Why is atheism rational?

destinyawaits
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Why is atheism rational?

I'm new here and it's a bit difficult to know where to start. So I've started a new thread. Would someone please explain how the belief that we are finite physical beings is rational and how the belief that we are not is irrational. I don't belong to any church or group, I had a Godless upbringing,  but I do believe there is more to life than a brief physical existence. Science can demonstrate various cause and effect relationships and obviously this is very useful if you want to build an engine or cure a disease but as for spiritual matters all science can say is "no evidence". And of course their is no scientific evidence because science is concerned exclusively with material relationships. Subjective experience is beyond science. We cannot prove that someone has heard the same piece of music as another person or that two people have have seen the same image or colour. Much of what we think we know is assumption, habit, convention, laziness etc. Why should  "freethinking" be restricted to the belief that we are physical beings with a  restricted lifespan. This is a belief, a dogma like any other. It's a restriction on the imagination and very narrow filter for experience.     


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jcgadfly
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What makes a belief that

What makes a belief that something outside of physical existence rational?

I don't need an afterlife and my imagination is raucously active.

Imagination and delusion aren't identical.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Quote:Would someone please

Quote:
Would someone please explain how the belief that we are finite physical beings is rational and how the belief that we are not is irrational.

Gladly.

1. In this context, rational means logically valid with true data.  Logical validity is deductive.  That is to say, it is 100% certain.  True data is never 100% certain because it is based on induction, but in science, we work with probability.  When we say something is virtually certain, we mean that the probability of anything else being true is so staggeringly low that it's not worth considering.  So, we can use the word, "certain" to mean that within the boundaries of perception, a thing is so probable that it is the only option we can rationally consider.

2. In logic, there is a fundamental and necessary truth:  The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.  That means that a thing is presumed false until proven true.  You can illustrate this for yourself by assuming the opposite.  Assume for a second that a thing must be assumed true until proven false.  Now, prove this false:  Everything you perceive is wrong.

See?  The burden must be on the side of the claimant.

3. To exist, a thing must have properties.  In philosophy, this is known as identity.  In short, we must be able to say what a thing is.  The kicker to this is that for something to exist as something, it must also not exist as something else.  That is a limit.  A thing with limits is finite, by definition.  (That's the first part of your question -- how we know we are finite.)

4. The words, "supernatural" and "immaterial" are incoherent.  That is, they don't actually refer to anything.  They cannot refer to anything.  Anything that exists must be natural and material.

5. Consciousness is intrinsically and unavoidably linked to the brain.  We can empirically demonstrate this.  When a person dies, the matter and energy that was their body changes form, and there is no longer a brain.  No brain, no consciousness.

 

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Science can demonstrate various cause and effect relationships and obviously this is very useful if you want to build an engine or cure a disease but as for spiritual matters all science can say is "no evidence".

Here, you must refer back to the burden of proof, and the concept of identity.  If a spirit is not material, it does not, and cannot exist.  If it is material, it is subject to the laws of science.  In the absence of any evidence for a spirit, the assumption must be the nonexistence of the spirit.

All claims of proof for spirits suffer from any number of logical fallacies.  The claim that spirituality transcends science fails for the same reason.  If a thing exists, it exists as something.  If it exists as something, it can be detected by science.

In short, there is no evidence in science, and all of the non-scientific "evidence" for spirit fails.  Therefore, we must rationally conclude that there is no such thing.
 

Quote:
And of course their is no scientific evidence because science is concerned exclusively with material relationships. Subjective experience is beyond science.

You misunderstand "subjective."  Individual perceptions are quite accessible to science.  They are just irrelevant as proof of anything.  Subjective experiences are intrinsically tied to and emergent from material existence.  It can be no other way, as "immaterial" is philosophically and scientifically empty.  It simply cannot exist.

Quote:
We cannot prove that someone has heard the same piece of music as another person or that two people have have seen the same image or colour. Much of what we think we know is assumption, habit, convention, laziness etc.

We most certainly can prove that someone has heard the same piece of music as another person.  What we cannot prove is that the experience of hearing the music was identical in two people.  However, we can, with an incredibly high degree of certainty, prove that we have every logical reason to believe that music is experienced in essentially the same way by two people.

Be careful not to confuse colloquial meanings with scientific ones.  When we say we can't prove love, for instance, we mean that love is so varied and individual that it's hard to define, and that even having defined it, we can't literally jump into another person's head and have the exact same experience, thereby empirically proving that a person is feeling love.  Scientists, however, can narrow down elements of the emotional set "love" and quantify them.  With an fMRI, we can watch the brain in real time, noting the changes when someone sees a picture of someone they love.  We can repeat this with many subjects, and build a model of what the brain looks like when it is experiencing love.  If someone then got into the machine and said he was in love, but wasn't, the operators would know that he was lying.

Again, science most definitely can address the question of colloquial "intangibles."  We just have to be sure that our language is precise, and that we are not confusing the issues by speaking unscientifically.

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Why should  "freethinking" be restricted to the belief that we are physical beings with a  restricted lifespan.

It is not.  However, at this time, there is zero evidence for anything else.  Zero.  None.  Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  With no evidence, the only rational position is that we are finite beings with a restricted lifespan.  The burden of proof is on the claimant.  It must be.

Quote:
This is a belief, a dogma like any other. It's a restriction on the imagination and very narrow filter for experience.    

