Why you guys are philosophically inconsistent

events dear boy
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Why you guys are philosophically inconsistent

I was going to post this in the rather ironically named "freethinking forum" but i read that posts with a theistic agenda would be destroyed without question. Well, first things first i'm an atheist and have been for quite a long time. I'm not arguing that God exists in this post, and don’t have a particular pro theistic agenda either, just thought I’d be careful. I do however think that most of the stuff i've read here is philosophically inconsistent. 

Now you don't believe in God. Fine. However, its quite clear that the dominant view here is that belief in god is irrational, you've even gone so far as to call it a mind disorder. Hmm. Now why is this? Well i read under the thread about why belief in god is irrational that this is because there is no scientific evidence for god. No scientific evidence for God, therefore belief in him is irrational. 

Let me ask you guys a question: Do you believe in right and wrong? I mean do you actually believe in them? Do you believe that there are things that really are wrong, like man they're so wrong they make your blood boil? Take the holocaust. You believe it was actually wrong, not just wrong because it so happens that you grew up in the USA or wherever and so culturally you have come to disapprove of it, but because you believe with every fibre of your being that it is wrong? If you saw an innocent child, perhaps your younger brother being beaten, or a family member being raped you would feel angry, you'd be outraged you'd feel justified in your anger because that's just plain wrong? Right? I'm going to take it that for most you, the answer would be yes. You do believe in right and wrong. You do believe in those words meaning something more than just culturally acceptable. Even if perhaps you think that deep down you know there is no absolute standard, you still live your life as if there is a real right and wrong, more than just unreal human hallucinations/projections/whatever. I'm basing this partly on the fact that there was a thread about how atheists are more moral than theists around somewhere, and why being an atheist had made you a better person, and the fact that nearly everybody in the world i’ve met does.

Okay. Well those beliefs, they make up quite a lot of who you are, how and why you live your life like you do. A lot of people would be willing to stand up and defend them, for example human rights, or their right to free speech, or maybe some people might feel compelled to do something like join the army because you thought 9/11 was so wrong and you wanted something so wrong happening again. 

Now, here's what i'm getting at. Can you scientifically prove those beliefs? Some of the scientists among you may wish to ask could you show how it would be possible to disprove beliefs of this type. Is there any scientific evidence for those beliefs? Ask any modern ethicist worth his salt and he will tell you no. Those beliefs are entirely subjective. They are not scientific. You don't actually need to ask an ethicist, just think about it. They aren't. There is no more proof for them than the gut feeling you have that they are wrong. And yet you base your lives on them, or live by them or whatever. You believe in them, or at least live your life as if you do. Doesn't that strike you as a little irrational?

In fact, if you take the opinion that only those things that can be scientifically proven are those that it is rational to believe in to its conclusion, then i think you'd be a pretty depressed person. You'd be in what they call nihilism. Nothing you do could have any meaning, beyond being described scientifically. Relationships, for example, become meaningless. You love somebody? Can love be scientifically proven? Nope.

It's fine to not believe in God. But unless you are a nihilist (in which case i really don't envy you) saying that theistic belief is irrational is rather hypocritical. Theistic belief is as valid as your belief that the holocaust was wrong. It may just come from that gut feeling, or a particularly moving experience, or a voice inside your head, but that's just as valid as a belief in morality. Yeah, so you might say that theistic belief has caused a lot of problems. So have a great deal of other thoughts people have had, or things they have done because of their consciences. And that’s really besides the point.

Anyway, there you go. Again, i myself am an atheist. I know a lot of you will just be angry and annoyed at how wrong and irrational i am but i hope that some of you can read this with a truly freethinking mind and just consider what i've said.

Take care. 

 


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events dear boy wrote: I

events dear boy wrote:
I was going to post this in the rather ironically named "freethinking forum" but i read that posts with a theistic agenda would be destroyed without question.
Where did you get that idea?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Right and wrong are values

Right and wrong are values we place upon people, actions, and events. I am somewhat agnostic as to whether or not a set of objective ethics (those that hold true in every scenario regardless of the subjective opinions of individuals) exists. Thus, I currently hold to the noncognitivist emotivist position, that saying "Saddam Hussein is evil" is the equivalent of expressing a personal dislike of Saddam Hussein.

