Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
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03-09-2013, 12:48 AM
Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
In curious as to what others think of this particular age old question. I was visiting a site where you are free to ask a physicist any question you wish regarding physics and he will answer. He has guidelines obviously. No homework questions, it can't involve cosmology and the like. And he won't answer qustions that he considers off the wall. This is all well and good but what struck me was the wall of fame of off the wall questions. I don't object beyond a point. Its his site and its his right to do as he wishes. Not to mention that its an incredible resource for scientific information with the added bonus of an expert who gives quick and understandable answers. But it got me wondering again. Are all viewpoints equally valid. If so why. If not why not. Surely we are all entitled to our opinion but does that make it valid. Which brings me to the point. Are atheism and theism equally valid viewpoints and does the key component of atheism, namely the nonexistence of a higher power, contradict itself. It being essentially faith in nonexistence. Which would arguably be more difficult to prove in any case as proving a negative is nearly impossible in some cases. Anyway. My point is. Are all beliefs valid. If so why if not why not.
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03-09-2013, 07:46 AM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
"Faith in non-existence." Frusty

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03-09-2013, 08:45 AM (This post was last modified: 03-09-2013 12:54 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
Wrong. Typical unexamined bullshit.
Dismissal of claims, for which there is no evidence, is not "belief".
The absence of belief, is not belief in absence.
How many times a month do we have to go through this crap. ?
Do you dismiss the idea that there is a 1957 Chevy orbiting Pluto ?
Is that (a) your "belief" system ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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03-09-2013, 09:31 AM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
Not all beliefs are valid, as it is possible to be wrong in your belief. I can believe that I am the Queen of England all I want, I can proclaim it far and wide and believe it with every fiber of my being, but that won't actually make me the de facto head of state of the United Kingdom.


If you believe that the Corvette is manufactured by Honda, you are simply wrong.

If you believe that the Earth is at the center of the Universe, you are simply wrong.

If you believe that dinosaurs and man shared the Earth at the same time, you are simply wrong.

If you believe that there exists an anthropomorphic onni-max being that created the universe, cares what you do, think, and what you do while naked, answers your prayers, passes judgement, and wants to have a personal relationship with you? There is no reason to think any of that is true, and to cling to that belief and claim it to be true in light of no evidence to support it, makes you simply wrong.

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03-09-2013, 09:32 AM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
What type of validity are you talking about?

Equally legally valid? No. Governments heap privilege on some religious stances and persecute others. Even in countries where that's supposedly illegal.

Equally logically valid? No. Some religious dogmas are demonstrably self-contradictory.

Equally valid in a touchy-feely "I gotta give all people respect unconditionally" sort of way? That's subjective.

Equally valid for a discount at the gym?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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03-09-2013, 11:13 AM (This post was last modified: 03-09-2013 11:16 AM by Rahn127.)
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
A belief becomes valid when you can justify that belief with evidence.
If you can't justify the belief, then you have to ask yourself, why should I hold such a belief when I can't rationally justify it ?

If each belief you have is a tiny marble inside your head, then you ideally you want to have as many true beliefs and as few false beliefs as possible.
The next question you must ask is, "How do I determine if a belief is true or false" ?
What method can we use to discern fact from fantasy ?

The scientific method gives us a way to make those kinds of determinations because it relies on evidence to support it's claims.
It doesn't rely on faith, nor anecdotal testimony. If someone makes a claim, then that claim will run the gauntlet of scientific scrutiny, until it is assaulted from every angle, from anyone around the world. Many scientists are just as happy to destroy a claim as they are to try to validate it's claims. But be assured, it will happen one way or another.

Why would you even begin to ask if all viewpoints are equally valid ?
There are viewpoints that describe reality accurately and viewpoints that don't.

I try to put my beliefs on the side that describe reality as accurately as possible.
Then you have people who have beliefs that help to counter their fears about the unknown portions of reality.
Those beliefs aren't rationally justified, but I do understand how fear of the unknown can cause you to grab a hold of a belief in order to relieve your fear.

Some people attach themselves to a belief because of the mental joy it provides.
It's a day dream of sorts that goes on throughout their every waking moment and mentally pushes them to do things that are irrational. Unfortunately, that bit of irrationality can put a smile on their face, just like a guy who believes that he has won the lottery and feels like the luckiest man on earth, even though he hasn't actually won.

And that's what religion tries to do. It tries to convince you that if you believe things without evidence that you will win the lottery in the after life.
If you are gullible enough and do as we say, believe as we believe, then you will get this fictional reward.
Oh yes, and give us money. Can't forget that.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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03-09-2013, 12:23 PM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
(03-09-2013 12:48 AM)agnosticfaith Wrote:  It being essentially faith in nonexistence.

Sadcryface

Atheism:
Not having a belief (i.e. faith) in gods

Please write that 100 times on the blackboard.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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03-09-2013, 01:32 PM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
I am with Bucky Ball here. Why do people call atheism a "belief". That loaded term implies that atheists are simply the opposite hand of theists, a statement true only in a very small degree. I think the vast majority of atheists are like me. They have examined the social construction of a belief in a god and find that it is a human construct that is useful to some and harmful to the great majority, mostly believers.

I don't believe a damn thing about god I know it does not exist.
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03-09-2013, 05:51 PM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
An opinion can only be valid or invalid where facts are concerned... for example, it can be your opinion that the Earth is flat, but that doesn't make it valid.

Where religion/faith is concerned... An atheist's opinion is that there is no God. Since in science or law there is no requirement to prove a negative position, it is a valid claim.

The theistic opinion is that there is a God, which requires evidence to validate... since there is no evidence for God's existence, it's an invalid opinion.

Transplant the argument into a hypothetical courtroom setting... the atheist is the defendant, accused of betraying God. The prosecution is the theist...

The defendant is automatically innocent until proven guilty, because it is impossible to prove a negative... the burden of proof is on the prosecution to provide evidence that a crime has taken place. In this case the court cannot even be certain the alleged victim actually exists, let alone whether the crime occurred or not.

The burden of proof is always on the positive claim... so unless evidence is provided, the negative is always more valid. It's basic Occam's Razor stuff...

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03-09-2013, 06:35 PM
RE: Validity of belief (no matter what it is)
Of course not all beliefs are equally valid.

Beliefs that can be supported by demonstrable evidence and valid & sound logic are more valid than faith based beliefs, almost by definition.

Quote:Are atheism and theism equally valid viewpoints and does the key component of atheism, namely the nonexistence of a higher power, contradict itself. It being essentially faith in nonexistence.

How did you get so many flaws in only 2 sentences?

Atheism is simply the disbelief in the claim that a god exists. Atheism is NOT the claim, with absolute certainty, that a god (higher power), does not exist. To make it very simple -

Theist - "a god exists"
Atheist - "I do not believe your claim. Please provide me with demonstrable evidence and valid/sound logic to support it"

What could possibly be contradictory about disbelieving unsupported claims concerning the existence of a god? Is it contradictory to disbelieve there is a 57 Chevy orbiting Pluto?

It requires zero faith to disbelieve that a god exists. My disbelief is completely based on the claim that a god does exist being completely unsupported by either evidence or logic. Think about your reasons for not believing in that 57 Chevy orbiting Pluto, are they faith based?
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