Why atheism by default?

desertwolf9
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Why atheism by default?

Hi guys, I am new on this forum and I wasn't completely sure if this this was the correct section to start this topic in. If I broke any rules with this thread, please inform me of it. I look forward to debating with atheists here. I'd love to see a fruitful discussion and for you guys to try and lay out your best arguments.

So here goes:

Why do many of you believe that being an atheist should be the default position rather than being an agnostic? Many of you may claim that because there's "no evidence" for the existence of god, that it automatically means that the default position should be that he doesn't exist. Well I can easily say to that that you can't disprove his existence either. So wouldn't the most rational position to take be that "we don't know whether or not he exists" and subscribe neither to theism nor atheism?

Here's a thought:

If atheistic philosophers consider the arguments for God's existence of sufficient force that they think that they should respond to them, then atheism should not be the default position (which doesn't necessarily mean that theism should be the default position, merely that atheism should not).

I think that you would need to actually show that theism is completely irrational and out of bounds before you could set atheism as the default position. Can any of you show that?

I think that it would be far better to shove the burden of proof around based upon who is making the initial claim. If I claim that God exists initially, I should provide some evidence, such as an argument for God's existence. If you claim that atheism is true initially, then you assume the burden of proof for providing some evidence for that. Is this a flawed position? I challenge anyone here to demonstrate how so if you believe that's the case.

Also, I think you atheists should check your definitions. Atheism is the belief, view, whatever that no god exists. Well, strong atheism is. Weak atheism is closer to absence of belief in deities in some respects. Even agnosticism is kind of iffy as a default position, since it can range anywhere from a belief that God is unknown to a view that God cannot be known (so it doesn't really matter). Most atheists around here are strong atheists, at least judging by the arguments that are presented. For that matter, most atheists I've seen around here act like they're proponents of scientism.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

 

Thoughts? Rebuttals?


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desertwolf9 wrote:Hi guys, I

desertwolf9 wrote:

Hi guys, I am new on this forum and I wasn't completely sure if this this was the correct section to start this topic in. If I broke any rules with this thread, please inform me of it. I look forward to debating with atheists here. I'd love to see a fruitful discussion and for you guys to try and lay out your best arguments.

Nope. No rules broken. When you get the chance, I'd suggest a little reading material:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

desertwolf9 wrote:
So here goes:

Why do many of you believe that being an atheist should be the default position rather than being an agnostic? Many of you may claim that because there's "no evidence" for the existence of god, that it automatically means that the default position should be that he doesn't exist. Well I can easily say to that that you can't disprove his existence either. So wouldn't the most rational position to take be that "we don't know whether or not he exists" and subscribe neither to theism nor atheism?

 

The burden of proof is upon the one making the claim. If you assert that you believe in god, but don't know that he/she/it exists then you still believe. Ergo, still theist.

If I say that I don't believe in god, but don't know that he/she/it exists then I still don't believe. Ergo, still atheist.

It's the 'believe' part.

desertfox9 wrote:
Here's a thought:

If atheistic philosophers consider the arguments for God's existence of sufficient force that they think that they should respond to them, then atheism should not be the default position (which doesn't necessarily mean that theism should be the default position, merely that atheism should not).

Philosophers of any ideology would probably consider the concept of no one being born with a belief of any kind, but rather taught those beliefs. Thus the assertion of atheism (absence of belief) is the default position.

Quote:
I think that you would need to actually show that theism is completely irrational and out of bounds before you could set atheism as the default position. Can any of you show that?

I would disagree based upon my response to the previous paragraph as well as the examination of the ideology as a default position and the examination of the irrational elements of the ideology are wholly different discussions.

Quote:
I think that it would be far better to shove the burden of proof around based upon who is making the initial claim. If I claim that God exists initially, I should provide some evidence, such as an argument for God's existence. If you claim that atheism is true initially, then you assume the burden of proof for providing some evidence for that. Is this a flawed position? I challenge anyone here to demonstrate how so if you believe that's the case.

If your initial claim is 'god exists' and I say "I don't believe you." then I fail to see how that is a flawed atheist position. You have made the positive assertion.

If the initial claim is "god doesn't exist" and you say "Yes he does." then you have still asserted the positive position in the discussion and have the burden of proof.

Now, if you 'believe' and I 'don't believe' then who can tell whom they are wrong? The answer is neither of us. Belief requires no proof and becomes moot once someone has made an assertion asking for proof.

