The God Debates
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20-06-2012, 09:39 AM
RE: The God Debates
Some years ago I considered myself agnostic. I decided that was at least wishy-washy, if not downright cowardly, so I decided to use 'atheist'.

My current position is that I am in principle an agnostic, I am in practice an atheist.

Using the Dawkins scale, I am 6.9+. That is, I can't claim that I am certain there are no gods, but that I am almost certain. There is so little (no?) evidence of the supernatural, and overwhelming evidence against.

So, I live my life pragmatically as an atheist. Could there be some sort of supreme being? Sure, but it seems very, very unlikely.

On a related note, I tend to classify religions on an absurdity scale (0 == impossibly absurd); Mormonism is way down near zero along with Scientology, with fundamentalist Islam and Christianity not much higher up. Sects like Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh-Day Adventists are wackier than the Lutherans, and so on. It might be fun to create a scale and have people vote on absurdity/wackiness ratings.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-06-2012, 09:41 AM
RE: The God Debates
(20-06-2012 09:39 AM)Chas Wrote:  On a related note, I tend to classify religions on an absurdity scale (0 == impossibly absurd); Mormonism is way down near zero along with Scientology, with fundamentalist Islam and Christianity not much higher up. Sects like Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh-Day Adventists are wackier than the Lutherans, and so on. It might be fun to create a scale and have people vote on absurdity/wackiness ratings.
You've got a good start...I'd love to see a Wacky Religion Scale.

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20-06-2012, 10:20 AM
RE: The God Debates
(20-06-2012 09:39 AM)Chas Wrote:  On a related note, I tend to classify religions on an absurdity scale (0 == impossibly absurd); Mormonism is way down near zero along with Scientology, with fundamentalist Islam and Christianity not much higher up. Sects like Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh-Day Adventists are wackier than the Lutherans, and so on. It might be fun to create a scale and have people vote on absurdity/wackiness ratings.
This reminds of Kathleen Madigan's Gone Madigan special on HBO. She describes her visit to the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City (what else do you do when in Salt Lake City?).

She was raised Catholic - pretty sure she's still a cultural Catholic - and one of the guys on the tour bus (or whatever it is you ride on when touring the Temple), Bob, started guffawing when the tour guide was talking to them about Mormon theology.

Bob turns to Kathleen and says something along the lines of "Are you buying this crap? Hey look, I know Catholicism has a bunch of crap too and can be way out there - but at least our crap has been around for a couple thousand years!"

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20-06-2012, 04:23 PM
RE: The God Debates
Hey, Chas.

I find it interesting that you say there is overwhelming evidence against the existence of the supernatural. My personal understanding is that there is zero. I suppose if you want to post a list of this evidence you refer to, that'd be cool, but I'm not particularly picking a fight about that. More just to say that there are others like myself who believe that the sum total evidence against the supernatural, as an overarching thing mind you, not whether or not Psychic McPhukstyc is actually psychic or any other specific claim, is zero. It may have something to do with the divide between who wants to be called an Atheist and who prefers to be called an Agnostic.

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Matt
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20-06-2012, 04:29 PM
RE: The God Debates
(20-06-2012 04:23 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

I find it interesting that you say there is overwhelming evidence against the existence of the supernatural. My personal understanding is that there is zero. I suppose if you want to post a list of this evidence you refer to, that'd be cool, but I'm not particularly picking a fight about that. More just to say that there are others like myself who believe that the sum total evidence against the supernatural, as an overarching thing mind you, not whether or not Psychic McPhukstyc is actually psychic or any other specific claim, is zero. It may have something to do with the divide between who wants to be called an Atheist and who prefers to be called an Agnostic.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
The evidence is in the observing of the way the universe functions. There simply aren't any gaps that need the existence of the supernatural to fill in. There are no effects that require a supernatural cause.

The truly overwhelming argument against the supernatural is the stupendous lack of evidence for it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-06-2012, 06:34 PM
RE: The God Debates
Hey, Chas.

I don't agree, but that's neither here nor there at the moment.

What do you think about the possible influence of the disagreement people might have about the existence or non-existence of evidence on those who you might consider an Atheist but who don't consider themselves Atheist?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-06-2012, 05:48 AM
RE: The God Debates
(20-06-2012 06:34 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

I don't agree, but that's neither here nor there at the moment.

What do you think about the possible influence of the disagreement people might have about the existence or non-existence of evidence on those who you might consider an Atheist but who don't consider themselves Atheist?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I don't understand your question. Influence on what?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-06-2012, 07:41 AM
RE: The God Debates
Hey, Chas.

Seasbury is trying to better understand why some people refuse to self-identify as Atheists. Specifically, those who say that they don't believe in God but still wouldn't call themselves Atheist.

I offered my personal answer, but it wasn't quite what Seasbury was after.

You chimed in and said that you believe that there is overwhelming evidence against God. There's an argument to be had between you and I on that subject but it's irrelevant in terms of Seasbury's question. So I think it's best to just forgo it.

What I do find interesting is that you, a person who seems to me to have no problem self-identifying as an Atheist, are very comfortable with the notion that there is such overwhelming evidence against God. I myself do not believe this evidence exists and steadfastly refuse to call myself an Atheist. I would assume that there are others like myself and I wanted to get your impression about the possible link between believing that there is no evidence against God, overwhelming or otherwise, and not wanting to identify as an Atheist.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-06-2012, 07:51 AM
RE: The God Debates
(21-06-2012 07:41 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

Seasbury is trying to better understand why some people refuse to self-identify as Atheists. Specifically, those who say that they don't believe in God but still wouldn't call themselves Atheist.

I offered my personal answer, but it wasn't quite what Seasbury was after.

You chimed in and said that you believe that there is overwhelming evidence against God. There's an argument to be had between you and I on that subject but it's irrelevant in terms of Seasbury's question. So I think it's best to just forgo it.

What I do find interesting is that you, a person who seems to me to have no problem self-identifying as an Atheist, are very comfortable with the notion that there is such overwhelming evidence against God. I myself do not believe this evidence exists and steadfastly refuse to call myself an Atheist. I would assume that there are others like myself and I wanted to get your impression about the possible link between believing that there is no evidence against God, overwhelming or otherwise, and not wanting to identify as an Atheist.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
In another post I identified myself as agnostic in principle and atheist in practice. I have no proof that there are no gods, no supernatural, and I admit that the possibility of existence is non-zero.

The way I live is indistinguishable from the way an atheist lives. I have no problem self-identifying as an atheist or an agnostic, but I'm not religious about it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-06-2012, 12:32 PM
RE: The God Debates
Hey, Chas.

So if you have no proof that there are no Gods, then what was that overwhelming evidence against God you referred to before?

That genuinely confuses me.

Also, I know that you're comfortable self-identifying as an Atheist. I'm wondering what you think about people who don't, specifically, what not believing there is any evidence against the existence of God might have to do with it (keeping in mind that I'm still genuinely confused by what you mean about proof and evidence).

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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