Political Forums  

Go Back   Defending The Truth Political Forum > Philosophy and Religion > Religion > Atheism


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old January 23rd, 2011, 06:25 AM   #31
Junior Member
 
Mad Zagyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
It's a vacuous claim to say that belief and non-belief aren't cut from the same cloth.



Believing or not believing in God requires making a choice, and making a choice is taking a deliberate action.



One choice results in believing God exists, and the other results in believing that God doesn't exist.


Your whole argument is semantical in nature. What you are saying is basically this: You can either believe in something or not believe in something, but if you don't believe in something that's a belief too. After postulating your argument in this way, you try to falsely establish equality between the two choices simply because they are two choices.



Unfortunately, the word "belief" has different hierarchies of meaning. See if you can follow this:



I decide to move (a deliberate action).

I decide to not move (a deliberate action).



Am I moving in both instances? No.

Could you describe each choice as a "type of movement?" Possibly. If for example I asked you to describe how each of two people in the above example are "moving." You would answer one is moving and the other is not (or being still).



Can you see the hierarchies at play?



Finally, your attempt to make the two choices seem to be of equal merit simply because they are two choices is so logically false it's frustrating that you cannot see it.



Belief and non-belief do not each have a 50% chance of being true.
Mad Zagyg is offline  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 08:11 AM   #32
Senior Member
 
imaginethat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Western Slope, Colorado
Posts: 60,495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Zagyg View Post
Your whole argument is semantical in nature. What you are saying is basically this: You can either believe in something or not believe in something, but if you don't believe in something that's a belief too. After postulating your argument in this way, you try to falsely establish equality between the two choices simply because they are two choices.



Unfortunately, the word "belief" has different hierarchies of meaning. See if you can follow this:



I decide to move (a deliberate action).

I decide to not move (a deliberate action).



Am I moving in both instances? No.

Could you describe each choice as a "type of movement?" Possibly. If for example I asked you to describe how each of two people in the above example are "moving." You would answer one is moving and the other is not (or being still).



Can you see the hierarchies at play?



Finally, your attempt to make the two choices seem to be of equal merit simply because they are two choices is so logically false it's frustrating that you cannot see it.



Belief and non-belief do not each have a 50% chance of being true.


Again, you appeal to the altar of logic, which is fine, your choice, but non-conclusive, a clever sidestep to the topic at hand: What atheists are. I am well-aware of the maxims of logic, and appreciate them for their strengths and am aware of their weaknesses. Some, like you, ignore their weaknesses, or appear to.



Your last statement is irrelevant, failing even to satisfy the commandments of your god.



You would have no problem acknowledging that a person's saying God exists is a choice, that to make such a statement a person must look at the evidence available, exercise faith because the evidence available isn't conclusive, and choose to believe in God. However, you rankle at my saying that to say, positively, that God does not exist likewise is a choice, and that to make such a statement a person must look at the evidence available, exercise faith because the evidence available isn't conclusive, and choose to believe in God.





As I said, the agnostic position is the only honest position. The agnostic looks at the evidence available, exercises no faith, and chooses to say, "I don't know if God exists." Rock-solid position. But, an atheist states a positive opinion: God does not exist. The evidence available does not establish that position, indeed, one has to wonder what would conclusive evidence that God does not exist be? What, logically, could verify that opinion?



Nothing. And saying, "I am an agnostic atheist. That is, I accept the possibility that a supreme being could possibly exist (agnosticism), however, I find the evidence so lacking that I do not actually hold a belief that such a being exists (atheism)," is, as you say, a position that is semantical in nature. You say you accept the possibility that a supreme being possibly could exist. an agnostic position and consistent with the available evidence. However, in the absence of conclusive evidence, you also say, thatt you hold the belief that God doesn't exist.



Belief or non-belief in God thus is a position that is chosen without conclusive evidence. And, an "agnostic atheist" is an odd oxymoron. Agnostics don't know, while an atheist claims to know. An "agnostic atheist" really is an agnostic if any honesty is used in assessing the term, or perhaps a cowardly atheist who can't quite say, "God doesn't exist."



I asked earlier, what would the nature be regarding evidence that God does not exist? Well, what would be the nature of the evidence establishing that God does exist? I'm asking you this question. You say, "I accept the possibility that a supreme being could possibly exist ...." so what evidence would lead you from accepting the possibility to having evidence before you that drives you to say, "A supreme being does exist," logically speaking.
imaginethat is online now  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 08:12 AM   #33
Senior Member
 
imaginethat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Western Slope, Colorado
Posts: 60,495
double post....
imaginethat is online now  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 09:34 AM   #34
Junior Member
 
Mad Zagyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
Again, you appeal to the altar of logic, which is fine, your choice, but non-conclusive, a clever sidestep to the topic at hand: What atheists are. I am well-aware of the maxims of logic, and appreciate them for their strengths and am aware of their weaknesses. Some, like you, ignore their weaknesses, or appear to.



