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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    Snakelord
    and once again, this doesn't strike you as fundamentalism?
    for instance how do you react when you hear that a religious person is dissuaded from a belief in something because it stands outside of their direct perception and understandings of scripture?
    and if the evidence stands outside of their realm of persuasion (like say a claim that can be verified outside of traditional empirical methodologies), what then?
    so if a person cannot find the answer of a metric issue of volume with a thermometer, that is quite alright?
    Or is it more suitable that they use a measuring tape?

    thats alright
    the question is whether this standard is the most authoritative and not whether it is the most accessible
    this still doesn't explain why being trained in empiricism would make one adverse to claims outside of empircism
    (a rationalist could counter that without a universal language of concepts, your empiricism is also an issue of being non-confirmable)
     
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  3. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    A concept is an entity but there is no requirement that it should physically exist. We can have a concept of a unicorn, talk about its properties and so on but it does not have to exist. If I am told that someone has a pet unicorn, I can reasonably expect to be shown the creature, touch it, measure it , feed it and so on. If none of these things is possible, I have no grounds for believing that unicorns exist. But I can retain the concept of one.

    In the same way, we can have a concept of god but it does not necessarily follow that god exists outside our heads, so to speak.
     
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  5. SnakeLord snakeystew.com Valued Senior Member

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    Someone not having a belief in something that cannot be shown to exist is an example of fundamentalism? :bugeye:

    Can those things be shown to exist?

    Such as?

    I would say it is, of course feel free to provide a better one.

    I don't think anyone is really adverse to claims, you can make any claims you want. Of what value are those claims to anyone else if they cannot be shown to exist? That's a question, not a statement.

    The thing is, we are all ultimately the same. If I was to ask you what would be required for you to "believe in", (I prefer the word 'know'), that leprechauns exist you would eventually come down to empiricism - and that is the way you work for everything except the one thing you believe in so much but know you can never show exists and therefore think for some bizarre reason that it alone is different to everything else. That of course is typical behaviour for anyone with fundamentalist beliefs. (It's "belief" instead of "knowledge" for a reason).
     
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  7. elsyarango Registered Member

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    Morality is to Amorality as Theism is to Atheism.
    Moral and Immoral are both aspects of Morality.

    Morality involves right and wrong in terms of moral and immoral.
    Amorality involves the absense of right and wrong.

    As far as I know, the term 'atheism' is generally accepted as the belief in the absense of diety. Not the absense of belief in a diety. I have no reason to believe that terms such as strong atheism, weak atheism, and such other categories have any validity outside of internet propogation. None of it is what atheism is about.

    Consider the many 'isms' in language. Simply an absense of belief of an ism without taking up a side cannot fall under an 'ism'. If you do not abide by individualism, you are not specified under any category as a result. If you do not abide by theism, you are not specified under any category as a result. It is only when you abide by a certain stance that you fall under an ism. Atheism is the stance that dieties do not exist. This is not anything new.

    Anybody that abides by any ism who does not consider themselves ignorant is open to being proven wrong. I simply state that I abide by my ism because that is what I believe to be truth. This does not mean I am never open to being proven wrong. If something compelling enough convinces me that my computer is powered by a squirrel inside it, than I will admit I was wrong about believing my computer is powered by electricity from my wall outlet.

    An individual simply stating that he does not know if god exists cannot fall under an ism because he has not taken up any side. He does not believe there is a god. Nor does he believe there is no god. However, an agnostic has taken up a side. Agnosticis naturally do have not taken a side in the argument of whether or not god exists. However, they are considered an ism because of their belief that human cannot and will not know if there is any god. Because they have a belief, they are categorized under an ism. But one who simply does not know if god exists or not falls under no ism. Does this not make sense to anybody?
     
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    elsyarango:

    Great post. I've been saying this for a long time but not as eloquently.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  9. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    I'm sorry, but I just don't see the validity of your argument. If someone is an agnostic and they don't know if god exists or not, and because of this they don't believe in god, by definition that person is an atheist. This is an inability to believe, not an active assertion that no gods exist.
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    In other words the position is "don't know"? or "don't believe"?

    I think one can see it as a spectrum, but an agnostic atheist is a misnomer.

    The agnostic says I don't know

    The agnostic atheist : I don't know and don't believe

    So does the atheist say : I know and I don't believe?
     
  11. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    It's both. Because I don't know, I can't believe. How could I?

    Agnosticism means that as a living human being you can't verify the existence of gods. Atheism is not having belief in gods. There's no reason why the two have to be mutually exclusive, just like how one can be an agnostic theist.
     
  12. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    Hi elysarango.

    What you say about definitions makes sense. You might possibly have mentioned deism in passing.

