Summary

hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Summary

I have a feeling this argument between theists and atheists is going to go back and forth for a while. here is my summary:

1. theist believes something

1. atheist believes something else

2. theist believes he has evidence which makes him right, and when he is right he feels good because his belief is reinforced

2. atheist believes he has evidence which makes him right (principally by countering the evidence of theist), and when he is right he feels good because his belief is reinforced.

3. if theist is 100% right that the evidence he has provided is a. valid and b. corresponds with Bible he still hasn't proved there is a Christian God

3. if atheist is 100% right about the evidence he has provided which debunks theist's evidence he still hasn't proved there is not a god (even if he proves that this god is contradictory by some rational philosophical standards).

4. we don't have access to knowledge of the relationship between our beliefs shaped by our experiences ("evidence" or "proof" ) and the actual truth of things; we pretty much only know what makes us feel good about ourselves.

a. theist feels good about being Christian

b. atheist feels good about being atheist

(some atheists say something like well maybe i'd be happier if i believed in heaven/afterlife/whatever but i'd rather sacrifice that happiness for truth; ultimately, atheist is still choosing his own happiness)

that's about it.


Vessel
Vessel's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: I have a

hello wrote:
I have a feeling this argument between theists and atheists is going to go back and forth for a while. here is my summary: 1. theist believes something 1. atheist believes something else 2. theist believes he has evidence which makes him right, and when he is right he feels good because his belief is reinforced 2. atheist believes he has evidence which makes him right (principally by countering the evidence of theist), and when he is right he feels good because his belief is reinforced. 3. if theist is 100% right that the evidence he has provided is a. valid and b. corresponds with Bible he still hasn't proved there is a Christian God 3. if atheist is 100% right about the evidence he has provided which debunks theist's evidence he still hasn't proved there is not a god (even if he proves that this god is contradictory by some rational philosophical standards). 4. we don't have access to knowledge of the relationship between our beliefs shaped by our experiences ("evidence" or "proof" ) and the actual truth of things; we pretty much only know what makes us feel good about ourselves. a. theist feels good about being Christian b. atheist feels good about being atheist (some atheists say something like well maybe i'd be happier if i believed in heaven/afterlife/whatever but i'd rather sacrifice that happiness for truth; ultimately, atheist is still choosing his own happiness) that's about it.

I disagree with a few things here, which we can discuss further if you like, but first I'd like to address the notion that atheists feels good about being an atheist.

I can only speak for myself, but feeling good in no way factors into my reason for being an atheist. In truth, there is only one reason I am an atheist and that is because I have no belief in a god. No matter what would make me happy, I do not have the ability to believe something that is unbelievable. I have never made a conscious decision to not believe in a god, it is simply that I have never seen reason to believe in one. It is a matter of what is, not a matter of what is desired. Maybe others are different, that I can not say. But, as for me, I am simply an atheist, happy or not. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
if athiesm is not a choice

if athiesm is not a choice for you (happy or not), what makes Christianity a choice for a Christian?

 Why do we talk about beliefs as though they can be debated anyways?


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
we are all born as

we are all born as atheists.  you then choose to either stay an atheist, or become a christian.  unless of course your christian monster parents spoon feed you christianity before you're old enough to choose for yourself (brainwashing).  but the choice still remains when you grow older.

how do you figure that beliefs can't be debated? 

Fear is the mindkiller.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
"how do you figure that

"how do you figure that beliefs can't be debated? "

Vessel said his atheism was not a choice; If he/she cannot choose to be Christian, how do we know a Christian could choose to be an atheist?

If there is no choice in this matter, then debating it would be fruitless. It would be like an orange saying to an apple: not only are oranges right, you should be an orange too!  But the poor apple can't ever be an orange.

How do you know we are all born atheists? Can you explain this further?


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
haha, fruit.

haha, fruit.  I didn't know that I did that while I typed that post.


Vessel
Vessel's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: if athiesm is

hello wrote:
if athiesm is not a choice for you (happy or not), what makes Christianity a choice for a Christian?

