Atheist Fundamentalism and the Limits of Science

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by lightgigantic, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    What does the fact that Thor requires different rituals of his follows compared to Allah or Quetzalcoatl suggest to you?
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  5. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    when it acts as a basis for making scientific claims (as outlined in the rest of the OP) it becomes faith (even if you want to ignore what has been hotly discussed in the past 80 or so posts
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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    That people express their beliefs based on cultural influences?
  8. SnakeLord Valued Senior Member

    Show away, the world is waiting.

    I know of no atheist on this planet that refuses or even doesn't want to be shown. I am, as well as everyone I know, eager to know the truth, eager to know what is and what isn't. However, it is simple foolishness if someone expects me to have a belief in something that has not been shown to exist but has merely been claimed. You must surely acknowledge that?

    No lg, that can not in any meaning of the word be considered "funamentalism".

    Observable, measurable, testable?

    Even Spinoza and Leibniz understood and commented on the worthlessness of rationalism except for areas like mathematics.

    As for claims that fall within the realms of the billions of differing versions of theism.. Please. The scientific method does not differ from one nation to the next and even from one building to the next - on the same damn street. What do you have?

    Suppose you offer the alternative?

    As for the house.. no, it isn't growing.. the scientific method will show that to be the case, belief in sky fairies does not. That is unless of course all you have is sight.

    No idea, but if it is beyond our senses it is ultimately the equivalent of non existent.

    If it makes you feel happier, sure.. I still don't quite understand what any of that has to do with "atheism".

    I dunno but it's worth testing... So out of interest tell me what it would take for you to believe in, (know), that leprechauns exist? However I will relent.. Everyone I personally know and everything I personally know of humans is the same in this regard.

    No.. knowledge is gained by use of the senses as opposed to gained by non-use of the senses.

    You'll have to be a bit more specific with your usage of the word 'mind'. As for justice, it is a mental concept - a belief that differs from person to person. Some, incredibly enough, would consider the death of a woman because of a name she gave to a teddy bear as "justice", while the sane world wont. A mental concept is not testable, but that the concept exists is testable - easily so. (Myles explains this better than I)

    Like my belief in leprechauns? Why then would you believe in it?
  9. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    then there is the just the small issue of your existing beliefs (enter the high school drop out, who could also be waiting patiently to be shown ....)
    which brings us back yet again to the question - "What if a claim lies outside your favoured methodology?"
    if a person is harping on "show me, show me" yet refuses to take the first steps to be shown ("It's not my belief") it certainly is an issue of fundamentalism
    so you fundamentally believe that the observable and the testable are synonymous?
    and no one has commented on the shortcomings of having such a view before that or ever since, right?

    yup - all scientific discourse on methodology vs findings has been bereft of any issue of contentions since day one

    rationalism was the alternative, which you ironically seem to now be agreeing with

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    you certainly don't deem the house to not be growing by empiricism
    just like a growing house, eh?

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    while fundamental empiricism may not be atheism, your particular flavor of atheism is certainly fundamental atheism

    c'mon snakey ol boy - I'm after something measurable, observable and testable here.
    What exactly are you alluding to here when you say "We are all the same"?
    so you have seen a "justice"?
    or did you taste or hear it?
    as for a mind, call upon whatever observable, testable and measurable thing you think can fit the bill and we will see if it measures up as the final last word about us in terms of our thinking/feeling/willing ability

    as for justice, phew, just as well it doesn't exist so there is no need for a discourse from you about the injustices of religion
    the problem is that given the average education of people in this world, electrons can also be included on the list by applying your general standards for disbelief
  10. SnakeLord Valued Senior Member

    You said you can show so show. We can discuss my existing beliefs or lack thereof later. PM me if I need to come around to your house or something.

    It's not about "favoured", it's about viable. Of what ultimate value is something that resides solely in your mind? That's not to say that the entity that inhabits your mind does not exist, it merely asks of what value it is to anyone else. A claim of such nature is of no worth to anyone other than yourself.

    Nobody is refusing here, show me.

    1) I asked you a question, I didn't make any statements whatsoever.

