Why I became an atheist: Why did you not?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Dinosaur, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Because not all evidence is equally valid. Anecdotal reports, for instance, are not reliable. People can be fooled. There are optical illusions, mass hysteria, hallucinations, observer bias, etc. As far as observer bias, people often pay attention to things that support their predetermined viewpoint and ignore things that contradict that viewpoint. People tend to think coincidences aren't the result of the laws of chance, but are rather signs of something special related to them personally. Miracles are likewise never proven reliably to have subverted any natural laws, indeed churches tend to demonize people who find out they are simply the result of a leaky pipe or something. So, different people accept different things as evidence, but those people accepting unreliable evidence are wrong to do so.
     
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  3. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, I see now.
    How could anyone "know" for certain there is no god?
    I guess both sides, we only can hold onto our beliefs.
    I believe there is one God.
    My faith can only make it so for me, it can't make it so for you or anyone else. You know?
    I'm not trying to teach u anything spider goat, I'm just processing this.

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    My atheist friends don't explain it like u. They are rather adamant that there is definitively no god.
    I've ceased going round and round with them.
    I like how u explain it, it makes sense to me.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you believe?
     
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  7. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Because there is an order to the world that I don't believe is happenstance. Even the chaos, is ordered. Because evil doesn't prevail.
    Because in my own life, I see something beyond the here and now at work. God has been the one constant that never changes in my own life. When science can't explain something, that is the essence of God. (To me)

    I have many reasons I guess. And they all make sense ....to me.

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    What would it take for you to believe? I'm just asking is all.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I also believe that there is order in the world. But this can come about through natural physical causes. Chaos theory has revealed that unpredictable seemingly chaotic behavior can result from simple rules.

    I do see lots of evil in the world, and wonder why you assert that evil doesn't prevail. It often prevails. So do good things. Seems rather arbitrary to me.

    When science can't explain something, I think we have to be content with no explanation. To think gaps in knowledge are evidence of god is a fallacy that is so common, it has it's own name.

    Personally, I don't think the idea of god is even a coherent concept. Even if I saw something extraordinary, god is the last thing I would conclude as the cause because it's a non-answer. It could always be intelligent aliens or something. But I presume that god would know what it would take to convince me.
     
  9. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    It's funny you know? For when something amazzzzing happens, I attribute it to God.
    Likewise, when something bad happens, I question Him.
    I get angry with Him.
    I have been this way all my life.
    I don't know any other way, spidergoat.

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    Have you thought this way your whole life?
    I don't mean to pry. I just wonder why ppl think the way they do.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I understand if it's just easier to personify things, I think that it's something we relate to as social beings, however wrong it might be. For my part, I never believed, I've always been agnostic. But lately I've been more confident in my atheism thanks to people like Dawkins and Hitchens. I'm quite happy that there is no evidence for a celestial dictator that demands love while holding everlasting torture over your head if you don't.
     
  11. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    God is something of an abstract philosophical template that people embellish in different ways. The nature of those embellishments vary quite considerably from religion to religion, and even more so from person to person, very often to the point of being mutually exclusive. I am therefore atheistic with respect to such conceptions for what should be obvious reasons.

    Refrain from applying such embellishments however, and simply treat the concept of God as synonymous with the great mystery of existence, and I become somewhat theistic (for lack of a better word). To put it another way, I feel connected to, and a reverence for, that great mystery and all of the smaller ones it contains. But to define that mystery, to anthropomorphize it, is to place it back into the realm of absurdity along with ever other fickle and arbitrary human invention.

    I don't mean to ignore the virtues of products of the imagination however. They can indeed be useful, entertaining, even inspiring and certainly therapeutic.
     
  12. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Hmmm

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    Why do you see a possible god as malevolent?
    To me, it is mankind that is fickle and malevolent.
    But I see your points in general.
    I really like how you put all this.
    I try to explain my faith and then I realize...I can't really.
    To me. Ppl try to put God in a box.
    And that is what religion is.
    But faith is not necessarily "religious."
    But we are a culture of labels right? Lol

    Thank you for this; it is a very thoughtful and not off the cuff response.
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The Abrahamic god is beyond a doubt malevolent, but as far as any possible god, you have to wonder about genetic diseases, starvation, natural disasters, human-specific parasites, birth defects, spontaneous human combustion... etc.
     