Quote:
Also, I think you atheists should check your definitions. Atheism is the belief, view, whatever that no god exists. Well, strong atheism is. Weak atheism is closer to absence of belief in deities in some respects. Even agnosticism is kind of iffy as a default position, since it can range anywhere from a belief that God is unknown to a view that God cannot be known (so it doesn't really matter). Most atheists around here are strong atheists, at least judging by the arguments that are presented. For that matter, most atheists I've seen around here act like they're proponents of scientism.

Thoughts? Rebuttals?

In the link I provided for you earlier in the post, you'll find the Oxford English Dictionary's definition for atheism.

Adding the cute little adjectives in front of 'atheist' will not assist your argument, but rather convey a little fallacy called a 'strawman' which is where you state another person's position in a way not agreed upon by the person.

If necessary, I can explain how this violates the commandment against 'bearing false witness' in the judeo-christian faith.

Sooooo, before labeling everyone according to your own standards it might behoove you to ask them what are their additional ideological standpoints other than atheist or theist.

 

And don't say "You atheists". We all have our own names and our own identities. If you could find two atheists that are 100% in accordance with each other then I'd probably faint.

 

 

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Since there are a vast

Since there are a vast number of religious and related kinds of supernatural belief systems, which are all beliefs based on guesses on what might be the ultimate reason for all the things they observe and feel that don't have any clearly visible natural explanation. If you add to this list all the varieties of supernatural belief which could be dreamed up with just as little physical evidence to justify them, then the obvious question for someone who feels there must be something 'more' running the world than natural processes, is how do you choose??

The would-be believer needs to contemplate the fact that people have come up with this vast range of beliefs, and held to them with just as much confidence and 'faith', as far as we can tell. No matter how you try and find some common aspects, they cannot all be TRUE, so we must allow for the real possibility that maybe NONE of them have had the lucky guess that actually matches the 'truth'.

Nowadays, when we do have quite well argued ideas, supported by physical evidence which can be shown to anyone who wants to see it, for things which were previous attributed to God(s) or spirits or demons, "none of the above" should be accepted as being at least as plausible, even to the scientifically illiterate, as any supernatural idea.

IOW non-belief is the more supportable view-point, the alternatives all require accepting some out of thousands of different non-naturalistic theories, with no justification than personal preference. I see withholding belief until we see some serious evidence to be the only honest position.

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Burden of Proof should

Burden of Proof should always be mainly on the side for which has the least clearly acceptable evidence. This will always rest with someone proposing the existence of something which is not readily detectable.

If someone had a belief in an invisible alien space-ship in orbit around Neptune, the Burden of Proof should always be with them, no matter who made the first claim or counter-claim. There are a literally an infinite number of strange things which could be claimed and not easily disprovable, like the classic china teapot orbitting Saturn, it would be totally insane to give them all equal believability until disproved.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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Agnostic is falsely used by

Agnostic is falsely used by itself. That is a word discribing knowledge of something, not a position.

FOR EXAMPLE

"I suspect my neihbor is a doctor. But I don't know"

"I know my neighbor is a doctor"

"I suspect my neighbor is not a doctor, but I don't know"

"I know my neighbor is not a doctor"

 

You can be "not sure" or "sure" either way, but either my neighbor is a doctor or he isn't.

Either a god exists or does not.

"I suspect a god exists, but I am not sure"

"I know a god exists"

"I suspect that a god does not exist. But I am not sure"

"I know a god does not exist".

.......................................................................

Agnostic referes to knowledge, not position.

An agnostic theist is one who thinks there is something super natural out there, but doesn't KNOW(AGNOSTIC) its atributes or give it a name.

A theist would be a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Scientologist.

An agnostic atheist leans to a god not existing, but is not sure 100%

A strong atheist is one who is sure that a god cannot exist.

I am a agnostic atheist in regards to possible future evidences yet to be presented to me. But I am a strong atheist as far as past and current claims of god(s).

And you also need to combine this with burdon of proof. Bentrand Russard's "Teapot" argument explains why the burdon of proof is on the claimant and not the skeptic. Look it up.

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desertwolf9 wrote:Hi guys, I

desertwolf9 wrote:
Hi guys, I am new on this forum and I wasn't completely sure if this this was the correct section to start this topic in.

This section is fine.

Quote:
Why do many of you believe that being an atheist should be the default position rather than being an agnostic?

Oh, the answer's a lot simpler than you probably think.  

