Extreme Atheism - leads to a Proxy God by default.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Quantum Quack, Apr 18, 2019.

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  1. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Not particularly, in my view.
    When a thermostat doesn't work, who or what is at fault?
    If it is because the environment acted upon it outside the parameters that the thermostat was designed for, one could say the environment was at fault.
    If it is because the thermostat didn't act as it was otherwise intended to act, then the fault/responsibility lies with the thermostat.
    The thermostat could plead innocent and claim that it was only doing what the universe had predetermined it to do, but that doesn't alter the fact that it didn't work as it was expected to do by others.
    Responsibility in that case thus lies with that thermostat and not the environment.

    This really isn't any different to the way we would consider moral responsibility in the presence of a non-trivial freedom of will.
    It possibly pushes a change of agenda away from punishment to one of rectifying the perceived issue; remedial rather than judgemental etc.
    It is no different than, say, Windows identifying an issue in degraded software and correcting it (albeit without any user input to confirm).
    Unless one is advocating Windows to have a non-genuine freedom in the way it can act?

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    So I don't see how moral responsibility is threatened just because one lacks a non-trivial freedom within the will.
    Yes, it's more complex an issue than exampled above, but i think the above illustrates the basics reasonably well.
    And people jumping to conclusions based on fear and ignorance of the position, without waiting to actually hear from those who might hold the position, certainly don't help matters.

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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    What group does a banana lie in then: extreme atheist or theist?
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  5. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Oh ...depends on who eats it?

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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Your "co-determination" is nothing but compatibilism. You can assert all you want that you don't believe in a proxy-God, but you do, in the same manner that you accuse others of doing so: you believe in things that have "God-like ability" over you. Or don't you belie that gravity exists, or electromagnetic forces, or nuclear forces? And that they are all bound by laws?
    Your contradictions are evident in your arguments: you claim one thing yet your arguments conclude the opposite.
    Me? I'm an agnostic but see no reason to believe in God, proxy or otherwise. If someone wishes to assert that one believes in a proxy-God because one thinks that everything adheres to laws that govern the universe, so be it. It is a rather pointless exercise, in my view.
    And you have erroneously described anyone who believes that there is no non-trivial freedom as being such.
    And you are wrong. There is no belief in the universe as God. There is no such belief held by the people you describe as having that belief (a minor subset perhaps, the those of nihilistic persuasion perhaps), any more than you believe in a proxy-God simply because you think the universe runs according to laws.
    You might think that genuine freedom exists and that this somehow puts you above those "extreme atheists" in terms of this so-called "proxy-God" but it doesn't. Do you put yourself outside the control of the universe? Can you change the laws of the universe? Can you decide that they won't apply? No, and it would be truly absurd if you did. So you are bound, whether you understand it or not, by the same "proxy-God" you accuse others of believing in. If you deny it of yourself you deny it of them as well.
    Feel free to quote me having said those things, given that you have a demonstrable tendency to change quotes to what you want them to say. And also bear in mind that the other discussion was assuming a deterministic universe.
    But those things aside, if you want to assert what I have already said, please quote me having said it.

