Any other Agnostics out there? Continued from TWO YEARS ago!

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Any other Agnostics out there? Continued from TWO YEARS ago!

Two and a half years ago, I posted this thread on RRS, my very first one.  Basically I was asking if there were any other agnostics on the site.  I was fairly new to the whole concept of atheism, but was a big fan of Christopher Hitchens, and while reading about Hitch,  I ended up discovering RRS.

Anyway, I found the dicussion to be extremely enlightening.  I was blown away by how many intelligent responses I received to my post.  There was some robust discussion and some healthy disagreements, but just about everyone had a really interesting point of view to contribute. 

When I initially posted the thread, I was under the impression someone could be simply a straight up agnostic on the concept of God.  Not an agnostic atheist, not an agnostic theist, but just an agnostic.  Basically my position on whether or not I believed in a god or gods was "I don't know".  I could safely say I was unsure whether I believed or disbelieved, ergo I didn't fall into either the disbeliever or believer camp.  Most importantly, I wasn't one of those people who said "I do not believe in a god or gods but I am willing to suspend judgement because I dont' know for sure".  Again, to reiterate, my position at the time was "I have no idea whether I believe or disbelieve"

Some of the replies to the thread understood my position, others took issue with it, and still others like Vastet didn't understand what I was trying to comminicate.  I was told by some that everyone is either an atheist (without belief in God) or theist (with belief in God).  So by their definition the default position was atheist.  Even though in my opinion I really didn't have enough information for my mind to either believe or disbelieve.   Anyway, from that point forward I referred to myself as a Temporary Agnostic In Practice, something Richard Dawkins speaks about, until I read something last week:

Imagine there exists a jar with 100 marbles in it , 50 red and 50 white.  A volunteer reaches into this jar and pulls out one marble.  If someone then asks the question: "Do you believe the marble in the volunteers hand is white?", my answer (justifiably) would be "I don't know".  It certainly could be white, as a matter of fact there is a good chance it is white, but it could just as easily be red.  So again in this situation I neither disbelieve nor believe that the marble is white.

This is a fair analogy to my thought process on the whole God thing.  I am in this weird space of neither disbelieving nor believing.   I very much want to be an atheist, as I feel they get more respect. Unfortunately,  since I am not (necessarily) without a belief (I may indeed believe, I just don't know), I don't feel the label applies to me.

I was wondering if anyone else here still struggles with these thoughts...


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I understood what you were

I understood what you were saying, I simply took issue with your use of terminology. Most (if not all) English speakers wander through life without ever actually looking up the definitions of all the terms they use. They just go by the context in which they first heard those terms.

The analogy you use is fine, but your presentation is flawed. You don't believe the marble is red or white. You don't know, and you don't believe. Which makes you a non believer. Which, if applied to the conversation of theism, makes you an atheist.

Nothing has changed. You believe or you don't. There is no middle ground.

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Hey Vastet

 Good to see you are still here!  Wow you have a lot of posts I am assuming you are a moderator.  I dont pretend for a minute to be nearly.as educated as you.  I dont have any fancy degrees or anything so my understanding of deep philosophical stuff is limited.

However withthe marble analogy I agree with you!  It is true that "You dont believe the marble is red or white".  In other words I dont disbelieve OR believe.

 

I know I am not educated, but I also know I am not stupid.   And I cant seem to understand why the whole belief thinghas to be binary.  It is frustrating because I am starting to feel stupid that my brain cannot make this connection that so many people have no problem making.

 

I worked as an exterminator for years, and during that time (17 years at 50+ hours a week) I refused to wear a resperator.  I was involved as a "hang-around" and later prospect (but never full patch) member of a puppet MC for one of the largest clubs in the world.  Our bylaws forbade us from wearing uniforms or clothing of any kind that were demasculating.  NO EXCEPTIONS.

 

I eventually was fired when OSHA made a rule that you had to wear a resperator or your company could be fined.  Well my boss tried to make me ware one the next day and I told him if he came within 5 feet of me with a resperator in his hand I would take it as a physical threat and react accordingly.

 

Well he tried to be a big shot and sure enough I see him walking down the sally-port with a resperator in his hand and a smile om his face.  Before he had a chance to react I labeled him with a large (17 inch) crescent wrench.  I swung across and down almost like serving a tennis ball.  He was an older guy and was done dancing after I clobbered him.  He  was almost in a coma he was so out of it.  I put him in  the hospital for a week.  Believe it or not the doctor said if I had hit him on the top of his head, rather than across his face, I would have killed him.

 I ended up getting fired and I am not proud of what I did.  I am not ashamed of it either.  I did what I had to do.  The irony is I have memory problems from the fumes.  So sometimes its hard for me to grasp certain concepts.

So my final question is why is not knowing what you believe the same as not believing at all?

Marc


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agree with everything vastet

agree with everything vastet said. atheism is essentially a type of agnosticism: agnosticism applied to the god question. if you don't know, you don't believe. if we want to draw the distinction between weak and strong atheism, i'd be inclined to call strong atheism a belief: you're taking the philosophical position of the absolute impossibility of god, in which case we can juxtapose it with agnosticism, but the unqualified term "atheism" itself is nothing more than a philosophical default.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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Atheism (or theism) is the

Atheism (or theism) is the conclusion you reach. Gnosticism and agnosticism are merely whether you currently feel your conclusion to be absolute or tentative respectively. It's quite simple. 

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But Jabberwocky, what if you

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

Marc


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But Jabberwocky, what if you

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

Marc


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motomarco wrote: Imagine

motomarco wrote:

Imagine there exists a jar with 100 marbles in it , 50 red and 50 white.  A volunteer reaches into this jar and pulls out one marble.  If someone then asks the question: "Do you believe the marble in the volunteers hand is white?", my answer (justifiably) would be "I don't know".  It certainly could be white, as a matter of fact there is a good chance it is white, but it could just as easily be red.  So again in this situation I neither disbelieve nor believe that the marble is white.

This is a fair analogy to my thought process on the whole God thing.  I am in this weird space of neither disbelieving nor believing.   I very much want to be an atheist, as I feel they get more respect. Unfortunately,  since I am not (necessarily) without a belief (I may indeed believe, I just don't know), I don't feel the label applies to me.

I was wondering if anyone else here still struggles with these thoughts...

I disagree on multiple levels, with every one.

The first problem is the question. You are asking an unknown. For all you know the marble is blue. They could be tricking you.

Take what you know and then answer the question based on the facts that you have; because I believe subconciously you have already made your decision.

Clear your mind.

Is the glass of water half full or half empty. Don't give me a bullshit response. Either you know there is a god based on the evidence given or you don't believe in god based on the evidence given.

 


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motomarco wrote:But

motomarco wrote:

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

 

I think where the difference is semantics. You are thinking of it as disbelief- an active belief in not believing that X is true. That isn't what being an atheist means. Atheist simply means "not theist" and doesn't require an active disbelief in any deity, it simply means that currently you don't believe in any deity. It doesn't require you to feel confident that any religion is false or can be disproved. It just means you don't actively believe. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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motomarco wrote: Good to

motomarco wrote:
 Good to see you are still here!  Wow you have a lot of posts I am assuming you are a moderator.

Good to see you back! I am but I don't know my post count had anything to do with it. I was the #2 poster on the forum for a year or two before I became a moderator, and the #1 poster isn't one (fortunately, I think, for freedom of speech's sake). I just helped point out when spam showed up for long enough they told me to shut up and take care of it myself. lol

motomarco wrote:
I dont pretend for a minute to be nearly.as educated as you.  I dont have any fancy degrees or anything so my understanding of deep philosophical stuff is limited.

All I have is my high school and a couple college courses on psychology and criminal psychology. Though I've been debating religion and politics for 16 odd years now, and I've learned a LOT in the process. About the English language especially. It is far more complex and far less scientific than ideal, which is why it is so often a barrier to communication instead of a facilitator. It works well enough for day to day activities, but in technical discussion it can be less than awesome.

motomarco wrote:
However withthe marble analogy I agree with you!  It is true that "You dont believe the marble is red or white".  In other words I dont disbelieve OR believe.

