Why I'm a Theist
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10-08-2015, 12:14 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
I agree with the whole "proud of my atheism because of the struggle to escape my childhood indoctrination" thing, but I'm afraid the argument comes apart when you admit that you were indoctrinated as a child. You were born without religion, and it is instilled in you via indoctrination. Babies are atheists; they have no gods. Adults teach it to them, like language.

As atheist adults, who have heard the messages of indoctrination and rejected it, you might also add additional descriptors to our atheism: I use "agnostic atheist" and "Secular Humanist" to describe myself, unless simply using the "I'm an atheist" basic reply when asked (insert pouting, childlike big-eyes tone to question that follows...) "WHY aren't you a [religionist] ?"

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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10-08-2015, 12:15 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 11:38 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 11:34 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I think you're missing my point. If a baby could somehow make it to adulthood without being taught anything by adults, and had to figure everything out for himself, he would very likely conclude (like most primitive people) that the powerful forces of nature were controlled by supernatural beings. He wouldn't come up with modern science all by himself, from scratch.

To say "adults think it up" says nothing, really. Adults think everything up. Babies aren't capable of anything that can really be called thinking. Science is "thought up" by adults just like religion is. Babies learn what they are taught.

And if theism can only arise by indoctrination, who indoctrinated the first theist? I claim that it can and does arise in other ways.

"...he would very likely conclude (like most primitive people) that the powerful forces of nature were controlled by supernatural beings."

How did you arrive at this conclusion?

http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer...n#t-490918
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10-08-2015, 12:22 PM (This post was last modified: 10-08-2015 12:26 PM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:12 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 11:46 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Because OJ Simpson was not found to be guilty, does that mean that we are certain that he is not guilty? For all we know, isn't it possible that he killed them and got away with it?

Please stop conflating legal proceedings and science. Weeping

The point is, just because you can't prove guilt, doesn't mean you should assume innocence. With no evidence and no alibi, we should remain agnostic about the guilt and innocence of the person, and innocence should only be assumed in the presence of an alibi. Innocence isn't the default.
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10-08-2015, 12:22 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:13 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 12:02 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Don't confuse the "only" explanation at the level of the society meaning that it is inevitable that all humans will arrive at supernatural conclusions as they enter adulthood.

Your language suggests that the only course of action is to develop supernatural/religious beliefs in the absence of any education by other humans.

I never said "only" -- I said "very likely". The only place I've seen "only" is on the other side of this argument -- the claim that the only way to acquire religious beliefs is by indoctrination. Again I ask: Who indoctrinated the first theist?

In real life (in today's world), people are taught explanations for things. They are taught religion, or they are taught science, or they are taught both. The claim that I'm fighting against here is that if they are not taught anything, they are guaranteed to remain atheist. I claim otherwise. If this were true, there never would have been any theists at all. The concept had to originate somehow. History has shown that, in the absence of better explanations (such as science), people are likely to come up with some sort of theism. Not guaranteed, but likely.

I don't understand why this simple and obvious idea is meeting such fierce resistance.

"Who indoctrinated the first theist?"

The first adult with an imagination and the language necessary to communicate their imaginary beliefs.

"The claim that I'm fighting against here is that if they are not taught anything, they are guaranteed to remain atheist."

The claim is that there is no pressure to become religious or develop supernatural beliefs or be introduced to any god claims. By default, this means atheist if they do not accept any god claims.

"If this were true, there never would have been any theists at all. The concept had to originate somehow. History has shown that, in the absence of better explanations (such as science), people are likely to come up with some sort of theism. Not guaranteed, but likely."

The observation that some human societies have developed religions, does not mean it is inevitable that religion develops. We observe that some societies did develop religion, that is as far as you can extrapolate out to beyond asking why it evolved.

Let me put it this way. You seem to suggest that religion is inevitable at the individual level whether indoctrinated or not. This is akin to saying that any and all adaptations within a lineage are inevitable if you were somehow able to rewind time and start life all over again. Would eyes evolve? Or would some other structure serving the same basic function evolve?

"I don't understand why this simple and obvious idea is meeting such fierce resistance."

Because it isn't obvious that humans will develop supernatural beliefs by default.

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10-08-2015, 12:24 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:22 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 12:12 PM)Chas Wrote:  Please stop conflating legal proceedings and science. Weeping

The point is, just because you can't prove guilt, doesn't mean you should assume innocence. With no evidence and no alibi, we should remain agnostic about the guilt and innocence of the person, and innocence you only be assumed in the presence of an alibi. Innocence isn't the default.

Which is why I keep saying "not guilty"

How do you prove innocence or nonexistence? What evidence could one provide for something not happening or something not existing?

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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10-08-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:02 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 11:48 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  (I'll assume there was 0 evidence against him)

Without evidence linking him to it, it is not possible to conclude he did. The possibility therefore remains more likely he didn't until such time as proof positive of his guilt is found.

