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What makes somebody atheist and not a theist?

PureX

Veteran Member
Well touché, given you don't appear to know what science does. I can at least observe what religions do, and have done so for about six decades - and it isn't what so many espouse as to such. If they were so beneficial for humans then they wouldn't have caused so much strife between peoples - but they do and mostly did from the origins of each.
Well, that is certainly the bias, anyway. And yet there are currently 8 billion humans on the planet, many of them causing each other much "strife", and yet very few of them are actually doing it because they think their God wants them to. Most of them are doing it because they are greedy, and selfish, and want to control (exploit) everything and everyone around them for their own gain. Partly because they are afraid that if they don't, the people around them will control and exploit them. And mostly they are right. None of which has anything at all to do with religion. And in fact, if we actually investigate what most religions say about all this greed and selfishness and fear, we find that religion mostly frowns on it. And admonishes people not to engage in such behavior.

But you dont see any of that. All you see are religious wars everywjere you look. Right?
Plenty alive now who can live quite satisfactorily without religion.
We could life quite satisfactorily without a whole lot of things. And yet we want those things, anyway, because although our lives would be "satisfactory" without them, we find our lives are better then that with them.
It's still humans making the decisions though - not especially the scientists as to such. If many will use science for their own ends, as do so many with religions, who is to blame - the scientists or those users/exploiters of such?
We humans are to blame, of course. Yet science has nothing at all to say about that, while religions do at least try to adminish us not to behave so badly toward each other. And yet for some reason your response is to blame religion when religion is very often not even involved, and you praise science which only serves to makes us all far more effective at destroying each other, while saying nothing at all against it.
 

Valjean

Veteran Member
Premium Member
There is no such thing as a "lack". You are claiming that nothing is something. This is a fundamental problem with atheism as it is so often being expressed around here. That nothing is something. That "no evidence" should be taken as evidence. That no belief in gods should justify belief in no gods. And so on. It's a fundamental logical incoherence that gets repeated over and over and over among atheists these days.
Lack of evidence is not evidence, it's just lack of evidence. Non-belief in something for which there is no evidence is reasonable. It is not a deduction, it's the default.
 

Valjean

Veteran Member
Premium Member
Well, that is certainly the bias, anyway. And yet there are currently 8 billion humans on the planet, many of them causing each other much "strife", and yet very few of them are actually doing it because they think their God wants them to. Most of them are doing it because they are greedy, and selfish, and want to control (exploit) everything and everyone around them for their own gain.
It's our nature. Religion's just a facile excuse.
We're small-band, tribal apes not naturally programmed to extend moral consideration to those outside the tribe.
Partly because they are afraid that if they don't, the people around them will control and exploit them. And mostly they are right. None of which has anything at all to do with religion. And in fact, if we actually investigate what most religions say about all this greed and selfishness and fear, we find that religion mostly frowns on it. And admonishes people not to engage in such behavior.
Agreed. People do what they feel like doing, and manufacture justifications however they can. Religion is an convenient source, you just need to cherry-pick the passages that justify your position.
But you dont see any of that. All you see are religious wars everywjere you look. Right?

We could life quite satisfactorily without a whole lot of things. And yet we want those things, anyway, because although our lives would be "satisfactory" without them, we find our lives are better then that with them.

We humans are to blame, of course. Yet science has nothing at all to say about that, while religions do at least try to adminish us not to behave so badly toward each other. And yet for some reason your response is to blame religion when religion is very often not even involved, and you praise science which only serves to makes us all far more effective at destroying each other, while saying nothing at all against it.
Science endeavors to understand it, and could likely come up with more effective deterrents than religious injunctions ever did. As often as not, religion just fans the flames.
 

PureX

Veteran Member
Lack of evidence is not evidence, it's just lack of evidence. Non-belief in something for which there is no evidence is reasonable. It is not a deduction, it's the default.
It is not a logical "default", nor even an honest one. The logical default is to reserve judgement until sufficient information becomes available. And anyway, there is no "lack of evidence", there is only insufficient evidence from which to make a judgment. And even that does not deter one from logically choosing to act on their hope.

But like most of the atheists here, you will continue to ignore this and continue to repeat this same nonsensical bias over and over. Because logic gets tossed out the window every time in the face of this particular protracted bias.
 

McBell

Resident Sourpuss
The logical default is to reserve judgement until sufficient information becomes available.
Is it your claim that during the reserved judgment period that one 'believes' until such time as they have made a judgement?
Or do you suppose that people, when reserving judgement, do not believe in that which they are awaiting sufficient information?
 

PureX

Veteran Member
Science endeavors to understand it, and could likely come up with more effective deterrents than religious injunctions ever did. As often as not, religion just fans the flames.
There is absolutely no evidence of this. You believe it exactly the same way people believe in their gods will save them. And for exactly the same reasons. Except that science is not admonishing you to work at being a better person, and giving you the tools to help you do it. Religions do at least do that when they aren't being misrepresented and abused by criminals.
 