True, you fall into the third category of non-belief. If you don't believe, and you don't disbelieve, than you don't believe. That falls into the atheist category.

motomarco wrote:
I know I am not educated, but I also know I am not stupid.   And I cant seem to understand why the whole belief thinghas to be binary.  It is frustrating because I am starting to feel stupid that my brain cannot make this connection that so many people have no problem making.

Believe me there is little more frustrating than trying to grasp an unfamiliar concept. Being frustrated certainly doesn't make you stupid, it just makes you human. Frustration and humiliation are the two biggest keys to learning new and complex things, which is probably why so few people try to learn new and complex things. Noone enjoys being frustrated or humiliated.
It isn't a binary scenario, but a trinary one: belief, disbelief, and non-belief. Belief is when you believe something. Disbelief is when you believe something isn't. Non-belief is when you simply lack belief in any position. The first makes you a theist. The second and third make you an atheist, which is a term that covers a lot more ground than the average person is aware of.
The problem here is the complexity yet simple-mindedness of our language. The way English is, disbelief and non-belief mean the same thing when you use the terms one way, but something completely different when you use them another way. It is one of the most aggravating subjects to get into because it is so easy to misunderstand the usage of the terms in context with a discussion.

motomarco wrote:
So my final question is why is not knowing what you believe the same as not believing at all?

If you don't know what you believe, how can you believe? You don't believe, and you don't disbelieve, so you are in the third category of non-belief (lack of belief).
I don't disbelieve in the general concept of a god. The number of definitions available to describe a god makes it impossible for me to come down on either side. I have no belief or disbelief, which makes me an agnostic atheist.

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OK-Try this

You have to take into account --in what context is the term "God" used. Wehad this same problem at one time. From our study we concluded there is no super human anyone wanywhere. Becasue when one traces back the events that took place in the universe and get to the present there's no intelligent being necessay for the universe to come into existance. Be aware now, we were studying the bible at that time. If one is studying the bible as to it's meanings and paticulars, finding that there is no super intelligence, that leaves one in a lurch as to what the God idea is all about when one looks at the descriptions used by those teaching religions. . Then, we went about investigating the uses of the term, and on the over all it's nothing more then a word that means "force", or rule, or ruler.

 Force is that which rules everything as to what a thing does,or, what it is. That eventaully brings about an understanding of "what" rules ones seld, or life. the conclusion has to be that, we are all under and ruled by the forces that we all exist within. "God " then, is nothingm more then a term that applies to the rudments and laws of the universe. God this and God that is a matter of what's doing the pushing and pulling, or, forcing a direction of something/anything.

The forces the bible deals with are the social forces, with the aim of establishing peace on planet earth, which is the objective of the document. Societies are fromed by the natural forces a being was created with that which pull beings to be together. Within a society everyone in it is doing the pushing and pulling--thus--- those forces in biblical terms would be "God"---that which rules, is the forces. The biblical God in a people society is then--the people. If those people are ruled by individuals within the society then those individuals are "God". That is why a police "Force" is called a police "force". It's force that ultimately rules.

The Material universe of course is ruled by the laws of physics. Therefore the "God" on the material side is force and counter force in material context. So, one can throw out the term "God" as it means on the over all the forces that rule, and thus reduces to-nothing more then someone is ignorant of the forces that rule, and is an explanation of many things that don't make sense, and have to come up with a name to describe something they don't know. Be casue if one looks at religions---they are made mostly up of things that don't make sense when one understands what's rulling what. , and who, which in turn shows an ignorance of the rules. IOW, they don't know so they have to make things up, or if you don't believe they apply "force" to get you to believe or you may pay consequences for not believing they don't know "what" rules---the same with polititians.  Smiling

 

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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

motomarco wrote:

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

 

I think where the difference is semantics. You are thinking of it as disbelief- an active belief in not believing that X is true. That isn't what being an atheist means. Atheist simply means "not theist" and doesn't require an active disbelief in any deity, it simply means that currently you don't believe in any deity. It doesn't require you to feel confident that any religion is false or can be disproved. It just means you don't actively believe. 

Yep! It's completely binary. And it's not binary that you choose 1 or 0. If you haven't yet chosen 1, you stay at the default, 0. 

Theists - If your god is omnipotent, remember the following: He (or she) has the cure for cancer, but won't tell us what it is.