Maybe it is not a choice for them and I don't believe I have ever claimed it to be because I have no frame of reference with which to make such a claim. That said, there is a fundamental difference between atheism and theism. That is that theism is the belief in something. This is a positive action, which requires effort.

Even if it is not a choice, I will still try to change it where I can, by means of pointing out the irrationality of the concept (if one can call such a vague thing as a god a concept) as from my atheist perspective, I see it as an easily abused and dangerous platform.  People are taught to believe without evidence and to follow unconditionally the desires of their god as interpreted by their religious leaders. No matter how many good intentions theism may or may not have, its ability to be abused makes it an unnecessary lurking liability in the eyes of this atheist. That is all I have to go by.

 

hello wrote:
Why do we talk about beliefs as though they can be debated anyways?

Because some can be dangerous. A belief that Jews are the downfall of society is certainly a belief that should be debated, as is the belief that Allah wants his followers to blow up my children, or that one's god considers the fact that I have no belief in it, or even any coherent concept of what it is supposed to be, a reason to burn me for eternity in hell. If one's god is willing to do that to me why should his followers give one crumb of a care what they do to me. Nothing they could do is even a microscpic fraction of that.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
good one. we are born

good one.

we are born atheists because we have no knowledge of anything, including jesus, at birth.  

i said christianity is a choice, except in the event of infant brainwashing, but when the infant grows up it can certainly choose whether or not to believe what it has been told.  if it chooses not to believe,  it has chosen atheism (or possibly one of the many other theisms out there). 

Fear is the mindkiller.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Vessel wrote:

Vessel wrote:

hello wrote:
if athiesm is not a choice for you (happy or not), what makes Christianity a choice for a Christian?

Maybe it is not a choice for them and I don't believe I have ever claimed it to be because I have no frame of reference with which to make such a claim. That said, there is a fundamental difference between atheism and theism. That is that theism is the belief in something. This is a positive action, which requires effort.

atheism requires the same positive effort semantically. Is a cat an atheist? Or a human who never learned any language?

 

 

Vessel wrote:

hello wrote:
Why do we talk about beliefs as though they can be debated anyways?

Because some can be dangerous. A belief that Jews are the downfall of society is certainly a belief that should be debated, as is the belief that Allah wants his followers to blow up my children, or that one's god considers the fact that I have no belief in it, or even any coherent concept of what it is supposed to be, a reason to burn me for eternity in hell. If one's god is willing to do that to me why should his followers give one crumb of a care what they do to me. Nothing they could do is even a microscpic fraction of that.



I think this is the kind of discussion and debate that would give this kind of site worthwhile aim; now there is a lot of it is angry and defensiveness which goes back and forth and is ultimately unproductive. Many theists believe it is bad when children are blown up and that Jews were exterminated, just the same as atheists. when atheists explain why they believe theist views can be used dangerously, theists in defending themselves or discussing themselves can examine their own beliefs when they discuss ultimately a shared goal. When theists fear that the atheist worldview has the potential to provide for dangerous consequences atheists can examine their own beliefs when they discuss ultimately a shared goal.

this shared interest among theists and atheists would make debate more productive, and less boring, less defensive rhetoric.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: atheism

hello wrote:

atheism requires the same positive effort semantically.

false.

Quote:

Is a cat an atheist?

yes. 

Quote:
 

Or a human who never learned any language?

depends whether he believes in a god or gods. 

Quote:

this shared interest among theists and atheists would make debate more productive, and less boring, less defensive rhetoric.

yeah, well, most of us here don't get paid to do this, so there's a lot of un-professional behavior.   if you have any ideas on organizing the work force, do tell. 

Fear is the mindkiller.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote:

DrFear wrote:
hello wrote:

atheism requires the same positive effort semantically.

false.

Quote:

Is a cat an atheist?

yes.

 

An atheist is an entity who lacks the belief in a deity. (well, merriem webster says that an atheist is a person who lacks the belief; but for our purposes, I'll just say entity). For a cat to lack the belief in a deity, the possibility of a belief in a deity must be available to the cat so that the cat can reject that possiblity and believe that there is not a deity. Otherwise, to the cat, the idea of atheism is meaningless.