Dogma: An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true

Scientists do not claim any absolute truths, nor do freethinkers who are thinking rationally.  However, freethinkers are necessarily bounded by a few things that must be true IF we are to have any knowledge at all.  These are known as axioms.  If you've heard of or read Descartes, you know the most famous one.  "I think, therefore I am" is another way of saying that existence is axiomatic.  For me to ask the question of my existence, I must exist.

From this simple principle, we eventually arrive deductively (with certainty) at the principles of logic.  Logic dictates with 100% certainty that the Burden of Proof is always, and must always be on the claimant.  This means, in no uncertain terms, that in order to be rational, one must reject that for which there is no evidence.

 

I'd like to suggest further reading before you respond to this post.  It will prevent you from making objections that have already been addressed:

That last link is the first in a series of articles.  Look at the bottom of the page for the next in the series.  You need to read all seven.  (Or eight... I can't remember.)

If you're interested in more detailed discussions of consciousness, perception, and the concept of emergence, you should read this book:

How the Mind Works  

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker (Paperback - Jan 1, 1999)

It's a big book, and isn't an easy read, but if you want answers, you need to be prepared to do some homework.  If you just want a comfortable excuse to believe something because it makes you feel better, you're at the wrong website.

While you're reading, you could browse through these books:

Consciousness Explained  

Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett (Paperback - Oct 20, 1992)

 Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (Jean Nicod Lectures)  

Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (Jean Nicod Lectures) by Daniel C. Dennett

 

Again, please let me encourage you to, at the very least, read all those links to RRS articles.  We'll know if you just answer without reading them.  They address pretty much all of the objections you might raise.  I can't stress this enough.  If you just want to believe in an afterlife, or something like that, to make yourself feel better, go ahead.  We're not stopping you.  But, if having the true answer interests you, you're going to have to do some reading and some difficult critical thinking.  We'll be happy to help you.  That's why we're here.  Just don't waste our time if your mind is already made up.  If you have proof that none of us have ever seen, we'll change our tune in a heartbeat, but we insist that you also come into a discussion with an open mind.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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entomophila
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Boxers or briefs?

destinyawaits wrote:

...but I do believe there is more to life than a brief physical existence.

Why?

destinyawaits wrote:

And of course their is no scientific evidence because science is concerned exclusively with material relationships.

No. I think you have the definition of "science" confused with something else.

destinyawaits wrote:

Subjective experience is beyond science.

We cannot prove that someone has heard the same piece of music as another person or that two people have have seen the same image or colour. 

Er. Yes we can. Have you heard "Thriller" lately? What colors are in the US flag? Red, white and blue. Have you seen a photograph of the Statue of Liberty? I think we would all recognize that. Did you like those satin Manolo Blahnik blue pumps that Carrie left in the closet in the new Sex in the City movie? Would you buy them if they were mauve? I don't think so!

Maybe you don't like the shoes. What is subjective is whether or not you like "Thriller" or those particular Manolo Blahnik shoes. Even that could be explained by biology.

destinyawaits wrote:

Much of what we think we know is assumption, habit, convention, laziness etc. Why should  "freethinking" be restricted to the belief that we are physical beings with a restricted lifespan. 

We have no evidence that there is anything else.

destinyawaits wrote:

This is a belief, a dogma like any other.

No. Not like dogma.

destinyawaits wrote:

It's a restriction on the imagination and very narrow filter for experience.     

WTH is a "filter for experience?"


destinyawaits
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If you just want to believe

If you just want to believe in an afterlife, or something like that, to make yourself feel better, go ahead.  We're not stopping you.  But, if having the true answer interests you, you're going to have to do some reading and some difficult critical thinking.  We'll be happy to help you.

Do you have any idea how much you resemble the Jehovah's Witnesses? You haven't even asked me what I believe or why. You have no idea who I am or what I have experienced and yet you dismiss me with a reading list that contains the "true answer." The JW's suggest the Old Testament. 

If you have proof that none of us have ever seen, we'll change our tune in a heartbeat

This is absurd and lightminded in the extreme. No serious person changes their mind on a matter as fundamental as this "in a heartbeat." The question is; do you really want to engage or just make silly comments (previous replies) or hand out your unquestioned and unchallengable version of  "the truth."  

 


destinyawaits
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What colors are in the US

What colors are in the US flag? Red, white and blue.

 

Imagination? Do you have one? red is a word. How do you know that another person sees the same "red" as you do? Maybe they see what you call yellow but you've both been trained to identify with the word "red."

 

WFT is a filter in the imagination - learn to think.


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Why?

destinyawaits,

     I don't think most people here would call you irrational for believing there is more than just this finite physical existence... However, there is no evidence for it being more than a finite physical existence.

Think about it... everyone you've ever met, every idea you've ever heard, seen, read, etc.... has come from someone with the same limited view as you have as to why we are here, and as to what happens before/after death. So, why trust anything anyone tells us about what happens after death? The fact is, we have no data or evidence to give any weight to the idea of life somehow continuing after death, so why believe that it does?

Perhaps you think that as a human, you must believe that there is something else... maybe it keeps you going? Well, even if it comforts you, it lends to weight to the idea of an afterlife. This does not mean that I hate life, or don't live my life to the fullest or anything like that... it simply means I see no evidence for an afterlife, so there probably isn't one. However, I'm open to what actual evidence we may discover.


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destinyawaits wrote:What

destinyawaits wrote:

What colors are in the US flag? Red, white and blue.

