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Author Topic: Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6696 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #150 on: July 05, 2014, 05:10:25 PM »
 Science has no concern over the “why” of anything.  Cause and effect serve as corner stones of science which makes the how the primary and nearly solitary focus of science.  People want science to solve all questions and answer all problems, but science does not even attempt to do so.  Science is based first on observation, not on experimentation.  Observation of the natural world is the first order of business and what science cannot observe, science leaves alone.  Science does not say God exists or that God does not exist, your flaw is in thinking that science has any stake in this claim at all.  The two address different questions and understanding of the world around us.

Also you spent an entire paragraph telling me I am wrong only to then tell me I could be right, but so what.

Simples.  I appreciate the patronizing tone by the way. 

Oh, and if you look through the testaments of many atheists even on this forum there is an emotional rationale behind their belief in there not being a God.  Science simply becomes a reason for that belief.  So I would be careful about placing the cart before the horse.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:11:59 PM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #151 on: July 05, 2014, 05:17:08 PM »
Science is concerned with both questions; the how and the why are closely linked; in most cases, the how answers the why in the natural world, and observation is how we test things. We experiment, and we observe the results. Science doesn't say God exists or not, true, but part of the scientific method is not to accept a claim until it has been proven, which is a rational way to approach everything, including God. And when so many religions directly contradict science, science DOES have a stake in it. Science is simply the application of the scientific method - experimentation, observation and calculation - to answer the questions of the reality in which we live....and surely one of the biggest questions is "Is there at least one God out there?" As I said....the two seek to answer the same questions. Religion seeks to answer the how and the why with God, and science seeks naturalistic explanations for the how and why. The how and the why are inseparably linked in most if not all situations.

Also, I said that you were wrong in some areas and right in others. One does not have to be wholly right or wholly wrong.

Simples.

Also, the "simples" was intended as a joke. I didn't mean to come across as patronizing, and if I seemed condescending at all, I apologise.

And on your added edit: Some atheists do indeed base their decision on emotions...how could we not? We're human. However, some beliefs are more justified than others, and that wasn't the overall point of that section of my response. The point was that atheism is one belief, not a belief system (see the links I provided for a more thorough and well-ordered explanation).
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:18:32 PM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #152 on: July 05, 2014, 05:26:03 PM »
Pumpkin, multiple people have been explaining this to you for years. Atheism is a lack of belief. Nothing more. Could you please confirm that you understand this and amend your position, or will you continue basing your entire argument on a falsehood?

Offline Dhi

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #153 on: July 05, 2014, 05:46:51 PM »
Vergil, the link you provided agrees with my suggestion that Blythe might be talking about agnosticism:
Quote
There's a simple test to tell if one is an agnostic or not. Do you think you know for sure if any gods exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Do you think you know for sure that gods do not or even cannot exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic.

Does Blythe think he knows for sure that gods exist? No. (That would be theism)
Does Blythe think he knows for sure that gods cannot exist? No. (That would be atheism)

Agnostic atheism sounds like a fine definition, with elements of agnosticism and atheism. The agnosticism is clearly there, though. It's even half the title. The conclusions we've drawn are remarkably similar.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #154 on: July 05, 2014, 05:54:10 PM »
Sabby....fuck off. 

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #155 on: July 05, 2014, 05:57:10 PM »
Vergil, the link you provided agrees with my suggestion that Blythe might be talking about agnosticism:
Does Blythe think he knows for sure that gods exist? No. (That would be theism)
Does Blythe think he knows for sure that gods cannot exist? No. (That would be atheism)

Agnostic atheism sounds like a fine definition, with elements of agnosticism and atheism. The agnosticism is clearly there, though. It's even half the title. The conclusions we've drawn are remarkably similar.

Again, I'm afraid you miss the point. "know" and "believe" are two different things. Blythe stated that he doesn't believe but he doesn't know. Therefore, he would be an Agnostic Atheist. Agnostic Atheism doesn't combine "aspects" of both, they are both positions. One states that he doesn't believe, the other that he doesn't know. They are not mutually exclusive, and in the question of theism, it's a qualifier.

I think you misunderstand what I and the links were saying: Atheism does not say that Gods CANNOT exist necessarily. Atheism is the lack of belief in God. That is it. No more, no less. You can qualify that and say you are a Gnostic Atheist (IE, you say that Gods CANNOT exist) or an Agnostic Atheist (IE, you don't believe, but don't claim that gods don't exist). Again, it's a common misconception, but as the links explain, you can disbelieve and not claim that the proposition is wrong.