David Hume showed that it is impossible to derive an ought from an is. Ethics is considerably beyond the realm of science, which is why using science to try to come put up with an ethical theory is folly

Now, there are two types of god. There is the god that exists solely in the metaphysical, philosophical realm, and the god who actively intervenes with the natural. The evidence for the latter god is nonexistent or inscrutable, and thus belief in it is irrational. The former gets slightly more credit, especially with the advent of modal logic, which allows one to construct logically possible (only in the sense that they are not impossible) alternate worlds in which god may dwell. However, this sort of god is a toy subject of philosophers, and typically resembles the god of deism or pantheism much more so than of theism. I think many of the arguments for his existence are invalid, but it's not as bad as belief in the interfering god.

So, to sum up, ethics is in a different ballpark from science. Ethical agreement can only be reached if the premises in an ethical argument are shared by both parties. 

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Differentiating Right and

Differentiating Right and Wrong is a social issue.  Belief in a God is irrational because it presumes that this being controls everything, created us, and defies nature by his mere existance.  That's what's irrational.  Not just that you can't prove him, but that there isn't a shred of evidence that even teh smallest amount of supernatural is possible.  It's irrational to assume a gigantic ultra-super-natural being when there's no evidence of supernatural.  It's irrational to assume a god created the world 10k years ago when there is evidence to the contrary.  It's irrational to deny evidence.  It's irrational to base your entire existance and every shred of your faith on something that there isn't the slightest bit of evidence to prove.

Right and wrong are 100% subjective.  The Holocaust was wrong to us, but was not wrong to the ones doing it.  They felt they were doing the right thing.  People decide what is right and wrong based on their own codes of morals and ethics were are based upon the same morals and ethics of their neighbors and their parents.  As a society we have a general view of what we consider right and wrong.  We view the holocaust as 'wrong' because it was the murdering of people because of their heritage.

Murder is wrong because society has deemed it wrong.  It is not advantageous to the human species for people to murder each other.

In summary, Right and Wrong are subjective.  They change along with the zeitergeist.  God is subjective, but there is no advantage in today's society to faith in a god.  So the zeitergeist is being pushed just as it was pushed in the womens rights movement and the gay rights movements to readjust how people think.  We will always have a right and wrong as determined by society as a whole as what is best and worst for society as a whole.  Not everyone will agree with it but everyone will always have an opinon on what is best and worst.  There will be people suggesting if faith in god is advantageous or not as well.  But it's this groups belief that there is no advantage, and in fact it is irrational.  Just as it was irrational for women to be excluded and for people to hate gay's because of what they do with their own lives.


events dear boy
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"NO THEISTS ALLOWED TO POST

"NO THEISTS ALLOWED TO POST IN THIS FORUM"

Well considering what i'm saying seems to be against the general flow of these forums/this site, it could quite easily be said to be theistic sympathetic, i might even believe in god and be lying to you! I'm not though - I haven’t posted here before and don’t know if people will jump to conclusions.

Anyway if it would be welcome in the freethinkers anonymous forum it can be moved by all means.

 EDIT: Sorry this was a response to the first poster. I don't know why those letters came out oh so big, i simply copy pasted them.


Insidium Profundis
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I am under the impression

I am under the impression that this is the Atheist vs. Theist forum. Theists are welcome here, but I see no reason to suspect you are a closet-theist.

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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events dear boy wrote: Now

events dear boy wrote:
Now you don't believe in God. Fine.

Thank you for your permission, unnecessary though it may be.

events dear boy wrote:
Now, here's what i'm getting at. Can you scientifically prove those beliefs? Some of the scientists among you may wish to ask could you show how it would be possible to disprove beliefs of this type. Is there any scientific evidence for those beliefs? Ask any modern ethicist worth his salt and he will tell you no. Those beliefs are entirely subjective. They are not scientific. You don't actually need to ask an ethicist, just think about it. They aren't. There is no more proof for them than the gut feeling you have that they are wrong. And yet you base your lives on them, or live by them or whatever. You believe in them, or at least live your life as if you do. Doesn't that strike you as a little irrational?

No. Many of the issues you have brought up refer to altruism and that behavior can be observed in humans as well as animals. I do not think social behavior is the same as ethical behavior, however, much of what you are talking about could be better answered by a psychiatrist.

events dear boy wrote:
In fact, if you take the opinion that only those things that can be scientifically proven are those that it is rational to believe in to its conclusion, then i think you'd be a pretty depressed person. You'd be in what they call nihilism. Nothing you do could have any meaning, beyond being described scientifically.

Actually, I am not so sure these things can't be proven, but I will have to do some research to back that up. I think you are overthinking this entire issue and trying very hard to postulate an idea that is based on nothing more than your own musings.

events dear boy wrote:
Relationships, for example, become meaningless. You love somebody? Can love be scientifically proven? Nope.

Wrong. Attraction can be scientifically proven (pheremones, etc.) and caring about someone is proven by how you treat that person. Irrational love (fanatics) is another story.

I think I understand the point you are trying to make, but I would advise doing further research on these issues since psychiatrists/psychologists study these behaviors all of the time. While our knowledge of the brain and its workings is still very limited, those scientists have a better grasp on it than any of us. Religion/belief in a god is irrational not just because it can't be scientifically proven, but also because there is no need for it and it can (and usually is) detrimental to society.


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events dear boy wrote: "NO

events dear boy wrote:

"NO THEISTS ALLOWED TO POST IN THIS FORUM"

Well considering what i'm saying seems to be against the general flow of these forums/this site, it could quite easily be said to be theistic sympathetic, i might even believe in god and be lying to you! I'm not though - I haven’t posted here before and don’t know if people will jump to conclusions.

Anyway if it would be welcome in the freethinkers anonymous forum it can be moved by all means.

 EDIT: Sorry this was a response to the first poster. I don't know why those letters came out oh so big, i simply copy pasted them.

I said it once and I'll say it again: Theists already have a place where they can talk to theists only. It's called church. 


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Ugh, not this shit

Ugh, not this shit again.

 

It's like this same twisted argument gets posted once a day lately. 


aiia
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events dear boy wrote: "NO

events dear boy wrote:

"NO THEISTS ALLOWED TO POST IN THIS FORUM"

Well considering what i'm saying seems to be against the general flow of these forums/this site, it could quite easily be said to be theistic sympathetic, i might even believe in god and be lying to you! I'm not though - I haven’t posted here before and don’t know if people will jump to conclusions.

Anyway if it would be welcome in the freethinkers anonymous forum it can be moved by all means.

EDIT: Sorry this was a response to the first poster. I don't know why those letters came out oh so big, i simply copy pasted them.

But it does not say religion cannot be discussed

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


events dear boy
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As with regards to ethics

As with regards to ethics and science: of course ethics are in a different ball park to science. There is infact not a “shred of evidence” that right and wrong exist. The point is the fact that it is inconsistent to hold a belief, to hold faith in ethics or behave as if you do, yet deny others to do the same with regards to a belief in God. They are essentially the same thing. One might argue that belief in God is similarly in a different ball park to science.

 In the above posts, both of you have suggested that ethics are not absolute - they are culturally relative/non cognitive/whatever. There is no real right and wrong. They’re a cultural construct. Or you’ve given something along these lines. Do you

a) believe in right and wrong?

b) Behave as if you do, as if there are real rights and wrongs?

Because if either a or b are true, then you are either believing or behaving as if you believe in something which there is no scientific evidence for. To be, by your own criteria, behaving rationally, you ought to have no belief in such things. The second poster seems to have a sort of nihilistic stance on things, but you still claim that the holocaust is wrong to us (and you, presumably). Ought you not behave as if there is no right and wrong? If you think that the religious are deluded, or living in false hope, then surely you are living in false hope, or under a false set of rules, similarly?

 

You (second poster) in fact go on to argue that there is another criterion for rationality: a belief that is advantageous to society. This seems to be an unfounded assumption. If you do not believe in right and wrong, I see no reason to assume that we should only believe in those ideas which are advantageous to society. You yourself have turned an ought into and is, committed a form of GE Moore’s naturalistic fallacy by saying that it IS the case that ideas that are advantageous to society advance the human race (or work in natural selection, or whatever) therefore we OUGHT only believe those particulars.

 Hmm, more posts are being added as I’m writing this, and unfortunately I have to go out in about twenty minutes. Anyway, I am not here to argue with you because I could waste a lot of my time, and i do have better things to do than sit on an internet forum arguing with people about something they've already made their minds up on.

Let me just summarise what I have said. Many, many people around the world, including atheists, hold un-provable beliefs, essentially they have faith in things. An example of these are your moral beliefs. They are un-provable and un scientific. Some are religious beliefs. They are too, un-provable and unscientific. Whether a belief can be explained scientifically, or psychologically or whatever, or whether it can be shown to detrimental to society is completely irrelevant. In fact in a completely scientific world view, the words ideas of things being beneficial or detrimental to society are again un-provable, un-testable ideas.

Someone’s just said something about this being twisted shit. Why don’t you try to understand what’s being said? Maybe if its being posted a lot it means that there’s something of value there? Isn't that what these forums are for, like discussion and all that? Free thinking?

All I’m trying to say is that it’s not philosophically consistent to say that a particular completely existential belief is irrational and a mind disorder and another is not. Anyway, got to go. Hope some of you try to think about these things rather than immediately jumping to the a priori conclusion that it must be bull. Take care.


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I do understand what you're

I do understand what you're saying, and I understand the refutation to it as well.

Just because something has been posted a hundred times does NOT make the argument more valid.

I've seen the erroneous statement, 'evolution says we come from rocks', literally hundreds of times.

By your assessment I should really lend some credibility to this, simply because it has been said alot. 


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Frankly I don't care for

Frankly I don't care for the whole "Call it Freethinking anon."

Since it's supposed to be a atheist only zone, maybe change it to "Atheist haven" or something?

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We have morality because it

We have morality because it is rational to have them. There is also a scientific reason why we have moral agency. Because it benefits us evolutionarily. We can however define rational criteria on which we can base judgements on right and wrong. That is why I am an ethicist! There is no scientific proof for God, therefore to believe in God is to abandon reason.


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I'm with Jacob Cordingley on

I'm with Jacob Cordingley on this.

There are sensible and logical reasons for morality to exist from both evolutionary and sociological standpoints.

To claim we don't believe in "good" and "evil" is true in a sense: they are abstract concepts, like "Tuesday", "nice", "love" and "getting a bit rotund from too many pizzas".

But there clearly is Tuesday, there clearly are nice things, there clearly is love, and sadly enough, clearly these pizzas may not have been as wise an idea as I thought at the time.

And clearly too, morality gives us criteria with which to judge actions as "good" or "bad", relative to eachother.

But there's always debate over the grey areas (eg the iraq war, drugs, sexuality), which there would not be if they were moral absolutes.

Near-absolutes exist: as an example, the cold-blooded, drawn-out killing of someone who poses no threat to us is almost universally considered immoral, except in countries where the death penalty is practised. But even this one needs that proviso: which is a clear indication that morality is relative.

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Quote: Now, here's what i'm

Quote:
Now, here's what i'm getting at. Can you scientifically prove those beliefs? Some of the scientists among you may wish to ask could you show how it would be possible to disprove beliefs of this type. Is there any scientific evidence for those beliefs? Ask any modern ethicist worth his salt and he will tell you no. Those beliefs are entirely subjective. They are not scientific. You don't actually need to ask an ethicist, just think about it. They aren't. There is no more proof for them than the gut feeling you have that they are wrong. And yet you base your lives on them, or live by them or whatever. You believe in them, or at least live your life as if you do. Doesn't that strike you as a little irrational?

