I'm an Atheist

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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Born_again
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Re: I'm an Atheist

Post by Born_again »

unclemarty wrote:
Corneliousrooster wrote:The universe in and of itself as an entity, is in no way influencing or being used to influence abortion, gay marriage, living together out of wedlock, crusading, damnation, brainwashing, holywars, witchhunts....


All those things do however have a significant impact on the universe in which you and i are part of.

Of course this statement will be at once dismissed out of hand by some who remain oblivious to the intangible spiritual realm that influences our every thought, emotion, action and reaction. That spiritual realm is at work influencing every human life regardless of religious belief or lack thereof.

The ability to understand, love, forgive others (especially our enemy) starts when we recognize the influences at work in their lives as in our own life. Then we're able to act and react properly based on humility, wisdom and the power of the living God.

This, no doubt, is absolute foolishness, delusion and fantasy to an Atheist. oh well.

This post written while influenced by:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMc8naeeSS8


Ok, you are going to have to tell me how you know this. You are directly accusing me and others of being controlled by an "intangible spirit". How is it that you are privy to this phenomenon? Do you have a sensory aid that my genetics failed to cover? If you know this, you must be able to sense something that's intangible, and in my books, that's sooooooo cool!!
You said it, so please explain it.
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Nebula
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Re: I'm an Atheist

Post by Nebula »

Come on, ba. Get in touch with the spirit realm. Everyone is doing it.
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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Corneliousrooster wrote:Where did you leave off again??? as a "Christian misinterpretation" defending agnostic who dislikes atheists who are unwilling to comprehend the possibility of the existance of God - organized religion being no fault of God, the actions of organized religion being no fault of organized religion, the universe was started by a unmoved mover, the unmoved mover was started by ..... oh shoot, square one again - did I miss something????


So summaries are your forté then, Corneliousrooster! :coffeecanuck:
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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nolanrh wrote:
Tumult wrote:We're discussing belief. Belief is independent of reason.
Your beliefs may be independent of reason but mine sure aren't. A belief is an idea you place confidence in. If you go around having confidence in ideas that are unreasonable I imagine you'll have a pretty hard go at it.


What I was trying to communicate within the whole context of the post you quoted is that a belief and a reason for believing are not the same.

nolanrh wrote:Is it really useful at this point to argue over whether or not atheists are correct in calling themselves atheists? Is there really some kind of battle to be won here? Atheists know what atheism means, we also clearly articulate our beliefs and reasons for holding those beliefs.

I mean honestly, if we weren't talking about god would this even be an issue? If I call myself an a-pink-unicornist but then I am forced to admit that I can't really be sure pink unicorns don't exists would you tell me that I'm not really an a-pink-unicornist" either?


For me the issue is not about god but about the definition of words and their use. I think there is some confusion regarding (atheist) knowledge (probably no god) versus (atheist) belief (no god). I see the insertion of probably in a statement of belief as unnecessary given that beliefs essentially amount to opinions anyway. Your (belief) statement of "probably" seemed to indicate a lack of confidence in your belief or a mixing of knowledge with belief. Regardless, what atheists actually believe is less important to me than the words they choose to describe that belief. Atheists may be forced to admit they can't know for certain but that doesn't mean they can't still believe with certainty.

:sleepdeprived:
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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Tumult wrote:Atheists may be forced to admit they can't know for certain but that doesn't mean they can't still believe with certainty.


With that logic, I cannot know for certain there is no man on the moon but I can believe it with certainty.

Me thinks you're splitting philosophical hairs.
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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writerdave wrote:
Tumult wrote:Atheists may be forced to admit they can't know for certain but that doesn't mean they can't still believe with certainty.


With that logic, I cannot know for certain there is no man on the moon but I can believe it with certainty.

Me thinks you're splitting philosophical hairs.


Time, methinks, to call Steven Lloyd back into the room! :dyinglaughing:
Why do we need all these shades of grey? Black and white works fine for matters so simple.

What's with the midnight oil carbon deficit, writerdave? Need help with a deadline? :nutzoid:
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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I'll have you know I am done for the day. I am relaxing at home, although I do seem to be contributing a mighty amount of methane to the atmosphere this evening.
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Re: I'm an Atheist

Post by steven lloyd »

Corneliousrooster wrote:
steven lloyd wrote:
Corneliousrooster wrote: Actually corny, anyone with any kind of reading comprehension ability would have recognized that I have been completely accountable to my opinion You have an opinion? I must have missed it ...


Fair enough. I’m actually quite sure you have absolutely no idea of how it got to this. Pretty much sums it up anyway and provides a sort of blanket explanation to many of your responses.


Oh - I know exactly how it got to this - there is a kid in the classroom (steven lloyd) that needs constant attention on them so they try to take the spotlight off the topic and place it on themselves...


:137: Except this explains your part in it how .... ? :dyinglaughing:

Corneliousrooster wrote: I am sorry your mother did not hug you more....


Me too (sniffle) :dyinglaughing:


Born_again wrote: Time, methinks, to call Steven Lloyd back into the room! Why do we need all these shades of grey? Black and white works fine for matters so simple.


I wish I had more time to play with you guys. This discussion has taken an interesting turn.

Fearing explanations found in shades of grey, BA hastily retreats to the long debunked principle of Occam’s Razor desperate to find simple answers to complex questions. :9923:
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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Born_again wrote:
writerdave wrote:
Tumult wrote:Atheists may be forced to admit they can't know for certain but that doesn't mean they can't still believe with certainty.


With that logic, I cannot know for certain there is no man on the moon but I can believe it with certainty.

Me thinks you're splitting philosophical hairs.


Time, methinks, to call Steven Lloyd back into the room! :dyinglaughing:
Why do we need all these shades of grey? Black and white works fine for matters so simple.


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Re: I'm an Atheist

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:dyinglaughing:
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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writerdave wrote:
Tumult wrote:Atheists may be forced to admit they can't know for certain but that doesn't mean they can't still believe with certainty.


With that logic, I cannot know for certain there is no man on the moon but I can believe it with certainty.

Me thinks you're splitting philosophical hairs.


Maybe I am splitting hairs.... here's what I hope is my final attempt to get my point across

Nolanrh has suggested we compromise and say "[atheists] believe there is PROBABLY no deity".

This is asking to compromise the definition of atheist to accommodate the uncertainty of nolanrh’s belief.

Definitions of atheist:

One who believes there is no deity or deities.
One who disbelieves in a deity or deities.
One who lacks belief in a deity or deities.
One who believes the statement “A deity or deities exist” is false.

All these definitions preclude belief in the existence of a deity or deities.

Compare the following statements:

1. Atheists can’t know for certain but believe there is no deity or deities.
2. Atheists can’t know for certain but believe there probably is no deity or deities.
3. Atheists can’t know for certain but believe that there might be a deity or deities.
4. Atheists can’t know for certain but believe that there is a possibility a deity or deities exist.

All four statements indicate that knowing whether or not a deity or deities exist is uncertain. The last three essentially mean the same, in that they all indicate belief that includes the chance for a deity or deities to exist whereas only the first indicates a belief without the existence of a deity or deities. Only the first fits all the definitions for atheist in that it also precludes belief in the existence of a deity or deities.
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Re: I'm an Atheist

Post by Born_again »

DANIEL C. DENNETT

Belief in Belief

Jerry Coyne nicely dissects the urge of many people to persuade themselves that their religion can coexist peacefully with science in general and evolutionary biology in particular. And he shows just how hopeless this quest is. The question remains: why is this urge so strong, even in some people who have devoted their careers to science? I can discern more than half a dozen plausible reasons for belief in belief in God, and in some people these reasons are no doubt additive, not exclusive. I list them more or less in order, ranging from abject through feckless to noble-if-misguided:

(1) The fallacy of sunk costs: "I've already invested fifty years of my life in this position, and it would be excruciatingly embarrassing to acknowledge my error. In fairness to myself, I was entrapped in this view when I was too young to know better, and I've never been able to find a face-saving exit strategy."

