Unbelief and Confidence
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01-04-2015, 12:19 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 12:42 PM by Simon Moon.)
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.

Organisms that are exactly like us is an incredible long shot. Life itself in the universe, probably not.

There are at least 200 billion galaxies (some say as high as 500 billion), each with about 100-200 billion stars, and an untold number of planets. The chance that life would form in our universe is pretty much a certainty, given the numbers and time involved.

Quote: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.

Given the physics of our universe, atoms and molecules have a limited number of ways they can interact and combine. The fact that some of those ways lead to self aware life, while an unlikely event, is not a miraculous one.

There is nothing in the process that requires a supernatural cause to be inserted as an explanation.

Quote: 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.

An unlikely event does not equal a miracle.

There something like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe. Given that every one of them has the same natural laws governing them, and many of them probably have similar chemical makeup as pre-life earth, seems that life could have started many times in the universe.

So far, there have been 1906 extrasolar planets discovered in 1200 planetary systems just in our galactic neighborhood. About 22% of them have earth sized planets. Assuming 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, that would be 11 billion potentially habitable Earths, rising to 40 billion if red dwarfs are included. And this is just one galaxy out of a minimum of 200 billion.

Quote: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.

Maybe not human existence, but some sort of self aware life is probably inevitable. Given the vast number of 'test labs' (planets) and time.

We are not special to the universe. We are not some sort of 'pinnacle' that the universe was aiming at producing. We are the results of natural laws, acting on chemicals over very long time periods.

Quote: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?

While I am pretty confident, my position is provisional, not dogmatic. It is based on evidence.

Quote: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?

Humans evolved to to avoid being lion food on the African planes, not to discover the reality of the universe. If common sense worked, the best minds on the planet would not need to study advance math and physics for decades in order to gain some understanding.

Remember, for millennium, most humans thought it was common sense to think the earth was flat and the sun orbited it.

Just because a lot of this stuff is not common sense, does not mean it is wrong. And since it is supported by evidence, it is likelier to be right.
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01-04-2015, 12:49 PM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  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.
If you had a preconception of a human phenotype before even life existed within our universe then sure, astronomical odds against it. But then again, our universe is astronomical in size. If you take each grain of sand on Earth, multiply it by 100 then you have the amount of stars in our observable universe 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

(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.
This is a slightly flawed view. The question really is whether life is inevitable and if life then if intelligent life is inevitable.
It doesn't matter that we happen to be human. Perhaps dinosaurs could have evolved intelligence, perhaps birds could have or insects, or dogs, or species that haven't come to be yet.

Once Earth was cool enough life began pretty quickly and took most of the life of the Earth to evolve to make humans.
I take this as a fair indication that if the conditions are reasonably right then life naturally emerges. It would be very strange if Earth were the only planet in our universe with life.
I don't see intelligence as being overly remarkable, it certainly gives us humans a survival and reproductive advantage so evolution would favour it. And I can see why multiple species would compete for this adaptive space and hence why there can only be one on a planet.

(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?
See above

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  And if so, how confidently do you hold to this position?
I think it makes sense for humans keen on furthering scientific knowledge to search for life on other planets.

I'm pretty confident life is out there but I don't know how prolific it would be. Our universe is so big and so old that we might not find it even though it might be in abundance.

(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  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 don't think it makes intuitive sense to believe in a supernatural intelligent designer. Not for me. One would have to first prove that the supernatural exists and that an intelligence can exist without needing a substance such as a brain.

Perhaps in the pre-scientific age, pre-Darwin it may have made intuitive sense to assume the complexity and order found in life forms were designed.
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01-04-2015, 02:25 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 02:34 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 12:49 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 06:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  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 don't think it makes intuitive sense to believe in a supernatural intelligent designer. Not for me. One would have to first prove that the supernatural exists and that an intelligence can exist without needing a substance such as a brain.

Perhaps in the pre-scientific age, pre-Darwin it may have made intuitive sense to assume the complexity and order found in life forms were designed.

If you didn't know much about the sciences here, about Darwin, do you think you likely would have believed we were designed, as countless deist, and the sort long have? Clearly you recognize the intuitiveness of this view.

In my view, the belief that we were created makes intuitive sense, a common sense so blatant, nearly all of human civilizations, and people, even those who rejected the various religious traditions have been led to hold this view. In fact studies of children, even those who were not raised religious are prone to teleological beliefs, prone to believe in design.