    2) Well, if something is testable it must be observable in some form or another. Hard to test the unobservable.

    Can't say I've read every opinion in existence, I'll let you show me the value of rationalism in these regards.

    Uhh.. where?

    Eh? Sure I do..

    Thank you.

    My lack of belief in gods is fundamentalist lack of belief in gods? Hmm.. k. You've lost me now..

    Ok, part of the testing and observing is in you answering the question. Here it is, (3rd time):

    "tell me what it would take for you to believe in, (know), that leprechauns exist?"

    Indeed. Many forms of it.

    Ok, but you need to be a bit more specific with what you mean by "the final last word". No such thing exists in the realm of science.

    Smashing lg. Let's have a nice discussion concerning worldwide education levels later and in another forum. For now would it be possible to answer the question posed? Thanks.

    "If someone is referring to something that cannot be indicated to a second person, it is an issue of belief.."

    "Like my belief in leprechauns? Why then would you believe in it?"
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    How does one judge the probability? Admittedly, not directly with math. But, a universe that was designed would have inherently different qualities than one that evolved. We see that complex things can emerge from simpler things, and do not need the explanatory power of a creator. There is the problem of how a being with such complex behavior came to be complex itself.
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    if you can't observe or measure a "justice" in your house, you probably can't do in mine either ...
    and viable means what?
    what you are predisposed to perhaps?
    you mean like the notion "empiricism is synonymous with reality"?
    in a process where I must have some sort of control to study something (aka empiricism), how do you propose that your statements indicate anything but your unhealthy psychology?
    there is just that important step of working towards qualification ( a step intrinsic to all claims of evidence) that you are avoiding
    and your question is loaded because it assumes that the observable and testable are synonymous
    so IOW if you can't indicate anything within the purview of your five senses, it is neither testable nor existent?
    well for a start it doesn't address the practical application of ethical issues (eg - the legal system) since all of these things - morality, self, justice - are not within the purview of mathematics

    which of the five empirical senses are you using to discern that the house is not growing?
    your nose?

    more like your fundamental lack of belief in gods can be traced to a fundamental lack of belief outside of empiricism

    so how do you propose to measure and test cognizance in such a way that we all give the same result?

    did you take a photograph of it too?
    it should be capable of being broken down into workable and falsifiable components
    for instance if I say water is H20 I can break it down to H and O (even though the complete analysis of what is H and O is not a given)
    You misunderstand

    so if I say "show me a leprechaun" and you can't (or more correctly, I can't come to see it) you have a belief (according to your analysis)

    maybe that works for leprechauns, but it also works for electrons in certain circumstances too....
  13. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    given that we have only one universe to work with (unless you are talking about some parallel universe that you and your friends have access to) - and even then what we know about it is less than a drop in the ocean - how did you come to discern the different variables between a universe that is designed and a universe that is not designed?

    IOW why is it that your explanation is not a classic example of a Type I error?
  14. Myles Registered Senior Member

    Hi LG,

    I shall make one last attempt to explain where you are going wrong when you ask that something like justice, mind and so on be "pointed at " to prove its existence.

    In the first place what we are talking about here is not necessarily something that can be pointed at. BUT IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED.

    I have explained that a CONCEPT has no physical properties, so why do you keep banging on about the need to point at it. You have not thought the thing through.

    Let's take JUSTICE. What is regarded as justice will vary from one culture to another but that does not affect my argument. Let's take justice in the USA. I cannot point at justice but I CAN PROVIDE EVIDENCE. I can show you what goes on in a courtroom, what the role of a lawer, a juror or a judge is. In other words I can show you a PROCESS which we call justice. To ask me to point at justice is silly.

    And now for your hobby horse, mind. I cannot point at mind which ,like justice, is a concept. Are you asking me to believe you have no mind because I cannot point at it ? If you continue with this line of reasoning you will just paint yourself that bit further into a corner.

    Next we come to god. Can you demonstrate his existence ? I don't believe you can. God is a concept that cannot be demonstrated. You either believe it or you don't

    I am not asking you to relinquish your belief in god, but I am asking you to stop using the the same old arguments ad nauseaum.

