Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
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08-10-2010, 02:24 PM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
It seems to me that there are a couple of problems with this approach

1, The chopping up and splitting of lots of terms to match just what a person thinks tends to make such terms a little meaningless although a halfway house from theism to atheism is perhaps welcome.

2. The whole notion of a god is quite man-made. Despite what Christians tell us, there are no reports of god in actual contact with anyone so such a being is quite within human imaginings but thta is a far as it goes. Thus the presumption, without any evidence should surely be that of atheism since there has never been any evidence of such a being. The concept is superfluous and need not be considered.

Thus I think there is no need to deal with such matters prior to anything arising that suggests there is anything that could be a supernatural being.

That said, if there was a cretaor of the universe such a being would have to live outwith the universe so not be contactable so would be irrelavent anyway.
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11-10-2010, 07:32 PM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
(01-10-2010 12:20 PM)Ghost Wrote:  What follows is a case for why Agnostics should be viewed as separate from both Theists and Atheists...

I have to admit I'm a total idiot when it comes to advanced math, and so it stands to reason I shy from the sciences that require such knowledge. However, in reading you I must say I understood what you were getting across as your definition of Agnosticism. And I concur with Stark Raving, in it puts a logical perspective into place and is affords a refreshing and reasonable point of view about Agnosticism.

I too have been given something to think about as I have, before this reading, been one of those not exactly rigid atheists, because I have from time to time described myself as a spiritual atheist (which smacks in the face for some atheists who disavow anything even remotely reminiscent of the word, spiritual, could be associated.), but rather what is sometimes referred to as a "strong atheist".
However, your explanation gives me a new perspective and one that I believe is quite reasonable. Thank you for sharing an obviously well thought out personal philosophy. Smile
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19-10-2010, 01:21 AM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
man you got some load of issues .
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19-10-2010, 08:46 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
(01-10-2010 12:20 PM)Ghost Wrote:  For me, the core of by belief comes from a simple thought experiment proposed by Physicist Erwin Schrödinger,

Quote:Suppose that a cat is placed in a sealed room, in which is standing a flask of prussic acid. Suspended above the flask by a string is a hammer. The string will be automatically released if a geiger counter in the next room registers any radioactivity. Next to the Geiger counter is a mildly radioactive substance which has precisely one chance in two of emitting detectible radiation in one hour. (We know from quantum mechanics that the chance of a quantum of radiation being emitted can be described by a possibility wave function). What is the situation at the end of the hour, just before a scientist comes to look?

According to common sense, there is a 50-50 chance that the room will contain a dead cat. According to Schrödinger, the contents of the room can be described by an equation, which represents a complex wave-packet, mathematically equivalent to a half-dead, half-live cat. The wave-probability packet does not collapse until somebody comes to look. Then, and only then, does one possibility become actual and the other vanish. The fate of the cat is not determined until an observer looks.

The conventional ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ of quantum mechanics, however, sees all this as useful mathematical formalism, rather than a literal reality.

Many quantum physicists, however, see it as a literal truth, and they are supported by the Clauser-Freedman experiment and its later, more accurate, repetitions… which suggest that whether or not a photon lands in a given area literally depends on how the observer chooses to measure it. The probability wave-function for the photon does not collapse into one or another actuality until somebody looks at it. Similarly, the cat is neither dead nor alive until somebody looks at it…

According to one form of Nonobjectivist Interpretation of quantum mechanics, which holds that the universe has no reality outside of observation, the fate of the cat is determined by the expectations of the observer. If he is a pessimist the cat will be dead; if her is an optimist the cat will be alive.
-Peter Nicholls, “The Science in Science Fiction,” Pages 99-100

The thing that always stuck with me is the idea that the cat is BOTH alive and dead until it is observed. For me, the existence of God is in a similar box. Until we look inside, God both exists and doesn’t exist.

Obviously I am not a quantum physicist, but this seems incorrect to me.

Firstly, the non-objectivist position has not been proven conclusively true (it looks like it will be; I'm not really attacking this premise, just pointing out that it isn't necessarily correct). Secondly, even if it is, it only matters on the quantum level. Do you think that God is quantum-sized? And thirdly, the quantum uncertainty principle does not deal with matters of existence. The cat in the box may be either alive or dead, but it is there nonetheless. An electron doesn't both exist and not exist if it isn't being observed. You are making a category error.

Quote:This neutrality, to me, is the essence of Agnosticism. I cannot know, nor will I ever know, therefore I can never say. I must, logically, remain neutral on the matter.

Which means that you are an atheist. You are not a theist, because you do not actively espouse the idea of a deity. That makes you an atheist.

Atheists can be neutral. Rejecting the statement "god exists" is neutral. Accepting "god does not exist" is not neutral, but this is a subset of atheism, not atheism itself.

Quote:In my time on this site, many people have been adamant that an Atheist is simply a non-Theist.

Because that is true.

Quote:So by that definition, anyone that is not a Theist is an Atheist. This definition creates a rigid dichotomy within which, no further definition is possible.

Bollocks. This is a flat-out lie, or at the very least an indication that you have not been paying attention to a single thing that any of these people - myself included - have said.

"Atheist" means "not theist". You can be an agnostic atheist, a gnostic atheist, a weak atheist, or a strong atheist. Combining these categories, you can be a strong gnostic atheist, a strong agnostic atheist, a weak gnostic atheist, or a weak agnostic atheist.

We've been over this before.

Quote:Therefore an Agnostic, who by definition is not a Theist, is an Atheist. But I say that this is a meaningless distinction. We do not classify things by what they are not but by what things are.

