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Thread: Atheism is a belief.

  1. #401
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    "when a number of people are, from a standpoint of common sense, observing the same object, there are likenesses and differences in their percepts."

    -science

    I hope you are sufficiently advanced to doubt everything you see, hear or taste. And hence, think.
    Always and continuously. And you?

    (again the overwhelming absurdity of a theist - for whom doctrine will absolutely forbid admitting the possibility that their god does not exist - challenging an atheist to doubt his perception or that it may be flawed, and thinking that is an argument against or a challenge to atheism is almost cosmically funny.)

  2. #402
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superluminal View Post
    Always and continuously.
    Are you sure? How do you know?

  3. #403
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Are you sure? How do you know?
    And I'm the one on drugs...

  4. #404
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Most atheists I know say turn to friendship, understanding, faith, and good works. What kind are they ? ”

    Do they practice what they preach?
    They don't preach.

  5. #405
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superluminal View Post
    Don't be absurd. We're just like everyone else, except we don't endorse fairy tales and blind acceptance as a way of life.
    Of course you do. You're just doing it in somewhat different ways than many theists.

  6. #406
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    You are arguing that imagined wants and psychologies are sufficient to actually dismiss the positive assertions of the empiricist
    ... and I add
    "imagined wants and psychologies are sufficient to actually dismiss the positive assertions of many theists".

    From a purely ethical standpoint, the solution is simple, albeit perhaps provocative:

    1. Suppose that what creationist theists say is true. What consequences I predict will this have for my pursuit of happiness and avoidance of suffering? Mostly negative ones.

    2. Suppose that what atheists say is true. What consequences I predict will this have for my pursuit of happiness and avoidance of suffering? Mostly negative ones.


    I do not need to consider evidence or belief based on evidence. It suffices for me to consider the ethical implications of the creationist theist position, and of the atheist position, to decide that I want neither: because -as I know from experience- following either makes me unhappy. My happiness is more important to me than anything else - yet both many theists as well as many atheists are telling me I should lower my standards.



    Most atheists I know say turn to friendship, understanding, faith, and good works. What kind are they ?
    Advocating a life of silent despair. Being unhappy in the common, usual way - the one that usually passes for 'contentment'.

  7. #407
    Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Sarkus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post
    ... and I add
    "imagined wants and psychologies are sufficient to actually dismiss the positive assertions of many theists".

    From a purely ethical standpoint, the solution is simple, albeit perhaps provocative:

    1. Suppose that what creationist theists say is true. What consequences I predict will this have for my pursuit of happiness and avoidance of suffering? Mostly negative ones.

    2. Suppose that what atheists say is true. What consequences I predict will this have for my pursuit of happiness and avoidance of suffering? Mostly negative ones.


    I do not need to consider evidence or belief based on evidence. It suffices for me to consider the ethical implications of the creationist theist position, and of the atheist position, to decide that I want neither: because -as I know from experience- following either makes me unhappy. My happiness is more important to me than anything else - yet both many theists as well as many atheists are telling me I should lower my standards.
    I'm intrigued as to how following either root (atheist / theist) will lead to an ethically lesser standard?

    As far as I can tell, just by looking at the majority of people's actions (outward signs of theism - church going, praying, etc - aside), one can not tell whether they are atheist or theist from the way they behave "ethically".

    What is it about either option that makes you think (your) ethics will suffer?

  8. #408
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarkus View Post
    I'm intrigued as to how following either root (atheist / theist) will lead to an ethically lesser standard?
    /.../
    What is it about either option that makes you think (your) ethics will suffer?
    Both require me to look to others or to something else as the highest authority in my life, be that 'God' or 'reason' or 'science'.

    In both schemes, I am expected to think that I am of little or no importance.
    In both schemes, I am expected to think that my happiness and my suffering are of little or no importance.
    Both schemes expect me to adopt a set of views where I will play only a minor role in my own life.

    This, for me, is a lowering of my standards.

    I don't know a better solution to either the general theist outlook or the general atheist outlook. But I surely refuse to settle for either.

  9. #409
    tending tangentially glaucon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post
    Of course you do. You're just doing it in somewhat different ways than many theists.
    Please extrapolate.

    superluminal seems to be quite clear here.

    How is it that an atheist is guided by fantasy and illogic?

  10. #410
    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post
    Both require me to look to others or to something else as the highest authority in my life, be that 'God' or 'reason' or 'science'.
    What about you being the highest authority in your own life?

