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Author Topic: Why I am an athiest  (Read 4878 times)

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Offline Hemingway

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #125 on: May 02, 2014, 10:46:47 AM »
Which religion are you a specialist in?  Why are you in a better position to explain the central claims of my religion (any religion) than I am?  Why, for that matter, is anyone in the privileged position of knowing more about another's faith than they do themselves.

I'm not sure where I claimed any of this. Why, for that matter, would it matter? If I were a biblical scholar, why would that make my statements any more or less valid? I'm not making arguments from authority here. They stand ( and fall ) on their own merits. If you'd like to comment on the statements I made, you're free to do so. If not, I think my point is made.

I'm glad you think so.  However, there are vast swathes of my life I - quite correctly - don't demand scientific rigor in.  Why do you insist this can't be one of them?

May I remind you that you were the one who first responded my my post, where I responded to someone else, specifically to claim your beliefs were based on evidence?

That's nonsense.  Is your claim seriously that four thousand years ago Jews came up with their religion and, after much debate, phrased it in a way that would be immune to a scientific method that hadn't yet been developed?  That two thousand years ago Christians did the same?  Fifteen hundred years ago Muslims did the same?  Your claim that this was done deliberately and maliciously - even if we assume it was done at all - makes no sense.

I'd be surprised if they weren't.

Granted, it may simply reflect the general ignorance of people 2000 years ago about how the universe worked. But why do people do it to this day?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #126 on: May 02, 2014, 10:51:33 AM »
I'm not sure where I claimed any of this. Why, for that matter, would it matter? If I were a biblical scholar, why would that make my statements any more or less valid? I'm not making arguments from authority here. They stand ( and fall ) on their own merits. If you'd like to comment on the statements I made, you're free to do so. If not, I think my point is made.

You claimed that the central claims of a religion were X,Y,Z.  Being a biblical scholar wouldn't make your arguments more valid per se, but providing even a single solitary shred of evidence would.  As it stands, its your word against mine which is why it matters what makes your opinion more valid than mine.

Quote
May I remind you that you were the one who first responded my my post, where I responded to someone else, specifically to claim your beliefs were based on evidence?

You may.  My point stands though - I don't demand scientific evidence in other areas of my life, why must I in this?  There is a world of difference between "has some evidence" and "can submit a peer reviewed article."  Your points about hypotheses are only relevant if you are insisting that all evidence must be held to literally the highest standard imaginable.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #127 on: May 02, 2014, 10:59:13 AM »
If you are saying that you are uncertain of whether there is a God(s) then that is NOT atheism. That is called being an agnostic (definition below).

Definition goes here.
Agnostic: ag·nos·tic  [ag-nos-tik]  Show IPA
noun
1.
a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Synonyms: disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter, skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel, pagan.
2.
a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.
3.
a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality.
adjective
4.
of or pertaining to agnostics or their doctrines, attitudes, or beliefs.
5.
asserting the uncertainty of all claims to knowledge.
6.
holding neither of two opposing positions: If you take an agnostic view of technology, then it becomes clear that your decisions to implement one solution or another should be driven by need.
First: Erm, you are aware that dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive, and tend to lag behind actual use, right?

Second: Certainty is inherently divorced from reality. Being aware that uncertainty exists is not the same as taking any given hypothesis seriously. I am more certain of the non-existence of any god you care to name than I am of my own existence. If you were to give us a quick quiz on what we believe about the supernatural and how we interact with these concepts, you would find more overlap between me and a hard-line, 100% certain atheist than you would between me and an agnostic. The primary difference is that a hard-line 100% certain atheist is insane. Agnosticism about any given hypothesis is not the null position; the null position is "Why should I consider this above the general noise of literally every possible idea on how the world works, including those never conceived by any human mind?".

As for your stance that I need to prove my belief with facts because I am defending - who's the one defending here? I've never once said my beliefs are the right and only way. Matter of fact, I have continually said that everyone should drop it and let each person live as they want. I do not need to prove anything to anyone because... guess what... each person makes up their own mind what is true and best for them. My issue is when people - of any belief system - start trying to say their way is right and the only right way. This includes agnostics and atheists.
You don't need to prove it because you are defending. You need to prove it because you are the one asserting an extra phenomenon; the burden of proof, inasmuch as anyone here has to prove anything, is on you, not me.