 

Imagination? Do you have one? red is a word. How do you know that another person sees the same "red" as you do? Maybe they see what you call yellow but you've both been trained to identify with the word "red."

 

WFT is a filter in the imagination - learn to think.

 

Red is a word that identifies a wavelength so it doesn't much matter as to how it's subjectively experienced. I.E. Even if the subjective experiences were to be different, what they are identifying isn't. (Basically, even if what your suggesting was the case, it wouldn't matter.)

As through a glass darkly you seek yourself,
But the light grows weak while under Yggdrasil. --clutch


destinyawaits
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Think about it... everyone

Think about it... everyone you've ever met, every idea you've ever heard, seen, read, etc.... has come from someone with the same limited view as you have as to why we are here, and as to what happens before/after death. So, why trust anything anyone tells us about what happens after death? The fact is, we have no data or evidence to give any weight to the idea of life somehow continuing after death, so why believe that it does?

This is completely wrong. I don't mix with people who agree with me. Quite the opposite. You people make a lot of assumptions and ask no questions.  Maybe you are the dogmatists. You have no idea what I think and yet you mount silly and irrelevant arguments against what you think I think.


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destinyawaits wrote:If you

destinyawaits wrote:

If you just want to believe in an afterlife, or something like that, to make yourself feel better, go ahead.  We're not stopping you.  But, if having the true answer interests you, you're going to have to do some reading and some difficult critical thinking.  We'll be happy to help you.

Do you have any idea how much you resemble the Jehovah's Witnesses? You haven't even asked me what I believe or why. You have no idea who I am or what I have experienced and yet you dismiss me with a reading list that contains the "true answer." The JW's suggest the Old Testament. 

If you have proof that none of us have ever seen, we'll change our tune in a heartbeat

This is absurd and lightminded in the extreme. No serious person changes their mind on a matter as fundamental as this "in a heartbeat." The question is; do you really want to engage or just make silly comments (previous replies) or hand out your unquestioned and unchallengable version of  "the truth."  

 

I asked you, "What makes a belief that something outside of physical existence rational?"

The only reason I used afterlife is because you talk about something outside/after physical existence. Does physical existence mean something other than life to you?

I've given you questions that allow you to tell me what you believe and why.  You glossed over them.

If you have incontrovertible proof that one has to accept or be a complete fool, changes "in a heartbeat" would be expected. How long did you have to think about the question before you accepted that 2+2=4?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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destinyawaits wrote:Think

destinyawaits wrote:

Think about it... everyone you've ever met, every idea you've ever heard, seen, read, etc.... has come from someone with the same limited view as you have as to why we are here, and as to what happens before/after death. So, why trust anything anyone tells us about what happens after death? The fact is, we have no data or evidence to give any weight to the idea of life somehow continuing after death, so why believe that it does?

This is completely wrong. I don't mix with people who agree with me. Quite the opposite. You people make a lot of assumptions and ask no questions.  Maybe you are the dogmatists. You have no idea what I think and yet you mount silly and irrelevant arguments against what you think I think.

 

Well since nobody else has asked yet and since your itching to get it off your chest.......... What do you think and why?

 

*Edit*

 

Or maybe I should say that nobody has asked with that specific wording.....

As through a glass darkly you seek yourself,
But the light grows weak while under Yggdrasil. --clutch


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color and WTH

You're kidding me about the color thing...right? Unless you are colorblind, we all agree what the color "red" is. Of course we have been trained to define colors...because we have, as humans, defined what "red" is! And we have defined the hue, tint, tone and shades of each color. As we have been trained and can all pick out a red object among other colored objects so I don't see what your point is here.

If you ask the Pope what 2 colors (let's not get picky about whether or not white is a color) are on the Vatican flag, he is going to say yellow and white and he should be able to pick out the yellow and white flag from flags that look the same but with other colors. If he picked one with red and green, you'd better take him in for an MRI or have him lay off the alcohol (perhaps HIS version of a filter?).

Color is not a subjective thing. How you experience it IS subjective. We know color has an effect on emotion.

Here is the abstract from a study from the academic literature (I'm assuming you know what this is?) about color and human emotion:

J Exp Psychol Gen. 1994 Dec;123(4):394-409.

Valdez P, Mehrabian A.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles.

Emotional reactions to color hue, saturation, and brightness (Munsell color system and color chips) were investigated using the Pleasure-Arousal-Dominance emotion model. Saturation (S) and brightness (B) evidenced strong and consistent effects on emotions. Regression equations for standardized variables were; Pleasure = .69B + .22S, Arousal = -.31B + .60S, Dominance = -.76B + .32S. Brightness effects were nearly the same for chromatic and achromatic colors. Blue, blue-green, green, red-purple, purple, and purple-blue were the most pleasant hues, whereas yellow and green-yellow were the least pleasant. Green-yellow, blue-green, and green were the most arousing, whereas purple-blue and yellow-red were the least arousing. Green-yellow induced greater dominance than red-purple.

destinyawaits wrote:

WFT is a filter in the imagination

Does not compute....

 

 


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destinyawaits wrote:If you

destinyawaits wrote:

If you have proof that none of us have ever seen, we'll change our tune in a heartbeat

This is absurd and lightminded in the extreme. No serious person changes their mind on a matter as fundamental as this "in a heartbeat." The question is; do you really want to engage or just make silly comments (previous replies) or hand out your unquestioned and unchallengable version of  "the truth."  