DrFear wrote:
Quote:

this shared interest among theists and atheists would make debate more productive, and less boring, less defensive rhetoric.

yeah, well, most of us here don't get paid to do this, so there's a lot of un-professional behavior. if you have any ideas on organizing the work force, do tell.

people get paid for this? that's pretty sweet.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: For a cat to

hello wrote:

For a cat to lack the belief in a deity, the possibility of a belief in a deity must be available to the cat so that the cat can reject that possiblity and believe that there is not a deity. Otherwise, to the cat, the idea of atheism is meaningless.

the idea may be lost on the cat, but the fact remains, the cat lacks belief in a deity, classifying it as atheistic.  awareness of the possiblity never enters the definition, nor is it contingent on a rejection of belief.  the fact that the belief is not there, or is lacking, would automatically constitute atheism.

if you're saying that since the cat isn't capable of theism, then it isn't capable of atheism either, that is also false.  there is no neutral position between theism and atheism.  if you do not believe in a deity, you are an atheist.  

the distinction you are trying to make lies in the activism most of us here exhibit.  but being active against theism is not a necessary characteristic of atheism.

Quote:

people get paid to this? that's pretty sweet.

tell me about it. 

Fear is the mindkiller.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote:

Quote:

if you have any ideas on organizing the work force, do tell.



Here is one idea, a forum entitled: Common Goals of Theists and Atheists.

In this forum we can discuss whether there are common goals, what these goals might be, and what aspects of our worldviews or those who share our worldviews impede the fruition of these goals.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote:

DrFear wrote:
hello wrote:

For a cat to lack the belief in a deity, the possibility of a belief in a deity must be available to the cat so that the cat can reject that possiblity and believe that there is not a deity. Otherwise, to the cat, the idea of atheism is meaningless.

the idea may be lost on the cat, but the fact remains, the cat lacks belief in a deity, classifying it as atheistic. awareness of the possiblity never enters the definition, nor is it contingent on a rejection of belief. the fact that the belief is not there, or is lacking, would automatically constitute atheism.

if you're saying that since the cat isn't capable of theism, then it isn't capable of atheism either, that is also false. there is no neutral position between theism and atheism. if you do not believe in a deity, you are an atheist.

the distinction you are trying to make lies in the activism most of us here exhibit. but being active against theism is not a necessary characteristic of atheism.



OK, say I accept this dualism construct for now; ultimately, it does not prove that the cat is an atheist.

Which necessary characteristics of atheism does a cat have? How do you know that the cat lacks the belief in a god? Is this something that can be proven? Can you prove that we all start out as atheists?


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote:

hello wrote:
the cat can reject that possiblity and believe that there is not a deity
I'm not a cat, but no. I do not reject the possiblity. I cannot reject something that doesnt exist. The possibility of god does not exist. There is no possibility of any god. If there was a possilility, I would believe there was a god. The possibility of a god's existence was erased through reason.

I do not have any belief there is a god because there is no possiblity of an all knowing, all powerful, and all present god. That is what makes me an atheist.

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


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
AiiA wrote: hello

AiiA wrote:

hello wrote:
the cat can reject that possiblity and believe that there is not a deity
I'm not a cat, but no. I do not reject the possiblity. I cannot reject something that doesnt exist. The possibility of god does not exist. There is no possibility of any god. If there was a possilility, I would believe there was a god. The possibility of a god's existence was erased through reason.

I do not have any belief there is a god because there is no possiblity of an all knowing, all powerful, and all present god. That is what makes me an atheist.


these claims are stronger than those that most atheists make which I have heard.  Many of them say that there is no way to evaluate the possiblity of a god as a force in the universe but from what they understand of the world, they don't believe in one.


Vessel
Vessel's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: atheism

hello wrote:
atheism requires the same positive effort semantically. Is a cat an atheist? Or a human who never learned any language?

I can not agree with this, whether it is a matter of my perspective or not, I can not say due to my perspective.

