Reason, Or Ideology?
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17-12-2014, 05:51 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 05:16 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I note this because the "ideology" of atheism consists entirely of one simple idea: the non-existence of God(s).

Imho, this is not true.

To me, atheism is fundamentally the assertion that human reason is qualified to come to a meaningful theory or conclusion on this particular subject. That is, human reason is declared a qualified authority, in the same way that theists might declare their holy book a qualified authority.

Quote:And this is no more presuppositional than the idea of the non-existence of unicorns or ghosts.

To me, it is presuppositional, because the fundamental assertion of atheism (reason is a qualified authority for this question) is usually taken as an obvious given.

It seems nobody is much interested in proving this core assertion of atheism. Few even seem to realize it requires proving. Apparently we are supposed to take the core assertion of atheism as an unexamined obvious given too?

Quote:It is perfectly rational to disbelieve in the existence of things for which there is no evidence. In fact, it would be irrational to believe in the existence of such things.

Apologies, but this is just too imprecise. We can't lump all issues in to container called "things".

It's reasonable to come to conclusions on issues where we have proven documented competence. If I can't find shoes in my bedroom, it's reasonable for me to conclude there are no shoes there, because I have a proven ability to observe shoes.

It's not reasonable to make a HUGE LEAP from being qualified to observe shoes, to saying I am therefore able to observe gods, should they exist.

If don't possess the ability to observe something, it means nothing if I don't find it.
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17-12-2014, 05:57 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Note that I don't say that I know there are no Gods. I remain open to the possibility. But it seems silly to believe that there are Gods unless and until I have evidence of same. I don't see this as being presuppositional in any way.
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17-12-2014, 05:58 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(16-12-2014 02:56 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(16-12-2014 02:41 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  An ideology is a set of ideas. Reason is using logic.

One is a set of things and the other is way of doing something.

They are not opposites and they do not cancel each other out.

Ok, thanks, good points. That's better.

I'm trying to point to the difference between the person who will follow the evidence where ever it may lead, and the person who is only interested in evidence that supports a particular position.

So, for example, a person could be an ideological reasonist, if they insist reason is the only valid process for examining a set of questions, and they earnestly resist and discard any evidence that doesn't point to that conclusion.

This seems relevant to me, because if an atheist wishes to offer reason as an alternative to religion, ideally they will have to sidestep of the trap of making atheism in to just another competing ideology, that is, a collection of beliefs which must be defended at all costs etc.

To the degree an atheist falls in to that trap, it might be said that all they've done is trade one religion for another.

I realize my words are imperfect, so try to improve upon them please, that's what forums are for.

Atheism is not, and cannot be an ideology... It can be an aspect of an ideology or world view, such as Marxism. But alone, it is not an ideology, world view, or a philosophy.

Theism is the "ism" here... Atheism just means "not a theist".

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17-12-2014, 06:03 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 05:32 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Yes, there are dangers of self-delusion on both sides.

Indeed. Except for me of course. :-)

Quote:I personally know some very intelligent theists, and I cannot deny the obvious intelligence of people like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, Alvin Plantinga, etc. It's highly probable that all four of those (and many others besides) were/are smarter then I am.

The thing about theists is that they've been chewing on this for a very long time. Three thousand years in the case of Judeo-Christian religions. On top of that, they've succeeded in interesting many billions of people in their ideologies, which is no small accomplishment.

Quote:As I said, I would be perfectly willing to abandon atheism if presented with convincing evidence of the existence of a deity.

I don't have convincing evidence of a deity either, but we might be able to make progress in understanding why we search for such a thing.

As I see it, the search for a deity is a means to an end, and we might be able to advance the inquiry by better understanding the end we seek. If we find what we're looking for, the question of a deity's existence or non-existence would seem to become moot.

Quote:I actually tried very hard, a few years ago, to become a believer again (after being raised Catholic, and then being an atheist for a good 40 years), but I just couldn't do it.

Ha, ha! This has happened to me a million times. We former Catholics always seem to somehow find each other. I was raised Catholic too, but converted to surfing about 50 years ago.

