The Dawkins Scale
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18-08-2015, 12:17 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 11:38 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I find it hilarious that everyone seems to know the probability of god's existence. I'm curious to see the data set used to calculate the probability. Rather than make a factual claim that god is improbable (which makes you seem very silly since you didn't do any calculation), why not just say that it is your hypothesis is that god doesn't exist?

Here, probability is clearly being used in a Bayesian sense.
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18-08-2015, 12:17 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 12:06 PM)morondog Wrote:  Well, it comes down to semantics in the end. Let's talk about your 1. So God exists and does all the shit like it says on the tin (or in the Bible). Buuuut... we could still be living in a matrix-reality, a fake-universe. Not really useful in terms of practical stuff but still impossible to be sure...

But then of course we run into the problem of what does it mean to exist anyway.

Yes, that's rather the point, and it's a discussion that I have had numerous times on other forums.

To define "knowledge" so narrowly as to make it impossible to hold is a useless position. It is functionally equivalent to solipsism, and solipsism falls apart the moment that you have a coherent definition of the words "is" and "exist".

Put simply, "is" means "behaves exactly in accordance with the descriptor in all circumstances"; if something always behaves as though it is blue, it is blue. "Exist" means "have an effect on other entities"; garage dragons don't exist because they are defined in such a way that they cannot have any effect on any other entity.

Solipsism says that we can't prove that the universe isn't entirely within our own heads, but that becomes a nonsense statement the moment that you realize the universe does not, ever, behave in any way as though it exists entirely within our minds. The only way it can work is if you completely ignore the definition of "is" and render it semantically useless.

Claiming that true knowledge is likewise impossible runs into the same problem; there are situations where the behavior of an entity is entirely in line with what we think about it, and to say that this is not knowledge is to render the term semantically useless.

There is an interesting philosophical discussion to be had about what exactly does constitute knowledge, but to say that it is outright impossible to have is incoherent.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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18-08-2015, 12:18 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 09:58 AM)Free Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 09:49 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Yes, as per Dawkin's:

7- Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung "knows" there is one.'

I can make that knowledge claim.

I know God does not exist in the same way that I know I do exist.

Knowledge is not restricted to the existence of things, for we can also know that something does not exist.

If you point into an empty room and tell me a chair exists in the middle of the room, if I do not see a chair in the middle of the room then I know it doesn't exist. I am not required to acknowledge any possibility that the chair is in the room, because the knowledge I have states that it clearly isn't there.

That is the stance you've taken many times. But in these scenarios others and myself still have the reason to doubt. I'm not absolutely certain I exist in whatever every manner that could mean. This life of mine could be some manipulated illusion as far as I can know. Not that it would change anything.

If in this chair scenario, you were just outside the room and someone pointed into an room saying there is a chair in there, but you don't see a chair. In a practical situation, sure it's fine to assume there is no chair there. In an actual thought out process of certainty in the situation, it's faulty to be absolutely confident just based on a limited view with your eyes. Perhaps there is a chair you can't see from your angle due to an intentional optical illusion dealing with the light or painted color of the room. Maybe there is a mirror trick too where it is hidden behind some tall mirrors. Unless it is explored via many options and ways it isn't wise or calculated to make an certainty claim.

No you aren't "required" to acknowledge things without evidence. Evidence at this moment is not also required to be given to you for things that may actually exist. We are always capable of immense faultiness by how our minds have evolved.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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18-08-2015, 12:26 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 10:23 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  6 for Girly.

(18-08-2015 09:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  6- Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not
there.'
...
If you're own number correspond to a 6, or low 7, then it would appear you don't merely lack a belief in God, but believe God doesn't exist.

The only "belief" "improbable" entails is that it's highly unlikely. It does not entail belief that God does not exist just that my odds of winning the lottery are many many many orders of magnitude more likely.

It depends on how we're defining belief here. In this case "belief" applies to anything we feel certain of above 50%. So if I were say I'm 60% certain that my keys are in the drawer, this would mean I believe my keys are in the drawer. That appears to be how Dawkins is using the term, as opposed to know, which implies a 100% certainty.
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18-08-2015, 12:33 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 12:17 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Solipsism says that we can't prove that the universe isn't entirely within our own heads, but that becomes a nonsense statement the moment that you realize the universe does not, ever, behave in any way as though it exists entirely within our minds. The only way it can work is if you completely ignore the definition of "is" and render it semantically useless.

Hmm. I don't think it's all in my head, nor do I think it's particularly *useful* to think about being in some kind of fish-tank reality thing, but since words are defined in terms of other words, the circularity means that you can *never* really have a definition for "is" anyway. There's always gonna be a need for undefined terms...

My point is that yes, one can *hold* the 1 or 7 position, but... I still think it's *illogical*. Well, if we're gonna talk about definition of is/exist then maybe we're also reaching to a point of logic rules seem kind of arbitrary too...

And yes, I can see that it seems pointless to go that far... but I dunno. Knowledge and logic are particularly slippery beasts. When we're talking of ability to know something absolutely, if it's possible and what one would need in order to determine such a thing, we're inherently gonna end up taking such seemingly ridiculous detours.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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18-08-2015, 12:39 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 11:54 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 11:38 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  KingsChosen, you are totally missing the point. This is about a claim of knowledge, not knowledge.

I find it hilarious that everyone seems to know the probability of god's existence. I'm curious to see the data set used to calculate the probability. Rather than make a factual claim that god is improbable (which makes you seem very silly since you didn't do any calculation), why not just say that it is your hypothesis is that god doesn't exist?

5 for me.

