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Featured Theism, Agnosticism, & Atheism: Which Is Logically The Weakest?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by metis, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    A higher level of understanding while still mired in
    superstitious magical thinking.
     
  2. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    I agree. The word atheist has, as its root, the essential definition that informs each of its various usages--that is "no God or gods," or atheos. As you said, there is no "one true" usage, per se, but there are strong uses that explicitly reference some version of "no god," and weak uses, which only imply it. All usages do reference the essential definition, but some people seem to need one to be an 'umbrella' of sorts.
     
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  3. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I know the story. I know it well enough that you're claiming the position of the omniscient narrator who can see the whole picture and not that of one of the blind characters who represent actual people.

    The issue is when you try to claim contradicting claims: for instance, personal and intelligent god-concepts vs. impersonal and unintelligent god-concepts. To the extent that one is true, the other is false. If God were to exist, it would either have intelligence or not; it would either have personality or not. Integrating these conflicting beliefs together would mean that only one is right: the believer who thinks that God is impersonal and unintelligent might have made a reasonable inference from what he saw of God, but he's ultimately incorrect when he applies that inference to God as a whole.

    And when we look at all the different people who claim that God commanded to do conflicting things or has conflicting desires, if we assume they're all right, then the overall picture of God we get is a trickster-god who's trying to mess with people. Is that the God you believe in?
     
  4. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    It is legit to pick which meaning applies to ones self.
     
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  5. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur
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    You seem to think I’m making a stronger statement than I am. I am not saying that “numerous people believing in X” is some perfect proof for X. I’m not saying that it meets some rigorous scientific experiment standard.

    I am simply saying that the more people you get affirming something, the more plausible we find it. This seems to be basic human psychology that plays out in a myriad of ways. It makes sense why we consider it evidence when multiple people confirm something.

    If you were following the discussion that occurred prior to where you jumped in, it was about the difference between belief in blue fairies and god. Blue fairies do not consistently have billions of people over tens of thousands of years believing they exist. God(s) do. That is a dynamic difference. That’s a crap ton of corroboration.

    Sure, you can drill down and say why you want to discount all those people. I agree with many of your issues with their testimony. And regardless, in and of itself, it’s not going to be proof— it’s just a bit of evidence.

    But the point is that we take god claims much more seriously than blue fairy claims because of how ubiquitous the belief is. You don’t need to drill down to discount the odd blue fairy believer. You don’t have words for blue fairy belief. You don’t have forums discussing their existence. Because you don’t need to. It’s simply not as plausible a belief as god—
     
    #285 Falvlun, Mar 24, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  6. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    It must be great to get the facts from god, then you
    can relax.

    I talked to a Mormon who prayed hard for a week,
    for god to tell him if LDS was right.

    And finally, god did!
     
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  7. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    And my point is that they have no more reason to believe in a God than they do in to believe in blue fairies. The actual evidence is equivalent. It's just that one is a popular belief.

    And yes, I strongly disagree that having more people believe something makes it more probable *unless* they have a means to verify that something. Otherwise, it is simply a story someone imagined that others liked.

    And we see this all the time historically: the flatness of the earth, the stars being pasted on a sphere a few billion miles away, a global flood, etc. I can come up with any number of universally held beliefs that were totally false. They weren't made plausible because everyone believed them.

    The number of believers has no bearing on the plausibility.
     
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  8. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    There is more reason to believe in god,
    as there is so much more one can do with it.
     
  9. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Blue fairies, specifically? No. Belief in nature spirits in general? Over human history, that's probably more prevalent - and more ancient - than belief in gods.

    I find it interesting that people's go-to examples of ridiculous claims - pixies, fairies, leprechauns, Thor, Zeus, etc. - are just religious beliefs that have fallen out of popularity.
     
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  10. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Belief in various spirits rhat need to be dealt
    with are extremely widespread. "Blue fairy"
    is a cstchall for such, is it not?
     
  11. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    We have no way of knowing what would or would not exist if we were not here to experience and identify "it's existence". We can't even be sure that what we DO experience as existing is what we think it is. So this reality that you imagine to exist apart from your imagined reality is an incoherent proposition.
    You still don't get that imagination is real. It exists. It is responsible for our concept of reality and for our concept of unreality, both. Both are imagined states of being.
    "Objective reality" is an incoherent imaginary condition that, by definition, we can never verify because we imagine it not to be imaginary.
     
  12. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    I agree. That's what I said.

    So we agree that anyone who insists that either the 'lack of belief' or the 'disbelief' meanings are 'wrong' is in fact the one who is wrong.

    From my experience here, it is far more common that the 'lack of beliefers' are insistent that using the other definition is factually wrong, and even that using it constitutes some form of intellectual dishonesty.