The bolded line appears not to be true. You've taken quite a bit of issue with me, despite the fact that my initial assertion was simply "I do not have faith", and that I have not said that my way is the only right way, merely that it is where the balance of evidence seems to rest once run through Bayes and Solomonoff. You're free to believe what you want; you may even be correct. The only things I have ever asked you or anyone else in this thread to do are stop telling the faithless how our minds work, stop assuming malice, and stop accusing me of saying things I did not say.



And I suspect you're putting the cart before the horse to some extent.  "Since we started checking, the only claims about God that haven't been falsified are unfalsifiable" has two potential reasons.  I'm not for one second arguing that there haven't been a lot of lazy and intellectually bankrupt statements made, and I like to think I call them when I see them.  But it was St Aquinas fifteen hundred years ago who claimed that God exists outside of time.

EDIT:  Augustine, obviously.  Not sure what came over me
My point wasn't anything to do with God-existence; it was that "God is deliberately constrained to the unfalsifiable by believers" and "The founders of the religion did not deliberately constrain God to the unfalsifiable" are not mutually exclusive concepts. Your argument depended on them being so.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 11:01:23 AM by Ephiral »

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #128 on: May 02, 2014, 11:04:14 AM »
You know, the vigor with which people insist on trying to prove the unprovable might be another reason that the OP has made her personal choice.  Or that anyone else makes theirs.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #129 on: May 02, 2014, 11:05:08 AM »
You claimed that the central claims of a religion were X,Y,Z.  Being a biblical scholar wouldn't make your arguments more valid per se, but providing even a single solitary shred of evidence would.  As it stands, its your word against mine which is why it matters what makes your opinion more valid than mine.

In three major religions, the validity of the religion hinges upon the existence of a deity. In the end, all claims about salvation, heaven, hell, sin, creation, and so forth, depend on gods for validity. If there were no god, god could not have created the universe, so their creation myths would be false. Without a god to judge people, there could not be any sin, or a hell, or a heaven. Certainly no prayer.

Which is not, to say, that the existence of a god would prove that all of these existed as described in their respective holy books. That god could just as easily be malicious and misleading, you know? But without god, they can't exist, not as presented in the scriptures of these religions.

If you believe in some religion for which this is not true, I'd be happy to discuss it in more detail, but I'd have to know what it was, at the very least.

You may.  My point stands though - I don't demand scientific evidence in other areas of my life, why must I in this?  There is a world of difference between "has some evidence" and "can submit a peer reviewed article."  Your points about hypotheses are only relevant if you are insisting that all evidence must be held to literally the highest standard imaginable.

I never said you should.

I don't actually feel very strongly about faith, or beliefs, or religion. I enjoy discussing religion, and I'll join in if there's a debate. I don't much care what people think or believe. I do care when people make claims about science that are wrong, though.

I do care when people try to use their religion for some political end. I despise that. In those cases, it's sometimes necessary to go into faith and beliefs - and I feel I have some sort of moral duty to those who are suffering because of it to try to help. Still, there's none of that here, so that really doesn't apply. I also recognize that, very often, these issues are not, at their cores, religious issues. Very often they are, in reality, economic, or political.

It might be a disappointing answer, but I don't demand what you say I demand. I'm discussing it because there's a discussion going on, and I find that positively entertaining and interesting.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #130 on: May 02, 2014, 11:07:15 AM »
My point wasn't anything to do with God-existence; it was that "God is deliberately constrained to the unfalsifiable by believers" and "The founders of the religion did not deliberately constrain God to the unfalsifiable" are not mutually exclusive concepts. Your argument depended on them being so.

No, my argument was "Since the founding of the religion, both falsifiable and unfalsifiable claims have been made by believers.  Claims that this was done to frustrate the scientific method require either time travel or God."

