Theists start here
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04-03-2015, 05:28 AM
Theists start here
I just realised something. This long standing debate, atheism v theism, can't be resolved. Well what I mean is it can't be resolved directly. The two positions are the inverse of each other in their actual constitutions. This is not merely the case because they occupy two extreme points on the same scale.

If the two had the same constitution then there would be something to talk about. Then this debate would've been over a long time ago. So let me get on to trying to explain the different constitutions. The purpose of this post is to help facilitate better dialogue between atheists and theists.

Where is the conclusion?


Theism begins with the conclusion. From this conclusion it can't advance. The only logical way to move is backwards! One of the problems with this is that it necessarily creates pitfalls such as confirmation bias. This is accepting affirmative information and rejecting contradicting information. What is happening is a retrospective rationalisation of the conclusion. While this can result in positive outcomes, it necessarily assumes that the conclusion is true even if it may not be. The result is that the truth actually gets frustrated. By using this method it cannot be clear if the truth has been achieved. One can rationalise ANYTHING! This means that you can be entertaining a false position and rationalise that it is true.

Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion. It examines evidence and allows the evidence to lead it to a conclusion. This is the fundamental difference. Based on this atheism moves forwards not knowing where it is that it will land up. It considers all the evidence available equally to form a reasonable conclusion based on probability. There is no confirmation bias here because there is no preconceived conclusion. There is no negative/positive evidence. It is just neutral evidence! When a conclusion is reached, one can be confident that it is the reasonable truth. The least we can do as rational beings is ensure that what we do is rational rather than irrational.

I'll let you decide which constitution is the feasible one.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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04-03-2015, 07:39 AM
RE: Theists start here
(04-03-2015 05:28 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion. It examines evidence and allows the evidence to lead it to a conclusion. This is the fundamental difference. Based on this atheism moves forwards not knowing where it is that it will land up. It considers all the evidence available equally to form a reasonable conclusion based on probability. There is no confirmation bias here because there is no preconceived conclusion. There is no negative/positive evidence. It is just neutral evidence! When a conclusion is reached, one can be confident that it is the reasonable truth. The least we can do as rational beings is ensure that what we do is rational rather than irrational.

As much as I call theists out on this, I'll have to do the same to you: you're over-defining the term, here. Atheism is not believing in any gods, pure and simple. Any thing else is over-defining the term, and only looking at a subset of atheism.

An atheist absolutely can start with a conclusion and work backward. It doesn't make sense, but that approach isn't unique to theism, nor is it excluded from atheism. I certainly agree with your approach, and the atheist members here are good with working with logic and evidence in their claims, but I've seen some terrible arguments come from atheists time and time again.

Atheism is certainly a very logical conclusion, but not everyone gets there the smart way.
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04-03-2015, 07:55 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 08:04 AM by BlackMason.)
RE: Theists start here
I wasn't defining atheism by the way. I fully understand what atheism means: A rejection of theistic claims.

So the question arises how/why do atheists reject theistic claims? By the constitution I wrote. I can't speak for all atheists just like how my theistic constitution doesn't address the entire population of theist. I did mention that some situations do have a positive outcome when a conclusion is reached without evidence being evaluated. But this is the same as gambling and has a negative expected value in the long run. Atheists can do this too but we see it more from theist so I decided to insert it as a characteristic of a theist.

In light of what Robbypants wrote, I encourage people to mention the reason they reject theistic claims. I want to understand how you've reached that conclusion.

In conclusion you've misdiagnosed my post. I was not defining atheism or theism. I was trying to point out how the animal works. Not say what the animal is. By the way I find it interesting that you thought I was defining atheism but not theism.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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04-03-2015, 09:02 AM
RE: Theists start here
(04-03-2015 07:55 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  In light of what Robbypants wrote, I encourage people to mention the reason they reject theistic claims. I want to understand how you've reached that conclusion.

Well, at first, I just stopped believing. When I tried to get myself believing again, I realized that none of it made sense. Now, I don't accept them because of a lack of evidence.