Your last statement is irrelevant, failing even to satisfy the commandments of your god.



You would have no problem acknowledging that a person's saying God exists is a choice, that to make such a statement a person must look at the evidence available, exercise faith because the evidence available isn't conclusive, and choose to believe in God. However, you rankle at my saying that to say, positively, that God does not exist likewise is a choice, and that to make such a statement a person must look at the evidence available, exercise faith because the evidence available isn't conclusive, and choose to believe in God.





As I said, the agnostic position is the only honest position. The agnostic looks at the evidence available, exercises no faith, and chooses to say, "I don't know if God exists." Rock-solid position. But, an atheist states a positive opinion: God does not exist. The evidence available does not establish that position, indeed, one has to wonder what would conclusive evidence that God does not exist be? What, logically, could verify that opinion?



Nothing. And saying, "I am an agnostic atheist. That is, I accept the possibility that a supreme being could possibly exist (agnosticism), however, I find the evidence so lacking that I do not actually hold a belief that such a being exists (atheism)," is, as you say, a position that is semantical in nature. You say you accept the possibility that a supreme being possibly could exist. an agnostic position and consistent with the available evidence. However, in the absence of conclusive evidence, you also say, thatt you hold the belief that God doesn't exist.



Belief or non-belief in God thus is a position that is chosen without conclusive evidence. And, an "agnostic atheist" is an odd oxymoron. Agnostics don't know, while an atheist claims to know. An "agnostic atheist" really is an agnostic if any honesty is used in assessing the term, or perhaps a cowardly atheist who can't quite say, "God doesn't exist."



I asked earlier, what would the nature be regarding evidence that God does not exist? Well, what would be the nature of the evidence establishing that God does exist? I'm asking you this question. You say, "I accept the possibility that a supreme being could possibly exist ...." so what evidence would lead you from accepting the possibility to having evidence before you that drives you to say, "A supreme being does exist," logically speaking.


We are perhaps coming closer to agreement, as I would never make the statement, "A supreme being (or comparable entity) definitely does not exist."



Our disagreement now seems to fall on what agnosticism and atheism mean. I have been in this argument many, many times and I have little care for what or how someone labels me. The term agnostic atheist is NOT an oxymoron. Agnostic is an additional descriptor, not necessarily a complete worldview by itself (though it can be).



Agnosticism is not simply the "midway" point between theism and atheism. The definitions of agnosticism and atheism that you are using are too narrow. I think you'll find if you do any reading on these terms you'll find that your hard-fast definition of atheism as the "positive statement" that a supreme being definitely does not exist is not a fair representation of the meaning of the word or the philosophy of the atheist.



In the end, I don't care what someone else chooses to identify me as. This argument will probably close with us not being able to agree on what these terms mean, and that's fine.
Mad Zagyg is offline  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 09:49 AM   #35
Junior Member
 
Mad Zagyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 26
To add:



You apparently do not see a difference between the following two statements:



"I believe that a supreme being does not exist."



"I do not hold a belief that a supreme being exists."



I do see a difference. Very clearly, actually.
Mad Zagyg is offline  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 10:11 AM   #36
Senior Member
 
imaginethat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Western Slope, Colorado
Posts: 60,495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Zagyg View Post
We are perhaps coming closer to agreement, as I would never make the statement, "A supreme being (or comparable entity) definitely does not exist."



Our disagreement now seems to fall on what agnosticism and atheism mean. I have been in this argument many, many times and I have little care for what or how someone labels me. The term agnostic atheist is NOT an oxymoron. Agnostic is an additional descriptor, not necessarily a complete worldview by itself (though it can be).



Agnosticism is not simply the "midway" point between theism and atheism. The definitions of agnosticism and atheism that you are using are too narrow. I think you'll find if you do any reading on these terms you'll find that your hard-fast definition of atheism as the "positive statement" that a supreme being definitely does not exist is not a fair representation of the meaning of the word or the philosophy of the atheist.



In the end, I don't care what someone else chooses to identify me as. This argument will probably close with us not being able to agree on what these terms mean, and that's fine.


This discussion isn't centered on how someone else chooses to identify you. It's about the nature of theism, agnosticism, and atheism. Only one definition is given for theist: "one who believes in the existence of a god or gods; specifically: belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world." Only one definition is given for agnostic: "A person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god." And this addition: "a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>."