Beg pardon?  How does saying "we will have no choice but to agree with anyone who offers proof of their assertions" make us lightminded or absurd?  Where I come from, that makes me a reasonable adult.  What changes your mind, pretty pictures and a kind voice?

This is not our "version" of the truth.  These facts of which we speak are open to anyone who can read, and these facts don't care how they make you feel.  These facts are challenged all the time, by the very people who add to this body of facts, because we can't consider them "facts" until they've been rigorously tested and survived.  Until then, they're hypotheses.

So please: challenge the hypotheses!  Question the conclusions!  Regardless of who turns out to be right, we will have learned something.  If you are willing to discuss something, so am I.  But please don't be surprised if I don't agree with you and can explain why.

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destinyawaits wrote:This is

destinyawaits wrote:

This is absurd and lightminded in the extreme. No serious person changes their mind on a matter as fundamental as this "in a heartbeat." The question is; do you really want to engage or just make silly comments (previous replies) or hand out your unquestioned and unchallengable version of  "the truth."  

An intellectually-honest person would change their minds in a heartbeat if presented with serious, valid, verifiable, and reproducible evidence contrary to their current position. That's part of being rational.

As far as a rational version of "the truth," it is not unquestioned. "The truth" is merely an approximation of the universe. As we gain new knowledge, the approximation more closely resembles reality. However, all theory is contingent. New data may change how we view the world. Some theories will survive; others will be cast onto the midden heap of wrong ideas. "The truth" is eternally questioned. Otherwise, we would stagnate.

The only "knowledge" that is unchallengeable is that gained through subjective means: through folklore or myth, through introspection and meditation, through divine revelation. These bits of knowledge are unchallengeable as they are not subject to reality. They live entirely in our heads, passed through cultural artefacts such as the Bible. They are generally accepted as true based solely on "feeling," as in, "I have a feeling there is something beyond this mortal existence."

Rational thought, and rational knowledge, is different. It is based on observation of reality. The subjectivity of human perception is minimized to the greatest extent possible. Facts are gathered, and creative induction is used to provide explanations of the facts. Those explanations are then deductively tested. Explanations that survive multiple tests are then tentatively accepted. They may be invalidated at any time. All it takes is one bit of repeatable evidence to completely destroy an hypothesis or theory.

The rational path is the path of evidence, of data and hypothesis and objectivity. The irrational path is the path of emotion without logic, hope for the sake of comfort, pretty lies instead of hard ugly truth.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Nigel - much of the response

Nigel - much of the response here has been very emotional. Premises are oh so obvious if you relate them emotionally.  It is absolutely untrue that a "rational" person - whatever that is supposed to mean - would change their opinion "in a heartbeat" if faced with "evidence."  This belief, and it is a belief, an emotional belief showing very little if no understanding of how human beings form opinions, has no basis in reality.

The Big Bang. What proof do we have? None. It's a series of mathematical equations comprehended by a few experts with no empirical proof. But it's true isn't it because a scientist (priest) tells you it is so?

Can evolution be proved? No. It's a modern "scientific" creation myth that you choose to believe because it's fashionable to do so. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel you understand.  But in the end you will die and according to your belief,disappear, but at least before the terror hits you, you will be able to feel smugly superior to all the superstitious fools who believe they will live on. 


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destinyawaits wrote:Nigel -

destinyawaits wrote:

Nigel - much of the response here has been very emotional. Premises are oh so obvious if you relate them emotionally.  It is absolutely untrue that a "rational" person - whatever that is supposed to mean - would change their opinion "in a heartbeat" if faced with "evidence."  This belief, and it is a belief, an emotional belief showing very little if no understanding of how human beings form opinions, has no basis in reality.

The Big Bang. What proof do we have? None. It's a series of mathematical equations comprehended by a few experts with no empirical proof. But it's true isn't it because a scientist (priest) tells you it is so?

Can evolution be proved? No. It's a modern "scientific" creation myth that you choose to believe because it's fashionable to do so. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel you understand.  But in the end you will die and according to your belief,disappear, but at least before the terror hits you, you will be able to feel smugly superior to all the superstitious fools who believe they will live on. 

Be careful - your mask is slipping a little.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Well, somebody has proven

Well, somebody has proven that they are an idiot who doesn't read other threads and has no understanding of how science works whatsoever. There are actual scientists on this site and if you try arguing with them you will wind up the guest of honor at a bukake party. Or you'll do like amny christians and cover your ears "nah nah I'm not listening I can't hear you."

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


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Be careful - your mask is

Be careful - your mask is slipping a little.

You have nothing to say but want to appear intelligent. Engage! Argue. Discuss! It should be natural for a genuinley enquiring mind.  


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So why not make the

So why not make the arguments yourself? Too few braincells?


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CONGRATULATIONS!

destinyawaits wrote:

Nigel - much of the response here has been very emotional. Premises are oh so obvious if you relate them emotionally.  It is absolutely untrue that a "rational" person - whatever that is supposed to mean - would change their opinion "in a heartbeat" if faced with "evidence."  This belief, and it is a belief, an emotional belief showing very little if no understanding of how human beings form opinions, has no basis in reality.

The Big Bang. What proof do we have? None. It's a series of mathematical equations comprehended by a few experts with no empirical proof. But it's true isn't it because a scientist (priest) tells you it is so?

