How come I'm not an atheist?
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13-05-2017, 11:56 PM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
Maybe it's just me but agnosticism can simply mean nothing is known in regards to whether there's a God or not but the catch is this... if the notion of God had never been invoked in the first place the term agnosticism wouldn't exist.

So I decided long ago we are all born atheist (a person who lacks belief in the existence of Gods) and since I think the idea that some unseen creator single handily created then managed (allegedly continues to manage) it all a completely ridiculous one, I'm still 100% atheist and I don't have to prove or know a god doesn't exist just to escape the term 'agnostic' as long as you don't have to prove a pink unicorn doesn't exist to escape being labeled a (insert term for people who submit nothing is known in regards to whether pink unicorns exist or not).
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14-05-2017, 05:29 PM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(12-05-2017 05:41 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(12-05-2017 02:50 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  The first step in the search for truth is recognizing/admitting that you haven't got it yet. Those who haven't taken this step may be suffering from the "certainty of ignorance".

So it seems perfectly natural (to me, at least) to become less certain when you begin to study philosophy.

Okay, so Naielis's original statement was an over-generalization. The goal is to unlearn false certainties and replace them with what can really be known. I can go for that, but I am not sure philosophy is the way to get there.

If philosophy is only about becoming uncertain because philosophers undermine language with all the word games they play, I will stick with science and scholarship as paths to knowledge.

I am skeptical myself as to whether or not philosophy can ever lead to certainty. But it's fun to try, and you encounter many interesting ideas along the way. I feel enriched by having read Plato, Nietzsche, Russell, etc., whether or not I've gained any knowledge thereby.
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14-05-2017, 10:37 PM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
Having certainty and actually being guaranteed to be correct are two different things.

I would say certainty only makes sense within abstract systems of our own making, where we have dictated the rules. We can be certain of such and such result, because it follows precisely on from what we have dictated is true.

When it comes to any supposed objective reality, we can only ever try to observe and model, and I think it's foolish to claim certainty about anything. We can't even be certain that there is anything to model.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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20-05-2017, 02:36 AM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2017 02:55 AM by Glossophile.)
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
All true propositions collectively form a subset of all logically consistent propositions. If I understand you correctly, you prioritize truth just under consistency, which means that after you eliminate all inconsistent propositions (to the best of your ability), your next step is to eliminate all false propositions from among those remaining after that first step (again, to the best of your ability). The end result looks very much like if not outright identical to what Dillahunty describes. It seems to me that all you've done is make that first step of weeding out all logically inconsistent propositions a bit more explicit than it typically is. So respectfully, I think this distinction that you're trying to make is largely moot.

As has been said, Dillahunty and others like him are not averse to thought experiments and other forms of rhetorical or even recreational speculation. Imagination certainly has its place in the human experience and even in the search for truth. Dillahunty's point, if I may presume just that much, is simply that we need to keep the distinction between imagination and reality firmly in mind, especially when making decisions. Some ideas born as speculation may turn out to be true, but there has to be a gatekeeper of sorts to ensure that not every imaginative thought is given a free pass into the mental category of truth.

Now, let's talk about agnosticism versus atheism. The key distinction here, I think, is between saying "I don't believe that a god exists" and saying "I believe that no god exists," but in a sense, we may be guilty of special pleading.

To explain, let's use an example in the form of a proposition, P.

P = Fairies do not exist.

From a purely philosophical standpoint, proposition P is actually a practical shorthand for proposition Q.

Q = While fairies cannot be definitively ruled out (because no negative proposition can ever be proven), the evidence for them is insufficient to lift the likelihood of their existence out of negligibility, so for all but the most abstract philosophical/theoretical purposes, it is best to assume that they do not exist.

Put another way, Q is an expansion of P that is left implicit in practical discourse. God is the only claim for which we routinely feel the need to make Q explicit. For virtually any other fantastical beings (e.g. fairies), we seem much more comfortable declaring P and leaving Q to be understood implicitly. But in doing so, we may be tacitly granting the theistic contention that God belongs in a category separate from that of fairies, which of course he doesn't.