If you want to look at it that way, at what point would I officially be an atheist and not just someone who didn't understand the god? Would it just be a matter of the fact that I had heard of Allah, even though I'd never read the Koran or been to Mecca, that made me an Muslem atheist? Would it mean I am not an atheist concerning all the gods of which I've never heard? Would it be the fact that I had bothered to read the Bible and speak with Christians about their beliefs that gave me official Christian atheist status? There are too many qualification games to play to say that atheism is a positive action in anyway similar to a belief. 


hello wrote:
this shared interest among theists and atheists would make debate more productive, and less boring, less defensive rhetoric.

True. If all theists said you live your life I'll live mine. I would have no problem, though I would still have to live with the knowledge that they could at anytime believe they would burn for eternity if they did not kill me. It makes you keep an eye out. 

But, the problem is that, by the nature of their doctrine, it is important to them to try to get what their god decreed thosands of years ago into my school houses and capitol buildings. They want to teach my children pseudo-science, prohibit gay marriage, put the kabosh on promising avenues of medical research. And this is a requirement of their belief. If they don't do it they risk not being invited on the eternal holiday while me and my peers take a long fire bath. How do I debate or discuss issues with reason when I'm going up against someone who is driven by these doctrines?  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: OK, say I

hello wrote:


OK, say I accept this dualism construct for now; ultimately, it does not prove that the cat is an atheist.

it's proof enough for me, because as far as i know, a cat's brain function does not extend far enough to allow for such trivialities. 

Quote:
Can you prove that we all start out as atheists?

there is no knowledge in an infant's brain, save for genetically programmed motor functions for eating, shitting, etc. again, nothing as trivial and complex as religion or god.  if god were part of an infant's initial genetic programming, then as soon as the child learned to talk, it would start speaking about god without requiring any teachings in church or by its parents.  we would have no question regarding the existence of god, because we would be born with the knowledge of him.   

Fear is the mindkiller.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10732
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I'm forced to point out that

I'm forced to point out that saying a cat is an atheist is foolhardy. We'd have to be able to communicate such ideals with a cat before being able to say one way or the other. Cats are intelligent beings that very well might believe in some deity or another. For all we know they worship us.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Vessel wrote: hello

Vessel wrote:

hello wrote:
atheism requires the same positive effort semantically. Is a cat an atheist? Or a human who never learned any language?

I can not agree with this, whether it is a matter of my perspective or not, I can not say due to my perspective.


I don't understand what you said here; can you explain it again?

Vessel wrote:

If you want to look at it that way, at what point would I officially be an atheist and not just someone who didn't understand the god?


I don't know. . . never(?)

Vessel wrote:

Would it just be a matter of the fact that I had heard of Allah, even though I'd never read the Koran or been to Mecca, that made me an Muslem atheist? Would it mean I am not an atheist concerning all the gods of which I've never heard? 

I think so; don't you have to define exactly what you're rejecting? Can you answer these questions from your own perspective?


hello wrote:
this shared interest among theists and atheists would make debate more productive, and less boring, less defensive rhetoric.

Vessel wrote:
True. If all theists said you live your life I'll live mine. I would have no problem

Vessel wrote:
But, the problem is that, by the nature of their doctrine, it is important to them to try to get what their god decreed thosands of years ago into my school houses and capitol buildings. They want to teach my children pseudo-science, prohibit gay marriage, put the kabosh on promising avenues of medical research.



I agree that these are problems. I think some--too many of the arguments on this site, though, don't really address these problems and instead excite even more division, and thus are ultimately exercises in mildly entertaining, overplayed futility.  The atmosphere of this website when I look at some forums seems hostile and arguments on both sides are many times not directed toward any change for the better.


Vessel
Vessel's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: Vessel

hello wrote:
Vessel wrote:
I can not agree with this, whether it is a matter of my perspective or not, I can not say due to my perspective.

I don't understand what you said here; can you explain it again?

 Wow. No wonder you can't understand it. That was written horribly.

I was just stating that I didn't agree.

Then I went on to say that whether or not the reason I didn't agree was as a result of my perspective or not was not something I could determine due to my perspective. It was meant to be something akin to humor. It would have failed even if I'd written it coherently.  

hello wrote:
vessel wrote:
If you want to look at it that way, at what point would I officially be an atheist and not just someone who didn't understand the god?