Can evolution be proved? No. It's a modern "scientific" creation myth that you choose to believe because it's fashionable to do so. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel you understand.  But in the end you will die and according to your belief,disappear, but at least before the terror hits you, you will be able to feel smugly superior to all the superstitious fools who believe they will live on.

 

CONGRATULATIONS

"destinyawaits"

You have just been awarded the "bad grammar" award of the month!

Display it with pride!

 


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This is your rational

This is your rational argument? Oh, I see, you don't have one, you're just as emotional as the thiests.


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destinyawaits wrote:Be

destinyawaits wrote:

Be careful - your mask is slipping a little.

You have nothing to say but want to appear intelligent. Engage! Argue. Discuss! It should be natural for a genuinley enquiring mind.  

I and others have asked you questions about what you believe and you keep dodging them. Give me something to engage. At present, you've brought up comparisons of scientists to priests, science as a religion and evolution never having been observed (despite volumes of evidence to the contrary - including this discussion http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/14127)

My first thought when I read what you've brought so far was "Kent Hovind? When did you get out of prison?"

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


destinyawaits
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sorry for the bad spelling,

sorry for the bad spelling, but you know what I mean. You are a bunch of dishonest arseholes.


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destinyawaits wrote:sorry

destinyawaits wrote:

sorry for the bad spelling, but you know what I mean. You are a bunch of dishonest arseholes.

And you're still dodging and evading - what do you believe and why? What proof for evolution are you not seeing?

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You are truly an asshat. I

You are truly an asshat. I don't have a biology degree and would leave the explanation to those who do - deludedgod has a PhD. Do you really have any idea what scientists do? Any scientific experiment is redone in different ways by many other scientist - and all are looked at very closely. Ever hear of the peer review process? Believe me, they try to disprove whatever hypothesis another scientist put forth - and once they can't and the results come back the same way it's established. Do you have any idea what a theory is in science? It's not something a couple scientists thought up while drunk one night - it's a well established explanation. Theries don't become laws. Ever. Sadly, you are typical of Americans in not having the scientific understanding a 12 year old should have. Do you really think scientists form a circle every Sunday morning and chant "We DO believe in gravity! We believe everything that goes up must come down." Please stop embarassing yourself here with your utter ignorance.

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destinyawaits wrote:Nigel -

destinyawaits wrote:

Nigel - much of the response here has been very emotional. Premises are oh so obvious if you relate them emotionally.  It is absolutely untrue that a "rational" person - whatever that is supposed to mean - would change their opinion "in a heartbeat" if faced with "evidence."  This belief, and it is a belief, an emotional belief showing very little if no understanding of how human beings form opinions, has no basis in reality.

I think there's a misunderstanding here.  What I think Nigel is saying (and it's what I was trying to get across) is: if someone wants to call themselves rational, they are obligated to change their position when offered proof of an assertion, regardless of how they feel about the assertion, or their current position.  To do otherwise is to stop being rational.  That's why we tell people that we'll change our stance if given real proof or convincing evidence: we want to be rational about as much as we can.

The fights usually start when people feel they are offering evidence and we don't agree.

Quote:

The Big Bang. What proof do we have? None. It's a series of mathematical equations comprehended by a few experts with no empirical proof. But it's true isn't it because a scientist (priest) tells you it is so?

This isn't accurate.  There are others here who have a much better understanding of astrophysics than I do, but I know there is lots and lots of evidence.  Check out COBE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COBE), which measured the cosmic microwave background radiation levels of the universe and found them to be so consistent with the predictions made by the big bang model that the error bars were too small to put on the graph.  These readings are evidence that the big bang happened like tire tracks are evidence of wheels.

Quote:

Can evolution be proved? No. It's a modern "scientific" creation myth that you choose to believe because it's fashionable to do so. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel you understand. 

Good timing!  Go read the article I posted in this thread: evolution has been observed.  Do some googling and you will find that speciation events have also been observed.  Evolution happens, period.  I feel sorrow that there are people in the world who are made uncomfortable by this.

Evolution doesn't make me feel better about anything; it's a process that explains how we have many thousands of species of life on our planet instead of one, from a completely naturalistic standpoint.  There is so much evidence supporting it that proclaiming that the jury is still out on the matter is ignorant at best and willfully deluded at worst.

Quote:

But in the end you will die and according to your belief,disappear, but at least before the terror hits you, you will be able to feel smugly superior to all the superstitious fools who believe they will live on.

What terror would that be?  I assume I know what you mean, but I'd rather know than assume.

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destinyawaits wrote:Nigel -

destinyawaits wrote:

Nigel - much of the response here has been very emotional. Premises are oh so obvious if you relate them emotionally.  It is absolutely untrue that a "rational" person - whatever that is supposed to mean - would change their opinion "in a heartbeat" if faced with "evidence."  This belief, and it is a belief, an emotional belief showing very little if no understanding of how human beings form opinions, has no basis in reality.

Oh, absolutely! People are emotional. It's natural. It's part of who we are, part of what makes us human.

However, there is quite a bit of evidence that "rational people" (that is, people who try to base their knowledge on observable reality) change their minds when confronted with evidence that contradicts their beliefs. This happens all the time on this site, where someone will assert one thing, another person chimes in with actual evidence and study, and the original poster writes something to the effect of, "Mea culpa. You are right, and my original statement was wrong."