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #131 on: May 02, 2014, 11:10:57 AM »
No, my argument was "Since the founding of the religion, both falsifiable and unfalsifiable claims have been made by believers.  Claims that this was done to frustrate the scientific method require either time travel or God."
Okay, I misunderstood. In that case, the obvious rebuttal would be that Hemingway was speaking of the modern environment, where gods are typically constrained to the unfalsifiable. This requires neither time machines nor God, as the intent of the founders of a religion is utterly irrelevant to where it winds up.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #132 on: May 02, 2014, 11:12:48 AM »
Okay, I misunderstood. In that case, the obvious rebuttal would be that Hemingway was speaking of the modern environment, where gods are typically constrained to the unfalsifiable. This requires neither time machines nor God, as the intent of the founders of a religion is utterly irrelevant to where it winds up.

It's also not true though.  Bananas aren't proof of creation.  The Grand Canyon isn't proof of a great flood.  Hurricanes aren't an angry God penalising America for homosexuals.  Loads and loads and loads of totally falsifiable claims have been made in the modern era.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #133 on: May 02, 2014, 11:15:16 AM »
It's also not true though.  Bananas aren't proof of creation.  The Grand Canyon isn't proof of a great flood.  Hurricanes aren't an angry God penalising America for homosexuals.  Loads and loads and loads of totally falsifiable claims have been made in the modern era.
I did say "typically"; creationist evangelicism is decidedly atypical. I will concede the point in this specific case, though.

EDIT: On further examination, I may have spoken hastily. It seems intuitive from the examples I have to hand that the majority of religions tend to constrain to the falsifiable, but I may have a not-sufficiently-large or biased sample pool. I'll withdraw the entire point given the rather shaky ground I find myself on.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 11:20:37 AM by Ephiral »

Offline Rogue

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #134 on: May 02, 2014, 01:20:05 PM »
I have to disagree. I hold no such faith in the things I learn. I trust that what I am being taught is true based on the corroboration of my senses and my logic, and compare that to those around me. For instance, mum says don't touch the stove. I don't just simply accept that on faith, I deduce that she's probably giving me good info based on the fact I don't enjoy being burned. Or, maybe I decide to test her word myself. Ow! That burnt me! Well I certainly won't be doing that again, now that I've confirmed my mums words myself.

We have absolutely no 'faith' in human decency Pumpkin, we have a reasonable expectation of humans, a species that relies on social interaction, to act in certain ways. Yes, sometimes they don't, but those incidents don't render our expectations of other humans conduct to suddenly be void and allow you to crowbar the word faith in.

Not a page ago was the confusion between faith and trust cleared up guys, can we please try and use these words correctly? I'm going to requote Ephiral on this.

I'm sorry I'm responding late and if this has already been resolved. However, I wanted to respond to this because I like making my own arguments for such things.

My point was that in Russia around the point of Stalin's take over, people started disappearing from the history books. While we know these people existed, there was no evidence of them in Russia as they'd been wiped from every record and photo from that time.

I am going to now going to bring up a point.

We have faith (or evidence based on what we've perceived throughout or years in school) that if we were to take the world and flatten it (if it were at all physically possible) it would look something like....

this

In fact this is a map similar to one displayed in most every school throughout the US.

However, if we were to accurately portray the proportions based on square kilometers of land...

This is what our maps would look like

This is the kind of thing I mean. While I'm apparently using the term "faith" incorrectly, definitions evolve. Faith no longer has the same connotation to me that it has to be "Strong". Heck it could be blindly believing that what we are taught via "evidence" that we don't care enough to look closer at. However, we never seem to keep in mind that this evidence has been reviewed by others with tainted eyes before being shown to us.

I used to have faith that my Mom wouldn't lie to me. That's been proven false again and again. I have faith that I'm actually in my body not in a Matrix and that I can trust my senses. All of the evidence points to this. But we're just going to ignore that our minds are essentially computers taking electrical impulses and delivering them to release chemicals (or at least that's what I've been taught by people who've put more time and effort into studying this subject.)

Like I said originally, you'd have to dive into the realm of Conspiracy theorists and paranoia to not have a little faith in something. And once you do, you'll realise just how much faith you actually have in these truths that you've learned.

Once again, I apologize if this has already been resolved. I just felt the need to respond for myself and make my own arguments.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #135 on: May 02, 2014, 01:32:50 PM »
It's quite alright, I'd like the chance to restate myself on this any how. I have since conceded that the word faith is valid in those contexts you list, however my point of contention is that that still doesn't help the original point. Trying to equate demonstrations of faith in the Religious context with faith in the strong belief based on observation and deduction context doesn't help you in demonstrating that we all share a similar feeling of faith, making it an intrinsic human value. It's two drastically different uses of the word. We might as well be using different words.