(2) Err on the side of prudence: "I can conjure up enough uncertainty about these issues to excuse myself from drawing the invited conclusions, which might be mistaken, after all, and could, I suppose, do some harm to somebody. Where it doesn't itch, don't scratch!"

(3) Religion for art's sake: "The only cost-effective way to preserve the great music, literature, and art of the world's religions is to encourage all people to support these magnificent living museums with their weekly offerings."

(4) What would my mother think? "People whom I hold dear, and who depend on me emotionally, would be heartbroken to learn of my defection. I'm going to carry this white lie to the grave, or at least until my parents are safely in their graves and my children and loved ones give me clear signs of being able to take such a confession with equanimity."

(5) Credal calisthenics: "It keeps me modest, and fosters a desirable habit of moral reflection that helps me do the right thing ‘without even thinking'. It's a method of self-purification that keeps me morally fit."

(6) We must fend off moral chaos: "I myself don't need God to tell me how to live, but some people really do. Religious belief puts the fear of God into some who would otherwise behave reprehensibly."

(7) Don't make waves: "I have more than enough substantive controversies that I would rather spend my energies on. Why discard alliances, make enemies, lose the affection of powerful friends and associates by raining on their parade?"

(8) Dumbo's magic feather: "Religious belief is a moral prosthesis: it strengthens the resolve and courage of many who want to be good but don't have the true grit they need. If I recant, I contribute to the dissolution of an aspect of the world that they truly depend on. I have no right to take away their crutch."

The combination of any two or three of these is enough, apparently, to induce some very smart people to defend some very lame arguments. They would never tolerate such fuzzy and illogical thinking in their science–or, in the case of philosophers, in their analytic work in ethics or epistemology or metaphysics. They manage not to notice how they have transformed the object of their worship from the original Celestial Bio-engineer into a Divine Nudger of Randomness into an Omniscient Lawgiver into the (impersonal, but still somehow benign) Ground of All Being. Not only don't they notice this comical retreat; they applaud the deep sophistication of the theologians who have conducted it. (I haven't any idea what the Ground of All Being is, so I guess I don't have to be an atheist about that. Maybe the process of evolution by natural selection just is God! Now there's a way of reconciling evolution with religion! )

Each reason for belief in belief in God is defensible up to a point, but we need to weigh the indirect side effects of going along with tradition. First, there's the systematic hypocrisy that poisons discourse, and even more important, our vulnerability to those who abuse the "reverence" with which we are supposed to respond to their indulgences. We can continue to respect the good intentions of those who persist in professing belief in God, but we'll be doing them a favour if we stop pretending that we respect the arguments they use to sustain these fantasies.
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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Born_again wrote:DANIEL C. DENNETT

Belief in Belief

Jerry Coyne nicely dissects the urge of many people to persuade themselves that their religion can coexist peacefully with science in general and evolutionary biology in particular. And he shows just how hopeless this quest is. The question remains: why is this urge so strong, even in some people who have devoted their careers to science? I can discern more than half a dozen plausible reasons for belief in belief in God, and in some people these reasons are no doubt additive, not exclusive. I list them more or less in order, ranging from abject through feckless to noble-if-misguided:

(1) The fallacy of sunk costs: "I've already invested fifty years of my life in this position, and it would be excruciatingly embarrassing to acknowledge my error. In fairness to myself, I was entrapped in this view when I was too young to know better, and I've never been able to find a face-saving exit strategy."

(2) Err on the side of prudence: "I can conjure up enough uncertainty about these issues to excuse myself from drawing the invited conclusions, which might be mistaken, after all, and could, I suppose, do some harm to somebody. Where it doesn't itch, don't scratch!"