  14. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    @ Trippy,
    Post # 117 and everything I've written since then seems lost on you. You affirm this by stating.
    It is mainly common sense I have been speaking, yet that eludes some apparently.

    Belief and science are not the same thing. You cannot prove a negative according to the beloved James Randi, and yet you try.

    It is getting repetitive so I will stop. Some can grasp this.

    point me to a peer reviewed double blind study that demonstrates the non existence of telepathy

    You cannot. You never will be able to. This discussion is pointless. I will stop here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  15. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I wonder also and I know the whole "free will" thing doesn't go over well, but would we be happy if we were drones? There would be no highs and lows for we would all be drones. I don't know the mind of God, but I'd like to think that free will, while it can lead to dark things, it can also lead to light and beauty.

    I visited a holocaust museum last summer and on a poster, was one man's quote...a survivor...who said..."no matter how awful things were, I still believed the world was a good place."

    To the original title of this thread...why am I not an atheist? It is because I can't believe this is all there is.
    And many other reasons. But, finding beauty in a dark world...to me...is what faith means to me.

    Thx for listening to me ramble. I didn't mean to go on. Lol

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  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The things I mentioned as being indications of god's malevolence if he did exist have nothing to do with mind control or limiting our freedom. If a mother stops her child from dumping boiling water on their head, she doesn't violate it's free will or turn it into a mindless drone.

    So, are you dissatisfied with god's creation?
     
  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    So..if nothing bad ever happened to us, would u believe in God?

    And, I haven't given much thought to my personal satisfaction with mankind. People make mistakes and I do believe in good and evil.
    I don't think I'd want a God swooping down to stop every error I'm about to make or even ones done to me.
    This life is hard no doubt. Everyone has a story.
    That doesn't change my faith.

    I can only speak for me, spidergoat. You know?
     
  18. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    No, I have understood fully everything you have said. If not, please provide evidence. Qaupte me and elaborate how what I have said contradicts your actual position.

    I affirm nothing by asking you to prove your assertions.

    What's getting boring is you waving this statement arround.

    This is disingenious at best, and I'm tempted to go as far as calling it dishonest.
    I don't have to point you to peer reviewed anything, the burden of proof is on you.

    What I can do, however, is point you to evidence that contradicts the hypothesis that telepathy exists.
    It does this because it contradicts predictions made by the hypothesis that telepathy exists.
    Sometimes asbence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence.

    You're as bad with that as conservative republicans are with "correlation does not imply ausation" in relation to climate change. Weell, ac@tually, sometimes it does, the trick is to develop the right hypotheses and predictions to test it further.
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I think if the only bad things that happened were due to individual choices, that would be evidence in favor of a god.
     
  20. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    That's fair, I'd say. I too question much.
    So let me ask.
    When we die. Do you believe that's ...it?
    We are buried or whatever and that's the end of it?
     
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    What do you mean by it? I don't believe our sense of self was real to begin with, only the body exists, and the body is forever, since particles are practically permanent. The religious have it all backwards.
     
  22. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    2,088
    @ Trippy,

    I have been maintaining throughout all my posts here that Proof in either direction is non existent in this argument. I stated asking me to prove anything means you did not understand my post #117 (despite its simplicity) was affirming (verifying) your lack of understanding.

    You then respond with this...
    My assertions have been that no side of this argument can be proven, which is simple common sense I would credit most ten year olds capable of understanding.

    You may sound clever to yourself, but your flawed viewpoint seems like arguing for the sake of it, and not relying on anything intelligent.

    Go ahead.

    Ask me again to prove god.

    I will ask you again to prove god does not exist.

    Science does not know everything. I have used a rather good example in these posts, comparing Radio waves with telepathy. There was a time when skeptics would have been able to "prove" radio waves did not exist using your "evidence of Absence" mentality which does not serve science. This does not mean radio waves do not exist.