Now, some people do stick to their opinions in spite of mountains of evidence. This is true among the very intelligent and the unintelligent alike. This is doubly true where the opinion is about something that is based in emotion rather than scientific knowledge.

In the end, a good proportion of the folks on this site are willing to change their minds if presented with objective evidence. As I have said, I have seen it happen many times. So, as I have seen evidence to back up my claim, and you have presented nothing to back up yours, I'm afraid you haven't changed my mind.

Quote:

The Big Bang. What proof do we have? None. It's a series of mathematical equations comprehended by a few experts with no empirical proof. But it's true isn't it because a scientist (priest) tells you it is so?

Well, the theory of the "big bang" made distinct and accurate predictions. So, we have "proof" of the big bang through the validity of the predictions made by the theory. (Example: the "big bang" theory necessitates a certain amount of background cosmic radiation, of a very specific type. The quality and quantity of the background radiation is as predicted by the theory.)

Quote:

Can evolution be proved? No. It's a modern "scientific" creation myth that you choose to believe because it's fashionable to do so. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel you understand.  But in the end you will die and according to your belief,disappear, but at least before the terror hits you, you will be able to feel smugly superior to all the superstitious fools who believe they will live on. 

The theory of evolution through natural selection has been tested quite thoroughly. I "choose" to believe it because there is vast evidence to support it. As with the big bang theory, there are predictions made from the theory, any of which could have disproven the theory. So far, every test (prediction) has turned up in support of evolution through natural selection. From genetics to sociology to ecology and through quite a few more -ologies, evolution has been tested time and again by the predictions it makes.

Just out of curiousity, which creation myth do you choose to believe? Why do you choose to believe it? How does it match up with observable reality?

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destinyawaits wrote:Think

destinyawaits wrote:

Think about it... everyone you've ever met, every idea you've ever heard, seen, read, etc.... has come from someone with the same limited view as you have as to why we are here, and as to what happens before/after death. So, why trust anything anyone tells us about what happens after death? The fact is, we have no data or evidence to give any weight to the idea of life somehow continuing after death, so why believe that it does?

This is completely wrong. I don't mix with people who agree with me. Quite the opposite. You people make a lot of assumptions and ask no questions.  Maybe you are the dogmatists. You have no idea what I think and yet you mount silly and irrelevant arguments against what you think I think.

Where did I say you mix with people that agree with you? The statement I made above applies to everyone in the world. I wasn't addressing "you" specifically to tell you what I think I know about you, but "you" as the person I'm talking to. Nor did this imply that you hang out with other Christians or Muslims or whatever... I am talking about everyone as humans. No one knows what happens when we die, whether we are christians, atheists, mulsims, hippies, liberals, conservitives, black, white, purple, angry, courteous, or astronomers for that matter. Stop attacking me with YOUR assumptions about my statement, and try to read the point, there was no aggression, belittlement, or assumption (other than that you are human) in the original message. Let me re-word it for you:

Think about it... everyone we've ever met, every idea we've ever heard, seen, read, etc.... has come from someone with the same limited view as everyone else has to why we are here, and as to what happens before/after death. So, why trust anything anyone tells us about what happens after death? The fact is, we have no data or evidence to give any weight to the idea of life somehow continuing after death, so why should anyone believe that it does?

 


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emotion

destinyawaits wrote:

Oh, I see, you don't have one, you're just as emotional as the thiests [sic].

Is this supposed to be an insult?

destinyawaits wrote:

You have nothing to say but want to appear intelligent. Engage! Argue. Discuss! It should be natural for a genuinley enquiring mind.

OY VEY! Somebody stop me now....

destinyawaits wrote:

So why not make the arguments yourself? Too few braincells?

You mean brain cells?

destinyawaits wrote:

sorry for the bad spelling, but you know what I mean. You are a bunch of dishonest arseholes.

 

 

 

 

 


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Hey, destiny, how long do

Hey, destiny, how long do you have to be spanked before you respond?

Isn't your ass red enough yet?

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Quote:If you just want to

Quote:

If you just want to believe in an afterlife, or something like that, to make yourself feel better, go ahead.  We're not stopping you.  But, if having the true answer interests you, you're going to have to do some reading and some difficult critical thinking.  We'll be happy to help you.

Do you have any idea how much you resemble the Jehovah's Witnesses? You haven't even asked me what I believe or why. You have no idea who I am or what I have experienced and yet you dismiss me with a reading list that contains the "true answer." The JW's suggest the Old Testament.

I suspected that you would respond like this.  I notice you don't have much to say about the actual explanations I gave you.  You didn't read any of those links either, did you?

Did you notice that my statement had the word "IF" at the beginning?  That's a conditional, implying that either you do or don't hold that belief.  It is not a statement that you do.

Quote:
This is absurd and lightminded in the extreme. No serious person changes their mind on a matter as fundamental as this "in a heartbeat." The question is; do you really want to engage or just make silly comments (previous replies) or hand out your unquestioned and unchallengable version of  "the truth."

Did you also notice the conditional "IF you have evidence that we haven't seen"?  I've considered all the evidence I've seen, and reached my conclusion.  If you provide convincing, verifiable, logical evidence that I'm wrong, I'd be foolish not to accept it.

Now, would you mind addressing the well thought out, well reasoned responses I gave you, or are you just interested in telling me how closed minded I am?

 

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Oh, and one other thing. 