NOTE TO CLERICS: Never, ever, in any circumstance, build your church a block from beach. :-)
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17-12-2014, 06:09 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 05:57 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  But it seems silly to believe that there are Gods unless and until I have evidence of same. I don't see this as being presuppositional in any way.

What may be presuppositional (still haven't mastered this word) is what your disbelief is built upon, a theory that human reason is qualified to deliver meaningful answers on this particular question.

What most people do is, they see the proven usefulness of reason in their daily life, and so they assume that therefore reason is qualified for issues the scale of the God question too.

This may or may not be true, but it can't be assumed, it has to be proven.

You've challenged the qualifications of holy books to provide answers on the god question. Good!

Now do the very same thing to another proposed authority, reason.

Don't just blindly accept the authority of reason on this question, challenge reason, test it, demand proof of it's qualifications for the job at hand. Just like you did with the holy book.

Simple.
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18-12-2014, 08:55 AM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 06:09 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  You've challenged the qualifications of holy books to provide answers on the god question. Good!

Using reason to do so.

Quote:Now do the very same thing to another proposed authority, reason.

Don't just blindly accept the authority of reason on this question, challenge reason, test it, demand proof of it's qualifications for the job at hand. Just like you did with the holy book.

Simple.

Except that we have no tool to evaluate reason other than reason. It can't be used to prove itself. Until some other tool is found what you are asking for is not simple, it is impossible.

You still appear to be misrepresenting the common atheist position. Reason is not being used to find out if any god exists, it is being used to investigate the claims of existence that theists have made to determine if there is any evidence to support those claims.

When the Greeks claimed that the gods lived on Olympus they were making a claim that can be investigated. An examination of Olympus shows no sign of habitation which doesn't mean that the gods don't live there but does mean that there is no evidence that they do and therefore no reason to accept the claim that they do.

Not accepting a claim is not the same as denying a claim.

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21-12-2014, 07:47 AM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Quote:Using reason to do so.

Yes. I am using reason to explore the limits of reason, because I assert reason is capable of this task, at least to some degree.

As example, we can use reason to see that reason is not that useful in falling in love. You know, if reason was adequate for falling in love, every programming logic analysis nerd like um, me, would have very many girlfriends, which is uh, usually not the case. :-)

It's entirely reasonable to reflect that human beings are very very small in comparison to reality. It's entirely reasonable to recall that the god issue is a question about the ultimate nature of all reality. It's entirely reasonable to remind ourselves we don't yet have a clue what the phrase "all of reality" even refers to. It's entirely reasonable to wonder how we could possibly know what doesn't exist in an arena we can't even define. And so on...

Quote:Except that we have no tool to evaluate reason other than reason. It can't be used to prove itself. Until some other tool is found what you are asking for is not simple, it is impossible.

It's not at all impossible, I'm exploring the limits of reason, using reason, in multiple threads across the forum. You can do so too if you wish.

Quote:You still appear to be misrepresenting the common atheist position. Reason is not being used to find out if any god exists, it is being used to investigate the claims of existence that theists have made to determine if there is any evidence to support those claims.

Theism vs. atheism is simply a contest between people who have chosen different authorities, reason or holy books. Each side assumes it's authority is the most qualified, while neither side has proven that it's chosen authority is qualified for the job at hand.

The most common atheist position is to reject faith in gods, while having faith in the infinite power of human reason, without realizing that is what they're doing.

Most atheists don't realize that the only difference between them and theists is that the two parties have faith in different things.

Theists usually realize they are using faith as the basis for their position, whereas atheists usually don't.

This is actually very good news for those atheists who are sincere in further developing their understanding of these issues.

Once an atheist comes to understand that they too are using faith as the foundation of their position, faith becomes much easier to study, as we can observe it happening in our own minds, and no longer need to study "those mysterious people over there". For this atheist, the most efficient way to understand theists is to understand themselves.

The fact that both theism and atheism are based on faith tends to be sorta bad news for those atheists whose primary interest is in promoting a fantasy superiority over theists. None of us, atheist or other, tend to enjoy having our self flattering personal identities tampered with by strangers on forums.
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21-12-2014, 08:14 AM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(21-12-2014 07:47 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
Quote:Using reason to do so.

