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Featured A Serious Question To Self-Proclaimed Atheists ...

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by PureX, Oct 24, 2021.

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  1. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    Well it is pure assumption an immaterial deity exists, and defining a deity in a way that makes evidencing it impossible doesn't make the belief more credible, quite the opposite.


    Sorry but that is wrong, all claims carry an epistemological "burden of proof." Why would a bare assertion get a pass, just because it created to be unfalsifiable?

    again I'd have to disagree, as without objective evidence that is just a bare appeal to numbers, an argumentum ad populum fallacy.

    I'm not clear whether this was something you argued for or against, however I see flaws in the reason anyway.

    1. The claim a deity is immaterial is meaningless without ant evidence to support it.
    2. Creating an unfalsifiable concept doesn't mean the concept has no burden of proof, otherwise we can simply imagine things into existence as and when we please.
    3. A consensus is only significant if it based on evidence and knowledge, a bare appeal to numbers is a known logical fallacy, an argumentum ad populum fallacy. So whether there is a consensus or not on the claim, it is meaningless without evidence to support it, and also irrational of course, as is any claim based on a known logical fallacy.
     
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  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Evince for that as a norm of being right.
    I think you conflate different kinds of right, but let's see.
     
  3. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Theism proposes that God/gods exist (and that this existence effects humanity, or the proposal is moot). It does not propose any kind of God. However, a common universal definition of "God" would be the source, sustenance, and purpose of all that is. Ultimately, however, it leaves the definition up to each of us.
    Why do you feel the need to establish and offer your "best guess" regarding the existence of God/gods when there is insufficient evidence available for you to make such a determination? Since the evidence cannot support your choice, I am asking for the logical support of it.
     
  4. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member
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    Late to the party, again.

    If I understand what you are asking then I think the answer is that I wish to have a set of beliefs that captures the world as accurately as I can. That in itself is a desirable state of affairs, for me. That is the benefit.
     
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  5. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    In my experience when asked for reasons from an atheist, most of the time it is "lack of evidence to God". This reasonably is not an atheistic position in my opinion. It is more of an agnostic position. So this atheism and agnosticism is conflating a lot. That is why now you get those who call themselves "hard atheists" who clearly say "there is no God and I am sure of it". Actually there is a lot of literature on these things to the surprise of many.

    There are many types of atheists in this world. All are not the same. There are misotheists who just hate God. Its hard to say these Atheists who are Misotheists actually believe a God exists or not because if they honestly believe there is no God, they won't be so angry and frustrated and hateful of God. They probably will address the theistic issue in a different way. Some people just call them "God haters" which is another phrase, that's all.

    Then you get these so called "New Atheists". I think they are in a crossroad kind of thing where they want to propose a scientific worldview, but also are aware that science cannot produce a "worldview" per se. And you get those atheists who have a faith in scientism which almost religiously held. Then you get secular humanists who are very vocal, and private atheists who are not bothered what others are doing. They just wish to lead their lives as atheists, do what they want, and to be left alone. Well, there are many types of all kinds everywhere.

    Good post.
     
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  6. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I don't know what a non-imaginary ANYTHING could be. Everything I experience gets defined by my imagination. But to answer your question, I have no idea in what way 'God' would exist. How does the source of all that is exist before existence exists? It's beyond the ability of my mind to comprehend.
    "Objective existence" is a fiction created by the remote access our brains have to the world around us. I don't care about that. But I do understand that if God has no expression in my experience of reality, God's existence is a moot issue. So, by my choice, God is being expressed in my experience of reality, through what I perceive to be 'divine benevolence'.
     
  7. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Have you ever come across any proof presented by a theist?
     
  8. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    You have the terminology wrong.

    Agnosticism is the position that *knowledge* (gnosis) is impossible in this area.

    Theism is the *belief* that Gods exist.