Who said that we are classifying atheists by what they are not?

An atheist is someone who rejects the assertion "god exists". An agnostic atheist is an atheist who believes that we can never know the truth of the matter. A gnostic atheist is one who believes that we can prove it one way or another. A weak atheist is one who rejects the assertion "god does not exist". A strong atheist is one who accepts that proposition. A strong agnostic atheist is one who believes that we can never prove that God does not exist but believes that he does not anyway. A weak agnostic atheist is the "neutral" atheist that you are looking for - indeed, that you are. A strong gnostic atheist is someone who believes either that God has been disproven or that he can be disproven. A weak gnostic atheist is one who doesn't feel strongly one way or another yet, but believes that we will know the answer eventually.

Quote:Prokaryotic organisms reproduce asexually. <snip>

Many eukaryotic organisms reproduce sexually. <snip>

One could say that the world is divided into sexually reproducing species and asexually reproducing species simply because theses are the only two processes in which organisms reproduce. But one would be wrong.

Of course you would. But you're making a false analogy based on a straw man.

You say that we are (or I am) attempting to divide people into two categories when there are demonstrably more. In fact, we are dividing people into eight categories, based on three different classifications: theist or not-theist, gnostic or not-gnostic, strong or not-strong.

There are no more categories. In each of the above, you belong to one or the other. You are either A or not-A. You cannot be both simultaneously.

Quote:While many Atheists on this site are adamant about defining Atheists simply as non-Theists, many of the dictionaries that I have encountered define Atheism as the disbelief in the existence of God/gods.

But are these dictionaries correct? No. Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. They describe words as they are used, not by their correct philosophical definitions. "Theist", "atheist" and "agnostic" are often misused in casual discussion - hence, they are often misdefined in the dictionary. I have repeatedly given you sources explaining where you go wrong in this.

Quote:These are very different ways to classify Atheists because they are not definitions based on what Atheists are not but based on what they are. An Atheist disbelieves in the existence of Gods, or, an Atheists believes that there is no God.

Exactly. You said it yourself. An atheist disbelieves in the existence of gods or an atheist believes that there is no God. Weak or strong atheism.

Quote:AN IMPORTANT NOTE: The idea that there is no controversy about the definition of Atheist is demonstrably false. That fact must be recognised in any discussion about the definition of Atheist. I am simply using the definition of what an Atheist is, rather than what an Atheist is not: a notion, as I have demonstrated, that is shared by many dictionaries.

All of which is irrelevant. I have never maintained that there is no controversy. I have said - and am correct in saying - that the controversy is sparked through misunderstandings, both on the parts of atheists and on the part of those who call themselves theists or agnostics.

Quote:Agnostics believe that God/gods simultaneously exist and do not exist.

I challenge you to show me a single dictionary that shares this definition.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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23-10-2010, 02:33 PM
 
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
I don't think much remains to be said after Unbeliever's wonderful post.

However, I did think of this-

How are we defining existence? Does existence mean something that is contained within the universe? Something that is made out of matter and/or energy (dark matter/energy/exotic matter and energy included).

How are we defining God? Are we using the principle of the Abrahamic God? I could call the forces that govern the universe God, and then I could state that God exists.

If existence means something that is contained within the universe, I think we may assert that God does not exist. 1st because we've done a pretty good survey of the universe and we have found nothing that resembles an Abrahamic God. 2nd, to achieve all that he does, I'm pretty sure that God would somehow have to transcend the universe. This brings up the problem of the laws of physics. If he exists within the universe, he must be bound by the laws of physics. If he is bound by the laws of physics, he cannot be God.

If existence means being composed of some sort of matter/energy, he must then be bound by the laws of physics, running into the same problem.
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26-10-2010, 10:56 AM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Hey, Unbeliever.

You're entitled to your opinions. I'm not going to respond because I don't feel you're speaking to what I said, you're stating what you believe.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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26-10-2010, 12:59 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
I disagree, but I can't force you to respond.

EDIT: However, since you evidently use the dictionary definition for things like this, I would like you to respond to the last line of my post. What dictionary defines "agnostic" as "one who believes that God both exists and does not exist"?

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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26-10-2010, 04:23 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Evidently? Where is this evidence?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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26-10-2010, 06:11 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
(26-10-2010 04:23 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Evidently? Where is this evidence?

*cough*

Quote:While many Atheists on this site are adamant about defining Atheists simply as non-Theists, many of the dictionaries that I have encountered define Atheism as the disbelief in the existence of God/gods.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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26-10-2010, 10:35 PM
RE: Why I am neither a Theist nor an Atheist
Hey, Unbeliever.

I see what you mean now.

Quote:Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as god, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
-Dictionary.com

Now seing as how I was explaining where I was coming from, I doubt you'll find a dictionary anywhere with my definition. That being said, what I said fits neatly into the realm of the unknown and unknowable. Because it is unknown they both exist and do not exist. So no, you will not find any classical dictionaries with this definition. But if you're really going to come after my entire argument with "IT'S NOT IN THE DICTIONARY" then I was right to not respond.

You'll also note that I provided those dictionary definitions primarily so I wouldn't get shot down with "not-Theism" (sounds like "Matt Damon") before I got rolling.

So here's a question for you. Did you even try to understand what I'm saying or did you just begin with ripping it apart?

You litterally added NOTHING to the conversation. All you did was subtract. Why would I engage with you?

Don't shit on my head and expect me to call it a hat.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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