What we believe ... ??
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30-08-2010, 07:23 PM
 
What we believe ... ??
A listing of specific beliefs for atheists seems to me to be a little over the top. Atheism isn't a religion ... it's literally the absence of belief in a deity. When I interact with my atheist friends, it becomes clear to me that each of us is engaged in a very personal pursuit of spirituality and the thing we have in common is the absence of belief in the traditional monotheistic deity. What we choose to believe in a positive sense is intensely personal and we reserve the right to challenge anyone on issues of spirituality, including other atheists. The thing I like most about atheism is the absence of dogma, ritual, liturgical recitations. I repeat - Atheism is NOT a religion, and we atheists should be committed to rational, logical discussion with each other and with theists, as well. Rational discourse is at the heart of atheism, as I see it - we reject irrational, faith-based beliefs. We can argue among ourselves without condemning those who disagree with us to eternal damnation. In fact, I think we need to put high value on those who disagree with us because they force us to THINK!
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30-08-2010, 10:10 PM
 
RE: What we believe ... ??
Hmmm... since I became an atheist there isn't many things left that I believe in.

Well, I believe there is some intelligent alien life out there, in the universe. There are billions of galaxies with billions of stars and planets - some of them roughly similar to Earth. If life could be born here, why not on other worlds? Of course, this is pure speculation based on statistics and even if it was true, we probably won't meet any other civilizations any time soon (a couple of thousands of years) due to vast distances between the stars, etc.

Hmm, and that's it, I guess.
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30-08-2010, 10:22 PM
RE: What we believe ... ??
The list of "atheist beliefs" is mainly to get under the nails of theists.

Because Atheists don't come out of a mould like people from a set religion we all have different beliefs (though most have evidence Wink)

Like I believe all that is on the list, but I also believe in a bunch of over complex things, such as sapience in cetaceans, extra terrestrial contact coverups (no, not the "OMFG government is going to kill us!" type Wink) The ability of the humans brain to actually do things that would be seen as "Supernatural" (Chi movement, levitation, curses, ect) And that thing about the electromagnetic field in the area changing slightly in the instant someone dies suggesting a sort of conscious existence in the planet or something maybe.

Course for last 3 things I don't talk about often, because there is so little (next to no) evidence I haven't even made up my own mind yet xD

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31-08-2010, 12:18 AM
 
RE: What we believe ... ??
Quote:Like I believe all that is on the list, but I also believe in a bunch of over complex things, such as sapience in cetaceans, extra terrestrial contact coverups (no, not the "OMFG government is going to kill us!" type ) The ability of the humans brain to actually do things that would be seen as "Supernatural" (Chi movement, levitation, curses, ect) And that thing about the electromagnetic field in the area changing slightly in the instant someone dies suggesting a sort of conscious existence in the planet or something maybe.

:S
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31-08-2010, 03:16 AM
RE: What we believe ... ??
Don't expect me to talk about that stuff too much, other than the cetacean sapience thing Wink

I have a bunch of odd things that I don't "believe in" per say, but I am looking in to. Need evidence before I "believe in" anything xD

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31-08-2010, 08:08 AM
RE: What we believe ... ??
This might be a proper thread to ask a couple of languageal questions.

1. What is the difference/is there a difference between 'evidence' and 'proof'?
2. An example: Group A has 2 members and Group B has 1 member. Group A is a plurality and group B is a majority. Am I right? I remember hearing some use the word majority when talking about a plurality, so I think I and my wordbook might be wrong.
3. Is there a difference between believing and having faith?

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31-08-2010, 10:40 AM
 
RE: What we believe ... ??
(31-08-2010 08:08 AM)Kikko Wrote:  This indeed might be a proper thread to ask a couple of languageal questions.

1. What is the difference/is there a difference between 'evidence' and 'proof'?
2. An example: Group A has 2 members and Group B has 1 member. Group A is a plurality and group B is a majority. Am I right? I remember hearing some use the word majority when talking about a plurality, so I think I and my wordbook might be wrong.
3. Is there a difference between believing and having faith?
I agree that this topic can include such things as defining our terms. "Proof" has a very distinct meaning in mathematics (which is closely related to science). Proofs in mathematics begin with a set of axioms (that are somewhat arbitrary) and then various theorems can be proposed and proved using only logic. Once a theorem is proven, assuming that a mistake in logic hasn't been made somewhere, it can never be contravened. Using only the axioms and logic, the truth or falsehood of the theorem is established forever.

In science, we can't "prove" our ideas about the natural world in this utterly compelling way. We can only accumulate evidence, and if that evidence is consistent with that idea, the idea offers a scientific way to understand how the natural world works. To my knowledge, Newton's Law of Gravity has never been refuted, but Einstein revised our understanding of how gravity works well beyond what Newton could imagine. To date, no one has offered any better understanding of gravity than Einstein, and his ideas have survived some very rigorous tests.

I'm not going to discuss "plurality" versus "majority" - that's what dictionaries are for.

Regarding the relationship between belief and faith. dictionary.com says:

"belief" noun:
1. something believed; an opinion or conviction
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof
3. confidence; faith; trust
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith

It seems that the two can be used as synonyms (#3), but I think monotheists are drawn toward #2 (as well as #4).

That cetaceans or cephalopods are sentient can a belief, but presumably there is some EVIDENCE for that. That there is an invisible man in the sky who rules the universe is another belief, but there's no evidence for that - we're expected to believe that WITHOUT evidence - so that is "faith" as used in this context (i.e., #2 or #4).
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31-08-2010, 11:23 AM
RE: What we believe ... ??
Sorry, I forgot dictionaries exist, probably because Ive never used or seen one. Thanks

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31-08-2010, 07:29 PM
RE: What we believe ... ??
Why do we have to believe anything?

What is wrong with either knowing or not knowing?

I often see people speculating about things when they don't have enough information to have a decent chance of being right or even close to the actual answer they seek. Then what ever they come up with they are satisfied with and seem to believe that they came up with the right answer or at least something very close.

What is wrong with saying "I don't know" or "there is insufficient data to answer that"?

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31-08-2010, 07:48 PM
 
RE: What we believe ... ??
(31-08-2010 07:29 PM)No J. Wrote:  Why do we have to believe anything?
A fair question. My original post in this thread was getting at the point that atheists don't generally buy into the notion of a creed, or a statement of beliefs. We tend to have our own unique beliefs and distrust any religion-like listings of beliefs. We might buy into one or more items on such a list, or might reject the whole list. Thus, if I were to try to list the common factors among us atheists, the only one might be a DISbelief in any sort of deity in the traditional sense.

Of course, when considering any particular proposition, we might answer "I don't know." or "The evidence is ambiguous." or whatever.
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