Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
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10-09-2011, 01:52 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Ghost,

I believe I understand what you are saying as to the ability to know for certain whether a deist type of god exists. I totally agree, I cannot believe or disbelieve in such a god. The question is irrelevant to me because such a god is of no consequence to my life or existence.

That being said, no theist I personnally know posits such a god. Sure, I hear lots of philosophers and theologians talk about a deist type of god in debates, but most of them act differently toward laymen and attend Churches that teach that god is very personal and involved in this world. That god I do very much disbelieve in and am damn proud to say so.

I think belief/disbelief is justified based on the claim being made. If I told you that I went out with friends to the bar last night and you've known me to be truthful, then belief in my word is justifiable, you may still be agnostic because you don't have proof but your belief is reasonable.

But let's say that I told you I was teleported by Martians to Jupiter and I had dinner with President Lincoln last night. Is it unreasonable for you to disbelieve the claim even though you have no proof I made it up? I think disbelief is a totally rational response to such a story. Since we have no evidence that there are Martians, that there restaurants on Jupiter or that presidents return from the dead, it is a completely justifiable position to disbelieve such claim without evidence. This is how I see claims that a disembodied intelligence caused the universe to exist. True I cannot prove either way, but since I've never seen an intelligence without a physical medium to contain it I feel completely justified in disbelieving the claim. Show me a mind without a body and I will reconsider.

I am not saying that you are wrong to withhold belief/disbelief; however, I don't understand how you could actually withhold judgement. To me it would require an immense amount if effort not to form an opinion.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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10-09-2011, 03:07 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Hey, nontheocrat.

I'm not talking about Deism. That's a belief system. Belief systems don't interest me because they give God qualities that they have no reason to give, unless there has actually been revelation. If there has been no true revelation, if they’re making it up, if it’s all proven to be fabricated bullshit, it still doesn’t speak to what qualities God actually has, should he exist. All it says is, they were making it up.

Quote:I think belief/disbelief is justified based on the claim being made. If I told you that I went out with friends to the bar last night and you've known me to be truthful, then belief in my word is justifiable, you may still be agnostic because you don't have proof but your belief is reasonable.

I would never personally restrict it to belief/disbelief. I'd roll with belief/abstention/disbelief.

But it should absolutely be applied to the claim being made. This blanket statement business is for the birds.

Your example doesn't quite work. You have made a statement. It has already been established that you don’t lie to me. That's evidence that supports your statement. You didn't say that God revealed to you that you went drinking, you were stating a demonstrable fact. I could verify your claim by going to the bar, interviewing your friends, checking your bank records, etc... If it's proven that you were in fact lying to me, then I'll believe that and I’ll no longer take your word as evidence.

Quote:But let's say that I told you I was teleported by Martians to Jupiter and I had dinner with President Lincoln last night. Is it unreasonable for you to disbelieve the claim even though you have no proof I made it up?

President Lincoln is dead. There are no visible civilisations on Mars. If you stood on Jupiter, you'd be horribly crushed to death. This has all been established. So unless you can rebut those points, then your statement cannot be truthful. It is for that reason that it's not unreasonable for me to disbelieve your claim. Now tell me how all of this is possible, then we’ll discuss that. If you tell me that a wizard did it then we have ourselves a different conversation entirely.

A distinction needs to be made. Outlandish and without proof are not the same thing.

Like I said, Agnosticism doesn't preclude rational inquiry, it demands it.

The things you mentioned aren't not evidence, they're evidence against.

Quote:This is how I see claims that a disembodied intelligence caused the universe to exist. True I cannot prove either way, but since I've never seen an intelligence without a physical medium to contain it I feel completely justified in disbelieving the claim. Show me a mind without a body and I will reconsider.

You say that no evidence is enough to call it false. I say that no evidence means withhold your opinion.

I also say that evidence is the ONLY thing that allows us to call something false.

Quote:I am not saying that you are wrong to withhold belief/disbelief; however, I don't understand how you could actually withhold judgement. To me it would require an immense amount if effort not to form an opinion.