In short, agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive because they're not in the same category. Atheism deals with what one believes while agnosticism deals with the individual's stance on knowledge. I used to believe that atheism and theism were polar opposites while agnosticism represented the middle ground, and I'm going to assume that you hold this position as well. However, this is a common misconception. Theism can be broadly defined as the belief in a god or gods. Thus, a-theism is just what the structure implies, without theism. Thus, the middle ground is actually included within the word atheism. When we need to make a distinction between a person who simply lacks a belief in God and a person what believes there is no God, we can use the terms strong atheism and weak atheism.

Eh, just follow Darth_Josh's link.

Quote:
Atheism is the belief, view, whatever that no god exists. Well, strong atheism is. Weak atheism is closer to absence of belief in deities in some respects. Even agnosticism is kind of iffy as a default position, since it can range anywhere from a belief that God is unknown to a view that God cannot be known (so it doesn't really matter).

Hmm, it seems like you already have a firm grasp on these definitions. 

Quote:
Most atheists around here are strong atheists, at least judging by the arguments that are presented.

Whoa, slow down. I'm definitely a weak atheist, so..........yeah. 

Quote:
Thoughts? Rebuttals?

Welcome! 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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you hold a good point in

you hold a good point in that we can not disprove the existence of a god. however, we do not need, as we are not the people making a claim. i do not have to disprove fairies or unicorns; the people whom say that they're real have to gather proof. why should any god be different?


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 Quote:i do not have to

 

Quote:
i do not have to disprove fairies or unicorns; the people whom say that they're real have to gather proof.
 

Of course, but the OP was protesting that the same rationality that we use to know the non-existence of God should lead us to a weak agnosticism of that position. Although, those aren't the words the OP used because there was slight disagreement on their meanings.  

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


desertwolf9
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Let me put in language even

Let me put in language even you all should understand. Atheism, is, the, belief, that, God, or, gods, do, not, exist. If you try to claim otherwise you're simply corrupting the language.

darth_josh wrote:

The burden of proof is upon the one making the claim. If you assert that you believe in god, but don't know that he/she/it exists then you still believe. Ergo, still theist.

If I say that I don't believe in god, but don't know that he/she/it exists then I still don't believe. Ergo, still atheist.

It's the 'believe' part.

Uh, sorry pal, thats Agnostic. LEARN TO USE THE LANGUAGE PROPERLY PLEASE!

I don't provide evidence of God, I don't believe in God, I simply remain open to the possibility that there might be a creator-being, which isn't something that science can prove or disprove, as yet. Also, the fact that some things are considered supernatural is no evidence to actually deny them, science has yet to understand life (in the sense of being alive) and sapience (it was once thought that birds, because they had different brain setups weren't intelligent, but the fact that European Magpies have passed the mirrir test put this into real doubt), but neither can be denied.

 

That I give equal weight to either side is entirely reasonable, sure we have no proof that God exists, but then modern science can't even understand life, so I don't give them even the slightest glimmer of a chance of trying to explain anything beyond that. This is an argument against science, not one for theism (which doesn't even bother trying to explain life), a difficult one for you to figure maybe, but there it is, an argument against your point of view without reinforcing the opposite in any way.

 

That is:

A)the most reasonable position

B)Agnosticism

 

What gives 'you' the right to go against every dictionary in current use just because you want to change a word's meaning?

 

 


desertwolf9
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Brian37 wrote:Agnostic is

Quote:

IOW non-belief is the more supportable view-point, the alternatives all require accepting some out of thousands of different non-naturalistic theories, with no justification than personal preference. I see withholding belief until we see some serious evidence to be the only honest position.


It can't be disproven period, at least not currently. The fact that god (unlike floating teapots and invisible alien spaceships orbiting Neptune) has been prevalent throughout human history. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is printed or minted onto every note or coin in our country and is in the national anthem. You may disbelieve in god, but he is in a sense enshrined in our nation. This gives him more credibility than any other thousands of non naturalistic theories. History carries its own weight, if you can't see that, that's your loss.

 

We have no more evidence suggesting the lack of a creator-being than we do the existence of one, thus, it's now one eyewitness against another.

 

My antagonism isn't against science per se, it's against you people's apparent belief that science is completely and utterly supreme. It is far from supreme, so far in fact that I'd hesitate to even bother with it in a discussion like this.

 

Go ahead, try to throw all you guys can at me. I'm waiting for your rebuttals.

