Unbelief and Confidence
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
01-04-2015, 06:28 AM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 06:46 AM by Tomasia.)
Unbelief and Confidence
A summary of unbelief, and the confidence in which you believe it:

Human existence is a product of a nearly infinite long shot. We are creatures of remarkable chance, rather than of any intentionality. The blind elements of the universe were not only able to come together, and create life from non-life, but to produce a life capable of being aware of it. A universe incapable of being aware of itself, produced a creature capable of being aware of it all. Human existence is the product of a cosmic jackpot, where the prediction would have been so unlikely, that the expectation would be that there will be no winners, but a forever series of losers.

The alternative to this would be, that human existence was an inevitability, like the winner of an actual lottery. The tickets sold make it unlikely that I would win, but one ticket would have to win. The machine in which the number is drawn, has no awareness of the wining ticket that it’s about to draw, or the person who will be recipients of that small fortune. But a winner is inevitable. As human existence was inevitable.

The question I have is for atheists, do these two explanations, to some degree articulate your views here, even if only roughly?

And if so, how confidently do you hold to this position? Do you hold it as confidently as you hold that there’s no dragon in your closet, that Barrack Obama is the current US president, or is that confidence quite insecure, as a student’s insecurity about the answers to a test he studied only the night before, and perhaps even hardly at all?

And thirdly, do you believe these explanations are the "common sense" ones, or true but counter intuitive? That if one were to apply a common sense, intuitive approach, he would likely believe that we are products of intentional forces, even though this belief would be false?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Tomasia's post
01-04-2015, 06:57 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A summary of unbelief, and the confidence in which you believe it:

Human existence is a product of a nearly infinite long shot. We are creatures of remarkable chance, rather than of any intentionality. The blind elements of the universe were not only able to come together, and create life from non-life, but to produce a life capable of being aware of it. A universe incapable of being aware of itself, produced a creature capable of being aware of it all. Human existence is the product of a cosmic jackpot, where the prediction would have been so unlikely, that the expectation would be that there will be no winners, but a forever series of losers.

The alternative to this would be, that human existence was an inevitability, like the winner of an actual lottery. The tickets sold make it unlikely that I would win, but one ticket would have to win. The machine in which the number is drawn, has no awareness of the wining ticket that it’s about to draw, or the person who will be recipients of that small fortune. But a winner is inevitable. As human existence was inevitable.

The question I have is for atheists, do these two explanations, to some degree articulate your views here, even if only roughly?

And if so, how confidently do you hold to this position? Do you hold it as confidently as you hold that there’s no dragon in your closet, that Barrack Obama is the current US president, or is that confidence quite insecure, as a student’s insecurity about the answers to a test he studied only the night before, and perhaps even hardly at all?

And thirdly, do you believe these explanations are the "common sense" ones, or true but counter intuitive? That if one were to apply a common sense, intuitive approach, he would likely believe that we are products of intentional forces, even though this belief would be false?

c.) None of the above.

Our existence is contingent on all the evolution that went on before - that makes it neither miraculous nor predictable.

It may be the case that life will almost inevitably arise where conditions permit, in which case the universe is teeming with life. It may be the case that intelligent life is almost inevitable in some sorts of environments.

But even so, human life is an unlikely outcome. What we are is one of a vast number of possible outcomes of vastly many possible evolutions.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Chas's post
01-04-2015, 07:04 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Human existence is a product of a nearly infinite long shot.

Quite probably.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  We are creatures of remarkable chance, rather than of any intentionality.

Again, quite probably

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The blind elements of the universe were not only able to come together, and create life from non-life, but to produce a life capable of being aware of it.

As as been pointed out to Call_of_the_Wild, Abogenesis does not 'detract' from evolution.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A universe incapable of being aware of itself, produced a creature capable of being aware of it all. Human existence is the product of a cosmic jackpot, where the prediction would have been so unlikely, that the expectation would be that there will be no winners, but a forever series of losers.

Well... the kind of same can be said for lotteries and other 'jack-pots', can't it? Though, invariably, some one does win said draws.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The alternative to this would be, that human existence was an inevitability, like the winner of an actual lottery. The tickets sold make it unlikely that I would win, but one ticket would have to win. The machine in which the number is drawn, has no awareness of the wining ticket that it’s about to draw, or the person who will be recipients of that small fortune. But a winner is inevitable. As human existence was inevitable.