    This is again a very common sense based post. It is meant for people who use common sense.

    I am tired of repeating this same argument over and over, and I should never have needed to comment here after post 117. Please don't waste your "clever" responses on me because I am viewing them in a completely different light. If this seems rude it is because you are forcing me to practically copy/paste my VALID argument almost repeatedly.

    What am I supposed to say... "Oh yes .. You have just proven Telepathy/Mass Consciousness/God does not exist?

    I said
    and you responded..

    That is one of the worst disqualifying statements I have ever heard. You claim it is borderline dishonest.

    Honesty means to tell the truth, so somehow you think the argument that there is no method for proving or disproving telepathy/mass consciousness/god is a lie?

    Does that even make sense?

    Think again of the example of someone trying to prove the existence of radio waves a thousand years ago (analogy only). There would be no way for him to prove they exist, and there would be no way for science at the time to prove radio waves did not exist.

    Oh... The BURDEN OF PROOF is on him you say.... If he fails to prove radio waves exist then they must be false. I believe this because I am too dumb to realize maybe in 1000 years radio waves will be testable. Besides; the world is flat so we can simply use smoke signals.

    Blah, blah, blah..

    "Burden of proof... Make me laugh."

    "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof... Like the guy in analogy has any possible way of proving radio waves"

    I have also maintained that this thread and ones like it are ridiculous for lack of proof in either direction is currently impossible. I should now add that some of the posters seem more ridiculous in their arguments.



    Learn to admit when you are wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  23. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    At this point, I am becoming increasingly convinced that your trolling.
    So your forwarding a hypothesis that makes no testable predictions? Your hypothesis of telepathy relegates its accuracy to being no better than random chance?

    Now, shall we try some honesty shall we?

    Let's review the conversation so far shall we?

    You stated that Telepathy, as it stands according to your hypothesis, is something that science can not currently see or measure. #121
    I pointed out that this was a god of the gaps hypothesis, and was not unlike Russels Teapot.#122
    In your reply you stated that you werem't using god to explain anything our scientific knowledge does not comprehend yet, but then went on to assert that you believed that if telepathy exists, then mass consciousness must exist, and that must form an attribute of god. You then reiterated your analogy regarding radiowaves and stated that you believed that god is real but suggested you believed that no religion has accurately described it. #123
    In my response to this I corrected your erroneous attribution of my point, elaborated on three seperate occasions specifically how your hypothesis was a god of the gaps hypothesis, pointed out the kind of fallacy that your argument and analogy are based on, and drew a direct paralell between Russell's Teapot and your argument. (#124. I still haven't asked for proof of anything.
    In your response to this post:
    • You assert that I claim that Telepathy has been proven false (I didn't, I was stating YOUR apparent position, not mine).
    • Continuing from this initial error, you blame my communication skills for your (possible) misunderstanding, and then go on to assert that the position I am not taking is a reflection of flawed thinking.
    • You ask me to cite proof of a position I did not take.
    • You then start bandying around James Randi's comment about proving a negative.
    #132
    My reply in was brief, due to the egregious errors in the post to which I was responding. I pointed out that I wasn't stating my position and had no intention of stating my position. I suggested it wasn't my writing that was the problem. I stated that I believed you were being absurd, and bordering on insulting. And seeing as how YOU, not me, raised the issue of proof, I threw in as an off hand remark "Well, actually, now that you mention it..." and asked you to address me rationally rather than reacting emotionally. #139
    In your response, you cherry picked that single statement and used it as an excuse not to address the points that I was actually making, and claimed that that comment proved that I didn't believer in telepathy - my actual position on which I have not, and will not elaborate upon because it is irrelevant to the discussion of your hypothesis of telepathy. #153
    In reply I stated that you were wrong, I had indeed understood what you said, and asked you to provide evidence to illustrate how my assertion that your hypothesis of telepathy was anything more than a 'god of the gaps' hypothesis. I went on to draw a paralell between the way you use the statement "You can not prove a negative" and the way conservative republicans use the statement "correlation does not imply causation." I also pointed out that while I might not be able to prove that telepathy exists, the lack of evidence of certain predictions made by any hypothesis of telepathy suggested that those hypotheses should be discarded. #157

    And so we arrive at your current post, the one to which I am replying.