Of course these intuitions may just as well be false. But in order to reject this intuitive belief, it seems to me that one has to acquire knowledge, a perspective antithetical to this very belief, to deny this sort of nagging suspicion, a knowledge afforded to us by a series of scientific discoveries, that open as up to the possibility of a order devoid of intent.
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01-04-2015, 02:43 PM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 02:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 12:49 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I don't think it makes intuitive sense to believe in a supernatural intelligent designer. Not for me. One would have to first prove that the supernatural exists and that an intelligence can exist without needing a substance such as a brain.

Perhaps in the pre-scientific age, pre-Darwin it may have made intuitive sense to assume the complexity and order found in life forms were designed.

If you didn't know much about the sciences here, about Darwin, do you think you likely would have believed we were designed, as countless deist, and the sort long have? Clearly you recognize the intuitiveness of this view.

In my view, the belief that we were created makes intuitive sense, a common sense so blatant, nearly all of human civilizations, and people, even those who rejected the various religious traditions have been led to hold this view. In fact studies of children, even those who were not raised religious are prone to teleological beliefs, prone to believe in design.

Of course these intuitions may just as well be false. But in order to reject this intuitive belief, it seems to me that one has to acquire knowledge, a perspective antithetical to this very belief, to deny this sort of nagging suspicion, a knowledge afforded to us by a series of scientific discoveries, that open as up to the possibility of a order devoid of intention.

Human intuition is not accurate, and you're correct to say that. However, that statement works against what you said of it being taken for a fact without evidence. It remains a hypothesis until proven with evidence that backs it up. What we think of that seems intuitive does not have to be taken seriously in the scientific community.
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01-04-2015, 02:57 PM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 06:57 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(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.

I like this explanation. I'll add that it's quite amazing that humans have even survived as long as we have, when we stop to think about it.

Be true to yourself. Heart
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01-04-2015, 03:00 PM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2015 07:09 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 02:43 PM)Kaepora Gaebora Wrote:  Human intuition is not accurate, and you're correct to say that. However, that statement works against what you said of it being taken for a fact without evidence. It remains a hypothesis until proven with evidence that backs it up. What we think of that seems intuitive does not have to be taken seriously in the scientific community.

There's only one problem with this. People don't tend to lack a belief here, people either find themselves on either one side of the fence or the other, even if only tentatively so.

Either one believes that we are the product of a process lacking any intent or foreshadowing, of creatures able to perceive and understand the long chain that brought them into being, or one believes otherwise. Either one believes there is some seeming rhyme of reason here, or it's all just a series of empty noises. Either one believes that the universe created a creature capable of creating it's own universes, was an intentional act, or unintentional.

If you appeal to a lack of evidence, that axe falls on both parties. If we are to suspend belief, than we'd have to suspend our belief in both. Ontological naturalism becomes as unbelievable as some form of monism, or deism. If one party is plugging all the gaps with intent, the other party is filling the gaps with non-intent.
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01-04-2015, 03:07 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 03:16 PM by Simon Moon.)
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 02:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  If you didn't know much about the sciences here, about Darwin, do you think you likely would have believed we were designed, as countless deist, and the sort long have? Clearly you recognize the intuitiveness of this view.

I can't speak for Stevil, but I would admit, that without better, evidence based explanations for our existence, it is probable that there would be more belief that we were designed. So what?

There are good reasons to hold beliefs, and bad ones. Not having a better explanation, is not a good reason to believe something. That is when "I don't know" becomes the best answer.

Before astronomy became advanced enough, the vast majority of humanity thought the the sun orbited the earth.

Clearly you recognize the intuitiveness of this view? And the incorrectness of it?

Quote:In my view, the belief that we were created makes intuitive sense, a common sense so blatant, nearly all of human civilizations, and people, even those who rejected the various religious traditions have been led to hold this view. In fact studies of children, even those who were not raised religious are prone to teleological beliefs, prone to believe in design.

The fact that you believe it makes intuitive sense and blatant common sense does not make it true.

The history of beliefs being true that were based on intuitive sense and common sense is not very good. Not to belabor the point, but geocentrism is just one of many.


Quote:Of course these intuitions may just as well be false. But in order to reject this intuitive belief, it seems to me that one has to acquire knowledge, a perspective antithetical to this very belief, to deny this sort of nagging suspicion, a knowledge afforded to us by a series of scientific discoveries, that open as up to the possibility of a order devoid of intent.

We live our lives primarily by inference and induction. This was how we survived on the African planes. It was better to infer that that noise in the bushes was a predator and by wrong, than infer that it is only the wind and be wrong.

This is quite successful in negotiating every day life. It is not, however, successful discovering complex facts about biology, cosmology, physics.