Um, no.. this is kind of backwards to my previous (And in a way your previous) comment.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The question I have is for atheists, do these two explanations, to some degree articulate your views here, even if only roughly?

Yes, the first, random chance etc idea fits with what we currently know (Are pretty sure we know) of the surrounding reality.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  And if so, how confidently do you hold to this position? Do you hold it as confidently as you hold that there’s no dragon in your closet, that Barrack Obama is the current US president, or is that confidence quite insecure, as a student’s insecurity about the answers to a test he studied only the night before, and perhaps even hardly at all?

I am very confident about the earlier premise. The next comments/suggestions are... odd.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  And thirdly, do you believe these explanations are the "common sense" ones, or true but counter intuitive? That if one were to apply a common sense, intuitive approach, he would likely believe that we are products of intentional forces, even though this belief would be false?

As has previously been pointed out. Human's "Common sense" is usually anything but. hence why the practice of 'Science' doesn't actually use such. But test, test and test again to see what might be happening.

Also, for determining things about existence we currently have a sample size of 'ONE" planet. Hence why it is a good thing to explore other planets. People might find paleontological evidence of things on Mars. Or people might find evidence of things under Jupiterian moon's icy surfaces.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Peebothuhul's post
01-04-2015, 07:09 AM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 07:14 AM by Hafnof.)
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
Probability is fundamentally about counting the total number of possible outcomes and counting how many of the possible outcomes meet a given criteria. The more broad the criteria, the more probable. The less broad the criteria, the less probable. When we consider life the more broadly we define it the more probable it becomes. The more narrowly we define it the less probable it becomes. But calculating the probability of life has its own challenge in that we only have one example. We can only guess at the total counts we are dealing with. Until we have surveyed a significant part of the universe and determined the actual frequency of life it is hard to make any accurate statement about probabilities.

But none the less I'll take a stab at answering your questions.

It is extremely unlikely for a random universe with our physics to create our galaxy, our star, and our planet. It is certain that a random universe with our physics will create galaxies, stars, and planets.

The probability of a random universe with our physics creating life is unknown, but my sense is that the probability is high. I think we have good reason to think that over the massive scale in space and time of our universe that life is very likely to appear, perhaps certain to appear.

The probability of a random universe with our physics creating intelligent life is unknown, but my sense is that the probability is also high. I think we have good reason to think that over the massive scale in space and time of our universe that life is very likely to appear.

The probability of a random universe with our physics creating humans specifically is very small. LIkewise, the probability of your parents independently producing a genetic twin of you is very small. You are very unlikely. Humans are very unlikely. However, an analogue of you - a sibling who could have existed in your stead, is nearly a certainty. Likewise, I think there is a good chance that an analogue of humans would exist in our stead - if not on earth then elsewhere in the universe.

Of course none of this has anything to do with "unbelief". Unbelief is about being presented dubious claims and rejecting them. It isn't a knowledge claim. It isn't even a belief claim. It's the rejection of a belief claim. I hold the opinions above only tentatively, and whenever we are done with that universe-wide survey of life forms I'm sure to revise my opinions significantly.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Hafnof's post
01-04-2015, 07:11 AM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 04:21 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Human existence is a product of a nearly infinite long shot. We are creatures of remarkable chance, rather than of any intentionality. The blind elements of the universe were not only able to come together, and create life from non-life, but to produce a life capable of being aware of it. A universe incapable of being aware of itself, produced a creature capable of being aware of it all. Human existence is the product of a cosmic jackpot, where the prediction would have been so unlikely, that the expectation would be that there will be no winners, but a forever series of losers.

Totally false.
In this universe (for whatever reason) Chaos Theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set
has demonstrated that order evolves eventually in this universe. Very very highly improbable (individual and unrelated) events happen all the time. But once a process is started, the next event in the chain is FAR more probable. So actually what "froze out" from the Big Bang (more matter than anti-matter), the makings of hydrogen atoms began a long process, and actually human existence is not at all "a nearly infinite long shot". You just are totally ignorant of Math, Statistics, Chaos Theory, Probability Physics and Chemistry, so you are left with your conclusions, which we all know you will eventually lay at the feet of your particular deity, and thank him/her for the process.