    As in the other thread, you also need to be careful as to what you are referring to as "choice". If it is just a process, yeah, that exists in a deterministic universe and no one has disputed it. If, however, you mean a process with a genuine non-trivial freedom, that is where we disagree. All this was explained in the other thread as well.
    Why not ask him, rather than simply change what he wrote to suit you?
    And I'm fairly sure he wrote what he wrote because he was referring to "your" notion, the one that contains "genuine" (I.e. non-trivial) freedom.
    With you altering other people's quotes and changing their meaning... yes, there is a problem.
    Ah, I see, if I want to clarify and that clarification doesn't suit you then that's bringing "confusion" to the table is it? What you really seem to mean is that you can't get to grips with the difference, and that it confuses you, perhaps?
    What is so confusing about it that you needed to change the meaning of what he wrote?
  8. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Does a banana believe or not in free will and self determination?
  9. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    no it isn't
    Don't be silly, gravity doesn't control my thoughts or decisions, it doesn't reduce my choices to zilch like you proxy God does.
    I thought you were good with logic?
    really .. where pray tell?
    Dodge and duck...
    The laws of the universe obviously do not exclude freewill and self determination... just look around you...
    It is only your belief in the secular fatalistic predetermination that generates the need for a proxy God to shoulder the responsibility it is presumed by your own reasoning to have.
    The actual laws give us humans something to self determine, if it were not for those laws we would have nothing to determine
    How am I mistaken?
    If you believe that the universe controls your freedom to think and make choices then that universe has all the power over you, You have none, No power in the arrangement at all. It is all on the universe.
    a Power akin to a God hence a proxy God.
    Every human achievement is an illusion as according to you there is no human achievement.
    already refuted .. see above.
    Above? Sorry but it is you who is deluded. Of course you have free will and self determination. If you feel that your delusion puts you below then fine...

    But it is definitely you who is responsible for what you type not gravity...

    Do you think religious fatalist are deluded or not?

    It is called Fatalism, with predetermination I believe. A very flawed concept as well I might add. IMO
    I may do so and yes it was about a deterministic universe where genuine freedom of thought is unavailable and an illusion. Repeatedly arguing over and over for many pages with a Compatabilist going no where like the debate that has been going for thousands of years.

    Perhaps you want to quote your self... you have already stated that you believe in no freewill nor self determination. By all means provide some quotes just to consolidate your belief.
    Yeah a process like a thermostat. eeek! Not the ole thermostat....
    How you can compare a in-orgainc thermostat to an organic human is utterly amazing... just to explain process...
    Because in the context of him making it that was what he was referring to.... self determination as opposed to none.
    of course he was referring to self determination. ( there is no self determination with out freewill)
    Sorry to hear that perhaps I should start this thread again and fix it that way... just for you to feel better about it all. And you talk of triviality...!!
    Seems, impressions, interpretations are all yours Sarkus...
    Perhaps I had the impression that seemed to justify the insertion of a (the) to avoid mistaken impressions and perhaps it seems I was wrong to interpret my impressions that way...

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    Look, I am sorry that you are confused really... but it isn't that hard to understand the rational behind this thread.

    and perhaps if you like bananas you could answer Wegs question ...
    If you ask the banana the question and it decides to say nothing how could we possibly know?

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    a bit like a thermostat yes?
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Can you point me to the post where QQ wrote that? I don't recall seeing it.

    Referring to my thesis advisor...

    His authority derived from the fact that he had written his doctoral dissertation on this particular (hitherto little studied) philosopher.

    It's a bit ironic to see somebody with ideas like yours about the metaphysical significance of mathematics dismissing Neoplatonism. You might not be aware of it, but you seem to be repeating Neoplatonic metaphysical themes, without much awareness of the intellectual ancestry of those ideas.

    From the the chapter entitled 'Number in the Metaphysical Landscape' in the Routledge Handbook of Neoplatonism (p.200):

    "The question of the relation between number and metaphysics forms one of the sharpest conceptual divides between Plato and Aristotle. Consistently, throughout his dialogues, Plato envisions number as a building block of the universe: from the arithmetical psychogony in the Timaeus, to the mixture of Limit and Unlimited in the Philebus, to the second hypothesis in the Parmenides... The systematic pursuit of number earns Plato the recognition that he "Pythagorizes".... Aristotle, on the other hand, negates any ontological value to number. His anti-Platonic polemic in the Metaphysics rejects the idea of number as an intermediary ontological class between sensibles and non-sensibles... For Aristotle, number is simply intellectual abstraction of empirical experience.