The use of agnostic as an adjective: " of, relating to, or being an agnostic: involving or characterized by agnosticism." And only one definition is given for atheist: "One who believes that there is no deity." Those are the definitions. I didn't make them up. They are, as you said, narrow but they are as definitions, intended to be narrow. So, I stand on what I said: An "agnostic atheist" indeed is an oxymoron, for it merges two incongruous concepts.



Since you did say, "I would never make the statement, 'A supreme being (or comparable entity) definitely does not exist,'" you sir are most definitely an agnostic, for an atheist says, "I believe that God, a deity, or a comparable entity does not exist." Your insertion of "definitely" does not create any legitimate basis for the term "agnostic atheist" as being anything other than an oxymoron, .



And please, what would constitute definitive evidence that God exists? Or, that God doesn't exist?
imaginethat is online now  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 10:53 AM   #37
Junior Member
 
Mad Zagyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
This discussion isn't centered on how someone else chooses to identify you. It's about the nature of theism, agnosticism, and atheism. Only one definition is given for theist: "one who believes in the existence of a god or gods; specifically: belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world." Only one definition is given for agnostic: "A person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god." And this addition: "a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>."



The use of agnostic as an adjective: " of, relating to, or being an agnostic: involving or characterized by agnosticism." And only one definition is given for atheist: "One who believes that there is no deity." Those are the definitions. I didn't make them up. They are, as you said, narrow but they are as definitions, intended to be narrow. So, I stand on what I said: An "agnostic atheist" indeed is an oxymoron, for it merges two incongruous concepts.



Since you did say, "I would never make the statement, 'A supreme being (or comparable entity) definitely does not exist,'" you sir are most definitely an agnostic, for an atheist says, "I believe that God, a deity, or a comparable entity does not exist." Your insertion of "definitely" does not create any legitimate basis for the term "agnostic atheist" as being anything other than an oxymoron, .



And please, what would constitute definitive evidence that God exists? Or, that God doesn't exist?


About 15 seconds worth of Googling and you'll find how completely wrong the definitions that you've settled on are. You are obviously looking for sources that help to support your own desired understanding of what you would prefer the definitions to be. Even when I break out my old, dusty Encyclopedia Britannica from 1987 it clarifies how identifying atheism as a "belief that a deity does not exist" is widely regarded as an unsatisfactory definition of the philosophy.



In regards to your question (which I feel as though I have already answered more than once): I can think of no evidence that could convincingly prove or disprove the existence of a God. Hence, my agnosticism.

Because I see no convincing evidence whatsoever that a supreme being exists, I do not hold a belief in one. You want this view to be agnostic because you do not see a difference between the two belief/non-belief statements I gave in my last post.



Since you cited specific definitions, would you mind telling me where you got them from? I find them somewhat suspicious, considering their inconsistency with the definitions in the sources that I use.
Mad Zagyg is offline  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 12:12 PM   #38
Senior Member
 
imaginethat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Western Slope, Colorado
Posts: 60,495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Zagyg View Post
About 15 seconds worth of Googling and you'll find how completely wrong the definitions that you've settled on are. You are obviously looking for sources that help to support your own desired understanding of what you would prefer the definitions to be. Even when I break out my old, dusty Encyclopedia Britannica from 1987 it clarifies how identifying atheism as a "belief that a deity does not exist" is widely regarded as an unsatisfactory definition of the philosophy.



In regards to your question (which I feel as though I have already answered more than once): I can think of no evidence that could convincingly prove or disprove the existence of a God. Hence, my agnosticism.

Because I see no convincing evidence whatsoever that a supreme being exists, I do not hold a belief in one. You want this view to be agnostic because you do not see a difference between the two belief/non-belief statements I gave in my last post.



Since you cited specific definitions, would you mind telling me where you got them from? I find them somewhat suspicious, considering their inconsistency with the definitions in the sources that I use.


Certainly. I took the definitions verbatim from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, which you can affirm here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/ Hopefully, you can clear your suspicions. So, I don't know what "relativists" have done with the definitions of theist, agnostic, and atheist, but I suspect that whatever has been done with the definitions, such permutations likely are the handiwork of people who are "...unwilling to commit to an opinion about something," which is included in the definition of an agnostic not an atheist.

[font="'Trebuchet MS"]

[/font]You seem to hold in high regard your self-identifying as an atheist. Unfortunately, you aren't an atheist. You're an agnostic. You state plainly, "I can think of no evidence that could convincingly prove or disprove the existence of a God," which squares precisely with the definition of an agnostic, "A person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable." With your statement, "Because I see no convincing evidence whatsoever that a supreme being exists, I do not hold a belief in one," you edge towards atheism, "One who believes that there is no deity," and thus introduce dishonesty into your self-identification, and into the meaning of the terms themselves.