You can plug in your own values to the Drake Equation here : http://www.activemind.com/Mysterious/top...ation.html
and see just how PROBABLE what we see, is.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-04-2015, 07:33 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A summary of unbelief, and the confidence in which you believe it:

Human existence is a product of a nearly infinite long shot. We are creatures of remarkable chance, rather than of any intentionality. The blind elements of the universe were not only able to come together, and create life from non-life, but to produce a life capable of being aware of it. A universe incapable of being aware of itself, produced a creature capable of being aware of it all. Human existence is the product of a cosmic jackpot, where the prediction would have been so unlikely, that the expectation would be that there will be no winners, but a forever series of losers.

The alternative to this would be, that human existence was an inevitability, like the winner of an actual lottery. The tickets sold make it unlikely that I would win, but one ticket would have to win. The machine in which the number is drawn, has no awareness of the wining ticket that it’s about to draw, or the person who will be recipients of that small fortune. But a winner is inevitable. As human existence was inevitable.

The question I have is for atheists, do these two explanations, to some degree articulate your views here, even if only roughly?

And if so, how confidently do you hold to this position? Do you hold it as confidently as you hold that there’s no dragon in your closet, that Barrack Obama is the current US president, or is that confidence quite insecure, as a student’s insecurity about the answers to a test he studied only the night before, and perhaps even hardly at all?

And thirdly, do you believe these explanations are the "common sense" ones, or true but counter intuitive? That if one were to apply a common sense, intuitive approach, he would likely believe that we are products of intentional forces, even though this belief would be false?

I think it is silly to talk about what the odds were for something after it has happened. The odds were 100% that life would arise. This assumes that the universe could have been another way but just happens to be the way it is. I don't think it could have been otherwise. There's no chance in the universe. Things are what they are and do what they do according to their nature. The alternative to an intelligent creator is not random chance but the laws of nature. The order we see and life starting and becoming ever more complex is just the universe being itself.

I prefer reality based reason to intuition.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes true scotsman's post
01-04-2015, 08:11 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A summary of unbelief, and the confidence in which you believe it:

Erm, uh, ummm, believe unbelief? Consider

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-04-2015, 09:12 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
Just a straight shot at the OP. I might reply to the rest of the thread later.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A summary of unbelief, and the confidence in which you believe it:

Believing unbelief? Awkwardly worded, but I'll take your meaning as apparently intended. EDIT: I swear I didn't read Dom's post before writing this.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Human existence is a product of a nearly infinite long shot. We are creatures of remarkable chance, rather than of any intentionality. The blind elements of the universe were not only able to come together, and create life from non-life, but to produce a life capable of being aware of it. A universe incapable of being aware of itself, produced a creature capable of being aware of it all. Human existence is the product of a cosmic jackpot, where the prediction would have been so unlikely, that the expectation would be that there will be no winners, but a forever series of losers.

The alternative to this would be, that human existence was an inevitability, like the winner of an actual lottery. The tickets sold make it unlikely that I would win, but one ticket would have to win. The machine in which the number is drawn, has no awareness of the wining ticket that it’s about to draw, or the person who will be recipients of that small fortune. But a winner is inevitable. As human existence was inevitable.

The question I have is for atheists, do these two explanations, to some degree articulate your views here, even if only roughly?

And if so, how confidently do you hold to this position? Do you hold it as confidently as you hold that there’s no dragon in your closet, that Barrack Obama is the current US president, or is that confidence quite insecure, as a student’s insecurity about the answers to a test he studied only the night before, and perhaps even hardly at all?

And thirdly, do you believe these explanations are the "common sense" ones, or true but counter intuitive? That if one were to apply a common sense, intuitive approach, he would likely believe that we are products of intentional forces, even though this belief would be false?

The lottery metaphor might be a bit better, but it's not quite getting there. It depends how large you draw your categories.

Let's say that I fly to New York City, debark at exactly 12:51:18 PM, collect my baggage, go out to the curb, and go to the first cabbie there. The cabbie helps me get my bags into his trunk, having trouble with the weight of one of them, and and we're off. The drive to my destination takes 37 minutes and 26 seconds.

Stop and think how astronomical the odds against this are. That I should arrive at EXACTLY 12:51:18 PM? Just one second off in either direction and that never would have happened! That that particular cabbie of all the thousands or tens of thousands in NYC should happen to be the one that gets my faire? That he should be exactly the height he was, not a nanometer taller or shorter? That he would be able to dead lift my 40lbs suitcase but not my 42 lbs suitcase? That he should have exactly the number of hairs on his head that he had? That the trip would take exactly 37 minutes and 26 seconds? What are the odds against all this? SURELY this is improbable beyond belief!