Hey, wait a second, you are wrong!

 

While it is true that we (mankind) do not (yet) have a mechanism through which to accurately predict thoughts and feelings, we already know: how they form, what causes them, through which mechanisms (on a quite high accuracy) they work. We know the combination of primordial and learned reflexes that cause a person to feel and show like, dislike, appallment, happiness, etc. We already know how and why certain situations feel "good" and others "bad", from here to fully understanding how a "good" and "bad" feeling (which you have to admit, are quite complex in nature) forms is just a matter of time.

Quote:
As with regards to ethics and science: of course ethics are in a different ball park to science. There is infact not a “shred of evidence” that right and wrong exist. The point is the fact that it is inconsistent to hold a belief, to hold faith in ethics or behave as if you do, yet deny others to do the same with regards to a belief in God. They are essentially the same thing. One might argue that belief in God is similarly in a different ball park to science.

I don't quite get it... what kind of "shred of evidence" do you want presented? That there's an absolute "good" and "bad"? I'm afraid you're out of luck there. Do you want an evidence that a feeling of "good" and "bad" simply exists? Well, once you have one of them, you've got the proof as well. As I said before, we already understand certain "goods" and "bads".

Quote:
Ought you not behave as if there is no right and wrong? If you think that the religious are deluded, or living in false hope, then surely you are living in false hope, or under a false set of rules, similarly?

Would you care to suggest a behavioral set, then?

Let me show you how I see it: If there would be no absolute right or wrong, then one person should have the urge to progress as much as possible. Considering that, he would be what you call "selfish". However, it is quickly observed that some things are done better in a group, and not only one person progresses, but each person in that group, and more than if they were struggling independent of each other. Furthermore, some things one cannot do by himself. Given that, who to try and work with? First the closest by blood, since we have a natural tendency to recognize and stick close to them, called "family", then perhaps people that he likes, the latters also being called "friends", to distinguish them from family. Next up, once this barrier is broken, people will start realizing that they will progress even more if large groups, later called "nations", work together, and, within those groups, one individual does not have to cope with the stress of omnispecialization, thus generating individuals that are so good at what they do and so specialized, that their work is not far from being considered a miracle by the rest. Still, the main goal of any living organism, to live and breed, is pursued even better in this form of organization. Naturally, some compromises must be made, so enter "rules" and "laws". As an extra, each individual has the benefit of living and working in a community, with adequate protection, supplies and living conditions, if that society is sturdy enough and each individual has the will to progress in it.

Of course, nature sometimes goes wrong, and within communities might appear, let's say, individuals called "serial killers" or "tyrants" or loons", but those can be held at bay with the mechanisms that society offers. That, of course, ONLY IF the members of that society want it to happen.

Also, of course, nations, as well as individuals, may sometimes get into conflict with each other. No problem, the idea of society gives means to solve these problems as well. They are called "diplomatic relations", and, if they fail, there's always a "war", followed by either a takeover by the society with the greatest progress, or what they call a "peace treaty", a common agreement, kind of the ones between individuals, in which either part gains something, more or less.

This is the way people would behave if there were no absolute good and bad.

 

You correctly identified that this set of "goods" and "bads" are a social construct. I've just tried to explain why they are like that, and why following, reviewing and improving them is actually the way to go if there was no absolute "good" or "bad".

Quote:
Let me just summarise what I have said. Many, many people around the world, including atheists, hold un-provable beliefs, essentially they have faith in things. An example of these are your moral beliefs. They are un-provable and un scientific. Some are religious beliefs. They are too, un-provable and unscientific. Whether a belief can be explained scientifically, or psychologically or whatever, or whether it can be shown to detrimental to society is completely irrelevant. In fact in a completely scientific world view, the words ideas of things being beneficial or detrimental to society are again un-provable, un-testable ideas.