I don't know. . . never(?)

 That hardly seems right.


hello wrote:
I think so; don't you have to define exactly what you're rejecting?

I don't understand the term rejecting in this context. Why should I have to reject anything? Do you mean define every belief I do not have? That doesn't seem right. The possibilities are mindboggling. Who's got that kind of time? 

hello wrote:
Can you answer these questions from your own perspective?

I consider myself an atheist by default concerning every god until one in which I believe is brought to my attention. My lack of belief in gods I've never heard of is no different than my lack of belief in gods I have heard of. They are beliefs that I don't hold, nothing more. I can see no difference.



“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
How is your lack of belief

How is your lack of belief in a god different from a person (or a cat or whatever) who doesn't have access to the concept of either god or no god?  I think it is different, but can you articulate the difference?


Voided
Posts: 1195
Joined: 2006-02-20
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: How is your

hello wrote:
How is your lack of belief in a god different from a person (or a cat or whatever) who doesn't have access to the concept of either god or no god? I think it is different, but can you articulate the difference?

Wait... WHAT?!?! Did you just ask us to prove your point? 


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
This is a discussion. You

This is a discussion. You can take this discussion however you want to. I am not asking questions to prove a point, I'm asking because I like discussing stuff with people. If you disagree with the premises of my question above I'm interested in hearing your perspective.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Hey can a moderator explain

Hey can a moderator explain why there's a link to "Digg this story" at the beginning of the thread?


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: I'm forced to

Vastet wrote:
I'm forced to point out that saying a cat is an atheist is foolhardy. We'd have to be able to communicate such ideals with a cat before being able to say one way or the other. Cats are intelligent beings that very well might believe in some deity or another. For all we know they worship us.

i think you've gotten too much of your enlightenment through your 'gaming god' status.  a cat's brain function is hardly a realm of infinite possibility.  also, your standards of intelligence are a tad warped... 

Fear is the mindkiller.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: How is your

hello wrote:
How is your lack of belief in a god different from a person (or a cat or whatever) who doesn't have access to the concept of either god or no god? I think it is different, but can you articulate the difference?

 as i stated earlier, we, specifically, here at rationalresponders.com, take an active anti-theism stance (for the most part).  that is what separates us from cats and folks who are unaware of the concept of god. (it's also why your atheist/theist co-op forum wouldn't really work out).   our lack of belief is the same as all non-existent things.  the only trait a non-existent thing has is that it does not exist (and it doesn't even really "have" that, seeing as how it can't really have anything...it doesn't exist Eye-wink)

one need not be aware of the absence of something for it to be absent. 

Fear is the mindkiller.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1264
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: Vessel

hello wrote:


Vessel wrote:

Would it just be a matter of the fact that I had heard of Allah, even though I'd never read the Koran or been to Mecca, that made me an Muslem atheist? Would it mean I am not an atheist concerning all the gods of which I've never heard?

I think so; don't you have to define exactly what you're rejecting? Can you answer these questions from your own perspective?

You may have to define exactly what you believe, but not what you reject; that list would extend infinitely.

As has been said manifold times, a theist rejects all gods but the one he believes in. An atheist simply rejects one more.

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
within the word atheist is

within the word atheist is theist. Is there a better word to describe your worldview which does not include what you reject?

also, who says a theist rejects all gods but the one he believes in? 


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
alright, what is your

alright, what is your frigging point already?


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1264
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
I won't presume to speak

I won't presume to speak for everyone here (although I think it is a safe bet), but god is one of the many things I reject for lack of evidence, along with santa, the tooth fairy, astrology, palmistry, etc.  Theism is just part and parcel of a larger set of unfounded beliefs.  As before the list is infinite of the things we can reject (Santa, a two-headed Santa, a three-headed Santa, and so on). 

 So wrangling over the terms "atheism" & "theism" is just a labelling game, and I'm beginning to think that's all you're playing here...

 

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
I'm not playing any game.

I'm not playing any game.