It is extremely improbable (though not impossible) that if I just bang on my keyboard for a few minutes without looking, I will produce a grammatically correct sentence/paragraph. It is extremely improbable (though not impossible) that an airplane will crash into my workplace within the next 5 minutes. It is extremely improbable (though not impossible) that I will win the lottery tonight (yes, I bought a ticket).

These statements are all correct, and I did not have to do a single calculation to make them. You are overdefining the common use of the word probability. It exists, and can often be estimated whether or not we can precisely calculate it.

Well, we know the exact probability of the lottery and you can calculate the probability of the others by looking at data. You would probably need to collect your own data on the keyboard banging though....

I understand that everybody talks that way. It just sounds a little silly to me to claim that it is a fact that god is improbable (or probable).
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18-08-2015, 12:42 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 12:39 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 11:54 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  It is extremely improbable (though not impossible) that if I just bang on my keyboard for a few minutes without looking, I will produce a grammatically correct sentence/paragraph. It is extremely improbable (though not impossible) that an airplane will crash into my workplace within the next 5 minutes. It is extremely improbable (though not impossible) that I will win the lottery tonight (yes, I bought a ticket).

These statements are all correct, and I did not have to do a single calculation to make them. You are overdefining the common use of the word probability. It exists, and can often be estimated whether or not we can precisely calculate it.

Well, we know the exact probability of the lottery and you can calculate the probability of the others by looking at data. You would probably need to collect your own data on the keyboard banging though....

I understand that everybody talks that way. It just sounds a little silly to me to claim that it is a fact that god is improbable (or probable).

You're telling me that you can't judge it as improbable that God's gonna magically take you away to a wonderful place when you stop breathing? That this is not *hard to believe*??? That if you can't calculate numbers improbability means nothing? You can still say X is bigger than Y in a lot of situations where you don't know explicit numbers.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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18-08-2015, 12:46 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 12:33 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 12:17 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Solipsism says that we can't prove that the universe isn't entirely within our own heads, but that becomes a nonsense statement the moment that you realize the universe does not, ever, behave in any way as though it exists entirely within our minds. The only way it can work is if you completely ignore the definition of "is" and render it semantically useless.

Hmm. I don't think it's all in my head, nor do I think it's particularly *useful* to think about being in some kind of fish-tank reality thing

It's not just "not useful". It actively renders any attempt at logic impossible, since, again, you have to toss the definition of "is" out the window.

(18-08-2015 12:33 PM)morondog Wrote:  but since words are defined in terms of other words, the circularity means that you can *never* really have a definition for "is" anyway. There's always gonna be a need for undefined terms...

Well, no. The concept you are referring to is that of the primitive notion. It's an extremely interesting topic of discussion, but it doesn't actually apply here, because primitive notions only exist within formal languages, such as mathematics and its associated logic. It's even been argued that they don't really exist there, and I tentatively support that position, but that's irrelevant right now.

Within natural languages like English, there is no need for primitive notions. Terms can be defined as clearly as you like.

(18-08-2015 12:33 PM)morondog Wrote:  My point is that yes, one can *hold* the 1 or 7 position, but... I still think it's *illogical*.

I obviously disagree, for reasons outlined in my previous posts, but I do agree that most people who would describe themselves as a one or seven wouldn't take the same approach to it that I do. It's certainly almost always illogical, if for no reason other than that most people don't think this sort of thing through.

(18-08-2015 12:33 PM)morondog Wrote:  Well, if we're gonna talk about definition of is/exist then maybe we're also reaching to a point of logic rules seem kind of arbitrary too...

Another extremely interesting potential discussion. The existence of axiomatic claims at the basis of formal logic is an extremely compelling topic. I would, however, disagree that they are arbitrary, but I won't go into why in this thread; it's a long spiel that deserves its own dedicated discussion, if anyone is interested in having it.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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18-08-2015, 12:48 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 10:03 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 09:44 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I agree, if what we mean by claim, is an argument intended to convince someone else.

But what I would say is.

is this:

4, is a mere lack of belief that God exist

5, 6, are both a belief that God does not exist

While 7, is knowing God doesn't not exist.

While none of these correspond to claims, some do correspond to beliefs.

Sigh.

We can argue semantics about what counts as an outright belief or a leaning.

Atheism, broadly defined, is an absence (or lack, though I prefer "absence") of a belief that God exists.

Someone at a 4 is absent a belief that God exists.

Similarly, someone at a 5, 6, or 7 is absent a belief that God exists, whatever other beliefs they might have on the subject.

Furthermore, 7 is not KNOWLEDGE, so much as CONFIDENCE. I can be 100% sure the moon is made of silicate rock, and you can be 100% confident that it is made of green cheese, without either of us having checked. Neither of us could properly be said to KNOW based solely on the strength of our confidence. Perhaps there IS evidence to justify that strength, and perhaps there isn't, but that strength of confidence does not for one second logically imply that there is.

Well, we're referring to a predefined scale here, invented by Dawkins, in which belief implies something we feel certain of above 50% but less than 100%.

So it matters less what you think constitutes a belief, but rather how the scale defines belief, if we're using this scale to label ourselves.
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18-08-2015, 12:50 PM
RE: The Dawkins Scale
(18-08-2015 10:04 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 09:35 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I'm referring to the actual definitions by Dawkins. According to Dawkins anything less than a 100% certain but more than 50% corresponds to a belief.

Not in the sense you are trying to imply.
Admitting the possibility of existence is not a belief in the existence.

Admitting something is more possible than not (above 50%) is a belief, particularly as Dawkins define it.
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