Very simply:

Does Blythe think he knows for sure that gods exist? No. (That would be theism)
Does Blythe think he knows for sure that gods cannot exist? No. (That would be atheism)

I'm afraid not. The actual situation is:

Theism: Person A believes a god exists.
Atheism: Person B does not believe Person A's claim.

Gnosticism: Person A claims to know.
Agnosticism: Person B does not claim to know, and possibly even claims that nobody can know.

These are not mutually exclusive terms, and as I have explained (not trying to be condescending, I just have to explain this a lot :-/ ), atheism is not the claim that Gods do not or cannot exist, only the position that we do not believe theistic claims. That's it. Saying you don't believe a claim is not the same as saying you believe the claim is wrong.

I didn't say that you were wrong to label him an Agnostic, just that you were wrong to imply that Agnosticism and Atheism are two different positions when in fact they can (and usually do) overlap.

@Pumpkin:

So you're not going to answer his question, then? It's a fair question to ask.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #156 on: July 05, 2014, 06:00:46 PM »
Sabby....fuck off.


That's a bit of an overreaction. I asked you to amend a faulty position, something you have asked me at times, and I have been happy to do so.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #157 on: July 05, 2014, 06:07:17 PM »
Not really, Sabby.  My response is appropriate for the level of respect and consideration you show.  I have maintained this position, argued this position and have continued to argue this position.  If you consider this a poor position then make your argument.  Don’t simply say, “well you’ve been proven wrong before so stop being stupid.”  Your statement is insulting and idiotic and I respond in kind.  So if you are going to simply call me an idiot and that I hold onto points I cannot at least defend with rudimentary intelligence.  Then fuck off.  I have no interest in conversing with someone that has such a low opinion of me. 

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #158 on: July 05, 2014, 06:10:06 PM »
First of all: Staying out of this.
Second of all: Perhaps this should be taken to PM's? No need to air your dirty laundry, after all. :-)

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #159 on: July 05, 2014, 06:11:48 PM »
...what? If this is how you react to a perfectly reasonable request, yhen I remove myself from this conversion. Theres no need for such drama.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #160 on: July 05, 2014, 06:14:53 PM »
My laundry is perfectly clean.  And that was not a reasonable request by any stretch of the imagination.

I will try to make a suitable response to Vergil in the morning.

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #161 on: July 05, 2014, 06:16:25 PM »
Things will remain civil or I'll put it on a 24 hour cool down.


Offline Dhi

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #162 on: July 05, 2014, 06:44:18 PM »
Vergil, I see what you're saying now. Since you didn't specify, I took the explanation of agnosticism to imply that I was wrong to use the word agnostic. I think that's a reasonable conclusions to draw.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #163 on: July 05, 2014, 06:56:42 PM »
Oh, I see where you're coming from; all I meant was that you implied (or at least, I inferred, regardless of whether you actually intentionally implied it or not) that agnosticism and atheism were mutually exclusive. That is, that agnosticism is the middle ground between atheism and theism, which isn't true. It's a common misconception. I think you would agree that theism and atheism is a dichotomy; you either believe in at least one god or deity, or you do not believe in at least one god or deity. That is the data point that both theism and atheism are addressing; there is no middle ground. You either believe, or you do not. As for knowledge, there are varying degrees of certainty, which is where gnosticism and agnosticism come into play. :-) I know I'm being pedantic, but the use of agnosticism is actually hurting the atheist movement, since it helps propagate the myth that atheists are just as dogmatic as some religionists, which isn't the case. Atheism isn't a belief system or a dogma or a religion, it is simply a lack of belief. Whether the individual thinks that there is enough evidence to say that there are no gods is another matter entirely, just like some theists will freely admit that there is no evidence for their god and that they do not know whether he is real or not. I've met agnostic theists before. :-)

I mean, there are philosophies and "belief systems" that are inherently atheistic (Secular Humanism, for one, which I consider myself an adherent of), but atheism itself is only concerned with one question; do you believe in god/s? No? You're an atheist. Yes? You're a theist. A theist isn't necessarily religious (for example, a theist can believe in a God but not belong to a specific religion), just like an atheist isn't necessarily an objectivist or a humanist.

Anyway, getting off topic.