    If you have anything fresh to say, say it; otherwise hold your peace.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  15. Myles Registered Senior Member

  16. elsyarango Registered Member

    Yes. I find it unreasonable for rational individuals to be irritated by theists and blaming theists for wars. I do not agree with their views, but I can respect them. I know theism has been used to manipulate people. But using something in the wrong way does not mean that something is bad.
    In fact, there is a really good South Park 2-episode story in which the entire world in the future is all atheist, and there are wars everywhere.

    The Sam Harris article is interesting indeed. It sort of explains the attitude of some people that do not want to be categorized. Which is probably why alot of people are changing the definition of atheism into different categories.

    Regardless if he likes to be labled atheist or not, atheism is a defined label. In other words, I can say all I want how I hate to be labeled a human. But I am a member of the species Homo sapiens. Human is just the word for "member of the species Homo sapiens."

    I cant expect people to say "You are a member of the species Homo sapiens being." It is easier for them to say "You are a human being."

    I'm sure many people find dividing atheism into different categories is important. Its not that I don't understand these definitions.

    I understand the various categories certain people use to define atheism. I know about the infedels website that advocates this these definitions for the term atheism.

    My arguemnt is as follows:

    1. My first argument: The definition of the term "atheism" as presented by the infedels website is not the realworld standard in which atheism is defined. I'm not disrespecting this view of the term in anyway. I am simply arguing that it is not the commonly accepted definition of the term.

    2. My next argument: The commonly accepted use of the term "atheism" is what the infedel site presents as "Strong Atheism". All of the other categories of the term "atheism" are not commonly accepted as atheism. In other words, I argue that the commonly accepted definition of the term "atheism" in academics and other real world settings is and only iswhat infedel website presents as strong atheism while the remaining categories they present are not commonly accepted uses for the term atheism.

    3. My next argument is what I believe to be the misuse of being open to possibility. Any rational individual is reasonable enough to be open to the possibility that they can be proven wrong and admit it. Otherwise they would be ignorant. I respect opinions of theists. I myself as an atheist, or strong atheist if you prefer, do not agree that we are not open to the possibility that god exists. Being atheist (strong atheist) simply means that I hold that there is definitely no such thing as any god. This does not mean I am not open to the possibility of being proven wrong. Nor do I think it should.

    4. From my understanding of the various categories of atheism as presented in the infedel website, not only do I not feel this is the commonly accepted use for the term atheism, I also do not feel this should be the commonly accepted use for the term atheism. I personally find it very reasonable that what the deem "strong atheism" is and should be the only proper use of the term "atheism". With respect I do not consider all the remaining categories of atheism to fall under atheism nor do I think they should be considered to fall under atheism. I consider that atheism is and should be categorized only for those that say there is no such thing as god, and not any other category of non-theists. In essense, the infedel site seems to be confusing nontheism with atheism, and using the term strong atheism to define what is commonly accepted as plain atheism.

    If you reread all of my posts in this thread, you will see my reasoning behind all 4 of these arguments. Thanks!

    I dont think this is proper interpretation of my argument.
    Please start with my first post in this thread then let m know.
  17. Myles Registered Senior Member

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  18. Myles Registered Senior Member

  19. SnakeLord Valued Senior Member

    Hang on a moment.... *pauses*... If you can show, show.. If not, admit you can't.

    No. Nobody would ultimately care what method was used to show that something existed, but they will all generally settle on the method that actually works.

    It was a question, not a statement. Answer it.

    So you can't show me. Glad we got that settled. Now you can list me the required qualifications for me to be able to know that this something exists.

    Ok, so something outside of your senses is testable.. how - other than by inference based upon other observations using those senses?

    Which version?

    What I do find both intriguing and amusing is how you continually seem to relate your god to mental concepts such as 'justice' and 'morality'. If your god is just a mental concept then there is ultimately no truth to it, no right or wrong answer. I could ultimately say that no such thing exists and be no more right or wrong than your disagreement to it. My idea of justice most certainly disagrees with some peoples version which considers the death of a woman because of how she named a teddy bear as justice. There is no 'ultimate truth' in mental concepts and thus I fail to see any real value in this mental concept you call god. If you now claim it is more than a mental concept, it is indeed an existing entity then I will have belief have knowledge of it's existence once someone comes up with a suitable way to test it's existence - and needless to say, a method that isn't simply confined to the individual mind.

