Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
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06-10-2010, 12:22 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
(06-10-2010 10:33 AM)Ghost Wrote:  My question for now is this. How can you say that you can only believe either or, when clearly, I believe that God(s) exist and don't exist simultaneously? I seem to defeat that premise. I'm not saying sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't. I'm saying I believe this is the REALITY, yes reality, every nano-second of every day. I mean, if you don't think it's logical or you don't believe it yourself, I can get that. But how can you say that I don't, nay, that I can't believe the very thing that I believe?

Very well. Let me rephrase my statement. I think that logically, it can only be an either/or question. Therefore I find your belief illogical.

But again, you are free to believe as you wish. I am no expert in physics, quantum particles, or even the rules of logic. If your belief is indeed true I don't think I could ever quite wrap my head around it. Not to mention that the God you seem to be arguing for, whatever its properties may be, doesn't appear as if it could or would have any bearing on my life.

At least we both agree that he/she/it doesn't exist. Wink

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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06-10-2010, 12:35 PM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Sorry, I didn't read the discussion past the OP carefully so my sincere apologies to any contradictions/stupid statements I am about to make.

I think the situation involving the cat does not apply to God because the fact that the cat can be dead and alive at the same time is allowable and a property of proven laws of physics. The laws of physics cannot be applied to God because he is not allowable by the laws of physics. I don't think quantum mechanics says that anything is possible.

And technically speaking, agnosticism is the only "reasonable" position to take because nothing can ever be known for sure. Even with the inductive scientific method, this entire universe could be an illusion. We may only determine what is within this supposed existence. However, what are the chances of us living in the matrix or this all being a dream? Extremely unlikely. All the evidence points against the existence of God. However, we must still remain technically agnostic. We can never know for sure.

But this isn't a very healthy way to live out your life. I may declare myself an atheist because I carry out my life as if there is no God. I am, in practical terms, an atheist. Unless you Ghost, live your life in a manner that implies a belief in a God, I believe that in all practical terms, you are an atheist. However, it is not my right to state what you are or are not so I'll end it there.
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07-10-2010, 02:37 AM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
I think the whole quantum physics analogy is a red herring in this discussion. Quantum physics is astonishingly successful but the fact there are different "interpretations" of QP is a result of its apparent conflict with logic. QP works but it I think it's plausible to suggest that no one truly understands it. Newtonian gravity theory works (outside of certain conditions), but no one truly understands it. Einstein's notions about gravity also work (including in the circumstances where Newtonian gravity fails), but no one truly understands it. Science never produces total understanding, although that's arguably its ultimate goal. In any case, given that no one really knows how to interpret QP suggests to me that using it as an analogy is risky and may be entirely inappropriate.

The more I think about Ghost's original post, the more I seem to understand what he's saying. This may be contradicted by Matt, of course - my understanding may be an illusion. Anyway, if I'm absolutely certain about something, my belief must be total and without qualification. This can be applied to the existence of "something that could be called god" (STCBCG) - but as a scientist, my certainly regarding some hypothesis is almost always less than 100%.

Atheists, it seems, have varying degrees of unbelief - from absolute certainly in the non-existence of STCBCG, to a position which includes some finite probability of the existence of STCBCG. I hesitate to assign a value to that threshold, but if an individual considers him/herself to be an atheist, that probability would almost certainly have to be less than 50%.

Theists may also have varying degrees of belief, and the many denominations of theism provide compelling evidence that their beliefs vary considerably. I've seen enough comments by theists on these forums to see that individuals don't always agree 100% with the doctrines in which they profess belief in their liturgies. Cherry-picking is a well-known way to retionalize an individual's beliefs. Theists wavering about their belief in STCBCG might convert to atheism if someone offers them a convincing argument.

In the final analysis, we all are individuals, theists and atheists alike. Atheists have certain tendencies toward free thought, secular humanism, and so on. We're inclined to discuss things endlessly rather than simply listening to some authority figure's version of what to believe. What we call ourselves, though, is another example of categorization, which I always find to be plagued with problems. If someone sets up a dichotomous categorization, it's virtually certain that someone else will propose a third cetegory. And a fourth. And a fifth. ....

I've already indicated that I believe it's impossible to use logic to prove (i.e., to establish it with 100% certainty, incapable of being refuted) a negative. Thus, the burden of proof is on the believer, not the unbeliever. I can't say absolutely that STCBCG doesn't exist, (although I call myself an atheist, and my logic confirms the impossibility of ever knowing that for certain). Hence, it seems I'm trapped somewhere between 0 and 100% "belief" - my interpretation of religious teachings, sacred texts, and rituals is that it's a bunch of nonsense. Theism is laced with contradictions, superstition, mythology, and irrationality. I reject all forms of theism, ultimately, because they make no sense to me. The probability of the existence of STCBCG is low enough for me to behave as if it's zero. If there were a religion that included belief in STCBCG that made sense to me, I might have adopted it. But none of them do.

What we call ourselves is pretty much irrelevant in my book. I now prefer to think of myself as a Laplacian atheist - I have no need for the god hypothesis. While I may agree or disagree with what's being posted here at TTAF, I can honestly say that these discussions have been of help to me in clarifying my position. It's definitely been a worthwhile exercise and I'm pleased to be a part of this forum.

Matt deserves credit for a thoughtful and stimulating post, whether or not we agree with his position. Atheists and theists alike all have individual beliefs - unlike religions, however, we aren't even superficially united by some list of beliefs to which we are required to adhere in order to be allowed to wear some label that categorizes us (atheist, agnostic, gezhoktehagen, or ...).
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07-10-2010, 09:53 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
As an unrelated side note, I'm liking this STCBCG stand-in. The word Yahweh to describe the name of God is also such a stand-in. It comes from the initials for the words that translate "I am that I am:" YHWH which is phonetecized as YaHWeH.

Maybe we can start a meme to call the idea of a deity STiCBaCGy. "As a weak atheist, I just don't feel that Sticbacgy could exist," for example. If we can get people thinking og God in terms of Something-that-could-be-called-god, rather than in terms of a particular deity, it would go a long way toward undermining traditional dogmatic thought. And after all, belief is not the enemy of freedom nearly so much as dogma.

Just a thought.
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07-10-2010, 11:18 AM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
it is a good point. The trouble is when theists come along and try and prove that God exists they can never prove that it's the right gods of them (using the term prove rather loosely since then proves tend to be it the unconvincing!) after they have shown is that there is a possibility that the God might exist then just as seems that it is the right God them is a Christian might just prove that Allah exists.

I am definitely in favour of the ' something-that-good-be-call-God ' idea and I think we should pursue it. Let's see what the first theist has to say about it
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07-10-2010, 11:31 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
The major problem I see with it is that it would be hard to shout out during sex.
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08-10-2010, 01:31 AM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
(07-10-2010 11:31 AM)gamutman Wrote:  The major problem I see with it is that it would be hard to shout out during sex.
LOL! But unless I'm mistaken, you introduced the phrase on this forum.
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08-10-2010, 05:50 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Hey, if Harry Reed and John McCain can vote against bills they themselves brought to the floor, I can point out a flaw in my own suggestion.
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08-10-2010, 06:42 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Ya, but I'm pretty sure you're smarter than those two clowns put together.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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08-10-2010, 12:58 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
that something can both exist and not exist at the same time is illogical.

my 2 pennies
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