Except... no it isn't. Because that's drawing the categories of interest too narrow. I don't particularly care that I debarked at exactly 12:51:18 PM. I might not even check. Perhaps any time between 12:45 and 1:00 is much a muchness to me... and the odds of arriving in that window are much higher. Similarly, my "window" for the trip might be "somewhere between 35 minutes and 40 minutes", which is much more probable than 37 minutes and 26 seconds. I don't care that the cabbie has n hairs on his head... "bald" and "widow's peak" and "full head of hair" are probably all I'll ever notice, and that just in passing. Those details are too fine for me to care about. What actually happened does not defy belief, because the important details (that I arrived at roughly such and such time, that I got SOME cabbie, who was some height and had some amount of hair and could lift some amount of weight and who got me there in roughly 35-40 minutes) are quite plausible, and within those ranges something has to, as you put it, win the lottery.

Now, as to humanity. How broadly do we draw this category? That a species with our exact DNA code should evolve at exactly this point in the history of the universe, on this exact planet, looking exactly as we do, with our exact number of digits on each hand and our exact range of facial features and our exact set of instincts and range of mental capacity...

... well, yeah. That's pretty darn improbable.

But if we draw the category larger. Let's say... any tool-using species surpassing a certain level of intellect, who develops technology about to our level, on any planet in the universe, capable of pondering their improbability? That will be far more probable. (HOW probable is an interesting question we don't have the data to answer. Yet.) There would be certain evolutionary niches that would, on a life-bearing planet, will most likely be filled by SOMETHING, even if we don't know what, and in a sense that's a sort of inevitability.

But this is coming at it from the wrong angle. We already KNOW we're here... at least, for any reasonable philosophical definition of knowledge. (Brains-in-vatters, shut up.) The question should be one of conditional probability, not absolute probability. GIVEN that we are here, how did we most likely come here? And again, it comes down to how large we draw the categories. Mapping out the accretion of earth down to the exact pebble-sized meteorite? That it worked like that? Highly improbable! That it worked some way or anther? Pretty darn probable. That a Big Bang singularity that we don't understand happened exactly this way or that way or the other way? Not so likely. That it happened in SOME way? More likely.

(Also, for the record, humans are NOT capable of being aware of all the universe. Too much data in the universe and too little capacity for data in our brains.)

It should be noted that this size-of-category thing works for the theist's position too. That a god EXACTLY as depicted in the Bible should exist? Impossible, because of the contradictions. That a god ROUGHLY as depicted in the Bible exists? Within the realm of consideration.

The real question is whether the set of god-explanations, drawn however broadly or narrowly, is collectively more or less likely than the set of non-god explanations.

I would describe my confidence level in the not-god set as moderately high, depending on how broadly that set is drawn. I have no way of proving or disproving a deistic cause-the-big-bang-then-leave god, after all. But I do know that we have a tendency to think this overly likely (due to our biases, described next paragraph), and I'm cynical enough about the power of intuition to think our first guesses about something like this would not be right. If we narrow it to specificly a theistic god that has made its presence known to humanity on a broad scale and intervenes regularly though miracles, I am highly confident this is not true... at the "not a brain in a vat" level of confidence.

As for whether these are common sense? Common sense is a slippery concept. It is overly informed by instinctual biases, including a tendency to err on the side of anthropomorphization and ascribing agency to things that are unthinking. It is overly informed by confirmation bias, which skews our view of the world to match what our parents and society tell us the world looks like. And there's a presentation bias as well. The exact same idea can appeal to or repel common sense, depending on how inelegantly or artfully it is described. I would say that due to our aforementioned biases, a naive consideration of things would make the god-concept the more intuitive. However, when examining both the ideas and the
world in more detail, and getting a feel for which modes of thought are generally likely to lead towards truth and which are likely to lead away from truth, the god concept becomes more and more counter-intuitive, and naturalistic explanations more intuitive.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Reltzik's post
01-04-2015, 09:36 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
My atheism has nothing to do with cosmology or evolutionary biology, and everything to do with the lack of evidence for any deity yet proposed.

Having said that, we're here, in a massive unlikelihood. Simple unlikelihood doesn't require a miracle, though.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Thumpalumpacus's post
01-04-2015, 09:42 AM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
Not at all where I thought the thread was going after that title.

But I agree with most of the things said by others responses. I still think you've never adjusted from some issues of wording and ways of inputting too many ideas into the phrases you state. They don't often come off as blank enough and unbiased enough to be taken serious.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: