not believing in god and believing in no god
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10-02-2013, 08:18 AM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
To a linguist or literate older person, word-order and punctuation are significant; convey very specific meaning.
To a thumb-writer, neither does either. This makes cross-generational and cross-cultural communication probably problematic, frequently futile - and bloody tedious, as in the present instance.

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10-02-2013, 10:00 AM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
(10-02-2013 07:16 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I believe that you think that those distinctions are important. But they're irrelevant to me. Because of the things that I'm pointing out. So you can continue to repeat that there IS a distinction, but it's not helping THIS conversation.

It doesn't matter if they are irrelevant to you, the important part is being aware of the existence of the distinction.
Knowing something to be true VS Thinking something to be true

(10-02-2013 08:18 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  To a linguist or literate older person, word-order and punctuation are significant; convey very specific meaning.

I am not especially skilled in language arts however even I understand this. It's an extremely simple concept.
Certainty vs uncertainty.
Neither group believes there is a god, but one group claims certainty that there is no god. Everyone is explaining it the same-ish way because there isn't a multitude of ways to say "we know something VS we think something" If you can't pick up the subtle changes in meaning between those two things then it's due to a lack of understanding of the language. Is English your first language? I suggest you read the definition of 'know' and 'think'

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10-02-2013, 01:03 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 01:15 PM by bbeljefe.)
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
I believe there is no god. Belief, by its definition, indicates that a person holds a position in the absence of evidence. Thus, the atheist who says I believe there is no god is saying that in spite of the fact that he himself has no compelling evidence against the existence of gods, he still chooses to believe there are none.

I do not believe there is a god. This statement is a rejection of belief. It's best explained by rewording it as, "I accept that there is no god". I don't believe in gravity, I accept that there is gravity because I have seen its affects on objects. When I order a steak medium rare, I believe the cook will deliver my steak as I ordered it. However, once I have cut into the steak and see the inside of it, I no longer believe I'm getting a medium rare steak, I accept that the cook honored my wishes. If I cut into a burnt piece of meat, then I believe the cook should probably be washing dishes. And to labor the point... after I've ordered a few more steaks from the same cook and they all turn out to be burnt, I accept that the cook should be washing dishes. Or at least not cooking steaks.


On agnosticism: The problem with this position is that when we are talking about gods we are describing a being. We may only be talking about a creator who got the ball rolling and never intervened again or we might be talking about the angry, jealous Christian god who saves middle aged men from dying in car wrecks while allowing drunken boyfriends to rape two year old girls and that doesn't matter. The fact is that we are describing something. i.e. we are applying attributes to an incorporeal, unknowable being. That is, in logical terms, impossible. Thus, when the agnostic says there could be a god in some other universe, he is burdening himself with the faulty logic of ascribing attributes to the unknown. If we take that position to its logical conclusion and apply it elsewhere, its absurdity becomes apparent. For instance, if you're a student, turn in a paper that says two plus two is five. When the teacher marks it wrong tell the teacher that he can't mark the paper wrong because in another universe that equation could be correct. Or, go cheat on your spouse and when confronted, tell him/her that you aren't doing wrong because in another universe adultery could be the highest moral value. Obviously, those positions are untenable and gods aren't the exception to the rule.

Ultimately, we don't live in unknown universes. We live in this one and we are subject to the realities in this one. Thus, since gods are self contradictory beings, they simply can not and do not exist.
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10-02-2013, 01:21 PM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
Why are we arguing amongst ourselves about something so petty.
Sounds like a waste of time to me.

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10-02-2013, 10:01 PM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
I'm baffled by these responses. I've outlined pretty clearly where the confusion is. And yet for some reason, that is ignored in lieu of reassertions of something I've already recognised.

I get that people think the distinction between believe and know is important. So please, can we move on from that? I'm saying it's NOT IMPORTANT. The reason I'm saying that it's not important is because at the end of the day, the person that believes something and the person that knows something THINKS the same thing. So there IS NO DISTINCTION between what one or the other thinks.

Can someone PLEASE speak directly to that?

Hey, DLJ.

Thank you for trying to be helpful, brother. I appreciate it.