    Atheism is the lack of belief that Gods exist (strong atheism is the belief that Gods do not exist).

    it is quite possible to be an agnostic and a theist or an agnostic and an atheist. An agnostic theist is one that believes in God(s) but doesn't believe that knowledge about God(s) are possible (possibly including the existence of such). An agnostic atheist is someone who does NOT believe in God(s) but doesn't think that knowledge about them is possible.

    You seem to be arguing against *gnostic* atheists: those who don't believe in God(s) and also believe that knowledge about this is possible. Such gnostic atheists exist, but are much more rare than agnostic atheists.

    Another way to do this is to scale the degree of confidence in one's beliefs. So, a theist may believe in God and have a very high amount of confidence in the existence of God(s). But it is also possible to be a theist and have a low confidence in that belief.

    Similarly, it is possible to be an atheist with a high degree of confidence in the disbelief OR an atheist with a low degree of confidence in that disbelief.

    The Dawkin's scale gets to this: it ranges from 0 for total confidence that God(s) exist(s) to 7, which is total confidence that it/they do not. Most 'self-proclaimed' atheists would ut themselves at a 6 to 6.9 on this scale.
     
  9. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    You have the terminology wrong.

    Agnosticism is the position that *knowledge* (gnosis) is impossible in this area.

    Theism is the *belief* that Gods exist.

    Atheism is the lack of belief that Gods exist (strong atheism is the belief that Gods do not exist).

    it is quite possible to be an agnostic and a theist or an agnostic and an atheist. An agnostic theist is one that believes in God(s) but doesn't believe that knowledge about God(s) are possible (possibly including the existence of such). An agnostic atheist is someone who does NOT believe in God(s) but doesn't think that knowledge about them is possible.

    You seem to be arguing against *gnostic* atheists: those who don't believe in God(s) and also believe that knowledge about this is possible. Such gnostic atheists exist, but are much more rare than agnostic atheists.

    Another way to do this is to scale the degree of confidence in one's beliefs. So, a theist may believe in God and have a very high amount of confidence in the existence of God(s). But it is also possible to be a theist and have a low confidence in that belief.

    Similarly, it is possible to be an atheist with a high degree of confidence in the disbelief OR an atheist with a low degree of confidence in that disbelief.

    The Dawkin's scale gets to this: it ranges from 0 for total confidence that God(s) exist(s) to 7, which is total confidence that it/they do not. Most 'self-proclaimed' atheists would put themselves at a 6 to 6.9 on this scale.
     
  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    You don't understand that none of this is about what anyone "believes".

    Theism posits that God/gods exist.

    This leaves us with three possible responses:

    1. We agree: God/gods exists.
    2. We disagree: God/gods do not exist.
    3. We are undecided: lacking sufficient information to make a determination.
    Atheism posits that no God/gods exist. (#2)

    Agnosticism posits that we lack sufficient information to determine whether or not God/gods exist. (#3)

    The question I am asking is that if you claim to be an agnostic atheist, as many here do, then by what logical reasoning did you choose to presume no gods exist as opposed to simply remaining undecided. It's a simple, reasonable question.
     
  11. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    And this is where most people disagree with you. The chair in my room does NOT only exist as a part of my imagination. It has existence independent of whether anyone is looking at it or imagining it. My 'experience' of it isn't relevant to its existence. So it is 'non-imaginary'.

    the question atheists pose is whether God exists in the same way that chairs (or planets, or atoms) do. Or, is God something like laws or freedom, social constructs that properly only exist as parts of our psychology?

    Why would you think that existence has a source? That doesn't seem incomprehensible. It seems incoherent.

    Well, it seems that you have made metaphysical commitments that many people disagree with. Most people do not consider 'objective reality' to be a fiction. And we do care about it.

    That seems like a very solipsistic viewpoint to me. It is not one I share.
     
  12. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    No one is asking that question. No one is asking you ANY questions (but me).