Mock Turtle

Oh my, did I say that!
Premium Member
Well, that is certainly the bias, anyway. And yet there are currently 8 billion humans on the planet, many of them causing each other much "strife", and yet very few of them are actually doing it because they think their God wants them to. Most of them are doing it because they are greedy, and selfish, and want to control (exploit) everything and everyone around them for their own gain. Partly because they are afraid that if they don't, the people around them will control and exploit them. And mostly they are right. None of which has anything at all to do with religion. And in fact, if we actually investigate what most religions say about all this greed and selfishness and fear, we find that religion mostly frowns on it. And admonishes people not to engage in such behavior.
It is mainly the fact that religions hardly evolve, have so much silly dogma from the past, and beliefs as to whatever was written being for all eternity, that such is causing many issues. Apart from the fact that so many religious beliefs do still believe they have it correct and that eventually their beliefs will dominate - perhaps Islam being a prime example. The Qur'an being perfect, the religion applying to every aspect of life, even though apostasy is also necessary - how wonderful is that! Don't Muslims ever question why apostasy is necessary?

I'm not interested in what religions say, but more interested in what they tend to do. They still enable hatred or discrimination between the various beliefs, and towards those who have not been included from their origins - as to sexual orientation, gender and such, let alone females for so long - even when knowledge changes to show everything is not actually as written in some old text.
But you dont see any of that. All you see are religious wars everywjere you look. Right?
Really? Of course I don't, but few of the hotspots where religious violence is likely have vanished since I was born.
We could life quite satisfactorily without a whole lot of things. And yet we want those things, anyway, because although our lives would be "satisfactory" without them, we find our lives are better then that with them.
Few would complain if such beliefs didn't also bring along with them so many deficits too - because those espousing them and those believing in such do often take whatever religious text is used to be 'the truth'. And to think that those who live without religious beliefs are somehow deficient or shallow is simply arrogance on the part of those who do have some particular religious belief - even when usually such belief is contested by several others, and often violently. So who are the arrogant ones?
We humans are to blame, of course. Yet science has nothing at all to say about that, while religions do at least try to adminish us not to behave so badly toward each other. And yet for some reason your response is to blame religion when religion is very often not even involved, and you praise science which only serves to makes us all far more effective at destroying each other, while saying nothing at all against it.
No, I try to place the blame where it belongs. Many see science as dragging us into some abominable future, even destruction, but where even the religious are happy to make use of whatever it provides. And people do have a say as to what the future will bring if they think hard enough and vote where they are able. So many religions on the other hand are still drags from the past - as to morality (attitudes to sexual orientation, gender issues, even female equality, etc.), as to separating us from all other life (because we were obviously designed by God to have dominion over all else, bla bla), as to being mostly fixed rather than adaptable (granted that some do allow changes when the population demands such), and where such beliefs are still being indoctrinated into children rather than such being an education. Because children obviously have no such rights as to a fair education. :oops:

Science does what science is supposed to do. We should look towards philosophy, psychology, social sciences, and all the rest if we want proper answers that religions seemingly prefer to have a monopoly over. I will never praise science for just being science, since I know such can often provide as many bad things as good - plastics being one example and a current pollution problem - but it is still down to humans as to making decisions as to what to do with scientific knowledge and to choose the various paths open to us.

I don't know which is the worst issue that humans face but wealth differences to me seems to be one of the major ones, and one that the USA more than most countries seems to ignore and seemingly still wants to have over the less wealthy nations. Perhaps that is an issue which some Americans might want to ponder - and the USA being an especially religious country too. :eek:
 

Valjean

Veteran Member
Premium Member
It is not a logical "default", nor even an honest one. The logical default is to reserve judgement until sufficient information becomes available. And anyway, there is no "lack of evidence", there is only insufficient evidence from which to make a judgment. And even that does not deter one from logically choosing to act on their hope.

But like most of the atheists here, you will continue to ignore this and continue to repeat this same nonsensical bias over and over. Because logic gets tossed out the window every time in the face of this particular protracted bias.
??????????? -- You're echoing exactly what I've been saying. You're just replacing belief with judgement.
Judgement implies assessment of legitimate options. Something for which there's no evidence is not a legitimate option.
 

PureX

Veteran Member
??????????? -- You're echoing exactly what I've been saying. You're just replacing belief with judgement.
Judgement implies assessment of legitimate options. Something for which there's no evidence is not a legitimate option.
Well, there IS evidence. But if as you claim it is not sufficient to prove that gods exist as you define existence, or not, then the logical response is to withhold judgment until there is. Not to just blindly presume they do not, as you assert to be your "default". Belief has nothing to do with anything since it's foolish to believe things that we have no way of knowing to be so. It is not foolish, however, to choose to act on what we hope to be so if in doing that we gain experiential value (faith).