Quote:But, if you are merely concerned about whether the words "think" and
"believe" and "know" are interchangeable, well honestly, I don't care
that much because there will always be the follow up... "Why do you
think / believe that?" or "How do you know that?" i.e. "What's your
evidence?"

But no one is obligated to justify what they think. And knowing why they think what they think doesn't alter what they think.

What someone thinks determines how they act. Why someone thinks doesn't do shit.

Quote:So, my field and the courtrooms aside, it matters to the unnamed
atheists to which Drunkin alluded because the argument appears to be (in
the US at any rate) over the burden of proof; the default position; the
moral high ground; the importance of evidence in the battle against
theocracy.

See, this is why I figured that the importance of the distinction is to say, "We're not stupid like Theists." Which I get. You guys are at war. Makes perfect sense. But who, outside of you two groups, gives a fuck? And why, when we ask, "Well what do you think," are we told to go fuck ourselves?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-02-2013, 10:07 PM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm baffled by these responses. I've outlined pretty clearly where the confusion is. And yet for some reason, that is ignored in lieu of reassertions of something I've already recognised.

I get that people think the distinction between believe and know is important. So please, can we move on from that? I'm saying it's NOT IMPORTANT. The reason I'm saying that it's not important is because at the end of the day, the person that believes something and the person that knows something THINKS the same thing. So there IS NO DISTINCTION between what one or the other thinks.

Can someone PLEASE speak directly to that?

Hey, DLJ.

Thank you for trying to be helpful, brother. I appreciate it.

Quote:But, if you are merely concerned about whether the words "think" and
"believe" and "know" are interchangeable, well honestly, I don't care
that much because there will always be the follow up... "Why do you
think / believe that?" or "How do you know that?" i.e. "What's your
evidence?"

But no one is obligated to justify what they think. And knowing why they think what they think doesn't alter what they think.

What someone thinks determines how they act. Why someone thinks doesn't do shit.

Quote:So, my field and the courtrooms aside, it matters to the unnamed
atheists to which Drunkin alluded because the argument appears to be (in
the US at any rate) over the burden of proof; the default position; the
moral high ground; the importance of evidence in the battle against
theocracy.

See, this is why I figured that the importance of the distinction is to say, "We're not stupid like Theists." Which I get. You guys are at war. Makes perfect sense. But who, outside of you two groups, gives a fuck? And why, when we ask, "Well what do you think," are we told to go fuck ourselves?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt


The difference is critical. Unfounded beliefs can be dangerous. But if the believer can be shown that the belief is not only unfounded but demonstrably false, that belief can be changed.

That difference is enormous.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-02-2013, 10:27 PM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm baffled by these responses. I've outlined pretty clearly where the confusion is. And yet for some reason, that is ignored in lieu of reassertions of something I've already recognised.

I get that people think the distinction between believe and know is important. So please, can we move on from that? I'm saying it's NOT IMPORTANT. The reason I'm saying that it's not important is because at the end of the day, the person that believes something and the person that knows something THINKS the same thing. So there IS NO DISTINCTION between what one or the other thinks.

Can someone PLEASE speak directly to that?

The person that claims to know something that is unknowable is not justified in their belief.

The person that lacks belief is justified because this is the logical default position when dealing with a claim.

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10-02-2013, 11:27 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2013 12:15 AM by DLJ.)
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm baffled by these responses. I've outlined pretty clearly where the confusion is. And yet for some reason, that is ignored in lieu of re-assertions of something I've already recognised.
...

Well, yup, that baffled me too.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I get that people think the distinction between believe and know is important. So please, can we move on from that?

No problem there. But it appears that our sister Smidgen does not.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm saying it's NOT IMPORTANT. The reason I'm saying that it's not important is because at the end of the day, the person that believes something and the person that knows something THINKS the same thing. So there IS NO DISTINCTION between what one or the other thinks.

Can someone PLEASE speak directly to that?
I thought I did.
I believe I did.
I know I did.