- "An example of these are your moral beliefs. They are un-provable and un scientific." - false

- "Some are religious beliefs." - yeah, kind of... nobody ever said that religion did nothing good

- "Whether a belief can be explained scientifically, or psychologically or whatever, or whether it can be shown to detrimental to society is completely irrelevant." - once again I ask... what kind of "proof" do you want? Actually, what do you want proven?

- "In fact in a completely scientific world view, the words ideas of things being beneficial or detrimental to society are again un-provable, un-testable ideas." - unprovable, untestable YET...

Quote:
All I’m trying to say is that it’s not philosophically consistent to say that a particular completely existential belief is irrational and a mind disorder and another is not.

You are perfectly right, it's not philosophically consistent to do that. I argue this: there are physical entities and conceptual entities. Physical entities have the main attribute that they exist in a physical world. Conceptual entities have the main attribute that they don't, but are only the referential product of the mind, a construct created so that an image or a message is easier to remember and transmit.

Now, "good" and "bad" are, by all means, conceptual entities. To ask proof for their existence would be like me asking you not to think of a pink elephant with a tutu (you did think of one, didn't you?). One doesn't have to prove that a conceptual entity exists (for example: Anselm's "proof" for god works perfectly on a conceptual level... but since we're operating with the concept of God, nobody can say that the concept of God doesn't exist). Simply defining it makes it exist on a conceptual level. It being the product of evolution, or social construct, or whatever, is irrelevant. Therefore, I do believe that using a concept that can easily translate to reality to guide some of your actions isn't an irrational belief.

Theist belief, on the other hand, holds that a physical entity which doesn't exist actually exists, and demands worship, etc. The conceptual entities on which they base their belief are also subject to numerous flaws, paradoxes and unknown variables, thus making the translation of those concepts to reality a lot less than possible (coming back to Anselm's argument, as an example).

Now, I let you choose: which is the "more irrational" ? Belief in a set of conceptual entities that are the product of human free will and that can be easily translated into reality, also being useful to human progress as a whole, or belief in a non-existant entity prone to paradoxes, flaws and with more "unknowns" than holes in a 500-kg wheel of Swiss cheese?

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Quote:

Quote:
I'm with Jacob Cordingley on this.
Indeed. I was going to phrase it as: "You can reach morals through logic, you can't with god".

Of course it should also be noted that not all science is "hard science" that is only about what can be directly observed. Sciences like sociology can, if you accept it as a science. Here's an article/writeup on the subject that I thought was good: http://www.jakeg.co.uk/essays/science.htm (which I think addresses the original question anyway, albeit in a round-about kind of way.)

When it comes down to it, to summarize the position of "Belief in god is irrational" as anything other than "there's no rational basis for a belief in god" is approaching a strawman argument, IMO. Presenting science as nothing more than observing things with our eyes is definitely a strawman, IMO. A lack of scientific evidence is only one of many supporting reasons, and the way science actually fits into the equation is that science is perfectly capable of providing explanations for many of the same issues without the need for any supernatural being that can be demonstrated to anyone regardless of their beliefs. This is keeping in mind that we're not just talking about one branch of science, but many. Everyone knows that lack of evidence doesn't necessarily equate to evidence of absence, and using that as a solitary argument would make a pretty weak case indeed. In this case, however, the more important thing is that there isn't any rational basis that doesn't already pre-suppose god existing in the first place, and it completely falls apart in the face of logic.

This isn't even to mention all the baggage that comes with the idea of god, which is just ludicrous. They don't just want you to accept the idea that there may be a god, they want you to believe that there is a god that knows everything about everything all at once and all the time, who is particularly concerned with the kind of thoughts you might have (even if it's just a fleeting thought that never comes close to being acted upon) , that you can communicate with telepathically and MUST do so on a regular basis to ask for his forgiveness for being born lest you be totured for all eternity for the crime of not asking for his love. ...and you're arguing that we only care about being able to see it under a microscope?