Oh, and one other thing.  My response was measured and neutral, as was my attitude while writing it.  If you read emotion into it, perhaps it was projection.

Psychological Defenses - Projection Identification

Now, would you please read the response I wrote again, and this time read the links I gave you.  They answer your questions from the philosophical, scientific, and logical sides, explaining in detail the answers I gave you, which you have completely ignored.

You're not doing a very good job of convincing me that you want an answer.  I think you might just want to tell us how wrong we are without actually learning anything about what we are saying.

Would you care to prove me wrong?

 

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destinyawaits wrote:This is

destinyawaits wrote:

This is your rational argument? Oh, I see, you don't have one, you're just as emotional as the theists[ME].

There, fixed. 

 

Atheism is rational because no form of theism has been proven rational.  Until theism is proven to be rational the only rational conclusion is to abstain from being a theist... atheism.

 

 

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Errr atheism is just the

Errr atheism is just the lack of belief in just one of many irrational ideas ie the believe in a humanoid like infinite dimensioned entity which listens to your prayers, creates the universe and commits genocide when bored (works in mysterious ways).

Still perfectly possible to be irrational and be an atheist . I believe that England will win the World Cup (football)  which in fact some people may say is as about  as likely as god putting in a personal appearance on this forum. They are of course wrong England will win

I would probably say being irrational is part of being a human being but its doesnt mean we cant rise above our biolgical inheritance

 


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Maybe the pwnage drive him

Maybe the pwnage drive him away.


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I think this person is just

I think this person is just angry at atheists and needed to blow off some steam....thank goodness I never let my emotions control me like that (....lame attempt at humor )

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

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Quote:I think this person is

Quote:
I think this person is just angry at atheists and needed to blow off some steam....thank goodness I never let my emotions control me like that (....lame attempt at humor )

(polite laughter)

 

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Hambydammit wrote:Oh, and

Hambydammit wrote:

Oh, and one other thing.  My response was measured and neutral, as was my attitude while writing it.  If you read emotion into it, perhaps it was projection.

Psychological Defenses - Projection Identification

Now, would you please read the response I wrote again, and this time read the links I gave you.  They answer your questions from the philosophical, scientific, and logical sides, explaining in detail the answers I gave you, which you have completely ignored.

You're not doing a very good job of convincing me that you want an answer.  I think you might just want to tell us how wrong we are without actually learning anything about what we are saying.

Would you care to prove me wrong?

 

Hi Hamby,

I was going to argue long and hard that all identity statements are elliptical in the real world and hit the excluded middle with a violation of Bell's Principle... but, nothing in this thread by destinyawaits, save the OP, moves me to defend her at all, let alone so vigorously.

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Quote:I was going to argue

Quote:
I was going to argue long and hard that all identity statements are elliptical in the real world and hit the excluded middle with a violation of Bell's Principle... but, nothing in this thread by destinyawaits, save the OP, moves me to defend her at all, let alone so vigorously.

You're going to have to help me a little here.  Isn't Bell's Principle something to do with the relative states of subatomic particles?  IIRC, I think I've heard it mentioned in discussions of Heisenberg, but I have never claimed to be even remotely interested in Quantum Physics, so I just can't recall.

Anyway, the argument wouldn't last long.  I would stick to an error of composition, and you would stick to Quantum Physics, and we'd never get anything accomplished.

 

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destinyawaits wrote: And of

destinyawaits wrote:

 And of course their is no scientific evidence because science is concerned exclusively with material relationships.      

Read Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy  by David Ramsay Steele. He talks about how science has, in fact, made every reasonable effort to research non-material, spiritual, and paranormal experiences. But at some point, when you are getting nowhere, you have to conclude that you are wasting your time and efforts and decide it's better to spend your resources elsewhere. After multiple attempts to produce even the slightest bit of evidence without success it makes no sense to continue. How long do you keep going when getting nowhere?

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
I was going to argue long and hard that all identity statements are elliptical in the real world and hit the excluded middle with a violation of Bell's Principle... but, nothing in this thread by destinyawaits, save the OP, moves me to defend her at all, let alone so vigorously.

You're going to have to help me a little here.  Isn't Bell's Principle something to do with the relative states of subatomic particles?  IIRC, I think I've heard it mentioned in discussions of Heisenberg, but I have never claimed to be even remotely interested in Quantum Physics, so I just can't recall.

One way to understand what Bell's theorem is saying is to use a very straightforward logical statement about distribution - say you have a collection of red, yellow and blue objects, and you separate them into groups of 'red and not blue' and 'blue and not yellow' it is simple to see that the sum of objects in both of those two groups is greater or equal to the number of objects in a distribution of the third kind 'red and not yellow'. A smart person like yourself should find this easy to understand quickly so I won't linger on it.

(edited - I accidently changed a parameters midstream, sorry)

The point of Bells theorem was to test the compatibility of hidden variables and quantum mechanics. Put simply Quantum mechanics assigns a different probability to the distribution of those three kinds of objects which flies in the face of the logic I just gave you, yet it is QM that the experimental evidence supports, not the hidden variable theory modelled by the above logic.  I'm sure you can see that a core assumption of the inequality is the excluded middle - something is either A or not A - and that a violation of the principle brings this assumption strongly into question.

Hamby wrote:

Anyway, the argument wouldn't last long.  I would stick to an error of composition, and you would stick to Quantum Physics, and we'd never get anything accomplished.