I said I didn't care.
But to add to that, I don't care as long as those beliefs and thoughts are not effecting actions.
Someone saying that they think / believe / know that the moon is made of cream cheese gets a ... meh!
Someone saying that they think / believe / know that the moon is made of cream cheese and because of that they get to write the rules book gets a ... fuck off!

But let's look at it like this...
You're a cultural relativist, right? You're an advocate of diversity over assimilation, yes?
How then, other than violence, do we resolve disagreement between conflicting cultures whether at the borders or within (as in my case, as a foreigner, where my preference to diverge from the predetermined moral code could get me into to trouble with the law of the land / religious laws).
One answer: Democracy, debate, the dialectic.

You would agree, I'm sure, that someone claiming knowledge appears stronger in their position than some stating that they think or believe a position to be true.

If one really wants to change a policy, a law, a belief system, one must first point out the flaws in what is perceived as knowledge.

In Singapore, there is an acceptance of diversity of beliefs (which is refreshing) but also a high degree of compliance to the law in order to achieve the 'vision' of wealth, security and stability.

In Indonesia you can still get the crap beaten out of you just for facebooking that you think there is no god.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Aan
And Malaysia too, though largely secular... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17001900

Of course, one can go with... it's their culture, their moral code, who's to say they're wrong to do that.
Or one can start to change that culture by chipping away at what is the perceived knowledge of the 'truth' on which these moral codes and laws have been based.
One can point out that 'knowledge' based on faith, authority, revelation and/or tradition is not enough.

When people begin to realise that their position is not based on knowledge but on faith (belief with no evidence) then the real debate can start.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, DLJ.

Thank you for trying to be helpful, brother. I appreciate it.

Quote:But, if you are merely concerned about whether the words "think" and
"believe" and "know" are interchangeable, well honestly, I don't care
that much because there will always be the follow up... "Why do you
think / believe that?" or "How do you know that?" i.e. "What's your
evidence?"

But no one is obligated to justify what they think. And knowing why they think what they think doesn't alter what they think.

What someone thinks determines how they act. Why someone thinks doesn't do shit.

In politics, in science, in business and in the law courts, they are obligated to justify.
Knowing why they think what they think is useful only if you want to understand where they are coming from in order to change their minds or to make up your mind about a future course of action.
Imagine a Business Case that instead of documenting risks, benefits, costs, options, recommendation backed up by evidence etc. just said "I think we should a million dollars on X because I believe we should". Laughat

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:So, my field and the courtrooms aside, it matters to the unnamed atheists to which Drunkin alluded because the argument appears to be (in the US at any rate) over the burden of proof; the default position; the moral high ground; the importance of evidence in the battle against theocracy.

See, this is why I figured that the importance of the distinction is to say, "We're not stupid like Theists." Which I get.

You may get it but actually I don't. I see no need for self-affirmation. In fact, I find it kinda irritating. Most theists I know are not stupid. Deluded, yes, happy and safe in their comfort zone, yes, scared of death, many. But not stupid.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  You guys are at war. Makes perfect sense. But who, outside of you two groups, gives a fuck?

The victims.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  And why, when we ask, "Well what do you think," are we told to go fuck ourselves?

Did I ever say anything of the sort? Tell me who said that to you and I will add them to the list for when the revolution comes, comrade.

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10-02-2013, 11:58 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2013 03:37 AM by kim.)
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  If someone says:
they don't believe black people are equal to white people.
If someone has no proof that black people are not equal to white people. Then a law saying so can be destroyed.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  If someone says:
black people are not equal to white people.

If someone has proof that black people are not equal to white people. Then a law saying so can be made.

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  what's the difference?
Tyranny

(10-02-2013 10:01 PM)Ghost Wrote:  In both cases, the person doesn't think that black people are equal to white people.
What do I care whether or not they're certain?

So laws and wrong behavior based on lame shit can be allowed to change.

This is a basic precept of logic.
Logic is necessary.

I'm not at war with anyone and I've never said, "We're not stupid like Theists." ever. I want people to understand reasoning and logic so, maybe there will not be conflict.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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11-02-2013, 08:52 AM
RE: not believing in god and believing in no god
I'm still waiting for people to comment directly on the idea that believers and knowers think the same thing (don't worry DLJ, I know you're special Cool ).