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Jabberwocky wrote:Beyond

Jabberwocky wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

motomarco wrote:

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

 

I think where the difference is semantics. You are thinking of it as disbelief- an active belief in not believing that X is true. That isn't what being an atheist means. Atheist simply means "not theist" and doesn't require an active disbelief in any deity, it simply means that currently you don't believe in any deity. It doesn't require you to feel confident that any religion is false or can be disproved. It just means you don't actively believe. 

Yep! It's completely binary. And it's not binary that you choose 1 or 0. If you haven't yet chosen 1, you stay at the default, 0. 

 

So by their definition, babies, dogs and lampshades are atheist. I think one must be cabable of understanding the proposition of a diety to be a athiest. Atheism requires an active rejection of the proposition of a deity and would assign an extremely low probablity to the possibility of one.

It boils down to assigning a probablity. No rational atheist could ever assign a zero probabilty to any propostion about whether something is true or not. Also, I've never encountered a theist that believes 100%. If you're around any thiest long enough, they'll eventually slip up and reveal they have doubts, at lease subconsiously.

The bottom line is what probabily to you assign to the possiblity of a diety? What are thresholds in probabilty between athiest, agnostic and theist. Then there are also people that are not mentally cabable of understanding the proposition about a diety.

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Babies are atheist. Dogs are

Babies are atheist. Dogs are incapable of communication and therefore any attempt to define their position is anthropomorphisising. Lamp shades don't think, and therefore cannot be theist or atheist.

Atheism requires nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. One doesn't have to understand what god refers to. Not understanding automatically qualifies one as atheist.

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Vastet wrote:Babies are

Vastet wrote:
Babies are atheist. Dogs are incapable of communication and therefore any attempt to define their position is anthropomorphisising. Lamp shades don't think, and therefore cannot be theist or atheist. Atheism requires nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. One doesn't have to understand what god refers to. Not understanding automatically qualifies one as atheist.

You think babies are atheists because they can't comprehend any aspect of any thing other than being tired and being hungry?

 


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EXC wrote:Jabberwocky

EXC wrote:

Jabberwocky wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

motomarco wrote:

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

 

I think where the difference is semantics. You are thinking of it as disbelief- an active belief in not believing that X is true. That isn't what being an atheist means. Atheist simply means "not theist" and doesn't require an active disbelief in any deity, it simply means that currently you don't believe in any deity. It doesn't require you to feel confident that any religion is false or can be disproved. It just means you don't actively believe. 

Yep! It's completely binary. And it's not binary that you choose 1 or 0. If you haven't yet chosen 1, you stay at the default, 0. 

 

So by their definition, babies, dogs and lampshades are atheist. I think one must be cabable of understanding the proposition of a diety to be a athiest. Atheism requires an active rejection of the proposition of a deity and would assign an extremely low probablity to the possibility of one.

It boils down to assigning a probablity. No rational atheist could ever assign a zero probabilty to any propostion about whether something is true or not. Also, I've never encountered a theist that believes 100%. If you're around any thiest long enough, they'll eventually slip up and reveal they have doubts, at lease subconsiously.

The bottom line is what probabily to you assign to the possiblity of a diety? What are thresholds in probabilty between athiest, agnostic and theist. Then there are also people that are not mentally cabable of understanding the proposition about a diety.

As best as I can make of it, the probability of a Deity existing would be zero. I deduce that by considering from the big bang (if that eventually proves true) to present there's no process in the works that could produce such a critter. Intelligence (this is as I see it) has to originate/form within a brain, and that's a matter of evolution. What process in evolution (or universal construction perimiters) would produce intellect without a brain?  Somehow pure energy would become able to think--I can't see it. So then, with no process to create a Deity no such thing/person can exist.  That would mean that somehow the formation of a Deity took place without a brain.

But, religions say that the Deity created everything. So OK, where did the Deity come from. He/she/it/insert own here,  had to have a starting point somehow. But not to the one's that believe in a  Deity. That's merely a matter of convienent reasoning, The reason why perpetual motion machines don't work is becasue there's no Deity to make them work. The laws of physics say they can't work, no Deity needed to make them not work. (I think I might have said that rightly) In short, I can't believe there's such a thing as a Deity because it's not compatable with anything going on in the universe.