The problem is, you are trying to use a survival strategy as a method to discover complex scientific facts.
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01-04-2015, 03:07 PM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 03:00 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 02:43 PM)Kaepora Gaebora Wrote:  Human intuition is not accurate, and you're correct to say that. However, that statement works against what you said of it being taken for a fact without evidence. It remains a hypothesis until proven with evidence that backs it up. What we think of that seems intuitive does not have to be taken seriously in the scientific community.

There's only one problem with this. People don't tend to lack a belief here, people either find themselves on either one side of the fence or the other, even if only tentatively so.

Either one believes that we are the product of a process lacking any intent or foreshadowing, of creatures able to perceive and understand the long chain that brought them into being, or one believes otherwise. Either one believes there is some seeming rhyme of reason here, or it's all just a series of empty noises.

If you appeal to a lack of evidence, that axe falls on both parties. If we are to suspend belief, than we'd have to suspend our belief in both. Ontological naturalism becomes as unbelievable as some form of monism, or deism. If one party is plugging all the gaps with intent, the other party is filling the gaps with non-intent.

What you are talking about is skepticism in which we suspend belief on extraordinary concepts until presented with evidence otherwise. The last part of the phrase is important: until presented with evidence that proves otherwise. It doesn't mean that one is closed to ideas, it means that one applies reason and logic towards an idea to see if it can be supported. Evolution for example has evidence that it happens, while God being the creator of life 6000 years ago does not. It's simply an idea that remains unfalsifiable and should not be taken seriously.
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01-04-2015, 03:18 PM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 02:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  If you didn't know much about the sciences here, about Darwin, do you think you likely would have believed we were designed, as countless deist, and the sort long have? Clearly you recognize the intuitiveness of this view.

... If I didn't have the knowledge of the facts that lead me to reject the design conclusion, would I accept the design conclusion? Do you not see how that's a tautology?

Quote:In my view, the belief that we were created makes intuitive sense, a common sense so blatant, nearly all of human civilizations, and people, even those who rejected the various religious traditions have been led to hold this view. In fact studies of children, even those who were not raised religious are prone to teleological beliefs, prone to believe in design.

Do you really want to hitch this wagon of yours to the claim that children believe it, therefore it has some evidentiary weight? Really? Children believe a lot of false things, if you don't correct them. Why is it so stunning that they'd believe one more?
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01-04-2015, 03:21 PM
RE: Unbelief and Confidence
(01-04-2015 02:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  If you didn't know much about the sciences here, about Darwin, do you think you likely would have believed we were designed, as countless deist, and the sort long have? Clearly you recognize the intuitiveness of this view.

In my view, the belief that we were created makes intuitive sense, a common sense so blatant, nearly all of human civilizations, and people, even those who rejected the various religious traditions have been led to hold this view. In fact studies of children, even those who were not raised religious are prone to teleological beliefs, prone to believe in design.

Of course these intuitions may just as well be false. But in order to reject this intuitive belief, it seems to me that one has to acquire knowledge, a perspective antithetical to this very belief, to deny this sort of nagging suspicion, a knowledge afforded to us by a series of scientific discoveries, that open as up to the possibility of a order devoid of intent.

I knew nothing of the sciences when I deconverted. I was catholic. I loved the romanticism of the rituals and festivities, and it was neat to imagine I had a friend, an angel, with me all the time. I was 10. Then I read the bible and found god disgusting, ordering children slaughtered, wiping out entire cities, killing people for looking back as they fled their home because of him. I read the whole thing and then filed it away with my fairy tale books. I decided that if that was god, he wasn't worthy of being worshiped. A couple years later I decided to read about some of the other religions because all my friends and relatives were religious. I found more fairy tales. Like all fairy tales, they had some underlying moral point to make, but the more I learned the less likely a god seemed to me.

It had absolutely nothing to do with science, it just made no sense. The bible was pretty disgusting, no wonder most religious people never even read it. The fact that all these different religions even exist makes it highly unlikely that one of them is right and all the others are wrong.

What is likely is that people didn't know a whole lot about the world, and since intelligence exists on the basis of seeking patterns, people filled in the blanks with stories. Since there was no Netflix, story telling was a great past time and stories were spun and retold for centuries. Like all animals, we are programmed to take what parents tell us in our early years as the truth. We all are programmed that way - so we know what to eat and what is poisonous and the like. So there you have generations and generations of parents telling their kids the same stories. Each person ends up believing that their regional story is the truth, the only truth.

That is what I decided when I was a kid, and I still think the same thing today. Religions are explanations people made up to fill the gaps of ignorance. The only way science fits into this, is that it debunks a lot of the stories. But you don't need to know anything about science to see that religions are nonsense.

Science had nothing to do with my atheism whatsoever.

[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
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