    Theism posits that God/gods exist. Period. Theism is not asking what you believe about it or even what you think about it. It simply posits a truth claim. And you are left with three possible responses to that truth claim. If agnosticism is part of your response, then we have to ask you why you also chose one of the other two responses given that you have already acknowledged that you lack sufficient information to do so. You must have some OTHER reasoning besides sufficient information. And I am inquiring as to what that other reasoning is.
     
  13. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    That's a pretty rude thing to say, actually.

    And let me be clear -- there are no authentic "arguments for God," just a lot of assertions ultimately based upon nothing that can be observed.

    In any case, the vast majority of believers don’t even read theology, and are barely aware of the arguments for God made by supposedly sophisticated theologians. Anyway, it’s fun and intellectually stimulating to refute the arguments of theologians, because it’s only there that one can truly see intelligence so blatantly coopted and corrupted to prove what one has decided beforehand must be true. Theology is the only academic discipline where people get paid not to investigate their beliefs, but to rationalize them.
     
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  14. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Belief has nothing to do with it. Theism is the claim. What you or anyone believes about the claim is irrelevant to the fact of the claim itself: ... that the claim stands before you.

    I think you should ask yourself why it's so important to you that you drag people's beliefs into what is otherwise a simple, clear, proposition. Why can't you just face the proposition, and respond to it?
     
  15. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    WRONG. That is *precisely* what this is all about.

    Theism is the *belief* that God(s) exist.



    WRONG! That leave us with two questions:

    1. Is enough evidence given to support the claim?
    2. Is it possible to to have knowledge concerning this claim?

    Atheism is the position that, in 1, sufficient evidence has not been given, so a lack of belief is justified.



    WRONG! Atheism is the position that we do not *believe* God(s) exist.

    WRONG! Agnosticism (strong agnosticism) is the position that it is impossible to get enough evidence to get knowledge of whether God(s) exist or not. Weak agnosticism is the position that we currently do not have that evidence. That is a very different question that the one for theism/atheism.

    The position is that we do not have *belief* that god(s) exist. We have that lack of belief *because* there isn't any evidence supporting the claim that God(s) exist. It is NOT 'presumption' that no God(s) exist. That position would be *strong* atheism. The (weak) atheist position is that there is not sufficient evidence and so we simply do not believe in God(s).
     
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  16. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Why do you want to eliminate the defining aspect of the position? The lack of belief?
     
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  17. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    That seems to be enough for you to believe that a god actually exists. It's not for the skeptic. Possibility is only of interest because the subset of things that are actual or can become actual resides there. Logic demands that that which can be shown to be actual is treated as actual, and that which merely can't be ruled out not be treated as actual.

    I don't know, but you seem to have done it.

    Sure we do. Theists' nomenclature for unbelief is inadequate. It doesn't reflect how most atheists think or see themselves. The definition you use is inadequate for me, because it would exclude me from atheism simply because I don't also declare gods nonexistent. That just doesn't work for me or for countless others. Look at the problems it's causing you here in this thread. You don't understand what any agnostic atheist is telling you because you can't conceptualize being atheist and agnostic at the same time. That is a result of your error that one can be one or the other but not both at the same time.

    Here's where you definition of atheist fails you. You simply cannot conceive of the fact that we can remain agnostic as atheists, and in fact, most of us are. And until you assimilate this simple fact, you will remain confused.

    The problem is that there are three positions possible on gods, but only two ways to behave. There are those who say that gods exist, those who say they do not, and those who remain agnostic (3). One can live as if there is a god or not (2). How shall we map the 3 onto the 2?

    Those who believe that gods exist are naturally theists, and those who say gods do no exist are naturally atheists, but that leaves the agnostics, who must choose one of these as well. If the agnostic is an experienced critical thinker, he chooses to live as if there is no god for the same reason he chooses to live as if there are no vampires or anything else people have proposed exists, but can't be demonstrated or disproved.