 

 


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READ And as to the

READ

 

And as to the pledge/money that was only added during the '50s, under McCarthyism. The fact most people believe can be answered by paraphrasing Bertrand Russel : "If 5 billion people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. " Don't you get it? You can't prove ANYTHING does not exist. That's why the rational position is to disbelieve until there is evidence such thing exists.

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desertwolf9 wrote:We have no

desertwolf9 wrote:

We have no more evidence suggesting the lack of a creator-being than we do the existence of one, thus, it's now one eyewitness against another.

how can one have evidence of nonexistence?  furthermore, how can one be an "eyewitness" to nonexistence?  this is why atheists say the burden of proof is on the theist, because it's logically impossible to prove nonexistence.

the only positive argument that a strong atheist might make is that god is improbable.  this requires some argument, but not much.  the only real argument that need be made is to point to the lack of any empirically verifiable evidence for god's existence.

the burden of proof is on the theist because it is the theist that makes a positive claim that there is an unobserved force that makes the world work. 

the atheist (taken only as atheist) says that the world works exactly as we observe it, on its own.  logically, this requires no proof.

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We understand why people

We understand why people have a tendency to believe in some sort of supernatural being(s), especially in earlier times when we had far fewer workable naturalistic explanations for much of what we saw around us.

The fact that there is such a variety of supernatural explanations works against the idea that they originate from some actual communication with a supernatural realm. Much more plausible as the different guesses people come to in different physical and social environments.

Once the various religions become entrenched, they were able to persist when science developed to provide more rational, evidence-based explanations, by appealing to basic emotions and fears.

Mass acceptance is not a criterion for according something more credibility, especially when it is something which is not a matter of direct physical perception. If you look at the wider world outside the USA, your argument gets even weaker.

Science is simply the methodical process of investigating everything we can observe about the world and our own society and behaviour, thinking up possible explanations that will unify and explain some collection of observations in a useful way. It includes ways to minimize the effects of our imperfect senses and individual tendencies to get too attached to some favorite theory.

If something cannot be investigated by science, that is another way of saying that we can't test it or make consistent repeatable observations. Therefore we have no warrant for treating it as more than a speculation.

OK I'm waiting for you to make your case....

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Quote:Let me put in language

Quote:
Let me put in language even you all should understand. Atheism, is, the, belief, that, God, or, gods, do, not, exist. If you try to claim otherwise you're simply corrupting the language.

Quote:
What gives 'you' the right to go against every dictionary in current use just because you want to change a word's meaning?

Quote:
Uh, sorry pal, thats Agnostic. LEARN TO USE THE LANGUAGE PROPERLY PLEASE!

Ugh, not this again. Arguing semantics without using dictionaries is not very productive. Dang, I can't find the other thread where I posted my response. I'm too lazy to post another one....

Well, maybe I can post one definition.

Atheism - 1. The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being. (Webster's Revised Unabridged)

Quote:
That I give equal weight to either side is entirely reasonable, sure we have no proof that God exists,

Burden of proof. 

The two sides are definitely not equal. I am agnostic about the existence of unicorns because they can't be disproven. However, I don't think there's a 50% chance that unicorns exist, more like 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001%.

Quote:
It is far from supreme, so far in fact that I'd hesitate to even bother with it in a discussion like this.
 

Supreme? Science is based on logic, and I see logic as the only reliable method of exploring our universe. Does that make it supreme in your definition?

Quote:
but then modern science can't even understand life,

First of all, evolution and abiogenesis.

Second, I hope you're not presenting a false dichotomy. Science's holes in its understanding of life doesn't change the likelihood of the existence of God, which is still virtually zero.  

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Wolf..

 

     Where in the national anthem do the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" appear? For that matter the word GOD?

     You write in the manner of a poster named Arj,   that is not a compliment.

     My dictionary defines Atheist as  No Theology, since all theology's are based on some god-persona, by default I am a non-believer in any god or religion.   What dictionary are you useing?

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[quote[I think that you

Quote:

I think that you would need to actually show that theism is completely irrational and out of bounds before you could set atheism as the default position. Can any of you show that?

We only need to show that there is little clear physical evidence for the belief, reinforced by the observation that there are a whole number of versions of Theism around, which aren't all that consistent with each other. That's enough.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Jeffrick wrote:     

Jeffrick wrote:

 

     Where in the national anthem do the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" appear? For that matter the word GOD?

