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Question about physical world.

Discussion in 'Atheism DIR' started by JennySue, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    I don’t agree with what your teacher has said for a number of reasons.

    1. 'Atheists only believe in the physical realm' is a misleading premise to begin with. A-theism simply meaning a lack of belief in a God(s), and the theistic interpretations of things that follow from such a belief.
    This position is taken due to the total lack of hard evidence. Most reasonable people who are atheist would of course rethink their position if such extraordinary evidence came to light, but under the best interpretation of things as they stands today, nothing backs up these supernatural claims.
    Only believing in the 'physical realm' is not what atheism means at all.

    2. 'The physical realm' is too ill defined. The choice of words makes you think it means 'only the things you can see and touch', and that it is only part of a greater reality (true), but a part that atheists solely believe in, denying all the rest (false).
    The truth is, there’s plenty in this world that isn’t strictly 'physical', like time for example. These things, whilst not physical do have evidence for them, and will not be denied by any rational person.

    By distorting the definition of atheism and providing a loaded misrepresented version of what means to respect evidence, your teacher is tricking you into thinking his point follows when it doesn’t.

    By successfully loading your brain with this misinformation, he then tries to conclude that atheists don’t believe in emotions, thoughts, morals.

    Of course he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.


    Alex
     
  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Emotions, thoughts, morals (in so far as morals are feelings or thoughts), etc., have been demonstrated by psychologists to have a physiological basis in an organ of the body called the brain. However, your teacher does not have a brain, and that explains why your teacher is unaware of the fact that thoughts and emotions, etc, have been demonstrated to have a physiological basis.
     
  3. St Giordano Bruno

    St Giordano Bruno Well-Known Member

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    That is called tarring with the same brush, some atheists may believe that but on the whole they are free thinkers and the only thing they may all have in common is a disbelief in the existence of God(s)
     
  4. Oneatatime

    Oneatatime Huh?

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    The term atheist only describes a persons position on the issue of God's existance and the form it takes i.e. theist, deist, pantheist and so on. The view of your teacher is a common error made by those conflate atheism with metaphysical naturalism (Or just naturalism). Granted there is likely a strong correlation between atheism and naturalim but the two terms can't be used interchageably because they have very different meanings.

    I would strongly advise against using what your teacher said in an arguement because not only is it incorrect but it also perpetuates the false belief that all atheists subscribe to metaphysical naturalism.
     
    #24 Oneatatime, Sep 25, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  5. St Giordano Bruno

    St Giordano Bruno Well-Known Member

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    Another question, what is your teacher's religious beliefs? Because I kind of get the impression he or she is pushing some deeper religious agenda there. There seems to be some kind of straw man argument your teacher is resorting to in order to denigrate atheists.
     
  6. work in progress

    work in progress Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but not all materialists are strict physicalists -- who contend that we already have a complete understanding of nature. That is the usual understanding of people who identify themselves as physicalists. The Stamford University site doesn't provide a clear understanding of materialism or naturalism...or at least not clear enough for me to get much out of it!

    Maybe, since they see naturalism as a directionless and full of contradictory ideas, a naturalist philosopher, such as Tom Clarke, is a better source of finding out what a naturalist believes about the world. From Clarke's definition, a naturalist would be highly skeptical of believing anything exists outside of nature, but would not rule it out completely, because we do not have a full and complete understanding of nature. When it comes to God or some supernatural force, the naturalist would insist that if a supernatural force can be proven to exist; then it is no longer supernatural and its existence must be incorporated into our natural understanding of the world.
     
  7. yourhopeboundheart

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    i would avoid using anything that someone (particularly a christian, which i hope i'm not being totally ridiculous by assuming is the case here) tells you would be a good argument in a discussion with an atheist. i remember hearing a lot of these little pre-packaged discussion points as a christian, and i've since realized how ridiculous they all are, and how ridiculous they make people look when they use them. if you want to have a discussion with an atheist... just have a discussion with him or her, it's really not hard, some of us are kinda nice.

    welcome to the forums. and i would also suggest catching up on sleep during your religion class for the rest of the year (it doesn't appear that your teacher has much to teach you... just sayin).
     
  8. JennySue

    JennySue Member

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    That's what I thought. When he said that they (athiests) only believe in the physical, meaning they don't believe in emotions or thoughts as well, that's what popped into my mind. Which today he actually said that athiest's don't really believe in thoughts either..