    So not fundamentalist atheist but fundamentalist empiricist?

    the range or scope of knowledge, observation, etc?

    I don't follow.

    Certainly. Type justice in google images - you'll see many versions of it.

    Ok, but that's a hell of a long discussion. New Scientist is a good start.. Of course if you're devoid of qualifications I am unsure how far you are going to get - but you understand that already.

    Indeed, so the question.. why would one believe in it? (3rd time).
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  20. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Do you understand that I am bringing this point to bear upon persons who claim if something has no physical (empirical qualities) it is a non-entity/imagination/delusion/etc?

    so is it sufficient to indicate justice by the presence of a judge, jury, funny wig etc?
    Or does justice have a greater significance beyond these "physical" things?
    For instance could we talk about a lack of justice even in the presence of a "physical" judge, jury, funny wig etc?

    if you advocate that everything must be materially reducible to be discerned as real, what other option do you have?
    I don't know if you have clicked on yet that I was posing these arguments against people who are operating out of definitions that you don't appear to be agreeing with.
    IOW these arguments were not directed at you because you didn't make the claims to the effect that "empiricism and reality" are synonymous
    how do you propose things be demonstrated to persons without knowledge or training?
    for instance how would you propose that an electron be demonstrated to a person who simply writes it off as a mere streak of condensation (which is how the movements of electrons are commonly determined in physics)?
    if the arguments appear repetitive its because the rebuttals are.
    Actually there is a whole range of atheistic arguments available in Indian literature - sciforums however seems to advocate either of these two
    1. I don't see god
    2. god is in your mind
    so it doesn't make for a terribly exciting discussion if variety is what you are after

    you haven't really offered anything fresh, so what can be done?
  21. lightgigantic Banned Banned


    the problem is that your standards for "showing" seems substandard, since justice also is absent on your radar (and ironically, despite the apparent non-existence of justice, you rant with so much energy about the injustices of religion)

    unless of course they were possessed of fundamental beliefs about things ...
    more correctly it was a question that suffers from presupposition
    the general consensus amongst scriptures and saintly persons seems to indicate getting free from the influences of lust/wrath/envy/etc
    so if a janitor can not see the same things as a forensic detective it's merely a problem that can be cleared up by an optometrist?
    so you believe that there are no central substance to concepts like "justice" and that one persons notion of justice is irrevocably independent and different from anyone elses?
    its simple - you are a fundamental atheist because you are a fundamental empiricist
    is it possible to know something without being cognizant?
    hmm -

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    now I am really confused - lol
    Its okay
    if consciousness cannot be reconstructed out of elements that are not consciousness it tends to indicate they have a bit of work ahead of them

    to which we can also add, why would one believe in an electron, with equal confidence?
    (tell me when you start to smell a fish)
  22. Myles Registered Senior Member


    I'm afraid there is nothing more that I can do nor, I suspect ,. can anyone else who does not have your peculiar way of looking at things.

    Why talk about judges ih " funny " wigs. Such stupid remarks add no weight to your argument.

    Injustice can be demonstrated. How about Nelson Mandela being imprisioned for twenty years fot nothing worse than speaking out against a rotten regime. That man was treated unjustly. Have you never been the subjectd to injustice ? How about punishing the wrong kid for starting a fight at school ?

    What sort of world do you live in that , even when the obvious is pointed out to you, you cannot see it.

    I believe you are thoroughly confused and unable to evaluate an argument .
  23. Myles Registered Senior Member


    Have you had the feeling that his whole exercise with LG isa waste of time. I don't think he understands what we are talking about, nor will he take the trouble to understand. He is too busy thinking up objections

    I don't think he would recognize an answer if it jumped up and bit him. He's an ideal candidate for door knocking in my view.

    He deserves to be locked up with Descartes so they can agree with each other for all eternity. We musn't let troublemakers like Locke, Hume and Kant in to disturb their musings.

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