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Partner rrrADAM


Jan 15, 2012, 10:56 AM
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The Impossible Game
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http://www.youtube.com/...ed&v=Gcw1YEtTQCw

Wink


petsfed


Jan 15, 2012, 3:50 PM
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Re: [rrrADAM] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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I encounter an evangelist nearly every day as I walk to lunch. In the 10 years I've been walking past this guy, I've never once engaged him. Initially, I held him in utter contempt, I thought I was too mature, too smart to really engage him in meaningful discourse. Later, I told myself that I couldn't talk to him politely without one or both of us getting mean. Finally, I've come to realize this: the religious impulse is a basically irrational one. That's not to say that, just by dint of being irrational, the religious impulse is utterly without merit. There are plenty of things that are just as irrational (romance, art, etc), which are clearly still worth pursuing. So it seems to me that attempting to convert someone via debate, that is via rational arguments, is to deeply misunderstand what it is that makes people religious. If it were as simple as just deductive logic, we'd all be religious, and indeed would belong to the same religion. Clearly, that's not the case.

What bothers me about a lot of anti-religious propoganda is that it often relies on the exact same social engineering techniques that religion does. It seems to me that the vast majority of the sins of religion are wrapped up in those same divisive community-building operations, so if you want to actively fight the damage done by religion, you have to use different means. Put another way, if atheism isn't in fact a religion, why does it uses the same tools of religion (including open proselytizing, denigration of "non-believers", and the erroneous elevation of believers as being "enlightened") to promote itself?

Atheism is the natural position of a rational being, and rational thought is a taught skill, not a political or religious belief. If we want to promote rational thought, we must dedicate ourselves to teaching it. This entails consciously reminding ourselves and the people we interact with to think things through, but it also means that we must abolish the concept of "common sense" when what we really mean is "seemingly irrational, but correct, beliefs based entirely on experience with the system in question". We all know not to put our hands in a fire because we have a clear conception of what fire is. Without that clear conception, its not contrary to common sense to put our hand in to figure out what it is, and why it acts the way it does.


Partner rrrADAM


Jan 15, 2012, 4:46 PM
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Re: [petsfed] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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I know many deeply religious in real life, and we have a mutual respect for one another, even though we deeply disagree regarding religion, evolution, and cosmology. Some of them are even close friends. One, I work with, is convinced I am not really an atheist, and tells me that I am still a Christian, since I once was (I.e., once saved, always saved), and she cannot believe that an atheist can do so much for others and the local community... I guess she has been taught to vilify the infidels.

They are interested in learning the science part, when it isn't crammed down their throughts with the intent of proving them wrong, and they often say, "I didnt know that... How cool is that?!", but usually follow it with, "God does work in mysterious ways".


As to the latter part of your first paragraph specifically, I am reminded of the phrase:
"Those that have convictions that are not arrived at by reason can not be unconvinced by reason."

There has to be "question marks" in order to be open to new ideas, as one cannot graft new ideas onto a closed mind... And some people have ZERO room for any new ideas, in regards to some of their most valued beliefs... Their minds are effectively closed.


(This post was edited by rrrADAM on Jan 15, 2012, 4:51 PM)


curt


Jan 15, 2012, 5:46 PM
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Re: [rrrADAM] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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rrrADAM wrote:
There has to be "question marks" in order to be open to new ideas, as one cannot graft new ideas onto a closed mind... And some people have ZERO room for any new ideas, in regards to some of their most valued beliefs... Their minds are effectively closed.

By definition this is true of Atheists as well, which is why I believe the only rational position to take is agnostic.

Curt


curt


Jan 15, 2012, 5:48 PM
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Re: [petsfed] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt


veganclimber


Jan 15, 2012, 7:53 PM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

That depends on how you define atheism. Personally, I don't care how it is defined. I treat god the same way as anything else. If there is no evidence for it, I don't believe it. That's pretty much it.


petsfed


Jan 15, 2012, 8:03 PM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

I (and a great many other atheists), actually take what's considered a weak agnostic position. Technically yes, there's no compelling evidence either way to suggest the existence of a higher power. However, there is a bloody gob of evidence against virtually every major deity currently worshiped.

I actually hate the "actually you're an agnostic" position. Its rational to say "God either does or does not exist". It may also be rational to say "I believe that god either does or does not exist", but why would you bother forming such a belief, much less stating it?

Again, yes, we can't know definitively one way or another. Even so, if you live a secular life, you're making the assumption that no god worshiped on earth you need be concerned about actually exists. That sounds like atheism to me.


blondgecko
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Jan 15, 2012, 8:40 PM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.


petsfed


Jan 15, 2012, 8:58 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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Which one is false? My statement, or Curt's?


dan2see


Jan 15, 2012, 9:32 PM
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Re: [petsfed] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
Which one is false? My statement, or Curt's?

It doesn't matter.


blondgecko
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Jan 15, 2012, 10:05 PM
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Re: [petsfed] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
Which one is false? My statement, or Curt's?

Sorry - Curt's.


scrapedape


Jan 16, 2012, 4:26 AM
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Re: [petsfed] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

I (and a great many other atheists), actually take what's considered a weak agnostic position. Technically yes, there's no compelling evidence either way to suggest the existence of a higher power. However, there is a bloody gob of evidence against virtually every major deity currently worshiped.

I actually hate the "actually you're an agnostic" position. Its rational to say "God either does or does not exist". It may also be rational to say "I believe that god either does or does not exist", but why would you bother forming such a belief, much less stating it?

Again, yes, we can't know definitively one way or another. Even so, if you live a secular life, you're making the assumption that no god worshiped on earth you need be concerned about actually exists. That sounds like atheism to me.

So you're seeing his "actually you're an agnostic," and raising him an "actually you're an atheist."

Part of the issue here, as you've alluded to is that these terms mean different things to different people. Agnosticism can mean something firmer than "I believe that god either does or does not exist." It may mean something more like, "I believe the question of whether or not God exists cannot be answered with the sort of methods and evidence that I would consider adequate to provide a definitive answer."

Or, as curt said, it may be unknowable.

All this is to say that agnosticism is more than the failure to take a position on whether or not God exists. It is a positive statement that neither position has been proven correct.


Partner rrrADAM


Jan 16, 2012, 5:31 AM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
rrrADAM wrote:
There has to be "question marks" in order to be open to new ideas, as one cannot graft new ideas onto a closed mind... And some people have ZERO room for any new ideas, in regards to some of their most valued beliefs... Their minds are effectively closed.

By definition this is true of Atheists as well, which is why I believe the only rational position to take is agnostic.

Curt


I believe 'atheist' is defined as one who does not 'believe' (I.e., "active belief") in the existence of a diety(ies). One either "believes in" (theist) or they don't (atheist), there is no in between, as one holds an active belief, or they don't. So, babies are atheists, as they do not believe in a god(s).

Regarding your argument: One could say the same thing about invisible pink unicorns too, Curt... That the only rational position is agnostic regarding the existence of invisible pink unicorns.


(This post was edited by rrrADAM on Jan 16, 2012, 5:47 AM)


Partner rrrADAM


Jan 16, 2012, 5:32 AM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. [Some] Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Fixed that for ya. Wink


camhead


Jan 16, 2012, 8:56 AM
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Re: [blondgecko] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

I used to take this position as I was figuring out my own beliefs, or lack thereof. Simply put, I decided that I did not have the faith to say "I believe in no god."

It might seem like a word game, but there is a difference between people who have no belief of god(s), and people who believe that there are no god(s). And really, it is kind of a silly distinction to make, since it is usually used by religious apologists to set up the argument that scientific/rational positions are just as faith-based as religious positions.

Dawkins lays all of this out pretty well in the "God Delusion," though, in which he explains the atheism not as binary, but as a scale of belief, or lack thereof.

Most people, including rrradam, I'm sure, are around 5 or 6 on the scale. Again, to paraphrase Dawkins, I acknowledge the possibility that there may be some sort of god, the same way I acknowledge the possibility of a tiny teapot that is undetectable by telescopes orbiting the sun between earth and mars. But I certainly am not going to live my life or make decisions based upon this possibility.


curt


Jan 16, 2012, 9:45 AM
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Re: [blondgecko] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt


(This post was edited by curt on Jan 16, 2012, 9:46 AM)


notapplicable


Jan 16, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Thats generally how I understand the distinction between the two.

Agnosticism acknowledges that a god or godlike entity could exist, without affirming or denying the existence of one.

Atheism denies even the possibility of the existence of a god or godlike entity.

Call them by different names if you will but I do think those are very useful definitions/distinctions when framing certain theological arguments.


donwanadi


Jan 16, 2012, 12:03 PM
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Re: [rrrADAM] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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I consider myself atheist. I do not believe in the existence of any deity. Beyond that, I do not care if one exists because I feel no obligation to worship a god. I am my own man, regardless of what created me.


(This post was edited by donwanadi on Jan 16, 2012, 12:05 PM)


veganclimber


Jan 16, 2012, 2:42 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Thats generally how I understand the distinction between the two.

Agnosticism acknowledges that a god or godlike entity could exist, without affirming or denying the existence of one.

Atheism denies even the possibility of the existence of a god or godlike entity.

Call them by different names if you will but I do think those are very useful definitions/distinctions when framing certain theological arguments.

I don't think the American Atheist definition denies the possibility of a god. It's at least theoretically possible that an intelligent being created the universe. What they are saying with that "nor can there be" part is that everything that exists is, by definition, natural. If an intelligent being created the universe, it must follow natural law just like everything else. If miracles do occur, they must operate by some laws that we just don't understand yet.


blondgecko
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Jan 16, 2012, 5:07 PM
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curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Well, a few issues there. Firstly, American Atheists is an organisation that purports to speak for a group of people which is inherently difficult to define as a group. As far as I'm aware, they're not all that popular - even amongst atheists. They certainly don't speak for me.

As for the bit you bolded, this seems to be a (poorly worded, imho) reference to a philosophical argument that terms like "supernatural" or "outside the universe" are inherently incoherent. As veganclimber said, "supernatural" really means "operates outside of the known laws of nature". This doesn't really mean that it operates outside of nature, just that there are laws of nature that we haven't discovered yet. Since "universe" is defined as "all that exists" and "natural" is defined as "how the universe operates", to say "outside the universe" or "supernatural" is oxymoronic.

... or so the argument goes. Personally, it's a bit too much "angels on the head of a pin" for me. I'm content to say that I see no evidence for any generic deity, and plenty of evidence against specific deities, atheism (a lack of belief in deities) is my default position.


jt512


Jan 16, 2012, 5:19 PM
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Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

The "nor can there be" phrase seems superfluous. After all, what would it mean for there to be a world in which there are no supernatural forces, but there could be? It doesn't make sense.

Jay


curt


Jan 16, 2012, 7:44 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Well, a few issues there. Firstly, American Atheists is an organisation that purports to speak for a group of people which is inherently difficult to define as a group. As far as I'm aware, they're not all that popular - even amongst atheists. They certainly don't speak for me.

As for the bit you bolded, this seems to be a (poorly worded, imho) reference to a philosophical argument that terms like "supernatural" or "outside the universe" are inherently incoherent. As veganclimber said, "supernatural" really means "operates outside of the known laws of nature". This doesn't really mean that it operates outside of nature, just that there are laws of nature that we haven't discovered yet. Since "universe" is defined as "all that exists" and "natural" is defined as "how the universe operates", to say "outside the universe" or "supernatural" is oxymoronic.

... or so the argument goes. Personally, it's a bit too much "angels on the head of a pin" for me. I'm content to say that I see no evidence for any generic deity, and plenty of evidence against specific deities, atheism (a lack of belief in deities) is my default position.

Of course, that position is completely consistent with being agnostic as well.

Curt


blondgecko
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Jan 16, 2012, 8:07 PM
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curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Well, a few issues there. Firstly, American Atheists is an organisation that purports to speak for a group of people which is inherently difficult to define as a group. As far as I'm aware, they're not all that popular - even amongst atheists. They certainly don't speak for me.

As for the bit you bolded, this seems to be a (poorly worded, imho) reference to a philosophical argument that terms like "supernatural" or "outside the universe" are inherently incoherent. As veganclimber said, "supernatural" really means "operates outside of the known laws of nature". This doesn't really mean that it operates outside of nature, just that there are laws of nature that we haven't discovered yet. Since "universe" is defined as "all that exists" and "natural" is defined as "how the universe operates", to say "outside the universe" or "supernatural" is oxymoronic.

... or so the argument goes. Personally, it's a bit too much "angels on the head of a pin" for me. I'm content to say that I see no evidence for any generic deity, and plenty of evidence against specific deities, atheism (a lack of belief in deities) is my default position.

Of course, that position is completely consistent with being agnostic as well.

Curt

Well, yes. The terms "agnostic" and "atheist" aren't mutually exclusive - I, like many others, consider myself best described as an agnostic atheist.


curt


Jan 16, 2012, 8:17 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Well, a few issues there. Firstly, American Atheists is an organisation that purports to speak for a group of people which is inherently difficult to define as a group. As far as I'm aware, they're not all that popular - even amongst atheists. They certainly don't speak for me.

As for the bit you bolded, this seems to be a (poorly worded, imho) reference to a philosophical argument that terms like "supernatural" or "outside the universe" are inherently incoherent. As veganclimber said, "supernatural" really means "operates outside of the known laws of nature". This doesn't really mean that it operates outside of nature, just that there are laws of nature that we haven't discovered yet. Since "universe" is defined as "all that exists" and "natural" is defined as "how the universe operates", to say "outside the universe" or "supernatural" is oxymoronic.

... or so the argument goes. Personally, it's a bit too much "angels on the head of a pin" for me. I'm content to say that I see no evidence for any generic deity, and plenty of evidence against specific deities, atheism (a lack of belief in deities) is my default position.

Of course, that position is completely consistent with being agnostic as well.

Curt

Well, yes. The terms "agnostic" and "atheist" aren't mutually exclusive - I, like many others, consider myself best described as an agnostic atheist.

Ah, so "agnostic" is like "pinkpoint." It can be used by itself or can simply be subsumed within "redpoint." Cool

Curt


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jan 16, 2012, 8:48 PM
Post #25 of 30 (1903 views)
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Registered: Sep 11, 2008
Posts: 5184

Re: [curt] The Impossible Game [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
curt wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Atheism is the natural position of a rational being...

Actually, it isn't. Atheists presume to know with absolute certainty that which may well be unknowable.

Curt

Yes, this is false. Very, very few atheists take this position.

Well, this definition is from the American Atheists website:

http://www.atheists.org

American Atheists wrote:
"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be."

To me, the "nor can there be" implies a meaningful difference between atheism and being agnostic.

Curt

Well, a few issues there. Firstly, American Atheists is an organisation that purports to speak for a group of people which is inherently difficult to define as a group. As far as I'm aware, they're not all that popular - even amongst atheists. They certainly don't speak for me.

As for the bit you bolded, this seems to be a (poorly worded, imho) reference to a philosophical argument that terms like "supernatural" or "outside the universe" are inherently incoherent. As veganclimber said, "supernatural" really means "operates outside of the known laws of nature". This doesn't really mean that it operates outside of nature, just that there are laws of nature that we haven't discovered yet. Since "universe" is defined as "all that exists" and "natural" is defined as "how the universe operates", to say "outside the universe" or "supernatural" is oxymoronic.

... or so the argument goes. Personally, it's a bit too much "angels on the head of a pin" for me. I'm content to say that I see no evidence for any generic deity, and plenty of evidence against specific deities, atheism (a lack of belief in deities) is my default position.

Of course, that position is completely consistent with being agnostic as well.

Curt

Well, yes. The terms "agnostic" and "atheist" aren't mutually exclusive - I, like many others, consider myself best described as an agnostic atheist.

Ah, so "agnostic" is like "pinkpoint." It can be used by itself or can simply be subsumed within "redpoint." Cool

Curt

No it is that there are two axes, one is gnostic / agnostic and the other is theist / atheist. You can pair the two terms any way you like, with most atheist being agnostic atheist and most theist being gnostic theists. There are, of course, exceptions.

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