 

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digitalbeachbum wrote:Vastet

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Babies are atheist. Dogs are incapable of communication and therefore any attempt to define their position is anthropomorphisising. Lamp shades don't think, and therefore cannot be theist or atheist. Atheism requires nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. One doesn't have to understand what god refers to. Not understanding automatically qualifies one as atheist.

You think babies are atheists because they can't comprehend any aspect of any thing other than being tired and being hungry?

 




i do. if they cannot conceive of the idea of god, they certainly do not believe in god, therefore atheist.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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digitalbeachbum wrote:Vastet

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Babies are atheist. Dogs are incapable of communication and therefore any attempt to define their position is anthropomorphisising. Lamp shades don't think, and therefore cannot be theist or atheist. Atheism requires nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. One doesn't have to understand what god refers to. Not understanding automatically qualifies one as atheist.

You think babies are atheists because they can't comprehend any aspect of any thing other than being tired and being hungry?

 

I know babies are atheists because they cannot believe in gods of any kind. If one doesn't believe, then one is an atheist.

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Vastet wrote:digitalbeachbum

Vastet wrote:
digitalbeachbum wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Babies are atheist. Dogs are incapable of communication and therefore any attempt to define their position is anthropomorphisising. Lamp shades don't think, and therefore cannot be theist or atheist. Atheism requires nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. One doesn't have to understand what god refers to. Not understanding automatically qualifies one as atheist.

You think babies are atheists because they can't comprehend any aspect of any thing other than being tired and being hungry?

 

I know babies are atheists because they cannot believe in gods of any kind. If one doesn't believe, then one is an atheist.

 

So many people have trouble with the concept that someone being "not a theist" makes them an atheist, because that's what the word means. 

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^precisely. It's like

^precisely. It's like Christians (and many atheists) rejecting the word "religion" out of hand. Sometimes people make war on a term due to its cultural contexts rather than its actual meaning.

 

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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Vastet wrote:Babies are

Vastet wrote:
Babies are atheist. Dogs are incapable of communication and therefore any attempt to define their position is anthropomorphisising. Lamp shades don't think, and therefore cannot be theist or atheist. Atheism requires nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. One doesn't have to understand what god refers to. Not understanding automatically qualifies one as atheist.

I don't get your difference between babies and dogs. Babies unlike dogs can communicate their non-beliefs??? Seems like they have about the same mental/communication abilites, only difference is DNA.

So puppies would be athiest(I assume), but then at about one year old you can't know if your dog may be a theist?

What about robots, they certainly can communicate that they are theists?

 

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/florida-reverend-christopher-benek-wants-convert-artificial-intelligence-christianity-1486912

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I think what

Vastet may be getting at is-- a newborn. Going back to my religious experience as a youngster and onward I would say I was born knowing nothing. If the peramiters of Atheism is non belief in a Deity then I was born an Atheist, because belief has to develope over time, which would be the time it takes for the brain to reach a point of recognition of things. If there would be/is a Deity or not has to be a matter of someone informing me of such, at least in the civilized sense that is, if I was formed on the planet alone I would have no sense as to there being such a thing as a deity or not. If intelligent I can eventually suspect there may be such a person but without evidence it would have to remain a theory. But, I could make one up and believe it to be so.

A dog on the other hand---weeeelll. I don'tknow if a dog believes anything. The Old Seer Psycho Smurfs say that in many cases beliefs can form automatically from repititious living, but the belief is formed without the person realizing it. A dog has repititious parts to its life so a belief of something may develope. The Pup simply can't tell someone of something it doesn't know it has. And, it couldn't be proven (as I see it) that a dog has any belief. Even if it does develope beliefs it's  zero that it would believe in a Deity. Under that condition the dog would be atheist. 

Under present conditions in the world belief (true and false) is taught to succeeding generations. A dog may not have belief and nonbelief, and in this case may be a neutral.

 

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I can go along with young

I can go along with young children, not sure what age they start, but not babies. I'm talking about newborns to the age where they start forming words and conveying ideas or thoughts.

Babies are neutral. They aren't pro or con on any opinions. They lack the ability to lack an opinion.