    The default position is to not believe until there is a sound reason to do so. Why? So that we don't have to randomly guess which of these things to believe in, or worse, believe them all. Or maybe we should also cover our doorways in garlic in case there are vampires. And keep silver bullets handy in case werewolves actually exist.

    And you call that attitude illogical. Your argument is that if you can choose to believe in gods or not, why not believe. That's illogical. And multiple people have told you that, all atheists. So, you wind up with a thread full of atheists all using the same reasoning to come to the same conclusion that atheism is the proper position for agnostics, and one guy who can't conceive of agnostic atheism and who thinks it's illogical not to believe something without sufficient evidence, and who has chosen theism.

    What do you suppose is the actual message (meta-message) you are sending those people? That you're a logical thinker whose conclusions should be considered more carefully, which is presumable the message you'd like to be conveying, or that tortured thinking leads to unsound conclusions? Do you think that you are pulling them toward your way of thinking, or helping reassure them that they have thought things through properly and made the right choice rejecting theism.

    The answer has been given to you multiple times, but it has been impossible for you to understand it. You'll just have to remain agnostic (unknowing). The answer is not available to your mind. Something prevents you from understanding it.

    Great. But your needs are different from mine. I have suggested that you use the notion of God to help you with personal struggles, and I have no problem with that. If it helps keep you remain centered, if it helps you tame your demons, I'm all for it. The belief may have transformed your life for the better.

    As I have told you in the past, I have no unmet needs that a god belief would benefit. I likened this to you having blurry vision, discovering corrective lenses, and shouting out to the world that everybody should wear a pair, unaware that there are people who see well without them, people who would not only not benefit from wearing glasses, but actually have their vision degraded by them. But you can't imagine that, and call people illogical for not wearing a pair. Then someone like me, a former Christian, tells you that he sees fine without glasses, and in fact, actually saw better after taking them off. Then you say that I must have been wearing them wrong, or I chose the wrong prescription and should try again. You just can't see why everybody wouldn't want glasses after they rescued your vision, and calling others illogical for preferring no glasses.

    This is essentially where we are with theism. You say that it worked in a positive way for you, and wonder why everybody doesn't follow your lead.

    The word justice refers to activities that can be observed and judged. It is a concept abstracted from concrete instances that have a particular quality in common. The word God has no known external referent. That is the difference between the two. I can see instances of justice and injustice, so I have no reason to question whether justice exists, and I have no difficulty referring to those real events using those words.

    But God? Am I referring to anything real? I don't know. So, I believe justice exists but not God even though both are abstractions because I can experience one and not the other. I understand that you think both should be believed because they're both abstractions, but that's not a good way to decide what is true about the world. The first is evidence-based, the second faith, and faith isn't a path to truth, given that any error can be believed by faith.

    Logic leads to atheism. It is the only sound position for a skeptical empiricist.

    I'd say that choosing the definition of atheist that you have chosen was illogical, since it confounds your thinking and impairs communication. This entire thread wouldn't exist if you had defined atheism as atheists do, or at the least acknowledged in your writing that that is how they define themselves and what they mean when they tell you they are atheists, and adjusted accordingly. But you refuse, a choice that has led to a chaotic discussion that generated nothing for you. You haven't learned a thing about why atheists are atheists after over 20 pages of discussion because of that illogical choice.

    As an illustration, I'm a contract bridge player. We call the heart and spade suits the majors, and some of us will open the bidding 1 No Trump with a five card major, while others will open in the major (1 Heart or 1 Spade) with five or more of them. There are arguments for each position, and problems with both, so there is no consensus among bridge players on the matter. I won't open a hand in No Trump with a five card major, but I can play with a partner who will as long as I understand what he means by 1NT - he might have five hearts or spades. And he can play with me knowing that I won't have more than four of either suit when I open 1NT.