(3) Religion for art's sake: "The only cost-effective way to preserve the great music, literature, and art of the world's religions is to encourage all people to support these magnificent living museums with their weekly offerings."

(4) What would my mother think? "People whom I hold dear, and who depend on me emotionally, would be heartbroken to learn of my defection. I'm going to carry this white lie to the grave, or at least until my parents are safely in their graves and my children and loved ones give me clear signs of being able to take such a confession with equanimity."

(5) Credal calisthenics: "It keeps me modest, and fosters a desirable habit of moral reflection that helps me do the right thing ‘without even thinking'. It's a method of self-purification that keeps me morally fit."

(6) We must fend off moral chaos: "I myself don't need God to tell me how to live, but some people really do. Religious belief puts the fear of God into some who would otherwise behave reprehensibly."

(7) Don't make waves: "I have more than enough substantive controversies that I would rather spend my energies on. Why discard alliances, make enemies, lose the affection of powerful friends and associates by raining on their parade?"

(8) Dumbo's magic feather: "Religious belief is a moral prosthesis: it strengthens the resolve and courage of many who want to be good but don't have the true grit they need. If I recant, I contribute to the dissolution of an aspect of the world that they truly depend on. I have no right to take away their crutch."

The combination of any two or three of these is enough, apparently, to induce some very smart people to defend some very lame arguments. They would never tolerate such fuzzy and illogical thinking in their science–or, in the case of philosophers, in their analytic work in ethics or epistemology or metaphysics. They manage not to notice how they have transformed the object of their worship from the original Celestial Bio-engineer into a Divine Nudger of Randomness into an Omniscient Lawgiver into the (impersonal, but still somehow benign) Ground of All Being. Not only don't they notice this comical retreat; they applaud the deep sophistication of the theologians who have conducted it. (I haven't any idea what the Ground of All Being is, so I guess I don't have to be an atheist about that. Maybe the process of evolution by natural selection just is God! Now there's a way of reconciling evolution with religion! )

Each reason for belief in belief in God is defensible up to a point, but we need to weigh the indirect side effects of going along with tradition. First, there's the systematic hypocrisy that poisons discourse, and even more important, our vulnerability to those who abuse the "reverence" with which we are supposed to respond to their indulgences. We can continue to respect the good intentions of those who persist in professing belief in God, but we'll be doing them a favour if we stop pretending that we respect the arguments they use to sustain these fantasies.


More pompous egotism... the religious views are fantasy while the atheists have all the facts, like the universe started because it did. :127: Atheists should stop pretending they respect the arguments... when did they start?
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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And you are the king of respect, there mr. zontar. You would never insult anyone, or disagree with them(as long as they believe what you do). What exactly is 'respecting the argument" anyway? If I have an opposing view, why should I respect your arguments if my job is to argue against yours? I wouldn't be able to say anything, out of respect.
Last edited by Mr Danksworth on Feb 5th, 2009, 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm an Atheist

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zzontar wrote:
More pompous egotism... the religious views are fantasy while the atheists have all the facts, like the universe started because it did. :127: Atheists should stop pretending they respect the arguments... when did they start?

You'll like this one then, zzontar.

PATRICK BATESON
..... If you live comfortably and are surrounded by good friends and endless opportunities for a stimulating and interesting life, then your need for belief in an omniscient and all-caring being is not great. But if you have a wretched life with nothing to be happy about, you may well want something to cling onto, some conviction that you can look forward to conditions that are never likely to exist in the real world.

It seems staggeringly insensitive to tell such people that they are fooling themselves and that, since they only have one life, they should get out there should enjoy it. No amount of science is going to help them to perceive the world in a way that is helpful to them. Science can be applied to relieving the conditions that oppress them—but that is a different matter. Telling them to be rational will only compound their misery.
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