    In both schemes, I am expected to think that I am of little or no importance.
    In both schemes, I am expected to think that my happiness and my suffering are of little or no importance.
    I don't see how atheism "expects" anything from you. As for your own importance, why would you be concerned about it beyond how it affects you and your loved ones? If what you are saying is that your self worth is fully dependent on validation from others (theist, atheist, or other) then I feel bad for you.

    Both schemes expect me to adopt a set of views where I will play only a minor role in my own life.
    I don't see this at all. Not even a little.

    This, for me, is a lowering of my standards.
    Hmm... I don't get it.

    I don't know a better solution to either the general theist outlook or the general atheist outlook. But I surely refuse to settle for either.
    That's fine, but I certainly don't share what you seem to think of as the "general" atheist outlook.

  11. #411
    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post
    Of course you do. You're just doing it in somewhat different ways than many theists.
    Yes, please explain how this is?

  12. #412
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg
    I do not need to consider evidence or belief based on evidence. It suffices for me to consider the ethical implications of the creationist theist position, and of the atheist position, to decide that I want neither: because -as I know from experience- following either makes me unhappy.
    But you have invented the psychology and so forth of the "atheist position", in the first place, to follow. Your own invention making you unhappy is hardly an argument against someone else's worldview - if that is what you intended.

  13. #413
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glaucon View Post
    How is it that an atheist is guided by fantasy and illogic?
    How many scientists, to say nothing of the regular atheist folk, actually have first-person proof that scientific theories are valid?

    For the most part, most people have to take scientific findings completely on faith.
    They have to have faith that the experiments were done properly.
    They have to have faith that the theories were formed properly.
    They have to have faith that the findings were presented properly.

    For the most part, they have no way to repeat and test the observations themselves. They do not have the resources in terms of money, materials, time or knowledge to see for themselves. They have to have faith that others have done it properly.

    Believing that 'a particular bacterium causes ulcers' is in effect no different than believing that 'Jesus is the Son of God': I can test neither, and I have to take both on faith, I have to believe others.

    How many theories and assertions has science made? Numerous. At best I might partly test for myself a minuscule portion of them. I don't have the money nor the time or knowledge to test them all. Instead, I have to speculate, extrapolate and take on faith.
    And the same goes for billions of other people living on Earth, including many atheists.

  14. #414
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superluminal View Post
    What about you being the highest authority in your own life?
    Then people like you call me 'delusional', 'selfish', 'illogical' and such.

    When someone strives to be the highest authority in one's own life, many other people don't view this favorably and will try to get the person to conform. Obviously, these many other people have expectations about how people should behave. This has practical consequences, such as mobbing in the workplace, racial, sexual etc. related discrimination.
    Many people will say one should be the highest authority in one's own life, but few will peacefully allow others to be that.


    Both schemes expect me to adopt a set of views where I will play only a minor role in my own life.
    I don't see this at all. Not even a little.
    For example, if I am unhappy and want to be happy, and turn to science for some help, what happens? In the best case, they refer me to neuroscience, suggesting I wait until they have some conclusive findings on what makes people happy. By the time they get them, I'll probably be dead. And even if they do have some conclusions, they are statistical averages, and the things they do suggest are what folk wisdom and common sense have been saying for centuries anyway.
    The things that are most important in my life -my happiness, my suffering, my meaning of life- have to be put on the side-burner if I am to adopt a science-centred view of life.

    And also, are you happy to think of yourself as a 'mass of living matter', for example? Or do you think that scientific findings are not obligatory? If they are not obligatory, then do the benefits of scientific research outweigh its costs and pollution?

    Science has 'proven theism wrong'. How reliable is that proof? How much did that cost? How much pollution was created in the course of it? Was it worth it?
    Last edited by greenberg; 01-05-08 at 05:30 AM.

  15. #415
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post

    For the most part, most people have to take scientific findings completely on faith.
    They have to have faith that the experiments were done properly.
    They have to have faith that the theories were formed properly.
    They have to have faith that the findings were presented properly.
    For me it is also the assumptions about the fundamentalness and application of whatever theory comes out of the research: because the experiments went so, does that mean that 'this' is what is really going on rather than other descriptions. A solid scientist will say no, generally. But that is not how science is generally used: it is the new metaphysician. And this metaphysician is generally used to delimit the possible and the value of other explanations - not to speak of how it is used in thought wars.

    No, you didn't see him. A set of neurochemicals shot across these membranes in these quantities. You are neurochemicals with a consciousness qualia. 'You' only experience a model of reality 'in' your head.
    As one example. (as you have seen, Enmos wrestles with this in other threads, suffering the scientific schema)

    Not to speak of the way universal, timeless rules are sketched.

    But good luck taking this line, Greenberg. I already hear the rapid footfalls of the fundamentalists rushing the podium.