I think I am understanding your worldview now though. You are a physicalist/materialist right?

You have a positive belief in the relationship between physical evidence and reality. The only way for you to be able to reject all of these worldviews (where santa, two-headed monster santa, god spagetti monster, etc. exist) is to have this positive belief, not in a god, but in the physical, empirical world.

Can someone be an atheist and not be a materialist?

 

(sorry if i'm misunderstanding/misrepresenting your views!)


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: Is there a

hello wrote:
Is there a better word to describe your worldview which does not include what you reject?
reality 

 

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


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: I'm not

hello wrote:

I'm not playing any game.

I think I am understanding your worldview now though. You are a physicalist/materialist right?

You have a positive belief in the relationship between physical evidence and reality. The only way for you to be able to reject all of these worldviews (where santa, two-headed monster santa, god spagetti monster, etc. exist) is to have this positive belief, not in a god, but in the physical, empirical world.

Can someone be an atheist and not be a materialist?

 

(sorry if i'm misunderstanding/misrepresenting your views!)

 

another way to put this is: does atheism include your lack of belief in say, Santa or unicorns? Santa and unicorns aren't deities. So, in other words does being a-santaist and a-unicornist have any qualitative differences with being atheist? 

    if it does not, then atheism the way I understand you is not in fact simply the lack of a belief in a deity but is in fact a positive, materialist worldview.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1264
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
Santa and unicorns aren't

Santa and unicorns aren't deities (at least by your definition; there may be those who worship santa or unicorns, or both), but they have as much truth value as any deity.  We are often (too often) challenged to prove that god doesn't exist, which is tantamount to proving the nonexistence of unicorns or santa. 

As the site's name indicates, the moderators of these forums, and many of its contributors base their beliefs on rational thought.  A rational study of the world yields an atheistic worldview.   That is not to say that rational thought is the only way to arrive at atheism.  One could very possibly reject the existence of god, but accept the existence of unicorns - whereupon he would indeed be an atheist who beliefs is unicorns. 

It is possible to be an atheist for irrational reasons.  It is not possible to be a theist for rational reasons.

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10732
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote:Vastet

DrFear wrote:

Vastet wrote:
I'm forced to point out that saying a cat is an atheist is foolhardy. We'd have to be able to communicate such ideals with a cat before being able to say one way or the other. Cats are intelligent beings that very well might believe in some deity or another. For all we know they worship us.

i think you've gotten too much of your enlightenment through your 'gaming god' status.  a cat's brain function is hardly a realm of infinite possibility.  also, your standards of intelligence are a tad warped... 

The only thing you accomplished with this was making yourself look like a fool. Congrats! Smiling

To get back to intelligent conversation, I had not meant my earlier statement to be insulting, and should have worded it better. But I stand by my statement that cats are intelligent, we cannot communicate with them, and until we can any statements about the overall intellect of the feline species is pointless. Let alone what it's perceptions of reality entail.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
If the argument against a

If the argument against a deity is that there is no empirical evidence, then this argument is materialist, not particularly rational.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1264
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
What is the argument

What is the argument against santa claus and unicorns?  Materialist, and therefore, not particularly rational?

 Try this little exercise:  Each statement you make from now on with reference to a deity or theism, substitute "santa" or "unicorn", and then decide if the statement is still worth posting.  

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: The only

Vastet wrote:

The only thing you accomplished with this was making yourself look like a fool. Congrats! Smiling

 

i don't see how i look like a fool.  i'm not the one who claims that cats have religion (or that it's possible for cats to have religion).

and we can communicate with cats.  i know when a cat is hungry, i know when it is annoyed, i know when it is tired, scared, it knows that it is not supposed to eat the houseplants, or get on the kitchen table, and on and on and on.

however, this is all primitive, basic communication.  nowhere near complex enough to enter the realm of contemplating existence. ponce. (now we're even }Smiling

Fear is the mindkiller.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: If the

hello wrote:
If the argument against a deity is that there is no empirical evidence, then this argument is materialist, not particularly rational.

it is materialist because it is based on empirical evidence.  it is atheist because it is in regard to a deity.  materialism is the overview, atheism deals with the subject matter. 