  

Unfortunately he's right it is in the fourth verse most people don't know:

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

See Here for complete version.

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Thanks

 

    Pauljohn.... thanks for the update, I didn't know there was a fourth verse (Canadian, eh?).

  Can you update me on this? As far as I know, by act of congress, the American Motto is "E puribus unim" (out of meny comes one).

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desertwolf9 wrote:Let me put

desertwolf9 wrote:

Let me put in language even you all should understand. Atheism, is, the, belief, that, God, or, gods, do, not, exist. If you try to claim otherwise you're simply corrupting the language.

Uh, sorry pal, thats Agnostic. LEARN TO USE THE LANGUAGE PROPERLY PLEASE!

I don't provide evidence of God, I don't believe in God, I simply remain open to the possibility that there might be a creator-being, which isn't something that science can prove or disprove, as yet. Also, the fact that some things are considered supernatural is no evidence to actually deny them, science has yet to understand life (in the sense of being alive) and sapience (it was once thought that birds, because they had different brain setups weren't intelligent, but the fact that European Magpies have passed the mirrir test put this into real doubt), but neither can be denied. 

That I give equal weight to either side is entirely reasonable, sure we have no proof that God exists, but then modern science can't even understand life, so I don't give them even the slightest glimmer of a chance of trying to explain anything beyond that. This is an argument against science, not one for theism (which doesn't even bother trying to explain life), a difficult one for you to figure maybe, but there it is, an argument against your point of view without reinforcing the opposite in any way. 

That is:

A)the most reasonable position

B)Agnosticism

 

What gives 'you' the right to go against every dictionary in current use just because you want to change a word's meaning?

 

 

Did you perchance read the thread that I provided?

You had to qualify yourself in your response to me. Here:

desertfox9 wrote:
I don't provide evidence of God, I don't believe in God

Ergo atheist.

I'll shorten the explanation and perhaps we can avoid any more vicious language that I was almost certain you did not want to engage.

theism = belief in god(s)

a- = prefix meaning no, lack of, absence, without

a-theism = atheism = no belief in god(s), lack of belief in god(s), absence of belief in god(s), without belief in god(s)

Where does that say: "There is no god." It doesn't because that implies a fact based upon knowledge. Knowledge has no place in a definition of belief. So when you utter 'agnostic' in a discussion concerning belief or lack thereof then you are not only on a different page, but in a different field reading a different book.

Technically, the only people an agnostic should be arguing this with are people who claim to KNOW there is a god.

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Jormungander
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desertwolf9 wrote:Let me put

desertwolf9 wrote:

Let me put in language even you all should understand. Atheism, is, the, belief, that, God, or, gods, do, not, exist. If you try to claim otherwise you're simply corrupting the language.

darth_josh wrote:

The burden of proof is upon the one making the claim. If you assert that you believe in god, but don't know that he/she/it exists then you still believe. Ergo, still theist.

If I say that I don't believe in god, but don't know that he/she/it exists then I still don't believe. Ergo, still atheist.

It's the 'believe' part.

Uh, sorry pal, thats Agnostic. LEARN TO USE THE LANGUAGE PROPERLY PLEASE!

.....

 

What gives 'you' the right to go against every dictionary in current use just because you want to change a word's meaning?

You are simply wrong on this matter. Gnosticism deals with claims of knowledge (do you know that a deity exists, or do you not know whether or not a deity exists). Theism deals with belief (do you believe in at least one deity or do you not believe in any). I do not know whether or not deities exist, so I am an agnostic. I do not believe in any deities, so am an atheist.  I am an agnostic atheist, also called a 'weak atheist.' Gnosticism and theist are simply two different scales; do not conflate them. Also I would check your caps lock key, it seems to have been on for part of what you wrote.

 

desertwolf9 wrote:

modern science can't even understand life, so I don't give them even the slightest glimmer of a chance of trying to explain anything beyond that.

What do you mean by this? You threw this out there, but did not explain it. Until you give an explanation of what this statement even means, I'm going to say you are dead wrong on it. There is a field of science that studies life; it is call biology. Should you be curious in learning about life you can enroll in biology courses at a community college or take online biology courses.

 

desertwolf9 wrote:

"IN GOD WE TRUST" is printed or minted onto every note or coin in our country and is in the national anthem.