"Oh, well, I believe in this thing that has no evidence, and you believe in these things that are reasonable but have a margin of error. But they both have the same word, so we're the same! That makes our beliefs equal"

No. No, it does not.

Offline Rogue

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #136 on: May 02, 2014, 01:42:59 PM »
Ah. I'm not disagreeing with you on that point. I just want to say that Atheists do have faith in things. Ours is just is a lot more sound in evidence. Hold on! I just realized.... I have the perfect comic to illustrate this.

large comic

Edit: Clarifying that this is from a heavily Evangelist Christian character who actually believes that God wrote the Bible. I know that not all Christians believe that. :) Thank you.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 01:46:23 PM by Rogue of TimeyWimey Stuff »

Offline Florence

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #137 on: May 02, 2014, 02:03:44 PM »
Just caught up to this and I felt like I needed to point this out.

Quote
Collins gives:
"a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe,"

Atheism is not a set of beliefs, or a system of beliefs, or a doctrine or anything of the sort. It is a single belief (which itself is simply the rejection of a belief). Thus, this definition does not apply.

If every single belief is a religion, then the word 'religion' loses all meaning, as it becomes simply a synonym for 'belief'. My belief that Coca Cola is superior to Pepsi becomes a religion. My belief that olives are over-rated becomes a religion. My belief that Star Wars is the true word of God... well, okay, maybe that one IS a religion, but my point still stands.

Atheism makes no claims as to the cause, nature or purpose of the universe, it is simply a rejection of beliefs submitted.

I think the best way I've ever heard it put is "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position."

Quote
Lack of belief God is a belief in no God.  Ephiral made this point a while ago.

No it is not. It may seem a minor semantics, but its two entirely different things. Given how many debates such as this I've seen boil down to semantics, its probably good to be clear on what is meant by words such as 'atheism'. When ones claims that 'Atheism is a religion', they're utilizing a definition of the word that I think most people using it to identify themselves don't mean.

"I do not believe there is a god" is not the same as "I believe there is no god."

One is the rejection of a claim, the other is a claim itself. The former requires no faith, the latter does (or some kind of crazy mounds of evidence that simply do not exist.)

Admittedly people who hold both of those positions will likely both call themselves 'atheist' as the word has a history of being very poorly defined. I do think that MOST atheists, at least my self most certainly, subscribe to the former position more than the latter. As I believe Ephiral as pointed out, an argument based on certainty is effective insanity. I suppose a less certain statement of "I believe there is no god", as in, "I think its likely there is no god" is more reasonable, assuming its meant as more of a strong statement of belief, "There is no god", that is simply an insane statement to make, in my opinion.

Please note, I am using the term 'god' to refer to any deity, not specifically the God we all know so well in the Western World. Admittedly I would say I believe that God does NOT exist, simply based on my observations of the world around me not really meshing with that particular deity's existence. In other words, I feel as though sufficient evidence exists to declare that assertion to be false. As for whether or not SOME form of deity exists... I simply believe that there is no evidence in favor of it, thus I reject the assertion until such a time that new evidence is made available to me.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #138 on: May 02, 2014, 02:25:39 PM »
The problem, Rogue, is that... this still doesn't hold water unless you just use "faith" as another word for "belief" - which is not how it's being used here, is not how it tends to be used generally in my experience, and renders the entire question "Does X person or group of people have faith?" devoid of content. Updating on the evidence is the exact opposite of faith-as-colloquially-used.

"I do not believe there is a god" is not the same as "I believe there is no god."
I'm sorry, but you are factually wrong here.
Crunchy bits hidden for the disinclined.
Glossing over a lot here, but it's not terribly relevant to the core topic. Feel free to take it to PMs if you want more depth.
P(A)+P(~A)=1. The probability that A is true, and that A is not true, will always equal 1. By extension, anything that makes A less likely makes not-A more likely. Probability is a measure of confidence - so the more strongly you assert your disbelief in God, the more strongly you assert your belief in not-God. P(God)-X=1-(P(~God)+X)

A useful exercise: What does the disbeliever do that the nonbeliever does not? What does the nonbeliever do that the disbeliever does not? What actual, real-world difference is there between these two allegedly-different states?