Hey, DLJ.

Quote:I said I didn't care.

Well I suppose that's the source of the disconnect. People outside of your ideology look at it and say, "That distinction is irrelevant because they think the same thing." People inside of it say, "What they think is irrelevant, it's all about whether or not they're certain."

Quote:But let's look at it like this...

You're a cultural relativist, right? You're an advocate of diversity over assimilation, yes?

How then, other than violence, do we resolve disagreement between
conflicting cultures whether at the borders or within (as in my case, as
a foreigner, where my preference to diverge from the predetermined
moral code could get me into to trouble with the law of the land /
religious laws).

One answer: Democracy, debate, the dialectic.

Yes.
Yes.
I'm lost. We can't resolve conflict without violence unless we count those other three ways?

Quote:You would agree, I'm sure, that someone claiming knowledge appears
stronger in their position than some stating that they think or believe a
position to be true.

I suppose. But the sense I'm getting is that the person that "believes" their position to be true is devoid of conviction. Which is nonsense.

Quote:If one really wants to change a policy, a law, a belief system, one must
first point out the flaws in what is perceived as knowledge.

Here's the thing. We ALL follow ideologies. All of us. Without exception. The ideology itself is the thing that, at times, needs to change but that at all times leads to action. To change it, we deconstruct the ideology, return to the discourse and come up with new knowledge that leads to a new ideology. Whether someone is a zealot or a casual fan, if they both hold the same ideology, they both hold the same ideology. It might be easier to return to the discourse with the casual fan than it is with the zealot, but you have to do the same with both. So your distinction seems to matter only in that it talks about how easy it is, while what I am saying talks about what is actually going on.

I'll just point this out as a thought unconnected to anything you said. The idea that 'those who know' will not change and 'those that believe' will is cockamamie. 'People who believe', in the sense that is being used predominantly in this thread, are not just waiting around to have their mind changed. Anyhoo...

Quote:In Indonesia you can still get the crap beaten out of you just for facebooking that you think there is no god.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Aan

And Malaysia too, though largely secular... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17001900

I don't get what that has to do with anything.

Quote:Knowing why they think what they think is useful only if you want to
understand where they are coming from in order to change their minds or
to make up your mind about a future course of action.

That's pretty much what I'm saying, without the change their minds part.

We're talking about what distinguishes one group of people from another. Certainty just doesn't seem to cut it as a distinction.

Quote:The victims.

You lost me. Victims of what? And what do victims have to do with distinguishing different groups of people?

Hey, Kim.

Thank you for hanging in there with me. I appreciate it.

Quote:If someone has no proof that black people are not equal to white people. Then a law saying so can be destroyed.

I'm reasonably certain that a large percentage of Americans KNEW that blacks we're inferior. And yet the law changed. But before the law changed, those that suspected that they were inferior were absolutely complicit in their persecution. This is why I'm saying that functionally, there is no difference. In both of their world views, blacks are inferior. Throw on top of that that certainty and suspicion are not the deciding factors in social change (as evidenced by the abolition movement through to the civil rights movement).

In both world views, that of people who believe and that of people who know, there is no God. Is that not correct?

Quote:If someone has proof that black people are not equal to white people. Then a law saying so can be made.

That seems flimsy to me. If someone proposed a bill in the US congress or senate (or whichever one of those gangs of useless old white men that do nothing but are supposed to make law) that would ban all teaching nationwide that had anything to do with advancing the idea that there is a God, I'm reasonably comfortable in guessing that many of the "Agnostic Atheists" who simply lack a belief in God would have no problem supporting the law.

Even simpler, if one lacks belief in God, what are they going to teach their kids? That there's a God, or that there isn't?

I'm not saying one is good and one is bad. All I'm saying is that people think things and that is what distinguishes them.

Quote:Tyranny

I think I get where this is coming from. In fact, I can even support the basic idea even though I would personally come at it from a different angle. But I fail to see what this has to do with defining groups of people.

'People who know' are not inherently tyrannical and 'those who believe' are not inherently benign. It's a good guy/bad guy dichotomy that doesn't really hold.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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