The long and short of it is that I wasn't objecting to your labelling Blythe as an agnostic, just that it felt to me like you were suggesting that atheism and agnosticism were mutually exclusive, when in fact the agnostic label is, in regards to theism or atheism, simply a qualifier as to how certain you are of the non-existence of God. Agnostic Atheist = I don't believe but I don't know, and Gnostic Atheist = I don't believe and I claim to know. These are sometimes also labelled as "Soft" and "Hard" Atheism respectively. :-)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 07:01:19 PM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Blythe

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #164 on: July 05, 2014, 07:13:44 PM »
The long and short of it is that I wasn't objecting to your labelling Blythe as an agnostic, just that it felt to me like you were suggesting that atheism and agnosticism were mutually exclusive, when in fact the agnostic label is, in regards to theism or atheism, simply a qualifier as to how certain you are of the non-existence of God. Agnostic Atheist = I don't believe but I don't know, and Gnostic Atheist = I don't believe and I claim to know. These are sometimes also labelled as "Soft" and "Hard" Atheism respectively. :-)

So that's what those mean! I've heard the terms floating around, but I've never really got what they meant.

But judging from how you're defining "agnostic atheist" then yes, that does sound about right for the position I have, which I suppose is also called "soft atheism."

What an interesting concept, although I suspect now I'll probably be online all night trying to look up more about agnosticism, heh.  ;D

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #165 on: July 05, 2014, 08:31:35 PM »
Quote
“I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.”   --  Isaac Asimov


I agree with the Good Doctor.  The evidence I've seen on Earth, and the lack of it by the religious (including myself when I was counted among them) made me decide not to waste any of my precious, never-to-be-regained seconds on deities of any kind.

As an aside--I have heard many religious people say they believe because of feelings they have experienced in their lives.  When I was Catholic, I experienced those, too.  Having been married to a psychiatry major for 18 years, I am seeing those feelings explained away more and more as normal human brain activity.  When I was a teen, if someone challenged me on my faith with incontrovertible evidence, I grew upset like many of faith do...it's normal for people to react with hostility when the underpinnings of their belief system are questioned or proven wrong.  The thing is, in this real world, not all religions can be right, even if there was a deity--there are too many diametrically-opposed faiths.  If we can point out faults, flaws, and mistakes in everything else, we should be able to point out the same in religion...just the fact that religion is put off-limits by some says a lot about some believers' faith.  If one's faith is complete, being faced with evidence of errors in your system shouldn't bother you...much like how Ken Hamm reacted during his debate with Bill Nye.  He said that even if provided with direct, unimpeachable evidence that the Bible was wrong, he'd still believe the Bible over science.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #166 on: July 06, 2014, 01:43:22 AM »
@Blythe: Haha, yhup. I get enthusiastic about defending the definitions, since we need more "out" atheists, and a lot of this "atheism is just as dogmatic" is all about shifting the burden of proof. :-) Words have definitions, and we should respect them. And haha, well, doing loads of research is how I personally became an Agnostic Atheist in the first place, so research away :P I would suggest looking up on Youtube "Atheist Experience Agnostic vs Atheist." They do a good job of explaining the difference, I feel. :-)

@HannibalBarca's second paragraph: I agree completely. The problem is, religion has had a kind of immunity for millennia, and only now is it starting to be open to criticism, which a lot of people are still getting used to. A common accusation I hear is that "atheists are aggressive...." well, when you have to defend your lack of a belief so often, and are faced with so much media telling you that you are an evil person because you're an atheist and when religious people are trying to pass oppressive laws on the basis of religion and trying to force their denomination into schools, why shouldn't an Atheist get pissed? But yes, I agree completely with that paragraph :-) The bible actually specifically says that "reason is the enemy of Faith." Even back then, they figured out that you shouldn't question it too much. Tells you a lot, huh? :P :P

Offline mj2002

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #167 on: July 06, 2014, 02:14:43 AM »
Isn't it though? I mean, what I accept as truth may be quite different from what you accept as truth, and at least one of us must be wrong. But neither of us can be proven to be wrong until we die. And once we die, we can't report on who is right and who is wrong.
That's exactly my point. There's no use  making these statements. They're indistinguishable from fantasy.

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #168 on: July 06, 2014, 02:38:20 AM »
If this is how you react to a perfectly reasonable request, yhen I remove myself from this conversion......
....again

I don't want to be involved in this conversation if that's how things are going to be.
I'm out.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #169 on: July 06, 2014, 04:21:32 AM »
@Mj: Whilst I agree, unfortunately that's not how most people see it, so as long as they make the statements, they deserve to be challenged. If religious folk were all just keeping it to themselves and practising the modernised, liberal versions of their religion, it would be fine and dandy. But unfortunately, religions keep trying to shove their way back into government, they keep informing petty prejudices that deserve to be fought and they keep going out and proselytizing that they're right and anybody who disagrees is going to hell. Not all of them, of course, but so long as there are enough of those types to be a problem, there is always a reason to speak out against them. As for LostInTheMist's comment, I agree that people may have a different opinion over what is true, but somebodies opinion doesn't alter the facts, and if those opinions create a dichotomy - IE, Person A believes there is at least one god and Person B believes that there are no gods (Person B is what would be called a Gnostic, or "Hard" Atheist) - then logically only one can be correct. However, I don't think the answer is to throw your hands up and go "WELL, we won't know who is right until we die!" What we do is we investigate and test and attempt to collect evidence, and try to find out through the scientific method. Thus far, no evidence of a deity or deities has been forthcoming (no convincing evidence, at least, that cannot be explained in a less fantastical way), but that doesn't mean we should stop testing the God claims. It may well be that we won't know for certain until we die, but that doesn't mean we should just stop looking for the answer anyway. That's the nature of science; "We don't know, let's go try and find out!" :D :D

@Mia H: I don't think that was necessary. What was the point of posting that other than taking a pot shot at Sabby? He was part of a different conversation, he removed himself from that one. He rejoined a different conversation with a different person, then withdrew from that one as well. We're trying to keep this thread civil, and that seems rather pointless, unless the point is to try and antagonise/attack Sabby.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 04:23:06 AM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #170 on: July 06, 2014, 05:13:14 AM »
Science does not say God exists or that God does not exist, your flaw is in thinking that science has any stake in this claim at all.  The two address different questions and understanding of the world around us.

Religion has no stake in determining if there is such a thing as a god and whether or not it exists. How can a religious group or person determine what a god is and whether or not it exists? They have no means of doing this.


Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #171 on: July 06, 2014, 05:21:18 AM »
Religious groups seem to have proven the existence of God to their own satisfaction and defined the entity or entities for their own needs and purposes. 

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #172 on: July 06, 2014, 05:22:25 AM »
[...] And once we die, we can't report on who is right and who is wrong.
Are you really so sure about that? After watching Richard Dawkins' Enemies of Reason, my curiosity's been piqued about so called mediums, who claim to be able to speak with the dead. Wouldn't that be a way for really anyone to communicate back their findings from heaven (or hell)? Perhaps an Ouija board would suffice, probably depending on where said person died and how much information needs to be transmitted.

:-)

If you now say that's superstitious rubbish or a hoax... well... that's exactly the same I feel about religion. They just can't prove it. They can't present even the slightest trace of evidence to support the claim. The claim that some medium can communicate with the spirits of the dead is as good as the claim of a christian that bad people will be punished in hell, or that an islamic martyr is welcomed by dozens of virgins. Neither can prove it anyway, and both religion and "spirituality" are often used to either abuse, intimidate, or hurt people, or as an outright scam.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #173 on: July 06, 2014, 05:23:47 AM »
Science has also been used for those same effects.  Do keep that in mind.

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #174 on: July 06, 2014, 05:49:06 AM »
Virgil, someone might say they don't want any drama but slamming the door on the way out twice would appear to indicate something different.
*waves to Sabby who's lurking in the thread*

Passion,
I remember seeing a show by Derren Brown about medium's and they tricks they use to cold read people. Derren challenged one medium about it and they got the psychic to do a detailed cold read on someone and it was very accurate, startling so. Turns out the person who was being read was the next door neighbour of the psychic's sister-in-law. It was a con pure and simple.
Now think about all the adverts and spam mail you get about miracle weight-loss pills, lotions that will regrow lost hair, secrets that drug companies don't want you to know; and all of them scientifically proven to work. But I'm assuming you're not stupid and can see that these too are a con.

Just because both religion and science are used as tools to con people, it doesn't by implication make either religion or science outright scams.

And as far as conmen go, Dawkins' is right up there with them. As far as I can see he has no interest in resolving the debate, only in provoking his opponents so that he can prolong the debate and sell more books. That's not science it's a con.