And that was added in the 1950's as apart of McCarthyism. That was a shameful episode in our history. As little as I like communism, there was no need to start witch hunts against them. We still have some remnants of that time such as the 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ironically a pastor wrote the pledge of allegiance in the 1800's, but he did not put any references to gods in it. It took the red scare to give us that.

 

desertwolf9 wrote:

You may disbelieve in god, but he is in a sense enshrined in our nation. This gives him more credibility than any other thousands of non naturalistic theories. History carries its own weight, if you can't see that, that's your loss.

The supreme court has determined that all references to god on money and in the pledge are simply apart of this countries 'deistic tradition.' So this history you speak of is actually a history of not subscribing to any religious dogma. Though for that matter, histories weight has nothing to do with whether or not there are really any gods. Think of Egypt's millennia of polytheism. Does that long history of thinking that a dung beetle moves the sun make it true? Or do you discount millenia of historic belief as readily as I do? I suspect that you give no credence to countless centuries of belief when it comes to other religions, so don't be surprised if I'm not impressed by the fact that many Americans believed in a deity.

 

desertwolf9 wrote:

My antagonism isn't against science per se, it's against you people's apparent belief that science is completely and utterly supreme. It is far from supreme, so far in fact that I'd hesitate to even bother with it in a discussion like this.

But you are against science when you arrogantly declare that science can not explain life. Can you think of a better method of understand the universe than science? If you can think of one, please tell us. If you can't, then I suppose that science is the best method we know of to gain understanding of our universe. It is hardly 'supreme,' but it is the best currently available method.

Why would you hesitate to discuss the best method for understanding the universe? Would you prefer to discuss less reliable methods for understanding the universe instead?

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Jeffrick wrote:    

Jeffrick wrote:

 

    Pauljohn.... thanks for the update, I didn't know there was a fourth verse (Canadian, eh?).

  Can you update me on this? As far as I know, by act of congress, the American Motto is "E puribus unim" (out of meny comes one).

All you ever would like to know about American Mottos.

Click Here.

I used to collect coins and I had the 2 cent pieces described in the above article that were minted in 1864. The god believers have been trying and suceeding in some cases to force their version of god down the throats of all for many years. 

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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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desertwolf9 wrote: I don't

desertwolf9 wrote:
 I don't believe in God


This is ALL that atheism claims, so welcome aboard.  

 

 


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 Ok.  The thing is, your

 Ok.  The thing is, your personal opinion on the meaning of atheism and agnosticism is really quite irrelevant to their epistemological meaning.  Let's make sure you understand the basics:

Belief:  The acceptance of a concept as true and real.  That is, anything your brain models as a true, real part of the universe is one of your beliefs.  Belief is completely and utterly independent of external truth.  That is, anyone can believe anything, regardless of whether it's true or not.

Knowledge: Justified true belief.  While some may quibble over the definitions of "justified" and "true," the disagreement is largely academic.  To be true, a belief must model an existing "thing" in the universe.  A unicorn exists in the universe as a concept, but not as a physical organism.  I can have knowledge of the concept of a unicorn, but it impossible to know anything about a physical unicorn because none exist (to the best of our knowledge!!).

The justified part mostly refers to having valid reasons for the belief.  If I say I believe the Patriots will win the superbowl this year, it is just belief.  I have no basis for "knowing" that the Patriots will win the Superbowl.  If it turns out that they do, I can have knowledge of that fact after the fact, but it would not mean that right now, my belief is knowledge.

As another example, suppose I say that I know you have a quarter in your pocket right now.  If you do, that doesn't mean I had knowledge of the fact.  I was guessing without any justification, so even though it turns out to be a true belief, it's not knowledge.

Ok.  Now, as others have pointed out, the roots of the words atheism and agnosticism are the key to understanding their meaning.  Theism is a belief in god(s).  Note that the actual existence of gods is irrelevant to this, since belief is independent of knowledge.  Therefore, atheism, just like theism, is nothing more than a belief, or in the case of a weak atheist, a lack of a belief.  Consider that you are an aglarboflatist.  You have no idea what a glarboflat is, so you have no belief that one exists.  You are an aglarboflatist.  Now, suppose that I told you that a "glarboflat" is a small organ behind the eyeballs of mice that allows them to communicate with extraterrestrials orbiting the earth in invisible spaceships.  Based on what you know of the universe, you can state that you do not believe that glarboflats exist.  You are still an aglarboflatist, but your epistemological position has shifted from ignorance to considered disbelief.  However, the nomenclature is still the same.  You do not posess a belief in glarboflats.  You are an aglarboflatist.