You're seeing your own conformed bias instead of what I am actually saying.
 

Hockeycowboy

Witness for Jehovah
Premium Member
Most people, babies, start out with little if any thought of any kind. And thinking critically is not limited to atheists. Two examples, the second with a "how to":

Critical Thinking in Religious Education

The Importance of Critical Thinking in Religion

But How Do I Practice Critical Thinking?
  • Ask questions
  • Learn logic and reasoning skills.
  • Study your religion and others.
  • Study opposing views
  • Study related fields in both the sciences and philosophy, including the philosophy of religion.
  • Find reasons for your beliefs that satisfy not only you but would be persuasive to others.
  • Seek the truth, whatever it may be, regardless of what you wish or hope to be true.
  • Don’t just bash other views or defend your own.
  • Seek not only to criticize but to understand.
  • Humbly acknowledge when you are wrong.
This list of 10 bullet points that you’ve provided, highlights three qualities a person needs to analyze subjects critically. I call it the “Three H’s”:

Honest….Keep in mind that truth is the goal. So openly discuss, with people on the other side of the disputed topic, all the evidence that may have a bearing on the issue. Even if some of the evidence revealed by them seems unrelated, be willing to hear them out.


Humble….Then be willing to adjust your viewpoint.


Hungry….You have to want to know what is the truth, ie., accurate understanding.

(Critical thinking doesn’t allow for narrow-mindedness, pride or confirmation bias.)

If one doesn’t have these three characteristics, no amount of reasoning will persuade them.

I appreciate that list!
 

Valjean

Veteran Member
Premium Member
These characteristics frequently seem to be missing in religious apologists.

Willing to adjust viewpoint? I find religious viewpoints are often faith-based, and largely unshakeable. Beliefs adopted without evidence are often unaffected by contrary evidence.
Hunger? I find what they often want is confirmation, and the support of their status communities. They can be very heavily invested in their faith. Barring confirmation, they may seek support for their claims through undermining the credibility of the opposing interlocutors.
Honest? I find a reluctance to accept the conclusions logically following from relevant evidence, or from claims of its absence,
 

Hockeycowboy

Witness for Jehovah
Premium Member
Basically, it comes down to this:

An atheist believes the existence of everything can be explained by natural means, no matter how complex or appearance of design.

A theist believes, among other things, there’s simply too much complexity, design, & functional interaction for there to be no intelligence behind it.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
Basically, it comes down to this:

An atheist believes the existence of everything can be explained by natural means, no matter how complex or appearance of design.

A theist believes, among other things, there’s simply too much complexity, design, & functional interaction for there to be no intelligence behind it.
Do you know why it is called "appearance of design"?

But basically your argument boils down to "Atheists follow the evidence and theists follow their feelings".
 

It Aint Necessarily So

Veteran Member
Premium Member
An atheist believes the existence of everything can be explained by natural means, no matter how complex or appearance of design.

A theist believes, among other things, there’s simply too much complexity, design, & functional interaction for there to be no intelligence behind it.
That's more right that wrong, but in my opinion, not quite right. Most atheist might agree with your first sentence, but some would change "can be explained" to "might be explainable as." I would.

And not all arguments for gods depend on complexity. Some are theists because the Bible says there is a god, and they trust that source.
 

Hockeycowboy

Witness for Jehovah
Premium Member
Do you know why it is called "appearance of design"?
It is design.

Dawkins says ”appearance” of design because, since he can’t ignore it, he can try to excuse it.

Atheists follow the evidence…
There’s no evidence the bacterial flagellum, or any other complex machine, could evolve, let alone did.

Or any evidence of natural processes forming the Earth, and establishing itself into a stable orbit

That’s your faith; although you won’t admit it.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
It is design.

Dawkins says ”appearance” of design because, since he can’t ignore it, he can try to excuse it.

No, when one says that it is because when one looks deeper we see the opposite.
There’s no evidence the bacterial flagellum, or any other complex machine, could evolve, let alone did.

Really? How are you going to prove that? By making that claim that way you took on the burden of proof.
Or any evidence of natural processes forming the Earth, and establishing itself into a stable orbit

I doubt that as well. How are you going to prove that there is no evidence for that? It is not my area of expertise so I cannot say either way, but I have a very strong feeling that you are wrong.
That’s your faith; although you won’t admit it.
Now that is a personal attack. Now you do have to prove your claims that appear to be bogus. Unlike you I do not rely on faith.
 

YoursTrue

Faith-confidence in what we hope for (Hebrews 11)
I was an atheist because of all the badness I saw in the world and all of the different religions, fighting with each other as well as having different ideas. But then I changed. Since it is personal I will say that nothing will convince me that God did not hear my prayer. I had not prayed for many years. Finally I did and while I won't give details, there is nothing that will convince me that He did not hear my prayer.
 
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