    Yes, that is correct. Nothing I have stated or asked of you demonstrates one way or the other whether or not I believe telepathy is real. My opinion on the matter is completely and utterly irrelevant to the discussion. I stand by that statement - any request I may or may not make, have or have not made does not prove my position one way or the other. Do you think that because I asked my teachers for proof of the right hand rule that that means I didn't believe it? Do you think that because I sat down and calculated on a piece of paper why methane has a bond angle of 108° that I didn't believe that it actually did? I could give you literaly dozens of examples where even though I have accepted something as fact I have questioned it regardless. See those two words under my name? Empirical Sceptic. Google the phras

    You have cherry-picked a quote, failed to retain the context of the comment, and the specific comment to which it was referring. You then build on this strawman hypothesis by trolling or flaming.

    Repeat after me: Even had I seriously asked for proof, rather than making an offhand remark to illustrate a point, it says nothing about my personal opinion on the subject matter.

    Now you're being insulting.

    In order to ask you again to prove that god exists, I would have to ask you to do it a first time. Once again, you're being insulting based on your assumptions about what I have said rather than anything I have actually said.

    This is a blatant mischaracterization of what I actually said. I simply made the point that if a hypothesis makes a prediction, in the absence of evidence to support that prediction, absence of evidence can be validly used as evidence of absence.

    More thinly veiled trolling/flamming and it's based around the mischarachterization of my posts.

    I haven't asked you to repeat your argument. You feel compelled to repeat it based on your mischaracterization of my posts. I've pointed out how your analogy is fallicious.

    I really don't care what you say because I haven't made a comment one way or the other on the matter. The only thing I have commented on directly is that your hypothesis of telepathy is a god of the gaps argument.

    Correct, that is how I responded.

    I personally think the question, as it's phrased, and in the context that it has been placed is an example of intellectual dishonesty. Using your logic I could just as readily argue that the lack of evidence demonstrating the non-existence of god does not prove the existence of god. It's just as valid as your claim.

    Here, again, you're being insulting and addressing a strawman hypothesis.
    Let's assume that someone 1000 years ago developed the hypothesis that radiowaves exist. You seem to think that someone 1000 years ago would not be in a position to prove their existence and so this justifies your god of the gaps argument. There's several points that you miss in amongst this. A hypothesis does not exist in a vacuum. Every hypothesis makes predictions, every prediction is testable, either directly or indirectly. The hypothesis that radiowaves exist can be tested by someone from 1000 years ago. They can make the observation that during a lightning storm, when lightning strikes near a broken copper hoop gets a spark across it. They can hypothesis that radiowaves are responsible for the spark. They can demonstrate this evidence for others any time there is a lightning storm, you don't need to be able to build a radio set to demonstrate the existence of radio waves.

    The hypothesis that telepathy exists makes the prediction that it is possible to percieve someones emotions or thoughts remotely. This hypothesis can be tested through a set of prearranged conditions, one way of doing it was demonstrated by the ancient greeks. A rich greek dude - I don't quite recall who or what rank he held, sent three of his messengers out to three of the oracles. He told his messengers only to approach the oracles on a specific day and ask them what he was doing. According to the legend, he did something hughly unusual (boiled a turtle in a copper pot on a beach naked or something) and only the delphaic oracle got it right, so, he sought advice from the delphaic oracle.

    The point, and this is the only point that I have made, is that if telepathy exists, then it makes testable predictions, unless you want to assert that it's success rate is indistinguishable from random chance? Hence my comment about double blind studies showing (or not showing) evidence of telepathy. I can think of probably half a dozen ways off the top of my head in which the effects of telepathy might be tested that are consistent with claims such as this:
    Source
    While avoiding claims such as this:
    Source

    Unless you want to assert that the accuracy rate of your theory of telepathy is no better than random chance?


    More trolling.


    You have yet to demonstrate an error on my behalf.
     

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