Now, "gnosticism" refers to knowledge of a deity.  Consider:  If no deity exists, then nobody has any knowledge of a deity.  Everyone must be an agnostic if there is no deity.  If deity(s) exist, but no deity has ever made its presence known to any human, every human is still an agnostic.

The thing is, lots of people misunderstand agnosticism.  They believe it is an intermediary position between belief and disbelief.  This is a fundamental misconception about knowledge.  Except for a priori knowledge, which is extremely limited, all knowledge is acquired.  Until and unless someone has a belief that is also knowledge, they do not have knowledge.  Uncertainty is not knowledge.  In other words, if you are uncertain whether or not a deity exists, then you do not have belief or knowledge, so you are an agnostic atheist.

 

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

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desertwolf9 wrote:Quote:IOW

desertwolf9 wrote:

Quote:

IOW non-belief is the more supportable view-point, the alternatives all require accepting some out of thousands of different non-naturalistic theories, with no justification than personal preference. I see withholding belief until we see some serious evidence to be the only honest position.


It can't be disproven period, at least not currently. The fact that god (unlike floating teapots and invisible alien spaceships orbiting Neptune) has been prevalent throughout human history. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is printed or minted onto every note or coin in our country and is in the national anthem. You may disbelieve in god, but he is in a sense enshrined in our nation. This gives him more credibility than any other thousands of non naturalistic theories. History carries its own weight, if you can't see that, that's your loss.

 

We have no more evidence suggesting the lack of a creator-being than we do the existence of one, thus, it's now one eyewitness against another.

Uhhhhh which god are you talking about? There have been thousands of gods ancient man has worshipped. I will assume you're talking about Zeus because he had to be the coolest god ever. As for god being a "he" I would have to disagree. If there is a god it would be an "IT". Male and female are biological distinctions for living beings. As god would be immaterial it has no use for a big swinging dick. Oh wait didn't the holy spirit have a big old dong buried all up in mary? Hmmmmmmm I'll have to look that up.

The national motto was supplanted by "In GAWD We Trust". I find it personally hilarious that a christian would want their god mentioned on their money as the love of money is the root of all evil. For that matter the pledge of allegiance was written by a minister as a secular embodiment for America. His own grandson testified before congress that changing the pledge would probably upset his grandfather. Neverless, congress changed the pledge in the early 1950s to unite americans against communism.

desertwolf9 wrote:

My antagonism isn't against science per se, it's against you people's apparent belief that science is completely and utterly supreme. It is far from supreme, so far in fact that I'd hesitate to even bother with it in a discussion like this.

 

Go ahead, try to throw all you guys can at me. I'm waiting for your rebuttals.

Science is not a static belief system. You've fallen into the trap that many have because your understanding of what science is reflective of most americans. It's no wonder we have fallen so far behind the rest of the world in scientific discoveries when so many people believe "god did it".

So what is science supposed to be supreme to? I don't follow your line of thought. Science is wholly superior to ID theory if that is your argument. There's a little thing called peer-review maybe you should look it up. Apparently your understanding of atheism is flawed as well. It seems to me that you claim science is a dogma of atheism and it is not.

If you can't identify the differences between a layman's theory and a scientific theory then you had better not bother to discuss science in a forum full of atheists.

 

 

 

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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desertwolf9 wrote:History

desertwolf9 wrote:

History carries its own weight, if you can't see that, that's your loss.

By this token, though, for 3.8 billion years (the estimated period from the development of the first cells) until the birth of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, there was no god-belief on Earth. Longevity of inconclusiveness isn't evidence, I'm afraid.

Quote:

We have no more evidence suggesting the lack of a creator-being than we do the existence of one, thus, it's now one eyewitness against another.

Not exactly. Let's start before the question of God's existence. Look around you. We'll leave off the Descartes and trust your senses for the moment. The universe exists. You can see that, feel it, hear it, etc. Now make your case for the addition of another element. I'm not making a case for the assumption that there is no God. I don't claim to know that there's no God. I claim to not believe in God, because I see no reason to add God to the observable data. Thus, a lack of belief in God (a-theism) is the default position, as it is the position prior to the introduction of the 'God' concept to the data. And that was your question: Why atheism by default?

 

Quote:

My antagonism isn't against science per se, it's against you people's apparent belief that science is completely and utterly supreme. It is far from supreme, so far in fact that I'd hesitate to even bother with it in a discussion like this.

