argument that revolves around a being responding to a question that it cannot comprehend is not a legitimate argument.

For an atheist, yes, technically babies could be called atheists, just like a puppy. However, it sounds like a shaky apologetics tactic.

For theists, the very fact that babies are born without the direct knowledge of god invalidates their argument.

I suppose I am saying that in my opinion, there are better arguments to make.


ETA:
And the degree of certainty angle is definitely a shifty apologetics tactic.

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22-04-2017, 08:43 PM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
Babies are born a-everythingist.

It takes us adults to fuck them up.
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22-04-2017, 11:30 PM (This post was last modified: 22-04-2017 11:39 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Degrees of Certainty
I tried to make up words to differentiate these two positions:

A default atheist is someone who lacks belief in God because they aren't aware of the concept. A cognitive atheist is someone who lacks belief in God after becoming aware of the concept. Either way, babies certainly aren't theists. And "atheist" can often be defined as simply "not a theist".

As far as percentages go, it's hard to be precise, especially with unfalsifiable claims. All you can go by is internal consistency, consistency with reality, how many extra assumptions need to be made, and how reasonable those assumptions are.

So for Christian God in particular, as presented by any random Christian, is it internally consistent? I've never heard a version that is. So that's a big black mark against. Is it consistent with reality? No. What assumptions are needed? How long have you got... Probability ~0%

For a generic creator, it's internally consistent, is consistent with reality, and requires a handful of assumptions which aren't too far fetched. I really have no opinion about this and couldn't even assign a meaningful probability. Each new requirement however makes it less and less believable. Are they aware they created this (it could be a side effect from something else)? Do they know it has (apparently) manifested in such a way that elements can become self-aware? Do they give a rat's ass about humans? These are all assumptions that are usually made without even stopping to consider that they aren't necessary, even for a generic creator. The distinction between a creator and a God is not usually well-defined, except to say the latter is usually portrayed as some kind of super hero.

But probability wise, I would say I believe a claim when I feel it's at least 90% true as a rough estimation. Anything less than this, and I don't believe it. I'm not convinced. "If I had to guess, I'd say it's true" is not the same as belief. It's a state of mind, where your subconscious has added it to the list of things it feels it could rely on being true in a crucial situation. (But "belief" doesn't have a hard-and-fast definition. So it's a matter of agreeing terminology.)

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23-04-2017, 12:14 AM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
(22-04-2017 07:40 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  For all intents and purposes, the baby in the question could be substituted with a rock or dog.
I'd say that I am no more or less an atheist than a rock or a dog. I certainly don't place my own atheism as superior to theirs.

(22-04-2017 07:40 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  Making an argument that revolves around a being responding to a question that it cannot comprehend is not a legitimate argument.
The existence of god question is itself incomprehensible. What is it that a god is claimed to be? Because I recognise this about the claim I also qualify as an ignostic. I would say dogs and rocks are also ignostic. We are same same.


(22-04-2017 07:40 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  For an atheist, yes, technically babies could be called atheists, just like a puppy.
OK, great that we have established this fact.
(22-04-2017 07:40 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  However, it sounds like a shaky apologetics tactic.
Really? Why?
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23-04-2017, 12:32 AM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
I agree that the question is generally meaningless drivel, and so I too am ignostic. How you proceed from there is a matter of definition. I could say I'm an atheist because I don't believe the claim is true, simply because I don't understand the claim. I might believe it was true if it was rephrased as a question that makes sense.

But basically, I send the claim back and tell them to try harder.

As a side note, the definition of "atheist" does include being a person. So I guess a rock could be said to be ignostic, but it's not "an atheist". Could it be said to be "atheistic"? Maybe. A lot of theists don't like the rock thing because it means they could be viewed as less rational than a motionless lump Tongue

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23-04-2017, 02:57 AM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
(23-04-2017 12:32 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  As a side note, the definition of "atheist" does include being a person.

There are various definitions, some that state "a person who..." and some that don't include the term "person".

I'm not sure why "person" would be a requirement. What about aliens who lack belief?
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23-04-2017, 03:38 AM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
Oh really? I've only ever seen it with person. I agree it's not essential.

Aliens are people too I guess Tongue Not sure!

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23-04-2017, 04:28 AM
RE: Degrees of Certainty
Neonatals have no sense of self, so there's no way they have any opinions about characters in fairy stories LOL.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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