Yes. I am using reason to explore the limits of reason, because I assert reason is capable of this task, at least to some degree.

As example, we can use reason to see that reason is not that useful in falling in love. You know, if reason was adequate for falling in love, every programming logic analysis nerd like um, me, would have very many girlfriends, which is uh, usually not the case. :-)

It's entirely reasonable to reflect that human beings are very very small in comparison to reality. It's entirely reasonable to recall that the god issue is a question about the ultimate nature of all reality. It's entirely reasonable to remind ourselves we don't yet have a clue what the phrase "all of reality" even refers to. It's entirely reasonable to wonder how we could possibly know what doesn't exist in an arena we can't even define. And so on...

Quote:Except that we have no tool to evaluate reason other than reason. It can't be used to prove itself. Until some other tool is found what you are asking for is not simple, it is impossible.

It's not at all impossible, I'm exploring the limits of reason, using reason, in multiple threads across the forum. You can do so too if you wish.

Quote:You still appear to be misrepresenting the common atheist position. Reason is not being used to find out if any god exists, it is being used to investigate the claims of existence that theists have made to determine if there is any evidence to support those claims.

Theism vs. atheism is simply a contest between people who have chosen different authorities, reason or holy books. Each side assumes it's authority is the most qualified, while neither side has proven that it's chosen authority is qualified for the job at hand.

The most common atheist position is to reject faith in gods, while having faith in the infinite power of human reason, without realizing that is what they're doing.

Most atheists don't realize that the only difference between them and theists is that the two parties have faith in different things.

Theists usually realize they are using faith as the basis for their position, whereas atheists usually don't.

This is actually very good news for those atheists who are sincere in further developing their understanding of these issues.

Once an atheist comes to understand that they too are using faith as the foundation of their position, faith becomes much easier to study, as we can observe it happening in our own minds, and no longer need to study "those mysterious people over there". For this atheist, the most efficient way to understand theists is to understand themselves.

The fact that both theism and atheism are based on faith tends to be sorta bad news for those atheists whose primary interest is in promoting a fantasy superiority over theists. None of us, atheist or other, tend to enjoy having our self flattering personal identities tampered with by strangers on forums.

Rational people do not have faith in reason, we have evidence that it works.

We have evidence that the scientific method works - no faith is required.

Trying to tar reason with the faith brush is either stupid, dishonest, or both.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-12-2014, 09:04 AM (This post was last modified: 21-12-2014 09:08 AM by Baba Bozo.)
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Quote:Rational people do not have faith in reason, we have evidence that it works.

Now you're getting to the heart of it. Yes, reason works for very many things, this is true beyond all doubt.

That fact does not automatically equal reason being qualified for EVERYTHING.

Quote:We have evidence that the scientific method works - no faith is required.

Define "works".

Science has given us tools which now allow us to erase everything humans have created over the last 10,000 years in about 30 minutes. Science works?

Science has allowed us to change the climate in ways which may spin completely out of control and end civilization in the life times of those now young. Science works?

Science has given us the ability to explode both human populations AND human expectations (multiply one by the other) in ways that are totally unsustainable and that will inevitably lead to huge disappointments and crisis of epic proportions. Science works?

And this is only the beginning. Accelerating knowledge development in fields such as artificial intelligence, nano-technology, genetic engineering, and hundreds of other fields will unleash all kinds of unpredictable lethal dangers out of Pandora's Box. Nobody has a clue what will actually happen.

If, as is reasonable to predict, the fruits of science lead to the collapse of civilization, will we still be able to say that "science works"?

Your blind unexamined faith in science is a by-product of your blind unexamined faith in human reason. It is not all proven that the path we are on is leading to something that "works". You believe that on faith.

Stop chanting the memorized group consensus. Think for yourself. Challenge everything. Investigate everything. Kick every tire, turn over every box, and see what's really inside for yourself.

THAT is reason.
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21-12-2014, 09:06 AM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
oops, editing error, please ignore.
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