Fear is the mindkiller.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
My point is that if the

My point is that if the atheists on this website's main argument against theism, unicorns, santa, etc. is the lack of physical evidence then the argument is particularly materialist, not particularly rational.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1264
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
I'm curious as to what would

I'm curious as to what would constitute a rational argument against unicorns, if lack of evidence fails to cut it.  Care to enlighten us?

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10732
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote: Vastet

DrFear wrote:
Vastet wrote:

The only thing you accomplished with this was making yourself look like a fool. Congrats! Smiling

 

i don't see how i look like a fool.  i'm not the one who claims that cats have religion (or that it's possible for cats to have religion).

Yet you're claiming they can't and don't. Where's your proof? I never said cats are theists, I just said they might be, and we don't know one way or the other.

DrFear wrote:
and we can communicate with cats.  i know when a cat is hungry, i know when it is annoyed, i know when it is tired, scared, it knows that it is not supposed to eat the houseplants, or get on the kitchen table, and on and on and on.

Empathic communication is not rational communication. We can communicate on that level with the vast majority of mammals on the planet. We can even do it with some birds and reptiles. That does not mean you know what the cat is thinking.

DrFear wrote:
however, this is all primitive, basic communication.  nowhere near complex enough to enter the realm of contemplating existence. ponce. (now we're even }Smiling

Ya. Sticking out tongue

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
zarathustra wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
I'm curious as to what would constitute a rational argument against unicorns, if lack of evidence fails to cut it. Care to enlighten us?

i don't think you can say the idea or concept of unicorns is rational or irrational. i don't think you can say the concept of god is rational or irrational. you can however evaluate an argument for unicorns as to whether it is rational or not, and you can do the same for a god. so, if the atheist position of the rational response squad claims to also be the "rational" position then they must rationally evaluate all of the arguments they are rejecting. if their position is materialist, they don't have to; they can just say that there is no physical evidence which they have yet perceived.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
hello wrote: so, if the

hello wrote:

so, if the atheist position of the rational response squad claims to also be the "rational" position then they must rationally evaluate all of the arguments they are rejecting. if their position is materialist, they don't have to; they can just say that there is no physical evidence which they have yet perceived.

there has been plenty of physical evidence submitted, and we have rationally evaluated it, and come to the conclusion that it is all bunk.  it has been de-bunked. 

Fear is the mindkiller.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: DrFear

Vastet wrote:
DrFear wrote:
 

i don't see how i look like a fool. i'm not the one who claims that cats have religion (or that it's possible for cats to have religion).

Yet you're claiming they can't and don't. Where's your proof? I never said cats are theists, I just said they might be, and we don't know one way or the other.

ha ha, ok, you are right.  but look at what you're doing here.  let's replace "cats are theists" with "god exists."  you are saying he might, i am saying he doesn't, and you are asking me for proof.  as we've all been through a thousand times here, we know there is no proof of non-existence.  

so no, i have no proof that cats don't have religion, but based on the evidence, or lack thereof, i will say it is irrational to believe that they do.  since you are only claiming that it is possible, you are correct.  technically, i suppose it is within the realm of possibility.

kudos. let us end this silliness. 

Fear is the mindkiller.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13844
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is onlineOnline
hello wrote: I have a

hello wrote:
I have a feeling this argument between theists and atheists is going to go back and forth for a while. here is my summary: 1. theist believes something 1. atheist believes something else 2. theist believes he has evidence which makes him right, and when he is right he feels good because his belief is reinforced 2. atheist believes he has evidence which makes him right (principally by countering the evidence of theist), and when he is right he feels good because his belief is reinforced. 3. if theist is 100% right that the evidence he has provided is a. valid and b. corresponds with Bible he still hasn't proved there is a Christian God 3. if atheist is 100% right about the evidence he has provided which debunks theist's evidence he still hasn't proved there is not a god (even if he proves that this god is contradictory by some rational philosophical standards). 4. we don't have access to knowledge of the relationship between our beliefs shaped by our experiences ("evidence" or "proof" ) and the actual truth of things; we pretty much only know what makes us feel good about ourselves. a. theist feels good about being Christian b. atheist feels good about being atheist (some atheists say something like well maybe i'd be happier if i believed in heaven/afterlife/whatever but i'd rather sacrifice that happiness for truth; ultimately, atheist is still choosing his own happiness) that's about it.