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digitalbeachbum wrote:I can

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I can go along with young children, not sure what age they start, but not babies. I'm talking about newborns to the age where they start forming words and conveying ideas or thoughts.

Babies are neutral. They aren't pro or con on any opinions. They lack the ability to lack an opinion.




a lack of opinion about god equals atheism, or weak atheism if you like. an opinion contra god equals strong atheism or anti-theism (as in thesis/antithesis). ἄθεος literally means "without god." it does not mean "denying god" or "against god" except by polemical (i.e. from the theistic angle) cultural accretion (for example in plato's account of the trial of socrates).


and i would hope you would realize that a lack of a lack is as meaningless philosophically as it is mathematically.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
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iwbiek wrote:digitalbeachbum

iwbiek wrote:
digitalbeachbum wrote:

I can go along with young children, not sure what age they start, but not babies. I'm talking about newborns to the age where they start forming words and conveying ideas or thoughts.

Babies are neutral. They aren't pro or con on any opinions. They lack the ability to lack an opinion.


a lack of opinion about god equals atheism, or weak atheism if you like. an opinion contra god equals strong atheism or anti-theism (as in thesis/antithesis). ἄθεος literally means "without god." it does not mean "denying god" or "against god" except by polemical (i.e. from the theistic angle) cultural accretion (for example in plato's account of the trial of socrates).
and i would hope you would realize that a lack of a lack is as meaningless philosophically as it is mathematically.

The definition needs to be modified. It's like saying if you don't think the Yankee's are the gods of baseball then you are a Yankee hater.

I understand the weak and strong aspect of the word atheism and did consider it when I replied.

Yes... sarcasm.. thankfully some one understands it.


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EXC wrote:I don't get your

EXC wrote:
I don't get your difference between babies and dogs. Babies unlike dogs can communicate their non-beliefs??? Seems like they have about the same mental/communication abilites, only difference is DNA.

What? Did you even read what I said?

EXC wrote:
So puppies would be athiest(I assume), but then at about one year old you can't know if your dog may be a theist?

Whether or not a dog could ever believe in a supernatural all powerful god is unascertainable information, so discussing the possibility is pointless.
We can however say that a dog cannot possibly grasp the concept of any god humanity has invented, because acquiring such a belief would require levels of communication between humans and dogs that does not exist. Therefore, a dog must be an atheist to every deity humans have ever invented. If there are gods that dogs believe in, they are nothing like the gods people believe in.

EXC wrote:
What about robots, they certainly can communicate that they are theists?

Robots are computers, and computers don't have beliefs. They wouldn't be so useful if they did.

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digitalbeachbum wrote:I can

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I can go along with young children, not sure what age they start, but not babies. I'm talking about newborns to the age where they start forming words and conveying ideas or thoughts.

Babies are neutral. They aren't pro or con on any opinions. They lack the ability to lack an opinion.

There is no neutral position. It isn't about pro's and con's or opinions. The question of belief has a defined dichotomy. You're either a theist or a atheist. You believe(1) or you don't(2). Anyone who doesn't fit in (1) automatically joins (2), and vice versa.

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motomarco wrote:But

motomarco wrote:

But Jabberwocky, what if you have not yet reached either conclusion?  What if you think you may believe but are unsure?  What if you neither believe nor disbelieve?  Thats what is so frustrating for me

 

Easy, past, presnt and future. There are past and current claims, that you've rightfully rejected, say claims of Thor, or Poseidon. So your current position is off or empty on those claims. Technically and simantically only, you only be agnostic about the future, but even then you'd be right in saying it is so fleetingly unlikely that Thor or Poseidon are real.

 

I call myself an agnostic athiest. My current position is off on all past and present god claims. And even with the future I find a god filling in any gaps fleetingly unlikely.

 

It makes much more sense to me that all god claims are products of humans imagination reflecting their own desires.

 

 Stephen Hawking " A God is not required ".

 

Technically since the future is not known monkeys could fly out of my ass. But once you take probability into account the fantastic claims become superfluous and moot.

 

Christopher Hitchens " That which can asserted without evidence can be easily dismissed without evidence ".

 

 

 

 

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