(split) Atheism and acceptance of science

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by S.A.M., Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Ha! At least you're reprimanding me for my post this time.

    Just one question:

    Does science provide evidence that a proposition is true? Or does it provide evidence that a proposition is false? Is the Rule of Laplace evidence for a proposition or evidence against an existing one?
     
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  3. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    Your vision of atheism is stereotypical.
     
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  5. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    Neither. Science provides a method.
     
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  7. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    Circular reasoning alert: you are assuming the very point that you set out to prove. My entire point is that they are not opposed to each other. Science is a method of attaining knowledge -- a verb, if you like. It is not a belief system as you seem to be asserting.

    This is a red herring. It's true that those two beliefs logically conflict with each other, but these beliefs do not represent either science (which, as I mentioned above, is not something you can "believe in" at all) or atheism (which addresses the specific belief in a divine creator, not the general epistemological question you are alluding to).
     
  8. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    It seems like you still can't tell the difference between "I believe it doesn't" and "I don't believe".
     
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Atheists require evidence for a claim, rejecting any that has no evidence giving proof that it is true. That disposes of any hypothesis [that requires to be disproved over time for it to be rejected] at the very first stage. So for an atheist to take a position where something is slowly disproved is contrary to the position of atheism where the claim is "There is no God". In fact, starting from a negative position is the major problem with atheistic thinking since there is no scientific way to prove a negative. Its much easier with theistic thinking since all you need is evidence to counter a claim.
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    No, I learned proper English where transposing the negative did not change the meaning of the sentence.

    e.g. I believe the baby is not breathing = I don't believe the baby is breathing
     
  11. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    Hold it right there. This may or may not be true for any given atheist, but it is not central to the tenet of atheism. Atheism is the belief that there is not a divine creator -- nothing more, nothing less. It's fair to say that most atheists hold the view that you are ascribing to them, namely that claims require proof. But importantly, this view in itself is not what makes one an atheist. The correct definition apparently bears repeating so I'll repeat it: Atheism is the belief that there is not a divine creator -- nothing more, nothing less. The question of how the atheist has arrived at this belief is irrelevant to their atheism.

    What you mean to say is that you can't prove an inductive claim. You actually can prove a negative, and quite easily I might add, through deductive logic.

    An example:
    All fish have gills.
    You do not have gills.
    Therefore, you are not a fish.

    I just proved a negative! However, it is true that you can't prove an inductive claim in the strict sense of the word.
     
  12. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    The fault is not in the English, it is in the brain.
     
  13. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    It seems you still haven't gotten over the appeal to ignorance.
     
  14. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    No, atheism starts from a non-claim.
     
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Lets try the atheist way:

    Birds have no gills
    You have no gills
    Therefore you are a bird.

    Remember the atheist claim starts from a negative. You can disprove a positive claim with one piece of evidence. You need to search the entire universe and then some to prove a negative.

    e.g. how would you prove this claim ---> there is no God.

    How would you eliminate every single possibility that God exists?
     
  16. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    You apparently didn't read my post. As I said and as I'll repeat, there is nothing logically wrong with proving or disproving a negative claim. It's easy, as I have shown. The issue at hand is proving an inductive claim. More on this below.

    You can't prove it -- it's unprovable. No one is disputing that. But as I said, this has nothing to do with the fact that it's a negative claim, and everything to do with the fact that it's an inductive claim, which means that it would take an infinite number of empirical observations to prove it. Since it is not possible to make an infinite number of observations, the claim can't be proven.

    I'm not trying to argue for the feasibility or infeasibility of atheism, which is obviously the argument you're trying to draw me into. It should be clear that this is not the point of this thread.

    Neither is easier to prove. They are both inductive claims, and thus they are both unprovable. No finite amount of empirical observations of white swans could rule out the possibility of a black swan, just as no finite amount of empirical observations of black swans could rule out the possibility of a white swan. That one is a positive claim and one is a negative claim is completely irrelevant, as I've repeatedly stated.

    I don't see what you're getting at here. There are two problems:

    1) That argument is indeed unsound and invalid, but not because it involves a negative claim. It's invalid because it reaches the conclusion by affirming the consequent, which is a logical fallacy.

    2) How does this argument relate to atheism anyway?

    To get back on topic: I am not arguing for or against atheism, or for or against science. I am arguing that it doesn't make sense to say that the two are incompatible with each other. See post #28 for the reason why.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  17. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    maybe you can explain to our young readers the reasoming behind knocking the scientific law of biogenesis from its rightful place of an undisputed law and replacing it with the conjecture of abiogenesis.
    pretty bad when atheists have to cheat isn't it?
     
  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Okay, meanwhile, here is how the thought process works

    Which is easier to disprove?

    1. Swans are white

    2. There are no black swans.
     
  19. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

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    SAM, you are beating a dead horse.
     
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    SAM:

    Where I live, science enrolments are on the rise. Go figure.

    Clearly not, since many scientists are atheists.

    It does both. Science is a method, as Varda helpfully pointed out.

    Some atheists aren't concerned with science and evidence at all. They just don't believe in gods. That's all atheism is, as Dub helpfully pointed out. How long will it take you to understand this very simple point, do you think, SAM?

    Atheists who have reached their position via reason have not, in my experience, started with a negative position. On the contrary, many started as theists. Anyway, reasoned atheism is always by its nature a provisional position. All atheists do is say "Show me the money!"

    Some atheists obviously know more about logic than you do.

    Your syllogism is equivalent to the following:

    1. If something is a bird, then it has no gills.
    2. You have no gills.
    3. Therefore, you are a bird.

    The problem is that premise #1 is not a statement of equivalence. In other words, its converse is not true: "If something has no gills, then it is a bird."

    I'm sure there's a technical name for this kind of logical error. Perhaps I'll look it up.

    Your stating that this is "the atheist way" of arguing applies only to atheists not conversant with logical argument. In other words, you have erected yet another straw man.

    That's unprovable, just as you cannot prove that there is a God.

    There's seldom a need to eliminate every single possibility, no matter how remote, in order to be reasonably certain about a claim. Would you like me to give you a few examples?
     
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    More to the point, which of these is easier to disprove?

    1. Unicorns exist.

    2. There are no unicorns.
     
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Sure.

    I am also curious how reasonable certainty against a claim applies as evidence for one.
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Easy enough. Here is a unicorn.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Unless you disagree that its one.
     
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