Now, there are three main differences that may be invoked to defend such special treatment for the God claim. First, people who believe in fairies do not comprise an influential proportion of the population, while those who believe in God clearly do. Second, making Q explicit is a philosophical necessity due to theists constantly trying to shift the burden of proof. In other words, in debating with theists, they almost inevitably drag us into that most abstract of realms where the difference between P and Q actually matters (probably because that's the only realm in which they have any semblance of a leg to stand on). Third, fairies tend to be much better and thus more falsifiably defined than God. Of course, if the particular definition of God in question is paradoxical (i.e. logically inconsistent), then even in the strictly philosophical sense, we can confidently say he doesn't exist, and the distinction between P and Q essentially collapses.

Whether these differences suffice to justify being more careful about our P's and Q's with respect to God than any other mythical being, however, remains debatable.

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
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20-05-2017, 04:05 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(10-05-2017 04:13 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  I recognize agnostic atheism is a thing, I was one, but I'm not that. You can call me an atheist all you like, but I am not "an atheist".
What would your definition of an agnostic atheist be?

To me an atheist is a person who lacks a belief in gods.
You can further qualify atheist as either agnostic atheist (weak atheist) or strong atheist. A strong atheist holds a belief that gods don't exist. An agnostic atheist doesn't hold that belief.

I'm an agnostic atheist (by my definition of the term). I am also ignostic, meaning that I don't accept any god definition to be valid enough to evaluate. The buggers haven't formed a definition that is verifiable nor falsifiable, they tend to instead point to a personality rather than a specified form of entity.

Anyway, I think they need to properly form their definition before I can even attempt to assess it. Anyway, in the mean time, I live my life as if there are no gods. Even if there were gods, I have no idea how that would impact my life.
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20-05-2017, 04:20 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(14-05-2017 10:37 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  When it comes to any supposed objective reality, we can only ever try to observe and model, and I think it's foolish to claim certainty about anything. We can't even be certain that there is anything to model.

As natural simulators we are instinctively driven to establish certainties. Faith has been of evolutionary advantage. Perhaps that is no longer the case. Like everything else in the toolset, faith is prone to misuse.

I'm an atheist because I have an agenda. Does that help?

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20-05-2017, 06:46 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(20-05-2017 04:05 AM)Stevil Wrote:  To me an atheist is a person who lacks a belief in gods.
You can further qualify atheist as either agnostic atheist (weak atheist) or strong atheist. A strong atheist holds a belief that gods don't exist. An agnostic atheist doesn't hold that belief...

I've posted somewhere else about this purported "agnostic', "weak" or "strong" atheist thing. And I totally reject these... uh... variants. Atheism is a singular viewpoint that denies the possibility that God or gods exist. Simple.

One can't say a woman is nearly pregnant, or partially pregnant, or fully pregnant; same sort of thing.

There's no such thing as an "agnostic atheist". People who describe themselves thusly are in fact agnostics—even if they don't acknowledge it.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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20-05-2017, 07:01 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(20-05-2017 06:46 AM)SYZ Wrote:  One can't say a woman is nearly pregnant, or partially pregnant, or fully pregnant; same sort of thing.

All atheists don't believe in any gods. That's the "pregnant" part. You can't both believe and not believe. All of our other opinions can vary, and they do -- including about our degree of certainty.
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20-05-2017, 07:09 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(20-05-2017 07:01 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(20-05-2017 06:46 AM)SYZ Wrote:  One can't say a woman is nearly pregnant, or partially pregnant, or fully pregnant; same sort of thing.

All atheists don't believe in any gods. That's the "pregnant" part. You can't both believe and not believe. All of our other opinions can vary, and they do -- including about our degree of certainty.

> Indeed. The degree of belief depends on the preponderance of evidence. Consider
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20-05-2017, 08:48 AM
RE: How come I'm not an atheist?
(20-05-2017 07:01 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(20-05-2017 06:46 AM)SYZ Wrote:  One can't say a woman is nearly pregnant, or partially pregnant, or fully pregnant; same sort of thing.

All atheists don't believe in any gods.

This atheist believes in the gods of love and entropy, but you know, agenda. Wink

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