Offline Rogue

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #139 on: May 02, 2014, 02:34:27 PM »
The problem, Rogue, is that... this still doesn't hold water unless you just use "faith" as another word for "belief" - which is not how it's being used here, is not how it tends to be used generally in my experience, and renders the entire question "Does X person or group of people have faith?" devoid of content. Updating on the evidence is the exact opposite of faith-as-colloquially-used.

So basically you're saying that anyone who was ever a Christian obviously did not have faith while they were a Christian that God was real?

Also: I was using faith the same way that you say that you have faith in a person. You can update based on evidence to the contrary.

I also disagree with your question being legitimate in the first place. "Does X person or group of people have faith?" without any content whatsoever is simply silly to me. Because I have faith. I don't have faith in a God. I have faith in certain people. And that definition is colloquially used.

Belief and Faith are fairly interchangeable even here Ephiral. I have belief that God exists is the same as I have faith that God exists. I have faith that this person can do this one hard thing is the same as I believe that this person can do this one hard thing. I don't understand how it's not how it's being used here.

Offline Florence

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #140 on: May 02, 2014, 02:45:44 PM »
The problem, Rogue, is that... this still doesn't hold water unless you just use "faith" as another word for "belief" - which is not how it's being used here, is not how it tends to be used generally in my experience, and renders the entire question "Does X person or group of people have faith?" devoid of content. Updating on the evidence is the exact opposite of faith-as-colloquially-used.

I'm sorry, but you are factually wrong here.
Crunchy bits hidden for the disinclined.
Glossing over a lot here, but it's not terribly relevant to the core topic. Feel free to take it to PMs if you want more depth.
P(A)+P(~A)=1. The probability that A is true, and that A is not true, will always equal 1. By extension, anything that makes A less likely makes not-A more likely. Probability is a measure of confidence - so the more strongly you assert your disbelief in God, the more strongly you assert your belief in not-God. P(God)-X=1-(P(~God)+X)

A useful exercise: What does the disbeliever do that the nonbeliever does not? What does the nonbeliever do that the disbeliever does not? What actual, real-world difference is there between these two allegedly-different states?

I meant more that the strict definition of those two statements are not the same, which is a true point. Doubt is not the same as a belief against. Granted, someone who says 'I do not believe in god', generally does believe there is no god, in the sense that they feel the evidence is in favor of there being no god, but when people are using the 'I believe there is no god' definition to argue that it requires faith, or that atheism is a religious belief itself, they tend to mean it more along the lines of being a strong statement of unwavering conviction.

I might just be doing a terrible job of describing my point. My cat waking me up at 3AM by whining incessantly in my ear has probably not done any favors for my ability to coherently convey a point.

I suppose to get to the simple nitty gritty of the point I was trying to make.

Doubting that there is a god is not the same as making the claim that there is not a god.

In that instance the difference would be that one who simply doubts it ("I do not believe in god") is open to new evidence changing their stance, does not necessarily have 'faith' in a belief concerning gods (I hope context makes it clear which of the apparent myriad definitions of faith I'm using?) and is not making a claim, simply rejecting one; whereas someone who asserts that there is no god ("I believe there is no god") would be less receptive (though perhaps not immune) to new evidence, has a position that requires at least some small amount of blind faith, and is making a claim about the existence of a god.

On a practical level, I live my life under the assumption there is no god, because that would seem probable based on the evidence, but I don't make any claims on the matter. I think of someone who actively asserts that there is no god with absolute certainty in roughly the same light as someone who claims there is a god with absolute certainty.

... at any rate, I'll stop rambling here, as I'm not quite sure I'm making my point any clearer... maybe I'll be able to debate more effectively if I can manage to actually get a full night's sleep for once...

Edit: I do want to add, though, I get the gist of what you're saying, and I suppose I concede that you're right in that regard, but... well, if I keep rambling here I'll just be repeating what I said above basically. Technically speaking, I suppose they're the same, but the meaning behind them isn't... if that made any more sense than any of my other ramblings.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 02:49:44 PM by Florence »

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #141 on: May 02, 2014, 03:46:10 PM »
"I do not believe there is a god" is not the same as "I believe there is no god."