Science is a methodology, nothing more. Please demonstrate one that works better.

Quote:

Go ahead, try to throw all you guys can at me. I'm waiting for your rebuttals.

Dude, I have a can of peas. It is one of those big Sam's Club cans. Please don't make me throw this at you. It would hurt!

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desertwolf9 wrote:Why do

desertwolf9 wrote:

Why do many of you believe that being an atheist should be the default position rather than being an agnostic?

 

because in order to say you are agnostic, someone would first have to bring up the concept of a god.  in order to bring up that concept you must have evidence that a god exists.  no evidence exists*, and so, like Unicorns and Pixies, there is no reason to be agnostic about gods.

 

 

*No evidence exists because there is no testable or clear definition.  just because you see spoor on the ground doesn't mean you get to say its evidence of a heffalump - you have to know that THAT particular spoor is from a heffalump.  you must know what a huffalump IS.  Likewise, you may claim "existence" or "life" is evidence, but you don't know if that is "god spoor".  Since, you don't know what a god IS!

 

you can't simply claim that some effect is because of some imaginary being and then argue for that Being's existence - particularly, if there is no way to verify it.

 

This is the difference between god and, say, dark matter.  Dark Matter can be verified and if it is never verified then we should stop claiming it possibly exists.  But in order to posit Dark Matter you'd have to have a verifiable definition and evidence that it's effect is not from other forms of Matter.

 

To posit the "supernatural" you'd have to know everything that is naturally occuring - you'd have to be omniscient about the Natural universe.   i doubt any theist would claim this.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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Puka the fairy

 

Quote:

I don't provide evidence of God, I don't believe in God, I simply remain open to the possibility that there might be a creator-being, which isn't something that science can prove or disprove, as yet. Also, the fact that some things are considered supernatural is no evidence to actually deny them, science has yet to understand life (in the sense of being alive) and sapience (it was once thought that birds, because they had different brain setups weren't intelligent, but the fact that European Magpies have passed the mirrir test put this into real doubt), but neither can be denied.

 

That I give equal weight to either side is entirely reasonable, sure we have no proof that God exists, but then modern science can't even understand life, so I don't give them even the slightest glimmer of a chance of trying to explain anything beyond that. This is an argument against science, not one for theism (which doesn't even bother trying to explain life), a difficult one for you to figure maybe, but there it is, an argument against your point of view without reinforcing the opposite in any way.

We seem to agree that there is not proof God exists.  I also agree with you that there is no proof God doesn't exist.   What I don't understand is why you give equal weight to either side.  There are many things which have no proof but that also can't be disproven.  One example is Puka.  Puka is an evil tooth fairy, if you don't pray to Puka daily Puka will send you to magical cavity hell when you die, were you will get root cannels forever.  Its unlikely you assign the same weight to Puka existence as you would to Puka nonexistence.   You would probably make you default position that Puka doesn't exist even if you feel that because of the limits of science you can't prove that Puka does not exist.


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Proof of God?

Quote:

It can't be disproven period, at least not currently. The fact that god (unlike floating teapots and invisible alien spaceships orbiting Neptune) has been prevalent throughout human history. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is printed or minted onto every note or coin in our country and is in the national anthem. You may disbelieve in god, but he is in a sense enshrined in our nation. This gives him more credibility than any other thousands of non naturalistic theories. History carries its own weight, if you can't see that, that's your loss.

I thought we agreed there was no proof God existed.  You're statement that people's long standing belief in God and the "in God We Trust" which is printed on American money add more weight to the belief in god then what exists for invisible aliens and spaceships orbiting Neptune contradicts you earlier statement.   Those two statements are evidence you are using to support that belief God has more weight that other made up things. Evidence is used to prove things, if you don’t believe that there is any proof that god exists then why hare you using evidence for gods existence to support you arguments.

{ EDITED by BobSpence1 - first quote was wrong type (had leading '/') }


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I don't know what I'm doing

I can't seem to format my reply right.  In this case I didn't get the quote box right, and I've had other porblems on other replys.  Can some one direct me to were I can find out what I'm doing wrong.


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desertwolf9 wrote:Why do

desertwolf9 wrote:

Why do many of you believe that being an atheist should be the default position rather than being an agnostic?

Why are you an atheist on Santa Claus? Just write your response, then replace 'Santa Clause' with the names of all Gods and you'll have our answer.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca