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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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*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 [i]know [/i](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 [i]believe [/i]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.

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I agree

[img]http://i.imgur.com/W61zU.png[/img]

/followed

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The only intellectually honest position to hold is agnosticism.

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

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<--- Russell's teapot.

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

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<------ bakers dozen

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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.

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

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

Stay thirsty my friends.

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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

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[quote name='pstall' timestamp='1361148278' post='2137258']
We will all have our chance to see the other side. Choose wisely while you are.

Stay thirsty my friends.
[/quote]

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

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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.

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[quote name='Carolina Husker' timestamp='1361120613' post='2137069']
The only intellectually honest position to hold is agnosticism.
[/quote]

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.

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[quote name='Bronn' timestamp='1361201258' post='2137520']
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.

[/quote]

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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I look at it this way:

I would rather believe there is a God and live my life as such....and be wrong about it.

Rather than not believe there is a Hod and live my life as such....and be wrong.

First case....maybe I missed out on some pleasure and fun while floating around in this rock.

Second case....eternal damnation.

Just a thought.

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[quote name='mmmbeans' timestamp='1361220037' post='2137857']
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.
[/quote]

I completely agree that the concept of god to humans is a totally manufactured/recycled concept... God was born out of our very incessant need to explain things. Interestingly enough, this is the same need that drives a lot of science out there. The difference is that science keeps looking, while the other side is content to throw up their hands and give up and call it faith.

I guess what I was saying is that there are some questions that just can't be answered, at least with our current understanding of things, with factual information. We can theorize all day long, but there are a lot of things that we don't know and we assume based on our current collective knowledge.

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[quote name='MadHatter' timestamp='1361220642' post='2137863']
I look at it this way:

I would rather believe there is a God and live my life as such....and be wrong about it.

Rather than not believe there is a Hod and live my life as such....and be wrong.

First case....maybe I missed out on some pleasure and fun while floating around in this rock.

Second case....eternal damnation.

Just a thought.
[/quote]

there's transcendental merit to certain aspects of the argument i think, but pascals wager has been long debunked as fallacious (and i'm actually an enormous fan of pascalian epistemology and existential philosophy.)

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[quote name='MadHatter' timestamp='1361220642' post='2137863']
I look at it this way:

I would rather believe there is a God and live my life as such....and be wrong about it.

Rather than not believe there is a Hod and live my life as such....and be wrong.

First case....maybe I missed out on some pleasure and fun while floating around in this rock.

Second case....eternal damnation.

Just a thought.
[/quote]

But, you're letting a fear based reaction directly affect the way you live.

It shouldn't take fear to make people behave as they ought to behave.
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Let me put it this way...

If your intent was to do bad things if there weren't an omnipotent being or an eternal damnation, do you not also believe that said omnipotent being would already know your intentions regardless and your facade of being a good person would be seen through?

If so, why even allow you to exist? To fulfill some omnipotent being's pop quiz on human decision making?

LOL
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Christians do not live under a sherrif who is waiting to back hand us when we cross some line. Our intent is of chief importance.

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No... Christians live under ideals and stories that existed long before Christianity that they plagiarized/modified to control the masses of people who would subscribe to them...

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[quote name='Bronn' timestamp='1361222138' post='2137887']
No... Christians live under ideals and stories that existed long before Christianity that they plagiarized/modified to control the masses of people who would subscribe to them...
[/quote]

i'm not sure the narrative is that simple. i would agree that various political factions have throughout history managed to very successfully manipulate christians based on facets of their religion (e.g. the republican party platform and evangelical christianity.) i don't think the religion itself was developed with such a purpose and intent in mind (but i guess religion being the subjective term is what makes the discussion so nuanced.)

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[quote name='PhillyB' timestamp='1361222900' post='2137901']

i'm not sure the narrative is that simple. i would agree that various political factions have throughout history managed to very successfully manipulate christians based on facets of their religion (e.g. the republican party platform and evangelical christianity.) i don't think the religion itself was developed with such a purpose and intent in mind (but i guess religion being the subjective term is what makes the discussion so nuanced.)
[/quote]


perhaps not, but it's certainly arguable that Constantine brought it to prominence with that intent.

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Honestly, I would love to live a simpler life and believe in God and Jesus and Abraham, but I struggle with it.

Wish I could let blind faith take over...hasn't happened, but I would be fine if it did.

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