    The title of this chapter itself declares on which side of this Platonic-Aristotelian divide the Neoplatonists stand. Despite Aristotle's virulent criticism, Plato's view of number finds fertile soil to grow and flourish in the propitious climate of Neopythagorean philosophy and the exact sciences in late antiquity. This chapter examines the Neoplatonists' expansive interest in the constitutional role of number and maps the metaphysical landscape according to the ontology of number in the thought of its most avid proponents: Plotinus, Iamblichus, Syrianus and Proclus.

    To the Neoplatonic mind, the beauty and multiplicity of the visible world are but pale imperfections of the beauty and order of its invisible underlying principles... Seeking to understand the paradigm of the natural world, the Neoplatonists, following their Platonic predecessors, grapple with ways to transgress the illusory knowledge gathered by the senses... As long as we realize the impermanency and the ontological inferiority of physical reality in comparison to its intelligible model... we can grasp the Neoplatonic view of the natural world as "a sort of physical instantiation of metaphysical principles", albeit distorted and illusory. In Plotinus' words, "even here below, a thoughtful life is majesty and beauty in truth, though it is dimly (amydros) seen" (Enn VI.6[34].18-22-4)."

    Theoretical physics isn't all that far removed, is it? Or your own slightly bizarre talk of "functions". Many arguments in modern philosophy of science have roots in these ancient controversies.

    As I've written before, I think that some of the arguments of natural theology point us to metaphysical mysteries that in my opinion no human being is in any position to answer. While their association with Hebrew, Christian or Islamic mythology is exceedingly hard to justify, the question of the Source and Origin of being itself have traditionally been associated with 'God'. The Neoplatonists are people who have interesting things to say about it.

    Your own faith that mathematics is the secret of the universe is cut from the same ancient cloth.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    A deterministic universe that allows for freewill with a non-trivial freedom? That is exactly what compatibilism argues for. I'm sure you think you're offering something novel, when you ever get round to explaining it rather than simply restating that it is "co-determinism", but whatever it is, it is compatibilism. Feel free to explain why it's not, though, given that you're arguing for a non-trivial sense of freedom in a deterministic universe.
    So you believe, and so you keep saying, yet you have nothing to offer by way of explaining how it does.
    As an example: you claiming your "co-determinism" isn't compatibilist.
    How so? You asked a question, I answered it. Is it only not "dodge and duck" if you get the answers you want? So what am I supposedly dodging and ducking?
    Noone ever said they do. Those processes exist quite evidently, as you say. You just need to show that the freedom within is non-trivial. Or are you already assuming that those processes contain non-trivial freedom? If so, good luck showing it.
    I need nothing to shoulder any responsibility. I am quite happy to be responsible for my own actions. It is perhaps only your unwillingness to discuss in a meaningful manner that stops you understanding this.
    So you think the laws are there for us to determine? Seriously? So we can determine E to not equal MC^2? We can determine gravity to not obey the inverse square rule?? Seriously? If so then your notion of what it means to self determine is as spurious as the rest of what you say.
    I am part of the universe. Are you not? I operate according to the laws of the universe. Do you not? I can not go against any law in the universe. Can you? I am not a separate system isolated from the rest of the universe and as such that it is meaningless to talk of the universe controlling me as if we are separate. Are you separate? As a sub-system of the universe, I am responsible for that which I interact with, just as a thermostat is responsible for turning the heating on or off. No need for a God, proxy or otherwise to be responsible.
    If you really want to accuse me of these claims, do the honest thing and quote me having made them. I am not going to answer to the utter rubbish that you come up with as if it has any bearing on what I have said in the past, or any position I have ever taken.
    And since it wasn't refuted above...

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    I've never said I don't have free will and self determination - unless one wishes to include in those terms that they include a non-trivial notion of freedom. But again, feel free to quote me where I have.
    I know. I have never said otherwise. When you stop putting words in peoples' mouths, when you stop assuming you know what their position is, when you actually want to discuss the issue, let me know.
    Simply for being religious fatalists? No.
    You're entitled to your opinion. But they're like ass-holes... everyone has one. You need to actually support that opinion for anyone to take it seriously.
    Yet here you are arguing over and over for many pages with an Incompatabilist going no where...