    Of course, we have to use a different set of responses to 1NT than one another, because we each need to ferret out whether we have eight or more of either of these suits in our combined hands. The convention that accomplished this is called Stayman, and it is a 2 Club answer to 1NT. My partner will ask me whenever he has a 4-card major to see if I have four more, but when he bids 1NT, I have to use a different form of Stayman. I have to ask partner about his major suits if I have a 3-card major, since he may have five in that suit. My version of Stayman is called Puppet Stayman. So, we can still communicate effectively even though neither of uses the same definition of 1NT, nor mean the same thing when we bid it, because we understand what the other means, and adapt our responses accordingly. Now, that's logical.

    Nobody here is asking you to change your definition of atheist, just to try to understand ours, and when dealing with somebody whose definition is not yours, adapting your responses to reflect that you understand them in order to communicate. Use Stayman (metaphorically, of course - a 2 club response to any post here would be indecipherable) when dealing with somebody who shares your definition, and switch to Puppet Stayman when dealing with those who mean something other than you do when they call themselves atheists.

    2 Clubs.
     
    #437 It Aint Necessarily So, Oct 25, 2021
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  18. AppieB

    AppieB Member

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    Belief has nothing to do with theism? That's a new one for me. So what is your definition of theism?

    Theism is not the claim. I mean, I will accept that theism exists. The claim is: God/gods exist. This one I will not accept.

    Btw, you still have to show how Logic defines words
     
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  19. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    That is preposterous sorry, theism is a belief in a deity, atheism is the lack or absence of that belief, and agnosticism is a belief that nothing is known or can be known about any deity.

    That is a false dichotomy fallacy, did you think no one would notice you've omitted the definition of atheism? The hilarity of you making a demonstrably irrational claim can't be lost on anyone either, especially after your relentless insistence that others be rational. here are at least two more options.

    4. I can not know anything about the nature or existence of any deity. - agnosticism.
    5. I can disbelieve the claim a deity exists - atheism


    NB
    4 and 5 are not mutually exclusive either, as I
    hold both positions when the deities imagined by theists are unfalsifiable.

    No it doesn't. Atheism is defined as the lack or absence of belief, it posits nothing, though an atheist can of course.



    No it doesn't, agnosticism is defined as the belief that nothing is known OR CAN BE KNOWN about the nature or existence of god. read a dictionary or follow one of the many links you've ignored that litter this thread, your sophistry won't change the dictionary, nor will it convince me your agenda trumps the definitions contained in it.


    I do not, nor have I ever made any such presumption, you're lying, again.

    I disbelieve in any deity or deities, and so I am an atheist.

    When the deity imagined by theists is an unfalsifiable concept, I am also an agnostic, as I cannot be otherwise. I have explained this to you already, yet you persist in dishonestly misrepresenting my position.

    It's a dishonest attempt to try and reverse the burden of proof your theism carries. that invokes the word logic as rhetoric, clearly demonstrated by your use of several known logical fallacies in this thread. You're fooling no one.

    What objective evidence can you demonstrate for your belief a deity exists?

    Now that is a simple, and reasonable question.
     
    #439 Sheldon, Oct 25, 2021
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  20. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I agree. It's why I started this thread. I wanted to make atheists face the difference between atheism, and agnosticism, and clarify why, logically, they chose atheism when they could simply have remained agnostic.
    Actually, there is only one "type of atheist". And that is the type that counter-claims that no gods exist. There are, however, a lot of different people making that counter claim for a lot of different reasons, and some of them are very clear and committed to their claims, while others are not very clear or committed to them. Atheism is not defined by these people. Atheism is one of three possible responses to the theist truth claim. Nothing more, and nothing less. How we each as individuals relate ourselves to this one particular response is as varied and dynamic as we are. But the response, itself, remains the same, and intact.
    I like the introduction of all these label variants because they put the variations back on the people, instead of muddying up and confusing the atheist counter response to the theist truth claim. I don't like "strong" and "weak" atheist assertions because they are misleading terms and they try to divide the atheist counter-claim based on personalities rather than content.
     
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