    On the other hand you seem quite strong in the face of inflexibility. I admire that. I seem to have to take more drastic measures. Otherwise I end up taking responsibility, on some level, for their inflexibility.

  16. #416
    Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Sarkus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post
    Both require me to look to others or to something else as the highest authority in my life, be that 'God' or 'reason' or 'science'.
    Drivel.
    Atheism requires no such thing - it merely does not require you to believe in a God as the highest authority. Period.
    Anything beyond that point is still up for grabs as up to the individual.

    In both schemes, I am expected to think that I am of little or no importance.
    Why? Your importance is surely your own subjective value of your worth.

    In both schemes, I am expected to think that my happiness and my suffering are of little or no importance.
    Again - why?
    Atheism has no expectations - other than a non-belief in God.

    Both schemes expect me to adopt a set of views where I will play only a minor role in my own life.
    If that is what you think... but you do realise it is not possible to be neither an atheist nor a theist.
    If you are not theist then, surely by definition, you are atheist.

    I don't know a better solution to either the general theist outlook or the general atheist outlook. But I surely refuse to settle for either.
    Please elaborate on what the "general atheist outlook" is?
    I would guess Humanism is a reasonable start, but obviously you think it is more akin to the hard calculations of science and logic, with no room for subjective emotions or values thereof?

  17. #417
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    But you have invented the psychology and so forth of the "atheist position", in the first place, to follow. Your own invention making you unhappy is hardly an argument against someone else's worldview - if that is what you intended.
    My 'inventing the psychology' of other people's views: There is no other way that would be relevant to me in which I could assess other people's views.

  18. #418
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sowhatifit'sdark View Post
    But good luck taking this line, Greenberg. I already hear the rapid footfalls of the fundamentalists rushing the podium.

    On the other hand you seem quite strong in the face of inflexibility. I admire that. I seem to have to take more drastic measures. Otherwise I end up taking responsibility, on some level, for their inflexibility.
    Thanks. But I think I will back out soon too, because there is less and less in it for me in these conversations.

    Sometimes, I am discussing just so that I could find like-minded people - in the hopes that they will read my posts and that we will find eachother somehow. Actually, lately, I do mostly that.

  19. #419
    until the end of the world greenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarkus View Post
    Atheism requires no such thing - it merely does not require you to believe in a God as the highest authority. Period.
    ...
    Atheism has no expectations - other than a non-belief in God.
    Implicit in non-belief or lack of belief in God are many other things.

    Like particular views on human morality/ethics, justice; philosophical considerations on existence of selfhood; the way one relates to the Universe and everything in it.

    For example, for me, a necessary implication of lack of belief in God is that one have a constructivist understanding of selfhood of phenomena.
    I do not see how someone who does not believe in God, can really be an objectivist/realist or claim that phenomena possess inherent selfhood (and then everything related to that notion).
    - Yet many declared atheists look down on constructivism.

    In my estimation, it takes an enormous faith for an atheist to hold that phenomena exist separately. Without God, how could they?


    If that is what you think... but you do realise it is not possible to be neither an atheist nor a theist.
    If you are not theist then, surely by definition, you are atheist.
    Says who?
    For practical purposes in religious discussions, I do refer to myself as an 'atheist', or rather, a 'non-theist'. Yet this designation means little to me, and personally, I would rather not use it as I aim to be beyond theism and beyond atheism.


    Please elaborate on what the "general atheist outlook" is?
    I would guess Humanism is a reasonable start, but obviously you think it is more akin to the hard calculations of science and logic, with no room for subjective emotions or values thereof?
    Humanism and a focus on science, yes.

  20. #420
    Quote Originally Posted by greenberg View Post
    Implicit in non-belief or lack of belief in God are many other things.

    Like particular views on human morality/ethics, justice; philosophical considerations on existence of selfhood; the way one relates to the Universe and everything in it.
    I completely agree with this.

    For example, for me, a necessary implication of lack of belief in God is that one have a constructivist understanding of selfhood of phenomena.
    selfhood of phenomena, hmmm...

    I do not see how someone who does not believe in God, can really be an objectivist/realist or claim that phenomena possess inherent selfhood (and then everything related to that notion).
    - Yet many declared atheists look down on constructivism.
    Explain selfhood.

    I have little patience for assigning a label like "constructivism" and then constraining the analysis to that label.

    In my estimation, it takes an enormous faith for an atheist to hold that phenomena exist separately. Without God, how could they?
    Phenomena exist seperately from what? You're saying that without a belief in god, I, an atheist, should have a hard time seeing a falling tree as a simple event?

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