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    There you go again asserting what you think I have already said! Where have I said, ever, that I believe in no freewill nor self-determination. Either start providing support to these accusations or stop making accusations you have no desire to support. Stop being so dishonest!
    There you go with your special pleading again. Nor anything to actually rebut the argument. Just simply stating your incredulity and your special pleading for humans.
    The notion of self-determination that you were using... the one with non-trivial freedom.
    The notions you were using... the ones with non-trivial freedom. So yes, he would say they don't exist, because he was referring to your notion. Not the notion, but your notion.
    Hopefully you'll see why not changing people's quotes is not a trivial matter, no matter how small a change you think it might be.
    And nothing you've done or offered since suggests my impressions were wrong.
    Attempts to flame, insult and ridicule a position you don't comprehend... the rationale behind this thread really is quite obvious.
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    It is clear
    QQ advanced the idea that Newton, being a giant in science (intelligentsia) was also well versed in theism and that proved the existence of God. I took exception to that and posited that belief in God does not necessarily imply great intellect, to great consternation .......

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    Post # 323 explains my position, which was actually spelled out by one of Newton's fellow theist.

    Moreover I offer the Kitzmiller trials as proof that associating theism with science an invalid if not totally false association.
    Behe and his efforts to make ID mandatory curriculum in schools, was judged to be non-scientific by a court of law, after the evidence was presented by scientists.
    This reduced Behe to a dilletante, in spite of his academic credentials. The same can be said of any scientists who ascribes his science to be the machinations of God, but then cannot define God and how G0d manages to do that.

    The definition of intelligentsia makes no mention of religious "knowledge". Odd?

    In facts it is the Intelligentsia (Hypatia, Galileo, Copernicus) which was the object of Theist persecution and destruction for centuries.

    Remember the term 'heretic', "blasphemy", and "witchcraft". Many members of the Intelligentsia died as a result of that macabre irony.
    Now Newton comes along and QQ declares God exists because Newton was part of the Intelligentsia and therefore is a hero of Theism?...... Bah.......

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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  13. pluto2 Banned Valued Senior Member


    All the evidence I have seen points to there being no God at all or at least not a God who cares about humans.

    Why are people living in extreme poverty if there is a God who gives a damn about humans? Or why does money rule the world and make this world go round? Why is there so much hardship in life if there is a God who gives a damn about us?

    All of the cruel and bad things which happen to so many people in every single day make me deeply believe that there is no God at all.
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Certainly not an intelligent, motivated, loving God, by any other name.

    Cold impersonal, implacable mathematical deterministic chronologies is all we can expect, and why not?
    Do we feel slighted by the realization we are no more than a collection of bacteria?
  15. Goldtop Registered Senior Member

    I don't think it had anything to do being an atheist or closet atheist. He was a purest when it came to the Bible and probably suspected the Trinity was a concept that came afterwards.

    I also think the concept of atheism is misrepresented in that we hold a different idea of what that is compared to that time. I'm assuming that on the fact that we started to think very differently about our origins after Darwin as compared to before his discovery of evolution.
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    What few people know, because it has been hidden from public ditribution, is that two popes have declared Darwinian evolution to be fact.

    Of course they justified this conclusion by the Papal Academy of Science, that ultimately God would still be the creator of the Universe itself.

    So mother church (run by fathers) has reduced God's role in creation as being causal only to the BB (creation of the universe) and that evolution was only responsible for all that came after. Well, as the man said; "a small step......"

    Perhaps we can advance the notion the God the Father mated with Mother Nature and their offspring was the Universe.