    I do not believe in god because I have no evidence , nor have I been offered any, which proves his/her its existence.

    Matters become more complicated when I am confronted by theists, Christians in particular. They have the irritating habit of praising god for all the good in the world but blaming the evil on man's sinful nature.

    One could posit the existence of an evil god with the same degree of assurance. This would make god responsible for the evil in the world and ( some ) men could be given credit for the good.

    I have observed that when a number of people survive a natural disaster, they thank god for their deliverance. But they do not blame him for allowing others to perish.

    Do you find anything unreasonable in my point of view ?
     
  13. Myles Registered Senior Member

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  14. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    Incorrect. There's no such thing as sitting on the fence when it comes to the atheist/theist distinction. Saying one is an agnostic has no bearing on whether or not one is a theist or an atheist. If someone is an agnostic and they believe in god(s) in spite of his agnosticism, then that person is a theist. If that's not the case, then that person is an atheist.
     
  15. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

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    Not an inability, rather, an unwillingness to believe despite full knowledge that He does exist...by definition that person is in denial...and a victim of self deception.
     
  16. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    Photizo, I assure you that if I had full knowledge that your God exists, I would believe. What reason would I have not to if that were the case?

    EDIT: Quick clarification that believe doesn't necessarily mean obey or worship in this instance.
     
  17. Myles Registered Senior Member

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  18. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    You can repeat yourself all you like, it doesn't make you any more correct. A theist is someone who believes in god. Anything other than a theist is an atheist. This includes the folk you consider to be "sitting on the fence".

    Someone else posted this example a while ago and I thought it was very good:

    Do you believe in god?

    A. Yes
    B. I'm not sure/I don't know
    C. No

    As the definition of a theist is someone who believes in God, which answer would fit theism? And because an atheist is, by default, someone who is not a theist, whichever answers don't fit theism fall under atheism.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2007
  19. Myles Registered Senior Member

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  20. Myles Registered Senior Member

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  21. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    It's not a matter of taking sides. It's more like weak atheism being the default position, and theism and strong atheism being the two points one can move to from the default position. A blank canvas, and then the application of colors if one chooses to paint it.

    If someone claims to not know the existence of god, and says he doesn't have belief in god, can you call that person a theist? No, right? Then that person by default is an atheist. Reconsider the example I posted with the 3 choices a person can make along with the definition of a theist.

    You mentioned earlier that an agnostic "only believes what can be proved and. as the existence or non-existence of a god cannot be proved, he has no view. " You can't prove a negative, so the only thing that still applies in your statement is that an agnostic believes that the existence of god cannot be proven. That still has no bearing on whether or not he's a theist or an atheist.
     
  22. SnakeLord snakeystew.com Valued Senior Member

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    1) As stated now a couple of times, this has all been done to death. Go and read the countless other threads regarding this matter.. or don't, but saying it all here while having not read the other threads is simply a waste of effort and space.

    2) Clearly "as far as you know", isn't all that in tune because other than the odd theist here and there not many seem to be agreeing with you.

    3) Weak/strong etc clearly need to exist to differentiate between people like you, (strong), and people like the majority of us, (weak). Contrary to common notions, agnosticism is not that difference - also explained to death in other threads.

    4) "None of it is what atheism is about." Sorry, I can't help but laugh at that comment.

    5) Perhaps it's worth reading Sam Harris' problem with atheism speech: Here. You might find it interesting, (although not entirely relevant to this).

    You're new here, so kindly take the time to search the forum. You'll find this argument has been cleared up many times.

    Oh and yes, for you and myles, you can have agnostic theists etc. Agnosticism is about whether one can know whether a god exists.

    RH Unabridged: An agnostic is one who believes it impossible to know anything about God

    American Heritage: Word History: An agnostic does not deny the existence of God and heaven but holds that one cannot know for certain whether or not they exist.

    Thus if you lack a belief in gods, (weak atheism), and assert that one can never know if they exist or not - one is ultimately an agnostic atheist.

    If you believe in gods, (theist), but assert that one can never know if they exist or not - one is ultimately an agnostic theist.
     
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Myles, SAM, Elsyarango - and everyone else who can't seem to grasp what is really a very simple point:

    Ask someone THIS question: "Do you have the belief that God exists?"

    If they answer "YES" they are a THEIST.
    If they answer "NO" they are an ATHEIST.

    Theism / Atheism is bugger-all to do with knowledge but on belief - NO MATTER HOW THAT BELIEF (or lack thereof) is obtained.


    Agnosticism is completely different - and relates to ones stance on whether the thing in question is ultimately knowable, or whether one has personal knowledge of etc.

    So yes, agnostic atheists exist (I am one).
    Agnostic theists also exist (my brother is one).
     

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