 

 

I assure you I would avoid compositing incongruent things from QM, but even so what I would be saying about the law of identity has nothing to do with QM, I can argue that finite complete identities are superstition without referring to the subatomic world.

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Why is Atheism Rational ?

Why is Atheism Rational ?

  Yeah, What is not god? Religion BARKS lies on national world TVs. WHY ?  As if they know GOD ! What a fucking sick embarrasing joke them dogmatic religious people are .... to heal, ..... the ENEMY of the  "ONENESS" .... to love, to understand .....

GOD FUCKING DAMN THEM, so into the DEVILS "Religious" spell the idol worshipers are ......

   ALL IS ONE , what is separate ? Was there ever nothing ???  WHY BE religious ?

   GOD can NOT be named , first message of the ancient Tao !  GOD is ATHEIST ! No worship , no MASTER ..... all is ONE ..... 

  And Moses brought, "No god before ME" ....  ME , I AM WHAT I AM , No idols .....

   i god, as you .....   

P.S. ( folklore)  Jesus said , I am god , ye are god, gods. Buddha said get over the god shit, why worry about a god creator, know it all?  .....    Thanks all you old wise men ,  and YES, trash the temple/church god dogma ....   Feels  good       AWAKE ! ONE with the thingy that can not be named ..... !!!  Eternity , Infinity !!!  WOW .....


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Theist comes to the atheist

Theist comes to the atheist website and pretends to be atheist or "non-committed" to appear more open-minded and not have to answer to the narrow, dogmatic confines of his/her theology......Take # 14,847,565.  Roll 'em !!

Now throw off the inevitable criticism of my dogmatism by trying to paint the skeptic as the one who is actually "dogmatic". 

No matter how many times I see the same thing, it just never gets old, so one more time here we go:

It's magic time !

In the interest of brevity, could we maybe just skip 20 or so pages of this post and get right to the talking snakes and flaming swords ?

 

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Destiny: Are you a

Destiny: Are you a Thelemite?

Paul.


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I'm late to the thread and

I'm late to the thread and just did a quick scan.  Did destiny declare what it is he/she believes exists outside the material universe?    I saw a bunch of whining that we're quick to mis-characterize, but was there an outline of this belief system presented?


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Quote:One way to understand

Quote:
One way to understand what Bell's theorem is saying is to use a very straightforward logical statement about distribution - say you have a collection of red, yellow and blue objects, and you separate them into groups of 'red and not blue' and 'blue and not yellow' it is simple to see that the sum of objects in both of those two groups is greater or equal to the number of objects in a distribution of the third kind 'red and not yellow'. A smart person like yourself should find this easy to understand quickly so I won't linger on it.

Makes perfect sense.  Thanks.

Quote:
The point of Bells theorem was to test the compatibility of hidden variables and quantum mechanics. Put simply Quantum mechanics assigns a different probability to the distribution of those three kinds of objects which flies in the face of the logic I just gave you, yet it is QM that the experimental evidence supports, not the hidden variable theory modelled by the above logic.  I'm sure you can see that a core assumption of the inequality is the excluded middle - something is either A or not A - and that a violation of the principle brings this assumption strongly into question.

Ok.  Yes, I can see that for QM, the Law of the Excluded Middle might be irrelevant or insufficiently worded.

Quote:
I assure you I would avoid compositing incongruent things from QM, but even so what I would be saying about the law of identity has nothing to do with QM, I can argue that finite complete identities are superstition without referring to the subatomic world.

Well, this is where things would deteriorate fast.  Essentially, until I find philosophical justification for interposing quantum mechanics onto the human experience of reality, I'll just keep repeating the same thing:  It's an error of composition to suggest that the wholes behave like the parts.

To be honest, I'll let you argue all day that finite complete identities are superstition.  I won't even contradict you.  It's not that I particularly disagree with the idea that from a certain point of view, there are no discreet entities.  It's that the observation has literally zero effect on any of us superstitious simpletons.

 

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stuntgibbon wrote:I'm late

stuntgibbon wrote:

I'm late to the thread and just did a quick scan.  Did destiny declare what it is he/she believes exists outside the material universe?    I saw a bunch of whining that we're quick to mis-characterize, but was there an outline of this belief system presented?

Nope - and he/she/it has been asked many times...

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stuntgibbon wrote:I'm late

stuntgibbon wrote:

I'm late to the thread and just did a quick scan.  Did destiny declare what it is he/she believes exists outside the material universe?    I saw a bunch of whining that we're quick to mis-characterize, but was there an outline of this belief system presented?

Nope.  Destinyawaits hasn't replied to any message requesting clarification. In fact, DW has been strangely silent the last 24 hours. I'm sure DW has much better things to do than hang out and discuss rationalism, and the roots of rational superstition.

However, I'm sure he'll be open-minded about the Big Bang and evolution through natural selection. I mean, he wouldn't deny evidence merely to hold on to his beliefs, surely. Especially not after coming down so hard on all us arseholes about our inability to change our views.

After all, it wouldn't be rational to deny verifiable and reproducible evidence just because it conflicted with our opinions, would it?

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I still think he/she/it left

I still think he/she/it left and won't come back due to being so butthurt from the pwnage.


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Atheism, I would argue, is

Atheism, I would argue, is not rational or irrational, but non-rational. I don't think that it's a proven fact, nor is theism, and we are to believe, which puts it in the realm of the non-rational.