    If I buried this among other mythological stories, like Chronos, Zeus and his brother Apocalypse, no one would be the wiser.
    Then as per prophecy Zeus and Kronus killed each other in combat and Gravity (Apocalypse) married Mother Nature and she gave birth to the Universe..... Hey, this story has hidden scientific merits, no?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    One meets that challenge by looking carefully at the process by which the behavior involved is determined.
    Dreams are involved. Choices. Upbringing. All aspects of human identity. Ethics exist, in other words, in the real world.

    The only "challenge" is to a belief that human decisions - and therefore the grounds of responsibility ethical or otherwise - must be supernatural to exist. Once the physical process of becoming and being a human being is noticed,
    including especially the mental behavior and mental activities and making decisions on mental criteria and so forth,
    as part of the determined universe,
    ethical responsibility follows immediately. It's an aspect of determined human nature.

    Meanwhile, there is no such thing as an extreme atheist. Like an extreme insect - no appropriate continuum of intensity applies.
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  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    How many topics start out with in the implication that "I'm not crazy and I don't agree with all of these other crazy people, I agree with you" but by the end of the thread it's apparent that the reality is "I don't agree with all these other crazies but let me present to you...my crazy theory".

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  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    a compatabilist argument will all ways leave it self open to the problem of indeterminism.

    They can not resolve this , as you well know. Constantly confusing the paradigms they are working with, bringing in terms like super natural to support their observational evidence of free will and self determination due to the fact that one can not have their banana cake and eat it simultaneously. Contextual integrity lost in a sea of hubris and egositic confusion.

    I realized ages ago and had it confirmed by your posting in the other thread, that the 3000 odd year debate was a logical trap that was constantly being sprung. Similar to the logic used in Special Relativity Theory, where by the context of the argument changes in steps until the original context is lost thus maintaining the logic trap.

    Then I realized what the problem was and bingo we get co-determinism.
    The natural universe is a duality, of polarized phenomena not a metaphysical non-duality or "Unity" as they say from a human perspective it is very much a duality.
    Humans are co-dependent on that universe that is a duality.
    But the universe is also co-dependent on Humans as it is with all reflective situations.

    Remember every action has an equal reaction and nothing happens unless both occur. Thus co-determinism solves the 3000 year conundrum with out the need for a God whether proxy God by default or not.

    "For what would a God (King) be with out something to rule over" ~ anon
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Most of my friends are atheists and they would simply describe atheism as simply not believing in any deities/gods of any kind. That’s it. They dislike that there are atheists trying to create a religion out of disbelief. It’s really just a reaction to theism, nothing more. When I identified as an atheist, I simply felt indifferent.

    You can label it whatever you like, but how can atheism be “extreme?” If you’re on the fence with your faith views, you’re not an atheist. If you simply don’t believe, then you’re an atheist. Why go to extremes?

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    I reeeeeaaalllyyy don’t believe!! No one cares. lol
  21. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    utter nonsense.. I never suggested that Newtons beliefs proved the existence of God... what utter insane BS...
  22. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    So you believe gravity controls your thoughts and therefore all your decisions?
    tell me in this picture of a city
    How is mankind making use of gravity for his own ends?

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    It may be true that the pretense of Gravity may influence our decisions but to suggest that Gravity Controls our minds to the extent that no choice exists is ridiculous.
    In the picture above we see an achievement that was co-determined with Gravity among many other things. It could be referred to as a symbiotic relationship between man and his universe.
  23. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    So you are saying that in reality free will and self determination isn't an illusion but are arguing that they are and illusion with out saying that you are referring to a metaphysical thought experiment?
    It is little wonder that your get no where in your argument. The contextual integrity is out the window....

    ahhh but then again you never said you did have free will either...allowing you self wriggle room to escape any conclusion being made what so ever about your position.

    So can you state your position with out ambiguity clearly and consistently and be prepared to commit to it, defend it with an objective mind?

    Or are you just going to slide into the pit of insanity demonstrated so often by certain members here at sciforums?

    Pathological lying and playing silly games with context lead only one way. To a padded cell wearing a restraining garment.
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