Imagine yourself staring at the belly of a pregnant woman that you have never met before and who you know nothing about. She asks you what sex the baby is. Do you really think it will take immense effort to withhold your opinion? More to the point, do you really think that any gender opinion you offered would be based in anything but pure guessing?

Explain to me how it is rational to have an opinion about the gender of an unborn child in the utter absence of evidence.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-09-2011, 03:59 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Ghost,

This is exactly what I mean by doing mental acrobatics to rationalize your compartmentalizations. When it comes to the consciousness of a god that can that can create and/or control our universe, the fact that everything we know about consciousness pointing to it being the product of material brains (plus the fact that there is zilch evidence for the existence of a god, let alone how it created and/or controls the universe) says nothing to you about the claim. Yet the fact that you don't know how to reanimate a body is conclusive proof that it can't be done.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You don't have evidence that it can't be done; what you have is lack of evidence that it can. This is the difference which you're conveniently ignoring so you can pretend to be congruent in the way you treat both claims.

With one claim you're perfectly comfortable saying "there's no evidence for it so I don't believe it", with the other you have to rationalize why you can't say the same.

btw, are you going to water down the definition of a god to mean "anything that caused the big bang and/or the laws of the universe"? I ask because it looks like we're going down that path.
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10-09-2011, 04:51 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Hey, Tae.

Your mental acrobatics is now officially meaningless. Every time I say something, you just say, see, that's what I mean. But you have failed abjectly to offer any meaningful definition of mental acrobatics. So I'm just moving on.

If you want to say that the only entities in the universe and even beyond the universe that can possibly have free agency are those that have material brains as we understand them, more power to you. I have no evidence so I reserve my opinion.

I agree. There is zero evidence for the existence of God. There is also zero evidence against the existence of God. And when I say zero, I mean zero. An absolute absence.

Science, not me, science, has demonstrated that reanimating a corpse is impossible with our current level of understanding. Functioning bodies require brains for starters and brains get damaged quickly once the heart stops beating. Even if we could somehow breathe life into a body, we'd still have to contend with the fact that they would be a vegetable or that their brain would no longer be capable of regulating autonomic function. Throw on top of that the fact that Lincoln turned to dust a loooooong time ago. So if you said someone reanimated any corpse, let alone Lincoln’s corpse, the evidence is against you. If you REBUT that evidence with something new, great, wonderful, huzah, we're in business. But if you just say it happened and offer no supporting evidence and the pre-existing evidence speaks loudly against it, then YES, that's a reason, heavy on the reason, to disbelieve it.

YOU are the one that is ignoring the fact that when it comes to reanimating corpses there is ALREADY evidence that speaks directly to it.

Is reanimating a corpse impossible as an absolute? I don’t know.
Is reanimating a corpse with our current knowledge impossible? Yes.
Did you have dinner with Lincoln’s corpse? I don’t believe it based on the evidence available.

I have evidence that it cannot be done BY ANY KNOWN METHOD. Introduce A NEW METHOD and we're in business. If you tell me that aliens have better technology, great. That’s NEW EVIDENCE that challenges the ESTABLISHED EVIDENCE. Let’s investigate that. I’ll withhold my opinion until we get to the bottom of that claim. If you tell me a wizard did it, well, OK, even if it’s true there’s no way to prove it scientifically so I’ll just chalk it up to that’s what you believe and move on.

Quote:With one claim you're perfectly comfortable saying "there's no evidence for it so I don't believe it", with the other you have to rationalize why you can't say the same.

Jesus Christ, no. With the zombie Lincoln thing I am saying, "there is no evidence for it, BUT THERE IS EVIDENCE AGAINST IT. We have ALREADY PROVEN that a corpse cannot be reanimated by ANY KNOWN METHOD." Unless you can rebut that FACT, there is no reason to believe you. With the God question I am not, NOT, saying, "there's no evidence for it so I don't believe it." I am saying, I say again, I am saying, "There is no evidence FOR OR AGAINST IT. It not only has NOT BEEN DEMONSTRATED, it's INDEMONSTRABLE. Therefore I reserve my opinion." I don't have to rationalise sweet fuck all.

Quote:btw, are you going to water down the definition of a god to mean "anything that caused the big bang and/or the laws of the universe"? I ask because it looks like we're going down that path.