(04-03-2015 07:55 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  In conclusion you've misdiagnosed my post. I was not defining atheism or theism. I was trying to point out how the animal works. Not say what the animal is. By the way I find it interesting that you thought I was defining atheism but not theism.

Do you see how if even one atheist starts with "there are no gods" as a premise and not a conclusion, that saying that "Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion" would not be correct?

Atheism doesn't believe in gods. Atheism in and of itself has nothing to do with why the person is atheist. I think this would be a better fit for rationalism, perhaps. Again, I agree with the overall thrust of your OP; I just take exception with how it's worded.
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04-03-2015, 09:04 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 09:10 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Theists start here
(04-03-2015 05:28 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion. It examines evidence and allows the evidence to lead it to a conclusion. ....a reasonable conclusion based on probability.

And if one is in a court room, the same evidence leads to two separate conclusions, one supported by the defense, and the other by the prosecution, and one conferred by the jury, and sometimes rejected by the general population, as in the OJ verdict. All the biases, whether based on the past history of the one on trial, a person's upbringing and values, all shape the conclusion one settles on.

Evidence has no speaking role. We give it a voice and construct a narrative around it. And this is where our own personal beliefs, conceptions, values, etc.. play a role. Atheists tend to rarely consider this part of the equation, and often have a distorted perspective of themselves, and our capacities to analyze the life and world around us.

For many atheists their own particular humanistic value systems, anti-religious sentiments, their beliefs in ontological naturalism, their preferences for the hard sciences, play a significant role in the narrative they buy in regards to "evidence" in determining which one is more compelling. The "probability" you appeal to is one weighted by these very biases.

The idea that an unbeliever is someone in some sort of limbo, free of these confining biases, exploring the world, as far removed from it as possible, is just one of many coddling myths you tell yourself.
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04-03-2015, 09:13 AM
RE: Theists start here
(04-03-2015 07:55 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  ...
In conclusion you've misdiagnosed my post. I was not defining atheism or theism.
...

I think that Robbie was objecting to your personification of the terms.

If he hadn't said it, I was going to.

Smile

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04-03-2015, 09:32 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 09:39 AM by BlackMason.)
RE: Theists start here
(04-03-2015 09:02 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Do you see how if even one atheist starts with "there are no gods" as a premise and not a conclusion, that saying that "Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion" would not be correct?

You're assuming that I'm referring to the whole atheist population. That would be irrational.

(04-03-2015 07:55 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  I can't speak for all atheists just like how my theistic constitution doesn't address the entire population of theist.

Remember this?

(04-03-2015 09:02 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Well, at first, I just stopped believing. When I tried to get myself believing again, I realized that none of it made sense. Now, I don't accept them because of a lack of evidence.

My post does not necessarily deal with how an atheist came to being an atheist. I'm talking about how atheist deal with theists subsequently. You seem to follow the constitution I posted. Remember I stated that the purpose of this post was to facilitate dialogue between atheists and theists. I did not state that this is how an atheist comes to be.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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04-03-2015, 10:12 AM
RE: Theists start here
(04-03-2015 09:32 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  
(04-03-2015 09:02 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Do you see how if even one atheist starts with "there are no gods" as a premise and not a conclusion, that saying that "Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion" would not be correct?

You're assuming that I'm referring to the whole atheist population. That would be irrational.

(04-03-2015 07:55 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  I can't speak for all atheists just like how my theistic constitution doesn't address the entire population of theist.

Remember this?

Fair enough. I was responding to this part, which is what caused my confusion:

(04-03-2015 05:28 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  Atheism on the other hand does not begin with the conclusion. It examines evidence and allows the evidence to lead it to a conclusion.
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04-03-2015, 11:42 PM
RE: Theists start here
I think a direct to the point reason why it can't be resolved is because the theist argument does not exist in Objective Reality but in a Delusional State of mind that does not account for evidence or absence of evidence.
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