    That's what I thought as well. Once he got more into the "not believing in thoughts/emotions" ect. I got super confused because it seemed like he was leading into something that wasn't really there.

    As for point 2, he said that the physical world is only what can be seen, touch, felt, smelled, or tasted. Pretty much he said that athiests don't believe in anything that can't be experianced by one of the 5 senses- sorry if my word choice confused anyone.

    I wasn't planning on using it. It doesn't make sense to me and why anyone would use it as an argument is beyond me.

    He's Lutheran, and that's what I thought. He's making the arguments much deeper then needed and his ideas don't make sense at all and it seems like he's changing it to fit what he needs/wants it to be.

    I'm taking that advice for sure haha. If I was to use his ideas, it would be horrible, and I don't feel like making myself look like an idiot, when I myself, am not one.
    As for the sleeping in class; I also agree with that. Our assignments I get done in like 10 minutes and spend the rest of the time bored. Maybe I should take a book to read xD And to think I was really looking forward to this class so that I could learn about other religions.

    Anyway, Thank you guys for the really great answers! Its really helped. :)
     
  9. Benhamine

    Benhamine Learning Member

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    I've heard this argument many times surprisingly. I believe it stems from a belief on the presenters part that these things (morals, emotions, etc.) come from God. They believe that if there were no God there would be no morality. It seems absolutely preposterous to me that someone could think this but it is the case and I have seen it. I will give you the advice that others have already though in that this isn't an argument that will work/sway any atheist. In fact morality tends to be a driving force in people turning away from religion so the concept of morality without a god has crossed their minds once or twice.

    -Benhamine
     
  10. Mr Spinkles

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    JennySue,

    Most atheists I know believe things like thoughts, emotions, etc. have a physical basis, not a supernatural / miraculous basis. That does not mean we deny thoughts and emotions exist.
     
  11. T-Dawg

    T-Dawg Self-appointed Lunatic

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    Your thoughts and emotions exist just as the text on your computer screen, but much more complex. Everything you feel and think is a reaction initiated by the brain's chemicals and electrical signals to some sort of stimulus, when you get down to it. To use a simple example, if you touch a hot stove, your nerves will react to the heat, and send your brain information that triggers pain, which is the brain's way of reminding the body that it doesn't like something. Similarly, when you see a person whose body adheres to the physical characteristics your culture has trained you to believe is attractive, your brain reminds your body that it wants to reproduce, hence lust. And should you talk with this person and spend time with them, your body will generate hormones that will remind itself that it wants to be with this person that it might be able to reproduce with, expanding lust into an "emotional" connection, hence love (eventually, this complex emotional connection will likely take precedence over the simpler lust drive).

    Some people find this disturbing, that they are essentially little more than a glorified computer program. Fortunately, however, Reality does not care what people find to be disturbing.


    Morals come from society, which, quotes from Margaret Thatcher be damned, does indeed exist. The collective of humans, which of course is greater than each individual human, will set standards that humans are expected to adhere to; these standards are generally adhered to since humans that do not adhere tend to damage valuable emotional connections with other humans.
     
  12. not nom

    not nom Well-Known Member

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    nah.. that would simply mean thoughts and emotions occur in our brain and that's it. it doesn't mean not being able to believe in thoughts or emotions or morals, heh.

    and if emotions or thoughts were immaterial, how would they be able to interact with the world? that doesn't make much sense really. how does a thought transfer into a very mundane electrical charge and muscle movement? and vice versa, how do electrical charges in our optical and other nerves, and chemistry, cross over into the spooky invisible world of thought and emotion?

    that might mean there has to be a "daywalker" element in this... and science ought to find it. then we could build telescopes to look into heaven and hell, *that* ought to rattle a few chains o_O
     
  13. JennySue

    JennySue Member

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    I was actually going to ask about that. He claims that we can use the terms athiest and naturalist interchangably, and that they're the same thing. That atheists are naturalists and that naturalists are atheists.
     
  14. Mr Spinkles

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    That is generally true. Virtually every atheist I know is also a naturalist.
     
  15. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Well-Known Member

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    I'm an atheist, yet not a materialist. I also wouldn't describe myself as a "naturalist," but this is only because I'm not sure what the root word "natural" means in this context -- as opposed to what?

    I don't think the word "supernatural" is meaningful.
     
  16. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I do. I deny they exist. At least, I don't know of many politicians that have thoughts.
     
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