My definition of God is simple and for very good reason. God or the Gods or the Spirits or whatever else (hereafter to be known as God), should he/she/it/they (hereafter to be refered to as he) exist, he MUST have 1 - Created the universe and 2 - have control over the natural forces of the universe, ie, be supernatural. That's a simple as Occam's Razor allows me to get.

Is there a God? It's a reasonable question as far as I'm concerned. The problem is that I can't answer the question.

Now, assuming that God exists (because if he does not then the following is moot) I have NO REASON to attribute any motivations, qualities, traits, powers or past action to God, because I have no evidence whatsoever that would support any such attribution. All I have is revelation, which has a scientific value of zero.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-09-2011, 05:51 PM (This post was last modified: 10-09-2011 06:49 PM by taeftw1.)
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Quote:there is no evidence for it, BUT THERE IS EVIDENCE AGAINST IT. We have ALREADY PROVEN that a corpse cannot be reanimated by ANY KNOWN METHOD.

You can keep putting things in caps but it's not going to change the fact that you're not treating both claims with the same logic. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just because you don't know how to do it doesn't mean it can't be done. You're using lack of evidence for it as evidence against it. Your evidence against it is that you don't know how to do it by ANY METHOD (sorry, couldn't resist the temptation of the caps :blushSmile

The twist you're doing is that for one claim you use absence of evidence as evidence against it and the reason for saying "I don't believe it", while for the other claim you're reluctant to do the same.

Even worse, you talk about a god with conscious qualities (intelligence, intent, ability to control things, etc.) and when called out on how it can't be done without a brain (as far as we know it), your response is to special plead ("it doesn't have to be consciousness as we know it"). In essence you're having your cake and eating it too. You're using "it can't be done as far as we know it" as evidence against the reanimation but you don't use it as evidence against a god. With a god you create a loophole but don't do the same for other things.
I forgot to mention, I call mental gymnastics all the rationalizations you do to make it look like you measure all claims with the same rod.
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10-09-2011, 07:41 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Oh for the love of God...

Same logic. All cases.

Quote:Just because you don't know how to do it doesn't mean it can't be done.

So how was it done?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-09-2011, 09:06 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
(10-09-2011 07:41 PM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:Just because you don't know how to do it doesn't mean it can't be done.

So how was it done?

If I can't tell you how it's because it can't be done? Is that going to be your argument? If it is then it would explain a lot about your arguments and we should be having a discussion about basic logic and argumentative skills instead.
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10-09-2011, 10:32 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Stop fucking assuming things! I asked you a simple question. In your little hypothetical, how is it done? How is zombie Lincoln…

You know what? Fuck it. This isn't worth it. I’ve sat here patiently and given you my time to try and explain something and you're haven’t listened to a single fucking word I've said. And I don’t even mean agree. If you understood what I was saying and disagreed, that’d be one thing. You’re just plain ignoring what I’m saying. So if that’s your game, you no longer deserve my time. You're talking at me, not to me. You've convinced yourself that certain people do mental gymnastics, whatever the fuck that means, and you've decided that I'm one of those people. No matter what I say, you're convinced that I'm saying one thing when as clear as fucking day, I'm saying something else. I'm not going to sit here and be condescended to with your little quips about how you can teach me about basic logic and argumentative skills.

You can think whatever the fuck you want to think about how this went, but at the end of the day, I know for fact that I can have an intelligent conversation with people, while all you can do is parrot talking points and be obtuse. Have fun with that.

POST NUMBER 666, BITCHES!!!
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11-09-2011, 12:23 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
This is precious. Tantrums... I sure wasn't expecting that Cool

Quote:how is it done?

The question is moot but I'll answer: I have no idea. Does it change the fact that your evidence against it is your (and my) lack of evidence for it? Does it change the fact that in light of this lack of evidence you rightly say "I don't believe that claim"?
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11-09-2011, 06:39 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
You know what, Tae, if you think that me calling you out for acting like an arrogant and condescending asshole is a tantrum, enjoy. Call it whatever you like. You're still an asshole. I treated you with respect and in return you acted like a jerk. I’m glad you’re comfortable with that and I’m glad you think this is all precious.
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