[font="'Trebuchet MS"]

[/font]An agnostic suspends belief. An agnostic says, simply, "I don't know whether God exists," no belief being involved. An agnostic position does not include postulating that the reality or unreality of the existence of God is a 50/50 proposition. Agnosticism isn't a "midway" position between theism and atheism. Agnosticism is an honest declaration of "not knowing," and not believing one way or the other.

[font="'Trebuchet MS"]

[/font]However, an atheist says, "I believe in the existence of a god or gods," while an atheist says, "I believe that there is no deity."

[font="'Trebuchet MS"]

[/font]Both stand on the ground of "belief," both possess their own epistemological standards, unlike the agnostic.

[font="'Trebuchet MS"]

[/font]My observations of atheists have led me to conclude that many who claim to be atheists do so in part because they consider belief in all things "supernatural" as a relic from times past, as they point out that many events formerly attributed to "supernatural beings" subsequently were explained through scientific inquiry and the scientific method. It's a good point.



Most atheists then take that sound position, which deals with observable phenomena, and declare that the position applies to the non-existence of God. But it doesn't, because we possess neither rational, conclusive evidence that God exists or doesn't exist. Thus, an atheist points out correctly that a theist practices faith in the absence of rational, conclusive evidence that God exists, yet at the same time cannot see that an atheist also practices faith given the absence of rational, conclusive evidence that God does not exist.



And every atheist I've ever met gets a bit indignant, begins to claim the logical ground, and appeals to "broader" definitions to supplant "unsatisfactory definitions of the philosophy" when their inconsistency is pointed out to them, and this happens every time.
imaginethat is online now  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 05:56 PM   #39
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 8,333
Quote:
Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
An agnostic suspends belief. An agnostic says, simply, "I don't know whether God exists," no belief being involved. An agnostic position does not include postulating that the reality or unreality of the existence of God is a 50/50 proposition. Agnosticism isn't a "midway" position between theism and atheism. Agnosticism is an honest declaration of "not knowing," and not believing one way or the other.

However, an atheist [sic] says, "I believe in the existence of a god or gods," while an atheist says, "I believe that there is no deity."

Both stand on the ground of "belief," both possess their own epistemological standards, unlike the agnostic.
I agree with your definition of agnosticism, but not with your equivalence you draw between theists and atheists. A belief in invisible pink elephants is not the converse equivalent of a non-belief in invisible pink elephants.....the latter requires no mental energy, has no associated rituals, etc. And only the former requires faith in the absence of all evidence.



There's also the question of descriptive attributes. Is it useful to label someone who doesn't believe that the moon is made of green cheese, given our current knowledge of the moon's composition? If so, then most of us are host to an infinite set of such non-beliefs. In contrast, it would be useful to label someone who worked at a horse track but didn't believe in horses as a "horse non-believer".
skrekk is offline  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 07:03 PM   #40
Senior Member
 
imaginethat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Western Slope, Colorado
Posts: 60,495
Quote:
Originally Posted by skrekk View Post
I agree with your definition of agnosticism, but not with your equivalence you draw between theists and atheists. A belief in invisible pink elephants is not the converse equivalent of a non-belief in invisible pink elephants.....the latter requires no mental energy, has no associated rituals, etc. And only the former requires faith in the absence of all evidence.



There's also the question of descriptive attributes. Is it useful to label someone who doesn't believe that the moon is made of green cheese, given our current knowledge of the moon's composition? If so, then most of us are host to an infinite set of such non-beliefs. In contrast, it would be useful to label someone who worked at a horse track but didn't believe in horses as a "horse non-believer".


You analysis proves true regarding invisible pink elephants and a moon made of green cheese, both of which have interesting but inconsequential implications. The same isn't true regarding the existence or non-existence of a supreme being.
imaginethat is online now  
Reply

  Defending The Truth Political Forum > Philosophy and Religion > Religion > Atheism

Tags
atheists



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
.............. What About the Atheists ? dadman Atheism 170 November 28th, 2012 04:03 AM
Atheists Don't Have No Songs Bookworm Atheism 1 December 27th, 2011 05:51 PM
Atheists in Foxholes tadpole256 Religion 0 August 5th, 2010 01:50 PM
Atheists MUST Leave tadpole256 Religion 19 September 12th, 2009 12:49 PM
God Prefers Atheists tadpole256 Religion 2 November 11th, 2008 02:39 PM


Facebook Twitter RSS Feed



Copyright © 2005-2013 Defending The Truth. All rights reserved.