Wrong answer. People kill people and get away with it all the time. It is unreasonable to assume guilt without evidence, and it is also unreasonable to assume innocence without evidence. We see this in the legal system as well. We don't rule anyone out (assume innocence) of a murder case until they prove their innocence with an alibi.

How do you arrive at these conclusions? In that scenario, we know somebody was murdered, and that somebody is guilty. OJ Simpson was found not guilty because the evidence was successfully disputed by his legal team.

Just because he was found not guilty does not mean he didn't do it. The fact is, somebody did it, and despite OJ Simpson being found not guilty, it doesn't eliminate him as still being the possible murderer.

But if there was no evidence whatsoever linking OJ to the crime, we cannot possibly conclude he committed the crime. The only thing we can conclude is that somebody committed the crime.

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10-08-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:15 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 11:38 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "...he would very likely conclude (like most primitive people) that the powerful forces of nature were controlled by supernatural beings."

How did you arrive at this conclusion?

http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer...n#t-490918

Yes, our brains evolved as a system to respond to stimulus. But this does not make it inevitable that a supernatural belief will be developed.

In fact, the conclusion of aliens indicates the attempt at believing a natural explanation for a strange occurrence, albeit one that is not understood.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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10-08-2015, 12:26 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:14 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I agree with the whole "proud of my atheism because of the struggle to escape my childhood indoctrination" thing, but I'm afraid the argument comes apart when you admit that you were indoctrinated as a child. You were born without religion, and it is instilled in you via indoctrination. Babies are atheists; they have no gods. Adults teach it to them, like language.

The unspoken assumption there (although some people here have actually spoken it) is that it is impossible to become a theist without indoctrination, and this is what I'm arguing against. A child growing up is naturally inquisitive, and wants to know why things happen. Unless they're growing up in isolation, they are going to be taught (i.e., "indoctrinated") something. Far better to teach them science than religion -- I think we all agree on that -- but if left to their own devices, they are just as likely (in my opinion, more likely) to arrive at theism of some sort.

Maybe I'm just not stating my argument clearly enough, but I don't see how this is disputable. If I'm wrong, why aren't humans 100% atheist? Who indoctrinated the first theist? Sorry to keep asking that question, but I haven't seen an answer yet.
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10-08-2015, 12:27 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(10-08-2015 12:26 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 12:14 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I agree with the whole "proud of my atheism because of the struggle to escape my childhood indoctrination" thing, but I'm afraid the argument comes apart when you admit that you were indoctrinated as a child. You were born without religion, and it is instilled in you via indoctrination. Babies are atheists; they have no gods. Adults teach it to them, like language.

The unspoken assumption there (although some people here have actually spoken it) is that it is impossible to become a theist without indoctrination, and this is what I'm arguing against. A child growing up is naturally inquisitive, and wants to know why things happen. Unless they're growing up in isolation, they are going to be taught (i.e., "indoctrinated") something. Far better to teach them science than religion -- I think we all agree on that -- but if left to their own devices, they are just as likely (in my opinion, more likely) to arrive at theism of some sort.

Maybe I'm just not stating my argument clearly enough, but I don't see how this is disputable. If I'm wrong, why aren't humans 100% atheist? Who indoctrinated the first theist? Sorry to keep asking that question, but I haven't seen an answer yet.

"The unspoken assumption there (although some people here have actually spoken it) is that it is impossible to become a theist without indoctrination, and this is what I'm arguing against."

It is unspoken because no one said it or implied it.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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10-08-2015, 12:28 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Free,

Quote:Excuse me? Evidence? You have not produced a shred of evidence.

Its obvious you have no idea what evidence is. Evidence is nothing more than facts that make a conclusion more likely than other wise. I have cited 6 facts that comport with belief in a Creator. You assume that evidence is conclusive proof of something which would be required if I claimed its a fact that God caused the universe and sentient life to exist. Its not a fact God caused the universe its a belief which I supported with evidence.

1. The fact the universe exists
2. The fact life exists
3. The fact sentient life exists
4. The fact the universe has laws of nature, is knowable, uniform and to a large extent predictable, amenable to scientific research and the laws of logic deduction and induction and is also explicable in mathematical terms.
5. The fact there are several characteristics of the universe that fall within an extremely narrow range that not only allow life as we know it, but also allow the existence of planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies.
6. The fact that sentient beings (humans) create virtual universes.


These are facts, no one has disputed that and I have argued from those facts that a theistic hypothesis is more likely true than a naturalistic explanation. Of course you will continue to maintain I haven't produced evidence but any impartial person reading would conclude otherwise.

Quote:Could you imagine what kind of society we would have if people could claim that certain things exist when they actually don't? Could you imagine someone claiming that a murder happened, and points the finger at an innocent man, and he goes to jail when no murder ever actually happened?

The burden of evidence in a criminal case where someone may lose life and liberty is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. No one goes to jail just based on an opinion they committed murder.

Quote:That's the difference between we atheists and you theists. We have respect for the truth, whereas you simply do not respect neither the truth, nor the required process to obtain it.

Is it a fact that natural forces alone caused all we observe?
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