Nice try, but it doesnt work otherwise all beliefs are equall.

"I have an invisable Lamborginni and 1 billion dollars in an invisable bank account"

THERE, I made a claim. I have faith that the above is true and as long as it makes me happy who cares right?

A rediculous claim will always be no matter how much some idiot shouts it. The wise person points it out and a wise person considers it and is willing to change their mind when proven wrong.

You cant make all claims equal. The burdon of proof is on the claimant. All the atheist does is point out the error in logic. We didnt come up with the claim and we didnt make the claim.

If you are stupid you'd say, "Ok Brian, I believe you have an invisable Lamborginni and 1 billion dollars"

If you are wise you say, "Show me your evidence".

If all cop out to is "faith" I cant lie to you and sugar coat your fallacy and I wouldnt be any type of friend if I let another friend blindly buy a lie without at least challenging them to think about what it is they claim. 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote:

DrFear wrote:
hello wrote:

so, if the atheist position of the rational response squad claims to also be the "rational" position then they must rationally evaluate all of the arguments they are rejecting. if their position is materialist, they don't have to; they can just say that there is no physical evidence which they have yet perceived.

there has been plenty of physical evidence submitted, and we have rationally evaluated it, and come to the conclusion that it is all bunk. it has been de-bunked.

Again, I think rationality is a term or tool to evaluate arguments. Physical evidence can be a facet of an argument but is not an argument itself (unless you are a materialist). This is what makes me think that the atheist position is really a materialist position. You are saying, because a cat doesn't say he's an atheist, or there isn't any observable evidence of cat being an theist, it is not a theist, but this is not a rational argument; this is a materialist argument.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1264
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
I believe I asked

I believe I asked previously, but in case I didn't: 

Kindly offer up what you consider a suitable approach for determining the truth value of unicorns. And if you feel determining the truth value of god requires a different approach, please provide that as well, and explain why a different approach is required.

 

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10732
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote: Vastet

DrFear wrote:
Vastet wrote:
DrFear wrote:
 

i don't see how i look like a fool. i'm not the one who claims that cats have religion (or that it's possible for cats to have religion).

Yet you're claiming they can't and don't. Where's your proof? I never said cats are theists, I just said they might be, and we don't know one way or the other.

ha ha, ok, you are right.  but look at what you're doing here.  let's replace "cats are theists" with "god exists."  you are saying he might, i am saying he doesn't, and you are asking me for proof.  as we've all been through a thousand times here, we know there is no proof of non-existence.  

so no, i have no proof that cats don't have religion, but based on the evidence, or lack thereof, i will say it is irrational to believe that they do.  since you are only claiming that it is possible, you are correct.  technically, i suppose it is within the realm of possibility.

kudos. let us end this silliness. 

Lol. I've just been wondering lately what level of intellect you would need to come up with the questions that the existance of a god can broadly answer. It ocurrs to me that the average intelligent animal on this planet may view us as super beings, since we can do things beyond their comprehension.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


hello
Posts: 179
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
zarathustra wrote: I

zarathustra wrote:

I believe I asked previously, but in case I didn't:

Kindly offer up what you consider a suitable approach for determining the truth value of unicorns. And if you feel determining the truth value of god requires a different approach, please provide that as well, and explain why a different approach is required.

 

I think this is actually a really  big question, that is, this question is in essence about what a human can really know. or what does the power of human reason provide for?  I think humans can really only know what is useful to them to be happy.  For example, how can I know that the other posters on this website aren't in fact robots, Christians in disguise, cats, Cher, the devil, who knows, maybe you're even unicorns! What has happened is that I decided to believe that the posters are people, and these kind of questions aren't as important to me as "where can I get food, what can make me happy, why is there suffering, etc."