    Anyway, seeing as we both seem to agree that the word is polysemic, it doesn't really matter.

    Some pointed out they prefer a different definition which is fine, others said the definition was wrong and that it constituted a fallacy which I disagree with.
     
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  13. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    No idea what you are on about now.

    'Some' is exactly what I said in the first post, and I've given you an example twice. You even directly referenced the example in a reply.

    There are more on the first page of the thread if you others, and countless in other threads. But, if you still can't find any here you won't have to wait too long before someone insists that it is 'wrong' to use atheism according to one of its standard definitions.
     
  14. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur
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    Plausibility is not synonymous with probability. It’s more akin to “believeability”. The first definition I googled said that it was the “quality of seeming reasonable or probable.” My emphasis.

    Number of believers certainly has bearing on whether something seems reasonable.

    The fact that people believed incorrect things doesn’t negate this. Confirmation by multiple people remains a common tried-and-true method.

    People do have more reason to believe in God specifically because more people believe in God— making the belief more plausible. This is my primary point.

    As a secondary, I’d like to address the “same evidence” canard. That’s just not true if you consider the millions of personal testimony. Yes, they vary— but I’m sure you’d still get millions within a single religious concept that largely correspond. And while they vary in the details, they come to the same conclusion: god. Again, not perfect evidence. But it’s not the same as no evidence. And it’s certainly more than blue fairies got.
     
  15. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    You must have your own special definition of atheism.

    What are your definitions of atheism and agnosticism?

    That's a false analogy. In both the quantity and evidence patterns, the anecdotal evidence for Elvis sightings are unique and can't be compared to anecdotal reports on other topics. You've only revealed your bias with that comment.
     
    #295 joe1776, Mar 24, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  16. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    You're conflating two different issues:

    - do some people use the term "atheist" in the "rejection of belief" sense? Yes. Defintions reflect usage, so it's part of the definition.

    - does the "rejection of belief" definition create irrational implications and incoherencies? Yes. In that sense, it's "wrong" to use it.

    Right: it means all the definitions are part of the word, which seems to be a concept you're still struggling with.

    Seems to me that the person throwing around logical fallacies is you.
     
  17. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    It's almost like you can't understand the difference between:

    - "this usage isn't recognized as common," and
    - "this usage, while common, has implications that make it unreasonable for any supposedly rational person to use."
     
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  18. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Nope.

    That's not what I was taking issue with.

    It's almost like you arbitrarily decide what you want me to have said and reply to that instead of what I actually said in the context in which I said it. Wouldn't be the first time.

    Never mind...
     
  19. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur
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    Interesting explanation! Almost makes me want to go back to being an agnostic but alas, I know it would be dishonest to how I really feel. ;)

    I just wanted to address 2 things.

    1. In regards to the theists, where do you rank those who have not had some experience but instead rely on unexamined tradition?

    2. And in defense of my atheism (not that it’s particularly needed around these parts), here’s my answer to your question: “How could they possibly know that there aren’t any deities anywhere?”

    That’s true. I don’t know for certain. But I’m okay with that. I think there are very few things that we know for certain anyway. I think most of our world views are simply beliefs based on our best currently available evidence. And that’s what my atheism is— a belief that gods don’t exist based on the currently available evidence.

    But beliefs aren’t set in stone. You and I have experienced that with our changing beliefs. If at any point I do feel that convincing evidence is obtained, I can change my belief. I can admit I was wrong at that point. But until then, I feel that my current belief accurately represents reality as best as I can figure.
     
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  20. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    No, I am just me, and dont necessarily fit others'
    attempts to define / confine my ideas with ther
    definitions.

    It is a bit like defining the word "species".

    The word is useful but gets fuzxy and sometimes
    contentious when looked at too closely for an
    exact definition.

    Creationists try to demand an exact definition,
    or make things up, biologists are genrrally content
    to leave it be, for lo, no ex freakin' zact meaning
    seems possible.

    Maybe more to the point would be why it could possibly
    matter to you or all the other theist sorts to come up
    with a precise definition.

    I suppose we allow for some possibility that flying
    saucers are real. Certainly, a disciplined thinker wont
    say "I know" saucers or hods dont exist.

    How might you define your level of disbelief
    in flying saucers?

    I dont believe in them, or in any god either.

    Why the interest in categories and definitions?

    ETA- "false analogy" is so tiresome.
    How about you supply the perfect one?

    And the exact difference between mermaid
    ufo, elvis sightings and god-anecdotes.*

    So, you know, I can understand my bias.

    * no bias now, include the kitchen god and
    every other sorta supernatural spirit. You
    may have to come up with a unassailable def.
    for "god".
     
    #300 Audie, Mar 24, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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