Alright, I'm going to call a spade a spade here.

That is utter BS. It is the exact same thing. The only difference is the words used. Do not vs no. And this is the kind of wrangling around with words that ticks me off. You do not get to change the meaning of things to fit what you want.

Offline ladia2287

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #142 on: May 02, 2014, 03:49:34 PM »
Um... Is it just me or is this discussion a) going in circles and b) getting a bit hostile?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #143 on: May 02, 2014, 03:52:28 PM »
I meant more that the strict definition of those two statements are not the same, which is a true point. Doubt is not the same as a belief against. Granted, someone who says 'I do not believe in god', generally does believe there is no god, in the sense that they feel the evidence is in favor of there being no god, but when people are using the 'I believe there is no god' definition to argue that it requires faith, or that atheism is a religious belief itself, they tend to mean it more along the lines of being a strong statement of unwavering conviction.
I get what you're saying, but it seems to me that the answer is to address that point, rather than arguing from a position that has extremely hard proof standing against it. I think this is meandering pretty badly, though, so I'll take it to PM.



Alright, I'm going to call a spade a spade here.

That is utter BS. It is the exact same thing. The only difference is the words used. Do not vs no. And this is the kind of wrangling around with words that ticks me off. You do not get to change the meaning of things to fit what you want.

Is it possible that people with different prior understandings could maybe, just maybe, be looking at these things in good faith and arriving at different conclusions from you? Hanlon's law applies, even if it is a bit rude about it.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #144 on: May 02, 2014, 03:54:04 PM »
Opheliac. I have a box. The box says cake. There could be cake, or maybe I'm just using an old box that once had cake.

Do you think there is a cake in this box?

Whats that? You're unconvinced that there is a cake? But lacking a belief in the cake is the same as saying it's not there, so what you're REALLY saying is there is no cake in that box.

See how silly that sounds?


Offline Rogue

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #145 on: May 02, 2014, 03:59:53 PM »
Opheliac. I have a box. The box says cake. There could be cake, or maybe I'm just using an old box that once had cake.

Do you think there is a cake in this box?

Whats that? You're unconvinced that there is a cake? But lacking a belief in the cake is the same as saying it's not there, so what you're REALLY saying is there is no cake in that box.

See how silly that sounds?

The problem wasn't in the no versus do not so much as both have belief in the sentence. Also, I don't believe in god is very different than there is no God. There's a sense of conviction in the second versus the first and also a sense of open mindedness in the first.

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Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #146 on: May 02, 2014, 04:06:35 PM »
Opheliac. I have a box. The box says cake. There could be cake, or maybe I'm just using an old box that once had cake.

Do you think there is a cake in this box?

Whats that? You're unconvinced that there is a cake? But lacking a belief in the cake is the same as saying it's not there, so what you're REALLY saying is there is no cake in that box.

See how silly that sounds?
Is this Schroedinger's cake? No? Then the cake is either there or not there. If I do not think the cake is there, I must think the cake is not there. There is no third option to place bets on.

Alternatively: Open the box. Describe the not-cake-but-also-not-no-cake to me.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #147 on: May 02, 2014, 04:12:20 PM »
I'm aware it's one or the other, but Opheliac seems to be removing lack of an answer from the equation. Yes, it must boil down to 'there is a cake' or 'there is not a cake', but 'I don't know' is a valid position to hold, especially if you can't open the box.

Offline ladia2287

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #148 on: May 02, 2014, 04:20:53 PM »
I'm aware it's one or the other, but Opheliac seems to be removing lack of an answer from the equation. Yes, it must boil down to 'there is a cake' or 'there is not a cake', but 'I don't know' is a valid position to hold, especially if you can't open the box.

If we're asking whether someone who has never seen the contents of a box believes there is a cake inside it, then "I don't know" becomes redundant, seeing as they have no way of knowing. They can either believe the evidence suggesting that cake is in the box, or they can not believe it.

And with that I'm butting out. What started as a harmless discussion about personal experiences and how and why they led us to believe certain things has turned into a slinging match regarding the semantics of communication. Frankly, this whole turn of conversation has given me a major headache

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #149 on: May 02, 2014, 04:23:19 PM »
Yeah, I must bow out as well.