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Let's talk about atheism (WALL OF TEXT IN OP DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU)


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#1 Nicks To The Colts

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

*WARNING WALL OF TEXT GET READY TO NAVEL GAZE*

This is going to be a long freaking post. It's confusing and boring and I don't blame anybody if they don't care.

I saw a guy on another forum make an argument about the intellectual validity of atheism that struck me as interesting.

Some background first: keep in mind that most atheists who have actually thought hard about their beliefs and aren't teenagers who are doing it to make their parents mad would actually be categorized under agnostic-atheism or what could colloquially be referred to as "weak atheism". That is to say, these atheists fail to accept positive claims regarding the existence of gods but stop short of claiming that they know (hence, "agnostic-atheism") that no gods exist as that is a separate positive claim and, as most would posit, a claim that is unproveable/unknowable. Some atheists would claim that they believe that there are no gods which could be construed as a faith based position depending on the kind of word games one feels like playing. Gnostic atheism, on the other hand, is a form of atheism that positively claims that there are no gods and, as just outlined, has its own inherent logical problems.

Anyway, this person claimed that such a stance (atheism = non-acceptance of god claims) is intellectually and philosophically worthless. Using that definition, chairs, can openers, trees, and dogs are atheists. Furthermore, inanimate objects and non-human animals expend the same amount of intellectual effort (that is to say, no intellectual effort at all) to arrive at its "atheism" as a human would. Therefore, atheism is inherently lacking in value. As such, the only way for atheism to contain any intellectual validity would be for it to be the specific claim that there are no gods, as non-human animals and inanimate objects are incapable of making such a claim. This claim, of course, would trap an individual espousing it into making a positive claim on the non-existence of gods and would bring all the other logical problems I just discussed in to play.

My response to this claim was that his original analogy was moot because non-human animals and inanimate objects are incapable of receiving, processing, or comprehending a positive claim at all. This is important, because the ability of a human of sound mind to comprehend and process a theistic claim (or any claim made in the history of the universe or that will ever be made) in the first place requires an exertion of at least a baseline amount of intellectual effort. Because non-human animals and inanimate objects are completely incapable of exerting any kind of intellectual effort whatsoever (remember, they are incapable of receiving, processing, or comprehending a positive claim at all), then a human arriving at any kind of conclusion (acceptance, non-acceptance, rejection, what have you) requires more intellectual effort than non-human animals and inanimate objects are even capable of. This directly contradicts his original claim that non-acceptance of theistic claims by humans, non-human animals, or inanimate objects is the end result of the same intellectual process (again, which is to say, no process at all)

Furthermore (ugh yes it's not over yet), the notion that weak atheism (remember, "non-acceptance of god claims") is intellectually invalid because it is the position assumed by non-human animals and inanimate objects would have unusual consequences if one was to apply such a concept. If a human's failure to accept a positive theistic claim is devalued because it requires the same intellectual effort as a rock's failure to accept a positive claim, then the failure to accept any positive claim ever is equally devalued. My failure to accept the positive claims of a Holocaust denier, flat earther, or vacuum cleaner salesman, no matter how ludicrous, should therefore be automatically devalued and intellectually invalid.

Okay, I'm done. Feel free to poo on my post now.

#2 SZ James

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:02 PM

I agree

Posted Image

/followed

#3 Carolina Husker

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

The only intellectually honest position to hold is agnosticism.

#4 Kral

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

That person had no understanding of the burden of proof. Apologists love to try to hand it off.

#5 Sapper

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:12 PM

<--- Russell's teapot.

#6 TANTRIC-NINJA

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:31 PM

<---Lipton's Teabag 8 o-:

#7 pstall

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:13 PM

<------ bakers dozen

#8 d-run

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

The claim that being an agnostic atheist is not intellectually valid does not make much sense to me. In fact, I think the exact opposite is true. Claiming to be an agnostic atheist already puts you intellectually farther down the intellectual effort path than any inanimate object since they don't think about it at all. The thought process of determining a fact is where all the intellectual effort is put forth, not the end result.

#9 thatlookseasy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:22 PM

Oh, I dont think there is no god. I just think your god is bullshit

#10 pstall

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

We will all have our chance to see the other side. Choose wisely while you are.

Stay thirsty my friends.

#11 PhillyB

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:02 PM

i am still working my way through my position on these things, so i'll not add anything of substance other than to agree that yes, speaking strictly of logical formulations, what you've written is certainly true. many of the popular arguments for the existence of a god or gods are based on fallacious logical thinking.

i've been reading john shelby spong lately. he's an episcopalian minister (i think that's right) who's been dismissed by establishment christians as a "far left liberal" theologian who's dangerous to the cause. we could go into an entire thread on his works but one thing he's talked about that's interesting to me is the idea that there is no such thing as an atheist in that sense that if god is beyond conception (as he/she/it must be to fully fill the form of the conception of what god must be [an old greek arguement i think]) then the god an atheist does not believe in is not god, but a culturally-defined god, as the terms with which we use to describe god come from human symbolism in the form of language and religious liturgy. "i don't believe in god" is a false premise according to spong because what you're not believing is is not god, it's religious interpretations of something for more ineffable

i haven't teased this out one bit to try to get something more substantive and tangible out of it though so it's just a thought

#12 Carolina Husker

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:23 PM

We will all have our chance to see the other side. Choose wisely while you are.

Stay thirsty my friends.


You've got about a 1 in 81,000 chance.

#13 pstall

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

i'd say we all have a 100% chance of hitting our expiration date. after that, roll of the dice. if you thought the carnival cruise fiasco was tough. mama mia.

#14 Bronn

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:27 AM

The only intellectually honest position to hold is agnosticism.


This.

When it comes to spiritualism and existentialism, nobody knows anything for a fact. The point at which a fact in those regards will present itself will be too late for you to come back and tell anyone else.

I can theorize all I want about the origins/purposes of our intended/accidental existence. But, as far as we know, life is finite. I often have more important poo to do while I am alive than to ponder the philosophy of our existence.

That said, I lean strongly towards the "no god" side of things, but the biggest stumbling block is the things that separate us from other primates and animals in that we have a seemingly higher level of consciousness and critical thinking.

I often jest about ancient astronaut theory and such, but tbqh I think that is just as plausible (if not more so in most cases) than the history of religious theory, evolution from primate ancestors, etc...

I think the whole thing that intrigues people fundamentally is the origin of the catalyst that sprung us off on our own branch as a species. You either think it can happen physiologically over time, or there has to be some sort of "magic" involved that is basically something we can never comprehend.

All I know for sure is that we've made some pretty huge changes on this planet, positive and negative, during our brief speck of time on it.

#15 mmmbeans

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

This.

When it comes to spiritualism and existentialism, nobody knows anything for a fact. The point at which a fact in those regards will present itself will be too late for you to come back and tell anyone else.

I can theorize all I want about the origins/purposes of our intended/accidental existence. But, as far as we know, life is finite. I often have more important poo to do while I am alive than to ponder the philosophy of our existence.

That said, I lean strongly towards the "no god" side of things, but the biggest stumbling block is the things that separate us from other primates and animals in that we have a seemingly higher level of consciousness and critical thinking.


i don't see how that's a stumbling block... it seems that, If anything it give more credence to the idea that we invented god.


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